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.