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, February 27, 2015

Media Release: Vision Quest Conference and Trade Show in Winnipeg, MB takes place May 12 to 14 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                    


Canada’s Longest Running Aboriginal Business, Community and Economic Development Conference Celebrating 19 Years in 2015

Winnipeg MB (February 26, 2015) -- The Vision Quest Conference & Trade Show prides itself on doing three things very well, resulting in the event’s long-term success.

“Our goal is to educate, enlighten and entertain, and that’s what keeps people coming back,” says Kim Bullard, Chair of Vision Quest Conferences Inc. “Each year we put together a top-notch schedule of speakers and workshops, bring in some fantastic performers, and tie it all together with an expansive trade show. It’s proving to be a winning formula that has allowed Vision Quest to have such a long and successful history.”

The 19th annual Vision Quest Conference & Trade Show takes place May 12 to 14 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. Close to 1000 Conference participants will come together from throughout Manitoba and across Canada to discuss and promote Aboriginal business, community, and economic development. Vision Quest attracts a wide range of delegates such as entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, community organizations, and Aboriginal youth, as well as accomplished and inspiring speakers.


Dr. Martin Brokenleg is co-founder of the Circle of Courage and consultant for Reclaiming Youth International, providing training worldwide for individuals who work with youth at risk. He holds a doctorate in psychology and is a graduate of the Anglican Divinity School. For 30 years, Dr. Brokenleg was a professor of Native American studies at Augustana College of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He has also been a director of The Neighborhood Youth Corps, chaplain in a correctional setting, and has extensive experience as an alcohol counselor. Dr. Brokenleg has consulted and led training programs throughout North America, New Zealand, and South Africa. He is the father of three children and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, practicing the culture of his Lakota people.

Wab Kinew is a one-of-a-kind award-winning talent, named by Postmedia News as one of “9 Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know.” He is the first Director of Indigenous Inclusion at the University of Winnipeg. In 2012, Wab hosted acclaimed CBC Television series 8th Fire. His hip-hop has won an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award, and his journalism has won an Adrienne Clarkson RTNDA Award and a Gabriel Award, and was nominated for a Gemini Award. He has a BA in Economics and is a member of the Midewin. Wab inspires the young and the young-at-heart through hands on learning, artistic performance, and motivational speaking, drawing on the wisdom of the Anishinaabe elders, western education and experience as a journalist.


For the first time, Vision Quest is pleased to offer certification courses as an exclusive opportunity for Conference delegates. Two courses will take place concurrently on Tuesday May 12 from 1:00pm to 8:30pm.

Foodsafe Food Handling: Participants will learn safe food handling practices in the food industry including food borne illness, receiving and storage of foods, preparing food, serving food, and cleaning and sanitizing. The course is required in the City of Winnipeg (and soon to be required throughout Manitoba) and plays an important part in the education of food industry personnel, including operators, managers, and supervisors.

Emergency First Aid and CPR: The Lifesaving Society’s Emergency First Aid (EFA or FA1) and CPR course is recognized certification by all levels of government, MB Workplace Health & Safety and most employers. Its goals are to preserve life, prevent further injury, and promote recovery. Candidates will be provided with a 90 page manual to use throughout the course and keep for future reference, and will also be given a pocket pouch which contains a protective airway barrier and latex gloves.


More than 80 exhibitors will be on display at Vision Quest’s Trade Show this year, representing business suppliers, service providers, hospitality groups, career opportunities, economic organizations, educational institutions, information services, and a wide selection of artists and artisans. The Trade Show offers free public admission on Wednesday May 13 (8:30am to 4:30pm), and Thursday May 14 (8:30am to 2:30pm).


Vision Quest’s always popular Gala Banquet takes place on closing night, and includes a three course dinner, presentation of awards for the Dragon’s Quest Business Plan Competition and the Steve Prince Memorial Bursary, music by guitarist Jason Tuesday, a cultural presentation by Plains Ojibway Singers and Dance Troupe, artistry by Jasyn Lucas, and a headlining performance featuring DerRic Starlight and his down-home comedy with puppets, “Rez” style!


