MARCH or RIDE INTO SPRING: The Calendar tells us that it is Spring, but of course on the Canadian prairies, we get the “opportunity” to have Winter be our guest at least for another month. Right?! While filling our vehicle with gas, we saw a sight we’d never seen anywhere before! Apparently “driving” on the road with snowmobiles is illegal in Lloydminster but it seems the RCMP just don’t take notice!
The drive out to the reservation, heading North on Highway #17 can be a beautiful drive: spring, summer, fall and winter. This month of March, with yet another blanket of fresh, we found that snow + sunshine = the sparkles everywhere! AND, all along the way, in the fields and ditches, tracks left by snowmobiles showing the winter fun.
EAGLEVIEW HIGH SCHOOL, ONION LAKE CREE NATION: Sam and Jeannine were invited to attend the high school assembly to present First Flight Certificates to the 14 grade twelve students that attended 50% of the program and completed all of the Challenge Action Sheets. 4 of the students earned 100% attendance. Unfortunately, six of the students were absent at the assembly. Absenteeism is a big issues for many reasons: student too tired, parents not aware their son/daughter did not go to school, school buses cancelled dues to low temperatures, buses cancelled on Funeral Days out of respect for the death of a First Nation “Elder” and the list goes on.
ECHS: Science Fair
From above: “The poles also teach us that no matter what version of the Great Spirit we believe in, we still go to the same Creator from the many directions and belief systems; we just have different journeys to get there. And where the poles come out together at the top, it’s like they’re creating a nest. They also resemble a bird with its wings up when it comes to land.”
LAKELAND COLLEGE, RIBBON SKIRT WORKSHOP: Jeannine attended a class at LLC to learn about the tradition of the Ribbon skirt and how to create a ribbon skirt. There were several students and workers from the college in the class. In the past, native women made their skirts from hide and decorated them with pigment. With the introduction of European trade goods, cotton calico and ribbons began to be used to carry on the meanings and teachings. Women at Onion Lake Cree Nation wear their ribbon skirts for feasts, celebrations and important events. Below is a photo of Jeannine wearing her ribbon skirt creation. She also decorated a matching shirt for Sam.
ICE FISHING: Sam and Ralph (Elder McCollum and Elder Kunkel) got to participate in an Out Door Education activity with the grade four students from the Cree Immersion school. The ice fishing and out door lunch took place on the THUNDER CHILD CREE NATION at Turtle Lake, Saskatchewan (a 25 mile long lake).
INDIGENOUS AWARENESS WEEK at LAKELAND COLLEGE: It was a full week of fun and interesting presentations and activities at the college.
MONDAY: Bonnie Start, the executive director from the Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre, shared histories and stories of the local Metis people, which included her grandfather who came to settle in this area from the Metis settlements near Winnipeg. Her presentation was followed with a Metis Jig demonstration; some of the audience attempted to dance the Jig.
TUESDAY: We learned about the history behind the First Nations Jingle Dress and had a demonstration.
History/Jingle Dress: An Ojibwa medicine man’s daughter was very sick and through prayer and meditation, he was given a powerful vision about a sacred healing dress from the Creator. He spent days making the dress, with jingling shaped cones representing tears hanging off the material. He put it on his daughter, lifted her up to try to have her dance. When she finally was able to dance she got better.
The jingle healing dress is sacred, and a woman must be respectful in the keeping and proper care of the dress. In Ojibwa tradition, nobody was allowed to touch or wear another person’s dress. They would never lend their sacred dress out to another woman or allow the dress to get wet in the rain.
In First Nation tradition, the Jingle Dress helped heal those who believe; if they put on their jingle dress and dance in the traditional way, they will feel better. Woman also dance to ask for healing for others in their family.
Most First Nation women feel they need to have a dream or a vision concerning how to choose their ribbons and the colors to wear. Then they would go see the Elder/medicine man or woman who would then give them their blessing and tell them what to get for their fabric print, the ribbon colors and the cones that jingle.
First Nations people have great respect for the healing power of women and their close connection to Mother Earth; the great creator makes women strong through child bearing. The Great Creator gave the drums to men which are part of the healing, representing the beat of the heart. As the men play the drums, they sing with high notes to be more like the women.
At pow wows, groups of hundreds of original jingle stylists dance in unison with low dignified side steps; contemporary dresses are modest length and they do not show their legs. The rhythmic sound of the jingles is said to like 10,000 raindrops on a tin roof.
