Entertainment Cree author’s poetry book meant to empower Indigenous kids
B.C. marks two years since passing law to adopt declaration on Indigenous rights
VANCOUVER — British Columbia recently marked two years since passing legislation that requires the province to align its laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, though an Indigenous leader and legal expertsay many First Nations are still wondering how and when the commitments will be realized. "There's been incremental, positive movements, but certainly not the tectonic shift, if you will, that many First Nations were expecting," said Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, which represents more than 200 communities.
Shayla Raine was sitting at her desk, looking out the window at an eagle’s nest and a view of the mountains, when she came up with the idea for a new poetry book for Indigenous children.
After inspiration struck in fall of last year, the Cree author and illustrator set to work writing The Way Creator Sees You.
“This book started off as an artistic outlet from the pressure of editing my novel,” Raine says.
“I wanted this children’s book to be free of those pressures … so I could write with a positive mindset and clear intentions to pass on that good medicine while also getting my message across in a fun and captivating way.”
Urdu home libraries aim to preserve language in Manitoba
The shelves in Absar Ahmad’s home library are packed full of poetry and fiction, criticism and religion, psychology and philosophy, almost all in Urdu. But he worries the language is faltering in Manitoba — which is why he opened up his collection to the community.But the shelves in Absar Ahmad's home library are packed full of poetry and fiction, criticism and religion, psychology and philosophy. And there's one thing in particular that sets it apart: the books are almost all in Urdu.
The Way Creator Sees You is Raine’s first published book, and it was released independently this month. The book is intended to inspire Indigenous children who may be struggling with their identity, and to help them to embrace who they are, says Raine, who is from Maskwacis, Alberta.
The poetry book features a Plains Cree boy who faces adversity at school and finds himself struggling to accept his Indigenous features. His Kokom brings him on a lyrical adventure to help him find appreciation for his heritage.
Raine tells IndigiNews that she has always wanted to write a children’s book that empowered Indigenous kids because it’s something she never saw when she was younger.
Raine says the title of her poetry book; The Way Creator Sees You, came from a poem she wrote about her partner.
Walk A Mile In A Ribbon Skirt Movement Grows In Edmonton
(ANNews) – Walk a Mile in a Ribbon Skirt is a grassroots movement to educate Canadians on the cultural significance of Indigenous and two spirit women wearing ribbon skirts; it is having a positive impact in Alberta. This year marks the second annual Walk a Mile in a Ribbon Skirt – highlighting the beauty, resilience, and female empowerment in wearing ribbon skirts. In addition to their own event this fall, the group participated in the annual Kingsway Parade in Edmonton on Nov 28. They joined other prominent organizations such as the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Elks and Edmonton Police Organization.
“It was at the very end of the poem, I asked him, ‘do you see yourself the way the Creator sees you,’ and it just came so naturally to me,” she says. “I just stuck with that when I started writing my children’s book.”
Video: Teach kids how to climb a tree (cbc.ca)
The Way Creator Sees You contains 11 illustrations and 11 pages of free verse poetry with an informal rhyming scheme. Raine says there is a common rhyme scheme of “A,A B,B” throughout the poem which flowed naturally as she was writing it.
The book includes illustrations by Anwar Hussian as well as by Raine. It is dedicated to Raine’s nephew, Nakomi Bellerose-Raine.
Raine says she took a poetry class at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO), before pursuing her children’s poetry book in September.
“I like writing, I like poetry and I’m currently working on a fiction novel right now, that will hopefully be published later this year,” she says.
Rising star Crystle Lightning is set to tour the U.S. with her hit musical “Bear Grease”
(ANNews) – Crystle Lightning is from Treaty 6 Territory, Maskekosak (Enoch Cree Nation) and is the Great-Great Granddaughter of Chief Alexis; her Great Grandfather was Chief William Morin of Enoch Cree Nation. The rising starlet, also from an acting family dynasty, is set to tour the United States with her hit musical called “Bear Grease.” Lightning lived most of her life in Los Angeles developing her skills in acting and music. She moved back to Alberta two years ago, gave birth to her son and changed her life completely. Since being back, Lightning says her life has become full, has purpose, and her dreams of being a successful working actress have come alive.
She says her biggest challenge has been finding patience in the process of writing and the sometimes-long process of going through edits. Her hopes are to overcome those challenges while working on her novel.
“I feel like as writers we struggle a lot with imposter syndrome, and I feel like a lot of times, we have writer’s block and have these challenges,” Raine adds, “I think it’s important to remember your why — why are you writing?”
“I feel like my ‘why’ was, it helps me reconnect to my childhood dreams of being a writer.”
She says her advice to new writers is to believe that you have a greater purpose behind your writing.
“I will show up and do this work because there’s a greater purpose behind it, but, like, also the universe has to show up for me too,” she says.
Athena Bonneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Indigenous non-profit looks to acquire ownership of Trans Mountain Pipeline .
CALGARY — A new Indigenous non-profit organization is seeking an ownership stake in the Trans Mountain Pipeline, saying its aim is to make sure communities along the pipeline's route receive its benefits directly. Nesika Services publicly launched Monday, calling itself a grassroots, community-led not-for-profit. Chief Tony Alexis of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation in Alberta (and the chair and founding director of Nesika) said 14 Indigenous communities along the pipeline's route in Alberta and B.C. have already signed on.