Posts in Category: Indigeneity

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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