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!



Monday, March 31, 2014

Events for April 1-4, 2014


Tuesday, April 1st- Lost Voices- Where: CBC building (250 Front St. W.), using the John St. entrance

Time: No later than 5:30pm

*When you arrive at John St entrance, look for the ticket desk with the Context sign on it.  Head there and sign in with a Context rep. We'll then get you escorted upstairs to our studio and in your seats before taping begins at 6pm.  Light refreshments will be served and we should have you on your way by 9:00pm.

Complimentary tickets are available for CBC?s Context with Lorna Dueck.  They are taping an upcoming show on April 1st where Lee Maracle is on the show!  Staff, students and anyone you feel can come to be a part of our studio audience this night. We would be happy to provide you with complimentary tickets. For your free complimentary tickets please email

Wednesday April 2, 2014-10pm- Tales From Indigo Moon. Join Enuma and Lilly Mason for a night of intimate music inspired by the luminescence and dark mystery of the Indigo Moon.

The Press Club
850 Dundas Street West
10 Pm
No Cover

Thursday April 3, 2014-6-8pm-(Mus)Interpreted Exhibition at Daniels Spectrum.
This exhibition is a collaboration between Outburst! Young Muslim Women’s Project, The Truth & Dare Project and SpeakSudan in partnership with Artscape at Daniels Spectrum. @ 585 Dundas Street East.

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 3 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Catering will be provided by the Afghan Women’s Centre.

Closing Reception: Thursday, May 1 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm and will feature spoken word and musical performances, artist talks and presentations.

(Mus)Interpreted is free and open to the public daily (Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, Saturday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm) from April 3 – May 1, 2014 in the first and second floor Hallway Galleries.

Friday April 4, 2014- 11am-2pmHydro Protest at City of Kawartha Lakes Protest April 4th Kawartha Lakes - Victoria park across from Tim hortons. 11-2pm

Please support and take a stand!!! Hydro and the government must be accountable!!

Please share this with everyone on your contacts

Monday, March 24, 2014

Events for Week of March 24-29, 2014


Tuesday March 25, 2014-8pm- Spirituality and Social Justice: Spoken Word Poetry and Discussion-Come join an evening of spoken word and conversation about spirituality and its role in transforming society. @ Sammy's Student Cafe Hart House.
If you would like to share your Spoken Word Poetry, please email by Monday March 24

March 26, 2014-12pm-2pm- The Flowering: An Environmental Art Installation

@ the Multifaith Centre at the University of Toronto

Interested in building a work of art reflecting on our relationship with the Earth? Come participate!
The Flowering is a communally laboured artwork that calls on participants to come together and create something beautiful in an act of solidarity. The artwork is made by laying coloured wood-chips on the floor surface to create a large-scale design that is inspired by First Nations' floral beaded patterns. In response to contemporary environmental concerns that undermine the integrity of our human relationship to the planet, this event aims to inspire a shared reflection through our embodied, creative action. Where do we, as humans, see ourselves within our natural environment? How does this relate to our spirituality or cosmology? How can our actions reflect this relationship to planet Earth?

Communal Creation: 12pm-2pm Wed March 26. Viewing from: 2 pm Wed Mar 26 until 2 pm Thurs Mar 27

March 26, 2014-12-2pm- Racial Diversity in law schools and the legal profession. Join us for lunch and a conversation on racial diversity in law schools and the legal profession.
This event is free and open to all undergraduate, graduate and current JD
students/alumni. Lunch will be provided and served at 12pm. The discussion
will begin promptly at 12:30pm, please arrive on time. Registration is

Location:  Northrop Frye Hall Room 113
Cost: Free (including lunch)

Register today!

March 26, 2014-Thunderbird Market Place @ The Spring 2014 One of a Kind Show

Visitors of the Thunderbird Marketplace at the Spring One of a Kind Show will find a variety of exceptional and unique work. Handcrafted designs by 12 Aboriginal creators selected through a jury process will be featured in the largest consumer craft show in North America. One of a Kind Spring Show Info:

From edgy jewelry and chic clothing designs to innovative accessories, crafts and visual art…. Visitors of the Thunderbird Marketplace at the Spring One of a Kind Show will find a variety of exceptional and unique work. Handcrafted designs by 12 Aboriginal creators selected through a jury process will be featured in the largest consumer craft show in North America.

