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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Canadian Metis, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 4 of 4
1. The Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge (Canada)~ Entries Accepted Until March 31st

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2. Guest Post: David Bouchard on “Seven Sacred Teachings”

Seven Sacred Teachings by David Bouchard with Dr Joseph Martin, illustrated by Kristy Cameron, flutes and music by Swampfox (More Than Words, 2009)If you haven’t read our recent interview with Métis author David Bouchard yet, then head on over there right away! In the interview we talked only a little bit about his recent book Seven Sacred Teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman (More Than Words, 2009), which he co-wrote with Dr Joseph Martin, is stunningly illustrated by Kristy Cameron, and has an accompanying DVD with music by Swampfox, and for which Swampfox created seven flutes out of seven different woods, each in a different key.

David considers Seven Sacred Teachings to be one of his most important works to date. The seven teachings (Humility, Honesty, Respect, Courage, Wisdom, Truth, and Love) are universal to First Nations peoples, and are the strongest link between First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. Read on to find out more, for in this post David explains in more depth the background to this fascinating and ambitious project, which brought together six languages: English, French, Ojibwe, South Slavey, Bush Cree and Chipewyan.

The Aboriginal people in Canada have had to deal with many negative experiences over the past century and more: but one of the golden, shiny spots from coast to coast in our country is the spirituality that remains intact. If you go into any one of our schools, any school from coast to coast in Canada with Aboriginal kids, you’ll see posters or writings on the walls that refer to these teachings. Different people call them different things. Among the Ojibwe people they’re called the Grandfather Teachings, amongst the Lakota and Dakota people (who used to be called the Sioux), they’re called the teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman. Among the Dene of the north and their cousins the Navaho in America, they call them the Dene Laws.

But the teachings are very, very constant and I thought it would be wonderful to take those teachings and express them through art and in different languages in a top-quality book. So I started working on the project a few years ago. At around the same time, I came across a young artist, Kristy Cameron, a Métis of Ojibwe descent. I just loved her art, and I talked to her about doing the book with me.

In our culture, there are seven sacred directions – the four of the medicine wheel (East, South, West and North), and then Up, Down and Within our Hearts. Each direction has a teaching associated with it, a colour that we associate with that teaching, and a trait that we associate with the colour; each direction has an animal or a bird that we think of as being representative of that teaching. So I put all of that together and then I said, “Well, if we’re going to do this, we can’t do it on a cd as a cd’s too small, so we’ll have to do it on dvd. So the dvd has me reading the whole book in English and then in French; then it’s read in Ojibwe, Chipewyan, Swampy Cree and in Slavey. Those were the people I was

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3. Books at Bedtime: Jenneli’s Dance

PaperTigers’ current issue focuses on Canadian aboriginal literature.  I’d like to tell you about a quirkily illustrated and humorous aboriginal children’s title called  Jenneli’s Dance by Elizabeth Denny, illustrated by Chris Auchter (Theytus Books, 2008).  Jenneli is a Metis girl who’s a bit different-looking than her classmates:

She had darker hair and skin and her eyes were an unusual colour. It was as if they could not decide whether to be brown or green.

Jenneli’s one joy in life is doing the Red River Jig — something she has learned from her Grandma Lucee who lives in the small town of Lakeside, Manitoba.  One day, Grandma Lucee enters Jenneli into the jigging contest at the Lakeside fair.  Jenneli is horrified.  Will she do it?  Is she up to the challenge?

What I liked most about this book were the illustrations by Chris Auchter.  There’s something about the ‘flavor’ of the drawings and the details presented that gives the story a feeling of contemporary aboriginal life.  In the illustration of Grandma Lucee’s living room, there’s a picture of Elvis Presley hanging on the wall beside a macrame plant holder dangling from the ceiling.   There’s a magazine on the floor by Grandma’s knitting chair called “Inquiring Minds: Elvis Sightings.”  When Jenneli chokes on her bannock on hearing the news that her grandma has entered her into a jigging contest, the two are sitting outside at a picnic table with a funny looking bison observing them with a large bird (possibly an eagle?) flapping away into the distance.  It’s a Red River sort of scene, all right, done with the right symbols but with a touch of humor.

If you want to read a good aboriginal children’s title to your child at bedtime, I’d certainly recommend Jenneli’s Dance.

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4. Welcome to the Poetry Friday Roundup!

The Secret of Your Name by David Bouchard, art by Dennis J. Weber, fiddle music by John Arcand (Red Deer Press, 2010)Yes, this week’s Poetry Friday is here and we’re very excited to be hosting for the first time. Please leave your links in the Comments Section below – I’ll be checking them throughout the day and updating this post.

My offering comes from David Bouchard’s recent book, The Secret of Your Name/ Kiimooch ka shinikashooven (Red Deer Press, 2010). David only found out about his Métis roots relatively recently. In this poem he addresses his Nokum, his Grandmother. There is apology and regret for all that has been lost in the passing years – but there is hope too, because now that he does know, there is still time to discover his heritage and to proclaim it to the world. The beauty of this poem is that it is very personal to David’s own heart but also speaks for many, many Métis today, who did not, or still do not, know of their First Nations blood. And look very carefully at the beautiful cover (although I know it’s hard in a small picture like this) – Dennis J. Weber has drawn together in this one image all the longing, regret and eventual harmony with the past that comes through in the poem.

I’m sorry that I cannot sing
The songs that were passed down to you
The songs you heard your mother sing
The songs that I should own…

I’m sorry but I cannot sing
I did not know so I did not learn
I have yet to hear a single song
Sung by a Chippewa…

But I will go and seek them out
Then teach them to my children [...]

Our family will come to learn
You were a Menominee.

The book comes with an accompanying CD, with narration in English by David and in Michif by Norman Fleury, and with accompanying music, played by David on the flute and the “Master of the Métis Fiddle”, John Arcand. You can listen to the English version, including the insightful Foreward, here, while viewing the stunning illustrations. Our current issue of PaperTigers focuses on Canadian Aboriginal Children’s Literature and features a fascinating interview with David – definitely worth reading!

And now for the feast of verse that is Poetry Friday…

Danika from TeachingBooks.net shares audio of Robert Frost himself performing his poem “Birches.” How exciting to share this poet’s voice and rhythm with students – and indeed for all of us to hear him! –

and Tabatha has another audio offering, with Maggi Smith reciting Matthew Arnold’s Mortality: what a combination! And she also has a little Alan Rickman bonus too!

Mary Lee, who is one of those awe-inspiring bloggers posting an original poem throughout this Poetry Month of April, has a beautiful poem today inspired by “something a child said to me at recess” – and it’s already inspired a poetry risposte in her Comments; I’m sure there’ll

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