Welcome! I love to write, and I love sharing what I write with my readers. I vary my style as much as I can-posting events, creative non-fiction, prose and poetry and the occasional video. Enjoy!



Monday, July 28, 2014

Help Keep Briarpatch Magazine Going!

Briarpatch has just launched their first crowd sourced (online) fundraising campaign.Please help spread the word about this amazing magazine by clicking on the below link and sharing it with your contacts!

Language Camp 2014

Events for Week of July 28, 2014


Wednesday July 30, 2014-1pm-3pm-SBA Advisory Committee Open Group Meeting@ Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle

Wednesday July 30, 2014- 5-8pm Hand drum workshop with Steve Teekens at the Native Canadian Centre. Come out and learn how to make a hand drum! This one day workshop will cover the teachings of drums and youth will be able to take their finished drum home at the end of the workshop.

This workshop is only open to youth ages 12-24. You have to register as space is very limited!

To register, please call 416-964-9087 x 326, send us a facebook message or email

Wednesday, July 30, 2014-6:30pm-8:30pm
*PUBLIC OPENING* Before and after the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes @ the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) 317 Dundas Street West

Thursday July 31, 2014-12pm- RiverRun 2014-Walk with Grassy Narrows for clean water and Indigenous Rights @ Grange Park, 317 Dundas St. West Join community members from Grassy Narrows Indigenous Nation in a walk for clean water and indigneous rights.

Wednesday July 30, 2014-6:45-8:45pm- East End Against Line 9 Meeting. The meeting will consider the vision and scope of our committee -- a question that has come up at our planning meetings in May and June. Frank S. and John R. will lead off discussion.

July 31, 2014- 5pm-7pm-  BBQ and Bakesale Fundraiser @ the Native Canadian Centre. The Memory, Meaning, Making and Collections project is a group of Native seniors in the community, along with a team of dedicated people who have been working with the NCCT's collection of objects. We are passionate about learning, laughing and growing together, visiting museums, doing craft work, attempting to use the language, and of course eating!

ALL proceeds from this event will be put towards our goal of bringing our group on a ONCE IN A LIFETIME trip to Washington D.C. this fall to view the collections held in their museums!  

For any further information please contact Amber Sandy at

August 1-2, 2014-7pm- to 6pm on August 2- 250th Anniversary of the Treaty of Niagara, 1764 Join in on August 1-2, 2014

Friday, August 1, from 7-9pm, Gathering at Fort Niagara (Youngstown, NY)

Saturday, August 2, start with Sunrise Ceremony and wrap up with Traditional Feast, approx. 6am to 6pm, Gathering at Fort George (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON)

MORE INFORMATION ON THE SPEAKERS AND ACTIVITIES WILL FOLLOW SHORLTY (Check back with this Facebook group or check the Chiefs of Ontario website:

For information, contact:
Rick Hill, Six Nations Polytechnic, Ohsweken, ON, at 519-445-0023,
Heather George, Six Nations Legacy Consortium at
Sherry Antone, Chiefs of Ontario, at

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement

Review: The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement”
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

“The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement” is a very critical book to read when it comes to understanding the origins of Idle No More, and the issues that First Nations people have been and are currently fighting.

From the time that I opened it until I closed the pages of this book, I found myself captivated by many of the articles. It helped me to understand some very important pieces of First Nations history, legislation and the drive behind what has been one of many integral movements in my lifetime-Idle No More.

I was especially moved by the opening poem “A Healing Time,” written by SkyBlue Mary Morin, where she states

“We dance
to soften the hard lumps
that have formed
in the heart,
the hurt inside
We dance, the Stomp
We stomp, stomp along
With stumbling feet
In a snakelike rope
Of people

We dance
the Friendship Dance
Take my hand
And hold it tight
Gentle if that’s
The way with you”
(SkyBlue Mary Morin)

The poem speaks of a dance that saw First Nations people across Canada gather and hold hands while round dancing at each Idle No More movement event. As I read it, I still envision the way the round dance united people at each Idle No More event. It reminds me of our culture, and the beauty of it, and how the dance was symbolic of sharing the hurt, sharing the pain, and sharing friendship and love with everyone who attended these round dance flash mobs, teach ins and gatherings.

