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, June 24, 2014

Donning an Editor's Hat


Donning an Editor’s Hat:

By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

I’m a writer first and foremost, but since joining Shameless Magazine over a year ago, I have had to also don the hat of an editor for the column “Beyond the Books.” The Beyond the Books column was started when I joined the Shameless team and it aims to give a voice to Indigenous peoples and discuss issues that are not normally talked about in books or the classroom.

People may think that being a writer and an editor are similar, and maybe in a sense they are because you’re sitting at your computer, researching, fact checking and poring over articles, but that is where the similarity ends. An editor’s job goes even further than that of a writer-they have to look at the nitty gritty of the article before them and make sure it follows the following

1.     A good lede

2.     Well researched content and flow

3.     Grammatical errors and spelling and

4.     A good closing to the article being written

I have found that once I receive an article, I  have to go over the article to see if it flows properly, and that it makes sense. Often there is little editing to do, but if there is significant editing to do, I will email the writer back with suggestions on how to improve their article. This is where I find wearing two hats can be difficult because as a writer, myself, I’m used to getting feedback and receiving feedback can be difficult.

Feedback can be difficult, because someone can feel so passionate about his or her article that they don’t think there is anything wrong with the article they have written. So when I have to give feedback, I try to think of how I would like to hear feedback and offer the same to my writers.I have been fortunate to have some editors who have really been encouraging, and I find that what I have learned from them, I try to bring to the work that I do with Shameless Magazine.  

When I feel that something has to be re worked, I stress the importance of the writers voice being loud and clear in their article. As writers, it is important for our voices to be heard, and as an editor, I never want to take a person's voice away from them.

Deadlines are important when you are an editor. My biggest pet peeve is assigning an article to someone and then the deadline passes and there is no word from the writer. As a writer, myself who lives by deadlines, I know how important deadlines are and I like to stress that to my writers also. If a deadline is missed, I send an email gently reminding a writer that their article is due. I check to see where they are at, and ask if they need any assistance. Sometimes I will extend a deadline but only if I am given permission by Shameless Magazine’s editorial director, Sheila Sampath. Fortunately, I have only had to do that maybe once in my tenure as an editor with Shameless.

I love that Beyond the Books gives a voice to Indigenous peoples but I have also found that in my role as an editor, it has been difficult to recruit and retain Indigenous writers and/or bloggers.

“Shameless is 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 the only First Nations voice in the magazine, I want to be able to bring forward an inclusive voice for all First Nations, Inuit, Metis peoples because Shameless Magazine is a magazine that is sensitive to all communities.

I love being a part of the Shameless Magazine team. It has taught me that I can be more than just a writer, because the Shameless team have shown that they have faith in me and what I can do beyond being just a writer.

(This is a cross post with Shameless Magazine)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekly Events


June 23-24, 2014- Kapwa Collective presents TBOLIxTO - a cultural exchange between the T’boli School of Living Traditions (Philippines) and communities in Toronto. We welcome you to join us for a series of events on June 22 & 23.

Explore the exquisite beauty of T’boli Handicrafts and Cultural Products. All proceeds directly support the T’boli School of Living Traditions and the work of individual artisans.

Date: Monday June 23, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Place: Youngplace Artscape, 180 Shaw Street (Room 109)

June 23, 2014-8pm- Poetrix- World Pride Poetry Nigh @ Glad Day Bookshop An evening of poetry and spoken word, with some open mic time for you. FREE.
Debra Anderson
Kirk DeMatas
Akhaji Zakiya
Fan Wu
Ben Ladouceur
Katie Pereira
Spencer Charles Smith
Jacqueline Valencia
Michael Erickson
and maybe.... You!

June 23, 2014-7pm- 9:30pm-WTF is queer about Settler Colonialism, Racism and Homonationalism? You may have heard the term “homonationalism” or “gay imperialism” and other hard-to-digest language that you’re certain means something, you’re just not sure what! Queer of colour academics have been talking about these concepts for about 7 years but many queers outside the academic industrial complex are still looking for a more concrete understanding of such theories and more importantly, how they’re relevant to social/political justice movements, including prison abolition and Indigenous resurgence and decolonization. This interactive panel will aim to answer basic questions about homonationalism and other concepts, as well as some ways in which queer scholarship may help inform community-based initiatives to address/challenge racist and settler colonialist contradictions in refugee/immigration support work, Pride events, hate crime agendas that rely on policing and gentrification, international solidarity work, and other queer of colour, trans of colour, Black/Caribbean and Indigenous/2-Spirit activism.