Registration for the 2015 Vision Quest Conference & Trade Show is available online at Register by the Early Bird deadline of April 10 to save $80. Exhibitor and sponsor applications, and full conference schedule, are also available online.


Vision Quest Conferences Inc. is a community based charitable organization formed through partnerships with Manitoba’s five Aboriginal Community Futures Development Corporations (Cedar Lake CFDC, Dakota Ojibway CFDC, Kitayan CFDC, North Central CFDC, Southeast CFDC). Since inception, nearly 13,000 participants have taken part in Vision Quest.

Vision Quest thanks the following Sponsors to date for their support: Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada, Deloitte, South Beach Casino & Resort, The Winnipeg Foundation, Aboriginal Business Service Network, and Economic Development Winnipeg. Thanks also to the many Media Partners, service providers, and other supporters.

-- 30 --

RoseAnna Schick, RAS Creative
Publicity & Communications Manager for the 2015 Vision Quest Conference

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Media Release: New App from the Pinkertons Television Series Allows Fans to Saddle Up and Strike a Pose!



Technology Puts a ‘Wild West’ Spin on the Selfie Craze 

Winnipeg MB & Los Angeles CA (February 25, 2015) -- Producers of The Pinkertons TV Series have launched “Outlaw Yourself,” a fun app that allows players to make ‘wild west’ wanted posters from their own images.


Award-winning digital agency Tactica Interactive developed the #OutlawYourself app, which lets users become cowboys, gunslingers, saloon girls, prospectors and lawmen, by pasting their faces into authentic western-style scenes and accessorizing with bandanas, eye patches, facial hair, scars and more. The end result is a high-quality, sepia-toned, user-generated custom mugshot that can be downloaded, shared on multiple social media platforms, or made into wanted posters.

“Outlaw Yourself is a fun way for people to connect with their inner-outlaw and immerse themselves in the Wild West,” says Tactica Interactive CEO and creative director Kevin Glasier, whose team came up with the idea for the app.

Suzanne Berger, executive producer added ““The app brings all the playfulness of the old-timey wanted poster to the comfort of your computer or tablet.”

Adam Moore, who co-created the series along with Kevin Abrams, is delighted by the app: "Kevin and I think Outlaw Yourself is an ingenious way to bring our audience closer to the show by making them part of our world of 1860's crime solving."


For Canadian fans, #OutlawYourself enables entry into a contest to win a behind-the-scenes trip to The Pinkertons TV Series. From their home base at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg, contest winners will travel to Grosse Isle, Manitoba, to visit cast and crew live on the set. They’ll also visit some of Winnipeg’s most popular tourist attractions, including the brand new Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

It’s the first partnership of its kind in Manitoba between a television series, Tourism Winnipeg, and Travel Manitoba, and a win-win initiative that ties in awareness of the series with tourism efforts for Winnipeg and Manitoba – a popular production location that bears a striking resemblance to the American Midwest.


Set in the “Wild West” of Kansas City circa 1865, The Pinkertons TV Series is an original action-adventure crime procedural drama that draws from the real cases of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency. The series follows founder Allan Pinkerton (played by Angus Macfadyen), his son William (Jacob Blair) and America’s first female detective Kate Warne (Martha MacIsaac).

Long before the FBI and the Secret Service, the Pinker­ton’s National Detective Agency was the most vigilant law enforcement organization in the land. They revolutionized detective work by pioneering numerous forensic technologies, implementing surveillance, and using disguises to aid in undercover work to gather intelligence on suspects. With employees and offices in over 100 countries across six continents, Pinkerton is still in existence today and maintains an unmatched reputation for protecting clients and their assets around the globe.

Production of 22 one-hour episodes began in August 2014 and runs through March 2015, shot on location in Manitoba. The primary production location is the small town of Grosse Isle, home to the Prairie Dog Central Railway – one of the oldest vintage operating trains in North America.