            In “The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, Future and the Idle No More Movement,” there is a very thorough examination of how the Idle No More Movement started, gained traction in First Nations communities across Canada and how it was indicative of a very long chain of resistance (years in the making, when you look at past resistances and legislative policies- The White Paper, Oka, etc) that was forged in late November 2012, when four women in Saskatchewan held a meeting called to educate Indigenous (and Canadian) communities on the impacts of the Canadian federal government’s proposed Bill C-45.
It called attention to the 457 pages of legislation, an omnibus of new laws that introduced drastic changes to the Indian Act, the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Navigable Water Act (amongst others)
It was with the help of social media and grassroots Indigenous activists that this meeting by these four women inspired a continent wide movement with hundreds of thousands of people from Indigenous communities and urban centres participated in sharing sessions, protests, blockades and round dances in public spaces and on the land, in our homelands and sacred spaces.
 “Indigenous peoples have been protecting homelands; maintaining and revitalizing languages, traditions, and cultures; and attempting to engage Canadians in a fair and just manner for hundreds of years.” (21)
“The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement,” edited by The Kino-nda-niimi Collective is a book that must be read because it is a collection of writings that change minds, ideas, action and history. It is published by Arbeiter Ring Publishing and is 439 pages.

The Kino-nda-niimi Collective is a group of Indigenous writers, artists, editors, curators, and allies who came together to document and disseminate the work that emerged and culminated in the winter of 2012-2013. Lead editors for the Winter We Danced include Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Leanne Betasmosake Simpson, Tanya Kappo, Wanda Nanibush and Hayden King, who along with many colleagues, relatives, friends and organizations assembled this collection together over the summer and fall of 2013.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Darkness hits you
And you feel
Like you may be

That I’m a friend
Who cares

Who will
Hold her hand

 When no one else will

Darkness hits you
And you feel
Like you are drowning

My love
And friendship
Is always
there for you

I’ll hold
You up

When no one
Else will

You just have to trust
In me

And remember
I am here

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Donning an Editor's Hat


Donning an Editor’s Hat:

By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

I’m a writer first and foremost, but since joining Shameless Magazine over a year ago, I have had to also don the hat of an editor for the column “Beyond the Books.” The Beyond the Books column was started when I joined the Shameless team and it aims to give a voice to Indigenous peoples and discuss issues that are not normally talked about in books or the classroom.

People may think that being a writer and an editor are similar, and maybe in a sense they are because you’re sitting at your computer, researching, fact checking and poring over articles, but that is where the similarity ends. An editor’s job goes even further than that of a writer-they have to look at the nitty gritty of the article before them and make sure it follows the following

1.     A good lede

2.     Well researched content and flow

3.     Grammatical errors and spelling and

4.     A good closing to the article being written

I have found that once I receive an article, I  have to go over the article to see if it flows properly, and that it makes sense. Often there is little editing to do, but if there is significant editing to do, I will email the writer back with suggestions on how to improve their article. This is where I find wearing two hats can be difficult because as a writer, myself, I’m used to getting feedback and receiving feedback can be difficult.

Feedback can be difficult, because someone can feel so passionate about his or her article that they don’t think there is anything wrong with the article they have written. So when I have to give feedback, I try to think of how I would like to hear feedback and offer the same to my writers.I have been fortunate to have some editors who have really been encouraging, and I find that what I have learned from them, I try to bring to the work that I do with Shameless Magazine.  

When I feel that something has to be re worked, I stress the importance of the writers voice being loud and clear in their article. As writers, it is important for our voices to be heard, and as an editor, I never want to take a person's voice away from them.

Deadlines are important when you are an editor. My biggest pet peeve is assigning an article to someone and then the deadline passes and there is no word from the writer. As a writer, myself who lives by deadlines, I know how important deadlines are and I like to stress that to my writers also. If a deadline is missed, I send an email gently reminding a writer that their article is due. I check to see where they are at, and ask if they need any assistance. Sometimes I will extend a deadline but only if I am given permission by Shameless Magazine’s editorial director, Sheila Sampath. Fortunately, I have only had to do that maybe once in my tenure as an editor with Shameless.

I love that Beyond the Books gives a voice to Indigenous peoples but I have also found that in my role as an editor, it has been difficult to recruit and retain Indigenous writers and/or bloggers.

“Shameless is feminist magazine for teen girls and trans youth. Our print magazine is produced three times a year and is distributed throughout Canada, and we host an active feminist blog dealing with issues in ways that are accessible to youth.”

