Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Indigenous Cultural Heritage

I believe very firmly that Indigenous populations had a really good, intuitive understanding of why we're here. And we're trying to gain that same understanding through psychology and intellect
in modern civilization. Serj Tankian)

We like the idea of Canada where all cultures are encouraged
to develop in harmony with one another ~ to become part of the great 'mosaic.'
If we are to be part of the Canadian mosaic, then we want to be colourful red tiles ~
taking our place where 'red' is both needed and appreciated.
(Harold Carpenter: a lifelong student of First Nations Law
as practised by Cree and other aboriginal Elders.)

The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans.
Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans. (Robert Mugabe)

An Inspirational Breakfast
John Rennison from The Hamilton Spectator submitted a colourful photo of happy musical women:
Leanne Rego holds her drum up as she performs with the Nya:weh Cathedral Drumming Group
at the Totally Awesome Young Women's Breakfast at LIUNA Station.
YWCA Hamilton, brought together 500 women in Grades 9 to 12
from both Hamilton school boards to share breakfast and be inspired.
Keynote speaker Jamie Medicine Crane, a board member with World YWCA, is a Blackfoot member from the Kainai and Piikani Nations. She is an educator, motivational speaker, a dancer, musician and a strong advocate for women and youth.

Tour of Ancient Indigenous Village Offers Unique B.C. Vacation
Huu-ay-aht First Nation, one of many opening up areas to tourism.
Bamfield, B.C. Surrounded by old-growth rainforest against the rocky shoreline on the south-west edge of Vancouver Island lies a centuries-old-Indigenous village where traditional longhouses accessible only by foot remain undisturbed. The Huu-ay-ahat First Nation began offering tours of the ancient capital Klixin ~ pronounced kee-hin ~ last year in an effort to share their cultural heritage with the world and revitalize the quiet coastal town of Bamfield.
Trevor Cootes, a member of its executive council, says,
Opening up the rare archeological site to the world has been years in the making.
Truth and reconciliation has to do more with ourselves and how we put our own culture back into our day-to-day lives.” The Huu-ay-aht is among several Vancouver Island First Nations to sign a treaty in 2011 and is self-governing. The Canadian government declared the village and fortress,which dates back to the 19th century, a National Historic Site in 1999.

In roughly a 3-hour tour, guides tell stories reflecting the beliefs and traditions of the Huu-ay-aht people, including a tale of how their warriors reclaimed the land from a neighbouring nation and spiritual beliefs rooted in the land, the water and stars.
In our culture, when you come to our territory and we share something with you,
a part of that responsibility is that you now are a witness to who we are
as Huu-ay-aht people,” Cootes says.
Visitors can also learn about significant plant life in the area used for cutltural and medicinal purposes.
Visitors can also take trips hiking in the forests, kayaking or boating from Bamfield.The number of Indigenous cultural activities across B.C. has grown significantly with more than 400 new tourism businesses taking off between 2012 and 2017. Tracy Eyssens, chief executive officer with Indigenous tourism BC states: “No, we don't live in igloos, no, we don't live in tepees. We are changing those cliches...or those myths...or the perceptions that consumers have about Indigenous people in B.C.”

A wonderful mature forest, lushingly invites visitors to view
and experience life in an Indigenous village.
A smaller colour photo depicts guides like Robert Dennis Junior (Wiisqi) sitting atop a high rock while holding a drum. Small islands can be seen in the adjacent coastal waters.
(The foregoing are excerpts written by Linda Givetash published by The Canadian Press)

Insights from Indigenous Artists
Tanya Tagaq (Inuk throat singer): I trust myself and my instincts and my emotions. Every day, I do everything I can to be a good and better person.

Rebecca Belmore (mixed media artist): As someone who grew up with very little access to our history through the education system, I feel compelled to witness and articulate and in some way, visually mark current history.

Adam Beach (actor): We put our minds and our hearts to succeed ~ and success isn't about money ~ success isn't about the biggest house in the world. Success is about loving your family and taking care of your child.

