Posts in Category: Anishinaabe

Feature Friday: The Stunning Leela Gilday

Rescue

We’re absolutely in LOVE with this new video from Leela Gilday and the creative geniuses over at Artless Collective. I’ve had the honour of knowing Leela and admiring her warm, fierce, kind and creative soul as a friend. She made a connection with my son in particular, when he was but a wee baby and he’s adired her ever since. She was his first crush, I’m pretty sure! His favourite song/video used to be, “One Drum,” but now he has something new to his YouTube playlist.

The song, “Rescue” is one of many vocally sublime, earthy feats you can find on her newest album, “Heart of The People.” Last night a grand collection of Indigenous artists gathered for the JUNO awards in Hamilton, ON. and Leela was up for Aboriginal album of the year along with our friends Digging Roots, Crytal Shawanda, Tomson Highway and Tanya Tagaq. Tanya took it home with her earth-shatteringly brilliant album “Animism”(congrats!) – and yet – the celebration continues to be about them all. The comraderie and geniune respect and love they all have for one another is truly inspiring and lesson to many of us who get caught up in these sorts of award shows.

Press play and marvel in this visual and sonic artistry, sure to provide some excellent vibes for your Sunday! (Yes, we’re late in posting this week’s FF. Such as life.)

Feature Friday: Anishinaabe Renaissance Kwe – Sarain Carson Fox

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Sarain Carson Fox is one of Canada’s most innovative, up and coming multi-disciplinary Indigenous artists. A proud Anishinaabe woman and Midewiwin Society member, (the traditional Ojibway Medicine Society), this is a kwe who believes that we connect as Anishinaabe people through our traditional medicines. Since 2012 she has made it her personal mandate to include our youth in all the work that she does in one way or another. She splits her time between her professional dance projects and teaching and sharing dance with youth; primarily at-risk Indigenous youth. 

Feature Friday: Nick Sherman

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Serious keeper right here. For your ears. I’ve been a fan of Nick Sherman since I first discovered him as the kind young man who, when touring through my home town, performed at our neighbourhood block party. He’s been working hard and captivating audiences ever since, he became a father and executed a rather successful Indiegogo campaign for the production and release of his upcoming sophomore album, “Knives and Wildrice” due out this May.

He in fact hosted a, “Knives and Wildrice” podcast on Indian and Cowboy for a little behind the scenes action sharing what it’s like to record an album. Expect candid documentation of life on the road and at home as a touring musician, who is doing it without major label representation. All 10 episodes are now available to stream for free online and they’re quite entertaining and compelling!

Nick is an Ojibway singer-songwriter originally from Sioux Lookout that often gets described as the ‘Nish John Mayer.’ Which, in my humble opinion I think does him no justice. For starters, he’s not a douche…and well, I’ll just let you be the judge of his musical mojo. 

Feature Friday For The Lovers: Introducing Digging Roots’ Single “I’ve Got it Bad” [VIDEO]

For The Lovers

When Raven and ShoShona, of Digging Roots, approached me to work with them on a music video for their song, “I’ve Got It Bad” … I was both terrified and honoured. Yet, as it goes with many things in my life, I decided to abandon fear and dive in. It began with Shoshona and I writing the concept. ShoShona wanted to experiment with the idea of not taking themselves too seriously so I presented her with a series of tongue-in-cheek treatment ideas and we hashed out many different concepts and story-lines. As is often the case, our original concept was a much longer story. But, as also is often the the case, we didn’t have endless funds at our disposal so we reigned shots in to utilize who and what we had to work with. Which, from a professional prospective; was a stunning well of creative professionals of which to draw from anyways.

From there, Raven, Doug (the D.O.P, co-director, editor and my husband), Sarain Carson-Fox, Shona and I just went for it. We decided on a storyline of, learning to love yourself. How do you tell such a story without being cheesy? Comedic relief. Over five days, we shot tons of footage in Longboat Key, Florida. Even when Shona was stung by a stingray on the third day, she kept going!