Representing a diversity of Aboriginal nations, the artists’ individual work is inspired by deep cultural roots, expressed in contemporary artistic forms. Thunderbird Marketplace is honoured to feature the following 12 artists:
• Jay Bell Redbird - visual art • Jimson Bowler - silversmith/jewelry art • Elizabeth Doxtator - corn husk dolls/visual art • Ryan Hill - sculpture • Erika Iserhoff - leather accessories • Alana McLeod - textile • Mike Ormsby - visual art • Sage Paul - clothing design • Mary Pheasant – accessories/bead/porcupine quill • Louise Solomon - goldsmith/jewelry • Naomi Smith – accessories/bead/textile • Tracy Toulouse – clothing/appliqué design
Sponsored by Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training. Presented by the Thunderbird Aboriginal Arts, Culture and Entrepreneur Centre - - in partnership with Denise Bolduc, bullDUKE Productions.
With over 60,000 shoppers and 450 artists, 2014 celebrates the 36th anniversary of the Spring One of a Kind show. This flagship market at the Spring One of a Kind Show provides these 12 Aboriginal creators valuable industry access and exposure to a broad consumer audience. For additional information of Thunderbird Marketplace and the featured artists, please contact:

March 26, 2014-Olivia Chow for Mayor Debate Viewing Party-Join the Olivia Chow team at The Firkin on Yonge to watch the first televised mayoral debate! Come out to this free event and cheer on Olivia with fellow supporters.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
The Firkin on Yonge - upstairs
207 Yonge Street (between Queen and Dundas)
TTC: Queen subway station, walk north
Wheelchair accessible.
More on the debate: CityNews will host the first televised debate of the 2014 mayoral election on Wednesday, March 26.
All five major candidates have confirmed their participation: Olivia Chow, Rob Ford, David Soknacki, Karen Stintz and John Tory.
Hosted by anchor Gord Martineau, the debate broadcast will run from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. on City,, the CityNews app and

March 28, 2014- 1pm-3pm-Two Spirit Identity Community and History Webinar-Join us for a discussion about two-spirited identity, community and history, with
Albert McLeod, Two-Spirited People of Manitoba Dr. Alex Wilson, University of Saskatchewan
Moderated by Krysta Williams, The Native Youth Sexual Health Network
As part of the Two-Spirited Roundtable Discussion Series, Re:Searching for LGBTQ Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Three Fires and Six Nations Territory, Toronto ON.

To sign on to the webinar, Friday March 28 at 1pm:

Adobe Flash® Player 10.3 is the minimum requirement for attending meetings. For best performance, get the latest version here:
Connect to the webinar:
For SOUND only
Dial: 1-800-509-6600
Enter Participant PIN: 748576#
Use *1 to mute/unmute your line
For best experience, call into the teleconference for sound AND join the webinar through your computer for visuals.

Saturday March 29, 2014-12pm-5pm-6th Annual Four Sacred Colours Pow Wow @ George Brown College- Waterfront Campus

The Sahkitcheway Aboriginal Student Association of George Brown College is proud to once again host our annual celebration of culture. Please join us at our Pow Wow for dancing, live music and a feast.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Missing Women, Missing News: Covering Crisis in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

Review: Missing Women, Missing News: Covering Crisis in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

By: Christine Smith McFarlane

As a Canadian and as a First Nations woman, it tears at my heart to think that we have a Prime Minister who doesn't seem to care about finding a solution to the issue of our missing and murdered sisters, and ignores the pleas of the public to do something to stop this.

Whats even more infuriating is that there was an immediate dismissal of a federal parliamentary committee's report on Canada's missing and murdered aboriginal women.  In light of this action by Stephen Harper and the Conservative government, I thought it would be integral and timely to review the book "Missing Women, Missing News: Covering Crisis in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside," written by David Hugill.

Though published in 2010, this book can still be seen as a timely critique of how mainstream media adheres to a dominant "commonsense" narrative framework that rationalizes the victimization of people on the margins. Whats also clear is that the women that went missing from Vancouvers Downtown Eastside were residents of a stigmatized inner city neighborhood, sex workers in the bottom rungs of Vancouvers street level sex trade, drug users or poverty stricken members of an increasingly stratified society that was either rendered invisible to, or cast aside from, the core constituencies that are served by our collective institutions.

Can you imagine, if these women were from areas other than Vancouvers Downtown Eastside? Or if it was happening in Richmond Hill or Forest Hill in Toronto? There would be a call to action right away, but instead we have numerous collections of reports that state the police decided to view these women as transient sex workers, and drug users, and that most of the missing had not really disappeared and that the women would eventually show up again.