Jeff Barnaby (film-maker): I couldn't care less about my audience ~ what stereotypes or prejudices they bring into the theatre. I'm there to be honest to the characters that I created and the people I grew up around.

Tomson Highway (musician, storyteller and eternal optimist): Native theology works in a different way: There is no heaven ~ there is no hell ~ there's just a circle. The circle of life and death interconnect ~ and when we pass away, we don't go up or down. We stay in another part of the circle.

WWII Navajo CodeTalker ~ Samuel Tom Holiday Dies at Age 94
(Recently, my son forwarded the following to me)
From St. George, Utah published in The Associated Press: Samuel Tom Holiday, one of the last surviving Navajo Code Talkers, died, at age 94, in southern Utah, surrounded by family members. Holiday was among hundreds of Navajos who used a code, based on their native language to transmit messages in World War II. The Japanese never broke the code.

The accompanying colour photo: Samuel Tom Holiday and Peter McDonald (U.S. Marine Corps Navajo Code Talkers), both Navajo dressed, wave to the crowd before an Arizona Diamondbacks vs.Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game at Chase Field, Phoenix, September 11, 2015.
After the war, Holiday returned to the Navajo reservation
and worked as a police officer, a ranger and later, started his own equipment company.
In 2013 he wrote a book about his experiences as a Code Talker
called “Under the Eagle.”

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr: April 25, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Introductions and Invitations

The Stonehouse Home was Where Everyone Congregated”
writes Paul Wilson ~ Special to The Hamilton Spectator.
Maxime Stonehouse put her house up for sale ~ she had been there 50 years. Her first home was a 2nd floor appartment on the main street of Dundas. She was born there on a hot day in June, 1931, early days of the Great Depression. Her parents had 4 other children.

After High School, Maxine worked in accounting at the Robinson's department store. Not for her, she headed to Calgary ~ her parents were horrified. She came home on a holiday, and a girlfriend asked her to the Alexandra roller rink on James South. Not knowing how to skate, she crashed into a young man named Harvey Stonehouse. A month later, in Feburary 1952, she married him. “It sounds like I was a real nut,” Maxine says. “But I'm very stable. I just get feelings about things.” And her feelings about Harvey were all good. He worked at Dominion Glass and Maxine stayed home, because that's what women did. They had a little 'starter house' in the east end, Vansitmart near Woodward.
Son David arrived in 1954, Michael 2 years later.
In the summer of 1967, Maxine found them a new house at 67 Duncombe Dr., costing $17,000 (to them a fortune). It had a great backyard...a wide drive...three bedrooms. In 1968, Christopher was born!
Much as she loved her house, Maxine had to get out of it!
She enrolled in the social services program at Mohawk (3 years full time).
Part-time, it took Maxine 10 years. “But I aced it,” she says, “and on the honour roll.”

Celebrating Three Decades of Service
A colour photo of 4 proud immigrant women, who, introduced to ESL and high school equivalency classes (and eventually employment opportunities in Hamilton and beyond) graduated in early April
at Lincoln Alexander Theatre ~ celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Immigrants Workers Centre.
As per custom, the full graduate class 'tossed their caps' following the ceremony.

Introduction to the Stage
On Easter Sunday evening, Jesus Christ Superstar, from New York was presented live on TV.
The show was a collision of religion and theatre and pop culture that could have been one holy mess.
But by the grace of God, or maybe a great cast and lots and lots of expert staging, a
great musical became a great TV production,” wrote Lorraine Ali (Los Angeles Times).

The pop star raised his hands, striking a messianic pose from the stage as the adoring crowd strained to touch the edges of his flowing robe ~ a savour greeting his disciples.
Singer, John Legend didn't have the presence of a theatre performer,
but he did know how to command a venue full of fans, which is exactly what NBC's
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert called for.
Legend (Jesus), pop crooner-turned-Broadway star Sara Bareilles (Mary Magdalene), veteran rocker Alice Cooper (King Herod) and Hamilton's Brandon Victor Dixon (Judas) artfully walked the line between Broadway musical, pop concert and contemporary TV drama during the two-hour-plus production broadcast live. Black leather jackets and motorcylcle boots took the place of bell bottoms and bare feet in the live television adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's long-haired 1971 Broadway musical chronicling Christ's last days.
It was Legend, Bareilles and Dixon who carried most of the production.
The multiple dancers and performers who shared the stage, brought the songs to life for a modern audience without forsaking the original charm of the numbers. It featured 40-plus cast members, a large onstage orchestra and an interactive audience throughout the production.

