Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas friends

From my family to our friends and your families...Merry Christmas. May your holiday season be one of good health and much love! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_XTwr7qnl0&list=UUwaT1CSMx_QTZq-En0tZ9iQ&index=32&feature=plcp

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Great White North

It's December and I'm in Northern Ontario.

This week, I spoke to 5000 high school students, thousands of elementary kids and a good number of adults (parents, teachers and administrators)in Thunder Bay.

I continue to promote reading through modeling and common sense practices: reading through accessible and inclusive books: no books - no reading. No books that are inclusive and accessible - no reading.

I'm headed south to Fort Frances where my friend/host Brent Tookenay will take me out into a number of their reserves...to share the same passionate message.

Soon, it will be Christmas. My gift for all the kids I'm privileged to work with is the gift of reading.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Home from my Prairie...

I'm back from Saskatchewan (God Bless Regina Librarians) and Alberta! Raven's Greatest Creation...(in English, French and Ojibway) is printed and shipped. I'll be launching our new book over the next few months...
Rubicon continues to work on our Turtle Island Voices. In that series, my new book, White Deer, is being illustrated (painted) by the incredible Aaron Paquette of Edmonton. This piece that sold at his exhibition at Bear's Paw in Edmonton is a good example of Aaron's work!

Monday, October 10, 2011

October in Alberta and Northern Ontario

Edmonton, Standoff on the Blood Reserve, Owen Sound, Lindsay... I'm on the road making new friends and sharing my message: literacy/song/dance/culture...

My new book, Raven's Greatest Creation, is at the printer. Beneath Raven Moon should be there within the month. In the words of brother Joseph, "it's all good!"

Look closely in this image for Wolf...and Raven appears in the corners of Bear's eyes. Brigitte Lopez is a brilliant artist and Raven's Greatest will be one of my most spectacular cultural books to date!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Summer has come and gone. Kids are back in schools and that means teachers are back and so am I. I'm back on the road. I spent the first week of September in and around Kenora/Dryden. This picture is of Shoal Lake 40 school...on the spectacular island that houses Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. I came home for my birthday and am soon headed to Durham for a week.

Raven's Greatest Creation is at the printer's. Rainbow Crow is nearly there and Beneath Raven Moon is right behind that.

Professionally, all is good. Personally, my mom is in a battle with cancer. She is elderly and not likely to win this one. My father, sister..our entire family are soaking in every last minute we can with our wonderful mom/grandmother.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

EducationMatters, Calgary's public education trust

Discovering Who You Are

Character, literacy and celebrating diverse cultures were the main focuses of the Towards a Compassionate Learning Community program at Cambrian Heights School.

As a diverse micro-community, Cambrian Heights School recognized the need to engage the students in literacy and culture, and to promote the love of reading outside of the school environment. Thanks to the support of an EducationMatters grant, famous Canadian Author, David Bouchard was invited to spread his messages about the importance of literacy and discovering who you are to the Cambrian Heights students.
Bouchard is a dynamic, passionate and engaging oral story teller and presenter who captures children's imaginations, while implanting powerful messages and lessons within the story. "This program was really three-fold," says Principal Bonnie Bilcox. "Children learned about character education, and how such virtues as honesty and humility make you a good person; there was a literacy piece that really brought the love of reading with your family at home to the forefront; and there was a cultural piece that allowed us to connect with the very diverse student population, and to celebrate their heritage." Bouchard's presentation was based on his book, The Seven Sacred Teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman, which resonates with the messages of traditional First Nations values. The experience allowed children of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit descent, in particular, to really connect with Bouchard and reflect on their heritage and Aboriginal roots.

Bouchard's presentation involved parents and was a piece of a bigger picture, as his book became the theme for the year's studies throughout all grades. Students participated in many projects that related to the Seven Sacred Teachings. Students were given the opportunity to collaborate with Matt Palmer a documentary filmmaker, and to interview Bouchard when he visited Cambrian Heights. "It was epic meeting David Bouchard and talking with him about his ideas for our documentary based on his book— The Seven Sacred Teachings. I interviewed him and asked him what inspired him to become a writer and I remember him saying that his grandmother, who is dead, was his inspiration," says student Paula.

