CHRISTINE'S BLOG

Welcome! I love to write, and I love sharing what I write with my readers. I vary my style as much as I can-posting events, creative non-fiction, prose and poetry and the occasional video. Enjoy!

Miigwetch

Christine

Friday, December 30, 2011

Poetry By Christine McFarlane


By: Christine McFarlane

My head
 once
 down

My shoulders
 hunched

A
  bitter cold
used
to surround me

I had
no escape


The wind
would sting
my face

  The rain
coming down 
in torrents

Was my tears
springing forth

As I recalled
a past

 Once filled

With nothing
but black skies

A war
went on inside

 Thunder beings
Quarreled with
Lightening bolts

Lighting up
Mother Earth's
skies


 Coldness
seeped
 into my bones

Making me
 shiver
and withdraw

Today

 I hold
my head up

Stand tall
and
tell myself

The past is over with

Today is today

 And now
the sun shines

Where  darkness 
use to reign

All because 
you helped me
to believe

In me

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coping With The Holiday Blues

Coping With the Holiday Blues:
By: Christine McFarlane

We often think of the holidays as being a time to be happy and oh so joyful! but the holiday season is not always a happy time for everyone. People can get really sad and depressed and the reasons can vary significantly for every individual. For myself, the holiday season can bring back many reminders of the losses in my life. However I want this post to be something that can be helpful to others, and takes the focus away from myself.

Holidays can bring up many issues, and it is up to us all as individuals to find the best way to cope with whatever may rise in the most positive way that we can. I am going to post what I believe is helpful to me in coping with the holiday blues, and I hope that through what I post, you, my readers can see what works for you or even add to the list that I post below. I may add to the post later, if ideas from my readers filter in.

The Things That I Do To Help Me Cope:

1.Listening to music- especially music that is inspirational (for me that can be ABBA-I Have A Dream, I Won't Back Down-Tom Petty etc) we all have our own music that we find inspirational in one way or another) Go through your music library and add some of your favourite music to your mp3 player or iPod, and listen to music for awhile.

2. Journaling- This is important to me, especially as a writer but writing can be helpful for anyone, especially if you want to vent feelings that you are having difficulty with. Just the act of getting a pen and paper out and writing things out can help you to stay well emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. 

3. Art- I love to paint and draw. I find that often throughout the year I will go for spells where I am not doing any artwork, and I feel like something is missing. Even if its for a few minutes a day, or with your kids, or in my case, my nieces, take some time to sit down and draw, colour or paint. There's something about sitting down with children and colouring/drawing with them that makes you feel like you're smiling from the inside out.

4. Exercise- I do a lot of walking, and I often find that by getting out and going for a walk, I feel a lot better than if I was to stay in and just sit on the couch and do nothing but sleep. Walking  for even 10-15 minutes, is better than getting no exercise at all.

5. Visiting/Calling People- Getting out to see people can often be hard when you are feeling sad or depressed, but its important for all of us to keep in touch with the people in our lives. If you live alone, make it a point to call someone and ask them if you can spend time with them, or speak with them for a little bit. Make the time to go and see a neighbour or friend that you know is alone,  visiting with each other can help you both.

6. Entertainment- Go out to see a movie,  or that play you have been wanting to see. Visit a museum, or a Friendship Centre, do something that will take your mind off of yourself and whatever is troubling you.

I will be posting over the holidays, but I wanted to take the time now to say:

Happy Holidays and
Stay safe!



Saturday, December 17, 2011

DVD Review-Shannen's Dream


Shannen’s Dream
By: Christine McFarlane

This video was made in collaboration with the Shannen’s Dream campaign (shannensdream.ca) and Heartspeak. The premise behind “Shannen’s Dream” was that “for over 10 years, children and youth in her community did not have access to a comfy school environment in which to learn and grow.” At 13 years old, Shannon Koostachin launched the largest youth driven rights movement in Canada to bring awareness to the world about the lack of a school in Attawapiskat. She became a face and voice for the young children of Attawapiskat and advocated for a new school to replace the makeshift portables.

