On Land Acknowledgment in the Time of Climate Worries

Recently, I was privileged to address a gathering of the Society of Friends (aka Quakers), to offer perspectives on Land Acknowledgments. I was moved by their desire to ‘get it right,’ to engage with this new ritual protocol in a meaningful and authentic way; moved, but not surprised, given that the person who invited me…

In Residence

Well, I’m In-Residence now. Following in footsteps of many respected colleagues, peers and mentors, I’m the Writer-in-Residence at MacEwan University. A residency is so much more than a sponsored time and space for pursuing one’s own artistic goals, although that, in itself, makes a residency a wonderful thing. I’m being paid to obey my muse,…

Free – Graffiti6: Song Review, Years Later

Free running that bass up my spine while Jamie sings, heart in throat and the bells pulling i believe, falling, i believe “…hard to breathe when you’re not near” every one you ever loved walks streets and alleys full of young people seeking something inarticulate “I can’t live, oh, without you” and the city and the…

Another Podcast Up, at CBC

Here’s another great podcast series; this one’s about Indigenous languages. Each guest is interviewed about our relationship to/use of our Indigenous language(s), and asked to share 3 words for the audience to learn. Have a listen! First Words There is so much more I’d like to say, and of course, so much more we discussed,…

Collage, Making the Cut, Cutting Up

Originally posted on SpectatorCurator:
Tristan Tzara, Dadaist poet,  famously advocated a “cut-up” method of composition, involving cutting out words from a newspaper and drawing them randomly from a hat to create a poem. Collage in language-based work can now mean any composition that includes words, phrases, or sections of outside source material in juxtaposition. With…

A Constellation of Support

Today seems a good day to post this little article from 2015. A Constellation of Support  It was a rare pleasure to meet the various people I interviewed for this, and I came away feeling uplifted. The thing is, nobody does anything in this world without support, whether we see and acknowledge it or not….

Death Tango for Three: the Podcast

Last winter, Argentinian born poet and art historian Luciana Erregue-Sacchi invited two writers – myself and the fabulous Nermeen Youssef – to join her on a quest, to encounter, perform and respond to Paul Célan’s masterpiece, the Todesfuge/Death Tango. Over the course of an incredible night, we shared our hearts and minds, resonating like bells…

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…

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.

Beginning and Beginning and Beginning

  Today, they took the statue down in Kjipuktuk, or Halifax town in Mi’kmaki, mapped as Nova Scotia along the stormy Atlantic Ocean   Where did it begin? This need to raise up monuments to men who call for deaths of other men and women and children and ways and lay a bounty on our scalps…

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…