The view that these women didnt matter has prevailed and it shows a culture of disinterest and disregard. It shows in our police departments, mainstream newsrooms and legislative chambers and our women have been disappearing with a marked frequency for two decades. Its not ending.

Author David Hugill presents a critical analysis of the print coverage surrounding the Robert Pickton trial, but also has you wondering how something like this can be happening in Canada. He states in Canada, where rates of violent crime remain comparatively low, murders and abductions can generate significant media attention and mobilize impressive deployments of the resources of law enforcement agencies," events like these disrupt widely shared perceptions of what is expected of Canada as a country."

The events that unfolded in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, however cannot be considered aberrational. The very disappearance of so many women-sustained over such a significant period points to a very different and scary reality. It demonstrates a brutality and predation that has become a norm in the Downtown Eastside, let alone all over Canada.

Vancouver's crisis of missing and murdered women generated very little interest before 1998, and few outside of the neighborhood took notice as the crisis began to spiral out of control. Hugill presents the missing person case of Lillian O'Dare, who was just 34 years old when she disappeared from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in 1978 and juxtaposes it with the case of a missing teenager in Toronto and asks "what then was different about what happened in Vancouver? Why did the disappearance of a single teenager in Toronto-a tragic but definitely isolated incident marshal vigorous police and media campaigns while a far more expansive series of tragedies in Vancouver was for a long time met with state inaction and media silence?"

As Canadians, we are all familiar with the media frenzy that exposed the failure and incompetence of individuals within the police force and the state. We have read about the over 500 missing and murdered women and how there's been little done in regards to solving an issue that obviously goes beyond a socio-political context.

Reading this book leaves you wondering Is it okay to ignore the continued workings of colonialism, racism and patriarchy in Canadian society? I would suggest that it isnt and that the issue of our missing and murdered sisters has gone on long enough, and something needs to be done so that this can be stopped.

Missing Women, Missing News: Covering Crisis in Vancouvers Downtown Eastside is a critical book that needs to be read by everyone. It may be a difficult read, but it opens your eyes to a critical analysis and coverage that should be offered to our Missing and Murdered sisters.

Missing Women, Missing News: Covering Crisis in Vancouvers Downtown Eastside is published by Fernwood Publishing and is 111 pages. It is written by David Hugill. 

(This is a cross post I wrote for the First Perspective-

Monday, March 17, 2014

Writer, scholar, storyteller and First Nations activist Leanne Simpson named recipient of inaugural RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award

Writer, scholar, storyteller and First Nations activist Leanne Simpson named recipient of inaugural RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award

Events For Week of March 17


March 18, 2014-7-9pm- A Collaboration of Indigenous Directors

Location: Trinity Square Video
401 Richmond St. W. Suite #376
Toronto, Canada

Question and Discussion Period with Artists will follow after each screening.

7pm to 8pm Hosted by Michael Roderick Keshane

8pm to 9pm Hosted by Wabs WhiteBird

Thursday, March 20, 201412:45pm to 2:00pm-OISE Library Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Join the ARCDO and Professor Angela Hildyard, Vice-President Human Resources & Equity, to acknowledge the 2014 U of T IDERD Award recipients for their notable work in advancing anti-racism at the University of Toronto.

March 22, 2014-3:30-5pm-Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women/Girls: What Can Law Do? @ Victoria College at the University of Toronto. 73 Queen’s Park Crescent

Panel discussion with Christa Big Canoe, Naomi Kwe, Audrey Huntley and moderator Kim Stanton (LEAF)

This is part of the Law Union's annual conference and open to all.

Join us to discuss the increasing rates of violence affecting Indigenous women, girls, two-spirited and trans people.

Do we need a national inquiry or a popular one led by Indigenous women? What recourses exist for family members in their interactions with the system?

March 22, 2014- 1pm-Stop the Liberal War on the Poor: Raise the Rates March @ Metro Hall, 55 John Street

Saturday, March 15, 2014



Boils up inside



Like a forgotten

Brewed coffee



In my brain

Like old dish




Boils up inside


Tired of

The same old

Same old


Racing thoughts

Obsessive thinking



That make me

Always question


Who I am

Where I'm going

And what

I'm doing


In life



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Photo Essay: 9th Annual Strawberry Ceremony: To Honour Indigenous Women, Trans and Two Spirited People (s)

On February 14, 2014, the 9th Annual Strawberry Ceremony was held in downtown Toronto at Toronto Police Headquarters. It was organized by Toronto's February 14th Organizing Committee comprised of No More Silence, The Native Youth Sexual Health Network and other Indigenous and feminist organizations  who are working together to raise awareness about the disappearances of Indigenous women and girls on what we (Indigenous peoples) call 'Turtle Island."

