“I was raised by my grandfather. He taught me to trap, fish and how to act in the bush so I wouldn’t get lost. I don’t have much education. Indian Affairs wouldn’t send me out to school after Grade 7, so I went to work.”

Hard work molded Ernest’s physique and character, whether carrying heavy loads of hay on his grandfather’s farm or cutting pulp for Manitoba Pulp and Paper. It was mining, however, where Ernest found his calling.

Ernest worked in mines across Manitoba, Ontario and the Territories. “In new communities, I was drilling holes to blast rock for trenches so they could lay piping for sewer and water. You have to know what you’re doing or you can cause a lot of damage.”

The ‘Master Blaster’ retired once the heavy work load became too much with age. “I enjoyed my work. I guess I had a talent for it. The best money I ever made was in mining. Now, young miners drop by asking how to solve problems. I don’t mind helping them so when they blast they do the job right.”

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Ernest McPherson
Ojibway, Black River First Nation
Image size: 11 x 13 inches
Edition size: 175