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Sunday, July 12, 2020

If you're not from  the Prairie

For me, it started with If You're not from the Prairie. I won't speak to the successes and opportunities this book has afforded me only to say that it was on McLean's list of the top 20 children's books in the history of Canada, along with Love you Forever and The Hockey Sweater. I don't know the exact sales number today but at last count, it was over 400,000 copies. I know. Crazy!

I had never planned on being a writer let alone a public speaker (although my schoolmates will accuse me of being somewhat of a ham). Nevertheless, this is where life has taken me and it started with If You're not from the Prairie.

Thirty years after it's release, I still get tons of responses and accolades. I'd like to share two recent experiences with you.

A month ago, Canada's respected Metis Elder George Goulet reached out to me saying that he would like to purchase a copy of If You're not from the Prairie. As if! As if I would take money from a man who along with his amazing wife Terry has given so much to Metis people. I autographed and sent George a copy.
This week, I received the following:

"Your generosity in sending us a copy of your wonderful book is only exceeded by your thoughtfulness in doing so.
The evocative verbal images your poetic narrative displayed read like a prairie poem. The images of prairie scenes drawn by Henry Ripplinger reminded George of going to visit his grandfather at his farm in Prairie Grove, Manitoba, about twenty-five miles from Winnipeg, when George was little more than a toddler.
You and George are both Prairie-born Metis and our early childhood is something to cherish.
Our hearts were warmed by both you and the book. Thank you so much.
Your Friends, George and Terry." 

During the same week, I received this email from an old friend - old in that Colette is retiring and old in that we became friends over thirty years ago. 

You may remember the sister book my kids wrote (circa 1987-90) in response to If You're Not from the North  in preparation for your visit to Rossville School Norway House, Mb. during one of our Writers' Festivals.  
Several years later, I attended a talk you gave for teachers in River East Transcona S.D.. I almost feel off my chair when you pulled out the ragged blue duo tang containing my kids' response poem!!! all those years later.  
Today, I speak in front of the staff, as I am retiring from teaching. I have been asked to speak on the highlight(s) of my career.  So, please add, to the many accolades you have received, one more - Most Memorable Highlight of Colette Wallace's Teaching Career 
Thirty years later, I still have it! 
Keep writing for your people,Colette Wallace
I will NOT leave you in the lurch. Here is a short taste of the amazing gift Colette and her kids gave me all those years ago.. 

In If You're not from the Prairie, I wrote... 

If You're not from the Prairie, you can't know me...you just can't know me. You see...my hair's mostly wind, my eyes filled with grit, my skin's white then brown, my lips chapped and  split...I've lain on the prairie and heard grasses sigh. I've stared at the vast open bown in the sky. I've seen all those castles and faces in clouds. My home is the prairie and for that I am proud. If You've not from the Prairie... 

Colette's kids wrote - 

If You're not from the North, you don't know me - you just can't know me... 

You see...

My hair is woven in legends
My eyes are filled with nature
My skin could be many shades of earth
My lips form ancient languages

If you're not from the North
You don't know what you're missing
You just can't know what you're missing... 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

La francophonie et la culture autochtone

"Merci beaucoup de nous avoir ouvert votre belle "shack" et d'avoir illuminé notre dernière journée de classe en ligne.

Avec le partage de votre livre On apprend du soleil, vos passions et votre héritage et vos interactions bienveillantes, vous avez conquis les élèves qui auraient pu converser avec vous toute la journée !

C'était vraiment une expérience fantastique pour les élèves et un beau moyen de célébrer la culture de vos aïeux qui nous unit tous ici au Canada.

Merci encore et à très bientôt, Minawaa giga-waabamin,"


La mise en œuvre des recommandations de la Commission
 de vérité et réconciliation est une priorité dans toutes nos écoles, dans chaque classe. Et bien ça devrait l'être. En décembre 2015, la Commission a publié 94 «appels à l'action» pour que les Canadiens autochtones et non autochtones se réunissent dans un effort concerté pour aider à réparer les dommages causés par les pensionnats indiens. Collectivement, nous avons accepté nos rôles et responsabilités.

Les éducateurs craignent, à juste titre, que les peuples autochtones ne s’offusquent de l’utilisation d’histoires et d’expériences autochtones. Les éducateurs sont inquiets et pourtant prêts à intervenir. Ici, je peux vous aider.

Grâce à Zoom, Meet, Team, "FB live" et l'une des plateformes de médias sociaux, je suis en mesure de faire partie de votre enseignement en classe, de votre personnel professionnel, de votre réunion du conseil d'administration, des réunions de parents, des conférences ...