Invitation to Readers
Have you seen and enjoyed an advertisement of great appeal to you ~
viewed in a magazine or seen on TV...seen a signboard or vehicle quote?
To most advertisements, I pay little attention; if shown in a TV program, I prefer to fill in that time gap, whether 2 or 3 or often 10 of them, to have a cup of coffee, read a few extra pages in a novel...or return a telephone call to someone. However, two amuse me.
CBC's TV circular logo previously showed a majestic lion, within the ring, roaring;
And now, a small orange and white tabby within the ring, softly 'meows'!

Hundreds of thousands of people watch the National Football League's 'Super Bowl' in January which for the past few years have been of keen interest...especially for their commercials.

A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.

Jerry Della Femina states, “There is a great deal of advertising
that is so much better than the product; the end result ~
it will put you out of business faster.”

The greatest thing to be achieved in advertising is believeability
and nothing is more believable than the product itself. (Leo Burnett)

My Favourite Advertisement/Commercial: Several ducklings were rescued from an oil spill in lake water. After being washed and cleaned, they happily and hurriedly waddled back with tiny feet in the beach sand toward their lake waters, singing I'm home...I'm home...I'm home! Nearing the water, a huge 4-lettered word appeared in the sky above them: DAWN!
This one word remains in my memory bank!
Other DAWN ads read: Tough on Crude Oil ~ Soft on Ducklings
One I recently saw illustrated a small pale yellow & brown duckling
lovingly in a person's hand with caption: Dawn Cleans More Than Dishes!

To you, my faithful readers, I extend an invitation to email to me your favourite ad/commercial that impresses you. With a few or several, I'll document them and post in a future writing. I can refer to you as...a reader....your first name only...or both Christian and Surname; please advise me.

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 9, 2018

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Discoveries Today and Tomorrow

Civilization has advanced from the Stone Age
all the way to the Space Era and beyond.
Planet after Planet expands through influence throughout the Universe.
In the future, we'll endure a wide range of dynamic events ~ and natural disasters.”
(Unknown author)

Frederick Seitz's Overview of Our Universe Development: “Darwin recognized that thus, for the civilization of mankind has passed through four successive stages of evolution, namely those based on fire ~ the development of agriculture ~ the development of urban life ~ and use of basic science for technical advancement ~ every age has been one of discovery.

The Hidden Caves of a Rum-Runner
They are one of Hamilton's best kept secrets:
Dark and musty rooms ~ belonging to notorious bootlegger ~
Ben Kerr ~ that housed illicit booze and fuel for fast boats 'to outrun the feds.'
As The Spectator's Mark McNeil reveals, changes in the West Harbour
will provide a rare glimpse into the city's infamous Prohibition Era.

A large black and white photo (by George Urban) captured my attention with byline:
Ben Kerr of Hamilton used this boat to transport liquor to the United States
during the Prohibition nearly a century ago.
A small inset colour photo by John Rennison illustrates:
Concrete rooms behind the West Harbour marina building were used
to store gasoline and marine supplies for fast boats running booze across Lake Ontario”.

Mark McNeil continues: “For decades, they have sat in obscurity and musty neglect behind a West Harbour marina building, three crumbling concrete rooms in the side of a hill, overgrown by weedtrees and burrs, and littered with junk. They're known as the 'Rum-runner's Caves' and with McDonald Marina closing down ~ and moving out this summer, they will become more visible than they have been for decades. The city, eventually plans to turn the caves into some kind of Rum-runners Heritage Interpretive Feature as part of a shoreline redesign that will remove docks and boat storage facilities from the area. What secrets, did these holes in the hill keep so long ago?
They were part of a former marina that boats used to run illegal liquor
into U.S. It's believed that 2 of the caves stored gasoline and marine supplies.
There are doors leading into those ~ but the 3rd room, with a crawl-space entrance
hidden behind a building that no longer stands ~ was clearly a hiding spot for illicit booze.”

