I was very happy when Joanne Lamoureux asked me if I could interview well known St.Paul, Alberta Artist Terry Trottier when she was showcasing her character sculptures through the ACFA back in 2017. Terry does sculptures that are full of character and life. I've always been an admirer of her work for we've got a few of her sculptures at our house and at my Dad's office. Saturday, March 3rd, one of Terry's sculptures will be up for auction to help raise money for the St. Therese Hospital here in St.Paul, Alberta who are in need of new hospital equipment. The Auction will be held at the Rec Center in St.Paul.
Shannon M. Houle
I also was very happy when my friend Adeline Large asked me to film her interview with leader Shannon Houle of Saddle Lake Cree Nation. In the 1960s, Shannon's Grandmother (Nookum) was part of a sit-in of 11 nations to take back their role as Parents and Teachers for their children, when the residential school Blue Quills closed down. When they met up with the Prime Minister, they got ownership and operation of the school, the first in history. Shannon's Grandma would tell the children stories of where they came from, stories of Prophecies, taught songs and she would do it all in their Cree language. These were significant stories that said, "Never ever forget who you are, never... always remember where you came from, you came from the land, this is where you come from. You're one day gonna grow up and you're gonna want to leave and you're gonna want to know what's out there and there's going to be people who come about and they are going to say to you, 'You're not good enough'. Never ever believe them...always remember who you are and where you come from'. Shannon's Grandma is one of her big influences in her life and also Mother Earth. Another big Influencer of Shannon is Sylvia McAdam. In 2012 Shannon attended a teaching with Sylvia, where Sylvia shared a story of warrior women. These are women who are holders of the knowledge of the land and water. Chiefs, Leaders and Elders would go first to the warrior women to discuss and ask and the women would guide and give permission or not. They did this during the time of Treaty, of this area's Treaty, Treaty 6. They met on the Saskatchewan side, this is before Alberta and they discussed with the women and the women never gave permission to give up the land. Finally today, people are waking up and seeing that something is wrong. If a man says the same thing a woman is saying, more people will listen to him, that's not right. The colonization, genocide and assimilation of Indigenous people of Canada has created a lot of pain in the Indigenous communities, Shannon is working on positive change to create sovereignty for the Indigenous people. If you're to be a leader, you need a support system, an Elder Jim O'Chiese said, "In order to be a helper and healer, we also need to learn to help and heal ourselves first, so get to know who you are first and honor who you are." Shannon said in the News Interview, "Since 1876, we've been asking for the opportunity to maintain our culture and our languages. We already have our laws, we know what we need and we're tired of other people telling us how to educate our people. I'm a descendant of the residential school...I know what that is. They (Canadian Government) have not honored their side of the Treaty agreement. That's what we've been saying from day one, have they? No... they tried to assimilate us (residential schools), Indian Act Policy tried to replace our Treaties. Some people don't know the difference between Indian act and Treaty. Treaty is who we are. That's what we signed before Treaty, we were sovereign and we will be sovereign to this day forward. Indian Act has always been to assimilate us. I'm sorry we don't have special status, we have Inherintancy , we come from these lands... we didn't come from across the border."
Interviewer: Adeline Large Producer: Jonathan Holeton Published on Sep 6, 2015 Category; People & Blogs License: Standard YouTube License Music: "Waniska" by Iskwew Singers Artwork: "Our Sisters in Spirit" by Mary Jane Houle Photography: Bert Crowfoot News Footage: APTN Hyperlink Youtube Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StU_O53N_i0 Duration: 30:38 Location of Recording: Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Eagles Nest Healing Lodge onihcikiskwapowin (Saddle Lake Cree Nation): www.saddlelake.ca