Bachelor of Education Students Host Music Recital

 

I entered to drying coats, I left to drying eyes

After Danielle Richard and Jessica MacLean closed out the Bachelor of Education music recital with “Musical Theatre Boys,” I left and dug for a cigarette - whatever’d calm my nerves. I understand speed-walking out of St. James United Church a little after 8pm while fumbling with a lighter isn’t a good look. So, I decided against it. But after an hour straight with my hairs standing up, I needed a comedown.

The setting made sense. A cold and wet November 3, we huddled in the pews to keep us warm. Bunches of Education students mixed with family and friends. A few sniffles, mumbled chatter, jackets unzipping, awkward half-smiles to strangers.

“When’s it going to start? Isn’t it at 7?”

They appeared almost on cue, single file and well-dressed. Silence, a single sniff. Joseph Goodwin stood while the other three took their seats in the front row. Pianist sits, everyone’s silent. A stifled cough, “Oh jeez, I’m so sorry.” Silence again. Goodwin began.

Goodwin opened with Handel’s “Lascia ch’io pianga.” I’ve run out of adjectives for his baritone or the control he has over it. Jaw-dropping’s cliche, but accurate. And I sat full mouth mouth-breathing, everything about his work with the National Youth Choir of Canada and garnered acclaim made sense. As he hits notes beyond us, we just sit breathless.

Second, Lauren Siteman. Her frankness refreshes us. Siteman introduces her first piece simply, “It’s a love song.” Siteman’s talent too, is direct. Every note hit perfectly, every dynamic switched on a dime. I need to address something. Siteman, whether she knows it or not, sings honestly. I’m not sure how to describe it yet, but everything she sings I believe. It was a love song. Because for three minutes I somehow knew who and how she loved.

Third, Danielle Richard. In her second year of education, this was her first performance. Her voice control was absolutely terrifying. Goodwin and Siteman had each of us nodding, smiling, and gasping, but Richard had us looking around at one another with an awed, “Are you seeing this?” sort of face. 

Nothing surprises me about her background in musical theatre. The way she carries herself on a stage speaks for itself. I should note here as well that Danielle’s performance of “I’ll Be Here” brought a few people to tears. But not me though… absolutely not… not a chance. We’d always been told Danielle is incredible, then we heard her for ourselves and know it to be true.

Fourth, Jessica MacLean. Her stage presence is an extension of herself. Most of us cling onto some drab sense of self importance. Jess tosses all that trash out. She moves around the stage with intent one second, vulnerability the next. Whatever the piece calls for, she clicks into her performative nature and disappears. 

MacLean only returns after she’s sung the last lines of “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” once the applause begins, there she is. How she stays so expressive and fluid while hitting even the hardest notes perfectly, I’ll never understand.

A fifth member of the Education Recital, Stacia Findlay, was slated to perform but unfortunately pulled out due to an illness. Rumours are she’s an internationally renowned monster in her own right. I’m looking forward to her performance.

Another recital is in the works. Go see it. Whether it’s an email or poster, plan around the date you read. I entered to drying coats, I left to drying eyes.

 
 

The Spirit of Ovid Looms over Bauer Theatre

 

Theatre Antigonish presents an excellent production of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses

The spirit of Ovid loomed in Bauer Theatre starting November 8, the opening night of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses. A six-inch deep center-stage pool is host of Narcissus’ self-gaze, Phaethon’s hilarious conversation with a therapist and the powerful scenes involving Midas among Zimmerman’s nine myths inspired from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and others who wrote about Metamorphoses such as Rainer Maria Rilke. About a hundred people in attendance rose for a standing ovation after the surprise ending on opening night. 

There is no doubt that changing a work from poetry to theatre changes the experience of it. Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses is not a staging of Ovid’s literary triumph, as she goes beyond changing the medium through which Ovid’s saga is enjoyed. Rather, Zimmerman’s production borrows characters and stories from Ovid to create a more focused story about the changing power of love.

The tale unfolded on stage by Zimmerman is far from the one riddled by Ovid, though they are not entirely disconnected. In both fables, King Midas’ judgement is clouded by his desire for wealth. He similarly encounters a follower of Bacchus, takes care of the man, and is rewarded by the god with the power to turn all things to gold. This however, is where the two depictions part ways. There are many minor differences. As an example, Ovid’s Midas is an old drinking friend of Silenus, “When Midas saw the old man was Silenus - They had been filthy drunken good old friends - He ordered up a dozen rounds of drinks - Then more and more, and drank ten days and nights” (Ovid, 290). Zimmerman’s Midas does not know Silenus, but only speaks with him out of the possible prospect of profiting on the key to immortality, “Go on. Is it an animal? Even better if it’s an animal, we could breed them here. My god, the millions!” 

What is more important though, is how tragedy strikes. In Ovid’s version, Midas uses his wealth to order a feast but comes to the sad realization that he is unable to satisfy his most basic need to eat, “The feast laid out before him, he went hungry - And though his throat burned dry, no drink could wet it - By his own choice gold had become his torture” (Ovid, 291). Zimmerman morphs the misfortune entirely. Midas is surprised by his daughter who leaps into his arms and is, as his new power demands, turned to gold. Ovid’s honeyed words never even make mention of a daughter, or any family of the king for that matter, excluding a reference to Bacchus as, “His foster child in drink” (Ovid, 290). After their respective tribulations, the two writers similarly display a remorseful Midas who appeals to Bacchus’ pity and asks that he be freed of his once-desired condition. 

In each case, Midas is granted this wish by washing his hands in faraway waters. Ovid, not often being one to end a story on a happy note, ensures that the once-greedy king’s luck soon runs out. The next punishment Ovid envisions for Midas, Apollo changing the king’s ears into those of an ass, is entirely absent from Zimmerman’s interpretation. She opts to end the story of the king, and indeed the entire play, on a hopeful note. After a long absence from the stage, Midas returns to the spotlight. The king arrives at the faraway waters in the pool, and after washing his hands as instructed, he is freed from his gift-turned-curse and reunited with his daughter.

For Zimmerman, the story of the greedy king is the alpha and the omega. The far greater length of Ovid’s work allows him to explore a vast number of themes, love being one of many. Zimmerman finds ample space to express several ideas within love such as chaos and order, justice versus injustice, theology, and rebirth. 

Each of her stories represents some form of love. For examples, the beginnings of romantic love with Pomona and Vertumnus, the loss of love between Orpheus and Eurydice, the paternal love of Apollo and Phaeton, the forbidden love of Myrrha and king Cinyras, the self-love of Narcissus and of Erysichthon, and the different forms of undying love in Alcyone and Ceyx, Eros and Psyche, and Baucis and Philemon.

Salome Barker, an outstanding actress in the play, says, “The biggest take away that I have from performing the different characters within the play Metamorphoses would be the idea of change and transformation. The best way I can describe this is when I played the character of Eurydice. The opening part is the classic tale, on Eurydice and Orpheus’ wedding day, Eurydice is killed by a snake and must go to the underworld. In this version of the tale, she is devastated and wants to be with her husband. However, in the Zimmerman version she tells two stories, the second one being from Rilke. In this tale, death is so new to Eurydice that she forgets about Orpheus, and she does not need him anymore. She’s content with this new life. It was very challenging for me to portray this, going from loving Orpheus to then changing and realizing that she was okay without him.”

One who attends the play expecting to see a faithful representation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses will undoubtedly be sorely disappointed. Zimmerman’s play simply isn’t that, and it doesn’t try to be. Instead, Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses rents Ovid’s myths and interprets them in unexpected new ways, to create a theatrical parable about the transformative power of love. For those with a soft-spot for happy endings, and a stomach for tragedy, Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses is sure to delight. 

 
 

Dr. Phyne dives into urban renewal within Canada

 

StFX member Dr. John Phyne co-authoring a manuscript for publication in 2019 or 2020

Dr. John Phyne is a member of the StFX Sociology Department. He has worked here since 1989. 

Phyne has recently published an article looking at the Canadian housing authority during the urban renewal programs in the 1950s and 60s. His research for most of his career has been on the global political economy of the salmon aquaculture industry which he was involved in from 1992 to 2010. 

A short time ago, he collaborated with Christine Knott of Memorial University on an academic article titled “Rehousing Good Citizens: Gender, Class, and Family Ideals in the St. John’s Housing Authority Survey of the Inner City of St. John’s, 1951 and 1952” which was published in the journal Acadiensis. This article investigates how middle-class family ideals were used to relocate administratively defined “good citizens” from a multidimensional “slum” neighbourhood in St. John’s in the 1950s and 1960s.

I sat down with Dr. Phyne to discuss his personal connection to the article and his intrinsic motivation behind writing the article. During Celtic Week in 2011, Dr. Phyne delivered a talk about growing up in a largely Catholic neighbourhood. He stated that he grew up in a neighbourhood just west of the “central slum” in St. John’s and family on his father’s mother’s side lived in the “central slum” dating back to the 19th century. Most homes within this area lacked water or sewer facilities and many city centre households collected water from public tanks. Phyne was moved to investigate the area after his talk in 2011. 

In 2012 and 2013 he travelled to St. John’s where he collected archival and census data. As Phyne outlines in his article, the “central slum” was cleared in the 1950s and early 1960s as part of urban renewal programs that were sweeping Canada at the time. The goal of these programs was to match social housing with appropriate families and to commercialize areas that once contained housing. I asked Phyne about the relevance of studying an urban renewal program that took place over half a century ago to today’s understanding of affordable housing. He indicated that there is “Definitely!” a connection between then and now. For example, within the article he and his co-author discuss how state officials made their assessments concerning who was most suited for public housing. Similar to issues related to affordable housing today, in the 1950s and 60s there was not enough housing available to meet those in need. 

Many Western nations, including Canada, have a bias that favours individual home ownership. This accelerated after WW2 and is still strong today. 