The Pinkertons TV Series premiered in the US in October 2014, in first-run syndication on 211 channels across the country. The CHCH TV broadcast, which began in January 2015, marks Canada’s first showing of the series.

The Pinkerton National Detective Agency logo and Pinkerton’s® is a registered trademark of Pinkerton Service Corporation used under license.


The Pinkertons TV Series is executive produced by Suzanne Berger of Rosetta Media (Toronto), and Phyllis Laing of Buffalo Gal Pictures (Winnipeg). The series was created by Kevin Abrams of Alpine Labs (Los Angeles), and Adam Moore, who also serve as executive producers and writers. Larry Lalonde and Phil Bedard are showrunners and executive producers.   

The Pinkertons TV Series is distributed in the US by Rohrs Media Group, and seen on station groups including Tribune, Weigel, Hearst, LIN, Meredith, Cox and the CW PLUS. Zodiak Rights, the international distribution arm of Zodiak Media, is distributing the series internationally.

The Pinkertons TV Series is produced in partnership with Channel Zero (parent company to CHCH TV), and with the participation of Manitoba Film and Music.

-- 30 --


Canadian Publicity for The Pinkertons TV Series:                      
RoseAnna Schick/RAS Creative                                          

US Publicity for The Pinkertons TV Series:
Maggie Begley/MBC

For information about Pinkerton (the company):
Julie Kabanuk

Monday, February 23, 2015

Event Posting- Join Writer in Residence Cherie Dimaline on Saturday March 7, 2015 @ 3pm till 4:30pm at North York Central Library

Join Writer in Residence Cherie Dimaline in celebrating the first Aboriginal residency at the North York Central Library. Browse select volumes from the stacks, hear about the goals and events for this unique residency and enjoy traditional drummers and dancers from the urban Aboriginal community. Special readings by Toronto area Aboriginal authors and poets. Please call 416 395 5639 to register for this FREE program.

Legendary author Lee Maracle, poet Giles Benaway will read from their own works at this event. Community activist Sylvia Plain will read from her Great Grandpa's book "Sarnia Indian Reserve". Opening address by Ontario's Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, David Zimmer and the province's first Indigenous female Deputy Minister, Deborah Richardson. Stephanie Pangowish and Josh Smoke from Smoke Trail Singers will be on hand to sing and drum. Come celebrate this great new programming at the Toronto Public Library!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Book Review of Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters

Book Review: Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters
Reviewed by: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

After another assault on a First Nations girl (Rinelle Harper) in November 2014 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, dozens of acclaimed writers and artists came together to add their voices to a call for action - to address the deep rooted and horrific crimes that are continuing in our country against our Indigenous sisters.

The result of this call for action is the book “Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters” which is a compilation of pieces of writing from various writers and is edited by Joseph Boyden. It features contributions from such writers as Sherman Alexie, Margaret Atwood, Gord Downie, Tanya Tagaq Gillis, Lee Maracle, Yann Martel, Michael Ondaatje, amongst others.

Kwe means woman in Ojibwe, and more specifically kwe means life giver or life carrier in Anishnaabemowin, the Ojibwe language. Women are the backbone of our respective communities yet they are the ones who are three times more likely to face violence- attacks and murder than any other of their gender.

The words written in Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters are strong, powerful and evoke many emotions. There were many pieces that struck a deep chord in me. As an example, I bring you the words of Susan Musgrave in her poem titled “God Loves a Drug Dealer-Graffiti-

“She forced you to cut your hair, hack it off
in front of those you counted as friends but failed
you in the end. Next time she’d make you
shave your eyebrows, too she said, and sent you
back onto the street with what was left of your dignity.”

The poem is poignant in the sense that it speaks of the destroying of one’s soul, and the addictions that quiet the despair of our young ones, and leaves them with no voice.