The children of Attawapiskat not only go to school in temporary constructions, erected after a diesel fuel leak contaminated the main building in 2000, but also suffer other health concerns.  These concerns remain an issue in other First Nations schools on reserves as well, and include: overcrowding, black mould, high carbon dioxide levels, sewage fumes in schools, frozen pipes, unheated portables, and students from suffering from cold and frost bite.

This video addresses the dream of Shannen Koostachin for an equitable education, and how after her tragic death in 2010, her dream still lives on. After she died in a tragic car accident, this campaign was launched in honour of her national fight for all First Nations students. It shows the vision and hope she left with other youth in her community and how they still continue to fight for what she believed was the right thing for her people and community “A right to the same kind of education as any other child, living anywhere else.”

Heartspeak is an organization that supports a collaborative mentoring model for youth/students (approximate age range 12–22) within communities and schools. Heartspeak mentors with media—engaging participants in the production of video resource(s) related to healthy relationships and living. They bring awareness to critical issues across the curriculum related to social justice, safe schools, physical and mental health, the environment, human rights, and education rights-starting dialogue and encouraging action.

More people need to see this video. If you wish to obtain a copy, please visit Heartspeak’s website- http://www.heartspeak.ca 

If you want to know more about Shannen's Dream or become more involved, please visit- http://www.shannensdream.ca





The Birthday Drink: By: Christine McFarlane


By: Christine McFarlane

Ah! It was my birthday and a friend offered to take me out for a drink. I couldn’t refuse, after all, since returning from Banff and the craziness of both our schedules, we had barely any time to sit down with each other to just chill.

I had just covered the Canadian Aboriginal Festival in Toronto. I was exhausted but didn’t want to deny the one person I call my best friend. After a flurry of quick phone calls and one-line text messages, we decide to meet at the Bloor and Yonge subway station. It’s the meeting place for friends living on opposite sides of the city in the huge metropolis we call Toronto.

Upon meeting, my friend Ty says…

“Hey! Happy Birthday! How are ya?”

and leans over to give me a hug.

After quickly stifling a yawn, (its been a long day I think to myself) I reply

“Oh I’m good, how about you?”

Almost simultaneously we reach for a cigarette. Bracing against the wind, we cup our hands around our smokes, and light up. I know it’s the worst habit, but there is satisfaction when smoke hits my lungs.

Ah! I feel tension sliding off my shoulders.

“Where are we going?” I ask

It’s cold, I think 8 degrees, but it feels more like 2. I shiver, stomp my feet, bouncing on the spot to stay warm.

Ty says…

“Let’s walk for a bit, maybe we’ll find something nicer than that last place we went to.”

We laugh because the last place was called, “The Spotted Dick” It didn’t have the greatest service, spotty at best. LOL. We waited for what seemed like an hour for service, and it was cold. It’s hard to enjoy drinks, when you’re trying to keep warm, and loud, nonsensical conversation swirls randomly around as you try to catch up with a friend you hadn’t seen in awhile.

I remember sitting at the small worn out table, Ty sitting on the leather bench and me on a crickety wood chair. We had our iphones in front of us-couldn’t escape technology! Those damn iphones! A beep would go off, and we’d lean over and peer at our phones as if that one message or email just couldn’t wait.

Drinks in front of us, Ty with his white wine, and me with a Creemore lager, we settled in. I’m not much of a drinker, but Creemore is the one beer I stick with, plus it’s the one beer I can always remember! It’s a nice amber shade with just the right amount of carbonation to give it sparkle. Taste wise; it starts off with a creamy sweetness, followed by a bit of hop and finishes clean. It’s light and refreshing. The aroma is strong but I love the smoothness as it goes down.

Back to my birthday drink. It’s Saturday night, and after taking quick refuge from a sudden onslaught of rain, we dash into the Churchmouse and Firkin Pub.

