At Westfield we are very fortunate to have a number of spaces where we can share the historical past- whether here at Westfield in one of our buildings, on our website blog or on our social media feeds. This year for Indigenous Peoples Day and for Indigenous History Month we wanted to open some of that space to Rope Loft. We thank Rope for generously sharing his time and his family story with us.
When you work at Westfield you have the opportunity to meet many people from lots of different places with lots of different backgrounds. You never know how those connections are potentially made. Sometimes it is a visitor walking the grounds each day with their dog. Sometimes it is through an email from someone on the other side of the world who is an “Anne” fan and wants to visit the site. Other connections have come through special grant opportunities with museums on the other side of the ocean. Many of our connections though come through our many volunteers. A number of years ago it was a by chance encounter that brought about the connection to our Westfield friend, Rope Loft. Jim and Marie McDougall, Westfield public program volunteers, were waiting at a store in Brantford to have something photocopied and Rope Loft was waiting to do the same. There is a distinguishing characteristic of a Westfield volunteer, the ability to strike up a conversation, needless to say one thing led to another until Jim and Marie suggested that Rope should connect with us at Westfield.
This started a long conversation about Rope’s quest to not only find out about his family’s story, but to share it with others. Rope lives in Six Nations on the Grand River. He is Mohawk. He is an Ironworker. He is a Researcher. He is a Storyteller. A number of years ago Rope started his research with a simple internet search that led him to not only discover some incredible stories, but also led to a self-discovery. Here, in Rope’s own words he explains why it’s so important to look to the past:
Making everything old new again. I embarked on my own personal journey of self-discovery. Unearthing a missing link from the chain’s past, reconnecting me to an ancestor, whose veins flowed the same blood and bearing the same name “Loft”.
As people it’s in our nature
to forget as time has forgotten those from our past. Let it be chiseled in stone, so we, the people of today continue to teach our up-coming generations the importance of our history.
It’s been said, so let it be written: “When you lose history, you are losing the people, in order to find what was lost, you have to retrace your steps back to where you started.” Written by the hand of Rope Loft 2021
For the past couple of weeks Rondalyn, manager of Westfield, has had the opportunity to sit down with Rope to learn more about some of what Rope has discovered. We have taped some of that conversation which we will share in the next little while. Learn more about a man named Frederick Ogilvie Loft. Did you know that he was on the short list to be on our five-dollar bill? Also find out about George (Rok-wa-ho), Susannah (Sa-sa-na) and Jemima (Ya-go-weia) Loft and the circumstances that would lead to the first monument to be built in North America commemorating an Indigenous woman.
Check out this link to our youtube channel for the promo to Rope’s visit with Rondalyn.