Learning leader, Christine McCrory says, "Bouchard is a very provocative and compelling individual who speaks about his own disconnect with his Métis heritage; as educators, we were realizing that a lot of our students couldn't identify with their roots and that there was a real lack of self-belonging."

The Towards a Compassionate Learning Community program in combination with Bouchard's presentation left a powerful impact on a great many students. One of the most powerful examples was when a student, who had experienced violent social influences, stood up in front of his peers during Bouchard's presentation and spoke about his personal connection to Bouchard's lessons. Afterwards, Bouchard met privately with the student and gave him a book about embracing his Aboriginal roots.

Watch David Bouchard present to Cambrian Heights students here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The First Flute...and the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede draws millions of people ever year, all attracted for different reasons. The last time my girls and I attended was to take in the chuckwagon races from behind the scenes. Yet the highlight was spending time with our good friends Sharon and Dennis Weber. Master Metis artist Dennis Weber was my partner in The Secret of Your Name, a best seller that is still going strong. We are currently working on a new book with a Metis focus, 1885: The Metis Resistance (first hand accounts of North West Resistance).

I am working on another book with American artist Dol Oelze (http://www.donoelzeart.com/). Our book, The First Flute, is being published by Red Deer press this coming spring. The highlight of this years Stampede was meeting with Don to go over what we had, what we needed and all the wheres and whens of our book.

I can't imagine a more exciting way to make a living than dreaming my dreams and watching them unfold through the art of such talented people as all of my partners.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

the Valley Sentinel - Aboriginal Day 2011

...Sincere thanks to the Valley Sentinel for this lovely article! It was a real pleasure spending time with Daniel and Andrea prior to our lovely community event! ...David

“Eagle who flies in and out of the clouds bringing messages from Creator”

On Tuesday June 21, David Bouchard plays one of his many flutes for a crowd that gathered after the end of his two-hour presentation to listen to more of his songs and stories. Bouchard performed in the Valemount Community Theatre at Valemount Secondary School to an attentive audience following an outdoor potluck dinner. Bouchard’s Métis spirit name is Zhiibaayaanaakwad which means roughly…”“Eagle who flies in and out of the clouds bringing messages from Creator”.

Honoured Métis Writer Visits on Aboriginal Day

Daniel Betts

A bright warm sun broke through the clouds when famous Métis author and Order of Canada recipient, David Bouchard, arrived in our Valley on June 21, which also happened to be Aboriginal Day across Canada.

Outside Valemount Secondary School (VSS), many Valley residents gathered to enjoy a community potluck with David Bouchard. An authentic teepee had been set up and enjoyed by the children who attended. “I expected more mosquitoes, “ Bouchard joked when opening his evening presentation, held at the Community Theatre at VSS. Moments earlier, as the audience was seating themselves, beautiful melodies filled the theatre as Bouchard expertly played one of his many flutes.

It had been a long road that led Bouchard to our community theatre on Aboriginal Day. “This year alone, since the first of February, I’ve travelled 62,000 miles. In the last 11 years it’s for sure been a million miles,” Bouchard told The Valley Sentinel, speaking to us before the show. Bouchard told us that he has likely been snowed-in in every remote community in Canada, including with a “big white ugly cook” in Natuashish in northern Labrador. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot of interesting stories,” Bouchard said of his many travels. “The most significant thing I’m doing in my life is what I’m doing now,” Bouchard declared. He said it took him 25 years to learn to become a better father and teacher. It started with him progressively watching his own son’s struggle and coming to realize the importance of reading. “My sons don’t read because I wasn’t a good father, I just didn’t know,” Bouchard explained. He quoted famous author Maya Angelou who said, “Parents who know better, do better.” He said he realized the power he has to make change happen and decided to use that power as a school principal.

Part one of his destiny was realized. Part two of Bouchard’s journey came with the realization of his Métis ancestry. “It dawned on me that maybe I was put here for a reason, maybe my Grandmothers were waiting for the time to be right for me to be mature enough, to be ripe enough, to guide me,” Bouchard said. He believes that the reason Aboriginal people are not readers is because they don’t see themselves in books. “The good news is anything can change,” Bouchard said. Bouchard noted such famous aboriginal authors as Joseph Boyden, who won the 2008 Giller Prize for Three Day Road and Drew Hayden Taylor, the Ojibway writer of Motorcycles & Sweetgrass.

