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!



Friday, December 30, 2011

Poetry By Christine McFarlane

By: Christine McFarlane

My head

My shoulders

  bitter cold
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

 into my bones

Making me
and withdraw


 I hold
my head up

Stand tall
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 ( 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- 

If you want to know more about Shannen's Dream or become more involved, please visit-

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

Like an
open wound

I do not know 
this woman

I'm supposed
to call

In the role of mother
Like a daughter should

The Canadian government
And child welfare authorities
Made sure of that

When I was

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

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