• Carving

    Moving to Vancouver a half-dozen years ago from Toronto I found a city where, to my shock, Indians weren’t just down-and-outs on downtown street corners but actually people with homes and families and jobs. In my neighbourhood there are two homeless Natives, brothers, Danse and Frank, who are there every day, dishevelled but not drunk, spending their time mostly making wood carvings. I was impressed that there could be quid pro quo, not just spare change, so I started to buy some of Dance’s carvings. Over the years we’ve gotten to where we chat when I see him, and I try to help out when he has problems, like the time the police took his tools claiming his Olfa knife was a weapon.

  • Playground

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    And the reason why I thought of bringing it up was because in that time I had no concept of really anything to do with First Nations issues. They were just kids on the playground with me. And we just played and we were in that space. And then now, a year, about a year ago, I met the same person in Port Alberni who I hadn’t seen literally since elementary school and we were there in Port Alberni for a reconciliation walk. Continue reading “Playground”

  • All Calm

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    And we hit that part where you just go into the cove and then it was just all calm. Continue reading “All Calm”

  • Learning To Be Together

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    So it transformed my understanding of what a university could do and could be. It transformed my understanding of who I was as a teacher. I began to see that there were different ways of approaching students, of being with students that involved a different kind of a world vision, a way of being in the world and a way of showing honour and respect between peoples. Continue reading “Learning To Be Together”

  • Close to Home

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    With my position with the Inter-Tribal Health Authority, we offer ophthalmology to First Nations community members throughout Vancouver Island. Continue reading “Close to Home”

  • Authentic Contact

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    And truly try to fully integrate and recognize indigenous people as who they are, the founders of this nation and possessors of values and ideas that would truly do a lot to make Canada the great nation we try for it to be. But again I think ultimately it comes down to if real progress is to be made, if real reconciliation is to be made, it takes real authentic contact between peoples instead of thinking of each other as different or being separate. I think a lot of the barriers, a lot of the problems, a lot of the issues would fall apart if people just sat down and got to know each other in a more meaningful way. Continue reading “Authentic Contact”

  • What’s that got to do with it?

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    We would be refused service, we would be thrown out of stores. Continue reading “What’s that got to do with it?”

  • Storyteller

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    What I was told by my grandfather is that, pre-contact, there was a man that travelled from village to village here and he claimed to be the son of God. He travelled and when he left our villages, he told the story that he would come back for us again. Continue reading “Storyteller”

  • Medicine

    I was out in the woods with my friend, Ed (he’s Tsleil-Waututh). He cut a piece of bark off a tree and told me to chew it. He had long hair that mostly hid his face, but behind his hair I could see that he was trying to suppress a smile. When I refused to eat the bark, he started laughing and said “Good. Because we call that plant Indian Ex-Lax.”

  • Witness

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    My story is, I was brought up in a foster home since I was five years old, and my foster mom fostered kids from all kinds of nations… Continue reading “Witness”