By Tanya Talaga Indigenous Issues Columnist Thu., Feb. 14, 2019 There is a photograph of Ed Metatawabin hanging above my desk. I took it along the shores of the Albany River, years back. Ed is standing in the water, just off the shore, dressed in his fluorescent rain gear, his oilskin fedora is pulled down over his forehead, protecting him from the unforgiving onslaught of rain. Ed is leaning back and pulling, with all his might and against the flow of the mighty Albany, a rope attached to a green freighter canoe. The boat is laden with supplies — food, canvas tents, fuel — all that he’ll need for spending a few weeks in the bush. This is the Ed that I know, out there, standing alone, facing the elements as the wind and rain pound as he diligently works to take care of others. Last Tuesday, Ed, a leader to many and former chief of Fort Albany First Nation, received the Order of Canada in Quebec City. Article Continued Below This was a … [Read more...] about The rightful honouring of Ed Metatawabin by a two-sided Canada
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By Kashmala Fida StarMetro Edmonton Wed., Jan. 2, 2019 EDMONTON—When Brandi Morin’s kohkum (Cree for grandmother) passed away, her aunties were cleaning her house and found pieces of paper scattered throughout that had short stories and memories on them in their mother’s handwriting. They found the elongated, cursive writings on scrap bits, papers, and even flyers. They compiled all her writings in a mini book, made photocopies, and gave them to all the children and grandchildren, including Morin. Inspired by her kohkum, Morin, an Edmonton-based designer, decided to use her handwritten stories in her designs. This inspired a casual-wear line of shirts and leggings that aims to revitalize endangered Indigenous languages. Being Métis, Morin decided to call her line Mixed Blood Apparel. She is just one of many Indigenous designers from Alberta who are taking the fashion world by storm, one culturally appropriate piece at a time. The … [Read more...] about How an Edmonton-based designer is using fashion to revitalize Indigenous languages
By Hamdi Issawi StarMetro Edmonton Sun., Dec. 9, 2018 EDMONTON—As a child, Carolyn Kiskotagan was afraid to speak her native tongue. It started in Grade 3, while she was attending a public school near the Red Pheasant reserve in Saskatchewan, one with Plains Cree children like herself. She was exhilarated, finding children other than her sister to speak Cree with between classes — at least until the school found out. “I got a strap when I came in from recess,” she recalled. “I had no idea that we were not allowed to speak Cree.” The punishment struck a frightful cord that had forced her to hold her tongue, unless she was alone with her sister, when nobody else could hear her. It wasn’t until adulthood, while trying to communicate with an elder on the reserve who was straining and struggling with English, that the words just poured out of her. Article Continued Below “He was having such a horrible time and … [Read more...] about ‘Better late than never’: StatCan report finds more people are learning Indigenous languages
By Kieran Leavitt StarMetro Edmonton Thu., Aug. 2, 2018 EDMONTON—Many words in the Cree language are buried under the cultural rubble of colonization, smothered by residential schools, where children weren’t allowed to speak their native tongue. Edward Lavallee-Meequaan can fluently speak Cree—one of the country’s most widely-spoken Indigenous languages, along with Ojibway, and Innu/Montagnais. In fact, Cree is his first language. But he’s noticed that many fluent speakers are older and few young people speak it. Now 77, he lives in Edmonton, where he can use Cree more often as there is a small community of people who grew up with it as their first language and love speaking it. “When I lived in other Canadian cities, I didn’t find too many good Cree speakers,” he said. Born in 1940, he grew up on the Sturgeon Lake First Nation reserve in central Saskatchewan but went on to travel across Canada throughout his … [Read more...] about Will the government’s Indigenous languages law save endangered tongues?
Fri., June 29, 2018 For Canada Day weekend, a diverse collection of new books to celebrate our earliest residents and our more recent arrivals. Luminous Ink: Writers on Writing in Canada, edited by Tessa McWatt, Rabindranath Maharaj, Dionne Brand The three editors, themselves drawn from the top ranks of Canadian writers, asked the 26 novelists, story writers, translators, playwrights and poets assembled in this collection for essays about “what it means to be ‘here’ as a writer in Canada, now, or how a writer abroad experiences the concept of being a Canadian, ‘there’.” What they got is a treasury of literary musings — thoughtful, wise, funny and always original. If you ever wanted to burrow into the minds of some of CanLit’s greatest living treasures, this is your chance. A keeper. Ayesha At Last, Uzma Jalaluddin Ayesha Shamsi, a thoroughly modern young Muslim (spoken-word poet, substitute teacher, purple hijab), is in no … [Read more...] about Canada Day reads celebrate literary diversity