A Viking settlement, Vinland was the name given to part of North America
by Icelandic Norseman, Leif Erikson about the year 1000.
L'Anse aux Meadows (from French) is an archeological site on the northernmost tip
of the island of Newfoundland in Canada's province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Discovered in 1960, it is the only certain site
of a Norse Viking settlement in North America.

New ~ Found ~ Land
Natural wonder has been discovered by the outside world!

Tourists Flocking to Peru's New-Found 'Rainbow Mountain'
The following are excerpts from Franklin Briceno's writing, published in The Associated Press:
From Pitumarca, Peru, he asserts, “Tourists gasp for breath as they climb for 2 hours to a peak in the Peruvian Andes that stands 16,404 feet (5,000 metres) above sea level. They're dead tired , but stunned by the magical beauty unfurled before them. Stripes of turquoise, lavender and gold blanket what has become known as “Rainbow Mountain,” a ridge of multi-coloured sediments laid down millions of years ago ~ and pushed up as tetonic plates clashed.
It's only been within the past 5 years that the natural wonder has been discovered
by the outside world, earning it 'must see' status
on Peru's burgeoning backpacker tourist circuit.
The popularity of Rainbow Mountain, which attracts up to 1,000 tourists each day, has provided a much-needed economic jolt to this remote region populated by struggling alpaca herders. Enviromentalists, however, fear the tourists could destroy the treasured landscape,
which is already coveted by international mining companies.

From the ecological point of view, they are 'killing the goose that lays the golden eggs,' said Dina Farfan, a Peruvian biologist who has studied threatened wildlife in the area, just a few hours from the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. As proof, he points to a 2.5 mile (4-kilometre) dirt trail climbed by tourists to reach Rainbow Mountain that has been badly eroded in the past 18 months, scarring the otherwise pristine landscape. A wetland, once populated with migrating ducks, has also been turned into a parking lot (the size of 5 soccer fields) that fills each morning with vans of mostly European and American visitors. There are more serious threats, too.
Camino Minerals Corp., a Canadian-based mining company,
has applied for mining rights in the mineral-rich area that includes the mountain.
(The company did not respond to a request by The Associated Press
for comment on its plan.)
Yet, the flood of tourists has meant jobs and hard cash for the local Pampachiri Indigenous community, which has struggled with high rates of alcoholism, malnutrition and falling prices of wool for their prized alpaca. Many have abandonded nomadic life for dangerous gold-mining jobs in the Amazon.
Now, they charge tourists $3 each to enter their ancestral land,
netting the community roughly $400,000 a year ~ a small fortune that has triggered
a tax battle with an impoverished, nearby municipality
which has seen no part of the windfall.
The surge in tourists also comes with a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment and their new guests and Pampachiri community leader, Gabino Huaman who admits he is not sure they are ready to fully handle it. He states, “ We don't know one word in English...or First Aid.”
Despite the challenges, roughly 500 villagers have returned in the last couple of years to take up their ancestral trade of transporting goods across the Andes. The difference is that now, they are hauling tourists on horseback. “It's a blessing,” said Isaac Quispe, 25, who quit his job as a gold-miner after 6 of his camp mates were murdered. He returned home and bought a horse that last year earned him $5,200 hauling tourists uphill.

For much of the past decade,a group of shepherds had been quietly taking small groups of tourists to the mountain as part of a 5-day hike around the fast-melting Ausangate glacier. Today, the shepherds manage 4 lodges, made of eucalyptus wood with a capacity for 16 tourists each. Lighted only by candle, the lodges do have hot water : “We want them to feel the greatest comfort at 16,404 feet.”