Lastly, I admire the piece of Joseph Boyden when he says;

“Hey boys, what are we to do? Hey men, why don’t we question this sickness that beats inside too many of us? Shall we healthier ones spend our lives staring, not knowing what to do, just stand and look at our shoes or touch our faces and ask forgiveness for horrors we feel no part of? What are we men to do about this? Do we stand by and watch?

How will we raise our own boys?

I’m sorry”

"Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters" is a good compilation of various writers. However this book is just a beginning and we must move beyond awareness to action. I also feel that there were a few writers who didn’t write about the situation this volume calls for- our Missing and Murdered Sisters.

This book is published by an imprint of Penguin Canada Books Inc. Proceeds from the sales of this book will support Amnesty International’s No More Stolen Sisters. It is 106 pages.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Event Posting- Thursday February 26, 2015 6-8pm CIT Studios-Drew Hayden Taylor

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Event Posting- Saturday February 21, 2015-ᓴᓇᐢᑭᐦᐃᐁᐧᐤ Sanaskihiwew Joins People Firmly Together Smudge II

Saturday February 21, 2015-12pm-ᓴᓇᐢᑭᐦᐃᐁᐧᐤ Sanaskihiwew Joins People Firmly Together Smudge II

Tawow! Joins People Firmly Together Smudge II is for all people of Indigenous decent regardless of blood quantum to come together as one family. Whether you are Metis, Status, Inuit, Non-status Indian or part of another Indigenous group, we are all family. We can still maintain and respect all our cultural differences. It's time we come together and stop the Lateral Violence amongst our peoples. All Nations are invited to pray for the health and well being of our Indigenous people world wide. Today we pray all around Mother Earth, and ask for forgiveness for how we have treated one another. We pray collectively that we all heal each other, that our families and each other are healthy once again. We pray we come back together as one.

As an Elder once said to me, If you are 1% Indian you are an Indian. I've heard another Elder say if you have one drop of Indian blood in you, you are an Indian.

Smudge in your local area at your local time at noon. If you want to Smudge as a group where you live, then you will need to organize a local event in your area. Pick a place, create an event page then advertise it yourself. This is a collective endeavor where you will need to take initiative in your local area. This World Wide Smudge is an Indigenous led event, wherever possible Wanska: The art of decolonization ask that you find an Indigenous person to lead the smudge, if that is not possible then do your best.

Smudging - Dispell the Myth - Radio Warrior

Book Review: Time Bomb: Canada and the First Nations

Book Review: Time Bomb: Canada and the First Nations
Written by Douglas L Bland
Reviewed by: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

“Time Bomb” is essentially a book that represents one point of view and that point of view is of a non-Aboriginal person who writes not in a reconciliatory tone but one of confrontation.

In the preface of the book it is stated that “Time Bomb” is a fact based essay not to be read from a First Nations point of view or as a prediction that an uprising is inevitable. Rather, the study is meant to serve as a barometric warning of stormy days or even catastrophic years ahead for relations between the First Nations people and non Native Canadians.

If this book is not to be read by First Nations people, then why is it written at all? After all, the author is writing about First Nations people.

The central theme of this book is one that puts non-Aboriginal people on one side and Aboriginal people on the other side. In essence-the usual divide and conquer status quo stance that divides our society.

The author Douglas L Bland, states that with Canada’s present policies and the historic indifferences of Canadians towards First Nations peoples, an insurgency or civil war will happen. Bland argues that if the aspirations of First Nations peoples continue without amendment and if First Nations leaders continue to assert their right to sovereignty in Canada, than a confrontation between the two cultures is unavoidable. The critical questions he asks for both societies in such circumstances are: “what form would such a confrontation take, and how widespread would it become?”

On one hand Bland states that “it is overtly strange that Canadians today should find themselves in such a situation,” because he describes Canada as being a country that is respected worldwide for its tolerance and peacefulness. Then he goes onto write that “Canada is rightly acknowledged as a welcoming country for refugees from every region on earth; as a nation of peacekeepers and peacemakers; as the adversary of dictators and tyrants; and as a bastion of human rights.”