Phyne made the observation during our conversation that while the majority of Canadians (about 65 to 70%) own the homes they live in, we still have a shortage of affordable housing in this country. Phyne suggested that public sector investment is necessary in order to solve Canada’s existing challenges in affordable housing. If the public sector were to step up at this time to fill this need, it would be the first major investment in this type of housing within Canada since the 1990s.

The “Rehousing Good Citizens” article is a great piece of investigative work and proves the power of passion behind great research and writing! This article is the second one published from Phyne’s research project. Prior to receiving funding for this research project (from the Social Sciences Research Council in 2014), Phyne published an article on the “central slum” that appeared in the interdisciplinary journal Newfoundland Studies in the spring of 2014. 

Phyne and his partner are also working on a book manuscript that they hope to complete by late 2019 or early 2020, so stay tuned!

 
 

There’s No Community in Extra X-Ring Tickets

 

What ever happened to generosity?

It’s hard to believe that it is somehow the end of November already. Wasn’t it just frosh week last week? You know what this means, X-Ring is less than two weeks away! It’s such an exciting time of year. All those countless nights in the library, submitting the assignment two minutes before the deadlines and crying on the phone with parents about how dropping out is imminent, have all paid off.

In less than a couple days, this year’s graduates will march up to the front of the KMC stage and pick up their coveted X-Ring.

However, the few weeks leading up to X-Ring are often some of the most stressful weeks of the year. 

On top of completing endless papers and assignments due by December 3, students have the additional stress of finding X-Ring tickets.

Each graduating each student is guaranteed two supersub X-Ring tickets, which might I add are not cheap considering the other costs that come along with X-Ring weekend, like the ring itself.

Once students have purchased their limit of two tickets, they have the option to purchase an extra ticket from students who have extras.

For the students who promised six of their family members a ticket to supersub, they are in for a costly road ahead of them.

Not only is it hard to come by a sacred X-Ring ticket, but if you do happen to find one you now must be willing to pay big bucks for it. 

The tickets are originally $25, yet I’ve heard of some people selling their tickets for more than $200. At this point in the semester, I do not know many students who have $200 lying around ready to fork out. Yet, desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ve seen people posting on social media that they will sell their first-born child, or an ovary, to get a ticket. These are jokes of course, but the desperation is evident.

It’s disappointing to see students who make it essentially impossible for their fellow classmates the chance to have their loved ones spend the day, if they cannot afford the ticket.

Some people will say it’s really smart and business savvy to up-sell the tickets, but if I’m being honest students who up-sell are jerks.

If you’re going to make it a competition and give the ticket to the highest bidder, at least make it interesting.

I mean come on, get creative, how about a race? Or a scavenger hunt for the ticket? A pie eating contest? 

Not only would it make this ticket frenzy way more entertaining, it would also save some students from a financial burden. 

Being a great human and selling the ticket for the original cost is a viable option as well.

To my fellow fourth-year friends, with only only a couple days left until X-Ring, I sincerely hope that all of you can get your hands on the X-Ring tickets that you need and celebrate the very special day with your loved ones close. May the odds be ever in your favour.

 
 

How to Survive a Wi-Fi Free Weekend

 

Just in case the StFX internet blackout happens again, here’s a guide to keep yourself occupied

In case you live under a rock, let me fill you in on what happened to StFX’s internet recently. Two weeks ago, StFX’s Wi-Fi and all services (Moodle, Mes Amis, etc.) stopped working. For four painful days, we were forced to avoid school work, instead of just avoiding it on our own free will. 

Despite the guilt-free procrastination, it was a pretty stressful situation that happened at a horrible time. The first weekend of November is often a busy time for students and teachers alike. All of us use the StFX services and do research on the internet. 

From research to streaming, if you don’t have Wi-Fi and have run out of data 24 hours after the blackout began (like me), you are going to be bored. 

Now that I’ve been through the long weekend of torture, here’s a list of four things to keep yourself occupied when living without internet.

One: Go through your built-in laptop games or phone apps. Do you remember when everyone was obsessed with playing 3D Space Cadet Pinball on the good old Windows XP desktop computers? Though that game isn’t likely to be in your current laptop, there’s always solitaire. You’d be surprised to find some of the simple, yet fun games that Windows still includes in their new laptops. We spend so much time using Wi-Fi that our computers without internet are full of untapped potential!

Two: Do some readings. I know I just said that no internet equals forced procrastination; yet, everyone has a textbook from a class that they have never opened once. If you lost track of where you’re supposed to be and can’t access the course outline on Moodle, just read the entire textbook. Read your textbook until your brain can’t process any more info dumping. Will binge-reading your textbook really be a productive way to get caught up in your class? Probably not, since close reading, reflection and rereading are essential for a critical understanding of the textbook content. With that being said, reading will make you feel better when not being able to do any online-based reading or research.

Three: Play some board games! And when I say “play” board games, what I really mean is ask your roommates and friends to get together. Since they most likely won’t have any board games, it’s pretty entertaining to just talk to your roommates/friends about all of their favourite board games that they, “wished they played more often.” Share campfire stories about how you ruined your relationship with your aunt due to a particularly competitive game of Monopoly. If you have no board games, then maybe someone has a pack of cards lying around. If nobody can remember the rules to any card games without looking them up on Google, there’s always the easiest card game – Go Fish.

Four: Stare at your wall and feel bad for all the work you haven’t done. No internet means that you have lots of time to think about all of those things your really should have done earlier. All those papers you should have started. All of that research you could have done but didn’t, because you were taking the Wi-Fi for granted. It’s not the most entertaining thing do to, but it’s probably the most realistic thing you’d be doing during an internet blackout.

If you do these four things, I guarantee you’ll waste your weekend, but at least it, “wasn’t your fault.”

 
 

Podcasts for Everyone

 

If you don’t have time to listen to a podcast, you’re lying to yourself

Do you find yourself unloading trucks in a warehouse on backshift? Do you go for long-numbing walks on the beach? Walking back to the apartment after evening class? Picking a friend up at the airport? Are podcasts still cool? Too many questions?

Here is a short introduction to an assortment of podcasts and shows. If you’re new to the podcast scene, don’t worry too much. Everyone may be talking about what episode of Spittin’ Chiclets they just listened to or what Joe Rogan last said on his show the other day. Material we hear on podcasts is becoming the latest “You know what I saw the other day on Facebook?” Listening to a show is our modern-day filler. If you have a spare 11-48 minutes on hand, why not subscribe to a new show or take a crack at a random episode on Audioboom, Soundcloud, Spotify or that purple-coloured app on your iPhone you may be neglecting.

New to this? Try your mom’s house. The podcast “Your Mom’s House” is hosted by comedians Tom Segura and Christina Pazsitzky. The couple will start a conversation on literally anything. Start here if you’re looking for a good prolonged laugh. There are over 300 episodes dating back to 2012, you should get to it.

If you like spewing interesting facts or if you’re looking for conversation starters at the kitchen table for the holiday season, have a crack at “Hidden Brain.” With topics ranging from North America’s Opioid Crisis to understanding the psychological forces of the #MeToo Movement, to the subject of compassion,to the evaluation process of personality test like the Myers-Briggs, you could learn about a range of topics.

If you’re checking your banking on the daily, trying to make a budget, afraid of your credit card bill, and spend a few too many bucks at the Pub more times than you’d like to admit, perhaps “Bad with Money with Gaby Dunn” or “Optimal Finance Daily” may tickle your fancies. Each episode narrows in on money talk and makes finances more understandable and more real. These shows break it down into digestible chunks for 20-something-year-olds to understand and appreciate. Finances are a real issue, and if you’re looking to take it seriously, allow yourself to listen to the podcast. That X-ring isn’t paying for itself.

Want more comedy? Stone two birds at once by listening in to the following two hilarious and simultaneously educational shows: “Red Man Laughing” by Ryan McMahon and “Métis in Space” with Molly Swain and Chelsea Vowel. The latter describe the show as “unapologetically indigenous, unabashedly female and unblinkingly nerdy,” and their statement is true. While sharing a bottle of wine, the two Métis women examine and exploit the misrepresentations, and the accuracies, of indignity in historical and contemporary science-fiction. Does Lilo & Stitch mirror some modern-day indigenous socio-political issues? Let’s pick apart Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a little while.

Ryan McMahon, also a host of the Canadian Documentary Colonization Road, sheds a light on the living-breathing cultural erasure that still exists today and the conflicts of the past, all the while making his audience keel over laughing. Maybe comedy is one of the many gateways to understanding the true meaning of reconciliation.

Lastly, though there are thousands more to mention, if you’re human, you may find this one particularly relatable. “Invisibilia” speaks to human behaviour and the many means we use to communicate, feel and think. What does it take for a community to organize a riot? How does one realize that they’ve been living in a bubble in society? How do social norms come to be? Some questions we never question until we take a few moments to hear more about them.

If you don’t have time to listen to a podcast, you’re lying to yourself.

 
 

Meet Kelly Ann Farrell

 

Farrell’s artwork for sale at the Tall and Small

If you find yourself rushing into 342 Main Street before morning class or if you have time to sip on a coffee while you study, be sure to take a moment to look at the walls. The ordinary warm cherry interior of the coffee shop is beautifully decorated with a smattering of colourful paintings. From beach scenes to portraits to depictions of houses around town, artist Kelly Farrell has taken over the Tall and Small with her dozens of canvases. 

Born and raised in Antigonish, Farrell has, for a while now, become a well-known artist and icon in her community. She is an active member of the L’Arche community in town and is currently featured on the artists’ page of the L’Arche International website. Farrell has undoubtedly made an impression with her work in her home community – and she certainly has our attention. 

