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!



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

At first
I walked alone

And remembering the words
Of years gone by
By my oppressors

Knowing inside
But not really grasping
That if I chose to
I could walk alongside 
Instead of alone
And behind you

But through this journey that we have shared
I hold my head up
And smile

At last

I am not alone

Friday, March 25, 2011

Do I Dare:

By: Christine McFarlane

Do I dare think
About tomorrow

Without wiping
The tears away
That I cry in happiness

Think about my future
As this one path ends
And another one begins

Do I dare think
About tomorrow

Without wiping
The tears away
That I cry in pride
And gratefulness

As I know
I may not have done it
Without so many people
Having faith and helping me
To believe in myself

Do I dare think
 About tomorrow

Without a pitter patter
In my heart
 As I wonder

How things
Are going to change
As this one path ends
And I embark on a new one

Do I dare think
 About tomorrow

Without tears
Rolling down my cheeks
And my heart
Feeling like it’s going to burst
With pride

Do I dare think
About tomorrow

My future
And what’s in store

When I walk across
The stage at convocation hall
In my cap and gown

And finally hold
That degree
I worked so hard for

Knowing that
Without all of you
Cheering me on

I would not
Be where I stand today.

(Chi miigwetch to everyone)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Proud Moment in My Life

On June 13, 2011, after much hard work, I will be graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honors Bachelor of Arts with a Specialist in Aboriginal Studies! I am so happy! Though this is only the proof photo-this is the one I will be choosing to order..

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

URGENT: Please Help Find This Missing Young Native Woman

Feb 14, 2011 15:19 ET
  Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor,
   Government/Political Affairs Editor
   VANCOUVER, BC, NEWS RELEASE--(Marketwire - Feb. 14, 2011) - The family of
   NIKITA CHERYL-LYNN JACK is asking for public assistance into her
   disappearance. Nikita last spoke to family and friends on February 10,
   2011 from her Surrey residence. Nikita dropped off her 3 year-old daughter
  at her cousin's home and was to pick her daughter up on the evening of
   February 10. The family state she would not leave her daughter.
   The Jack family reported her missing to Surrey RCMP on February 12, 2011.
 Nikita is described as:
   * Aboriginal
   * 23 years old
 * 5 feet 5 inches tall
   * Medium build
   * She has two tattoos of initials of NJ on the top of her left hand and ZK
   on the top of her right hand
  The family asks anyone with information to please call the Surrey RCMP at
   (604) 599-0502
   Her photo can be downloaded at:
  //For further information: Gerald Jack, Father: (604) 867-9434; Angie
  Isaac, Mother: (604) 867-9374/

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I will carry you - Michael W Smith

FRIENDS by Michael W Smith

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Rite of Passage

Last month, I wrote about how changes are good, and that when something new comes along, sometimes the situation can be difficult to deal with. Right now I am struggling with some changes that have me on a huge emotional roller coaster.

This emotional rollercoaster is a difficult ride and it’s a ride that sometimes makes me go back to old ways of thinking and has me questioning how I am going to make it through.

It is those days where I am back to my old ways of thinking that I have to remind myself that I have to push through, keep my head up high and remember that I have not come as far as I have to just give up. I have to remind myself of the skills I have used to get through difficult times before-listening to music, writing, or reaching out to someone even if I feel like staying inside my apartment and hiding from everyone.

The changes that I am dealing with are not the end of the world but what a wise friend says is “a rite of passage.” My undergraduate years are done, and a new life is beginning...

Questions run through my mind about these changes and I am not afraid to say that this “rite of passage” in my life scares me because what has been my life for the past five years school and studying has been my life saver. Now I have to look for new ways, and I realize that though this journey of getting my undergraduate degree is done, there is a whole new world waiting for me. I just have to believe in myself and tell myself, “you got through this, you can get through anything, you set your mind to.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How Story and Myth Shape the Anishinabe World