Ty orders our meals and drinks. It’s another Creemore Lager for me, white wine for him.  Lightweight drinker that I am, after only half a beer, my head feels foggy, my tongue is tripping over itself, and everything makes me laugh. Dang, I feel good! Happy Birthday to me!



Sunday, December 11, 2011

An Opinion- When is Enough, Enough?

When is Enough Enough?
By: Christine McFarlane
This is a very difficult topic to write about. It angers me and I know that it angers many others from what I have been reading on news sites, social media sites such as Facebook and hearing from others. This post is about Attawapiskat First Nation and the question that burns in my mind “When is enough, enough?”
In October, the Attawapiskat First Nations declared an emergency. The community, situated in far northern Ontario is made up of 1,800 mostly Cree citizens and has announced that the situation in which they live is dire. There is not only a severe housing shortage, but there are other problems such as third world living conditions and a lack of proper schooling. The living conditions include mould build up, major overcrowding in the homes that families are living in, lack of electricity and heating, and pails being used for bathrooms. These are conditions that are not acceptable anywhere in the world, but we are seeing it, not only in third world countries but also in our very own backyard-Canada.
I’m angry that the Canadian government continues to turn a blind eye to First Nations people. First Nations people have had to endure enough through such federal practices and policies that saw many lose their children, their languages and their right to self-determination. Why does the Canadian government still continue to treat First Nations people as second rate citizens? 
The children of Attawapiskat not only go to school in temporary constructions, which were erected after a diesel fuel leak took the main building in 2000, but also suffer chronic skin diseases brought on by their poor living conditions, and even burns caused by the cheap stoves that are used in the flimsily erected homes. If these conditions were happening outside of First Nations communities, I am sure that the treatment that the people of Attawapiskat are currently receiving would not be happening.
There was an energetic campaign by students, the one famously spearheaded by Shannen Koostachin, called “Shannen’s Dream” The premise behind “Shannen’s Dream” was that “for over 10 years, children and youth did not have access to a safe school environment in which to learn and grow,” and “despite promises the Federal Government has done nothing more than place temporary portables on the school ground which was contaminated by diesel oil.”
Shannen Koostachin became the face and voice for the young children of Attawapiskat and advocated for a new school to replace the makeshift portables in her community. Koostachin was known for standing up to government officials federally and at the international level- to raise awareness of the conditions of Attawapiskat and to ensure that all children had access to a healthy school. There is still no school! Would this happen in mainstream Canada? 
Most citizens of Attawapiskat have endured these desperate conditions since a sewage overflow drove them from their homes in 2009. Some have lived this way for longer. Now, with most temporary accommodations deteriorating, the situation has become critical. Disaster officials are now working at the scene. Its a shame that the government has ignored this situation and let it get to where it is now. Its a shame that Red Cross had to fly in to help, when the government could have helped long ago to prevent the current situation from happening.


To add to the irony, a few miles away, and on Attawapiskat land, the DeBeers diamond mine extracts hundreds of millions of dollars in resources, delivering valuable tax dollars to the government, and while it employs a small part of the community, the riches, remain in the hands of others.
Canadians continue to benefit tremendously from resources and land extracted from First Nations while failing to fulfil their obligations through the treaties that gave them access to these riches.
I ask, when is enough, enough?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not Knowing: By Christine McFarlane

Not Knowing
By: Christine McFarlane

The pain
of not knowing

What to
 call someone
Who gave me life

Festers inside
me

Like an
open wound


I do not know 
this woman

I'm supposed
to call
Mom

In the role of mother
Like a daughter should


The Canadian government
And child welfare authorities
Made sure of that

When I was
Scooped

And placed
 In another province

The pain
of not knowing

What to
 call someone
Who gave me life

Still festers
inside me

Like an
 open wound

Even after
All these years.




