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, September 27, 2013

Book Launch- Monique Gray-Smith Launches New Book Tilly on September 29, 2013 at Cafe Prop in Toronto (3-5pm)

Powerful First Nations Speaker Places Resilience at the Heart of Life’s Work – Launches New Book at Café Prop in Toronto

When Monique Gray Smith launches her book in Toronto on September 29th she will be introduced and welcomed by Elder Kahontakwas (Diane) Longboat and surrounded by friends, colleagues, and supporters - quite an accomplishment for someone whose life story could have turned out quite differently.

By the age of 11, Gray Smith had discovered the delights of alcohol with a group of friends from school. Her journey through addiction, recovery, and beyond is told in the semi-autobiographical novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, a book that also explores the history of Indigenous people in Canada. The launch of Tilly in Toronto is just one of several appearances for BC-based Gray Smith, who will be sharing her message of resilience with various groups and organizations during her Ontario visit.

“So many wise and wonderful people helped me during my recovery [from alcohol addiction]. What a gift to be able to give back to the community by sharing some of what I have learned.”

Now a successful consultant, and motivational speaker, Gray Smith travels across the country, delivering her message that Indigenous teachings, families, and communities can be powerful and positive forces in shaping individuals. Her own core of strength and determination allowed her to mature into a thoughtful, articulate communicator who acknowledges the power of traditional teachings in her own life.

Her talks at the Building Indigenous Early Learning Competencies Conference in Toronto on September 25th focus on nurturing resilience in First Nations families and communities. During her time in Ontario, Gray Smith will present to Native Child and Family Services staff, foster parents, the Ontario Aboriginal Head Start Association, and various community partners. Whenever she speaks, Gray Smith encourages health care, educational professionals, community members, and families to weave Indigenous culture into all aspects of their programming, practice, and everyday life.

“What strikes me is just how resilient our communities are,” Gray Smith says, describing how her life’s work as a consultant and motivational speaker now focuses on ways for communities to heal and move forward. “Nurturing, loving, and fostering the potential of each and every child is one of the most profound ways to make a positive difference in the world. Doing that in an appropriate cultural context is essential.” Her professional talks explore these ideas, but her book, Tilly shares this message in a very personal way.

“Yes, there is a lot of my story in Tilly,” she says, “but as I wrote the book, the stories of many others came to me as well and I feel honoured to share them with a wider audience.” In Tilly, characters speak about the Sixties Scoop, residential schools, and TB hospitals. They also talk about the importance of traditional teachings, dreams, family, and community. Though written from an Indigenous perspective, in fact, the lessons learned apply equally to anyone interested in building stronger communities.

Monique Gray Smith launches her book Tilly at:
Café Prop

770 St. Clair Ave. West (corner of Arlington and St. Clair)
Sunday, September 29th: 3pm – 5pm
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres at 3 pm, author talk at 3:30 pm
For those wishing to more deeply explore the ideas expressed in Tilly, the conversation continues over dinner after the conclusion of the book launch.

Special guests include Diane Longboat, Kahontakwas, Turtle Clan woman from Six Nations. Kahontakwas is a ceremonial leader, traditional teacher of Indigenous spiritual ways, and a healer. A professional educator, she has a graduate degree in education and has taught and lectured at Universities in Canada and many national and international conferences and gatherings on the topics of spiritual renewal as the guiding force for nation building.

Keynote Speaker and Presenter
September 25th
Building Indigenous Early Learning Competencies Conference

More information: Humber College  416-675-3111

A cover scan, author photo, and additional information are available for download from the Media Zone at

What People Are Saying…
“What a gorgeous read! Wow! I’ve been waiting for a book like this for years. Mahsi cho, Monique Gray Smith, for digging so deep to create something so loving and nurturing for the world.” Richard Van Camp

"I have a completely new understanding of what it means to be Aboriginal in Canada.” Rachel Franklin

“A brave new voice ready to take her place among the great contemporary storytellers, Gray Smith breaks her own trails as she explores what it means to be Indigenous in a modern world.” Christy Jordan-Fenton

To request review copies or arrange author interviews, please contact Diane Morriss at 1-800-370-5228 or

About the Book:
Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience
Tilly has always known she’s part Lakota on her dad’s side. She’s grown up with the traditional teachings of her grandma, relishing the life lessons of her beloved mentor. But it isn’t until an angry man shouts something on the street that Tilly realizes her mom is Aboriginal, too—a Cree woman taken from her own parents as a baby.

Tilly feels her mother’s pain deeply. She’s always had trouble fitting in at school, and when her grandma dies unexpectedly, her anchor is gone. Then Abby, a grade seven classmate, invites her home for lunch and offers her “something special” to drink. Nothing has prepared Tilly for the tingling in her legs, the buzz in her head and the awesome feeling that she can do anything. From then on, partying seems to offer an escape from her insecurities. But after one dangerously drunken evening, Tilly knows she has to change. Summoning her courage, she begins the long journey to finding pride in herself and her heritage. Just when she needs it most, a mysterious stranger offers some wise counsel: “Never question who you are or who your people are. It’s in your eyes. I know it’s in your heart.”