As the only First Nations voice in the magazine, I want to be able to bring forward an inclusive voice for all First Nations, Inuit, Metis peoples because Shameless Magazine is a magazine that is sensitive to all communities.

I love being a part of the Shameless Magazine team. It has taught me that I can be more than just a writer, because the Shameless team have shown that they have faith in me and what I can do beyond being just a writer.

(This is a cross post with Shameless Magazine)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekly Events


June 23-24, 2014- Kapwa Collective presents TBOLIxTO - a cultural exchange between the T’boli School of Living Traditions (Philippines) and communities in Toronto. We welcome you to join us for a series of events on June 22 & 23.

Explore the exquisite beauty of T’boli Handicrafts and Cultural Products. All proceeds directly support the T’boli School of Living Traditions and the work of individual artisans.

Date: Monday June 23, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Place: Youngplace Artscape, 180 Shaw Street (Room 109)

June 23, 2014-8pm- Poetrix- World Pride Poetry Nigh @ Glad Day Bookshop An evening of poetry and spoken word, with some open mic time for you. FREE.
Debra Anderson
Kirk DeMatas
Akhaji Zakiya
Fan Wu
Ben Ladouceur
Katie Pereira
Spencer Charles Smith
Jacqueline Valencia
Michael Erickson
and maybe.... You!

June 23, 2014-7pm- 9:30pm-WTF is queer about Settler Colonialism, Racism and Homonationalism? You may have heard the term “homonationalism” or “gay imperialism” and other hard-to-digest language that you’re certain means something, you’re just not sure what! Queer of colour academics have been talking about these concepts for about 7 years but many queers outside the academic industrial complex are still looking for a more concrete understanding of such theories and more importantly, how they’re relevant to social/political justice movements, including prison abolition and Indigenous resurgence and decolonization. This interactive panel will aim to answer basic questions about homonationalism and other concepts, as well as some ways in which queer scholarship may help inform community-based initiatives to address/challenge racist and settler colonialist contradictions in refugee/immigration support work, Pride events, hate crime agendas that rely on policing and gentrification, international solidarity work, and other queer of colour, trans of colour, Black/Caribbean and Indigenous/2-Spirit activism.

Panelists: Fatima Jaffer, Rinaldo Walcott, Jin Haritaworn, Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour.

Moderator: OmiSoore H. Dryden

Note: This venue is wheelchair accessible and has gender neutral bathrooms. More on accessibility:

We regret that ASL interpretation will not be available for this event.

June 24, 2014-7:30pm- World Pride- ACTING UP ACTING OUT at Glad Day Book shop. 598A Yonge Street. Join us for theatre, music and magical performance

Kwame Stephens
Jeffrey Dale
Matti McLean
Steen Starr
Mark Keller
and more!

June 24, 2014- World Pride AIDS Candlelight Vigil 2014.This year marks both the 30th Anniversary of the AIDS Candlelight Vigil and the celebration of World Pride in Toronto.

Join us for this important community memorial held annually to honour, remember and celebrate the lives of people who have died of AIDS, and to recognize and honour those affected by and living with HIV/AIDS.

The Vigil is held in Cawthra Square Park (behind The 519), which is accessible to individuals using mobility devices. ASL interpretation will be provided.

Vigil is held rain or shine.

June 26, 2014- Aboriginal History Month Celebration by the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. They will be holding their 5th annual Aboriginal History Month event at Yonge & Dundas Square with MC Stan Wesley. This year, we have an exciting line-up of entertainers including Black Stone, Digging Roots, Métis Fiddler Quartet and Derek Miller headlining! As well as, all day Kid's Arts & Crafts Tent, craft vendors exhibiting and selling their wares.

12:00 pm Opening w/ MC Stan Wesley
12:30 pm Pow Wow Dance Performances
1:15 pm Black Stone
2:15 pm Storytelling w/ Chad Soloman
2:45 pm Enagb Youthprogram Performance
3:00 pm Hand Drumming
3:45 pm Fashion Show by NativeTalent.Net
5:00 pm Métis Fiddler Quartet
6:00 pm Digging Roots
7:00 pm Derek Miller

If you would like to volunteer for this event please email

All vendor tables have been booked.

Sponsored in part by Canadian Heritage.