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A member of Hearts & Hands in Antigonish, Farrell is a workhorse in the art studio on the corner of West Street and Highland Drive. Mentors Tina Angustia and Glen Mattie at the Studio can attest to Farrell’s work ethic and ability to motivate herself when it comes to her work. Angustia commented, “Kelly is always looking for what to paint next”. Smeared across the upstairs walls where Farrell creates her work are blown-up photographs of her subjects. These photos are strewn on her workspace, hanging on the door frame by her desk and serve as her primary perspective when she begins her projects. Along with painting, Farrell also enjoys photography and drawing.

When asked about her favourite part of working at the Studio, Farrell answered, “The people.” Farrell shares space upstairs with several of her friends and fellow artists. She signed, “The people are silly… there was a Halloween party where people made funny faces in a Photo Booth and people danced. Glam (her nickname for Glen) had a lemonhead.” It goes without saying, the everyday events in Farrell’s involved life are worth documenting. And that is what she does - so brilliantly well. 

Farrell’s art isn’t solely a vehicle for her talent in visual arts. It is also a means of communication. Her paintings are all snapshots of the beautiful memories she has, the people who mean the most to her, and the unforgettable places she’s been. While at the Tall and Small on October 25th for her artist’s Meet and Greet, Kelly signed about her variety of canvases on display. She picked up a couple paintings leaning on the west-most wall and signed, “When I was with my sister in Orlando, Florida, with palm trees… and kayaking.” Several of her paintings reflect her other interests and hobbies outside of making master pieces. “I like summer. I enjoy taking pictures, boats, biking, kayaking, the cottage, and spending time with my sister.” Farrell also enjoys some of the finer things like the rest of us. “I like pizza, playing pool, drinking wine and having tea (Twinning’s especially!) … [with friends and family].”

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Candidly, coming into the Studio to check out Farrell’s work felt like an interruption. Immersed in her work in progress, a painting of her brother’s new car, it almost didn’t feel right to take her out of her zone. However, as soon as she was asked to explain her love for creating, the list of reasons went on. As Farrell explained why painting makes her happy, she wrote out and drew her reasons. She paints a clear picture. Farrell’s constant running dialogue, in the form of fine art, will not be stopped. It is her way of consolidating communication, fond memories and emotion for others. Her art is a universal language we can all understand and enjoy on different levels. It is clear to everyone around her that more than anything, Farrell loves what she does, and this message is conveyed in each of her canvases.

 
 

X-Pride and Coffeehouses

 

Robert Chatterton on the LGBTQIA2S+ community in Antigonish

X-Pride’s very own Robert Chatterton generously took the time to be interviewed by Bailey DeEll. During this interview, we discuss his recent work with X-Pride and how he hopes it will affect the community of Antigonish. 

***

BD: How long have you been involved with the X-Pride society? 

RC: Since 2016, I began as a general member helping out with the events which lead me to have a leadership role. Later I became the president of the society in the 2017-18 year and have held the position since. 

BD: What lead you to join the society?

RC: Early on in my time at StFX I was physically assaulted because of me being gay. From this I realised the lack of supports available to those a part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, as well as a lack of community identity in general. My goal was to create a visible community for all students and to educate all students, especially those in first year, about the LGBTQIA2S+ and how to be an ally. 

BD: What kinds of events do you currently hold to promote education and community at StFX?

RC: Sex Toy Bingo is hosted at the Inn once per semester, it is designed to be a sex positive and queer inclusive space to educate people on sex, especially sex outside the heterosexual couple. Spill the Tea is a workshop based educational discussion around different topics that effect the queer community specifically, this year we have covered sexualized violence and coming out narratives. In future Spill the Tea’s we plan to cover gender and Queer Intersectionality’s: How you can be privileged and oppressed at the same time, among others. We also held National Coming out Day organized by Bre O’Handley, the Gender and Sexuality Diversity Adviser. We gave students the opportunity to fill out a message on various posters, each with their own writing prompt to support and identify with the queer community. We have also had two Awareness weeks, one for bisexuality and the other for asexuality. These two identities are not necessarily recognized and validated so we wanted to highlight them and publicly show our support for these communities. Also we hold community building events, such as Homoween Bowling, movie nights, board gaymes’ nights. We also host coffeehouses at the Tall and Small each month where it is open to everyone in the community, including those in high school and older generations, to have an intergenerational mingling of queer folk.  

BD: With the coffeehouses being held so regularly, how do you feel they are beneficial for the community?

RC: I think they are beneficial because they provide an assessable queer positive representation that I think this town needs. Being someone from a rural Nova Scotian town, I had no queer positive representation in my life, until I came to StFX. Because of this, I had internalized homophobia and didn’t come out until I was 20. With the coffeehouses, my goal was to create a visible queer positive space that anyone can attend, from high school students to senior citizens, that will build intergenerational community and shift the town to be more queer inclusive as a whole. Hosting these coffeehouses at one of our local coffee shops bridges the gap between the university and the town. 

BD: What are some of your future plans for X Pride this year that students and community members can look forward to? 

RC: On November 20 we are holding a vigil for our Trans Day of remembrance, in which we remember and honour all those who have died because of transphobia. January contains the events I am most excited to tell you about, it is our Pride Month at StFX and we will have different events to celebrate the multifaceted interests of the community. Some of these events include a queer X Talks, drag queen hosted Sex Toy Bingo, and the Nova Scotia renowned drag show “Priscilla, Queen of the Highlands.” While these three are the highlights of the month, we still host our regular events like the coffeehouse and Spill the Tea, but also events exclusive to this month like rainbow party, art night, among others. Lastly we organize a trip to the Halifax pride parade in July to have local Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) students experience a celebration of queer identity. 

For more on X-Pride check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and for other resources pertaining to the LGBTQIA2S+ community look for Bre O’Handley in the new offices on the fourth floor of the Bloomfield Centre, or contact her at bohandle@stfx.ca

 
 

Visible @ X Halloween Posters

 

Successful campaign or scary slip-up?

Students passing through the Bloomfield Centre in the past few months will have paid witness to the new Visible @ X advertising strategy: eight foot tall pieces of cardboard plastered with posters about consent. The first round of posters, put out for homecoming weekend, took to re-imagining popular StFX cheers to champion consent, boasting slogans such as “sex is dynamite, but only if there is consent” and “Go X Go, Go Sex Go.” 

From the Visible @ X webpage, “Visible @ X means zero tolerance for sexual violence of any kind” and that “consent is not optional.” The goal behind the posters follows that philosophy - to impress the importance of consent on StFX students, and to get students talking about consent by connecting it to relevant events and popular slogans on campus. To achieve this, Visible @ X has designed a series of different posters for different holidays and events on campus. The most recent round of posters features zombies, bats, and a haunted house for Halloween; but are zombies the only scary thing about these posters?

Despite the good intentions behind the campaign, feminist students and faculty are shocked and disappointed at the choice of slogan: “too drunk to consent, or zombie?” Comparing someone who can’t consent to a fictional monster makes light of an extremely important issue, and is particularly ignorant in wake of recent events on campus. 

First year student and activist Jenny Li is one of the many students to voice concern, and states that “in their attempts to lighten the subject matter, the posters trivialized sexual violence and did little to advance the education and awareness so vital to its prevention.” Jasmine Cormier, who has spoken up about the campaign on Twitter, agrees, “trying to make light of such a serious issue that students face every day isn’t what’s needed right now... comparing someone who’s heavily intoxicated/possibly drugged to a zombie just sends a message that this problem isn’t real or meaningful.” 

Other students, Grace Tompkins among them, don’t feel comfortable being in a space where posters such as this are being displayed. “The language used in them was extremely insensitive, and seeing 20+ of them plastered on a board in the SUB made me feel uneasy,” shares Tompkins.

Perhaps a bright side to this slip-up is that it has succeeded in sparking conversation about the importance of language in talking about sexualized violence and assault, as is evident, for example, on Twitter. Li adds, as well, that “it is heartening to see any effort made, by student or staff, toward the prevention of sexualized violence.” Progress isn’t a flawless process, but what is important is that we learn from our mistakes moving forward, and ensure that they aren’t repeated. 

 
 

Musicians in the Spotlight

 

Female musicians who hone their craft

St. Vincent - Actor

  ilovestvincent.com

ilovestvincent.com

Annie Clark’s Annie Clark, but St.Vincent changes. St. Vincent is her vehicle. Her 2007 debut Marry Me and 2017 release Masseduction polarize from one another in every way: tone, musicality, lyrical content, promotional material, general aesthetic, whatever you’d like. Marry Me’s off-beat brand of quiet, self-aware, and soft-spoken feminine energy acts as a warm hug from someone who smells interesting - I can’t quite pin down the spice or if I like it, but it’s warm and it has my attention. Masseduction drops the “good girl,” amps up the aggression and angularity. It smells like sex (check out the title track). 

So, I’d like to bring something in the middle, 2009’s Actor. Annie Clark spent much of the writing process listening to Disney scores. “The Strangers” opens Actor, beginning with the soft, whispered deliver that featured so heavily on Marry Me. I can see the dark Paris nights from The Aristocats, but it’s subtle. Two-thirds into Track One the pulse turns to a stomp, elephants begin to play trumpets announcing Prince John’s parade through Sherwood Forest. And then we’re done. 

Actor is a hallucinogenic trip wrapped in anything you’ve ever loved about Disney. While St.Vincent’s art changes drastically from album to album, this album may be the easiest to hold and the easiest to digest. The cozy nostalgia will catch you, but her sense of edge and danger may be more memorable in the end. After all, villains usually get the best songs.

Oathbreaker - Rheia

  deathwishinc.com

deathwishinc.com

This will be the most difficult listening experience you’ve ever had, no question. Oathbreaker’s 2016 LP, Rheia is an album of contradictions - one of my favourite recordings ever and I can barely survive the whole record. Caro Tanghe’s vocal performance is one of the best I’ve ever heard, and I hated every second of it. This record’s a behemoth, I’ll try to make sense of it.