Loosely based on author Monique Gray Smith’s own life, this revealing, important work of creative non-fiction tells the story of a young Indigenous woman coming of age in Canada in the 1980s. With compassion, insight and humour, Gray Smith illuminates the 20th-century history of Canada’s First Peoples—forced displacement, residen­tial schools, tuberculosis hospitals, the Sixties Scoop. In a spirit of hope, this unique story captures the irrepressible resilience of Tilly, and of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

CREATIVE NON-FICTION • Ages 14+ • 190 pp • 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN 978-1-55039-209-8 • paper • $19.95 • July 2013 release

About the Author:
Monique Gray Smith holds a diploma in psychiatric  nursing and is an expert in aboriginal education in the early years. She  is a mixed-heritage woman of Cree, Lakota and Scottish ancestry and a proud mom of young twins. Under the umbrella of her own business, Little Drum Consulting, Monique is an accomplished consultant, writer and international speaker. She is well known for her warmth, spirit of generosity and focus on resilience. Monique has been sober and involved in her healing journey for over 20 years. She and her family live on Coast Salish territory in Victoria, B.C.

Monday, September 23, 2013

East End Against Line 9 Meeting-September 24, 2013

Line 9 and the Rouge Valley Park
Wednesday, September 25, 6:45-8:45pm. @ Community Centre 55, 97 Main Street, Toronto, ON

You are invited to the East End Against Line 9 meeting to hear the Friends of the Rouge River Watershed explain why the valley needs to be protected from the tar sands and Line 9. 

They have worked for decades on behalf of our wonderful Rouge valley. But now Enbridge wants to pipe tar sands through the valley, across many vulnerable watercourses. 

(a short walk south of Main Street station or go three stops south on Main St. bus)

For more information please email :

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Call for Mass Action on October 7, 2013 in support of First Nations and the Environment in Canada (IDLE NO MORE)

Monday, September 16, 2013

TOXA and the NFB Will Launch Fort McMoney: an interactive documentary game created by David Dufresne online November 25, 2013

Two years of research, 60 days of shooting, 50 interviews
Fort McMoney
TOXA and the NFB will launch an interactive documentary game created by David Dufresne and set in the heart of the oil industry
Online November 25, 2013


Montreal, September 13, 2013 – On November 25TOXA and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), in association with ARTE, will launch Fort McMoney (, a trilingual (English, French and German) interactive documentary game about the issues facing Fort McMurray, Alberta. Created by David Dufresne (Prison Valley), Fort McMoney explores various facets of Fort McMurray—a town at the centre of Canada’s economic growth thanks to its location at the heart of the oil sands, the world’s largest energy project.

Fort McMoney allows users to immerse themselves in the town’s environmental, social, cultural, economic and political concerns. By meeting citizens and key players in Fort McMurray’s development, users can, among other things, participate in major debates leading to referendums whose outcome—determined collectively by the players—influence the direction of the game for everyone. Participants find themselves taking part in a striking interactive experience that brings to life complex and very real dilemmas.

Users can sign up now at to take part in the documentary game starting November 25.

About the creator

David Dufresne is an independent journalist and documentarian. He is the writer and co-director (with Philippe Brault, who was also the cinematographer for Fort McMoney) of the acclaimed Web documentary Prison Valley (2010, Upian/ARTE), which received widespread international acclaim.

International media partners

Fort McMoney is presented in partnership with Le Monde and Süddeutsche Zeitung, and will be available on their websites as well as at

About TOXA

TOXA is the driving force behind the magazine and TV series URBANIA. This combination between a communication agency and a production company is a multiplatform content creator (television, Web, mobile, publishing) which has been devoted to finding communication solutions since its inception in 2000. TOXA has been the recipient of numerous awards, both local and national (Gemini, Boomerang, Canadian Magazine Awards) and international (Webby Awards, Flash Festival Paris, FWA), for its documentary series, interactive experiences and creative branded content solutions.

About the NFB

The National Film Board of Canada is one of the world’s leading digital content hubs, creating groundbreaking interactivedocumentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 7 Webbys and 12 Oscars. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.


For more information

Melissa Than
Publicist, NFB
Tel.: 416-952-8960
Cell: 647-248-9854

Lily Robert
Director, Corporate Communications, NFB
Tel.: 514-283-3838
Cell: 514-296-8261

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MOTHERS & MONSTERS MEGA BOOK LAUNCH PARTY- Tuesday September 24, 2013- celebrating new titles from Emily Pohl-Weary and Meaghan McIssac

Event Posting- Mark Your Calendars for a weekend that will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Library at Neyaashiinigmiing!

Mark your Calendars and Come and help celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Library at Neyaashiinigmiing!!

Miissa ashahgo ingodwak sa biboon wayeshkag maanda agindaasowigamik maanpi Neyaashiinigmiing!

September 27-29, 2013- the NINDA-KIKAENDJIGAE-WIGAMMIK Public Library is inviting you to take part in “Celebrating Knowledge Keeping” the 100th Anniversary Celebration at Neyaashiinigmiing (formerly Cape Croker), Ontario, home of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation.

