Bake Bread, Make Friends – article up at New Trail magazine

This summer, I had the delightful task of researching and writing a little article for my alma mater,  University of Alberta. It’s the home page opener at their site, and I couldn’t be more chuffed. Our Daily Bread Now, I’m off to bake bread.

Life + 70

So, the word in trade negotiations today is that the new agreement for North America, whatever else it may entail, affirms copyright as extending for the life of the author, plus 70 years. Life + 70   I find myself wondering what that means for Indigenous communities, where the concepts of copyright are stringent in their…

A Table, A Room, A Coffee, A Cat: How the Writing Half Lives

We all know the two stereotypes of how writers live: starving in a Dickensian garret, or swanning about in a mansion, courted by the power elites. However, in Canada, in 2018, how do real writers really live? What’s ‘home’ for us? What follows is an extremely non-exhaustive exploration: I asked some working writers. Their answers…

terrible words

Originally posted on Why the 3E Senate is a Silly Idea:
The photo above was taken by paleoartist Emily Willoughby in 2015. It shows Harvard fossil MCZ 4371, the foot of a specimen Deinonychus. Go check out her website of paleoart here. I was a fairly typical kid of my generation; I loved to read about…

Coming to Canada: A Gardener’s Meditation, Part 1

A garden is a long work. Yes, you can turn soil, plant seeds, harvest in that same fall. In that sense, to grow a garden is a simple task, unskilled labour; weed a little, watch the water, wait on the season, and done. Gardening, though, is more than this. It is the communion of human…

Being Here, Now, Part Two

So, I was saying I  met Ram Dass? That is to say, in the library of the good people who invited me to live in their house (and made it seem I was doing them a favour by house-sitting), among the books was this dark purple one, called ‘Be Here Now.’ I’d never seen anything…

Being Here Now, Part One

Long ago, in Mexico, I lived by myself for the first time in my life. All alone, in a traditional Mexican house, which closes firmly to the street, but opens into a courtyard, which ends at a rough stone wall, shared by several neighbourhood houses. I’d lived in that town for about half a year,…

Spirit Mothering

  I was 23 when I met my spirit mother. I’d buried my father and my older brother, gone to university, gotten put on probation, answered an ad that seemed the answer to my prayer for something meaningful to do with that year, some path that mattered. The path led to Mexico, to a teaching…

Keep on Dancing

Today, I’m watching this film: Dancing Around the Table My aim was just to show my kid her grandpa, there among the indigenous delegations; but of course, start watching, and it is remarkably clear that, despite what the champions of derivative, tragedy porn works like ‘Secret Path’ would have us believe, the truth has been…

O Canada: Our Home, and Native Land

Not that we haven’t got Indigenous language versions, made by Indigenous language speakers. That’s remarkable, really, considering how the government made it policy to try to exterminate our languages. My Ojibwe tongue was severed in my father’s generation. That those who have kept our languages love this country in spite of it all, enough to put into those the anthem of the country that engendered such a history of abuse against our families, frankly moves me to tears.

This level of love and enduring belief in the power of making a home here for all comers should be lifted up as one of the world’s great examples of humanity.

Unfettered: Good Night,Good Luck

This essay was written in 2016, when the Edmonton Journal cut its staff so severely, part of the Postmedia move to ‘consolidate’ newsrooms across the land.  I didn’t publish it then; an acquaintance who works in journalism pointed out that it was a raw moment for everyone ‘in the field’ and not the time for…

Tool Of God

Originally posted on Prairiepomes:
? It has been a long, dark winter. Today marks four years since the tsunami that devastated Tohoku, with its continuing legacy of nuclear refugees, radiation leaking into the sea, untold ramifications to come to us all. I pray that those who are responsible to act directly upon Fukushima have been…