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!



Thursday, August 30, 2012

91st Warrior's Day Parade

 All Photos By: Christine McFarlane

91st Warrior's Day Parade

On Saturday August 18, 2012 the 91st Annual Warrior's Day Parade took place at the Canadian National Exhibition. More than 2,500 Veterans and currently serving members of the Canadian Forces marched into the Exhibition Place through the historic Princes' Gates and along the magnificent Princes' Boulevard to the sounds of military bands and cheering crowds.

Established in 1921, the Warrior's Day Parade is the longest running Veteran's parade in the free world and offered a unique opportunity to honour and pay tribute to our Veterans and the men and women of the Canadian Forces. It is also an opportunity to remember those brave men and women who gave their lives in the defence of Canada.

2012 marks the Bi-centennial of the War of 1812. The ground upon which the Warrior's Day Parade takes place witnessed on April 27, 1813, one of the bloodiest episodes of the war, the Battle of York, which began with an American advance upon the town of York just west of present day Exhibition Place and advanced eastward through what is now the CNE midway to Fort York.

"We remember all those who lost their lives during the War of 1812"

Chi miigwetch to our Veterans

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Help Save the Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program

An Open Appeal from Renowned Author Lee Maracle:

There is a program in Winnipeg, Manitoba called the Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program (AAMTP) that serves the most underprivileged demographic in Winnipeg-Aboriginal children. I have witnessed AAMTP’s work with these children. Under the direction of Columpa Bobb, Artistic Director, they alongside veteran writers developed the play for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Launch in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (for a clip from the Moving Gallery follow this link:

At AATMP these young children acquire writing skills, performance arts skills, video and film making skills and are transformed from being underprivileged victims into children and youth who are confident and powerful good citizens. Unlike many programs for children, this one is free. The children of the North End in Winnipeg cannot afford tuition or even bus fares. Cultural Connection for Aboriginal Youth funds about half the cost of the program. These funds connected to Cultural Connection for Aboriginal Youth are in jeopardy. This means Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship is at risk of closing its doors, unless we can raise enough bridge funding. Manitoba Theatre for Young People cannot bridge the gap while the funds are up in the air. For CBC interview with Columpa Bobb regarding the freeze, follow this link:

Desperate for their program two of the children tried to help save it: “There was a beautiful little moment when two young girls from a grade 5 and 6 class held a little bake sale and raised $130.00 to try and save their program.” (Columpa Bobb, Artistic Director, AATMP) If our kids can do that, surely we can do something too.

I know some people. Some of you are close friends, some are family, some are colleagues, some I barely know, some have money, most don’t, but all of you have heart and so I am asking each of you to send $25.00 to Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program and send this appeal to two friends to keep the doors to the program open in the fall. I want my readership, those who have told me “they feel so inspired, empowered by my work”, to contribute as well. Our children need the empowerment and inspiration of Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentoring Program. Please send a note of well-wishing for our children to Columpa C. Bobb, Artistic Director, and send your cheque or money order to:

Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program
195 Young Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3C 3S8

Lee Maracle

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Music Review- Interwoven Roots

(Shy-Anne Hovorka- Photo By: Christine McFarlane)

Bio of Shy-Anne Hovorka

Shy-Anne is an award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and performer from Northwestern Ontario who began singing at the age of three and has been performing on stage since, she was nine years old.  Shy-Anne is a natural born performer whose talents shine in multiple genres.

Interwoven Roots is her third album and was released on June 25th 2012, in conjunction with the debut video release for one of the albums single releases, called "The Glue".

Review By: Christine McFarlane

Shy-Anne's 3rd album "Interwoven Roots"  is an amazing blend of country and pop music rolled into one. The 13 track album features many artists besides Horvoka which includes Grammy Award winning Native Flutist Bill Miller, hip hop artist, Coleman Hell and up and coming youth singer Christine Arnold.

Interwoven Roots starts with an almost slow melodic tune "Birch, Cedar, Spruce" which speaks about the three specific trees- birch, cedar and spruce that Horvoka witnessed growing from one root. The lyrics

"We may be all different, but we're all the same
Every seed sown from a common grain"

speaks to the interconnectedness that Aboriginal peoples are taught to believe in, and reminds the listener of the importance of leaning on each other and how we're never really alone, because our spirits stay together forever.

