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!



Sunday, December 30, 2012


IDLE NO MORE-Windsor, Ontario event (Photo By: Christine McFarlane)
By: Christine McFarlane

The Idle No More Movement began with four women, Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean. It has evolved into a movement that has spread across Canada and the international stage.

Idle No More began in early October when Bill C-45 was being discussed. Its focus is on grassroots voices, treaty rights and sovereignty. Bill C-45 is a 457-page omnibus budget legislation bill (also known as the Jobs and Growth Act) that will make changes to several Canadian laws and enactments that include the Indian Act, the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the Navigable Waters Act.

For First Nations people, the passing of Bill C-45 eliminates treaty rights. It will allow First Nations to lease out/surrender reserve lands based on votes taken at a single meeting, rather than a majority vote from an entire first nation (aka. community consent). It also exempts companies behind major pipeline and inter-provincial power line projects from needing to prove that they won’t damage or destroy navigable waterways in Canada. This is dangerous in itself because it will interrupt First Nations peoples and their ability to continue a traditional lifestyle of hunting, trapping and fishing on their lands.

The four women who began this movement held rallies and teach ins to generate discussion and to provide information surrounding Bill C-45 and the affects it could have on everyone if it was approved and signed into legislation. A National Day of Solidarity and Resurgence was called on for December 10, 2012 to oppose all legislation and to build solidarity. First Nations people and allies stood in solidarity across the country in more than 13 locations: Vancouver, Whitehorse, Calgary, Edmonton, Stand-Off, Saskatoon, North Battleford, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Goose Bay-Happy Valley.

By passing Bill C-45, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government of Canada are ignoring First Nations rights and have literally diminished the need to consider the impacts these changes will make on First Nations water resources. Furthermore, Canada has intentionally failed to fulfill its constitutionally obligated responsibility to consult affected First Nations before the Senate passed it.

As opposition to Bill C-45 has continued to grow across Canada, we have all become witnesses to flash mob round dances, and stands in solidarity happening all over Canada. It has also been amazing to see that there has also been support from as far away as the U.K., Egypt, Australia, New Mexico, and Los Angeles.

The Idle No More Movement has grown into a national phenomena and demands everyone to stand up and stand together. It is time, that we all say we are IDLE NO MORE to Stephen Harper and his colonialist ways.

For more information regarding the Idle No More movement, please visit

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Guest Post- Howard Adler

Howard Adler

Guest Post By Howard Adler:

Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Indigenous Studies from Trent University, and a Master Of Arts Degree in Canadian Studies from Carleton University. He is an award winning writer, and an artist that has worked in diverse mediums, including visual art, stained glass, theatre, dance, video editing, and film. In 2009 he won the Canadian Aboriginal Youth Writing Challenge (19-29 age category) with his video script “Johnny Seven Fires”, and his film and video work has been exhibited in both Gallery settings and Film Festivals, such as ImagineNATIVE (Toronto), Weengushk (Sudbury), Biindigaate (Thunder Bay), and Saw Video's annual Resolution screening (Ottawa). Howard is currently the Co-Director of the Asinabka Festival, an Indigenous film and media arts festival in Ottawa. Howard is Jewish and Ojibwa and a member of Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation in North-western Ontario.

A  Bill C-45 Rant:

One of the biggest problems with Bill C-45 (as well as the plethora of other Bills being introduced C-27, S-2, S-6, S-8, C-428, S-207, and S-212), is that the content of these Bills will have a direct impact on Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, and any legislation that has such an impact requires a "Duty to Consult" with First Nations that stems from section 35 (1) of the Constitution Act; yet despite this required "Duty to Consult", that is NOT what is happening with ANY of this new legislation, legislation that is making huge and sweeping changes to everything from the protection of waterways under the Navigable Waters Act, to land surrenders on reserves, transparency of band spending, housing on reserves, band elections, drinking water on reserves, as well as amendments to the Indian Act. It is unprecedented the number of pieces of legislation effecting Aboriginal and Treaty rights that the current government is pushing through parliament! So although there are very real concerns about the changes these new Bills will introduce, at the core is the basic problem that the federal government is unilaterally and paternalistically introducing this legislation without consulting First Nations peoples. Clearly, the #IdleNoMore movement is showing that First Nations were not consulted about this new legislation in any significant or meaningful way. Additionally, much of the legislation being introduced can be interpreted as being in breach of the "Spirit and Intent" of Treaties, as well as a violation of many of the articles of the "United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples", to which Canada is a signatory.