Monday, December 5, 2011

2nd Music Review- Susan Aglukark-White Sahara

(Susan Aglukark-Photo By Christine McFarlane)

(Susan Aglukark's new album White Sahara)
Music Review: By Christine McFarlane


I interviewed Susan Aglukark about a month before the release of her latest album "White Sahara." If you wish to read my interview with her, check out the October 2011 edition of the Native Canadian newsletter. 


Susan Aglukark is one of the country's most unique artists and a leading voice in Canadian music. She blends the Inuktitut and English languages with contemporary pop music arrangements to tell the stories of her people-the Inuit of Arctic Canada. 


"White Sahara" is a greatest hits album and it doesn't disappoint. It includes such classics as "O Siem" from the "This Child" album, released in 1995 which went on to become the 34th biggest song of the year. Other songs such as "Big Feeling," "Bridge of Dreams," and new tunes that include   "All Alone," "Where Do We Go From Here," and "White Sahara" round out the collection.


In "Where Do We Go From Here," the listener becomes privy to the fight of the Inuit  peoples staying true to their roots despite colonization; people who are questioning their path now that they have paid their dues to the ancient ones.


"We've staked our claim we've made our mark
Blood bones and memory in the earth and stone
We've paid our dues to the ancient ones
Where do we go from here
Where do we go from here"


"White Sahara" is a great listen, carrying on the inspiration from Aglukark's earlier albums. It is available for download at iTunes and on CD at HMV. For more information on Susan Aglukark check out her website at  http://www.susanaglukark.com

Sunday, December 4, 2011

1st Music Review- Country Album "Shattered Glass"

(Mike Gouchie-Photo By: Christine McFarlane)

(Mike Gouchie's Album Shattered Glass)

Music Review/Shattered Glass:
By: Christine McFarlane


To switch things up a little here on my blog, I am trying my hand at a couple of music reviews by First Nations/Inuit/Metis artists. Recently, as part of an assignment with Anishinabek News, I had an opportunity to cover the 2011 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and heard some voices that I knew very little about. I can tell you that this admission makes me feel a bit guilty because it made me realize that I had become stuck in listening to the same old, same old, and had not let myself become open to other musicians.

I realized that by listening to other people’s music, it helps keep my mind more open to listening to the various styles of music that my people sing. While at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, I was totally captivated by one of the performers- Mike Gouchie.

Mike Gouchie, a singer/songwriter/performer who lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia  released his stellar CD “Shattered Glass” in 2010.

The title song “Shattered Glass” is a heartbreaking and achingly beautiful ballad with lyrics that speaks to anyone who has ever lost someone’s love.

“Well I held onto you
You let go
Ever since that day
I’ve been dying slow

Like a house with no
Lights on the streets
That’s where you left me

I tried my best
To get back up off my feet
Since you walked out
With everything I need

Every time I
Reach inside
My empty heart
There you are

Like shattered glass
Broken jagged pieces
Of the past”

Gouchie was nominated for Best Male Artist, Best Album of the Year, Best Country Album, Best Song Single and Best Songwriter at the 2011 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. He ended up taking home the award for both Best Album of the Year and Best Song Single.


Other songs on the CD include "Don't Miss Missing You," "Don't Touch the Radio," Didn't Get a Damn Thing Done," "No Amount of Rain," "Dust", "If That Don't Break Your Heart," "Heart of Gold," "I Cried," and "Storms Never Last." Each song carries its own message, makes you think, and has you singing along.

With an amazing range of songs that captivate life’s highs and lows, this CD is a great addition to any country-lovers collection.

Shattered Glass is available now in select HMV locations across Canada. Check out Mike Gouchie's website at  http://www.classista.com/mikegouchie 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Nations House Staff Susan Blight Designs Button, Bookmark and Poster to Commemorate National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

(Design Made By: Susan Blight)

(Susan Blight: Photo By: Christine McFarlane)

Sus
an Blight, Project Development Staff from the First Nations House of the University of Toronto designs button, bookmark and poster after a request made by the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women Committee. The Green Dot is any action that reduces the risk of violence in the moment, supports survivors or creates a culture less tolerant of violence. A Green Dot is your individual choice to make the University safer. Events are taking place on the St.George Campus, and the Scarborough Campus.