By: Christine McFarlane 
First Nations peoples have a particular understanding of the ways in which the world has come into being and the ways they have come into being as a people. This particular knowledge is often conveyed through story/ myth and legend and it is through these venues that we have learned in particular how story and myth play an integral role in the shaping of Anishinabe worldview.
Story and myth mean many things to the Ojibwa people, and story as we have learned from lecturer Alex McKay are “taught to children in their earliest years” (16/11/2010) because it not only helps them to view their place in the world but it also teaches them life lessons. These lessons can be likened to a quest.  I believe that stories are like quests, because when you are telling a story, or you are listening to someone tell you a story from an Anishinabe perspective-you are often embarking on a journey with the storyteller and you find yourself questioning what the story is and what your role is within it.
 According to Alex McKay there are two types of story (tepachimowan) that are involved in the Ojibwa worldview and these involve “aatisoohkan(an), in which characters can change and aatisoohkan (ak) in which characters can never change,” (14/09/2010)  and it is through these two different ways of seeing story and myth in the Aboriginal worldview that I find story the most intriguing.
Story and myth play quite distinctive roles in the Ojibwa worldview than they would if they were to come from a non-Aboriginal perspective. In the Ojibwa worldview, story/myth and legend reflect and characterize important relationships between the human and non-human, it reflects on who and where the story is being told and it also reflects several vital features of the Ojibwa worldview that become teaching and guiding tools for all those who are engaged in them.
As teaching and guiding tools, story and myth teach us lessons of morality, law, and governance and relay how everything is interrelated in one way or another. It is also through story and myth that the Ojibwa people learn about creation, history and how they are supposed to go about living life-piimaatsiwin.
A. Irving Hallowell states “Ojibwa myths are considered to be true stories, not fiction,” and as “outward appearances are concerned,” (Hallowell) there is no “hard and fast line to how something can be viewed.” (Hallowell) I bring up this point because I have noticed within the texts we have used in class that there is a distinct difference in how story and myth are relayed via the two different worldviews.
Defining worldview can be problematic, in the sense that other cultures have different ways of understanding how they came to be. It is here that I bring up the distinct difference of the Western worldview and the Ojibwa worldview.  According to the preface in our text at the beginning of the year the Ojibwa worldview is defined as being “ centered on the idea of person/being/individual including beings other than human who share general qualities or traits. Beings other than humans are an integral part of the world/universe occupying both time and space and are included in the kinship system as “our grandfathers,” (class text)
This is where the definition of worldviews differ because Hallowell believes that within the Ojibwa worldview there is “an attitude of dependence upon persons of the other than human class,” (80)
 It is within this belief that I believe Hallowell easily misconstrues the role that story/myth play in the lives of the Ojibwa because he sees his worldview as being the dominant one, the one that makes more sense.  In writing “The Ojibwa of Berens River, Manitoba: Ethnography into History,” Hallowell wanted his account to be considered a story, and it could be from a Western perspective, because upon examination, it tells the story of Hallowell and his experiences with the Ojibwa of Berens River. However it is not like the stories that are written by Norman Quill, Cecilia Sugarhead and William Jones, because it draws a line as to how it is viewed in the sense that it is a work that is a “combination of ethno historical, ecological, ethnographic and sociopolitical analyses” (ix)[1] and is also written from a one person perspective.
Story and myth from our Aboriginal texts are relayed quite differently than Hallowell’s work because they are told from various perspectives depending on who is doing the storytelling and what is going on with the storyteller and their world at the time they are relaying the story.
As an example, the story “The Flood,” (Mooshkahan) written by Norman Quill is a creation story, a type of re-creation story of how the earth came to be. It is reflective of how the Anishinabe peoples understand the relationship between language, culture and stories and how through story, our ancestors are recreating an aspect of history for future generations, so that teachings cannot be lost.
“The Flood” is also a depiction of a quest and lessons that are learned while on this quest. Wiiskecaahk is on a hunt and wants to kill a lion. As he goes about his