To read more, please visit the following:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Exercise- Writing down 100 Things You Love

By: Christine McFarlane

Today I was looking for some inspiration to get me to put pen to paper. Sometimes it can be difficult to get into the act of writing, when you are feeling bogged down by things. When that happens I love opening one of the many writing books that I have and randomly choosing a writing exercise from it.

Today I chose the book "The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life," written by Julia Cameron, and interestingly I chose an exercise that had to do with drama! Cameron explains that "Drama in our lives often keeps us from putting drama on the page. Some drama happens and we lose our sense of scale in our emotional landscape and "when this happens, we need to reconnect to our emotional through line. We need a sense of our "before, during, and after life," and this exercise is a personal antidote for too much drama."

I found myself setting aside a half hour and making a list of almost 55 things that I personally love. I still have 50 more to go because I found that writing the list was quite a task! I listed the usual ones like, loving to walk, listen to music, reading, writing and then I began to struggle with what else there is that I really love, and I know that I repeated myself.

Well here's part of my list:

100 Things I Love:

2. lions
3. eagles
4. my nieces
5. my friends.
6. my freedom
7. my apartment
8. solitude
9. reading
10. writing
11. walking
12. friends
13. television
14. movies
15. games
16. photography
17. painting
18. movies
19. jeans
20. bookstores

I won't bore you with my whole list because it is quite lengthy, but if you ever need to find some inspiration, you should try this exercise. Sit down somewhere comfortable, pull out a piece of paper and a pen, and just start listing everything you love.

The whole point behind this exercise is that it will also help when stress hits you, and you're feeling beside yourself. Keep a copy of your list in your wallet or in your desk drawer and pull it out to read. It will instantly connect you to a sense of well being apart from your current drama.

Till next time, happy writing or whatever it is you like to do!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

FLASH MOB Round Dance December 21, 2012-PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT!!

An organized and mobilized action by-IDLE NO MORE -TORONTO
Calling all - Indigenous people(s) and Canadians, that are in support of both; ensuring the inherent rights of First Nations People(s) and the protection of our environment/waters.

WHEN-Friday- December 21st
Gather at Noon in Dundas Square

Ground plan details will be disclosed early Friday morning with a posting on our FB event page. We encourage people to bring their Native pride and be ready to #idleNOmore. Make sure your cell phones are capable of receiving fb notifications to stay up to date with all the excitement.


We have organized this event -to gather in support/Solidarity and Unity with The First Nation(s) across Canada, and also in Support of ATTAWAPISKAT Chief Theresa Spence, who is currently enduring a HUNGER STRIKE to raise critical awareness, of the dire position of her Peoples. While- the media continues to mythologize the history, which has coerced the Attawapiskat Nation into crisis.

This FLASH MOB-ROUND DANCE- has been created to EDUCATE /RAISE AWARENESS /BUILD SOLIDARITY (WITH ALL PEOPLE(S) ACROSS TURTLE ISLAND) So that they may know, of what is happening to Indigenous People across the Country and HOW BILL C-45 is an act of cultural/environmental genocide-WHICH AFFECTS US ALL

What is FLASH MOB?
A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place to perform an unusual act for a brief time, and then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. Flash mobs are organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.!

What is a ROUND DANCE?
Round dance is not ballroom dancing. It is a friendship dance that has long been held as a courting activity. It is performed during a portion of a powwow and during many social occasions. The round dance has an infectious upbeat tempo and creates a simple and fun activity. Round daces are performed during the intertribal social portion of a powwow. During the long winter nights Native people gather for the Round Dance, this traditional dance inspires both young and old alike. It is a time for friendship! A Dance that, builds UNITY and relationships with ALL NATIONS.