Another song that spoke to me was "The Glue" which is another song that shows testament to the strength and love we can experience as individuals and together. I particularly like the lyrics and how Horvoka sings

 "Another  day on this crazy road, sometimes i guess we both don't know
where this little love is going
sometimes it isn't showing
 anything at all

love can be like learning how to dance
you take two steps forward
and I'll take two back
and then we stumble on each other
and maybe even smother
this gracefulness"

Further along in the song, the listener is grabbed by the imagery of a canoe that Horvoka sings about and how it is the journey within the canoe, the love, the hard times and the tears we experience in love that help make us stronger and it is how

"we do what we love and it becomes the glue"

Though Shy-Anne Hovorka has been singing for years, I have only known about her and her music in the last couple of years, and the first time I heard her sing live was when she sang at the AFN AGA Welcome Concert at the Harbourfront Centre on the WestJet Stage on July 18, 2012.

All the songs on "Interwoven Roots" have a bit of something for everyone- for the young to the old and catchy songs like "The Glue" "Super Star" and "Summer Fling" will have you singing too.

Shy-Anne Horvoka is up for 6 Awards with the Aboriginal People's Choice Awards. Please vote for her for the following:

Entertainer of the Year
Best Produced (produced by Shy-Anne Horvoka and Jerry Vandiver and a couple of songs by Rob Bie)
Single of the Year (The Glue)
Best Country Album
Best Music Video (Too Young, Too Late: featuring Christine Arnold)
Best Album Design (artwork by Silver Suggashie and Liane Ross-Buckler)

Follow the below steps to cast your vote:

1. Returning voters (get your original email and password, sign in and vote…)
2. New Voters! ( a.) Click on 'Sign Up' if you are new to voting ( b.) You will receive a PIN # and Password in the email account inbox that you entered in the signup form (c.) Go back to and click on 'Log In' and type in your PIN and Password and then you're good to vote. Note: check junk mail if you don’t receive email.

To find out more about Shy-Anne Horvoka- please visit her website at and to obtain a copy of "Interwoven Roots" please go to the website

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Poem- Until We Meet Again

By: Christine McFarlane

My heart
beats faster

when I think of you

I think of your smile
and how it made me
feel alive

and want to
 smile too

I remember your laugh
and how we laughed 

The moments 
we had
that only the two of us
could understand

There are memories
I can never erase

I wish
you were here

On this earthly plane
but you're long gone

Its been eight years
that's hard to believe
 but you're never far
from my mind
or thoughts

are forever
into my heart
and memory

we meet again

A Short Story-Its Good To Dream

It’s Good to Dream:
By: Christine McFarlane

I’m bored. I’m sitting at my desk, staring at the word document I have opened before me. I’ve been here for an hour and the words are not forming like I would like them to. Except for the occasional hum from my refrigerator, or the creaking sound that comes from the chair I am sitting in, all is quiet.

To break the silence, I decide its time for some music. Leaning over, and my eyes squinting, my fingers tap the music icon on my laptop screen. My library opens and my eyes swiftly go down the list I have compiled over the years. I wonder what type of music I should listen to. My music tastes are eclectic-sappy love songs, like Air Supply’s “All Out of Love,” or Patty Smyth’s “Sometimes Love is Not Enough,” to songs like “I Am I” by Queensryche, to “The Unforgiven” by Metallica, and then back to ABBA songs like “I Have A Dream,” “Supertrouper,” and “Dancing Queen.”

The music I play depends on the mood I am in; today I don’t know what I feel like. My finger hits the play button. I forget that the last time I was checking out songs on my computer, that I had cranked up the volume. I’m almost blown out of my chair when the song by Queen blasts out of the cheap speakers attached to my laptop.

“We are the champions, no time for losers because we are the champions”

I pretend that I have a microphone in hand and kick back my chair and jump up to sing to the crowd. I get right into the beat of the music, swinging my arms, shaking my head, as I lip sync

“We are the champions, no time for losers because we are the champions”

My reverie is broken by the shrill ring of my phone


“Hello?” I yell into my cell phone.

Mumbled words come through my phone.

“Pardon me?” I yell

It’s my landlord. Oh crap! Forgetting that his store is right above me, I hear him say

“Please turn down your music! Your neighbors are complaining!”

“Yes sir” I yell back.

My dream of being a rock singer is shattered, as I am brought back to the reality that I’m just a writer diverting from the task at hand. Writing an article that is due in two hours.

Ah, its good to dream though.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review of "Aboriginal People, Resilience and the Residential School Legacy"

Review of “Aboriginal People, Resilience and the Residential School Legacy”
By: Christine McFarlane

The book “Aboriginal People, Resilience and the Residential School Legacy” is a part of the research series books that were a part of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. As stated in a previous post, the government of Canada established the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF) in March 1998 to address the Legacy of Physical and Sexual Abuse suffered by Aboriginal peoples in residential schools.