Below is a photo essay of the event, but first a beaded four directions piece that I did that can be in honour of our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Beaded Four Directions By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

(All photos were taken by Christine Smith (McFarlane)

The first women's memorial march was held in 1991 in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman on Powell Street. Her name is not spoken out of respect for the wishes of her family. Out of this sense of hopelessness and anger came an annual march on Valentine's Day to expression compassion, community, and caring for all women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Unceded Coast Salish Territories. Twenty three years later, the women's memorial march continues to honour the lives of missing and murdered women.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Event Postings for March 10-15, 2014


Tuesday March 11, 2014-2:30-4pm- ACE Seminar Series: Health, Disablement, Environmentalism and State Violence , York University-Location: Room 140, Health, Nursing, Environmental Studies Building (HNES)

(From Downsview subway station, take the bus 196A to York University and get off at The Pond Road.)

This venue is wheelchair accessible. Accessible and gender neutral washrooms are located on the same floor.
ASL interpretation will be provided.

For additional access information contact Jin

Tuesday March 11, 2014- UNITED WE SAVE: A Visual Story of Diasporic Mobilizing Photography Exhibit March 10th- May 9th 2014

Opening reception- March 11th 2014 6-8 pm Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

UNITED WE SAVE photo exhibit visually documents four months (September -December) of Toronto based diasporic mobilizing in solidarity with the Roșia Montană global campaign. Roșia Montană is Romania’s oldest mining settlement (thought out to have 1882 years) covering an area of 550 km2 within the Transylvanian mountains of Apuseni. Despite its remote location, Roșia Montană gained much public momentum within the last several months, due to local and global uprisings fighting against an open pit gold mining project pursued by the Canadian corporation Gabriel Resources Ltd.(GBU).

Tuesday, March 11, 6:45-8:45 p.m.-Canada and Global Climate Crisis
Community Centre 55, 97 Main Street Guest speaker: Stephen Leahy
International environmental journalist specializing on climate change

Canada has been chosen six times as the most uncooperative country in world climate change negotiations. How did the government earn this dubious award? How can our country play a constructive role in meeting the challenge of escalating climate change?

Organized by East End Against Line 9, a neighbourhood committee questioning the Line 9 tar sands pipeline project, which endangers both Toronto residents and our global climate.

Also: Report on the federal regulator’s decision on the Line 9 pipeline and discussion of next steps. – Facebook:

March 13-24 2014- Challenging Ableism: Creating A Culture of Accessibility- SBA, Equity Studies Students' Union and Disability Studies at UofT will be hosting various events for our annual Accessibility Awareness Month. Below are a list of events we will be doing. Mark off your calendars and register. More details will be coming soon.

Event Dates and Names
Navigating Ableist Spaces: Stories of Resistance
Thursday March 13th
Location: OISE Room. 2295 (252 Bloor Street)
Time: 5:30pm-8:00pm
Panel speakers:
Kayla Carter, Lee Maracle, and Quinto Zazoue

Night of Art and Expression: Creating Disability Differently
Friday March 14th
Location: New College Lounge (45 Wilcocks)
Time: 5:00pm
To display your work please register below

Cooking Discussion Group on Mental Health
Wednesday March 19th
Location: CWTP (563 Spadina Ave, North Borden Building)
Time: 12pm-3pm

Learning Disabilities Workshop with Integra
Tuesday March 24th
Location: Hart House Room North Dining Hall (7 Hart House Circle)
Time: 11:30am-1pm


All events will have ASL, Live Captioning, and Care Attendants

Please email or call 416-967-7322 for more information or accommodation need

March 15, 2014- 9:30am-4pm-Indigenous Language Teaching Practices in the Urban Context The Centre for Aboriginal Initiative’s Indigenous Language Initiative invites you to attend *Indigenous Language Teaching Practices in the Urban Context: Challenges and Achievements*, an Honouring Ceremony and community gathering for past, present, and future Indigenous language teachers, and interested language learners and community members in Toronto and GTA.

