CHRISTINE'S BLOG

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!

Miigwetch

Christine

Monday, April 17, 2017

Promotional Guest Post for Galaxy Photoz by Leanne Ferguson

 
A Crowdfunding campaign you don't want to miss

How many of you have or know someone who has had a not so good experience with a photographer in the past?

From photographers disappearing with deposits, not showing up, botching the job, and failing to capture key people at events and weddings, I've heard it all.

Unless you are a fashion blogger, model or actress you probably do not have a rolodex of photographers at your beckon call. Most people do not even know where to begin when it comes to hiring a photographer.

The solution is Galaxy Photoz. With an easy to use mobile app and web platform coming this June 2017,  Galaxy Photoz plans to make hiring a photographer a fun, safe and easy experience.

If you are the one in charge of hiring a photographer for a corporate function or the eight other types of photography that this company provides, the last thing you want to do is let everyone down. The photographer you choose needs to be vetted and experienced at providing the deliverables that you expect.

Galaxy Photoz is a middle man platform kind of like eBay. They let you hire a prescreened and vetted photographer for the same day and future date photography. The photographers go through a rigorous 2 step vetting process and the company even offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your photo shoot was not an event and by chance, something goes wrong with the images, another photographer will re-shoot free of charge.

They are having a prelaunch campaign on April 17 that you won't want to miss. They have a limited amount of drones available, discounted photo shoots for people local to Toronto. Since they are expanding across North America, they also have a wealth of cool perks like selfie sticks that are being shipped worldwide.

So again if you or someone you know has ever had a less than perfect experience with a photographer support this company as they launch and expand across the continent by going to www.go.galaxyphotoz.com

Also visit- www.galaxyphotoz.com


Leanne Ferguson



Saturday, April 8, 2017

poetry- Silence

Silence greets me
As I try to reach out
Whether by phone or
Email

I feel ignored
My questions go
Unanswered

Silence greets me
As I try to reach out

I feel like my world
Is imploding

But silence
Greets me

The silence cuts
At me

But I don't
Think you understand
And that

Hurts
More than you'll
Ever know

Friday, April 7, 2017

My Journey

Photo Taken By Raigelee Alorut
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My Journey:
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

I never thought that I would be where I am in my academic journey-graduating with my Masters in Education in Social Justice from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) this year, but I am and I cannot help but shake my head and say “Wow I did it.”

My journey has not been easy. I am a first generation survivor of the residential school system and a product of the Sixties Scoop. My biological mom, Anna Smith went to two residential schools in Manitoba and suffered a lot of mental health issues as a result of her time spent at these schools. When it came time for her to have children (she had four-two sons and two daughters), it was alleged that she could not take care of us. Thankfully my sister Marguerite and I were adopted out together, but my brothers were taken elsewhere-one into an institution and the other adopted possibly out into the United States (we still do not know where he is).

The Sixties Scoop was an assimilationist policy made by the Canadian state to take native children away from their families and communities. I never knew my home community of Peguis, one of the largest reserves in Manitoba until I was well into my twenties and early thirties. That was when I met my birth mom. My adoption broke down at the age of ten years old and I went back into foster care until I aged out of the system at the age of seventeen. After leaving my third foster home and heading back to my hometown of Windsor, Ontario, I enrolled in Journalism-Print at the local college. I could not finish the program though due to my own battles with depression and anorexia nervosa.

I did not return to school until I was in my late twenties and had moved to Toronto. After receiving encouragement from a social worker that worked with me, I was brought to First Nations House and was told by then academic counsellor Tracey King that I could enroll in Academic Bridging. I followed her advice and enrolled in Introduction to English Literature, and the following year passed the program to be able to go into part time studies at the University of Toronto. I enrolled in Aboriginal Studies and I can thank many people, including First Nations House staff who I met in my second year of undergraduate studies for encouraging me to keep at it.

I excelled enough in the first half of my second year to go into full time studies and that is what I did. I was finally learning about my culture, my language and making my own community here in Toronto, whereas I had lacked that before. I was offered many opportunities throughout my studies, and won several awards at the same time. I won the Lillian McGregor Award for Excellence, studied in Sydney Australia for five weeks in the summer of 2010, studied in Belize in 2011, and won the President’s Award for Outstanding Native Student of the Year upon my graduation from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Aboriginal Studies in 2011.

In 2012, I won the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction’s Transforming Lives Award for overcoming mental health issues. I remember that night clearly when I stood in front of a crowd of 900 people and said “Obstacles can be overcome.”

I took three years off after graduating, and then decided to do my Master’s. I wanted to do a collaborative program in health, but instead was offered not only space in the Master’s program part time but also space in the full time program of Social Justice, which I can now say I am really grateful for, because it is right up my alley.

I have kept up my writing throughout my years of studies, writing for Anishinabek News, FNH Magazine and other places, including keeping up my own personal blog that I write that primarily focuses on First Nations issues.

Throughout my Masters in Education journey, I have obtained high grades and have been a part of the TRC Steering Working Committee of Students at the University of Toronto, and was a part of the procession this past year for Dr. James Bartleman when he received his Honourary Doctor of Laws Degree. I finish my course work for my Masters of Education in December 2016 and officially graduate in 2017

My education has been important to me. It has kept me focused and on a path that I used to think I could never handle, but I did it. I did it for myself, my niece and my birth family. I wanted to show not only myself but them that “obstacles can be overcome!”