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...May 27, 2018
Comments welcome: mbairdkerr@bell.net or inezkate@gmail.com

Monday, June 4, 2018

National Indigenous History Month

Shylo Elmayan, a senior project manager for urban Indigenous strategies
for the City of Hamilton listens as Jacke Labonte speaks at the
Indigenous flag-raising at Hamilton City Hall.
Four different Indigenous flags will fly at City Hall for the month of June
to mark National Indigenous History Month.

In the European tradition, rivers were seen as divisions between people. But, in Aboriginal tradition, rivers are seen as the glue ~ the highway, the linkage between people (not the separation).
And that's the history of Canada: our rivers and lakes are our highways.
(John Raiston Saul)

National Indigenous Peoples Day ~ June 21 in Canada ~
represents diverse cultures and outstanding achievements
of First Nations, Inuit and Metis.
Started in 2009 with the passing of a 'unanimous motion' in the House of Commons, it marks the 150th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which is the foundation of the relationship of Canada's original inhabitants and the newcomers. In recent years, Indigenous communities have been more vocal ~ demanding that their traditional rights be respected by governments.
In the winter of 2012-13, the Idle No More Indigenous movement
was the focus of protests across the country.

Native Tribes of Ontario
Ontario is an Iroquian Indian word (from the Mohawk name) meaning 'beautiful lake.' The originial inhabitants of the area that is now Ontario include: The Algonquin, Cree, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) tribes...the Huron, Mississauga, Nipissing, Ojibwe, Oj-Cree, Ottawa, Saulteaux, Neutral and Petun tribes. The Onondaga (People of the Hills) are one of the original 5 constituent nations of the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee). They were centrally located among the natives with the Cayuga and Seneca to the west...and the Oneida and Mohawk to their east.
The Munsee Delaware people, not originally native to Ontario, but migrated here after the Americans forced them out of their own homelands. Their descendants still live in Ontario today.
The Tribes' longhouses served as spiritual, cultural and social activities,
the seat of government and symbol of security.

Did you know that Hamilton has a Regional Indian Centre
located at 34 Ottawa Street North? (Telephone 905-548-9593)?
Its vision: Creating Change that Empowers Urban Aboriginal People.
Its mission: To provide Urban Aboriginal People with the tools
to achieve a balanced wholistic lifestyle.

Indigenous Fashion Event Weaves Identity, Tradition and Progress
Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (May 31-June 3 at Harbourfront Centre
featured runway shows, a curated exhibition, panels and lectures, hands-on workshops and a market-place with Indigenous artists including those from Canada, the United States and Greenland.
Metis fashion designer, Evan Ducharme from Vancouver
says he welcomes more opportunities to celebrate and promote Indigenous artists and different points of view that often prioratize sustainable materials, ethnic sourcing and reduced waste.

A 25-year old artist from the Metis community of St. Ambroise, Manitoba said, “Some people looking at my work ask, “Where's the fringe? Where's the deer hide? Where's all the bead-work? Because Metis people are renowned for their bead-work. But where I was raised, none of the women in my family ever did bead-work.

Sage Paul, founder of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, states, “Despite the fact that many ethnic artists from Indigenous communities boast master weavers, beaders, and applique artists ~ they have yet to receive broader recognition for their talents. You can go to any Canadian tourist store, and buy a really cheap piece of beaded work that's not even made here in Canada. Those on remote reserves are at a further disadvantage because tools, materials and shipping are more expensive.”
She points to the inspiring work of Janelle Wawia, a self-taught artist
from northwestern Ontario who traps her own furs and leather.
The food goes into the community to feed community members...bones are used for tools...
and the fur is used for whatever is being made out of the clothing
.
Evan Ducharme comments: My work is always going to be an ode
to those ancestors who did everything that they could so that my generation
and the generations to come after me, would have a better tomorrow.