Panelists: Fatima Jaffer, Rinaldo Walcott, Jin Haritaworn, Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour.

Moderator: OmiSoore H. Dryden

Note: This venue is wheelchair accessible and has gender neutral bathrooms. More on accessibility:

We regret that ASL interpretation will not be available for this event.

June 24, 2014-7:30pm- World Pride- ACTING UP ACTING OUT at Glad Day Book shop. 598A Yonge Street. Join us for theatre, music and magical performance

Kwame Stephens
Jeffrey Dale
Matti McLean
Steen Starr
Mark Keller
and more!

June 24, 2014- World Pride AIDS Candlelight Vigil 2014.This year marks both the 30th Anniversary of the AIDS Candlelight Vigil and the celebration of World Pride in Toronto.

Join us for this important community memorial held annually to honour, remember and celebrate the lives of people who have died of AIDS, and to recognize and honour those affected by and living with HIV/AIDS.

The Vigil is held in Cawthra Square Park (behind The 519), which is accessible to individuals using mobility devices. ASL interpretation will be provided.

Vigil is held rain or shine.

June 26, 2014- Aboriginal History Month Celebration by the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. They will be holding their 5th annual Aboriginal History Month event at Yonge & Dundas Square with MC Stan Wesley. This year, we have an exciting line-up of entertainers including Black Stone, Digging Roots, Métis Fiddler Quartet and Derek Miller headlining! As well as, all day Kid's Arts & Crafts Tent, craft vendors exhibiting and selling their wares.

12:00 pm Opening w/ MC Stan Wesley
12:30 pm Pow Wow Dance Performances
1:15 pm Black Stone
2:15 pm Storytelling w/ Chad Soloman
2:45 pm Enagb Youthprogram Performance
3:00 pm Hand Drumming
3:45 pm Fashion Show by NativeTalent.Net
5:00 pm Métis Fiddler Quartet
6:00 pm Digging Roots
7:00 pm Derek Miller

If you would like to volunteer for this event please email

All vendor tables have been booked.

Sponsored in part by Canadian Heritage.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


“Shameless is 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. We want to hear from you and hear your ideas!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekly Events


June 17-18, 2014-6-8pm- Youth Medallion Making Workshop @ the Native Canadian Centre. This workshop is for youth ages 12-24! Please register to save a spot.

Come out and participate in a two day medallion making workshop with Rosary Spence!

This two-day workshop will cover designing and learning basic bead embroidery techniques to make your medallion, as well as how to create beaded medallion chains.

to register or for more information, call 416-964-9087 x 326
or email Alyssa at

June 17, 2014- The Ground From Which We Grow- queer, consensual, anti-racist, unapologetic. Not your average burlesque @ the Gladstone Hotel.

tuesday june 17 ~ closed captioning
wednesday june 18 ~ ASL- English Interpretation by Amanda Hyde and Tara Everret and closed captioning

Gladstone Ballroom
Sliding Scale $5-25 PWYC ( No one turned away!)
Doors: 7pm
Show: 8pm - 10pm
All Ages, Venue is Wheelchair Accessible

Ms Nookie Galore & Akhaji Zakiya !!

Thursday June 19, 2014- Sunday June 22, 2014- Speech Acts and Joyous Utterances: Translating, Teaching, Learning and Living Indigenous Tribalographies Conference- @ JH 100 Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto 170 St. George Street, Room 100

Thursday June 19, 7-9 p.m. A Climate Change Agenda For Toronto
2174 Danforth Ave., east of Woodbine
Danforth Mennonite Church
Speaker: Franz Hartmann, Toronto Environmental Alliance

June 19, 2014-7pm-8:30pm- Learning Canada’s Colonial History- Community Talk/Mkagengewe Book Launch Fundraiser with Dr. Lynn Gehl .In honour of National Aboriginal History Month, CRRC invites you to attend a community book launch and discussion on Canada's colonial history and present with Dr. Lynn Gehl. Her latest publication, Mkadengwe, will be available for purchase at the fine price of $15 (reduced costs for bundles of books). Book retails is $17.95 – so make a purchase at this event and save a couple of dollars! Purchasing is encouraged but not mandatory. @ Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle, 1097 Water Street, Peterborough, Ontario

Saturday June 21, 2014-12pm- Na Me Res Traditional Outdoor Pow wow @ Wells Hills Park. Help the homeless while celebrating National Aboriginal Day and Summer Solstice with Na-Me-Res! This event is open to the public and features First Nations traditional dancing, drumming, feast, giveaways, dignitaries from the community, and First Nations vendors from across the province. Can't wait to see you there!