This is an original article written for FNH Magazine- this is one version of it that I wanted to share with my readers. Miigwetch!

Monday, April 3, 2017

SHE TALKS: Answering the Calls to Action from the TRC

Jennifer Sylvester, Bonnie Jane Maracle, Keren Rice: Photo By Christine Smith McFarlane

She Talks: Answering the Truth and Reconciliations Calls to Action:

Toronto- SHE TALKS: Answering the TRC’s Calls to Action was a panel presented by the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education’s Equity Movement, the Indigenous Education Network, and the Indigenous Studies Student’s Union on March 22, 2017. Speakers included Bonnie Jane Maracle, Aboriginal Learning Strategist from First Nations House, Keren Rice, interim Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives and Professor of Linguistics, Jennifer Sylvester, student and President/Communications Coordinator of the Indigenous Studies Student’s Union.

In opening up the two hour panel, student Sarah Bear, said “In thinking about how we all can take action on the Truth and Reconciliation’s calls to actions, we asked our panelists to share their thoughts on one of the TRC’s calls to actions, which one has resonated with them the most and , why, how they have responded to the calls to action, and what recommendations would they have for Indigenous as well as non-Indigenous individuals to work on the call for actions as well as individuals from other communities.

Bonnie Maracle, a Mohawk from Tyendinaga Nation and the Aboriginal Learning Strategist at First Nations House says “I am an Aboriginal parent, an Aboriginal educator and an Aboriginal sole supporter, advocate and activist for Aboriginal education. This stemmed from being a parent, and stretched into my being an Aboriginal educator and my own education and the influence it has had in my educational journey and where I could work with that. The TRC call to action that resonated with me the most was the one with education, and the aspects of language and culture with that”

Maracle went onto say that “education within the call that commenced with the repeal of section 45 in the Criminal code of Canada which is known as the spanking law. So that was utmost and too within the education is the equity and funding for on reserve and off reserve students with which I experienced that with my son. The idea of post- secondary funding of the adequacy for post -secondary funding when the idea of sponsorship for education is part of our medicine chest, and having to argue that it is lacking is at that forefront. My response to this action as a Aboriginal educator in the language and culture is that I have probably been involved in this as an activist, way before the truth and reconciliation came about in that being a parent this was utmost in the raising of my kids for knowing who they are and where they come from and being able to be Mohawk children within the longhouse.   My work has expanded for 25-30 years or more in these ideas.  So much so that when my children were young, I worked at making sure that they were involved in language and culture programming. Participating in this later evolved into the making of other programs in Tyendinaga, like language nest programs etc.”

“I wholeheartedly support the TRC Call to Action Number 14 which says the federal government is responsible for providing funding Aboriginal language revitalization and preservation. The other two panelists echoed similar thoughts when it came to speaking about language and Aboriginal culture.

Each panelist spoke for about fifteen minutes and the panel was followed by a brief question and answer period and a group discussion along with catering by Nish Dish.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

U of T Pow Wow a Smashing Success




U of T Pow Wow A Huge Success
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)


Toronto, ON- The University of Toronto held their first pow wow in 20 years on March 11, 2017 at the Clara Benson Building Sports Gym on U of T’s downtown St. George Campus. It was called “Honouring Our Students” Pow Wow and Indigenous Festival and by the turnout of over 600 people, the pow wow was a huge success. 

Lead dancers were students Buck Neshkiwe, a proud member of Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation who began Grass Dancing in traditional pow wows two years ago, when his cousin gifted him with grass dance regalia, and Nichole Leveck, a proud Wyandot/ Scottish woman who started dancing in 2007 at the Native Canadian Centre  (NCCT) dance classes and has been dancing ever since.  
 
With many different Indigenous nations represented at the University of Toronto, the committee presented many of these nations through their pow wow programming. This meant that there was Aztec dancing, Inuit drumming and throat singing, hoop dancing and various other dances that truly got everyone involved. The great energy was palpable throughout the day.






 For full story, please check Anishinabek News soon!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

12th Annual Strawberry Ceremony in Downtown Toronto on February 14, 2017

Photo Credit: Christine Smith (McFarlane)


Joyce Carpenter with a photo of her missing daughter: Photo Credit by Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Susan Blight-Photo Taken By Christine Smith (McFarlane)
   By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)


The crisis of the missing and murdered First Nations women of Canada is both a national tragedy and a national shame. Organized by Toronto’s February 14th Organizing Committee which is comprised of No More Silence, Sistering, The Native Youth Sexual Health Network, Maggie’s and other Indigenous and feminist organizations, these organizations work together to raise awareness about the disappearances of Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans and Two-Spirit people on Turtle Island.
On Tuesday February 14, 2017, the 12th Annual Strawberry Ceremony was held to honour Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans and Two-Spirit people who have died violent and premature deaths at the Toronto Police Headquarters at 40 College Street in downtown Toronto. Close to six hundred people came together on Tuesday to let victim’s families know- they are not forgotten.
            The Government of Canada launched an independent national inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls in 2016. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is independent from the federal government but it’s been regarded with mixed feelings. No More Silence co-founder Audrey Huntley says “that in these times of a government inquiry it is even more important for community to step up and have grieving members backs - their struggle for justice amid terrible pain needs to be honoured and respected. They need to know we love them and will never forget!”

           


Full post can be seen at shamelessmag.com Miigwetch!