C'est le début juillet et j'ai déjà eu accès à presque tous les groupes imaginables (en anglais et en français). Si vous souhaitez en savoir plus, veuillez contacter Chris Patrick, mon ami et mon agent. Il est incroyablement facile à atteindre. Avec son aide, il sera facile de rassembler quelque chose.

bouchardbookings@shaw.ca ...sans frais 866-786-4237












Monday, July 6, 2020

Virtual Professional Development

"I wanted to let you know how grateful I am to have had you connect with our staff. I had been reflecting on why I reached out to you, and how I felt that you would be the perfect fit on our journey as educators to better understand how to weave Indigenous ways of knowing and learning with our focus on recognising strengths, unique gifts and talents and knowing your values. I listened and acknowledged the 'signs' that this was the right path....and it was!

The presentation was informal, organic and you were able to showcase your gifts as 'storyteller' while providing our teachers with excellent examples and knowledge. 

I hope we are able to continue our work together, I am excited about future connections with staff AND our students and families!

Again, thank you for today, for your stories, for sharing and building our confidence!"

Have a wonderful rest of your day! I am sure we will be connecting soon.

Implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a priority in all our schools, in every classroom. And well it should be. In December of 2015, the Commission published 94 'calls to action'  for indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians to come together in a concerted effort to help repair the harm caused by residential schools. Collectively, we have accepted our roles and responsibilities(BTW, had we earlier dealt with the numerous inequalities and injustices, the Commission woould not have been necessary.)

Educators are understandably concerned that Indigenous people will take offense by the use of Indigenous stories and experiences. Educators are worried and yet ready to step up to the plate. Here, I can help.

Through Zoom, Meet, Team, FB live and any one of a growing number of social media platforms, I am able to become part of your classroom instruction, your staff pro-d, your board meeting, parent gatherings, conferences...  

It is early July and I have already had access to almost every group imaginable (in English et en francais). If you would like to talk more about how I might be able to help you and just how that can be arranged, please reach out to Chris Patrick, my friend and agent. He is amazingly easy to reach and talk to. Together, it will be easy to put something together. 
bouchardbookings@shaw.ca  toll free 866-786-4237 



Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Je parle et j'écris en français

Mon père, Wilbrod Bouchard, était un bleuet du Lac St. Jean. Nous, on est des Savards, des Tremblays, des Pilotes et ben d'autres lignes française...et parmi nous, il n'y a pas un nom anglais. 

Maman elle, elle était une Mercier et de son côté, on est des Merciers, des Allards, des Beaudoins et des Charbonnots...et encore une fois, pas un nom anglais. 

En bref, le  français, c'est ma langue (et le bras que vous voyez ici est le mien). 

C'est ma langue m'a permis de trouver de l'emploi sur la côte ouest du Canada. C'est ma langue qui m'a amené à Paris pour le Salon du Livre chaque printemps depuis 15 ans. Ma langue est l'un de mes nombreux cadeaux. Je célèbre ma langue et ma culture dans tout ce que je fais ... dans tout ce que je suis. Je suis fransaskois.


Et puis vint Covid-19

Mon agent et moi avons organisé notre premier webinaire il y a un mois et  depuis ce temps, nous avons été très occupés. 

Une grande partie de mon travail en ligne est en français.

J'ai travaillé une semaine entière avec une école à St. Albert, en Alberta. J'ai eu une merveilleuse expérience avec l'École Monseigneur de Laval à Regina. Je vais offrir quatre présentations aux administrateurs et aux enseignants francophones de l'Alberta.


Je ne retournerai peut-être pas à Paris cette année pour le Salon du Livre (bien que cela reste à voir) mais cela ne m'empêche pas de partager mes apprentissages et mon amour de la lecture et des livres avec les élèves, les éducateurs et les parents.

l'équipe à  l'école secondaire Jules -Vernes à Vancouver

En fait, c'est tout le contraire. Le coût du vol, de la location de voitures et de chambres d'hôtel, de manger dans les restaurants, etc… est souvent prohibitif. Cela coûte très cher aux communautés éloignées en particulier. Aujourd'hui, cependant, il suffit de quelques ordinateurs et de la connectivité. Il convient toutefois de noter que tous n'ont pas accès aux ordinateurs ni à la connectivité Wi-Fi. C'est quelque chose que tous les Canadiens devraient comprendre et devraient s'efforcer de corriger.

J'ai plus de vingt-cinq livres en français. Celles-ci se concentrent sur une variété de sujets, mais elles traitent principalement des valeurs et traditions autochtones. 