Na-Me-Res is unable to host this event without your help! Please donate at

This is a rain or shine event.

Monday, June 9, 2014

OP-ED Piece- Assimilation: A Failed Strategy

Assimilation: A Failed Strategy
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

"Assimilation means to absorb and integrate (people, ideas, or culture) into a wider society or culture."

Bad feelings are often evoked on the part of some First Nations people of Canada, when they hear the word "assimilation" because it is a word that assumes that as Indigenous peoples we have lost our culture, our identity, our language and way of life.

The assimilationist strategies and policies that have been implemented by the Canadian government include many policies and strategies, but the ones I am most familiar with include-the reserve system, the Indian Act, residential schools and the Sixties Scoop.

Through all of these strategies and policies that the Canadian government has tried to implement, First Nations people in Canada are still alive and well, and thriving. I'm going to discuss the idea behind the reserve system, and then delve into the other assimilationist strategies and policies that have been implemented but have subsequently failed.

First of all, the idea of reserves appeared early in North America's colonization. "The reserve concept took many forms before arriving in its modern state, but at the core of the concept in every form are the goals of assimilation or isolation of First Nations peoples."[1] (Peoples and Cultural Changes, pg. 158)

According to the book "Peoples and Cultural Change," "late in the nineteenth century, reserves were small parcels of land located near non-Aboriginal settlements established with the intention that First Nations peoples would learn and adopt European ways. After Confederation, more treaties were signed and more reserves were established." (pg. 158)

It was in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Lower Canada, that the Catholic  Church set aside land to establish small communities of First Nations in order to evangelize them. In Upper Canada, the British government created farms and villages that were meant to civilize First Nations people-which to the British meant to have them live according to European ways. Farming was not a traditional way of living for First Nations peoples, and often the land that they were placed on was not suitable for farming.

The government policy regarding reserves, including the very purpose of the reserve system has evolved over time but has also been contradictory. Though reserves secured land for First Nations peoples, it also served as a means of confining First Nations peoples. For example a lot of the First Nations peoples  were nomadic and reserve life undermined their ability to move freely and seasonally when it came to hunting and trapping and living off the land.

Can you imagine, being designated to living on a piece of land, and then not having the ability to live the way your people have been taught? First Nations people have always lived a life that has meant moving freely and living off the land. Being confined to a reserve (often small parcels of land that can't give them what they need) interferes with traditional economic activities.

The reserve system also  fragmented First Nations peoples into groups and this meant that community was made less important than the individual, which was a denial of traditional First Nations culture.

Another example of how the reserve system served as a means of confining First Nations people was the government's attempt to institute a pass system shortly after the reserve system was implemented. The pass system "forced First Nations people living on reserves to obtain permission and a written pass from the Indian agent (a government official in charge of their reserve) in order to leave the reserve.

The Indian Act is another attempt at an assimilation policy implemented by the hands of the Canadian government. According to the book "Aboriginal Peoples: Building For the Future," written by Kevin Reed and edited by Don Quinlan "In 1876, the Canadian government passed the Indian Act. In 1876, the Indian Act defined who was an "Indian" under the law and outlined what "Indians" could and could not do. It was a clear statement of the federal government's policy to act as guardians over Aboriginal peoples, giving them 'protection' but with the ultimate goal of assimilating them.

It was Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1913 to 1932 who famously said " The happiest future for the Indian race is absorption into the general population, and this is the object of the policy of our government. The great forces of intermarriage and education will finally overcome the lingering traces of native custom and tradition." (pg.44)

Agents of the Department of Indian Affairs enforced the Indian Act for most of its history and had almost dictatorial control over many aspects of Aboriginal peoples lives. It is under the Indian Act that “Indians did not have the full rights of Canadian citizens. For example, they did not have the right to vote. The federal government expected Aboriginal peoples to eventually give up their status and become full citizens. To this end, it introduced a policy of enfranchisement.”