The above statement is problematic in itself because even Bland suggests that if this was true, “then why is it that thousands of First Nations people in Canada live in poverty, fill our prisons and obviously, are not equal before the law?”

Bland discusses fractionalization as a major contributor to the feasibility of an insurgency happening between First Nations people and non-Aboriginal people. He argues that in Canada, there are three major issues that define fractionalization between First Nations people and other Canadians. These are Canada’s failure to complete or honour land claims and treaties and social and economic grievances.

Time Bomb is written as though there will be a civil war breaking out any day between First Nations and non-Native Canadians. It describes how a nationwide insurgency would unfold; how the usual police and military reactions to First Nations protests would only worsen things and how, on the other hand, there are innovative policies that might diffuse the situation that the author suggests might happen.

He asks Canadians “will we act together to extinguish the threat of a Native uprising or will we fail and suffer the disaster of Canada’s peaceful and orderly society exploding? The problem lies in these questions because the author writes as though we First Nations are the problem and not a part of the solution.

Time Bomb is published by Dundurn Books. It is 231 pages long. ISBN: 9781459727878

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Call for Submissions with Briarpatch Magazine!

Briarpatch is seeking submissions for their July/August issue. They are looking for feature articles, provocative essays, investigative reportage, interviews, profiles, reviews, humour, and photography rooted in an anti-colonial and anti-capitalist analysis. If you’ve got a story in mind, they want to hear your pitch!

Queries on any and all topics are welcome but they would like to highlight interest in:
  • visions of the future
  • land-based education
  • the role and the challenge of popular opinion for radical politics
  • political organizing in remote and rural regions
  • the next wave of feminism
Queries are due March 6, 2015. If your query is accepted, first drafts will be due by April 10. Your query should outline what ground your contribution will cover, list the interviews you plan to do, give an estimated word count, and indicate your relevant experience or background in writing about the issue. If you would like insight into how to write a successful query, there is an example with explanations here. If you haven’t written for Briarpatch before, please provide a brief writing sample.

Please review submission guidelines before sending your query to editor AT briarpatchmagazine DOT com.
Our standard rates of pay are as follows:
  • $50 – Profiles, short essays, parting shots (generally <1000 li="" words="">
  • $100 – Feature stories, photo essays
  • $150 – Research-based articles and investigative reportage (generally 1500-2500 words)
They reserve the right to edit your work (with your active involvement) and cannot guarantee publication.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Book Review: Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors

Author Larry Loyie (Photo By Christine Smith (McFarlane)
Review: “Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors”

By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

 “Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors” written by Larry Loyie, of Slave Lake Alberta with Wayne K Spear and Constance Brissenden is a book that explains the hidden history of the residential school system. Award winning author and former residential school student Larry Loyie delves into how Canada for over a century removed more than 150,000 Aboriginal children from their families to attend these church run residential schools that were often in remote locations far from children’s homes. It explains in a broad and comprehensive way the history of not only First Nations people but also the Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada and is told in an accessible way

Questions asked within the book include “Why did residential schools as they were called, happen? How did they continue? Why did they stop? And most importantly how did they affect the families and the children, now known as school survivors?

This book is unique in the sense that it involves the memories and words of more than 70 former students and family members. It includes seven chapters that address key isssues such as why did it happen,” what is the meaning of culture and traditions to how students learned to cope and heal after their residential school experience. There are more than 125 images, many from the personal collections of survivors, a map of Canada’s residential schools, a Key Dates timeline, 5 Myths associated with Residential School and a glossary of terms.

When I caught up with the authors of this impressive book they told me “ the book itself involved over 20 years of research, 200 interviews and 3 years to write. It is a historical narrative and national history that needs to be told.”

This book is important because the survivors are finally being heard and are sharing their experiences, so that their healing can continue.

Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors is co-published by Indigenous Education Press of Brantford Ontario and Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It is 102 pages long. ISBN: 978 -0-9939371-0-1