The gathering will be held at the University of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Centre; Main Activity Hall, Room 208, 569 Spadina Ave from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., with registration, tea, coffee, and snacks at 9:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided, as well as give-away and honour song for the Indigenous language teachers and learning community.

All welcome and the gathering is free of charge. For more information please contact Connor Pion at An itinerary will be available soon on the Aboriginal Studies website!

Kihci miikwec kaye kikawaapaminaawaa wiipac.


“Shameless is a feminist magazine for teen girls and trans youth. Our print magazine is produced three times a year and is distributed throughout Canada, and we host an active feminist blog dealing with issues in ways that are accessible to youth.”

As editor of both the "Beyond the Books" column and a Blog Editor for Shameless Magazine, I'm looking for writers of all ages to contribute on a regular basis for the upcoming new blog on Shameless’ new website.
Ideally I am looking for bloggers who can contribute to the blog with either one or two posts a month. If this is feasible for you-please send your pitches my way.I'm looking at all things Indigenous- is there something you want to write about that is going on in the Indigenous community or that you feel passionate about and want to voice? I want to hear from YOU!
In your pitches, please write a short statement of what you would be interested in writing about and/or list three blog posts that you would like to see in the next three months. No experience is necessary as I am open to working with writers of all experience levels.

** Note: Shameless is also run on 100% volunteer power, so at this time we are not in a position to pay our bloggers or contributors (and staff aren’t paid either)… but please don’t let this stop you. I want to hear from you and hear your ideas!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


My Sister is Missing, Does Anybody Care?

Blythe, is a sleepy little hamlet with about 1,500 to 2,000 people and around an hour away from one of the largest reserves known to the residents in Blythe and surrounding towns. There are only a handful of First Nations people that live in this town and most of them are there because of previous flooding on neighboring reserves that surround Blythe. They reside in the town’s only motel-the Blythe Inn.

The Blythe Inn, situated behind the Community Centre had seen better days. When the inn first opened up, its owners had taken such pride in caring for their establishment. They had made sure they were always on top of the upkeep of the place, were courteous and polite to those passing through their doors, and even stopped and chatted with those who were passing by on the street. When the initial owners, after owning the inn for 25 years, decided to transfer the inn to a new couple, the change in ownership impacted all of Blythe.

The new owners, though they meant well, got behind in the upkeep of the inn, and the building lost its previous charm.  Business there wasn’t what it used to be, and it soon became a place for what Blythe residents called the “down and out.” The inn became a place that surrounding First Nations communities sent their residents to stay in during flood season. Some First Nations residents only stayed until they got the okay from reserve officials to head back home, but there were others that just stayed on.

There’s anger on the part of some of the full time residents of Blythe about the First Nations people that reside in their town. To them, the floods have been over for quite some time, and the First Nations people were a drain on their little town’s taxes. Though some First Nations stayed at the inn, there were a handful that were scattered around the town, it was beginning to make Blythe residents more annoyed and fed up.

Blythe residents who are predominantly non- Native were of the opinion that “those Indians just need to leave and go back home, because they have homes and they can’t just keep having a free ride at our expense.”

Anne and her two daughters, Jean and Alex were three of the First Nations that stayed on in the community, but instead of living at the inn, Anne rented a nearby house and had been there for over a year. Though things were a bit tough for them, they managed to do okay. Anne had secured a job at the little grocery store in Blythe that was not far from the little house she rented.

Her two daughters, though struggling at first to adapt to their new living situation, had seemed to be okay.  Her two daughters had always been close, and Jean, her oldest daughter took over the role of taking care of her little sister Alex while Anne worked to make their new living situation bearable.

That was until Jean, who was an impressionable young teenager started experiencing depression and almost volatile mood swings, that left Anne and Alex scared. Jean soon disappeared, and became all that Anne and her youngest daughter’s could focus on. Their lives changed forever, the day Jean left during one of her angry mood swings and never came home.

Today there are posters plastered all over the little community of Blythe. A beautiful young teenaged girl with big doe like brown eyes, shoulder length brown hair, and a slight build stares out at you everywhere. The poster is on the two small grocery store noticeboards, and a couple of random telephone poles that are scattered here and there on the main drag. One more poster greets you as you walk into the Blythe Community Centre.