 On the St.George Campus there will be a Remembrance at 12:15pm featuring commemorative benches in front of Hart House behind UTSU and a working for change Lunch in the Hart House East Common Room, which is wheelchair accessible and there will be ASL interpretation. For any accommodations needs please contact usha.chandrasekhar@utoronto.ca 
For more information on these events please visit the following website:http://healthandwellness.utoronto.ca/GreenDot/Events.htm
(If you do your small part, and others do their small part, we can all make a difference in preventing power-based personal violence at the U of T.)



Book Review: "Seven Gifts for Cedar"


Seven Gifts for Cedar Book written by Cherie Dimaline

 Review By: Christine McFarlane

“Seven Gifts for Cedar” written by Metis author Cherie Dimaline is a great book in the sense that it teaches a young audience some very valuable and core traditional values of First Nations culture.

The story is about seven year old Cedar who lives in a big city with her mom and travels to the Georgian Bay area of Ontario to stay with her dad’s family on the reserve every summer. She receives very valuable gifts during her summer visits- the gifts from the Seven Grandfather teachings- humility, wisdom, respect, bravery, honesty, truth and love.

Under the teaching, “humility”-Cedar’s aunt teaches her the importance of humility after overhearing the little girl excitedly describe her bike back in the city, and sees that Cedar’s cousins are hurt by the comparisons made between their bikes on the reserve and Cedar’s bike in the city. Auntie Flora explains to Cedar in her teaching that

“it is important to think about how others feel before you go talking about how great you are and what kind of stuff you have, even if you think it is really really great.,” and goes onto say “Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less.”

Throughout each summer visit to Georgian Bay, Auntie Flora undertakes the task of teaching Cedar the six other teachings, how to pick medicines, and how each of these teachings can apply to every day life. The story also portrays the strong ties that exist within First Nations families and communities, which in the case of Cedar is the bond between herself as a great niece and her father’s aunt.

This book has been formatted in a way that encourages parents, extended family members and caregivers to read aloud with their young children. There are two different reading levels in this book. Ontario LBS Reading Level 5, in smaller-print text, is intended for the adult to read aloud to the child. Larger-print text in the book is intended for the child to read, it is at a Grade 2 or a LBS Level 2. The content targets 7-10 year olds. It also has a brief section at the end of the book that gives you a word list and grade 2 sight words which give young readers a good base for beginning reading.

This unique reading format within “Seven Gifts for Cedar” is great because it allows the parent and child to read together which in turn strengthens a learning experience between parent and child and makes reading a lot more exciting.

Cherie Dimaline writes “Seven Gifts for Cedar,” and is a Metis author from Georgian Bay; Ontario whose work has been featured in national magazines and diverse anthologies. Her first book ‘Red Rooms’ was published in 2007 and promptly received a Fiction Book of the Year Award. She is the editor of First Nations House magazine, an Aboriginal student publication out of the University of Toronto, and the honoured writer in residence at First Nations House at the University of Toronto.

Seven Gifts for Cedar  is 56 pages and published by Ningwakwe Learning Press in 2010. It is available through Ningwakwe Learning Press and also GoodMinds.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: Raven Tales- The Games


Book Review: "Raven Tales-The Games"
By: Christine McFarlane

Christmas is fast approaching, and though I know I should have posted this review a little sooner, (the book only came into my hands about a week ago) I thought I would review a couple of children's books. My next children's book review will be "Seven Gifts for Cedar" written by Metis author Cherie Dimaline. If you can't get these books this year,  maybe  you will keep them in mind either for next year, or keep them in mind for another occasion throughout the year to come.

This first review is one in a series of 26 new graphic novels for children in grades 4-6. This new series of graphic novels is based on the popular Emmy nominated TV series Raven Tales. The Raven Tales stories are built upon traditional stories, and invite young readers to join Raven and his cast of friends as they entertain you with stories from Aboriginal cultures across North America .