Enfranchisement meant gaining the right to vote, but it also became a term that referred to giving up or losing Indian status since the only way “Indians” could gain their right to vote was if they gave up their status. In “Aboriginal Peoples: Building For the Future,” “Status Indians considered of ‘good character’ who voluntarily gave up their Indian status were given individual ownership of a plot of land on a reserve, the right to buy and consume alcohol, and the right to vote. Very few Aboriginal people, however wanted to give up their status (from 1876 to 1918, only 102 Indians were enfranchised). To many, it meant giving up their identity.” (pg.44)

Amongst the controversial issues surrounding the Indian Act was women’s rights. Under the Indian Act, “if an Aboriginal woman married a Non-status Indian or non-Aboriginal man, she lost her Indian status. Her children also had no right to status. On the other hand, an Aboriginal man kept his status no matter whom he married. The Indian Act determined status through patrilineal lines (through the father’s family) even though some First Nations such as the Mohawks and Haida traditionally defined their family through matrilineal lines.” (pg.45)

The Indian Act played a major role in the lives of First Nations peoples of Canada for over a century and more. The Canadian government has amended the act many times. The first amendments made the act more restrictive and then later amendments lifted some restrictions- such as the banning of certain traditional ceremonies. Most recently, the government has introduced amendments to try to correct problems that First Nations have identified themselves. Metis and Inuit peoples, although no specifically included in the Indian Act have also been affected by government policy towards Aboriginal peoples in general, which are reflected in the Indian Act.

Residential Schools were another form of assimilation at the hands of the Canadian government. Through the Indian Act, the federal government had responsibility for providing educational services to Aboriginal children. Beginning in the mid 1800s, the government began establishing what would become the residential school system. The schools were funded by the government but were operated by the churches- the Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and United Churches. By 1931, the churches were operating 80 residential schools across the country, as well as day schools on some reserves.

“For the federal government, the schools were another cornerstone in its policy of assimilating Aboriginal peoples into mainstream society. Aboriginal children were removed from their homes, and lived in these residential schools. Officials believed that the best way to assimilate the children was to separate them from their families, communities and culture. The schools were also meant to promote economic self sufficiency by teaching Aboriginal children to become farmers and labourers.”

When speaking of the residential school system, it is important to note how damaging these schools were. The goal of those running the schools was to convert the children to Christianity. Children were often severely punished for practising traditional spiritual beliefs. Life at the schools were often harsh and rules were strict. Many children died of illnesses or caught diseases, and residing in an environment where they were often poorly fed and ill treated, students did not learn well.

Residential schools have had a devastating long term effect on Aboriginal people and their communities. The schools broke the connection between children and their parents and culture. Many children, unable to reconnect with their families and culture after the enforced isolation of these schools rejected their past. Others suffered from the effects of physical, sexual and psychological abuse.

In the words of a Kamloops Indian Residential School Student

“At the Indian Residential school, we weren’t allowed to dance, sing because they told us it was evil. It was evil for us to practice any of our cultural ways.”

Can you imagine being told that and having it enforced on you day in and day out? Assimilation policies and strategies are still happening to this day but in more secretive and discrete ways, but despite this, First Nations people are still alive and well in their own ways. We are still thriving as a people, and as a culture. We have not disappeared like popular media and film like to depict us as doing. We are not going to go away, we are survivors.

Published in the Piker Press May 2014- to see my column please visit

[1] Aboriginal Studies 20: Peoples and Cultural Change. Kainai Board of Education.

Weekly Events


June 10, 2014-7pm-10pm- Abundant Bodies Fundraiser Show Extravaganza @ the 519 Church Street Community Centre-PWYC - Suggested 10 to 100$ - No one turned away for lack of funds! All Ages

There will be baked goodies for sale, lots of great performances, and a chance to support abundant/fat people and media making at this years Allied Media Conference!

There will be performances by:
Maria Mete
Maharani Cupcake
Ms. Nookie Galore
Kaleb "Daddy K' Robertson
and many more!

June 11, 2014-5:30pm-8pm- Troubling the Space: Reflecting on Settler-Colonialism-Anishinaabe/ Haudenosaunee/ Missasauga of the New Credit Territories (Factor-Iwentash Faculty of Social Work - 246 Bloor Street W, Toronto, Ontario, This collaborative installation explores concepts of land, settler-colonialism, violence, gender, racism and decolonization and features stills from Nicole Bangloy’s digital storytelling, prepared for the class SWK 4658 - Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees taught by Professor Izumi Sakamoto.