:::::::::::: FOLLOWED BY... A TEACH IN.
Details to follow shortly.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review: A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape

Reviewed: A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape”
By: Christine McFarlane

The book “ A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape” written by Candace Savage, takes the reader on an exploratory journey through the lands surrounding the little town of Eastend Saskatchewan. There are road trips into the back hills of Cyprus Hills, animal watching out on the plains and trips to view century old dinosaur skeletons and fossils.

“A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape” is part memoir but also offers a history of the southwestern plains of Saskatchewan. Savage conceptualizes for the reader a portrait of the lands and ecosystems in the prairies, speaks about the deliberate extermination of the buffalo, and the malicious tactics that Sir John A. MacDonald’s government ruthlessly applied to Canada’s aboriginal people. Savage also questions American author William Stegner’s revisionist view of history and asks “Do the lands around us remember?

In answer to do the lands around us remember? I say yes because to First Nations people, land is as integral to our way of living, as it is for us understanding the environment around us, and how it operates within our teachings. The land remembers because as First Nations people, we have always had close ties to the land and everything around us. It has to do with what we call traditional ecological knowledge.

Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is defined as “a body of knowledge built up by a group of people through generations of living in close contact with nature” and that it is “both cumulative and dynamic, building upon the experiences of earlier generations and adapting to the new technological and socioeconomic changes to the present.

According to Indigenous people all over the globe, traditional knowledge is a way of life, the law of the land and no matter where you are; the land is a part of us. The lands remember the abuses wrought upon it. Whether that is through the eco systems ability to adapt to the extreme weather- blazing heat, brutal cold, sudden downpours, the decline of grassland birds to the decline of the buffalo, and/or the unrest surrounding treaty rights, land rights, and most recently the implementation of Bill C-45 which is the most recent omnibudget bill that strips protection from 99% of lakes and rivers leaving only 3 oceans, 97 lakes and 62 rivers under the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Wherever we are, the lands around us remember. We all need to think about what is happening in our own backyards because the environment is past, present and future, and it is a knowledge that needs to be protected and preserved.

Candace Savage’s book “A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape” does a great job in offering a new viewpoint in how to look at plains history. It makes you look at more than just the surface, the picture before you. It makes you delve deeper, and wanting to read more.

"A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape" is published by D&M Publishing Inc and is 224 pages. It is the recent winner of the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Take Action Against Cuts to Those On Ontario Works/Ontario Disability Support Program

 On Behalf of Aboriginal Legal Aid Services:

The provincial government announced in its 2012 budget that the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) and the Home Repairs Benefit for people on Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) are being cut.

What is the CSUMB?

The CSUMB is a mandatory benefit that people on either OW or ODSP can
receive. It is intended to pay for expenses that will help people on OW
or ODSP:

*        Establish a new place to live;
*        Prevent their eviction;
*        Prevent them from having their heat, electricity or other
utilities shut off;
*        Maintain their existing residence.

  CSUMB can be used to pay for large lump-sum expenses like:

*        First and last month's rent deposits;
*        Buying or replacing furniture;
*        Deposits on utilities;
*        Paying overdue rent or utility bills.

Single people on OW or ODSP have been able to receive up to $799 and
families up to $1500, once every two years.

How does this cut affect our community?
Many clients of Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto have accessed this
funding to avoid becoming homeless. We know that if it is not saved,
many families that we serve will be affected. About 16,000 Ontarians
rely on this benefit every month and it is available to people on
assistance who are among the most vulnerable and excluded in our

What can you do?
Please help us by sending a letter to your MPP and encouraging and
assisting your clients to do the same. We have attached two letters to
this email. One is for people who have received the CSUMB in the past
and one if for people who have not received it but who are against the

If you don't know who your MPP is, you can enter your postal code here
and then see which MPP represents your riding at this website

You can also send an email at

Please share this with as many people in the Aboriginal community as you
can so that we can send as many letters as possible before December 21.

If you work or volunteer with a community agency, please forward
this email to your Board so that they can also send a letter on behalf
of their organization.