The story "Raven Tales-The Games" is about games and fair play that are shared by First Nations people of the Northwest Coast of Canada. It is about learning how to get along and also about how winning isn't everything. It teaches young readers that games are also about trying your best and having fun in the process.

Within the story, the people of two distant villages meet for the first time. The children don't get along at first with the new children they meet in this new village, so their parents decide that the way to get them to get along with each other is to play and compete against each other. The children engage in games like swimming, running and archery, and every winner receives a small totem to recognize their efforts.

Through the games the children's parents have them play in, the children learn to respect one another, they realize the value of games and decide to hold a friendly competition every year.

These graphic novels  follow the adventures of Raven, the powerful transformer and trickster from Aboriginal folklore. There are 26 graphic novels in total and each title features an interpretation of a popular tale from the teachings of First Nations peoples. Stories vary from trickster tales, origin stories, pourquoi stories as well as traditional tales.

They are perfect for independent reading, small groups reading in the classroom and school library. There is also a Teacher Guide for the Raven Tales Series that include support for small-group work, support for connecting Raven Tales to First Nations cultures and international and aboriginal cultures with similar stories, discussion prompts and graphic organizers for reader response.

These graphic novels are available through Scholastic Education. For more information please visit or contact Scholastic Canada through their website at  http://education.scholastic.ca

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Indigenous Nationhood: Bill C-10, Justice Minister Vic Toews, and Things ...

Indigenous Nationhood: Bill C-10, Justice Minister Vic Toews, and Things ...: Please tell me that I am not the only one who is shocked by federal Justice Minister Vic Toews' idiotic comments tonight on APTN News. Did h... (this is written by Dr.Pam Palmater)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Introducing Romeo Saganash NDP!

 ( Romeo Saganash and I at the 18th Annual CanAB Festival)

So, there I was at the 18th Annual Canadian Aboriginal Festival at the Better Living Centre on November 19, 2011, strolling along and wondering what pictures to take next, when all of a sudden I ran into NDP Candidate Romeo Saganash. It was kind of cool because I was kind of lost with deciding what pictures to take. I mean sometimes I get to feeling that I can only take so many pictures, before I start to think "oh gawd! how long is it going to take me  to download everything onto my computer and then organize all of it?  oh the life of a writer/photographer right? lol 

In all seriousness though,  I was happy to meet Romeo Saganash because after all he is the first Indigenous person to seek the leadership of a major federal political party and that means breaking new ground for the First Nations people of Canada. We need a change! 

Here is a bit about Romeo Saganash:

Romeo was raised in the small northern community of Waswanipi, Quebec. He is a residential school survivor and a graduate of the Universite du Quebec a Montreal law school. Multilingual, he is fluent in Cree, both of Canada's official languages and Spanish.

Romeo is one of the principal authors of La Paix des Braves-the landmark agreement between the James Bay Cree and the Government of Quebec-and a key player in many national and international initiatives, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

He has been in politics for almost 30 years. For more information or to support his NDP Leadership Campaign, please visit www.saganash.ca

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Poem: Lights, Sounds

By: Christine McFarlane

Lights
Sounds

Bouncing
Off the walls
Around me

Feeling 
enclosed
trapped

Too many
Bodies
In one room

People yelling
People laughing

Conversation
Next to impossible

Lights
Sounds

Bouncing
Off the walls
Around me

I stand 
Against the wall

Observing

A hand
Wrapped around
A cold drink

To help 
Pass the time

And

Make me forget
About the anxiety

That threatens
To engulf me

Sunday, November 13, 2011

All Out (de) Occupy Toronto: Solidarity with Indigenous Struggles

(Photo Taken by Christine McFarlane)

By: Christine McFarlane

It has now been almost a month since Occupy Toronto protesters first gathered in the financial district at Bay and King Streets and marched to St. James Park, near King and Church, where they set up camp.


