Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stories Never Die

Hello Boozhoo, Ahnee,

How is your day going today? How was yesterday? What do you think tomorrow will be like? Its quite hard to live in the present. Like that crazy turtle said in that Kung Fu Panda movie, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that is why they call it the present."

So how do I do that? Take each moment as it comes, try not to think too much on it, maybe the answer will come...eventually? Sounds romantic. But can it make sense in the world we live in presently?

I have been asking so many questions to my students over the past week. Alone we do not have the answer, but together we can support each other in our search for them. But maybe it is not about understanding why we do things they way we do them, maybe it is in the giving over to the unknown, the seemingly scary pit of the unknown.

A kid asked me about learning his language the other day. I found myself giving "romantic" advice, the easier said that done advice. Poor kid. Maybe he wanted an answer. The truth is, I don't know. I never have, but maybe some day I will know why. Why our forceful government decided to "rule" over another people entirely. Make that people's children go to school to be RE-educated in the "correct" way, to turn native people into "Brown-white Christians" in order to save their soul. To take the many different native tongues and "unite" them through the English language, with beatings. Who's soul needed saving? Why do we as people crave "ownership?"

Some kids in my workshops don't even know the full extent of what happened, neither do I for that matter. But I do not wish to shy away from the unknown, the truth. I have asked my auntie on a few occasions to share some of her stories of residential school. Her voice quivers, she says "I don't want to talk about it now." I do hope that she will tell me...eventually. The stories are there, the wisdom is there, and the healing will be the result. I will wait.

These kids that I am working with are so smart, so beautiful, so talented, so interesting, but there is something holding them back. What is that? Why is that? Who is the unknown masked magician, controlling the switch board? The one who says "stop."

I think that whoever it is, wherever it lurks, it is holding us back from our present, our gift, which is today. Our moment.

We are all very interesting people, don't ever forget it.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Journey


My very first blog ever. I have heard a lot about it and now I get the chance to try it out for myself. I am a firm believer in the power of sharing and telling stories.

I have just landed in Moosenee. A small northern town at the base of the James Bay. We are currently touring the world's first Cree Opera to northern townships. This past week we have traveled to many communities providing arts based workshops, a great chance for self expression.

I am just about to graduate from York University with a degree in Theatre and a concentration in acting. I have learned so much from that experience and now I get to teach some of the skills that I have learned along the way.

What I did not expect....was to learn so much about myself as an actor/teacher in relationship to the students that I have had over the past week. The powerful imagination of some of these kids is astounding and inspires me in my own work. I am a little saddened that they don't get the chance to express themselves on a daily basis, but I think this trip can be considered a door opener for some.

The other day we met a girl who is very interested in the visual arts but did not think her "stuff" was good enough. Maybe kids don't hear enough about the possibilities of life in the arts, or at least as a pastime. I hope we encouraged her enough to keep her passion alive until she takes the plunge and continues toward her dream. Why not? A question that I have continually been asking my workshop participants.

Why not, go for a walk? Why not, call your grandmother? Why not, write that story. Why not?