Grassy Narrows Health Worse Than Other First Nations
Reported by The Canadian Press in Toronto: A new health survey by Grassy Narrows First Nation shows that decades after mercury was dumped into a river system, the physical and mental health of people there is significantly worse than that of other First Nations in Canada. With fewer elders in Grassy Narrows, it suggests that people there are dying prematurely. One-third of residents of the northern Ontario reserve have lost a close friend or family member to suicide which is 5 times an average rate documented by other Ontario First Nations...and 28% had attempted suicide...and more than double the rate of other First Nations. The study also indicated that adult residents over 50, who reported eating more fish as children had experienced poorer success in school and are 2 times more likely to have an annual income of less than $20,000.
A mercury expert at Universite du Quebec, says it is the strongest evidence
that links 'grave health problems to eating mercury-contaminated fish.
A paper mill in Dryden, Ontario dumped 9,000 kilograms of the substance into the English-Wabigoon River systems in the 1960's. The Ontario government has pledged to spend $85 million to remediate the contamination of the river.

Thanks to one of my readers for the following bit of humour:
Mom, Why Did You Call Me My Name?
An Indian boy goes to his mother one day with a puzzled look on his face. “Say, Mom, why is my bigger brother named Mighty Storm?” She replied, “Because he was conceived during a mighty storm.”Then he asked her, “Why is my sister named Cornflower?” “Well,” she said, “Your father and I were in a cornfield when we made her.” He then asked, “And why is my other sister called Moonchild?” The mother replied, “We were watching the moon-landing when she was conceived.”
Pausing, the mother said to her son,
Tell me, Torn Rubber, why are you so curious?”

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr...June 4, 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Toronto Strong

Centred in a colour drawing is the stately CN Tower ~
pointing proudly through a billow of white cloud into the pale blue sky.
At the Tower's base are 6 red tulips on one side and 4 on the other side, erectly blooming atop verdant-green lush leaves springing from a base of yellow-centred lavender-toned flowers.
This representive drawing by MacKay of the Hamilton Spectator
needs no further explanation.
(Close your eyes and envision it)
This picture is worth more than a thousand words!

Weep for Toronto, but then Stand With Its Citizens
April 23, 2018 will go down as one of the darkest days ~ perhaps the darkest day ~ in the history of Toronto. Never in living memory, has Canada's biggest metropolis experienced the horrific and indiscriminate violence that hit from out of the blue on Monday, when the driver of a rented van embarked on a 3-kilometre rampage along a sidewalk that left 10 people dead and 15 others injured.
Words seem an inadequate response to something
so momentous, terrible and terrifying.
What can be said with certainty, however, is that this cruel attack on people simply going about their daily lives will fill us all with grief, shock, incomprehension and finally, resolve.

Sorrow comes first, and it is for the innocent lives lost and damaged, for the searing pain felt by so many people and the pain that will linger, not only with the survivors but their families and friends.
We weep for them all.
Next comes the shock that this atrocity happened in Toronto, which by any standard, is a vibrant, global city with a laudably low crime rate. Toronto stands as a model of how a diverse, tolerant citezenry lives, works, plays and thrives in harmony.
(The foregoing is The Hamilton Spectator's view.)

Erma Brombeck says there is a thin line that separates
laughter and pain...comedy and tragedy...humour and hurt.

Norman Cousins' encouragement: The tragedy of life is not death ~
but what we let die inside of us while we live.

Cartoonists Capture Public Mood
Their work depicts sadness of events, outpouring of compassion.
Halifax cartoonist Michael de Adder says he was simply trying to find
a small bit of positivity
with an image that has garnered national attention
for its depiction of recent tragedies in Toronto and Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
The cartoon, published in the aftermath of Monday's van attack in Toronto that killed 10 people and injured 14, shows 2 boys in hockey sweaters sitting on a bench, sticks by their sides .
The boys, one wearing a green and yellow Humboldt Broncos jersey
and the other wearing a blue and white Toronto Maple Leafs sweater,
have their arms around one another, supportive in crisis.
The reality is, I'm just happy to perhaps, in a small way, add a little bit of positivity in a very negative situation so that's all I'm trying to accomplish with that cartoon,” de Adder said.
(Written by Keith Doucette ~ published in The Canadian Press)

