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, July 30, 2013

Review: Spirit Animals: The Wisdom of Nature

Review: Spirit Animals: The Wisdom Of Nature
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

When I first picked up the book “Spirit Animals: The Wisdom of Nature.” a million and one thoughts went through my head. Thoughts like

“Mmm….. Who wrote this, and what wisdom are they going to impart on me about animals?” and

Ah! Here we go again, someone purporting to explain why animals are important to First Nations people, and they’re probably not Native to begin with.”

This last thought may sound a little harsh, and I apologize if it does but if you are First Nations/Inuit/Metis then you will more than likely understand why this thought popped into my head, and understand the context in which I say this.

For Indigenous peoples all across Turtle Island, life on Mother Earth encompasses everything. We don’t see any entity as being above another, or below another-we see each other and everyone around us as equal, and this includes our animal friends.

I have to admit that when I first picked up this book, I was a bit leery of its contents because one I didn’t recognize the author’s name, and second, as a creature of habit, I often pick up the books that I know or have heard a certain author write. I think we’ re all guilty of that, but the problem I had upon seeing this book and then reading it was

“Is the author going to go into too much detail of why animals are important to First Nations peoples, is he going to give away the sacred meaning of these animals, why they are considered our totems, and how we know that these animals are our totems?”

In a sense, I wasn’t too far off with the above assumption. I liked reading the introduction because in part it explained why animals are a vital part of First Nations people’s lives. It explains what it meant for us pre-contact, to rely on animals for food and to ensure the physical continuation of our society by “using the hides, fur and skin for clothing, shelter, footwear and blankets. The bones, horns or shell of an animal could be used to make tools, weapons and medicines etc.”

It also briefly explained some of the folklore behind these animals. The book is divided into the three elements-air, earth and water, and does a good job of explaining the meaning behind various
animals, and gives brief creation stories, but then the author, Wayne Arthurson goes into “how to call out” an animal spirit.

As a First Nations woman, I love to pick up books that will further my knowledge around my culture, traditions and language, but if you are speaking about animals and what they mean in the Indigenous worldview, I ask “why bring attention to something like how to call out an animal spirit,” when this information is largely considered sacred.

The line between what is sacred and what can be considered public knowledge is a thin one.  I asked an individual the other day,

 “When speaking about animals and what their totems mean, Is it okay to also ask how to call this spirit out?”

The person’s reply was “It’s best to go to your Elder, because everyone’s viewpoint and/or teachings are different.”

So with that being said, “Spirit Animals: The Wisdom of Nature” is a good beginner book for those just learning about their animal totem, but I feel the explaining of how to ‘call out a spirit animal’ is problematic because this is what I would consider sacred knowledge. This is knowledge that we can go to an Elder for, and not have to read because for every nation, the meanings behind animals and their totems are different and the sacred needs to be protected.

“Spirit Animals: The Wisdom of Nature” is published by Eschia Books Inc and written by Wayne Arthurson. It is 279 pages.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Poem- I Hear Their Cries

(Old Church in Jackhead, Manitoba)

I Hear Their Cries

By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)


A muddled gray

Boarded up


Picket fence
Belies the truth

I walk my way
These grounds

A sadness

Overwhelms me

And I find myself

Why would anyone
Want to see


I hear
The cries

In the winds that
 around me

And I
Lift my head
And say

I hear your

My tears fall
For you


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Johnny Reid - Today I'm Gonna Try and Change The World...

This song is dedicated to everyone in my life who have always believed in me, and helped me to believe in myself. I hope you know who you are, I love you all!

Chi miigwetch!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Living the Single Life-Enjoying it While I Can

Living the Single Life:
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

The proverbial dream when you are a child is that you get yourself through school, decide what profession you want to go into, get into a good college or university, meet someone, marry and then have kids. When this dream is met, you then juggle your relationship, career and kids, and try not to go crazy in the mean time.

But these days, it seems like more and more people are bucking at this dream and living the single life-me included. Careers come first, before marriage and kids, well they come or they don’t at all. For me, I’ve never had children, but I could call my oldest niece, the daughter I never had. We have had a closeness that has always been difficult for me to explain. I feel truly blessed by having her in my life.

I had dreams just like any other kid. I wanted to be a writer, become rich and famous, have a house or live in a mansion, and have a partner. Of course, at the time I was dreaming of all this, I didn’t know the curveballs that would be thrown my way, or the healing that I would have to undergo in order to get to where I am now.

I came right out of the child welfare system right into college to study Journalism-Print, but then had to drop out when I got really ill with anorexia nervosa and depression. These two illnesses landed me in the hospital more times than you could imagine, but with treatment I slowly but surely turned that around.

After much encouragement from certain people in my life, I went back to school in my early thirties into the Academic Bridging Program at the University of Toronto, and then upon completion of that program, I was accepted into undergraduate studies. This is where I decided to specialize in Aboriginal studies, and where I learned what I had yearned for all my life- my culture, traditions, and language. I graduated in 2011, and have been trying to establish myself since as a freelance writer/photographer.

So living the single life isn’t something that I outright planned but it’s also not something that I am just going to change out of the blue without putting great thought into it. I like living in a bachelor apartment, and having my own space. Yes, sometimes it can be lonely not having someone close in my life, but I don’t want to jump into just any relationship. I want to be able to meet someone, get to know them, and then explore what being in a relationship with them would be like.

Right now I am happy with where I am at, because I am working on myself so that I can be that person that someone would want to spend time with. Being single is not the be all and end all of things. I never thought that I would be single at the age I am now, but it’s not something I am really ashamed of either. It is something that has just naturally happened. Sometimes being single brings about questions from others around me. If you're single, I'm sure you have heard questions at some point like

“How come you’re still single?” or they’ll ask

“Don’t you want to have kids?”

I fine that the answers to these questions and others will vary with every individual. But here I am at almost 40 years old, and I am living a life nowhere near of what I dreamed back in childhood. I’m living the single life. Some of the reasons I have chosen to be single include the following

 1.     I have trust and intimacy issues because of things that have happened in my past

 2. I've experienced losses that make it hard for me to believe that people will stick around me

       3.   At this point in time, I don't want to be tied down because I like being independent and not dealing     with the drama that relationships can bring to your life. 
       4. I want to establish myself both personally and professionally
AH! Living the single life, I didn't think I would be at this stage in my life but I'm enjoying it while I can. Some day down the road I may meet someone but I'm not in a rush to be with someone just because society dictates otherwise.

When I meet someone, I’ll meet someone, until then I’ll enjoy my living space, my semi independence and go after my dreams. I don’t want anything to possibly stop me, because after all these years of working hard on my healing path, I’m just starting to live now.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Afraid of Public Speaking? Register for this Workshop on July 30 and 31, 2013 and You May End up Loving it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Event- 1st Annual Ojibwe Language and Culture Camp-July 27 and July 28, 2013

Join the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives' Indigenous Language Initiative, along with Patrick Nadjiwon, Alan Corbiere, and a few other special guest speakers/teachers and Elders in our first annual Ojibwe Language and Culture Camp. 

The camp will be held on U of T campus (Multi-Faith Centre) on Saturday July 27th and Sunday July 28th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided, and the event is open to any/all free of charge. Children must come accompanied by their guardian(s), but families are encouraged to participate! 

The Multi-Faith Centre is an accessible building and has an accessible washroom for those with disabilities. It is also well air conditioned so come stay cool with us while learning some Anishinaabemowin kaye Ishicikewin.

       For more details or to register please e-mail Connor Pion at