This video is truly a labour of love. Our children, ranging in age from 2 to 18, all helped. My mom and Shona’s mom helped and together we were able to have fun, work hard and put together a really charming and FUNNY video. Our actress Sarain was a dream. Such a great sport with fantastic comic timing and to top it off … she’s gorgeous! Her character tells the story of how a woman who thinks she’s in love, finds what she was looking for in herself instead. In her darkest moment, she sees herself and saves herself from her own heartache. She is, in essence, her own prince charming.

To be honest, those five days of production helped me forget how much pain I was in from the Lyme Disease that was infecting and attacking my body. That’s when you know you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing.

Thanks to Digging Roots for having faith and thanks to Doug for spending so much time on this project.

I hope you enjoy it!

Four Direction is The Seventh Generation

 

QMS Project

What does that mean? 7th generation is a term used to describe today’s Native youth, who are the 8th fire rising. I firmly believe that it is the Indigenous youth of today, led on a path so brightly burned by our elders…who will be the ones to induce the change in our communities and how we survive, succeed and are perceived/treated nation-wide. Outside of our communities. The road is long and the work is never-ending. I myself tire of it. Tire of the endless ‘innocent’ and ‘well-meaning’ questions. Of always having to hold grace in the face of ignorance. Definitely tired of the outright hate and racism.

Our children; the youth of today —they are what give me hope.

This winter, the Quinte Mohawk School in Tyendinaga partnered with arts-education organization Darkspark to conceptualize, record and release an EP of songs written entirely by Grade 8 students. Thus far, in what they’ve rolled out to promote their official release; has moved me and surged new hope into my veins. This class decided to write about the issues they face as young Aboriginal teenagers hoping to inspire awareness and create change within their community and country. They’ve decided to call themselves Four Direction and their EP ‘The Problem’ will be released on March 10th.

If DarkSpark is a name that sounds familiar to you, you may remember me mentioning it a while back when sharing a music video featuring the incomparable music prowess of DARKLARK. DarkSpark and DARKLARK, two hugely separate feats that straddle all that the team (D’Ari Lisle and Melissa Larkin) behind both — wish to do in this world. In making a difference to inspire change and as music/arts professionals. They’ve been releasing teaser videos with clockwork precision this week, showcasing some behind-the-scenes footage, candid shots and a lyric video (The Problem) for one of the songs from the album!

Check them all out below and do them (me, yourself) a solid and check out the blog/website and Facebook page below. Make sure to leave comments…encouragement is everything to these bright and brilliant young stars singing for change. You can pre-order the album as of noon yesterday and all proceeds of the EP will go directly to The Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women’s Fund.  Not only should you buy the album because it’s for a worthy, underrepresented cause…you should buy it because you love good music and lyrics. The kind that gives you goosebumps and makes you think. Makes you proud. More aware, more humble and inspired.

Women In Film and TV: On Creating Content That Represents Women In The Three Dimensional Fierceness They Deserve

It’s been a year since my first feature film, as producer, Empire of Dirt premiered at TIFF (The Toronto International Film Festival). So much has happened for this little film since then, including a theatrical release in Canadian cities, play on Air Canada, iTunes and Rogers On Demand. All great platforms that I’m grateful to have been showcased on.

But, I have to say that some of the most exciting times for me and this film have taken place on the festival circuit. It has travelled around the world and I’ve accompanied it to some. (These days I don’t travel as much as I used to because I want to be with my kids as much as humanly possible.)

Trevor + Selena Got Married: Part One

There are many things that I could share about our wedding; from the love and support that came pouring in from all directions to help with every little detail and DIY project, (in advance and in the very hour before), our traditional Midewiwin ceremony on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay just down the street from our home and our (questionably – we’ll link to some service reviews down the road) fabulous reception.

It was a day – and night – that we’ll always remember as being remarkable in it’s wild journey, yet final serene moment – that brought is walking through the Eastern Door to honouring our central and third fire. To honour our love, our relationship, our children, our family and let go of any pain from the past.