Genre’s the hardest question. Oathbreaker combines delicate but haunting folk-inspired breaks that act as a short breather between white-hot blasts of black metal. Halfway through the first bits of black metal, the first of Caro’s shrieks, any self-respecting person would pause the album, turn it off, and never listen to it again. After all, black metal has traditionally been understood as male-dominated, brutally heavy, unrelenting and impenetrable. With Rheia, we’re left with some of the second, a bit of the third, a whole lot of the fourth, and absolutely none of the first. Her anger and aggression are uncompromisingly feminine. Her calm moments, while quieter, sound cold. She delivers her lyrics as a figure who after screaming in frustration begins to quietly mumble: “I’m just disappointed.” 

With Rheia, Oathbreaker gives a listening experience you’ll never forget. You, like me, will have difficulty sitting through it. And you, like me, will be left exhausted and smiling because it happened - smiling too because it’s over.

Pronoun - itty bitty discography (the whole discography’s gold)

Ever catch yourself thinking “Bleed American was music’s peak?” No? Just me? Alright. Alyse Vellturo of pronoun loves emo as much as she hates capitalization, and it shows. 

I’m a walking cliché for this one - I found pronoun through Audiotree sessions. Once they stop introducing me to half-decent music, I’ll stop paying attention. First things first, Alyse’s voice takes most of my attention. There’s a quiver in her live vocal that comes off less nervous and more intentional. It’s as though she’s giving the impression of a shaky singer just happening on every note perfectly, an accidental artist. 

But maybe I’m using flowery gobbley-guk and missing the point. After all, her story implies introversion and stage fright. Alyse wrote most of pronoun’s lo-fi sound in her bedroom, whisper-singing her vulnerable lyrics. Rather than slotting into “Audiotree band with a mumbling front person, awful moustaches that smell of cheap IPAs, clothing caught somewhere between ’97 and ’02, the bassist just outside camera view, the drummer who keeps losing time, and the keyboardist who keeps mean-mugging”, pronoun sneaks a smile on your face. Go to your Spotify right now, listen to Pronoun’s most recent single “Run”. There it is, there’s that goofy-ass smile. Pronoun doesn’t bring nostalgia in some heavy-handed sledgehammer like vapourware. You’re taken to better times, wherever or whenever they were - though, the clothes just might be baggier.

While the pronoun discography lasts for now as long as a sneeze, Alyse Vellturo hasn’t made a single duff note.

 
 

Frank Landry Preserves Acadian Phonetics in Writing

 

An unpublished interview with legendary Acadian author

Yanik Gallie interviews Frank Landry at the Starbucks coffee house in Chapters at the location in Dieppe, New-Brunswick during the summer of 2015. 

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YG : Comment sta commencer par écrire dans les journaux?

FL : J’ai écrit pour 3 journaux. J’ai mis 25 ans pour le Moniteur, ptête moins. En total, 33 ans ‘going on’ 34, ce qui inclue la vie de Delphine. Avant ça, j’écrivais un autre caractère qui s’appelait Old Josh. J’ai une fascination pour la phonetic, pi j’aime d’être un raconteux d’histoire. J’ai un background en sociologie. Sociologie veut dire tu fais beaucoup d’recherche. J’ai aussi pris des cours d’anthropologie. Ça ne me met pas plus intéressant, j’dis ink que y’avait des affaires importantes que j’avais été appris quansse tu fais d’la recherche, comme y faut que tu préserves des tels moments dans une histoire. 

Quand j’ai arrivé à Halifax, j’avais écrit Old Josh, les phonetics d’un Cap Bretonner. J’tais un gars de Shédiac pi phonétique cer toute que j’faisais. J’ai pensé pourquoi n’pas préserver la phonétique de cosse qué le chiac? 

J’ai commencé à faire du théâtre itou quand j’ai back arrivé de Halifax. Cer vraiment un journaliste par le nom de Daniel Chrétien qui travaillait pour un journal qu’est arrivé a moi. Pour qaziment un an de temps, on allait au Pizza Delight à Shédiac. J’enseignais des cours d’art le jour, pi le soir on s’flaquait tute là, la gang, pi on parlait pi on cacossait over une bière chaque jeudi pour quasiment un an de temps. Daniel disait, “pi Frank tu devrais p’tête bin commencer à écrire des histouaires.” Pi moi chavais pas si j’voulais faire ça. Jusqu’à temps que quelqu’un nous a dit voulez-vous vous taire parce que vraiment cecitte cer rendu tannant pi j’veux pas back vous entendre parce que sois que vous l’faites ou taissez-vous. Cecitte cer le mois d’Octobre. J’noublirais jamais, tout d’un coup j’ai dit j’va essayer d’écrire. J’ai écrit. J’ai introduit mon caractère dans le journal pi j’ai dit j’va écrire jusqu’à noël. Trois mois, j’ai pensé, ça ne lastera pas… chavais pas cossé jm’embarquais dedans. So, j’ai arrêté à Noël, j’ai même dit mes goodbyes. Tout d’un coup, le premier mercredi du mois de Février j’ai la phone call du newspaper qui dit, “pourrais-tu mnir au bureau du journal faut tu viennes ramonsser ton courriel?” Moi, j’mattendais d’avoir tête bin une lettre, deux lettres. Tu sais les gros sacs de garbage orange? Ceux d’Halloween, yen avait trois et demi à craquer de lettres: Delphine faut q’tu viennes back on t’trouve comique pi dadada... Moi chu overwhelmed at this point because j’avais toutemps ma joie de vivre comme un artiste. Peinturer, dessiner, animer parce que j’ai un background en arts visuel, c’étaient mon plaisir. 

J’aimais écrire pour le journal but j’écrivais déjà des lettres funny à mes friends. C’nétait pas les histouaires, c’tait plutôt parler about moi. Comme faire amine té au collège pi j’tenvois une lettre qui dit “Le chien à manger la jambe de bois à mon père.” J’aurais pu t’écrire des niaiseries d’même but c’tait jamais Delphine. C’tait toutemps Frank avec des jokes pi j’tarrais même écrit su du papier de toilette pour dire. Ju endjablé comme sa, ju un joueur de tours. 

Après ça, le journal appartenait à Irving at the time, L’Express. L’Express n’a pas duré plus qu’un an et demi avant de fermer ces portes. Daniel Chrétien qui travaillait pour eux, lui a starter à travailler pour l’Acadie Nouvelle. Daniel a vendu l’idée à l’Acadie Nouvelle qu’on devrait experimenter. J’va être vraiment honnête, je l’enjoyais pi je l’enjoyais pas parceque ça qu’arrive cer que l’journal allait dans l’nord pi beaucoup d’monde n’appréciait pas ce genre de writing. Y’a du monde qui croiait c’était un language pas vrai que j’inventais. À moment donné, j’ai venu à un point ousser que moi j’voulais vraiment arrêter. J’en avais déjà parlé avec un Monsieur qu’était là pi j’ai dit, “jpense pas. I don’t think its gonna work anymore.” Lui ma appelé pi y’a dit p’tête bin c’est une bonne idée qu’on arrêterait, mais tu sais que tu peux faire autres choses. J’navais pas été firer, on avait parlé pi c’était alright so j’ai arrêté. J’navais pas le tchoeur de cassé. J’était comme, cer fine. 

Eventuellement, Le Moniteur vient me chercher. But, ça prit du temps avant que j’ai dit oui au Moniteur. J’était assis dans l’mall à Shédiac, au restaurant, pi j’ai dit, “j’va y penser.” Y’a dit, “ben non, ben y faut.” J’ai dit, “jva y penser.” Pi j’étais vraiment right là pi j’ai dit la vraie vérité de cosse jpensais. Parce que, à moment donné quansse j’écrivais dans l’Express, le Moniteur, whoever qui travaillait là à l’époque, attackait Delphine. J’ai encore les chroniques anti-Delphine publiées par le Moniteur de sauvé. So, ej n’voulais pas vraiment aller travailler pour l’enemie at the time. Le monde de par chenous me connaissait comme quelqun qui fsait des fundraiser d’la communauté, eux ont été au Moniteur pour dire “wowow! Sais-tu quissse que t’attaques icitte?”

Gisèle qui travail au Moniteur, bless her soul, j’la connaissait ben. Elle m’appel pi elle dit,  “Frank, I hope tu mind pas…tatata…”  J’ai dit, “j’va l’essayer.” J’lai essayé pi it’s been like a big family ever since. C’était pu les mêmes personnes qu’étions là, c’était une nouvelle dynamique avec Gisèle pi Betty qui travaillent au Moniteur. Betty est vraiment une personne fantastique. Le monde là, y fsont du cheering on. C’est eux qui m’appellent défois pour me laisser sawaire cossé quer la feel des tels affaires. Une joke c’est la fois qui voulions faire une nudist beach à Shediac. J’avais entendu ça pi j’ai dit, “c’tu vrai?” Yon dit, “ouaille.” J’ai dit, “ben moi j’croix j’va explorer l’histoire.” J’ai parlé que Delphine s’avait décidé qu’elle allait aller faire du bird watching parceque cer intéressant ouaire les oiseaux. Elle a arrivé à la fin pi elle a dit, “Imaginez-vous si y’aurrait des grous signs en sortant d’la beach qui met: Bienvenues d’avoir nues par chenous.” Parceque on n’dit pas, “venu.” Nous autes on dit, “t’as nues chenous ein?” It was a play on word. Ça quej fait cer qu’ej joue avec les mots. J’amène aussi des vieilles expressions dans mes écritures.

YG : Parle-moi de la naissance de Delphine.