This book in particular was prepared in 2003 and written by Madeleine Dion Stout and Gregory Kipling. Within this report “ a critical analysis of the resilience literature is undertaken and is considered against the cultures, lived experiences and larger social contexts of Aboriginal survivors of residential school” (iii)[1]

It is stated “resilience, along with its practical applications has been studied and debated since the 1970s,” and that  “the concept is most often defined as the capacity to spring back from adversity and have a good life outcome despite emotional, mental or physical distress.”(iii) [2]

The authors argue that when it comes to understanding resilience, “risk factors, such as poverty or parental alcoholism, increase the probability of a negative outcome. Risk can reside in the individual, family or wider environment, with vulnerability to a negative outcome increasing exponentially with each additional risk factor. This process is known as “risk pile up” (iii)[3]

They also make mention of protective factors, such as (above average intelligence or nurturing parents) that help to counteract risk and decrease individual vulnerability to adverse conditions, and that although “children who experience wide ranging protective factors generally have good life prospects as adults, positive coping strategies are difficult to sustain against major or on-going trauma.” (iii)

Dion Stout and Kipling state that culture and resilience intersect and help shape traditions, beliefs and human relationships and they outline how traditional Aboriginal societies have placed great emphasis on fostering resilience for children and youth, but that it was an oppressive colonial experience that often cut off Aboriginal parents from such cultural moorings.

Further outlined in this text is how resilience played a role with the residential school experience. They state, “Status Indian, Metis and Inuit children had varied residential school experiences, both in intensity and duration, and that survivors have all had to contend with risk factors related to the residential school experience."

 The “Aboriginal People, Resilience and the Residential School Legacy” text can be a difficult read because it outlines some of the behaviors that survivors had to adopt in order to survive their experiences and how these behaviors have spilled over to their descendants. These issues pertain to identity, culture and parenting and have created conflicts and unresolved anger for survivors and their descendants. It also shows that despite these challenges, the resiliency nature still appears in these individuals.

The text states that “understanding resilience can serve as a basis upon which to plan interventions to foster greater resilience among Aboriginal residential school Survivors,” and therefore the purpose of this particular report is to undertake a critical analysis of the resilience literature and assess how its concepts and insights might be used to foster healing among Aboriginal people affected by the Legacy of the Physical and Sexual Abuse arising from the residential school system.

The role of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF) was to undertake research that contributed to effective program design/redesign, implementation and evaluation of healing projects. Therefore given the growing importance attached to resilience within health policy literature the AHF commissioned this study on resilience so that the basic lay person can understand the relevance of resilience for Aboriginal individuals, families and communities dealing with the Residential School Legacy.

Specific objectives within the study include:

·      Review key concepts and theories within the resilience literature in the context of Aboriginal people’s cultures and experiences;
·      Assess, with particular reference to resilience, the impact of the residential school system on Survivors and their families;
·      Identify means by which resilience enhancement interventions might be integrated into existing approaches to residential school healing; and
·      Formulate recommendations to serve the basis for future AHF interventions in the area of resilience enhancement.

The AHF states that every effort has been made to ensure that the lives of all Aboriginal peoples are reflected in this report, and that because First Nations have received more attention in the residential school literature than other groups, a special effort was made to also locate accounts describing the experiences of Inuit and Metis survivors.

Lastly, they state that “one must acknowledge the absence in mainstream discourse of the ways in which Aboriginal children and youth have kept well and safe despite the tremendous odds imposed by the residential school experience,” [4] and “several reasons account for this oversight, including the tendency to ignore or pathologize Aboriginal children and youth’s agency, while discounting their natural inclination to pursue best health and life long healing strategies. In other words, experts have failed to see, understand or interpret health and healing experiences from the perspective of Aboriginal children and youth themselves.

The “Aboriginal People, Resilience and the Residential School Legacy” book was published by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF) in 2003. For more information please visit the AHF website at

[1] Aboriginal People, Resilience and the Residential School Legacy. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation Research Series. Dion Stout, Madeleine and Kipling Gregory. 2003
[2] Aboriginal People, Resilience and the Residential School Legacy. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation Research Series. Dion Stout, Madeleine and Kipling Gregory. 2003
[3] Aboriginal People, Resilience and the Residential School Legacy. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation Research Series. Dion Stout, Madeleine and Kipling Gregory. 2003
[4] Aboriginal People, Resilience and the Residential School Legacy. Dion Stout, Madeleine and Kipling Gregory. 3