quest and tries to kill the lion, he learns many lessons. The lessons, amongst many are about taking only what you need, the importance of sharing, and not being greedy. This is reminiscent of how we have often been told in class discussion about Aboriginal hunting practices and how you not only “use what you have,” (09/28/2010) but also “you repay in a beautiful way,” and “you help the animals that you have used.” (09/28/2010)
Other aspects of how story and myth shape the Anishinabe worldview is through kinship terms, behaviors-the role of Ego and social organization. These terms are important because it is understood that through kinship and behavior that there are “three simple principles that determine the general pattern of the system” (Hallowell) and “structure the basic social interaction of individuals,” (Hallowell) and it is through Ego and its two parts that we present ourselves to the outside world.
Within the Aboriginal worldview, it is interesting to witness through story how religion, moral conduct and personality are used and how the dream world is often tapped into also to get a point across. An example of a story about moral conduct would be “Nenabush and the Ducks,” which is written by William Jones. Within the story of “Nenabush and the Ducks,” the reader is privy to the metaphoric play of imagination that reflects the relationships between the human and the non-human. Nenabush teaches us how we came to be, how to be honest and how through conduct, we cannot be deceitful. Within this story we are taught that that if he had not been burned at the fire or had a trick played upon him, people would have had two faces-a double aspect to themselves.
Within another story, “He Dreamed that the Sioux Were Coming,” the reader is introduced to the dream world and the possibilities of its power. It is evident that the dream world also plays a very significant and vital role within Ojibwa story/myth because it is often through dream that individuals are introduced to the “other than human persons,” and a higher state in which they receive direction that they may not receive in their waking state.
The above statement is also argued by Hallowell when he explains in “Religion, Moral Conduct, and Personality,” “the most significant and vital contact between Ojibwa individuals and their other than human ‘grandfathers’ can occur only in one kind of context-the dream state.”(Hallowell) It is this ‘direct contact’ with other than human persons that we become witness to how powerful the dream world can be for the Ojibwa people, specifically for this young boy and how he was able to protect his grandmother and himself from danger. 
In “He Dreamed that the Sioux Were Coming,” a young boy receives a vision. It is through this vision and the metaphorical play of the young boy’s dreams that the reader becomes aware of the dangers that he and his grandmother may face when the Sioux come looking for them.
I find it intriguing how a story/myth can draw you into what is being told to you and how you can find yourself placed within a story and asking questions such as “What would I do if I were ever to be in a situation like this?” or “was it not for the vision that the boy encountered in his dreams, would the boy have been around afterwards to tell the cautionary tale of danger that his grandmother and himself may have faced when the Sioux encroached upon their territory and where they were staying.?
 I also found myself contemplating the role of dream and vision in story and how these two states are and can be interchangeable. It is not surprising to me that dream is often used as a reference to help individuals in their waking state, because I have long understood that when we go to sleep, we become privy to another state of being.
In conclusion, story/myth and legend play many roles within the Aboriginal worldview. It is through story/myth and legend that an individual in Ojibwa worldview becomes prepared to be a responsible and contributing member of society, and it is through their “beliefs about the nature of their world and the position they occupy in it as persons” (Hallowell) that become integral components of how they perceive, remember, imagine, judge and reason about the world around them.

Works Cited

Hallowell, A. Irving. The Ojibwa of Berens River, Manitoba: Ethnography into History. pg. 5-87

Jones, William. Making it Their Way. Cree Legends and Narrative. Nenabush and the Ducks.

McKay, Alex. Native Language and Culture class: September 2010. January 2011. Aboriginal Studies Department University of Toronto.

Quill, Norman. 1965. Ed. Charles Fiero. The moons of winter and other stories. Red Lake, ON: Northern Light Gospel Mission.

[1] A. Irving Hallowell. The Ojibwa of Berens River, Manitoba: Ethnography into History

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mother Earth

As my feet
Hit the soft earth

I raise my arms
And look to the skies

A smile
slowly etches its way
Across my face

I take in the beauty
And wonderment
Of nature around me

I become one
Once more

I take a moment
And say thank you

For the life that surrounds me
From the tiniest blade of grass
That tickles my toes
To the small army of ants
Busily making their homes

I say thank you
To the breeze
That whispers
And tousles my hair

To the sun
That shines down upon me

Because it is without him
Father Sun

That I would not be able
To experience
The life that makes

Mother Earth
What she is

( a work in progress)