“I have a mission to write cultural books that will be of interest to all ages and I am trying to include as many nations as I can,” Bouchard declares. Bouchard explained that he changed to a publisher who agreed to print his books in native languages. “My dream is to get books in as many of our languages as I can, there are at least 62 living languages in our country,” Bouchard explained. Bouchard has authored 52 books. “I have... maybe 10 in the fire,” said Bouchard.

Bouchard’s presentation held the audience spellbound for its two-hour length during which he demonstrated the different melodies his various flutes made, demonstrated to the children of the audience the importance of reading through the telling of stories and explained the key to becoming good reader.

“To become a reader, find one book you like and then one more and one more. That is why I like series like Harry Potter and Twilight,” Bouchard told the audience.

Even when the presentation ended many members of the audience joined Bouchard on stage to speak with him personally, learn more of his beautiful flutes and to perhaps squeeze just a little more knowledge from such a wise man. Particularly obvious was the ease the children had speaking and interacting with Bouchard.

Local First Nation Elder, Mae Frye, was impressed with the presentation. “I really enjoyed the show, especially the attention he gave to the kids, and how he encouraged them to read more books and watch less television. I think that was my highlight. He is a very good storyteller. Storytelling, I think, is very important,” said Frye.

“Man with a Mission”

David Bouchard discusses the struggles Métis children have in learning to read.
Photos by Andrea Scholz

Friday, June 24, 2011

School's out for summer...

My spring tour is over. It was amazing! In the past three months alone, I have travelled 70,000 miles and made hundreds of new friends. In spite of those miles, hotels and restaurants, I'm feeling strong and healthy.

I spent a good part of June in the Rocky Mountains. In Pincher Creek, I worked with my Blackfoot friends and was able to catch up with my old friends Tyler and Judy Trafford. Tyler is the author of one of my favourite series ever: Sun on the Mountains.
In Valemount, I was hosted by my old friend Claude Germain. I stayed in Moose Cottage at Teepee Meadows. The mountains don't get any prettier and the mountain men don't get any sweeter!

I now have a few weeks to spend at home, catching up. I hope to get two of my new books wrapped up and printed by the fall. Red Deer also has my book Rainbow Crow ready to go. It could/should be out by September or October.

Catching up on my writings, walking my dogs, resting and getting reacquainted with my family... I started my home time by going to my dad's doctor for a three way chat..a talk about drugs, pain, sleep and all those vital things in the life of a 93 year old. The amazing part of this story is that dad is in great shape. He walks a ton. He drives too much. He cares for my mom, his dog and anyone who needs caring for. My dad has set the bar terribly high...as shown in this picture. As I write, my dad is calling me with updates on the NHL draft and the Blue Jays playing in the ninth.

Life doesn't get any better. I wish this kind of happiness for all...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

62,000 miles since March 1st!

62,000 miles in three months! I am so lucky!

Once again, I've been high and low, east and west...urban and rural...reserve to downtown metropolis Canada!

And now, I have two short trips before coming home for the summer...and home is a most magical place! This morning, Vicki and I shared a coffee as we walked Royal Dude and Louis Riel (seen in this picture) in our garden.

Travelling...making new friends... seeing new sights...and making a difference in the lives of communities, families and so many wonderful people! Can it get any better?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Reading List with an Aboriginal focus

For my new friends - for WILU members with whom I had the privilege of spending yesterday… (http://www2.uregina.ca/wilu2011/)

Thank you for your kind and wonderful reception. I’d like to tell you that all my audiences are as warm and passionate about my message as you were but it isn’t so.

You are wonderful - a national treasure. Miigwetch/marcee/thank you.

This is the list I promised you – the books I spoke about during my workshop.