In the poster that you see throughout this small community, you can see a certain sadness in the young girl’s eyes, as she stares out at you from the hastily put together poster that was made about her-the poster made on a cheap inkjet printer in Blythe’s Community Centre. The image of this girl makes you want to reach into the poster and hug the girl close to you, but you can’t. You can only look at the picture and wonder, “why has this girl gone missing?”

This young girl- Jean is the first to go missing from this community, but its reminiscent of what is happening in big metropolises throughout Canada. It brings to mind the grisly events that unfolded in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and how the disappearance of so many women, between 1978 and 2002, went largely ignored. You think about the over five hundred Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and the negative portrayal and/or lack of coverage that the mainstream media has given to this issue. It makes you stop and ask “How many other young girls will go missing before the police or Canadian government does something?”

Jean went missing on June 25, 2012, four days after National Aboriginal Day. She was 18 years old. Alex didn’t really understand why the Canadian government had National Aboriginal Day- which is a day put aside for First Nations, Inuit and Metis people to celebrate and showcase their rich culture and traditions with the general Canadian public. Since its inception in June 1996, many cities and communities celebrated it, but as it rolled around each year, Alex would just roll her eyes and say “I’m Indian every day, why should I celebrate who I am for just one day, when I am in the same skin every day?”

Alex was always happy that her family never celebrated June 21, because it wasn’t like there were many festivities in Blythe anyways. There were only a handful of native people in Blythe, and if they did any celebrating, it meant hitching a ride with someone and traveling an hour or two to the nearby reserves of Bear Island, Jack River or Fisher River. And even then, you couldn't really count on anything really happening, because it wasn't like you were in the big cities of Canada, like Alex had heard of about of Winnipeg or Toronto.

Alex remembers the day her big sister Jean went missing. She blames herself because they had argued. She had been sitting on the worn out couch in the living room of the little dilapidated house that they lived in with their mother Anne.  Alex was half lying on the couch, dressed in her favorite black sweatpants and t-shirt. In one hand, she was holding a can of her favorite pop- Diet Coke and in the other hand she was holding the worn and taped up remote control. She was flipping through the television stations on their ratty old television trying to find at least one show she could watch on the crappy satellite service, her mom had just signed up for, when Alex heard her older sister Jean’s feet stomping down the small narrow hallway.

THUMP…. THUMP… her sister’s feet went. Alex had giggled, thinking, “ Gawd, you would think there was a herd of elephants coming through the apartment with the way Jean walks!”

Two seconds later, there’s another thump, as Jean walks into the living room and hits her shoulder against the wall. “Ouch!” Jean mutters, as she kneads her shoulder where she had hit it a second before.  She looks at her little sister splashed out so nonchalantly on the couch and drawls

“Hey brat! What ya laughing about? 

Alex looks up at her sister and says “Nothing”.

“Well, you must be laughing at something because there isn’t anyone else around to laugh at.”

“WHATEVER!” Alex yells. A couple of seconds go by and Alex feels her heart go into her throat. Jean is only a couple of feet away, and Alex can feel Jean’s eyes boring into her. Alex has been fearful of her big sister as of lately. She had been told over and over again from her ma that she couldn’t upset Jean in any way, especially with the mood swings and outbursts Jean had been having.

“I’m laughing at you and your dumb elephant feet,” she continues, as she mentally tells herself “Ah crap! Why did I have to go and say that? Now Jean is really going to be mad at me!”

Alex hadn’t always been afraid of Jean. It had only been in the last two years that Alex saw Jean change. A million thoughts went through Alex’s head as she started to think about how Jean used to be happy to stay at home babysitting while their ma worked, and all the things that Jean showed her how to do. She had loved it when Jean would go through her old clothes, after getting a new batch from the local Sally Ann and say “Hey Alex, take these, I won’t wear them anymore.”

Though they were pretty poor, Jean had always had a knack for putting outfits together. Alex also loved how Jean used to show her how to sew buttons back on her shirts, or iron the laundry. Sometimes they would rush down the quiet deserted streets of Blythe to make sure they got some candy from the grocery store before it closed. Jean never let her walk to the store herself, because she was afraid that a stranger might pick Alex up. If Alex tried to argue with her, Jean would shake her head and say “Don’t get pissed at me, I’m only following ma’s rules.”

Shaking her head, Alex thinks, “Boy things have changed.”

