[Re-sent] February 10, 2023

History and Truth ⌛

 Clearing a New Path™ and Clearing a New Path Podcast™ are products of Radar Media, located in Dorchester, Ontario on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Neutral peoples who once used this land as their traditional beaver hunting grounds. As a settler here I’m committed to deepening understanding of Indigenous communities and reframing responsibilities to land and community.I am grateful to Mother Earth for the opportunity for love and connection and to the spirits of the Elders and the Medicine People who still walk the Earth. 

FEBRUARY 10, 2023

I come to this work as a white woman of privilege; a vulnerable allyship student.I get things wrong often and I am open to, and welcome opportunities to be called in about the content in this newsletter, in order to create safe, brave spaces for all.The purpose is to unite people in rural Canada.I am grateful to walk along this journey in grace, love and empathy together.Simply hit 'reply' to contribute, suggest and correct.

Solutions-based journalism is reporting about people and organizations responding to social problems.I'm looking to add folks to my team to cover more issues with more urgency.Your support, no matter the size, can help.




Hello Amazing Humans,

I read Duncan McCue’s Decolonizing Journalism and he talks about the difference between ‘taking a story’ and sharing/amplifying stories while building relationships. It has changed my outlook profoundly.

Since starting this podcast in October of 2021, I have interviewed many rural folks, but we’ve had conversations exclusively online, using remote technology.

When I heard a story on the CBC of a local Black artist that was commissioned to create a sculpture to commemorate a local Black church and its involvement in the Underground Railroad here in Ontario. I contacted the artist, Duane Kumala-Thomas from Highlander Studios in Woodstock, Ontario. Duane invited me to come for a tour and a conversation.

This gave me the opportunity to dust off the portable recorder and microphones I have so I could do the interview in-person. It moved me so much more being in Duane’s essence, as he shared his studio space with me, and then I drove to where the sculpture is situated, in a neighbouring town, and stood with it. Again, very moving.

There are certainly more in-person interviews in my future.

During our conversation on the podcast, Duane is giving me a tour of his studio. He talks about this piece (pictured below), at the top of the stairs and at the entrance of the studio, inspired by something Duane’s wife said to him.

Duane also talks in the podcast about this photo below, of Duane’s grandmother at he and his wife’s wedding, taken by a fellow photographer. It was not long after it was taken, that she passed away. He said that she hated having her picture taken.

Below is a photo of Duane’s sculpture/art installation, taken in the warmer weather.

And this is the poem Duane wrote to accompany the installation. There will be a plaque installed and a QR code to the audio soon.


Whether bird's eye views from steeples,

Or people's ties to railroads underground

Look and listen. You too must be smitten

By sights and sounds all around

This historical town,

Of ours.

Acknowledging land where tree strands rooted and water ran through it.

Tracking life through this town of ours.

With cabin erected Thomas affected a future forever in flower.

Tracking fate through this town of ours.

What was done to the land once Ingersoll found it was what eventually had Ingersoll founded.

Tracking persistence through this town of ours.

Inquisitive and riveted when John Brown visited

Tracking recruits through this town of ours.

From the steps of its BME church to the 168 Battalion's birth,

Tracking Oxford's Own through this town of ours.

A question rhetorical, but what more historical

Then this town of ours asking how?

History, her story, mystery, your story, our story's




Duane Kumala-Thomas

In collaboration with:

FedDev Ontario (funding)

SWOTC (funding)

Ingersoll BIA

CB Mills


Highlander Studios


Here's a video with a bit of the history of the church and Underground Railroad in Ingersoll Ontario courtesy of the Ingersoll Library. I encourage you to look into the Black history of your own rural community.

Black History in Ingersoll



For those living in the area, there is a Meet the Artist event, featuring Duane, his installation and his work at the Ingersoll Library, February 18, 2023 from 1-3 p.m.



I will be highlighting some amazing Black rural entrepreneurs I have had the pleasure of spending time with in the past on the podcast.

If you’d like to suggest someone to be featured from your own rural community, not just this month but anytime, please connect with me [email protected]

Shayna Jones is a multi-disciplinary professional spoken word artist, specializing in the traditional oral storytelling of African and Afro-Diasporic Folklore. As an award-winning actor and emerging poet and playwright, Shayna has written and performed for theatre companies, schools, and festivals across Canada. As a folklorist, Shayna combines her passion for live, theatrical performance with the study of traditional African and Afro-Diasporic Folklore and Contemporary Black Experience to create dynamically soulful, nuanced, and unforgettable performances.

In this episode, Shayna speaks about her experience as a black woman, living in a rural and remote community in British Columbia.

Her project: Black and Rural

And Shayna’s artist website: We are StoryFolk


I’m headed to Oneida Nation of the Thames today for an in-person interview about water, however, it’s been raining steady here, yesterday and overnight. The water may actually be the priority today, understandably.

The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise I spoke with Business Advisor and rural restaurantpreneur, Gitanjali Aggarwal about both PARO and her own entrepreneurial journey.

Gitanjali [git-tan-ja-lee] is a name that comes from the Sanskrit language and means collection of lyrics. As the famous line goes, what's in a name? For Gitanjali, her journey has reflected her name.

I also had the pleasure of speaking with Michelle Friesen this week, a female Indigenous councillor in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories. That episode will drop soon!

Fierté Canada Pride has a new Rural and Remote Pride Collective. The organization has a fantastic conference completely focused on Rural and Remote Pride coming up next month in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Want to suggest a topic?I'm always open to amplifying you and/or your organization.Want to partner with me?Send me an email and/or leave a voice message.

Like this newsletter?Please help fund original stories focused on rural Canada.Every donation helps!


This newsletter and the Clearing a New Path™ podcast are supported by Xplore Business, formerly Xplornet Enterprise Solutions.

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