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Spoken Word defence of The Orenda on Canada Reads

This year I'm defending The Orenda on Canada Reads. I opened with a spoken word defence. Check it out here...

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Nelson Mandela: Human Touch

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What I remember most about the day I shook hands with Nelson Mandela is not the firmness of his grip, but rather the power of his presence. In 1998, the world-renowned freedom fighter visited Toronto to launch the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund Canada. Before the public launch of his charity, the former South African president and his wife, Graßa Machel, took time to meet with a group of First Nations people. Most were Grand Chiefs and politicians, but somehow I managed to luck out with an invitation. Before Mandela came to meet with us, we stood around a nondescript conference room, joking...

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Canadians call on Feds to #HonourTheApology

For Immediate Release Canadians from many cultural communities call on Feds to #HonourTheApology to Residential School Survivors Unity across faiths and backgrounds in response to recently revealed “nutritional experiments” on Indigenous people WINNIPEG, MB (07/22/2013) - At noon on Thursday, July 25 at venues across the country, Canadians, newcomers, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples from all walks of life and religious denominations will reflect upon the impacts of Canada’s residential schools in a national moment of silence. In response to University of Guelph historian Ian Mosby...

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The Frank and Kevin Podcast

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I recently had a chance to hang out with two friends, Frank Deer and Kevin Lamoureux, who also host one of my favourite podcasts. They talk about a lot of Indigenous issues in general, and Indigenous education in particular. They're both very smart and pretty funny, so check it out in the iTunes store or on the web! We had a really good chat, which they split up into two episodes. Check it out: Part 1: Part 2: We discussed education, language and overhauling the Indian Act, among other things (including which kind of running shoes I prefer). They also honoured me with a Frank...

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Losing lives worth living

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The following was originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press on May 9, 2013. Sean Hunte was a young man who was just starting to realize his potential: he was viewed as a youth leader, he worked at a North End drop-in centre and, even though he was only 18 years old, he had already begun helping people. His close friend Alyssa Ziolkoski, 20, says, "Sean had a huge impact on my life and honestly I will go as far as to say that he broke me out of my shell and let me be me again." We will not know how far Hunte could have taken these gifts. Two weeks ago he took his own life. Ziolkoski's...

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Taking aim for the Riverton Rifle

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The following column was initially published in the Winnipeg Free Press on February 28, 2013. "We the undersigned put forth his name, to the Hockey Hall of Fame..." Those words wove their way through the halls of the esteemed institution of hockey lore in Toronto on Feb. 23. John K. Samson, best known as the frontman for indie rockers the Weakerthans, led a group of 25 people who sang the chorus as they hand-delivered a submission addressed to Hall of Fame chairman Bill Hay. Whose name did they put forth? That of the Riverton Rifle: Reggie Leach. The lyrics are classic Samson: taking...

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Declaration of Dedication

Idle No More has created a tremendous amount of energy and passion in our community. We desire solutions. While the politicians and leaders have a role to play, the long term change we want to see must start with us, as grassroots citizens. I drafted this declaration to outline some of the principles that guide us. If you agree sign it. It's also a good classroom exercise. Students and classes could use this as a basis to discuss what are the important values they would like to see to guide them as we move forward. Then they might like to draft their own declarations. Without further ado... Download...

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Strombo + Round Dance

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Here's the videos from a very fun appearance on Strombo Tonight:

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Miigwetch Chief Spence

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Ahow Ogichidaakwe Theresa, nimiigwetchiwiyin. Aazhaa kigiigichiminochige. Kidaagiigiiwe noongom. Gegoo chaaniminoken. Gigaminoayaamin. Kidaagiimawadisaag kidaanisag nongom. Miigwetch ndikid. [Translation to follow] To Chief Theresa Spence, I am writing to you to tell you that when you break your fast and end your hunger strike there should be no shame in your heart. You should hold your head high, for you have done a good thing for our people. Our Anishinaabe people have a word “Ando-bawaajige”, vision quest, which refers to the ceremony where we fast in order to seek a dream. Our sister...

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Canada’s future: Let’s be divided no more

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The following is an op-ed column jointly authored by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy and myself. It was originally published in the Globe and Mail's print edition on January 11, 2013. One halcyon day at the University of Winnipeg last October, we stood across from each other in a bond of fellowship: one presenting the other with a sacred Anishinaabe pipe. Elders had requested this ceremony as a way to build bridges between the indigenous and non-indigenous communities. To answer the obvious first question, the pipe is loaded with tobacco. To answer the obvious second one, the pipe itself represents a communion...

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