Bruce MacKinnon's Humboldt cartoon ~
depicts the provinces and territories as a group of red-shirted hockey players
coming to the aid of a green-shirted Saskatchewan player.
The slumped player has his arms around his closest neighbours ~
Manitoba and Alberta ~ who are supporting his weight.
The thing that stands out about the story, aside from the obvious sadness, is the outpouring of compassion of Canadians,” he said of his inspiration for the drawing.
(Bruce MacKinnon (cartoonist for the Halifax Chronicle Herald)

Canadians Care!
Whether Humboldt, Saskatchewan or Toronto, Ontario,
we must all be STRONG for our fellow men who are severely injured or killed.

A tweeted message re the Broncos expresses best ~ Canadian sentiment!
It is hard to find a flag that isn't flying at half-mast in Saskatchewan
as the province mourns the loss of 15 people
after the SJHL Humboldt Broncos' bus collided with a truck.
Sympathy, well-wishes and cash donations are pouring in to the small community
from across the country and the world.

God bless Darcy Haugan for being an incredible mentor and coach
to young hockey players and prayers for all their families to cope with
their immense loss,” the Western Hockey Association wrote on Twitter.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...April 27, 2018
Your thoughts appreciated: mbairdkerr@bell.net or inezkate@gmail.com

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Success of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

From St. John's, Newfoundland to Haida Gwai, British Columbia and Cape Dorset, Nunavut,
Aboriginals and northern people and communities across Canada have success stories to share.
Community-driven efforts improve the lives
of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal individuals and families.

The history of Canada's Aboriginal peoples is rich and diverse.
Their history, art, traditions and culture have shaped our past ~
and continue to shape who we are today.”
(Statement by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau)

Before contact with Europeans, Indigenous peoples educating their youth through traditional means:
participation in cultural and spiritual rituals ~ skill development and oral teachings. Today, through eduction policies, they are re-intigrating traditional teachings, providing more culture and language-based support to enhance and improve the outcomes of Indigenous children in the education system.

It's been a long road! Several colleges and universities in Canada today provide an array of post-secondary education programs open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

Strengthening Aboriginal Success
We the Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) are committed to work together to achieve success for all learners ~ so that the lifelong process of realizing potential is within the reach of all Canadians.”

Aboriginal refers to the 3 groups of Canada's Indigenous Peoples:
First Nations ~ Metis ~ and Inuit.

In my writing today are reports about recent successes locally of their progress.

Hail to the “Chiefs” for a Day!
A delighful photo in today's Hamilton Spectator depicts “Hamilton Police chief, Eric Grit, speaking with five Grade 6 students who won the oppotunity to be “Police Chief for a Day” through an essay-writing competition. The students were greeted by the 'Chief' before given a tour of Central Station.
They were taken to Ancaster to meet the city's mounted police, before wrapping up their day at the Mountain Station. From left to right, the lucky students included: Angelina Smeets, Zainab Syed, Isabella Ramalli, Justice Umelo and Cedrina Morris.

Hundreds of People Gathered at Liuna Station ~
on Tuesday morning to celebrate the 43rd annual Hamilton Community Prayer Breakfast ~ an event that fosters a caring, peaceful and inclusive society. This year's keynote speaker was Nate Leipciger, a Holocaust survivor, author and educator. The breakfast also heard from newcomer students with inspiring stories who are making a difference in the community.
Student speaker, Hope Mbouyl is in Grade 12 at St. Thomas More.
Her family fled the Congo and, via China, came to Canada where she now flourishes.

Abdifatah Mahdi-Mohammed stood out as a speaker. The Grade 12 student at Orchard Park Secondary School emigrated from Ethopia in 2008. He has been recognized for his extensive volunteer commitment with CityKidz as well as being an all-round contributor at his school, participating in sports, leadership and volunteer activities.

The keynote speaker, NateLeipciger captivated the audience with his talk about his life as a Holocaust survivor. Born in Chorzow, Poland in 1928, he immigrated to Canada with his father in 1948. After attending high school he obtained a university degree. Leipciger remains a commtted leader in the Holocaust education movement.
Theme for the meeting: “Praying for a Peaceful Society.”