FL : Delphine est née hors de rien. It came out of nothingness. On f’sait des carnivals d’hivers et des soirées amateurs. So, tout d’un coup moi j’utais cosse t’appelles un character performer. Ça veut dire, n’importe quoi tu m’aurais donné comme prop, j’peux improviser avec comme le best of the best. Jutais d’le backroom au carnaval d’hivers pis j’utais censé être un cowboy. J’allais sortir dehors pi j’savais pas cosse j’allais m’appeler. Tout d’un coup, y’ont dit,  ‘la suit de cowboy n’te fit pas!’ Y’ont amener une peruque verte de Marywitch. Y’ont amener un gros chapeau de Cowboy en foam de Calgary Stampedes. Pi la, y mon flaqué une robe. J’ai dit ‘vous êtes pas bin j’veux pas porter cecitte!’ J’ai fait la joke en sortant, j’ai dit ‘si jamais que j’suis discoveré comme cecitte j’va vous suer.’ J’ai sorti su l’stage pi chavais pas cosse j’allais faire. J’pouvais pas même jouer la guitare, j’avais ink une guitare avec une corde dedsu. J’ai sorti en avant pis j’mai introduit. J’ai dit, “ser moi la reine du carnival. J’u la reine, j’viens juste de gagné un concours de Countré. J’viens d’haute-aboujagane pi mon nom cer Delphine BB Bosse!” Cer toute j’ai dit pis j’ai fessé su la guitare. J’savais pas comment jouer but le monde dansait. Cer ste temps là j’ai pensé à moi-même le monde sont pas trop bright parce qui sont entrain de danser à cosse j’chante. J’men rappel des premières paroles que j’ai chanté, “chanter du countré cer po mal aisé, chanter du countré cer chanté du nez.” Pis lmonde sa dansais pi sa s’garochait. 

Normally, moi j’faisais jamais back les caractères à deux fois. So, j’va faire comme les Golden Girls su l’TV la vieille-là. Picture this : L’année suivante, j’arrive pi moi j’avais l’intention de faire d’autres caractères pi le président du carnaval d’hivers Mr. Raymond Leblanc avait parlé t’au monde pi y’avais dit tu devrais dire à Frank qui refasse ce caractère-là. Y’on dit “tu vas aoir un argument avec lui si tu plan ça.” Pi dans l’temps j’nécrivais pas encore, c’était ink des monologues en Chiac. J’arrive là pi j’wois l’grous chapeau de cowboy. J’ai dit, “Non! Cossé qué ça?” Y’ont dit, “ah, non, on va juste te faire picker d’quoi d’autre.” Come to find out, j’tais back Delphine. J’ai sorti avec Delphine pi les Poutines parce que y’aviont trouvé deux personnes pour être des chanteuses en arrière. Une des chansons qu’on avait jouée c’était “Hey Hey Good Looking” jl’ai chanté à la Delphine. Delphine chante mal vraiment, but Delphine dans sa brain elle est une légende. You have to remember, she’s bigger than life. Elle a la permission de dire ça qu’à veut. Ousse que moi, Frank Landry, j’noserais pas dire la motché des affaires qu’à dirait. Elle est devenue comme la reincarnation, ou ptête, l’influence de toutes les femmes fortes que moi j’ai connu dans ma famille. 

YG : Cossé qué ton writing process?

FL : J’écris d’avance. J’écris, j’mets la date. J’dit, “Ok, ça parrait ben… J’l’envois. J’ai des souvenirs de jokes but pour te dire spécifiquement cosse qu’était toute dans l’histoire : chepas. Moi j’nécris pas pour m’assir pi composer. J’m’assis là pour être un raconteur d’histoire. C’est là ousque creative writing rentre en jeux. Ça veut dire que faut que j’trust les fantômes du gernier. Tous les samedi matin, j’massis à l’ordinateur avec aucune conception vraiment de cosse j’écris: j’m’assis là. Ça sonne esoteric cosse j’va dire, but it’s not meant to be like weird la, c’est que j’m’ai appris à m’truster moi-même. J’m’ai appris à truster que j’peux écrire, que j’peux raconter n’importe quoi. J’peux picker anything. J’pourrais parler about ton chapeau right now. J’composerais dequoi à la Delphine, qui peut être super hilarious. Si j’m’aperçois qu’ton chapeau n’fit pas dans l’histoire de Delphine, ben ça peut aller ptête bin à Hen-Henri ou jpeux l’fitter cheque part… pi c’est ça qu’a été le gros, gros défis: de jamais me répéter. Toutemps essayer d’garder la fraicheur d’un écrivain. Pi c’pas d’la great literature que j’fais. J’me oit comme Jane Goodall, elle qu’a fait les grosses recherches de singes. Tu vas t’moquer d’cosse j’va dire. C’est que moi j’u un follower de Jane Goodall. J’veux dire que ju dans une société pi j’observe, j’écoute. So, les singes sont vraiment le monde qui viennent de Shédiac. J’les appel pas des singes, j’dit ink que moi j’les observe pi je suis devenue cosse t’appelle une réflexion de quisse qu’eux sont. 

YG : Cosser que cer du chiac, des acadiens pi acadiennes?

FL : La naissance du chiac a mnu de la nécessité de survie au travail. Sé l’affaire la plus importante, pi l’monde ne te dit pas ça. Y ton dit que y’ont fusés parce qu’ils viviont ensemble, but la vraie nécessité de l’assimilation était pour survivre au travail. La plupart du monde qui gérait les entreprises à l’époque, c’tait les Anglais. Honestly, c’pas dire “les maudits Anglais aviont tute comme qu’à été les années d’acadie.” C’est, “Par chance aux Anglais que l’monde de Shediac a pu faire vivre leurs familles. Moi j’veux célébrer ça.”

J’veut t’dire une affaire qu’a influencé Delphine plus tard. C’est durant les années d’acadie, acadie, pi ya du monde qui va pas believer cossé j’vas dire. Quansse everybody avait dropper une tête de cochon, whatever qu’était l’histoire, c’était, “Les maudits Anglais.” Moi pi mon bon sens de ptit jeune, j’avais appris que tu peux bagueler tute qu’tu veux mais à moment donné, l’monde nt’écoute pu. J’ai appris de thinking outside the box jeune, vraiment jeune, que moi j’voulais être le future dans toute cecitte. J’ai rencontré des personnes d’influence à l’époque, qu’ont vraiment des grosses jobs de decision makers dans la province steur. Y’ont vraiment travaillé pour pi y’ont maintenu la philosophie qu’était à nous autres. Moi jviens d’se gang là oussé qu’y’ont dit ‘On arrête de bagueller. À la place de bagueller, why not si vous mettez une gang ensemble, une bunch de français pi pooler tute vos argents ensemble, pi startez-vous une business! Engager some of your own people, comme du monde de votre backyard. 

 

 
 

The Best Stories Live in Hell

Tips on how to write good drama and more from Lawrence Hill

Renowned novelist and screenwriter Lawrence Hill spoke in Schwartz auditorium on Friday, October 19. Hill opened by speaking of the latest novel the professor of creative writing at Guelph University is currently writing. The release date of his book, announced to be titled Midnight Men at the event, has yet to be made official.

Hill was warmly welcomed to the stage by Kalista Desmond and the Strait Regional Drummers band. Desmond performed some new spoken word. A particularly moving line was “#powerfulnotpowerless”       encouraging women to own their empowerment. 

The drum group led by Morgan Gero performed three songs. Gero left her seat to distribute instruments to colleagues in the audience for a collaborative performance while her skilled drummers held the rhythm. Drummer Isaiah Williams spoke with The Xaverian Weekly post-show. Williams spoke about his favorite moment on Friday night, “I liked when I played the drums to welcome him here. One of the songs we played tonight was ‘Fonga’.” 

Hill made the point of showing his appreciation for the drumming performance. Williams, who has been drumming for two years, remembers how after their performance, “Lawrence said it reminded him of drumming he heard when he was in West Africa and being welcomed to villages.” 

 During his time at the lectern, Hill read excerpts from The Book of Negroes and spoke in detail about imagery and other realistic or fictional literary elements in the novel. One thing he mentioned was that the novel is not about slavery; it is about the resilience of a woman. 

During the question and answer period, Hill said that while his parents were not thrilled he desired to become a writer, they were instrumental in his upbringing as an author. 

Referring to some of the nonsense poetry that his mother read to him as a child, Lawrence recited from memory the first verse of “Disobedience” by A. A. Milne to a laughing audience.

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Williams asked Hill how long it took to write The Book of Negroes. Hill answered, “It took me five years. I rewrote the book eight times. That’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. To spend the time researching, writing, and rewriting, editing, rereading, and publishing over five years before I was satisfied. 

“I wrote some other books along the way, it wasn’t the only one I did. Most writers have to do two or three different kinds of writing at a time to get money. Sometimes things you really care about that are really difficult take time. You have to let them gestate. Let them have the time that they need and they will take over from there. You are ill-advised to rush something if it’s coming along well. If you give it some time, it has a chance to get better. 

By the way, unless you’re born with the genius of Mozart, chances are the first time you write something it’ll stink. That means you have to write it again, again, and again until it’s good. One of the reasons The Book of Negroes took five years is because it was so bad the first time. You have to keep working on it. Thank you for your question and your drumming.” 

Emcees Addy Strickland and Rebecca Mesay brought the event to a close by asking Williams to come back on stage for the presentation of a gift to Hill. 

The author stuck around post-show to meet the audience and sign everything from books to a case for glasses. 

Prior to speaking publicly at StFX in the evening, Hill spoke privately at Dr. John Hugh Gillis high school with 80 students from neighbouring high schools in the morning. The intimate student-led discussion was held with students who had read and researched a novel of his in the classroom. 

Even though Hill has travelled back home to Ontario, his authenticity and wisdom remain cherished in the community.

Jeremy Dutcher is a Leader of Indigenous Renaissance

Tobique First Nation brings the prestigious Polaris Music Prize home

Jeremy Dutcher takes home the 2018 Polaris Music Prize award and declares the nation is in the middle of an Indigenous renaissance. The musician, who grew up in Tobique First Nation, is at the forefront of this renaissance having contributed what is arguably the most notable Canadian album of the year. 

Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa is the name of the album that has swept the nation off its feet. The album preserves and revitalizes a fragment of Indigenous culture in the voice and piano playing of a classically trained operatic tenor. 

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The name of Dutcher’s album translates to Our Maliseet Songs. The vocals and melodies feature Dutcher’s singing and musical interpretation of wax cylinder recordings from over a century ago.  

Dutcher studied 110-year-old wax cylinder recordings of his ancestors that were kept at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Québec. The recordings were preserved by anthropologist William H. Mechling who lived with the community for seven years between 1907 and 1914. On top of recording songs, jokes, dialogues and various social interactions between the Wolastoq people in wax phonograph cylinders, the following photograph was taken by Mechling at Tobique in 1911. 

While speaking with Exclaim!, Dutcher admits that more than 20 percent of 100 songs had deteriorated to the point of being indecipherable. Most had been forgotten by his community, due to lack of access to the materials since the Indian Act of 1876.

The language of the Wolastoqiyik, whose ancestral territory is all along what is now known as the Saint John River in New Brunswick, is now spoken by fewer than a hundred fluent speakers. 

Dutcher is a graduate of Dalhousie University with a BA in Music and Social Anthropology. Research for Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa had begun long before graduation from the program in 2012. Respected elder Maggie Paul inspired Dutcher to pursue the transcription of these cylinders which eventually developed into the studio album.

Chief of Tobique First Nation, Ross Pearle, commended Jeremy for preserving the language of the Wolastoqiyik, “The chief, council and community of Neqotkuk are very proud of Jeremy receiving the Polaris award. Taking wax recordings in our maliseet language that survived the years of forced assimilation of our people and adding his musical talent to showcase internationally is very admirable. Jeremy deserves this recognition for all his hard work.”

Dutcher’s talent is reaching audiences all over the globe. After the traveling musician played the Halifax Pop Explosion at The Marquee Ballroom in Halifax on October 17, Dutcher took flight to Las Palmas, Spain to play at The World Music Expo (WOMEX). 

WOMEX is the biggest conference of the global music scene attended by thousands of professionals in the field. There is a trade fair, talks, films, a showcase festival at each annual conference. 

Over 2,600 professionals (including 303 performing artists) come together every October from more than 90 countries, making WOMEX not only the number one networking platform for the world music industry, but also the most diverse music meeting worldwide.

A collaboration with pop artist Casey MQ led to the “Pomok Naka Poktoinskwes” remix of Dutcher’s water rights’ anthem. MQ’s spin on the tune has a much faster electronic beat. While it honours the precedent, it strays away from the mellow distinguished piano and powerful vocals of Dutcher. 

The Polaris Music Prize was last won in 2016 by Colombian-Canadian electronic musician Lido Pimienta and in 2017 by Louis Kevin Celestin who is a Haitian-Canadian DJ and record producer. Dutcher’s victory harkens back to the 2015 Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Power In The Blood win. Dutcher’s album is up to par with the albums of these greats and available for purchase at Sunrise Records, iTunes and Spotify. 

Winners: The Noble and Ignoble

A rundown of this years prestigious and zany research

Each year there are two organizations who dive into the wide world of academics and published research and draw from the very wide and wooly world of research, nominate a number of people and teams, and then award prizes to most deserving people or teams of people. This year is no different. The best and strangest minds have been revealed by each committee, so let’s get started with the strange.

Founded in 1991 by editor Marc Abraham of Annals of Improbable Research, this magazine is dedicated to finding the humour and satire inherent in the world of science. Before the list of Ig Nobel winners is revealed, it must be stressed that not all winners are contributing useless science, sometimes, it is the route or the way that scientists uncover their data that is the laughable aspect. Indeed, at least one Ig Nobel prize winner would later go on to win their own Nobel Prize; first for levitating a frog, second for advances in graphene research.

Medicine - Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger for research on rollercoasters and passing kidney stones.

 

Anthropology - Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen for their research on how well zoo-housed chimpanzees imitate humans (conclusion: just as well as humans who imitate chimpanzees).

 

Biology - Paul Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall for discovering that wine experts can accurately smell if a fly has fallen into their wine.

 

Chemistry - Paula Romão, Adília Alarcão and the late César Viana, after discovering how well human saliva works as a cleaning agent (conclusion, not too bad!).

 

Medical Education - Akira Horiuchi for researching the efficacy of sitting colonoscopies through self-colonoscopizing.

 

Literature - Thea Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson for their discovery that for people who use complicated products “Life is too Short to RTFM…”

 

Nutrition - James Cole for discovering that a cannibalistic diet is calorically deficient compared to other meats.

 

Peace - Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge, Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Jaime Sanmartín, Constanza Calatayud, and Beatriz Alamar for their research on swearing while driving.

 

Reproductive Medicine - John Barry, Bruce Blank, and Michel Boileau for their committed work on measuring nocturnal penis function through the use of postage stamps.

 

Economics - Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa Keeping for researching the efficacy of using voodoo dolls in the workplace to retaliate against bosses (conclusion: it might help the victim, but they don’t recommend it).

 

Further information on the Ig Nobel Prize can be found at www.improbable.com

 

            The Nobel Prize, in contrast, was created by inventor of dynamite, who created the explosive after witnessing the disastrous effects of unstable explosives, like nitroglycerine, which killed some of his associates. Later in life, Alfred had the experience of reading his own obituary in the newspaper, in which he was labelled a “Merchant of Death,” for his work in armaments manufacture. Since 1900 the Nobel Foundation (split between Sweden and Norway) has awarded the prizes below (except the economics prize which was created in the 1960s, although with some controversy, perhaps most notable by a living relative of Alfred Nobel, and human rights lawyer, who claimed that the Nobel Prize in Economics is a “PR coup by economists to improve their reputation”).

 

Physics - Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou, Donna Stickland for their inventions and groundbreaking work related to the use and study of lasers. While this may seem quite staid, Ashkin’s work allowed lasers to be used to precisely move and hold molecules and even small bacteria. While Mourou and Strickland discovered the method by a which high-frequency laser could pulse in extremely short pulses without destroying the materials that make a laser work. Combining these two discoveries unlocked the massive potential of lasers, so much so that they seem quite commonplace today.

Additionally, Strickland, a Canadian, is the first woman since 1963, and the third woman ever, to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics.

 

Chemistry - Awarded to Frances Arnold, George Smith, and Sir Gregory Winter. Arnold directed the evolution of enzymes to become better, more efficient catalysts in certain chemical reactions and has led to more environmentally friendly methods of generating biofuels. Smith and Sir Winter directed phages to evolve in new ways to develop new antibodies against different diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and metastatic cancer.

 

Medicine - James Allison and Tasuku Honjo shared this year’s prize in medicine for their discovery in the ability to inhibit “negative-immune regulation,” which is a way which cancer cells stop certain white blood cells from attacking them. by inhibiting their “immune negative” abilities they open cancer up to be attacked like regular viruses or bacteria would be. It should be noted, however, that this therapy has only efficacy over some types of cancer and side effects can be severe. Regardless, their research is widely considered groundbreaking.

 

Literature - This Nobel Prize will not be awarded this year following a series of scandals, not the least of which includes, financial malfeasance, infighting, confidentiality leaks, resignations, and most seriously, accusations of sexual assault. The crisis stems from one of the members of the committee, Katrina Frostenson and her husband, Jean-Claude Arnault, being accused of leaking names of the nominees to friends and relatives in order to profit from placing bets. Furthermore, Arnault has been convicted of rape after 18 different women accused him of sexual misconduct in both France and Sweden, though he has appealed the verdict.

 

Peace - Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have jointly won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for their continued efforts to “end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflicts” around the world. Denis has used his position as a doctor to bring awareness to the terrible use of sexual violence in the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, condemning the DRC government as failing to do enough to put an end to the use of sexual violence in conflicts. His activism has put his family at risk and he has fled the Congo for Europe with his family.

 

Since 2015, Nadia Murad has spoken out about the extreme abuses and sexual violence visited upon women by soldiers of ISIS after having been captured, enslaved, tortured, and repeatedly raped herself, only escaping with the help of sympathetic neighbours who helped smuggle her out of ISIS territory. She was the first person to ever brief the United Nations Security Council on the issue of human trafficking, in which ISIS has even used social media platforms, like Facebook, as slave marketplaces that still exist. She has moved to Germany and continues to fear for her safety for her activism against human trafficking and sexual violence in conflicts.

 

Economics - Despite the desire by Swedish Foreign Ministers, Kjell-Olof Feldt and Gunnar Myrdal, for the prize in economics to be abolished for having been awarded to “reactionaries as Hayek (and afterwards Milton Friedman),” the prize has been awarded one again this year to William Nordhaus and Paul Romer.

Nordhaus won for his work on integrating climate change in to economic models, and who has tirelessly been trying to alert governments to the dangers of climate change to economies, and the efficacy of carbon-pricing in reducing the release of carbon emissions.

Romer was awarded the other half of this Nobel Prize for his work in researching the motivations of innovation and the effects that limit or promote innovation funding that arise from within a nation’s economy.

Interview with Lawrence Hill

Get your heads out of the sand!

Can you think back to time where you were given an opportunity to meet your idol or your hero… How would you feel in that moment about the things you would say to them and how would your interaction be? 

Well your girl had the chance to meet the renowned, brilliant and enthusiastic author, Lawrence Hill. I was honored and grateful for the opportunity to be in his presence. 

Hill is a Canadian novelist and is famously known for his award-winning book, The Book of Negroes, and other significant contributions to the canon of Canadian literature, including Black Berry, Sweet Juice and his 2013 Massey Lecture entitled Blood: The Stuff of Life, just to name a few. 