Festivities will begin with an opening reception Friday September 27th at 7 p.m. at the Community Centre followed by film and video screenings by or about Saugeen Ojibway Nation members, including Duke Redbird and others. Special guest will be Metis filmmaker Shane Belcourt who will screen his feature film "Tkaronto" and discuss filmmaking as an Indigenous director/screenwriter.

Saturday will feature local arts demonstrations and workshops, children’s activities, and storytelling by Basil Johnston. At 1 p.m. in the Community Centre , they will be launching and going live with  a new web based public catalogue.

Saturday evening will begin with a community feast at 5 p.m. at the Community Centre followed by an evening showcasing the art, music, and poetry of the Saugeen Ojibway Territories, including Lenore Keeshig-Tobias, Gentlemen Sound Goods, Jacques and the Shakey Boys, and Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm.

Sunday features workshops focusing on the history of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, a visual art exhibit, and a mini pow wow. Live art by Native Visions Productions will be featured throughout the weekend.

Please join Neyaashiinigmiing as they proudly celebrate the richness of  their community's arts and culture. Tell your friends and family. It will be an amazing weekend of activities that will showcase the talents of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Contemplating Change

By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Changes....Changes....Changes...I’ve been contemplating making some changes in my life. There are some things I am finding that I have to really sit down and think about, and then there are other things that are changing in my life that I am making happen by moving along slowly so that I don’t get anxious and scare myself.

When it comes to change, it is always good to be careful and to not make rash decisions about the changes you want to make, especially if you struggle with issues surrounding anxiety or depression. For me to implement change, I find that I am the type of person who has to be really methodical about it. I can’t just say, “Oh I’m going to do this,” and then go do it right away. I find that if I have ideas for change, I have to run it by trusted friends, or write about it so that I can think about the pros and cons of what I want to change. After doing this, and thinking about it, I then make a decision about what I am going to do, and either act on it or shelve the idea until a later time in which I can handle it.

For example, one of the changes I’ve been wanting to make in my life is to find better living arrangements- a bigger apartment, with windows, a fully functioning kitchen (instead of just a hotplate) and a place that speaks to where I am in my life now.  At first when I thought about this, I was extremely anxious and didn't really have my heart into it. I enlisted a good friend to help me find a place, and we found a place, but on the other side of the city than what I have been accustomed to.

I remember when I saw the place that I will be taking, that at first I was scared to move from the east side of Toronto to the west side. But moving to my new place has slowly grown on me and now I am excited to make the change, and I’m in the process of packing and getting ready to move.  Here’s to a bigger place, and windows!!

Another change that I have been contemplating is whether or not I should continue my column “Life’s Journey.” I started my column “Life’s Journey” in 2006 when the then editor of the Native Canadian newsletter Monica Bodirsky asked me to write on a regular basis for the Friendship Centre. I have seen “Life’s Journey” through many ups and downs and I have noticed as of recently, or in the last year that I have been struggling to come up with topics to write about. Sometimes I feel like I write about the same things over and over again, and then I think about how the Native Canadian newsletter gave me the start in having a regular column when I was just starting out with my writing career, and I feel scared to end something that I know helps others in their own journeys.

The feedback I have received over the almost seven years that I have been writing “Life’s Journey” has been very positive, and that has helped me immensely in my growth as a writer, but now I wonder where else I can take my column. I ask myself and I am asking readers, where would you like to see “Life’s Journey” go?

Another dream of mine is to get a book out, and over the past year – especially this summer I’ve been working very diligently on my manuscript and I’m nearing completion of it and then will be heading into first edits with it. The concept that in the near future I will have a book out has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m finally doing it, and that makes me incredibly happy! Chi miigwetch to my writing mentors Lee Maracle and Cherie Dimaline who have always encouraged me. There are many others in my life who have encouraged me with my writing, but I cannot possibly name them all here!

There are so many dreams and/or changes that I want to continue making in my life. Two more would be to head back to school and get my Masters in creative writing, and to start my own Indigenous newsletter. Usually when I have a dream of changing something or implementing something new, I work like crazy to make it happen.

I make my living as a freelance writer, and I write for numerous places. I find that life as a freelance writer can be hectic but I'm doing something that I love. Sometimes with all the writing that I do,  people ask me

“Where the heck do you get your drive?”

My response to that is usually to shrug my shoulders and say “Oh I don’t know,” but deep down I know where my drive comes from. As a child, I was always told, “you will never do this or you will never amount to anything,” and my response to that was at first to listen to those words and continue on a destructive path. But now in my healing, I am doing the complete opposite because I no longer want to be held as a victim to what hurtful people said to me in the past.

Implementing change in your life or making your dreams come true is the best thing you can do for yourself, when you come from a background that tried its hardest to hold you back and make you want to give up.  You have to find the courage within yourself to want change, to get help with making change and keeping at making the change happen. Believe me I know, because I am doing it! It was slow at first, but I have slowly been working away at things and I’m in a better place because of it.