maamiikwendang – be interested, be appreciative

zhaagnaashag maamiikwendang

the canadian people are interested, are appreciative

on saturday, i was invited by a local artist, chris turnbull to come read some poetry. ngii zhaa kemptville for freedom to read event at the north grenville library with ndaanis, grace. it was a small group of people. i shared some poetry from wild rice dreams and cv2. i also facilitated a workshop on haiku using anishaabemowin using the aanii, wiigwaaso-mitig graphic and extra kidwenan referring to the natural world. with our finished haiku we then wrote it on a piece of wiigwaas. ngii maamiikwaabndang zhaagnaashag / i was amazed by the canadian people who experimented & embraced anishnaabemowin.

the river brings back to life / break through the ice surprised / take off boots thank you by ryan hreljac
the breath of life on the land / mother earth many thanks / birch tree thank you by meagan glenn
that bird / crows gaa, gaa, gaa / the crow song by me
work in progress using tetraset on birch bark paper

the way i approached the freedom to read mandate was to share certain poems like going beyond being indian and she takes care of strawberries because i use anishnaabemowin and talk about the history of colonialism and its negative impacts. yet here i am in a library speaking my language, living in an urban area, sharing, celebrating and also reminding zhaagnaashag about our shared history of indigenous knowledge. it’s important to note that my daughter was with me and if this was a hundred years ago that wouldn’t have happened. also, a hundred years ago and more, so many of people spoke many world languages and many indigenous languages. now, it’s customary to speak only one language. i believe that’s a disservice to our children, grandchildren and all those waiting to be born. i want to celebrate diversity of voices and languages, and connection to our cultural and immigrant roots. it’s important to remember your ancestry and celebrate that we are here.

ryan hreljac and i, north grenville library, march 4, 2017

i want to acknowledge the good work by the ryan’s well foundation to bring clean drinking water to people outside of canada. ryan’s well started by ryan hreljac as part of school project to raise money for a well in uganda, africa. this was when he was 6 years old in 2001. ryan shared how he wants to inspire children and youth that they can have a huge impact in this world by getting actively involved, bringing people together, educating others, and creating community. he is definitely inspiring!

Since our beginning in 2001, we have improved the lives of more than 892,725 vulnerable people through the construction of over 1,166 community-led clean water projects and 1,245 latrines. These initiatives have reduced the risk of severe and debilitating diseases and even death, particularly amongst young children.

i asked him if he considered building wells in first nations communities here in canada. he said, ‘yes… because you want to help people where you come from but there’s policies in place by the government of canada that work against these types of initiatives.’

i find that mind-boggling that here’s this amazing foundation that brings clean water to other countries and if they want to do similar projects here in canada, there’s too much bureaucratic baloney to get through in order to provide clean water. ryan is also stumped by this level of bureaucracy that the canadian government has created. and so this is how it goes as the water problem continues, and it’s not just in first nations communities but also happening in smaller rural communities too.


this is why everyday is important. everyday be thankful for water, for the land, for food, for trees, for animals, for fish, for birds, for the air we breathe, and for each other. we can’t take life for granted.

celebrate who you are today! celebrate each breath. keep writing. keep educating yourself and sharing your knowledge. keep moving forward.

peace wordpress fam. xoxo