Books by Aboriginal writers…that include aboriginal readers - the few that I was able to speak to in our short time together:

1. Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road and his Through Black Spruce
2. Richard Wagamese’s One Native Life, For Joshua, Keeper ‘n Me, and my favourite Ragged Company
3. Drew Hayden Taylor’s Motorcycles and Sweetgrass, his Me Funny and Me Sexy.
4. Joseph Bruchac’s….plethora of excellent books.
5. Joseph Marshall III's One Hundred in the Hand
6. Picture book by Dale Auger…Mwakwa – Talks to the Loon
7. Picture books by Richard Van Camp and George Littlechild
8. Picture books by C.J. Taylor
9. Picture book by Maxine Trottier
10. Picture/cultural books that I have written

Books that include aboriginal readers
1. Alfred Silver’s The Red River Story
2. Tyler Trafford’s Sun on the Mountains (trilogy)
3. John Vaillant’s The Golden Spruce (I spoke of Tiger as well)
4. Paul Peel’s Autobiography
5. Sacajawea by Anna Lea Waldo
6. Guy Vanderhaeghe’s The Englishman’s Boy and The Last Crossing
7. Gear and Gear’s multitude of books…I spoke to their newest Coming of the Storm and the their YA Children of the Dawnland.
8. Jean Auld’s Clan of the Cave Bear series
9. Win Blevins’ Stone Song and his Rock Child
10. The Diary of John Jewitt
11. Michelle Paver’s Chronicles of Darkness
12. Manda Scott’s Boudica
13. Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man

During my keynote, I read from Richard Jorgensen's Reading with Dad

That's it... I home safe and sound...without the iPad I thought I might have landed at the U of R. Darn ...Group hug -

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Coming into June

It's the end of May and I'm home from the longest tour of my last twelve years. I've never been away from home for so much of any one month. I left home on May 1st and didn't come home for three weeks. I came home for two days then left again for a week in Orillia. May was a good month but not the healthiest of months. I find it difficult being away from my family. I know there are many out there, particularily in the far north, who are able to/or have to in some cases. For me, it's difficult. My issues are likely linked to my childhood growing up in a private boys college, College Mathieu in Gravelbourg, Sask. My years there were good but often lonely.

...I leave tomorrow for Kelowna but the month of June is a well balanced month...road and home in harmony. It's all good...Oh...I should add that I have found a family on the road. Just look at these two handsome, smiling faces. How could anyone not love men like these?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

End of a long tour

Tomorrow will be the final day of the longest tour of my year. I left home on May 1st and I've been away from my home and family for three weeks...missing Vicki's birthday, Mother's Day...Victoria's school dance and more...

I have traveled thousands of miles. Tonight, I sleep in Montreal. Last night, I slept in Ottawa. The night before that, Cambridge... If it sounds like I'm tired, I am a little. Planes, hotels and restaurants will do that to a person. If it sounds as if I'm ungrateful, I am not. I am grateful for the opportunity to make many new friends, to share my learnings and to matter where there is a need. I'm grateful to be able to see so much of our beautiful country (Owen Sound, Saugeen, Bracebridge...Cambridge and Ottawa)! And as an added bonus, I get to spend time with friends and family (cousins Denis, Ro and Lauren, friends Steve Rensink, Jeff Burnham, Raymond Skye, Ray Auger, and Tribal Vision (shown here).

I will go home tomorrow night for two quality days before flying back to Ontario for a week in Barrie, Orillia and Rama! It's all good!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Home for two sleeps...

After a great week in Alberta, I'm headed to Ontario and Quebec for three long weeks. I'll miss Vicki's birthday. I'll miss Mother's Day. But I will meet many new friends and soon it will be summer with all kinds of time to spend with my family.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Turtle Island Voices

This past week found me working with Pearson Canada (http://www.pearsonschoolcanada.ca/) as we released Turtle Island Voices, our new levelled book series celebrating Aboriginal life, culture and heritage. We began the week in Winnipeg then flew to Regina. While in Regina, I spoke at the Treaty 4 Education Conference then I traveled up to North Battleford to share stories with several reserves that included Poundmaker, Red Pheasant and Moosomin.