It was in said wildness of the day that as each love-filled, hectic moment continued, that I tried to savour and ruminate in what I un-folding – but, truth be told – as most brides expereince supposes – my mind was racing and my hands were in a myriad of projects to be finished in time. I definitely wasn’t at the spa getting my make-up and hair done, sipping champagne. Which is fine. I wanted to do a (mostly) DIY wedding and that’s exactly what it was, with everyone we love and who loves us, helping (as if they had a choice!) along on our (my?) quest.

So.

When I received our wedding pictures last night I took pleasure in re-visiting our day, which is the point really. Everyone loves wedding photos – they are a visual, time-less testament and I am deeply grateful to our dear friend Ratul Debnath of Image Pros Photography for lending us his expertise. He is a kind and generous soul that has a place at our dinner table, in our hearts and in our family forevermore. (Thanks dude, for being you.)

We have A LOT of pictures so I’ve decided to break things up into two parts, today’s pictorial is all about the ceremony, beginning with some behind-the-scenes action in our home.

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INSIDE MOCCASINS AND CONCRETE: THE URBAN NATIVE STORY

Invisible Minority.

That is how “we” the Native population in Toronto, are referred to. There are 80,000 of us yet we go unnoticed.

It is for this reason, that I do what I do as a filmmaker and storyteller. I believe in platforms. I believe in the power of storytelling wherever possible. When we share stories we find our common ground.

The documentary Moccasins And Concrete is a collection of stories of a few of us who would fall into that “invisible minority” category. I didn’t make this film, but I participated in the creation of it. The filmmaker, Bobby Brown, did a wonderful job in a very limited time. The first time I watched it, I bawled my eyes out. I related so deeply to the piece my sister Tamara wrote for the intro; it hit home.

I was also hit by the story that Gabrielle Skrimshaw tells. So many of the details from the personal stories highlighted just hit so close to home. I suppose I still have a lot of grieving to do. Grieving for the injustices still being committed against Indigenous people right here in Canada and grieving for those who came before me.

I suppose I believe that harnessing platforms to tell these stories will somehow bring people closer to the truth. I believe that and that is why I continue to produce and participate in telling my story whenever possible. You never know. It MIGHT just change someones mind.

Below is the promo video for the doc…now you can watch the whole film on CBC’s website!

Click for the full feature length below. I look forward to your comments!

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DIY DREAMCATCHER ORNAMENTS

One of my most favourite things to make! For a quite a while I made and sold dreamcatcher baby mobiles and over the years I’ve become slightly obsessed. Dreamcatchers of all shapes and sizes, using various natural, repurposed and purchased materials. This tutorial specifically shows dreamcatchers as holiday ornaments and gifts for friends. However, the process is universal for a number of different dreamcatcher styles, whatever the theme or occasion.

For larger hoops, I use young red willow branches (easy to bend), or older, drier branches soaked in a tub of hot water to become pliable. For the smaller ornamental style dreamcatchers, I use brass hoops that you can purchase at any craft store. I’ve even seen them in some dollar stores.

One of my favourite presents to give friends and family are handmade ornaments that I made myself, peeps who are really into holiday trim and decorating just love that action! This year I started making a bunch of different smaller styles to gift as unique sets and medium dreamcatchers for rearview mirrors on the dash of cars or with bells on the tassels to hand on doors! I’m also making a couple of larger ones for certain individuals on my list to hang in their homes or over their beds.

I started making them back in November and one I got into a groove they’re easy to make in the evenings while watching Netflix and winding down after a long day. I like to have a lightweight food serving tray, or tea tray (I have a few cheap ones from Ikea for couch crafting), to keep all of my materials organized. I even made a (cheesy?) DIY video of the weaving process. You know you want to see that, right? If in the very least to make fun of me, no? Be kind, it’s my first DIY vid. Dreamcatchers have and always be a well received gift, I hope you enjoy making and giving them as much as I do…

IF YOU WERE WONDERING ABOUT HOW TO APPROPRIATELY DRESS UP AS A NATIVE FOR HALLOWEEN…

In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Elsipogtog First Nation.

You Don’t.

Who am I to be so bossy? Nobody really, just a person entitled to their opinion. Just as those of you who really, really need to don a Pochahottie costume, a Mexican sombrero or geisha garb are free to do so…

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