If you have questions or want more information, please contact Charlene
Tehkummah at 416-408-4041 x. 223

Thank you for your help on this important issue.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Excerpt of a short story: Living in Two Worlds

(Two Worlds: image courtesy of
Excerpt of a short story I’m working on:
By: Christine McFarlane

“Where the hell have you been?”
Startled, Michelle looks up, almost losing her balance in the process. She sees her mother appear in the doorway between the living room and the front hall entrance. Her mother's eyes are squinting, her hair tousled from sleep and her nightgown stretched to its limit across her ample chest and stomach.
Michelle feels her heart go into her throat, and after a minute of silence manages to stutter
“I was…  I was with Lee.”
“You know it’s a weeknight and that you should have been home two bloody hours ago Michelle,” her mother yells. Glaring at each other, Michelle’s mom, as if waiting to see if Michelle would yell anything back throws her hands in the air and says
“Damn it! I’ve had enough of you and your antics. You never think of anyone but yourself, don’t you know the stress I’m under at work?” She turns around to go back into the living room.
Michelle’s face, already blushed from the drinks she's had, feels her face burn up even more. She bursts into tears, and runs for her room. “I hate you!” she yells.  “I wish you were dead!”
After slamming her door closed, Michelle looks around briefly. Her room is her safe haven. A place she hardly leaves when she’s at home. She looks at the posters that adorn her walls, the picture of her and Nokomis, her collection of stuffed animals and her warm and comfy bed. She walks to her bed, and lets herself drop. She feels the tension in her shoulders, as she pulls off her t-shirt and undoes her jeans to get into her nightgown.
 She grabs a teddy bear, that’s so worn that the fur is coming off in patches here and there, and wraps her arms around it. She pulls back her duvet and after gathering it around her, starts to counts 1…..2…..3… This helps her calm down and she finally she falls asleep.
BEEP….BEEP…BEEP…  Michelle jumps out of a sound sleep. Her hand gropes around to find her alarm clock and hits the wood surface of her night table. Swearing under her breath, Michelle’s fingers scramble to turn off her alarm.  She swings her legs over the edge of her bed and sits up. Her head’s hurting. She looks at the light emanating from her clock and sees that its not quite 9am, she listens carefully for sounds of her mom being up. Her heart beats faster as she recalls last night’s confrontation. Her mom had yelled at her again and had told her she had had enough.
The tension in Margie and Michelle’s apartment is as thick as dark clouds about to rain down in a monsoon. It had been like this for quite awhile. Margie and Michelle being barely able to contain their frustration with each other.
 “I’ll be good today,” Michelle thinks.  “I’ll come home early, and I’ll do my chores.” She hurriedly throws on some clothes. Just as she is opening her bedroom door, and stepping into the hallway she hears the hushed whispers of her mom on the telephone and her saying.
“Mom, I just can’t take it anymore. She doesn’t listen to me, she is very disrespectful and most of all, she doesn’t understand that her behavior just makes things worse for me!”
Michelle’s heart constricts, and she stops in her tracks. Leaning on the wall for a few seconds, she knows her mom is talking to her Nokomis. The two of them are early birds, and probably didn’t think that Michelle would be up. She tries not to make any noise as she walks down the hallway to the bathroom. Her feet shuffle upon the carpet. Just as she reaches for the doorknob, the talking ceases and she hears her mom say
“I think Michelle is up. Did you want to talk to her now?”
Michelle starts breathing so fast that she is almost gulping. “Oh no,” she thinks.  The day hasn’t even started, and I am already in trouble.” She knows she won’t be able to get away from talking with Nokomis. There’s a scribbling kind of sound as though her mom is writing something down and then she hears
“Michelle, come here, your Nokomis wants to speak with you.”
“Just a minute! “I have to go to the washroom!” Michelle yells
“Come here, right now!” her mom yells back.
“Mom! Come on!” clenching her fists in frustration Michelle shuffles down the hallway from the bathroom and into the kitchen. Her mom’s stern face greets her.
“Your Nokomis wants to talk with you,” handing her the phone.
Gulping, she grabs the phone from her mom’s hand and says
“Um.. Hi Nokomis”
After a few pleasantries of how are you, how’s your friends etc, Nokomis gets right to the point.
“Michelle, I hear there’s trouble between you and your mom. Your mom and I have talked. What do you think about coming to live with me on the rez?
“Um… I don’t know Nokomis,” Michelle replies.
“Well, you can come live with me but life on the rez will be different than living in the city and you will definitely feel like you’re living in two worlds.” Nokomis replies.
“Um, can I think about it Nokomis?” Michelle says softly. She twirls the telephone cord around her fingers as she listens to Nokomis tell her
“I think its best if I come and pick you up right away, Mich”
“Um, okay.” Michelle says.
Her heart drops to her stomach. There’s a fluttering in her gut and her hearing grows muted. She is barely able to discern hearing Nokomis tell her that she only needs to pack a suitcase and a few of her favorite things to bring with her. Michelle hangs up the phone and looks over at her mom.
Her mom is refusing to look at her. She is busily straightening things on the kitchen countertop as if all of a sudden, the order of the cookie jar, and other assorted canisters is important. Michelle sighs, “aah” and leaves to go back to her room. Forgetting that two minutes ago, she had wanted to use the washroom, she walks from the kitchen to her room. It seems like the walk down the hallway will never end. She holds back the tears that are threatening to fall. She can’t believe its come to this-leaving her mom and going to live with her Nokomis.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Review and Reminder of National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women also known informally as White Ribbon Day is a day commemorated in Canada each December 6,  which is also the anniversary of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique Massacre, in which fourteen women were singled out for their gender and murdered. The day is often marked by vigils, discussions and other reflections on violence against women. I put my review of "Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide" written by Andrea Smith here on my blog to remind us all that women are important, and we cannot be taken by conquest. It is books like Andrea Smith's that reminds us all, we are all very much fighters and survivors. Please take a moment on December 6, to remember our sisters, daughters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers who have been taken from us through violence, and pray that some day, that violence against our women happens no more.