Afghan Technology Activist Blazing Trail for Girls
Tevia Moro (The Hamilton Spectator) reports, “Roya Mahboob got the tech bug when she walked into an internet cafe at age 16. “I knew it wasn't appropriate for girls to go into the internet cafe,” she said, whose hometown is Herat, Afghanistan ~ but listening to her brothers and cousins talk about it, piqued her interest.
Seated at a computer, the world of technology, communication and information
opened up. I was really fascinated,” recalled Mahboob, now30.
So she followed her passion, eventually blazing trails as Afghanistan's first female tech CEO, despite the barriers and risks of her patriarchal, impoverished and war-ravaged homeland.
Mahboob is one of 10 luminaries that McMaster University
is celebrating with honorary degrees.
This will be Mahboob's first honorary degree ~ an engineering distinction!
She's now CEO and president of Digital Citizen Fund, Digital Citizen Brew and EdyEdy.
In 2013, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people
in the world for building internet classrooms in her homeland.”

Trailblazing Indigenous Women
Sally Simpson has been compiling a list of Indigenous Female Firsts.
Natalie Paddon (The Hamilton Spectator) reports: “It was 2011, and after her daughter left home, Simpson gave up a 6-figure salary, a house in downtown Toronto and an 80-hour-a-week job in event marketing to go back to school. While studying at Wilfred Laurier University's Brantford campus, she took a course on Indigenous women and was tasked with a creative way to honour them. Simpson, who now lives and works in Hamilton, decided she would write biographies, creating a collage of Indigenous women born in Canada and were the first to pave the way in various professions.

Through her research, she discovered Dr. Mary Jane McCallum, a Cree woman who started working as a dental assistant in 1973 before returning to school to become a dental nurse, a dental therapist and earning her doctorate in dental medicine in 1990. She would be flown into northern First Nations and Indigenous communities in Canada as part of a mobile dental unit. In December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed McCallum an independent senator to represent Manitoba.”

Canadian Indigenous Female Firsts
First to hold a teacher's licence: Dr. Elsie Charles Basque
obtained the licence in Nova Scotia in 1937. The Mi'kmaw woman
was also the first licenced teacher in a non-Indigenous school
First to win an Olympic Medal was Angela Chalmers. The Sioux woman won a bronze medal in 1992 for the 3,000 metres.
First to become a heart surgeon was Dr. Donna May Kimmaliardjuk
in 2017 who is Inuit.

Sally Simpson graduated almost 5 years ago, but her list is still growing ~ now reaching No. 164 and includes the First Canadian Indigenous woman to become an elected Chief of a First Nation. Her list also includes a flight attendant and to be depicted on a Canadian stamp. 1992 was the first time an Indigenous group, which included a woman, was invited to go to the World Culinary Olympics. They took home the grand Gold Medal.

Edith Monture's Many Accomplishements: Darrell Doxtdator from Ohsweken recently wrote about this significant Indigenous woman. “Pte. Mary Greyeyes was the first Indigenous woman to officially serve in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1943..she served in uniform. Not only the first to become a registered nurse, she was also the first Indigenous woman from Canada to serve in the United States military. Edith broke barriers for Indigenous women in the armed forces and regarding federal voting rights. After the U.S. entered the First World War in 1917, Edith volunteered with the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Before leaving for the battle front, Edith returned to Six Nations. She received ceremonial Mohawk clothing as burial wear in case she died overseas.
Edith was stationed at Base Hospital 23 in Vittel, France,
treating soldiers injured in gas attacks and trench warfare.
She often walked across battlegrounds looking for wounded.
Edith became the first female Status Indian and registered band member to gain the right to vote in a Canadian federal election. (Indigenous women, as a whole, could not vote federally until 1960.)”

All people can Benefit from Knowing How Amazing Indigeous Females Are!
They're the fabric of our society and deserve to be acknowledged and held up for celebration.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...May 15, 2018