As in other cities, Occupy Toronto’s message has morphed from the original “Occupy Wall St” protest in New York, which started out as a demonstration against the action of U.S. investment banks and the American government in the subprime mortgage securities scandal that led to the global economic recession in 2008.

St. James Park has been home to about 500 protesters since October 15, a day of global protests against the concentration of wealth in the hands of a small elite. These protests are worldwide. Some of them have already faced the dismantling of tents, (eg. London, Ontario) clashes with the police (Oakland) etc. What’s going to happen if Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford makes the move to dismantle Occupy Toronto? 

On Saturday, November 12, 2011 Occupy Toronto marched in solidarity with Indigenous struggles to raise awareness about the links between Indigenous issues and struggles against austerity, privatization and neo-liberalism, and sovereignty.

The march was to support our own decolonization as well as the larger decolonization needed for our society. Occupy Toronto recognizes that they are occupying already occupied lands, and are saying no to the violent imposition of economic austerity, industrial development and privatization on themselves and people around the world.

The movement means different things to different people.  What does it mean to you?


Friday, November 11, 2011

An Interview with Pura Fe

(Pura Fe: Photo Taken By Christine McFarlane)
By: Christine McFarlane

Recently I was given the chance to interview Pura Fe and was immediately struck by her warm demeanour and candidness as I sat and interviewed her. Pura Fe is a founding member of the internationally renowned native women's a cappella trio Ulali and a Native American singer who is recognized for creating a new genre in music by bringing Native contemporary music to the forefront of the mainstream music industry. She is currently a World Music Visiting Artist in Residence at the University of Toronto.

Pura Fe was born in New York City, and grew up in the working class community of Corona in the Queens borough of New York, but her family has traced its roots back to the Cherokee and Tuscarora tribes of the southeastern United States. Her Spanish name translates as “Pure Faith” which was given by her father who is from Puerto Rico. She was raised by her mother and a gifted family of female singers, that are descendants of the Tuscarora Nation that had migrated from North Carolina to New York in the early 1900’s.

Though she is only here until December 15, 2011, she is bringing her unique style of music to the students who are getting a chance to study with her. Pura Fe is teaching/mentoring a core group of 15-20 students in the Music Department, has been brought into other courses at the University to do presentations and workshops, and most recently held a concert in October for the Chocolate Woman Collective Theatre group fundraiser that took place October 25, 2011.

(the full interview will be in the next issue of the Native Canadian newsletter)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An Ojibwe Story: Who I Am

Ojibwe Story: Who I Am
By: Christine  McFarlane

Aanii-Hello

Christine nitishinikaas- My name is Christine

 Kanoohken weti kaa-onciyan- Remember where you come from

 Peguis nitoonci- I am from Peguis

 Baskkodebizhiki nitootem- Buffalo is my clan

 Shaakooc ni daabishkoo indigo mahkwa- However I like bears

 Ni ombigi’aawaswaanag- I am adopted

Nikii ontaatis mekwac pimankasoc Kashkatinoo-piihsim- I was born in November

Ni’dibaajimoomazinaigan- I write for the newspaper

 nindibaajimoowikwe I am a female journalist

 Ni minwentan ahpi masinahkeyaan I am happy when I am writing

Nimaamaa Peguis nitoonci- my mother is from Peguis

 Anna ishinihkaaso- her name is Anna

 Nimaamaa noonkom Peguis ishitaa- my mother now lives in Peguis

 Nitaataapan Fisher River oonci- My father is from Fisher River

 William ishinihkaasopan- His name is William

 Kaawiin nitaataa ayaawaasiin- No, my father is not around anymore

 nintAyaawaa peshik nimihses-  I have one older sister

Marguerite ishinihkaaso- Her name is Marguerite

 nintaayaawaa peshik nintooshamihkwen- I have one niece

 Samantha ishinihkaaso- Samantha is her name

 Kinokaapawi-  nimpahshitahok-She is tall, bigger than me

 Jiikendaagozi moojigendaagozi- she is fun

wiinge ni gichi-inenimaa- I think the world of her

Nisaakihaa nintoshamikwen- I love my niece.

