ABORIGINAL ARTISTS | An Afternoon with LauraLee K Harris
by David Clark Community Wellness Co-ordinator OWEN SOUND-GREY/BRUCE
O n March 16th, Métis and community members gathered at the Tom Thomson Gallery for an after- noon with Laura K. Harris, an Aboriginal artist from the Grey- Bruce area. Ms Harris provided a tour interspersed with poetry readings, and talked about how she works on wood, using the grain as imagery and metaphor. Her show, “Nibi-Anishinabe Kwewag: Water and the First Na- tions Women”, was intended “to honour the water and the women who are the traditional keepers of the water, and is ded- icated to the over 600 missing or murdered women in Canada.”
Each work was accompanied by a poem about the piece. She certainly had the attention of the audience; her works and po- etry covered emotional, cultural,
and spiritual wellness, and re- flect her personal life’s journey and Aboriginal teachings.
At the end of the tour and readings, participants had an op- portunity to chat with Ms Harris, and ask questions about her work, and herself.
The Community Wellness Co-
ordinator partnered with the Tom Thomson Gallery to pres- ent this workshop to Métis citi- zens and the community. The Tom Thomson Gallery gener- ously donated the use of the gallery and a common room for an after-event social. Following the tour, everyone (no one left
at this point) gathered to enjoy bannock, bison, sandwiches, fruit and berries, beverages, and each other’s company. Some gallery staff joined us as well. Ms Harris generously donated two of her books as door prizes, and Community Wellness provided a hand-crafted pottery plate from
the gallery gift shop.
The work shown here is dedi- cated to Mr Harris’s grand- mother. For more information visit: www.lauraleekharris.com.
MÉTIS VISUAL ARTISTS | Natalie Bertin
VIDEO | Métis Fishers
Nathalie Bertin mounts art exhibition
Using images that range from tra- ditional trades to political state- ments, tied together by designs inspired by the art of the “flower beadwork people”, Nathalie Bertin celebrates her Algonquin and French heritage. She hon- ours Métis tradition; recognizes the courage of early Canadian settlers; and, acknowledges the debt we owe to our First Peoples. For more information, visit: ww.nathaliebertin.com.
Date: Tuesday, October 4 to Sat- urday Nov 5, 2011.
Reception/Walk & Talk: Wed, Oct 12th, 2011, 7:00 - 9:00 P.M.
Location: Great Hall Gallery, Aurora Cultural Centre, 22 Church Street, Aurora, ON. www.auroraculturalcentre.ca
Regular gallery hours: Tues to Sat 1:00 - 4:00 P.M.
POETRY | Reader Submissions
Listen to the Silent Drum
by Raymond D. Tremblay
Look, the multicoloured leaves are flying! I was totally in awe - I couldn’t hear a thing. Suddenly my sensitive skin felt the wind’s embrace. Touched by love, my heart was overwhelmed with grace. Eager to share my joy, I spontaneously danced in the forest. Naturally, the trees and flowers applauded. I was doing my best.
Treasuring the moment, I noticed that the birds were keeping me company. Oh, it was as if we were square dancing to the sound of a rich harmony!
An image from Trish O’Connor’s film about Ontario’s “Willing
Seller-Willing Buyer” program and its impact on Métis.
Student video highlights struggle for Métis commercial fishing rights
Tears of joy flowed down my rosy cheeks. I was totally mesmerised. How couldn’t I admire Mother Nature’s stunning beauty? My eyes Embraced her with sparkles of tenderness and sheer adoration.
Suddenly, my heartbeat accelerated. A sound caught its attention! I could not hear its waves vibrating upon my ears. I was left speechless! Left on my own, I may have fled but my Creator held me against His breast. Enough my child! Do not be fearful. Listen to the silent voice of the drum. It is No other than the sacred voice of Mother Nature. It’s also my Voice. Be at ease! Today, your heart is being blessed by the one and only universal and sacred heartbeat.
T he struggle of Métis peo- ple for commercial fishing rights is a story very close to the heart of Trish O’Connor, a Métis youth currently attending Lakehead University. Her parents, Ron and Mary O’Connor, were commercial fishers on Lake of the Woods whose livelihood was threatened by the provincial gov-
ernment’s “Willing Seller-Willing Buyer” program, which was initi- ated during the 1980s. As part of one of her classes at Lakehead, Trish produced a short film about the “Willing Seller-Willing Buyer” program and its impact on Métis people as well as its implications within the wider struggle for Métis rights.
Deep within my heart, I knew I had received the gift of the drum. A divine present! Recalling that I had clearly heard its silent beat, I felt secure living in the present. Uplifted by Mother Nature’s splendour and God’s Spirit, I continued my dance. My drum, my Métis heartbeat became my Maestro. I had heard its silence!
The film provides important information about Métis rights and also tells its story in a personal way. To view the film, visit the link below: www.metisnation.org/news--media/news/new.aspx