I was invited to a private dinner with Hill and others including faculty and teachers within the community. This dinner created an intimate space allowing me to communicate with Hill on a more personal level. It was tremendously fascinating to watch the engagement between Hill and everyone seated at the table, his openness and willingness to be included in the conversation gave me a sense of comfort. Let me not forget to add how comical Hill is, and it did not require much effort to keep us entertained. 

After dinner ended it was time for me to have a one-on-one discussion with Hill to gather further information about his success and his views on identity and belonging. It is evident that we live in a world that is not shy of displaying extroverted disapproval to those who do not fit their criteria of what a person should be. 

Despite being emancipated from slavery, abolishing segregation, and activist fighting for equality, it is important that these issues still exist today. Individuals, specifically of African descent had to and still are enduring many trials and tribulations because of the color of their skin; Hill addresses these issues that people of color may come to face. I wondered how Hill would respond if he were to be racially discriminated against, this brought forth my first question. He states, “I was raised by an African American father who was a solider in the American army and a white American mother, who then moved to Canada a day after their wedding, and at this time segregation was at its apex. My father informed me if I was to ever be insulated racially, I should respond with violence or oppose it in some way, but I refused to respond with violence. I believes if someone has the right to call me repulsive things then I has the right to tell them they are disgusting individuals.” 

On the topic of racism, Hill adds “if I were to see someone else being racially insulted, I believe that it is my moral obligation to step in and speak up. You must be careful about how you intercede because things can escalate in ways that may reverberate back on you in negative ways racially.”

 I recently attended a forum, where I acquired Angela Davis’ (American political activist) beliefs and opinions on what it would take to create a world where we all feel like we belong. I wanted to get Hills’ views on this subject matter, “I do not believe that we will reach that point anytime soon.  Canadians tend to assume they are morally superior to other people in different parts of the world who are experiencing racial injustices. They would disregard these problems within Canada by putting their heads in the sand, but will not hesitate to point out current problems in other countries. We would have to look within ourselves, look at our current injustices, look at our current life and not be afraid to acknowledge where we do not measure up.” 

He concludes, “everyone should not strive to be the same or look the same, instead individuals should be accepting of differences and learn to live together. We as humans must be committed to abolishing racism and committed to accepting people for who they are. The Book of Negroes touches on the vast majority of these issues, hence its success.”

Why was this book such a success? Hill believes his book gives readers comfort in reading past injustices that were triumphed. It also introduces readers to a history that individuals might have been oblivious to, giving insight and information about Black history in Canada. I concluded by asking Hill for advice for aspiring authors, he said “in order to become something or achieve a goal you must put in the work to get desirable results. The opinions of others should never supersede your aspirations in life, you only have one chance at life so make the most of it.”

Far from Over

Hundreds of people respond to sexual violence on campus

Recently, Global News published an article about a sexual assault case at StFX. The survivor, an 18-year old first-year from Toronto, was assaulted by a man five years older. The perpetrator was suspended, but returned to school this fall – something the survivor was not made aware of. Re-traumatized, the student left StFX for good. Her experiences have sparked outrage among students, faculty, members of the Antigonish community, and even other universities across the country. With outrage comes collective action, which is exactly what has been going on over the past week and a half on our campus. Since the report, a lot has happened. Two email statements from Andrew Beckett, Vice President of Finance and Administration & Head of Student Services, were sent out. The first was a rather vague paragraph which essentially said that the school, “cannot comment about the specifics of this case.” In addition, several bullet points were included, detailing that StFX has a sexual violence policy, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), a Health and Counselling office, and a Student Life office. The second email references the Global News report. He acknowledges the communication errors that caused the student to leave, and makes a mention of the, “system in place that strives to uphold both the victim’s and the respondent’s right to due process.” He stresses that, “we recognize that there is always room for improvement and we welcome feedback regarding how to make our processes stronger.” He also makes a mention of the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, an institution that not many small university towns have. 

Following these two emails, student response was striking. In fact, the news of the article in question spread like wildfire on Facebook, and it can be wagered that most students were already aware of or had heard of the article, and the details of the survivor’s situation, before any StFX emails were sent. 

Last Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, two collective action meetings were held at St. Ninian’s Place, organized by students and Women’s & Gender Studies professor Rachel Hurst. This week, I sat down to talk with Hurst about the progress StFX has made since she began teaching here in 2009. We talked about what still needs to be done, the collective action of students, social media accounts, and more. One of the greatest concerns of protesting students, who have been using the hash-tag #IStandWithHer to raise awareness, is the school’s lacklustre sexual violence policy. The policy itself is quite concerned with acknowledgement of resources and definitions, and not enough information about putting trust in survivors and being a trauma-sensitive institution. Obviously, the policy should be examined, and change based on the input of students. However, Hurst revealed to me that in 2009, a StFX sexual violence policy did not even exist, “There was no policy, and there wasn’t even information on who to report to in the university and what should happen if someone has been sexually assaulted. So that’s another thing that has really changed is that we do have a policy we do have information online that is a lot easier to find than previously.” It’s shocking, isn’t it? That only nine years ago, information about sexual assault and basic resources were unavailable through the school’s website. However, this in no way means that we should just sit back and be grateful that StFX has made strides on that front.

 So much work can be done, and perhaps adopting practices of other universities or colleges could be helpful. According to Hurst, “In the United States by law all publicly funded universities and colleges are required to notify the campus community when a sexual assault has happened...it notifies the student body that sexual assault is not tolerated and that they will act when sexual assault has been reported.” These bulletins are vital in making invisible work visible and could make huge contributions to sexual violence awareness on campus. A transparent sexual assault bulletin could change the face of this campus. When news of sexual assault only reaches the students through outside news media, it sends a bad message. This kind of last-minute notification makes StFX feel like a university that only cares about sexual assault when reports of it hurt its, “premier undergraduate experience” reputation. 

Two more important events have happened between Beckett’s first email and today. Firstly, a student-formed X RESIST Facebook page was formed. This closed group with more than 400 members has been the central hub for organization of protests, meetings, slogans, petitions and more. Secondly, the controversial @whispersatX twitter account (initially named @rapistsatX) was created and accused two students of sexual assault before it was condemned by Beckett himself. While this account did not have much time to make a dent in the overall campaign, StFX addressed this account in an extremely definite manner, calling its actions, “not acceptable.” While it is true that name-dropping students with no context is damaging to the overall movement on campus, the tone in which Beckett addressed this account is unsettling. Nowhere in his previous two emails were the words, “not acceptable” used. 

Referencing sexual assault is met with caution, but referencing accusations is met with immediate action. 

  The school is quick to strike down a small twitter account which named two male students, Hurst noted that, “in my gut feeling is that if the person [who created @whispersatX] is found out that they will be punished to the full extent that they can be punished.” If this does happen, could it send a negative message to other students who are trying to fight sexual violence on campus and come forward with their own stories? Either way, the creation of this account adds another level of complexity to this ongoing fight. Something that really sticks out with X RESIST, the open house protest and the overall response is the small amount of male action. Tons of women, many of whom who are survivors themselves, are speaking out against StFX and coming up with possible solutions. The lack of reaction from the male student body is disappointing to say the least. Hurst notes that, “In my opinion both male faculty as well as male students need to step up and organize themselves...I would absolutely encourage male students to get involved and I know that there certainly are some that have been active and vocal and I think that that’s fabulous, I see that as the responsibility of men [to organize themselves].” 

While it is unlikely that an X RESIST-type group will be created by male students and faculty, it would certainly add even more to the discussions among campus. 

This story is far from over. The Student Union  planned an open forum on sexual violence held on Saturday, October 20. It is an avenue for community opinions and ideas to be heard. X RESIST will not be silenced anytime soon.

Youth Leaders on Water Crisis in Paq’tnkek

Water shortage is an ongoing issue in neighbouring community 

While the boil advisory in Paq’tnkek has been lifted by Health Canada as of October 19, the community faces an ongoing water crisis. 

Several community members report that shortage of water is an ongoing issue while quality control has been established again. 

Paq’tnkek has previously suffered from a water shortage due to construction this past July. 

Dennis Pictou has been active in spreading the message to community members on social media. On October 18, Pictou made a public announcement that details some of the community collaboration that led to the lifting of the boil advisory, “We are asking for all community members to conserve water until further notice. We can’t give an exact timeline at this moment because the many factors that go into all of this (water consumed, most active timeframes, available water pressure, etc.). We will also be under a boil water advisory until Health Canada says otherwise. Like water conservation, the end date is subject to all of our community factors.

Petow residents will experience low water pressure this afternoon and every second day from this point forward. This is due to water consumption on the main reserve side. Every two days we will be sending water from the Petow pump house to Saqamaw pump house at night for everyone’s convenience.

If we all do our part in conserving water we can get a better read on what possible timeline we are subject to. To put it simply, the less water we consume, the less time we’ll be in this predicament.

This coming Monday there will be a phone conference meeting with Water & Waste Water operators, contractors and other parties to discuss construction of Well #4 in Petow. Construction is in place to be fast tracked due to our circumstances.

If I haven’t touched on any of the questions from community members, get me the question and I’ll try my best to get the answer. Thanks for your patience.”

The note by Pictou calls for action by community members to limit their water use. During the water crisis, Richard Perry delivered 25 four-litre jugs of water on his pickup truck at the band office for community members. 

Lack of access to quality water in Paq’tnkek is a serious     issue. 

Youth leaders from Paq’tnkek spoke with The Xaverian Weekly on how the water crisis has, and continues to, affect them. Danika says, “It’s kind of hard to live without water. It sucks because I sweat a lot and I can’t shower. My mom goes to grandma’s house to get some jugs of water for our house and I have to go to my grandma’s house to shower.” 

Ryan Stevens adds, “We get bad water. It’s orange and brown. I want people to stop wasting water. We have not been able to boil food or anything. We have to go all the way to town for water.” 

