Ottawa, Home to the Country’s Finest

Miranda Claire Photo NDRAMA 2019 - Damon Karli Laval Xavier
The group in the Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario for NDRAMA 2019 (Photo credit: Miranda Claire)

By: Damon Hunter

During the days of April 23 – April 26, I was in Ottawa – an area scattered with jaunty, new personalities. Among this group (of which I once lived alongside), I met highly creative, motivated individuals. These ‘individuals’ included teenage Ojibwe language teachers, dancers, and the esteemed Canadian MP Anita Vandenbeld. Laval Namaypoke (the Mazina’igan’s Youth Engagement Coordinator), and Xavier Ranville (a past contributor) had also partaken in the experience by my side.

MP Anita Vandenbeld's Office - Ottawa trip
MP Anita Vandenbeld’s Nepean office in Ottawa, Ontario (Photo credit: office staff member)

During a three-day trip to my old city, Ottawa, Ontario, I was invited to attend NDRAMA 2019 and MamawiTogether as a ‘special guest’, though not initially planned. The whole thing was generously funded by TakingITGlobal through one of their offered travel grants. Even after an unfortunate, costly series of events they’d gladly upped the budget for us. A very charitable organization; co-founded by the ever-so-kind Michael Furdyk, whom I had the pleasure of ‘co-coordinating’ the trip with.

During my day attending the NRAMA 2019 Youth Conference at the Carleton University, I met Theland Kicknosway – an old childhood friend and neighbour who’s now a respected hoop dancer and public speaker, interestingly enough. We had both recognized each other’s names prior to meeting over lunch-hour. From “Do you want to come to my birthday party?” to speaking at the UN and hosting largely-recognized runs. Certainly an interesting situation.

Speakers such as comic book writer and author Jay Odjick, CBC Radio One host Rosanna Deerchild, and a few other eccentric figures attended, providing their life stories with undoubtedly thought-provoking morals in the auditorium.

The day following, I was scheduled to attend MamawiTogether at the University of Ottawa.

Before that though, I had the pleasure of visiting the on-campus CHUO-FM radio station. Xavier and I promptly received a tour of their workplace from a cheery figure named Mickey, who introduced us to a small-but-full room containing an almost monumental CD music collection. Shelf-after-shelf of 1990’s-2000’s underground tunes flooded the room. Next door to this was their recording studio, where Xavier and I both recorded intros to the show following the welcomed appearance of Darren, CHUO’s indigenous-focused radio host.

Shortly after our brief introduction to campus-radio we then directed our feet to the actual event: MamawiTogether. My time there was recognized a hundred times more than it was during NDRAMA 2019 – not that there’s a competition. Unknown people frequently approached and congratulated me on a personal level, providing much-appreciated support. If I remember correctly, I left that night feeling irregularly self-determined. This was my last full day in Ottawa.

The following day, my group and I readily arrived at the airport, set to board our plane to Winnipeg – home to the closest homebound airport capable of lengthy domestic flights.

The stay was great and the string of events within it, twice so. The two conferences welcomed my presence with an unexpected “special guest” title, though I didn’t speak. I screened a short version of my documentary thanks to co-creator Karli Zschogner’s cross-province editing and timeliness and met up with familiar faces in-between hour-to-hour busyness. All in all, it was an unintentionally perspective-altering experience and was, without a doubt, very interesting business. I hope to visit again soon – or travel elsewhere, who knows? “We’ll see”, as my signature phrase goes.

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Rez Life

By Virginia Loon

This reserve is better since the last story I wrote. Usually, I’m always busy doing something else or focused on school. I really love the reserve how it is now, rather than the way it was before. There is still bullying around but not as much as before.

But can’t anybody start activities for youth on weekends? I always see kids bored, walking around, or trying to vandalize.

Potholes in Naotkamegwanning

By: Laval Namaypoke

Our community, Naotkamegwanning FN, has been dealing with tricky roads for a long time and they will always be around due to unaffordability and other factors. Over time, most of the community’s members and regular visitors have been able to figure out the pothole hot spots – which makes it less bothersome.

