Posts in Category: Indigeneity

Feature Friday: Tea and Bannock

1 Watch out now! When a group of seriously talented and intelligent group of Indigenous women form a collective of creative professionals, you KNOW it’s gonna be good.


Tea & Bannock is a blog collective featuring 7 female Indigenous photographers and multidisciplinary artists hailing from all over Canada, where they delve into ideas on identity, food, culture and community and what inspires them most. They desire to foster a space where pivotal behind-the-scene moments and reflection on all parts of the creative process can flow. One particular member of the collective, Amanda Laliberte is a client of mine. We found each other through the glorious 6 degrees of separation that is the internet and once again, I am fully enchanted by the relationships, the friendships …. the SISTERHOOD that coaching has afforded me. I fell in love with Amanda’s deep, honest way of sharing with me and her ability to trust in herself (and in me) so fully. So, when a few months later … she and her fellow collective members launched this wonderful collab of theirs, I was of course, smitten. I mean, it’s made up of all the stuff that inspires me, sets my soul on fire. The raw, real, magnificent beauty, culture, and heritage of land and story, where time has no boundaries … all of this embodies what I see coming to fruition here. That which only a lens can capture, unique to that of the individual in control. I love photography and what I adore even more, is when Indigenous women gather to create.

12744025_10154548549247977_5668137390142642095_n Amanda Laliberte for Tea&Bannock

From the Founder,  – Tenille  Campbell

I want a community, a group of women I can talk to about editing, and writing, and art, and what it means processing all of that through Indigenous eyes,” … “I want a place where we lift each other up, and support one another.

2010_campbell_2_web Tenille Campbell for Tea&Bannock

Tenille reached out to Indigenous women; creative professionals she followed on Instagram and Facebook. Women with who weaved magic through their art and their words. Women who inspired her. And thus began the journey to creating this collective of Indigenous women, holding each other up. Visual artists, supporting each other. A safe place to talk about the work, interpretation and inspiration behind their projects.

“The idea of helping others and working with others has always been a part of Indigenous ideology when it comes to business and artists, I find. And this was a structure that I wanted to cultivate within tea&bannock.

That’s where mentoring came into play. All the main artists of the blog are talented, creative individuals with different skills. They have so much to offer to those around them. Mentoring was a way to reach out and help others reach their potential – and this could be done in many, many ways. From a one-on-one meeting, from assisting in a shot – to teaching basic how to in an editing program, to listening and offering constructive pointers.

Each main writer has an opportunity and obligation to reach out and mentor an aspiring artist/community in some way throughout this year. It can be done on a personal one on one level to something as wide reaching as posting a YouTube tutorial. The creativity and opportunity is there to give back, and I’m excited to see how we all take advantage of that.”

7670_1249367595076647_743550416838939848_n Jessica Wood for Tea&Bannock – Their Spirits Live With Us

12716350_10154548557517977_4429738817343468653_o Caroline Blechert for Tea&Bannock  – Land of Luxury

12764776_10154548551172977_317797325443900268_o Joi T. Arcand for Tea&Bannock

img_8384_web Shawna McLeod for Tea&Bannock

12705246_1242531242426949_3628661724196058404_n Doreen Thunder for Tea&Bannock

12743781_10154548547547977_595693915208152602_n (logo by Joi T Arcand)

You’re gonna want to take your relationship with them next level and connect though the obvious suspects…

Access Your Awesomeness: Women’s Winter Weekend Retreat

A friend and client of mine is doing amazing things as a holistic practitioner and in the realm of work that I do as a Heath and Wellness coach, I’m inspired! Have you heard of Access Bars? I myself don’t know nearly enough about it, but I am eager and hungry to learn more. The science behind energy medicine is something I can get behind!


For those of you who are local and just so happen to be divinely feminine, you are cordially invited to a retreat that Amanda Trudeau of ATC Wellness and her Access partner Darlene Bast-Tindall of The West End Yoga and Energy Therapy Centre, are hosting in February at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre just outside of Espanola, Ontario!

Ask yourself, when was the last time you felt like you were in the flow and all was well with the world? What if you could have more of that? What if you could learn to operate from Choice rather than Circumstance? What if you could experience more Joy, more Ease and more Freedom in life?

Join us for a weekend (that’s right I’ll be there, hopefully in a capacity that I’ll be sharing more about later! Really excited!) of exploration and discover simple yet profound tools to transform your life, relationships, health, body, career, and more.

PicMonkey Collage
When was the last time you played, laughed, giggled, tried something new or had a child like sense of amazement? We invite you to move your body, play with colour, get crafty and creative. I’m not going to give away all of the details, but be prepared for fun workshops, speakers, deep learning experiences and delicious food!