Book Review: Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide
By Christine McFarlane

“Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide,” written by Andrea Smith and with a brief foreword written by Winona LaDuke is a book that is definitely difficult to read. Smith’s book is something that needs to be read in bits and pieces. If you try to ingest it in one shot, it can be very overwhelming. Taking breaks from it here and there helps you to understand the information you are taking in.

“Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide” is a revolutionary text. It is a book that goes into great length of discussing the different forms of violence that Native women and women of colour are subjected to. She mentions numerous forms of violence such as colonialism, genocide, racism and rape. These forms of violence can be seen as tools of genocide and their impact on Native women and women of colour are devastating. She gives a very thorough analysis of these issues and argues that the connections between these forms of violence are perpetrated by the state and by society at large.

Smith believes that that “the assimilation into white society increased Native women’s vulnerability to violence and states that “when the Cherokee nation was forcibly relocated to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears in the nineteenth century, soldiers targeted for sexual violence Cherokee women who spoke English and had attended mission schools instead of those who had not taken part in these assimilation efforts. She further explains the colonization process in which “part of the colonizing process involves partially assimilating the colonized in order to establish colonial rule, and if the colonized group seems completely different from the colonists, they implicitly challenge the supremacy of colonial rule because they are refusing to adapt to the ways of the colonizers.”

A particular part in this book that really grabbed my attention was the mention of “the ideology of Native women’s bodies as rapable and is evident in the hundreds of missing Indigenous women in Mexico and Canada. In Canada, alone, Smith states, “there are over 500 First Nations women that have gone missing or have been murdered in the past 15 years with little police investigation. These cases are often neglected because many of the women were homeless or sex workers.”

Smith cites many other examples of abuses against Indigenous peoples. These abuses include the following, the abduction of Native children from their homes into the foster care system, the violation of human rights in the implementation of boarding schools which also includes the emotional, physical and sexual abuse of thousands of Native children, rape of the land, which means the dispossession of Indigenous peoples land and territories, environmental destruction, sterilization abuse that was done against the will of Native women in order to control population, and the medical experimentation in Native communities in which Native women had to participate in because they were given no other choice.

Andrea Smith challenges conventional thinking with “Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide.” It is a powerful book that though published in 2005 is still very much relevant and important for all to read to this day.