The employed group that officially repairs the community’s potholes is the Operations & Maintenance crew. Though sometimes community members take time out of their days to fix the pothole problem themselves, they only provide a temporary solution. With the help of the O&M crew and community members, we do our best to ensure safe and smoother passage into our great community for visitors and our fellow community members. They always do a great job and they always make the roads smooth as they can be. Those people are always thanked and very appreciated for the repairs on our roads.

How I Became a Jingle Dress Dancer

Photo Credit Ozaawaa Paypompee
Okima poses for her sister over winter in her new jingle dress (Photo Credit: Ozaawaa Paypompee)

By: Okima Paypompee

When I was nine years old, I decided to learn how to dance pow-wow. I saw a lot of people around me dance and it made me feel happy inside, but I was so shy. I asked my mom if could ever do that too and she said it was up to me and my own decision.

About a year later, determined to have my own, at a pow wow, I asked a man if I could purchase  this beautiful blue and pink fancy shawl dress. He told me it was $200 but I did not have that amount. Although, after some discussion with his wife and my dad, he agreed to trade with my dad his painting of a wolf and the moon.

I was so excited. I began teaching myself, whether through youtube videos or focusing live when women and girls danced. Fancy Shawl dancing, a highlight in pow wow competitions, is considered a reflection of a butterfly as the girl or women moves her ‘wingspan’ and feet lightly. It takes so much foot and arm coordination. Ever since I started dancing, I fell in love with it.

For years, I travelled with my family to pow wows, competing, receiving from fourth place to second place. Delighted for that moment, I felt my years of practice was paying off  when I received that second place win in the 2016 Grassy Narrows pow wow.

But, I didn’t want to just stop there. I wanted to keep learning. I wanted to dance jingle dress as well.  I loved the colours, the presentation, and the sounds of the cones jingling together. When I danced fancy shawl, I was still so shy, worried what others think. But I didn’t want to be shy anymore.

On my own, I began practicing the dance, preparing myself for the jingle dress dance. I began asking around of where I could purchase or have a jingle dress made for me but the costs were too high for me.

Then, on the first day of Shawendaason’s first annual cultural camp in October, Rolanda Wilson happened to announce she was selling a jingle dress she made herself. I went over to ask her and I was delighted to be able to purchase this beautiful blue, orange, yellow, green and pink dress with copper jingles.

I was so excited, so proud to be able to purchase it with my own money I saved. Rolanda suggested I dance with it at the end of the camp’s pow wow at the Naotkamegwanning roundhouse. Learning about Naotkamegwanning’s origin to the jingle dress, discussed at the camp made me even more excited to have this dress of my own. After the grand entry, I felt the feelings of shyness leave me, dancing counterclockwise beside the people I knew.

Being a jingle dress dancer means a lot to me because I love showing the skills I have learned. From now on, I want to show others how proud I am.

Like with learning fancy shawl and now jingle dress, I want to show my family and friends that I can learn on my own.

 

Mentorship is the Key to Learning and Growing

By: Isaac Kavanaugh

Isaac Kavanaugh 14
Roland White drafts ideas for the group (Photo credit: Isaac Kavanaugh)

Earlier this month I attended a conference dedicated to youth of treaty three dedicated to the importance of mentorship in college or university.

Six of us high school students from Whitefish Bay attended the Grand Council Treaty Three youth mentorship conference held in Fort Frances at the La Place Rendezvous Hotel on January 11 and 12.

One of the things that stuck out to me was a presentation by Dr. James Makokis from Saddle Lake First Nation. He introduced himself in his language which is Little Boy Drum (Anishanabe name). He talked about his Cree background and how the Ojibway and Cree culture and language are similar, just taught differently and how the language is said. He also talked about the Alberta Jasper Park mountains and how you can see the marks left from the Creator and the great Nana Boozhoo.

Uniquely, Carol Easton the Fort Frances Tribal Health Unit gave a presentation about sexual education. During the presentation they talked about how to get tested and how the Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) are all different, how they affect the body, and how to receive treatment.

The next presentation was about human trafficking and how this sexual exploitation is happening around us. Speaking about trauma and survivors, they explained how one can recover from such a monstrous act with the help of support workers and seeking help. They explained that the main spots for human trafficking takes place in Fort Frances ON and Thunder Bay ON.

They did a demonstration on how young girls get caught by the traffickers. To explain, she set up a profile of a little girl (aged thirteen plus) and within twenty minutes that profile she made as an example got 35 friend requests on Facebook from older men, she also said that traffickers will use language like “I can help pay your bills”.