Feature Friday: Wherein Many Lucky Stars Are Thanked

PicMonkey Collage
3 years ago I began feeling sick. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t put a finger on it. As time went on, I got worse. One day I woke up and my legs were balloons and I couldn’t move. I stayed this way for one year, it was devastating. I spent endless hours in the hospital, at the lab and at the doctors. Endless tests and no results. No one could find anything. Finally, one year ago, I found a naturopath who saved my life. The next year would prove to be the most difficult. Treatment made me more sick. Somedays I felt like there was no hope. It made me sad to look at my kids and not be able to play with them. It made me sad to not be able to move and dance or even go to the park. I felt like I was slowly losing myself. Today, I am walking again. I can pick up my children. I can be intimate with my husband. I am starting to feel like myself again. As I look back, the past few years is very fuzzy. There’s a lot of darkness. All of this to say: My husband PLEX has just dropped his first music video from his new album. The song is called Lucky Stars and it is dedicated to me.

“My wife, the love of my life, is the centre of our family, our anchor. Watching her struggle with Lyme Disease has been difficult to say the least. I made this video as a tribute to her. To remind her of all the great moments we have had during this dark time.”

Watching it for the first time was overwhelming. He managed to capture some beautiful moments of our family over the past few years. It is a great reminder for me that even though I FELT like was disappearing, I was very much here and still am. Being loved, feeling loved, is such good medicine. He might think that I am the anchor of the family, but I couldn’t have gotten through any of this without his support and love. I, too, thank my  lucky stars.

Please watch and share.

Special Call To Action: Help Reshape Humanitarian Aid Work

top It was mid-summer, 2012. Spirits were high as Trev (my husband for any new readers) and I were at Dundas Square for a performance he was about to get down in (as the bassist for the band Digging Roots at the time) for Aboriginal Day festivities at Dundas Square in Toronto. About an hour before he was to hit the stage we received a phone call informing us that his/our dear friend, Steve Dennis had been kidnapped. Steve is a humanitarian aid worker, and since 2002 he has been assisting to provide aid in some of the world’s most devastated areas.

At the time of his kidnap, he was deployed with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. Steve and four of his colleagues were attacked by armed men, shot and taken with force as hostages. One of them did not survive. None of us can begin to fathom what this might have been to go through. I just know on the other side, in receiving this horrible news … that time stood still. We had no control. There was nothing we could do to help Steve. We didn’t know if he would survive. Thankfully, he did. But thousands of other aid workers in similar, tragic events, have not. And yet thousands more who have survived physically, require care and rehabilitation that they are just not receiving.

As anyone could image, the repercussions of this tragedy have had ongoing effects on him that you or I could not imagine. He brought his concerns to the NRC and received next to NO ongoing support. In the years since Steve has made discoveries concerning the NRC’s level of accountability and level of duty of care to it workers as an organization in general. Not just regarding what happened to he and his colleagues. So he hired a lawyer in “pursuit of answers about organizational accountability and support for my injuries” as Steve states in the essay of his Fund Razr campaign. Why is he seeking to raise funds? Steve hopes to help re-shape aid policy and procedures to the level that reducing the risk of violence requires! And to take proper care of those and their familes who are suffering. As one might envision, in knowing what a huge organization that the NRC is … the bevy of high rolling lawyers they have at their disposal. Steve is but one man in his plight for fair and [much needed] call-to-action for change in aid and thus far has used his own resources and time to cover legal fees.

There is so much more to the story and I urge you to read what Steve has to say and watch his video on his Fund Razr page. The change he is trying to manifest will benefit the future of ALL aid workers. He is asking us to share his message … like that of so many other aid workers, and to discuss what duty of care means to you, and make a small donation any way we that we can.

This has been difficult to write as I want to share ALL of the details with you, but I also beseech you to visit his funding page. Get the full scope of how crucial the shift towards safety and accountability for aid workers that Steve is petitioning for. Share his story on your social networks (use the hashtag #ReShapeAid) and get involved in the discussion.

Words From Trevor

When Steve first told me of his decision to start working with Médecins Sans Frontières, I saw immediately what a great fit it was. Steve is a level-headed, fair and pragmatic engineer who brought a talent for making things out of nothing to places that needed them most. His good heart and wisdom was recognized by ex-pats and nationals alike and he earned respect unanimously. He has always had a mind fit for figuring out processes and logistics and MSF, and later the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC), saw that and put it to very good use for a long time. There was always knowledge that working on these front lines brought risk, but there were plans in place to provide a working environment that was as safe as possible. Steve was forthcoming with his thoughts on where he saw weaknesses in security procedures and other safety concerns. Indeed on some assignments, he was the man on point to enforce best practices to ensure the safety of the staff, ex-pat and national, on the project. He had the experience and the ability to disseminate his knowledge to the organizations he was working for. And he did.