Depuis bien longtemps, j'ai été très bien accueilli au Salon du Livre à Paris. J'ai également fait de nombreuses présentations dans plusieurs de nos communautés francophones du Canada.

Beaucoup de mes livres sont en français. Certains sont pour les enfants, mais la plupart sont des livres culturels adaptés à tous les groupes d'âge.

Les Editions des Plaines (Winnipeg) est incroyable car mes éditrices font ce qu'elles font pour des raisons culturelles - notre langue / notre culture!

Pour me réserver pour parler à vos élèves, parents ou à vos éducateurs, contactez mon agent Chris Patrick.

Et jetez un œil sur mes livres en sachant que j'ai de nouveaux titres qui sortent tout le temps, deux au cours des six prochains mois.




Sunday, June 21, 2020

E-Learning - full steam ahead

I am learning as I am teaching.

There are several platforms currently being used as online tools and more are certain to appear in the near future. I have been working through Zoom, Meet and Team. In the past, I have presented through Skype.

The pandemic struck and we are all trying to do our share at making the world a better place. I wear a mask. I practice social distancing. I am making an effort at lessening my carbon footprint on the environment by staying and sharing from home.

In the past few weeks,web presentations have proven effective.


1. I have worked with an entire community; students, staff and parents. Feedback..."Amazing as always. So passionate. Very well received. Have tweeted it out. Let's chat again next school year. Meegwetch."  


2. I have worked with individual classrooms in both English et en francais. 

Students seem to be enlightened to see my workplace, my shack. I have been sharing my flutes and stories that relate to some of the artifacts that I have picked up over many years. 
                                                                                                                       
And I have, of course, been reading from my books. In many ways, being here at home is allowing me a more personal and inspirational message be it about mental health, individual gifts, the need for and the pleasure in reading and of course, Indigenous traditions and values.     


3. Professional development. I have worked with teachers who are seeking support in teaching Indigenous content. My passion remains reading so I rarely, if ever, speak to professional groups without touching on literacy/reading. Feedback...

"I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am to have had you connect with our staff. I had been reflecting on why I reached out to you, and how I felt that you would be the perfect fit on our journey as educators to better understand how to weave Indigenous ways of knowing and learning with our focus on recognising strengths, unique gifts and talents and knowing your values. I listened and acknowledged the 'signs' that this was the right path....and it was!

The presentation was informal, organic and you were able to showcase your gifts as 'storyteller' while providing our teachers with excellent examples and knowledge. 
I hope we are able to continue our work together, I am excited about future connections with staff AND our students and families!

Again, thank you for today, for your stories, for sharing and building our confidence!"

Teachers, administrators and parents, go here for my webinar fees. If you have questions, email or call my agent Chris Patrick at 866 786 4237.




                                                                                                      

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

We Learn from the Sun

I don't even know where to begin.

We Learn from the Sun is being launched June 9th and will be available from that day forward. It is being published by Medicine Wheel Education, Victoria, B.C. Simply said, this book is...wow... https://medicinewheel.education/
WE LEARN FROM THE SUN BOOK (Ships June, 4th) - Medicine Wheel Education - Bookstore
This wow is not so much in response to the book itself although it is honestly wow.

This wow is directed at the unprecedented energies a group of young, passionate publishers have invested in producing and publishing We Learn from the Sun. Medicine Wheel has created a book that I am convinced will be a game changer for primary children.

"This richly illustrated book by Metis writer David Bouchard and Metis illustrator Kristy Cameron, weaves together Woodland style paintings with a rhythmic poem about the spiritual lessons that we can learn from the Sun and the seven sacred teachings."  Goodreads 

My book, The Seven Sacred Teachings with the same artist, Ojibway Metis Kristy Cameron, is a best seller that is being used extensively and effectively in classrooms across Canada.

This new book focusses on the same teachings only in this book, we have created text and imagery meant for younger readers. Youth, both Indigenous and  non-Indigenous, should be introduced to the spirituality of Indigenous people everywhere. These teachings are recognized and accepted world wide. Not religion. Spiritual guidance.






"We Learn from the Sun is an Indigenous rhyming poem based on his best selling book Seven Sacred Teachings. A Teacher Lesson Plan and Resource Guide accompany the book. It's a beautiful poem with colorful illustrations about the Seven Sacred Teachings to be learned from the sun." 49th Shelf
'

Medicine Wheel Education wanted to help educators and parents build on the teachings so they included a teacher lesson plan and resource guide. Check it out on their website.

Good  luck.

Reach out to me if you need me. I will always be here for you.

www.davidbouchard.com