Jean hadn’t been herself for quite some time. She was moodier than usual, withdrawn and always wanting to sleep. Alex had noticed that over the past few months, Jean had increasingly become someone else. She wasn’t the big sister she had always known her to be with her. Jean would have more outbursts of crying, yelling and even getting physical, throwing punches at the walls, or taking scissors and cutting herself.

Jean thought she was hiding the cuts from everyone by wearing huge long sleeved tops, but her mom and sister knew, and so did a couple of her friends, but nothing was ever really done because Jean didn’t want to travel all the way to Winnipeg just to get picked at by a shrink.

Alex isn’t relaxing anymore. She sits upright on the worn couch and takes in the few minutes of silence between herself and Jean. The quiet is broken when Jean asks

“So sis, where is ma hiding the money jar these days?”

Surprised at the question, Alex says “What? Jean, that money is only for emergencies, we’re not supposed to touch it!”

“Well aren’t you the goodie two-shoes, not telling me where it is ” Jean snarls.

“Tell me, where the money jar is Alex,” Jean continues

“Why what are you going to do with it? Asks Alex

“It’s none of your damn business what I am going to do with it! If you don’t tell me where it is, I’ll take the monies you have hidden under your mattress,” yells Jean.

Alex turns a bright red

YOU CAN”T TOUCH MY MONEY!” That’s my birthday money!” she screams.

“Well wait and see!” says Jean as she turns abruptly around and runs back to the bedroom the girls share. Alex can hear things being thrown around. A thump here, a thump there, a loud crash a second later and then like a storm cloud, as she is deciding whether or not to call her mom at work, Jean runs by, her shoes are on and her jacket is haphazardly thrown over her shoulder.

BANG! The house walls shake, as the front door slams. There is a flurry of noise briefly outside in the hallway but then all is quiet. Alex starts to cry. She reaches for the phone to call her ma. Her fingers shake as she punches in the number

3….1…4…   5….1..8…4..

The phone rings for a couple of seconds and then Jean hears her mom’s familiar voice

“Blythe Foods, how can I help you?”

With her mom on the other side of the phone she says, “Jean’s upset again. She.. she…she took off Ma!”
“Alex….Alex…calm down. Why was she upset? Do you know where she went?

Alex sniffles and wipes her hand across her nose, as she tells her mom about the argument over where the money jar was being hidden, and how she yelled at Jean that she wasn’t going to tell her where it was.

Over the phone, Anne tells her youngest daughter “you stay right where you are, and wait and see if Jean comes home. My shift ends soon, but I’ll try to leave as soon as I can.”

“Okay, okay, ma, just hurry,” Alex whines.

Anne comes home from her job at the Blythe Foods grocery store an hour later. She finds Alex curled up on the living room couch, her eyes are bright red and swollen from crying and she is hugging a teddy bear. The television is on, but Anne can tell that Alex is not taking any of it in.  

Knowing Jean and her temper, Anne doesn’t think much of Jean being gone at first. She thinks that Jean will calm down and come home soon. As Anne and Alex sit in the small living room of their house in Blythe, they keep nervously looking between the clock and the worn down front door of their house. The clock hits 1am, and Jean still hasn’t shown up.

Anne knows that Jean has always been good about keeping to the curfew that they had set 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends. She reaches over to the phone on the coffee table and calls the nearest RCMP attachment office.

The phone rings three times before Anne hears a gruff voice say

“RCMP, what’s the nature of your call?

“Officer, my daughter Jean is missing,”

The RCMP tell Anne that Jean will come home, and that she probably just went to a friends house to cool off. Anne tells the RCMP that Jean never stays away longer than a couple of hours when she’s upset, but the RCMP don’t listen.

“She’ll be back,” they tell her.

When the next morning arrives, and there is still no sign of Jean Anne calls the RCMP again…They tell her the same thing “She’ll be back m’aam”

It’s like this for every day that Anne calls. They’re indifferent to the fact that Jean was missing and something was wrong. They brush Anne off every day she calls, and tell her “You’re being a nuisance, your daughter will be back.”

Jean doesn’t come back though. She’s still out there.

Anne had Alex make posters with her sister’s picture and information on it, and plaster it around Blythe. It’s been over a month since Jean went missing. Alex walks down a side road not far from her house, like she has every day since her sister disappeared. She goes out rain or shine and looks at the cars she passes and the handful of people she sees. She wonders if someone will stop her and say “Hey I’ve seen your sister, she’s okay.”

But nobody does. Alex is left with the thought

“My sister is missing, doesn’t anyone care?”