 Nikihci-metawemin- We play a lot

Niwii waapamaa nintooshamihkwen shaakooc ishi ishkooniwikamik- I want to visit my niece, however she is in school


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Am:

By: Christine McFarlane

I am a writer. When I put pen to paper, my thoughts become alive, and dance across the page. This is the gift that the Creator has chosen and given to me.

I am a writer. I may come across as emotional and blasé but really that isn't me. That's the shield I have learned to use because I often wear my heart upon my sleeve.

Ask me to write an article, a poem or a piece of prose, and I let my voice scream and be heard.

I am a writer and I am proud to have found the gift that helps to define just one part of me. 

This is my gift to you from me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Own Business Card!

 I know this is a little ridiculous posting a pic of my business card, but I am excited about having these and want to share it with my readers! lol

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guest Post: Nathan Adler

(Nathan Adler-Photo By: Christine McFarlane)

Bio: Nathan Adler is a writer and artist who works in many different mediums, including video, film, drawing & painting, as well as glass and installation.  Nathan was the first place winner of the 2010 Aboriginal Writing Challenge http://www.our-story.ca/nathan-adler.html, he has had his writing published in Redwire magazine, Canada’s History magazine, and as a part of the Odemin Giizis Festival.  He is currently working as a glass artist, and is a member of Lac Des Mille Lacs First Nation.
                                   
How To Always Fly-Under The Radar: 
           Seven Easy Steps!

1.    Keep your mouth shut, things that normally remain un-seen or escape notice, rarely make a sound.  (Unless it is like white-noise, and you never shut up.  In this case, always maintain a steady stream of inoffensive chatter.  Strive to be like the fuzz on the radio, or the snow on the T.V. à you are like the language in which the story is told, or the film through which the light passes in a projector, present and accounted for, but rarely the subject of examination.  BE the fuzzy snow, or the silver nitrate that is essential for the development process, but far from the jazz of colours and fireworks that steal the show, BE the black & white dots on the television being whacked on the side by the man trying to get a better reception.

2.    If you are in an actual airplane, fly low.  Not too low or you will crash into a mountain and die in a fiery terrifying explosion.  This will be counter-productive and certainly attract notice, instead, fly just under that elevation, the height at which radar technology finds it difficult to pick up your signal.  If it helps the creative process, visualize yourself as a stealth plane.

3.    Always wear grey, Fade into the background.  Wear clothing that is the same shade of grey as the grey of the pavement, the grey of the sidewalk, the grey of a cement wall.  Conversely, if you are in a forest, wear camouflage, if you are in Rome, dress like everybody else, but always remember the fall-back position: grey.  Like black, it contains all colours, refracts all aspects of light split through a crystal, except less harsh, less dramatic, and less likely to draw attention.  Think of the cover of the Pink Floyd album, or . . . the song “♪♫♪ come become-a become-a chameleon♪♫♪".  Adjust yourself to your surroundings.  Blend in.  Conversely à see the following notation in #4!

4.    Dazzle Camouflage, a tactic used by the Navy to disguise their boats, by painting them so bright, so garishly decorated, it confused and mystified their enemies.  Like the sun which is too bright to look at, or a psychedelic splash so confusing to the mind it would rather protect the observer from the harshness of it’s light, and so you are edited out of existence, seen and forgotten all in the same instant.

5.    Avoid making any sudden movements, always think before you leap, never cause a commotion.  Behave as if a dangerous predator were around the next corner, flying high above you, searching for that next small running wriggling creature.  You are that small running wriggling creature, and the eagle-eye is trained upon you.

6.    Always sit at the back of the bus, always sit at the back of a classroom.  Always keep your back to the wall.

7.    Never volunteer for anything, never line up first, or last, stick to the middle while in a herd, so the numbers will protect you.