first nation heritage
Keri Gray, of Shades of Gray Rabbitry, takes pride in her First Nation heritage as a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan. As a mother to two lovely young girls, she raises them as part of the Alderville First Nation. Keri has dedicated many years to serving the people on and off the reserve in various capacities, including education, employment, and financial services.
Raised on a farm in Lakefield, Ontario, Keri eventually assisted her parents in managing a butcher shop. Throughout her high school years, she worked both on the farm and in the store. Prior to establishing Shades of Gray Rabbitry, Keri pursued an Agriculture degree at the University of Manitoba. Following her studies, she attended Red River College and completed their business program. Subsequently, Keri returned to Ontario for the Indigenous Studies Department at Trent University.
Following the birth of her children, Keri secured a role as the Learning Centre Coordinator for the Alderville First Nation reserve. With determination and dedication, she and her partner Brian embarked on the journey of establishing their farm business. The medical conditions of their daughters necessitated learning about organic and high-quality food cultivation methods, as well as procedures for producing meat they could consume.
Shades of Gray Rabbitry, the family farm, was initially established in 2012 solely for the Gray family’s needs. However, within a few years, it expanded to cater to local chefs, grocery stores, butcher shops, and friends who also endeavored to adopt healthier eating habits or provide such options to their clients.
Keri is a firm believer in the value of education and empowerment for Aboriginal people, women and the youth. Teaching her daughters that, despite struggles such as food allergies, we can learn from our challenges and deliver back, to the Canadian people, such lessons as wellness through healthy food and proper use of the land on which we live, as has been the way of the First Nation People since time in memorial. Keri continues to be a leader and innovator among the Canadian First Nation community and is actively involved with several organizations and committees, including the Trent Hills Chamber of Commerce as a Chair and the local CFDC as a board member.
The Algonquin Philosophy
The Algonquin philosophy emphasizes taking only what is necessary, giving to receive, acknowledging oneself as an equal part of the universe, and expressing gratitude for all that is provided. It encourages individuals to cultivate their own unique connection with the Creator. This distinctiveness in each person’s relationship with the Creator is what lends significance to the Algonquin Peoples’ lives.