My focus has been on reading. First Nation people have much catching up to do as readers. Though they are beginning to see themselves in books (they are starting to become included in books), they continue having difficulty accessing these books. Many books are simply too challenging. Collectively, Pearson, educators, Elders and authors are working to move these readers to the point that they will be able to handle a greater range of books.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Prince George to Thunder Bay

I am heading home from a wonderful tour that took me from Prince George to Oakville and on to Thunder Bay. I'm developing my skills at sharing my message and a deeper repetoire of stories to enrichen it, however my message remains much the same: reading is a skill/tool that all (adults and youth alike) need to survive and thrive. For for the first time in history, reading has become accessible to aboriginal people. It is a fact that in order to read, we have to able to see ourselves in the books we read. Aboriginal people have not had that luxury until now. They do not identify with the hobbits in Lord of the Rings any more than they see themselves as the character Lynn Banks depicts in Indian in the Cupboard. They do however see themselves as the brilliantly depicted personnages of Joseph Boyton, Richard Wagamese and Drew Haydon Taylor. They are even finding themselves in some wonderfully unexpected books such as Twilight where the hero is a warm blooded, handsome young First Nation man, Jacob Black...and not the pasty, cold blooded white guy Edward Cullen. Barack Obama is President of the United Stated. The Berlin Wall has been taken down. We too can read and watch us grow and succeed as we do...

So thank you Prince George, Halton School Boards, Lakehead in Thunder Bay and DFK (THE perfect venue for my message...this school that services FN students flown in from the North, living in boarding houses)... I'm going home to pack, walk my dogs and get to know my family. I'll be back out here on....Tuesday...and that means three sleeps at home! Ah... Miigwetch Kokum.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PARIS 2011

Les Editions des Plaines is one of my primary publishers. For the past four years, they have invited me to Paris (and to Montreal) for the two largest book fairs in the world. Vicki and Victoria always accompany me on internation tours.
The French and Europeans in general are enamoured by Aboriginal culture. That Western Canadians speak French is shocking to many. They seem to enjoy my accent as well as my books.
We spent four days working in the Salon du Livre and are into our final two days of enjoying Paris. We travel home to reality tomorrow and that reality is not too shabby!
Pictured here are two good friends and my publisher, our wonderful friend Huguette...standing in front of me. Merci tellement Hugutte! XO

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

PARIS 2011

For the fourth year in a row, Vicki, Victoria and I are headed for the Salon du Livre in Paris. Some tours are for me...this one is for them.

Something I haven't done for too long now is recommend a book...NO... in this case, recommend an author. Richard Wagamese came to me from THE most reliable source - my Kokum in heaven. She led me to his new One Story, One Song and that turned into five of Richard's books that are in my bag en route to Paris. If you've not read Richard yet, are you ever in for a treat. He is everything perfect in a writer - soft, sensitive, nostalgic, loving (Richard loves his wife Deb and his dog Molly in the exactl same way I love my wife and dog)...He is giving and open and expressive and... I can't recall anything quite like him. And as an added bonus, Richard is Ojibway!

Miigwetch Nokum!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jim Poitras in Finland

Jim Poitras, my partner in The Drum Calls Softly, has been featured/honoured at the book fair in Lahti.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Upcoming in Bracebridge

This article from the Bracebridge Weekender sets the scene for a great upcoming event.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I have been on the road for over two weeks now and I'll not be home for yet another week. I rarely stay away from home for such extended periods and am trying to schedule more home time. These long tours are not ideal!

I traded a good flute for three tickets to Elton John's Valentine's Day concert in Victoria tonight! ...Tonight Vicki, Ashleigh and Victoria enjoy Sir Elton while I'm here in Thunder Bay with my old friend Persian Man.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dreamcatcher and the Seven Deceivers

Kristy Cameron, my partner in the Seven Sacred Teachings, has completed the art for the sequel, Dreamcatcher and the Seven Deceivers. We have a lot to do before releasing it but it is going to be worth the work and the wait!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I'm sitting in my hotel in Milton, Ontario. All schools..universities...all closed! I don't know if it's my age or my being a prairie boy but this weather was a daily occurance in Saskatchewan during my youth? It must be global warming because I think Ontario is getting soft...this was the norm 35 years ago here in Oakville! ...No matter!

Good News? ...This too shall pass and I'm within walking distance of Tim Horton's!

Now, this picture...this is worthy of school closure! ...My host Barb and I are standing in front of my hotel in Natuashish, Labrador!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

...on the road again...

I'm back on the road...in Alberta this week (Calgary/Lethbridge)! I love my work and I give thanks, every day.
...I wonder if Louis Riel misses me?

Monday, January 10, 2011


Our wish for 2011 is health and happiness for all those who are alone and hurting. Our family has so much to be thankful for...and we are. Happy New Year everyone!