Location: 3rd floor Art Wall, Student Lounge also located on the 3rd floor, for the reception, viewing of Nicole Bangloy’s digital storytelling video, and artist’s talk to follow.

The Exhibit Runs till August 29, 2014

June 12-14, 2014- Maori Dance Show at the Luminato Festival in Toronto @ the MacMillan Theatre. Stones in Her Mouth choreographed by the celebrated Samoan dance artist Lemi Ponifasio and performed by ten Maori women has been rightfully acknowledged as a “brilliant” work by the LA Times.

June 14, 2014- District Red Culinary Studio Spring Tasting & Wine Pairing. A VISIONARY & INTERACTIVE DINING EXPERIENCE featuring Modern Indigenous Cuisine

District Red Culinary Studio- A Private studio in the heart of Six Nations, Grand River Territory

First Nation chef and Top Chef Canada Finalist Rich Francis unveils District Red Culinary Studio, a 3,500 square foot space in the heart of Six Nations, Grand River Territory. Mixing earthy modern elements of wood, marble with sleek touches of stainless steel, the private studio serves as a unique event space, production studio, test kitchen and Francis’ creative outlet.

The modern kitchen is fitted with beautiful
custom cabinets and appliances. His culinary
team prepares Creator driven seasonal tastings right before your eyes as guests become a part of a visionary and interactive Modern Indigenous dining experience.

The Studio capacity accommodates up to 36
Tickets are $100 + 15% Gratuity each ticket sold 75% deposit required.
Set menu, no substitutions, no exceptions
Dress smart casual

Please reserve your tickets by emailing

June 18, 2014-9m-11pm- UNDER THE STARS, Regent Park Film Festival's outdoor screening series, takes place every Wednesday from June 18th - August 20th.

To kick-off the 2nd annual outdoor screening series Under the Stars, Regent Park Film Festival will be co-presenting the film OMAR alongside the Toronto International Film Festival!

OMAR is an Oscar-nominated film about a young Palestinian man who is pressured into working as an informant after he is captured by Israeli authorities.

Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Running Time: 96 minutes

When: Wednesday June 18th at 9pm.
Where: Outside Daniels Spectrum at 585 Dundas Street East.
Admission: Free!

Popcorn and pop will be sold. All proceeds will go towards keeping the Regent Park Film Festival free and widely accessible.

We encourage audiences to bring their own blankets and warm clothing, as the screening will take place outside.

Please be advised that the film is rated 14A for coarse language and graphic violence and is intended for mature audiences.

Saturday June 21, 2014- Na Me Res Traditional Pow Wow- Honouring Our Elders. Wells Hill Park Grand Entry-12 noon.

Wednesday June 25, 2014- 9pm-FREE outdoor screening of Empire of Dirt! Presented by Regent Park Film Festival @ Daniel Spectrums in Toronto, 585 Dundas S

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Q and A with the Winnipeg Boyz

(Winnipeg Boyz courtesy of the WinnipegBoyz website)

Winnipeg Boyz

By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Life sometimes hands you challenges, and growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s
roughest neighborhood, the North End, gave the two members of the Winnipeg Boyz –General William Jon-C Pierson, and Charlie Fettah, experiences that they say “helps drive the music we create together.”

The Winnipeg Boyz, are a two member hip hop group, though they prefer to call themselves and what they do “a project.” They have been together for a year and a half, and used to be a part of the hip hop band Winnipeg’s Most. Jon-C started up Winnipeg’s Heatbag Records after a personal tragedy, and Charlie Fettah joined him after they both parted from the hip hop band Winnipeg’s Most.

The Winnipeg Boyz released their debut album *AbInitio* on November 5th 2013. The album features productions by Juno Nominated producers Stomp, Boogey The Beat, & 2oolman. The full length album is filled with 15 tracks and features guests; Krizz Kaliko, Bubblz, Blu , Lorenzo, Nathan Cunningham, Drezus, Rup Monsta, plus More......

I caught up with them and asked them a few questions. Here is what they had to say.

Q- Please tell me a bit about your band-struggles, challenges, what you would like to share with your fan base.

A-We basically grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s roughest neighborhood, the North End. Jon-C is an Aboriginal of Sagkeeng First Nation and Charlie Fettah is from Winnipeg.  