Casey mentions the ongoing crisis, “When we don’t have water, we don’t have anything. The water came back a little, but it’s not fully come back.” 

Amara emphasizes the severity of the issues, “Well, the water you have to boil because it has I don’t know what in it. We have a huge jug, but it’s very old and has no water. I put a Barbie sticker on it a while ago. The worst part is some houses had their water cut off. Make sure to boil water in a crisis.”

Everyone, including the youth, has been impacted by the water crisis. It is important to address this problem and think of ways to be supportive. Advocating for water rights in the Mi’kmaw Nation is an avenue that could lead to change.

The water crisis is not only prominent in this community, it has also been a pervasive issue across Canada.

Water has  also been a crisis in Attawapiskat, Northern Ontario, Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, British Columbia and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Quebec.

Change needs to happen because water is life.

Keeping Culture Alive Through Generations of Stories

 
 

The power of speaking

Aho K’we hello, I want to give thanks to all whom is reading this, it is my honor to present just a small portion of what I and our culture has to offer. I will be sharing a few stories; one of them is a real spiritual experience I’ve had throughout my lifetime, a very special moment I hope to be able to remember for the rest of my life.

This story was told to me by an elder, I am not certain if it is told the way it was told to me; I apologize if I am wrong. To me, this is a story of ceremony, dream, & song; t’was this time of urgent need for prayers when there was this little girl who was very ill and who was in a coma.

All the medicine, men and women were singing; praying for the little one, ceremony had ended when they had sung a Lakota word song. The little one had woken and had mentioned she heard them singing in her dreams. Taking this as a message, they then called the Lakota word song the ceremonial sweat lodge drum song. This one memory I wish I had remembered when I first started writing this paper.

During my days as a presenter, digital story teller, and singer, I had met this very wellknown native celebrity once at a conference/educational symposium in Saskatoon; was unbelievable meeting him there, my mother and my cousin our boss at the time and I were saying our hellos to him. When I had the chance to talk with him, all I remember was mentioning about what I had seen that one day when I was young.

Around my area from where we are, we do not have much spiritual people around to go to for advice, or to learn old stories from. The moment I met Gordon Tootoosis, I had seen the cane he had with him. It was carved wood of a bird. I had mentioned while pointing at his cane, I had told him that I had seen that bird in the sky at my home as his cane reminded me and at that moment, it was the best way I could explain myself at the time of what I’ve seen. He asked me, where are you from? I told him Paq’tnkek, Nova Scotia, he replied and asked what are you, what is your tribe? I replied Mi’kmaw... I asked if he knows why I had seen it, he replied, because he wanted you to see him. At that moment I did not know who “he” was until a decade and many years after I had seen it appear.

 Photo: Facebook @DerrickPaulette

Photo: Facebook @DerrickPaulette

Now I am still learning of who I am as they are still learning of who we are. I am not traditional, but like to think of myself as spiritual. I am not sure if you are spiritual, but I just feel the need to share these stories, experiences and teachings with you today.

When I was a young boy, I was very saddened that I missed my chance to attend a sun dance ceremony that was going on near my reserve; many were attending, dancing, singing & praying. I had went for a walk around my Rez and as I was on my way walking back up home, I was near the river just right before my grand father’s old small red house, something caught my eye in the sky. I looked up it was just before sundown; I seen a clear purple/bluish sky but was very cloudy and stormy just on one side the right, the moon was in the middle just above; I have seen flashes of lightening; light up the one side, not long after I have seen this cloud shape like bird appear just above the lit grey and white clouds which was from the direction of where the sun dance grounds were and the bird facing outward over the land, going toward the ocean.

I still did not fully understand what and why I had seen what I’ve seen; during my time of searching for answers, I finally had come across this knowledge I needed to know. What I have seen that day was the Thunderbird spirit, and seeing this at that moment destined me to become a War Chief/ Medicine-man.

I, Derrick Paulette, am a descendant from many clans; I come from lobster clan and spider clan. I believe I am here to help sing and honor the old ones who fought and protected these lands for generations as also those who have gone before us. Wela’lin for taking the time to read

 

Indigenous Women in Community Leadership (IWCL)

 
 

Coady’s program empowers indigenous women

Some from almost 5,000 kilometres away and closer, Coady Institutes’ Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program welcomes indigenous women from all over the country for the start of the seventh year of their IWCL program (pronounced E-wickl, as I was told).

Aimed at bringing indigenous women together from all over Canada to share knowledge, experiences, and expertise from their respective communities and lives, The Xaverian Weekly was fortunate enough to speak with two members of the IWCL. Some from remote and rural communities, and others from urban communities. In either case, what binds them together is a shared purpose of serving their community of indigenous people and a desire to see the people in their communities succeed, find their inner strength, find their identities, and to rise to the challenges of the modern world. T

he Xaverian Weekly spoke with two women involved in the IWCL program this year. Both of them are not only new to the program (last week was their first week in the Program), but new to Antigonish as well. Both women already take on the roles of leadership in their communities, and are seeking to build on their knowledge with personal and professional knowledge.

Bobbi Rose is the founder of a program for young people in her community, of Fort MacPherson in the Northwest Territories, that trains and educates for leadership opportunities, she is also an outdoor educator. Shannon Kraichy is Métis and Anishinaabekwe leader focusing on providing support and safe spaces for LGBTQ and Two-Spirited youth in her community of Winnipeg, Manitoba, as part of an organization, called the Butterfly Club.

Being so distant from Antigonish, I asked both of them how they found out about a small program in Eastern Canada. Both replied, easily, “Facebook.” For Bobbi she discovered it through a friend, and Shannon through a group, Opportunities First Nations Manitoba, where it was posted. For an opportunity like this, a program designed for First Nations women, it would have been “ridiculous” to pass up the opportunity, Shannon said.

For Bobbi, much of the same. Being able to travel from Northwest Territories to Antigonish to attend a program designed for women like her was a “great opportunity,” and considering the whole program as well as living costs are funded by a wide array of donors, it makes the program available to women from anywhere in Canada regardless of their economic ability, and allows them to focus on the most important parts of the IWCL program; creating new relationships, being present, and sharing knowledge. Both agreed that they believed the program was unique, in it’s focus on indigenous issues, for indigenous women, with an indigenous perspective.

Their comments about the program and the networking and relationships they’ve made in such a short span of time, were almost effusive, and that through IWCL and Coady they began to discover even more resources and opportunities for them and their community.

While the program has only just begun, and is a relatively short program, starting at a distance, coming to Antigonish for October, and ending in their respective communities in January; the impacts of connecting with fellow indigenous women are felt immediately.

 Photo: Facebook @CoadyInternationalInstitute

Photo: Facebook @CoadyInternationalInstitute

Both Shannon and Bobbi were quick to praise the format of the IWCL. One their first few days together the women take part in intensive team-building exercises, like building a teepee over and over again, until they could do it easily and quickly.

Once built, the inside of the teepee housed the artwork of previous students. Although Bobbi is from a remote and rural community and Shannon from an urban community, both agreed that every woman in the program bring something important to contribute and share with the others.

Facilitated by the leaders of the program, the women are able to connect with each other, person-to-person and discuss a wide array of successes, ideas, challenges, and hope.

Shannon felt that it “was empowering to come [to Antigonish] and have space to work on change and bring it back” to their home communities where their shared knowledge and skills can be put to use in incredibly powerful and effective ways.

Thinking about what they expect to return home with; both were passionate about their hope that with their new shared knowledges they would be able to help, support, and inspire the youth of their communities to succeed. For Bobbi, it was about helping youth in the far north of Fort MacPherson find and seize opportunities in their remote town. For Shannon, it was about helping urban youth reconnect with their indigenous and cultural identities and heritages.

 

O Canada...

 
 

You stand on guard for who?

First you thought I was a goddess queen, empowered by the earth and standing tall. I was a protector of the land, so exotic in your eyes. You were the stranger to the new world. You searched our shores, explored the forests, examined our ways. You were the ones foreign to our land.

You stayed a while, you learned to love our home. That is when you got too comfortable and made our land your home. Just as quickly as you had arrived, you looked at me in a different way. I was no longer the goddess queen that I am, when I turned away your drunken breath on my neck.

Squaw is what you called me. Lazy, dirty, easy, a drunk. You used my sisters and I to your own expense. Violated our bodies, corrupted our culture.

Squaw.

The term that you coined, that damaged us forever. You used it as a defense, so that you could get away with hurting us. Because after all, if we were a squaw, which made us easy, then were we not asking for it?

Were you aware of the damage and hurt that you were creating by degrading us to nothing but a term? “That was hundreds of years ago, why do you people still linger on that word?”

Why do we still think about the term squaw? Maybe because even though the white man came many moons ago, the pain that he created has left its mark on our culture and has continued to make us ache.

I hear you joking about the ‘squaws’ on the reserves, that we are so lazy, “go get a job you uneducated Indian”, we’re dirty, and easy. That is what we have become, a joke.

We are nothing but jokes, so every time one of our sisters is murdered, or goes missing, is raped and beaten, you stand idle and watch as we disappear.

Why are you doing this to us? Don’t you think you’ve already done enough? First you purged our land, took everything for yourselves. You ripped our culture right from our hands, banished us from practicing. And if all of that wasn’t good enough, you came for our children, you assimilated them into becoming one of your white monsters.

This society that we live in today is mad for the idea of reconciling with the indigenous people of Canada, and yet there is still enough ignorance in this country to fill the bellies of every hypocritical politician in parliament.

My sisters and I are screaming to a nation to open their eyes and help save their women. The women that built this earth.

We are all linked through our souls, we are all people, so why don’t you listen to us when we cry?

My sisters and I are not just missing and murdered indigenous statistics. We are people just like you. Think of the women that are in your life, would you fight for their justice? We need you to help us. Please, I beg of that you hear our cries, do not be silent anymore. Do not be the nation that silences us.