On the final day, they asked us to write down our insights and how we felt. Asking what we would like to see at the next conferences, many of us across the different nations said language and culture. When asked to share from our table, many of my peers asked if I would speak but I told them that I cannot always be responsible for them but to speak for themselves – that they have their own voice and experiences.

Isaac Kavanaugh 19
Corban Crow speaks for his table (Photo credit: Isaac Kavanaugh)

Corban spoke of our table’s suggestions on the next conference locations including Kenora and Winnipeg. Baibombeh teacher Roland White spoke saying he was happy to see youth engage in wanting to see more native language. He also recommended that the next time youth be split up so that they can meet each other better.

Isaac Kavanaugh is a Grade 11 student at Baibombeh Anishinaabe School.

Whitefish Bay Predators Win Shoal Lake Tournament

 

WFB Predators Jan 18 to 20 Shoal Lake Tournament (Photo Credit: Rod Crow)

By: Rodney Crow

Our Whitefish Bay Predators won the Men’s Hockey Tournament in Shoal Lake from January 18 to 20. It was hosted by Stewart Redsky. We played our first game at 10am Saturday against Pikangikum and we beat them 9 – 2. Our next game that evening, we beat Long Plains 6 – 0. Our third game we won a close one 3 – 2 against Shoal Lake Flyers. Then we met up with Long Plains again in the championship game where we beat them 5 – 4. We were exhausted playing all weekend but somehow managed to win. The last time we were in Shoal Lake was 5 years ago and we won that tournament too with 7 players.

Our team is: Goalie: Everett Cowley, Defencemen: Mario Gauthier, Jamie Mandamin & Dave Crow. Forwards: Rhyse Mandamin, Eli Paul, Maverick Blackhawk, Damien Paypompee & Rodney Crow. (This was NOT an oldtimers tournament!)

London! Paris! Rome! The Baibombeh Anishinabe High School Travel Club

Travel Club members Adam Skead and Ireland Bird with her mother Leigh Green at first fundraiser Bingo December 10, 2018 at Baibombeh Aninishinaabe School Gym (Photo Credit: Xavier Ranville)

By: Marietta Patabon

The Baibombeh Anishinabe High School Travel Club is open to students enrolled in grades nine through 12. In May 2019, a group of 10 – 12 students and four chaperones will take a nine-day educational tour of three of the oldest cities in the world: London, England; Paris; France, and Rome, Italy! The tour was set up through EF Educational Tours Inc. at www.eftours.ca with expert travel consultants & tour guides that help every step of the way. Each student is currently working on fundraising ideas to help cover the full cost of their travel expenses.

As of January 2019, students should have already made two payments and are still fundraising in order to reach their goal. All students are currently working on their passport applications to ensure that they are prepared to travel.

Bingo Dabbers at Travel Club’s First Fundraiser Bingo December 10, 2018 at Baibombeh Aninishinaabe School Gym (Photo Credit: Elena Kejick)

To date, the travel club will already have hosted two merchandise bingo’s as well as one Christmas raffle. The first bingo was held on December 10th, 2018 and raised a total of $700. The second bingo was held on January 13th, 2019. This bingo did not get the turnout the club had hoped for. However, the bingo carried on without any profit gain. The Christmas Raffle gained a total of $2,066. Students and families have also taken to individual hockey pool’s, and mini draw’s.

Travel Club’s First Fundraiser Bingo December 10, 2018 at Baibombeh Aninishinaabe School Gym with food canteen (Photo Credit: Elena Kejick)

Here are some upcoming events the Travel Club will be hosting:

Merchandise Bingo, Monday, February 11, 2019 at Baibombeh School. Doors will open 6:30 p.m. Stay tuned for the Poster and list of Prizes. An announcement will be made soon for the next BIG Raffle with excellent prizes and where to purchase your tickets. Another fundraiser for the club is a cute one, candy gram sales at Baibombeh School for Valentine’s Day, orders can be made at the school. Lastly, the travel club will be at the Family Day Pow Wow, a canteen and a menu will be posted via Facebook.

Miigwetch for all your kind donations and support towards our Baibombeh Anishinabe High School students.