We grew up into the inner city struggles that plagued Winnipeg. The gangs, drugs, and fast money forced us to grow up fast. 
With no community support or programs available to us, we ran around in the streets learning how to survive in the cold environment we were born into.

Q- How did Winnipeg Boyz get started? How many are in your group?

A-The Winnipeg Boyz consists of me- (Fettah) and the General Jon-C. We have been group for about a year and a half, but we have been making music together for too many years to count. Ha ha. It’s more of a project than a group, him and I were members of Winnipeg’s Most, and so it was an easy transition for the both of us. We have always made music together and collaborated so it was really natural.

Q- How did you get into the hip hop/ rap scene?

A-Jon-C- tragedies, heartaches and lost feelings. Hip Hop helped me deal with it. As far as the rap scene, we kept saying YES to any and all offers/chances to rap in front of a live audience. We have been grinding the rap scene for a min already. Heatbag  records started making a name in 2005 and we continue to keep making heads snap with new projects and videos to this day.

Q-Why hip hop, who are your influences?

A-Why hip hop? I don’t think we had a choice. We were living hip hop before I ever thought of making hip hop. I don’t think we get to pick the WHYS…. Influences come from all the hard working emcees we grew up listening to, all the classics and all the lyricists-Tupac, Biggie, Big L, Easy E, outkast, nas, Kanye West, Wu-tang, ludacris, jay-z, and the new aged rappers Young Jeezy, Akon, Ace hood, Kendrick lamar, yg, Madchild, Oun P, Cassidy, plus all Canadian local and mainstream music.

Q- Where do you draw your creativity from? Does it come easily for you as a group?

A-Just the love of music and inspirations that life brings us. We have been working together since the start of our careers so that makes working together a lot easier.

Q- What is some good news you would like to share with your fans?

A-   Keep on the lookout for a full Charlie Fettah album coming soon, and a full length JON-C album coming soon with brand new videos from the Heatbag family, a few more Winnipeg Boyz videos, some new songs. We’re always working. We don’t stop!

Q- What challenges have you faced in your career, your personal life if any?

A-Jon-C-It’s been a challenge my entire career being an independent artist and always will be. Personally I’ve done a lot of things I wish I hadn’t but you live and you learn. I’ve faced a lot of profiling and police harassment because of my past. I understand it but don’t see why after all these years they would still assume I’m up to no good.

My music career consists of being independent, so we do everything ourselves. That means merchandise, cd’s, recording, cd artwork, online accounts and promotions, which makes up for a 24/7 challenge. But I’m down for it. Life is good. I have been busy building Canadian Urban Television CUTtv with my business partner. We are building a brand new Canadian outlet for the urban society we all live in today.

Q- Would you consider yourself role models for youth? If so, how and what was it that made you want to be a role model to others?

A-We get asked this question a lot…ha ha. It’s a tough question to answer because we feel like nobody should live the life we used to live or the life we speak about in some of our music. We speak about things that aren’t always positive or happy but its true and we don’t believe in sugarcoating anything. We understand that many youth look up to us and we make an effort to try and provide them with information and share our experiences in hopes that they don’t repeat our mistakes or theirs. But really at the end of the day, every human being is responsible for their own actions and all we can do as artists is stay true to who we are and hope that fans take something away from the music. Positive or negative people have to learn from every victory and every mistake, that’s just life.

Q- What message can you give youth to encourage them, especially if they aspire to be in the field you are in.

A-Fettah-The only thing I can say to aspiring artists is to never give up. I know that sounds cliché but it’s so true. Whether you’re signed or not, you have to push your product because no one will do it for you. We did it all ourselves, well Jon-C did most of the footwork as far as videos and graphics to mixing and mastering. He held Heatbag down for many years so he is probably more suited to answer this question.

Jon-C- BE YOU, is the first thing. To be in the music business, you got to learn to have tough skin, because it’s a real life struggle to put projects together. Dedication is needed. It can go quickly from a hobby to a job. Graphic designing , cd artwork, mixing and mastering., but all of our youth have an opportunity to become exactly what they aspire to be. It all begins with learning and practicing.. So if you’re a youth, and want to start learning the music industry now, DO IT. No matter the genre. Perfect your art and always believe in yourself.

For more information on the Winnipeg Boyz and to listen to their music, please visit

 Published in New Tribe Magazine's June 2014 issue