In 2012, his camp was stormed by armed men, resulting in the death of his friend and driver, Abdi Ali, and the kidnapping of him and 3 others. The camp was being run by the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC), and they were absolutely negligent in their responsibilities towards the safety of their staff. There were a slew of security measures that had been well discussed and thought out, yet were simply ignored or dropped. And after the kidnapping, the NRC did nothing to take responsibility for their actions nor make reparations in the field for their mistakes.

The kidnapping was a turning point for Steve. I know that he has struggled with PTSD and has not been, and may never be, ready to return to the field. But, Steve is a man who sees justice as a responsibility and he is standing up against the NRC to make them accountable for their failing response to the kidnapping incident. His voice echoes the unheard voices of thousands of aid workers who ask only that true efforts be made towards keeping them safe while they do important and harrowing work in the field.

Steve is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I am grateful that he is and will be around to watch my children grow. And I am proud of him, and absolutely support him, for taking this stand. His actions must have a positive effect and will, in all likelihood, save lives.

best man

My Best Man

Feature Friday: Lehi Thunder Voice Eagle

The artist
True renaissance men. It’s always rather grand when we come across one such human being, isn’t it? Someone whose creative and artist brilliance sparks a fire in you so strong you are immediately inspired and uplifted. Even if you aren’t an artist, the pure form of eye candy and sould fulfillment alone is enough to launch your spirits and let your mind soar.

This is why it is in our very genetic make-up, the fabric of our being(s) no matter our race, sexual preferences, belief system(s) or taste in music and art … this is why we as humans gobble art in all of it’s vast and glorious ways every chance we can get. So when one finds a multi-disciplinary artist such as Lehi Thunder Voice Eagle Sanchez, one becomes an immediate fan-girl.

Lehi is Native American of the Diné (Navajo)/Totonac people. He was born in Ganado Arizona on the Navajo Reservation and grew up living off the land duing the summers and has become one of the world’s elite leading survivalist experts. Lehi has taken these teachings from the land, the ways of his ancestors and tradtitional methods of storytelling to modern day with a natural flair for capturing moments, natural light, composition and colour; as a painter, photographer writer, videoographer and graphic design artist.

Motivated by the therapeutic relief that art has within his personal practice, he describes putting a brush to canvas as supremely regenerative and cathartic:”being able to put a brush on canvas, or even doodle in a notebook helps me analyze and overcome anything within my life.”

Inspired by his upbringing, his culture and the way he see’s the world, his art is a reflection of Indigenous and wilderness perspectives. Lehi is also an accomplished graphic designer and is quickly becoming a highly sought after name within the video and photography industry. His photography has been featured on many blogs including buzzfead and for Bethany Yellowtaill.

As a wilderness survival expert, Lehi has (and continues to) helped thousands of troubled youth to get back on the right path through his work with his father Ezekiel Sanchez, one of the founders of the Wilderness treatment program, ANASAZI Foundation. (One of the leading programs in the nation for youth intervention and behavior modification.) At the young age of 10 yrs old, Lehi was put out in the wilderness to begin his training in hopes that one day he would follow in his father’s foot-steps. As ANASAZI grew and developed so did Lehi and his brothers. Each summer they would assist in helping “troubled youth” learn a better way of life. Through true basic principles of life, thousands of children had a life changing experience.

Currently, Lehi is living in Mesa AZ attending ASU working on his Masters in Business Management and assist in Trail Training and assisting in Field Directing at ANASAZI. And making kick-ass art of course, to feed his soul AND yours! (Lehi also happens to be engaged to one of my best-friends, who is an amazing multi-discliplinary artsist that we featured a while back!)

Confessions of a “Work-a-holic” Mom

Lightningcloud Jen Kids I’ve always worked a lot. Perhaps there was a time, for a long time, that I was a workaholic. Aspects of my life suffered because I put work first. I always struggled with that balance. Then my kids came along and the struggle to balance it all became harder than ever. The crappy thing about it is that I LOVE what I do. As a producer I get to imagine and create and work with talented artists and performers that inspire me. As an actor I get to perform and use it as an outlet to express a part of myself. I also work with youth, teaching and training and THAT is always inspiring and educational.

On the flip side, I love being a mom. I am very domestic and I love cooking and homemaking and having a family. I remember being pregnant with my daughter and feeling so lucky that I would have her a few weeks before a huge awards show I produce called the Indspire Awards. It was my third year of producing it and there was no way I wanted to miss a beat. Willow entered the world as a production baby. She was on her first flight at 2 months old, with me on site and I breastfed every chance I got. Free feeding and attachment parenting become challenging when you’re a working mom with a full-time job. But I felt good doing it all…

Feature Friday: The Stunning Leela Gilday


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


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


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!

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