TUESDAY EVENING: McCollums and Kunkels attended the Canadian National Film Board Movie: “Reel Injun”, 2009. In this feature-length documentary, Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes an entertaining and insightful look at the portrayal of North American Indigenous people throughout a century of cinema. Featuring hundreds of clips from old classics as well as recent releases, the film traces the evolution of the “Hollywood Indian.” Diamond guides the audience on a journey across N. America to some of cinema’s most iconic landscapes and conducts candid interviews with celebrities like Clint Eastwood, Robbie Robertson and Jim Jarmusch. The film is a loving look at cinema through the eyes of the people who appeared in its very first flickering images and have survived to tell their stories in their own way.
NOTE: We were shocked to realize that John Wayne’s acting rolls of the early 1950’s showed great prejudice against the Indian people.
Check out the movie trailer: https://www.nfb.ca/film/reel_injun/trailer/reel_injun_trailer/
WEDNESDAY: Sam was invited to be one of the judges at the annual LLC bannock contest. Both of us were pleased that LLC student Ian who serves on the college aboriginal council, took first place! His bannock was the best we’ve ever sampled!
THURSDAY: LLC put on a tremendous Pow-wow which began with a parade of the dancers entering the “stage” area where the Pow-wow was held.
After the Pow-wow dancing, all the spectators joined with the dancers in a Round Dance, moving around in a large circle in time to the beat of the drums.
FRIDAY: We attended the First Nations Art Display held in the Indigenous Student Lounge at LLC.
KEY ACCOMPLISHMENT RESUMES: We have been very busy this month with presenting workshops on “Why a Key Accomplishment Resume?” After the students/adults filled out the resume worksheet, we enter their information into a word document and created individual resumes for grade twelve students in a high school business class, young adults in an employment program and adults in an educational upgrading program. We were given the opportunity to become acquainted with these students/adults. In most cases, they have very little work experience so we draw out of them experiences which have have taught them and allowed them to obtain useful employment skills.
LLOYDMINSTER BRANCH of the LDS CHURCH: Baby Emma arrived for the Olson family. Emma’s big sister, Natalie attends the Primary Class that Elder and Sister McCollum teach.
The “CIRCUS” VISITS HENRY HUDY: Elder & Sister McCollum have continued to make daily visits to our friend Henry who has been hospitalized for a long period. One evening several other visitors arrived at the same time as we were visiting. When Jeannine’s phone rang with their daughter calling from Oregon, Leah said, “Mom, where are you? What is all the noise?” Jeannine explained that perhaps it sounded like the circus was visiting Brother Hudy since 2 families were happily and noisily visiting Bro. Hudy.
FAMILY: Wearing the GREEN for St. Patrick’s day!
FLORIDA TALLAHASSEE MISSION photo, with our grandson Elder Ethan McCollum on the far right.
Ethan’s brothers and dad/back: our grandson Thayer and our son Glen and (front) our grandson Cooper on the steps of the Fort Collins Colorado Temple.
Our Okotoks, Alberta grandsons: Maxwell and Griffin.
Our 1st great grandson Rohnan (living in Burnaby BC); now 9 months old. He is a smiling swinger and a swimmer!
From our extended family (Jeannine’s niece’s daughter), Richelle (from Highland Utah) joins the young missionary force for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Sister VanKomen will be serving in Germany. She will be at the Missionary Training Centre, Provo Utah for 6 weeks getting a “crash” course in speaking and reading German.
Richelle is standing with her family, between her mom and dad with the Provo LDS Temple in the background..
Grandson Logan Berry received a mission call to the Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission, reporting June 27th to the Missionary Training Centre in Provo Utah where he will spend 6 weeks training and learning some Spanish. Certainly Logan will not need to pack winter clothing like the missionaries who serve in the Canada Edmonton Mission! Ecuador is on the equator and the area of his mission is along the Pacific coast. To pronounce the name of the headquarters of the City/mission, say “papaya” which rhymes with Guaya – quil ( like the keel of a ship). Grandpa and Grandma are pleased with Logan’s decision to serve as part of the world-wide missionary “army” ; Elder Berry will be teaching others to “Come unto Jesus Christ” and pattern their life after Christ’s example.
HAPPY EASTER 2018 as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gift of the atonement! May we receive knowledge, wisdom and answers as we are engaged in viewing and listening to GENERAL CONFERENCE of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, under the direction of our new prophet President Russell M. Nelson: Saturday March 31st and Sunday April 1st. Go to: https://www.lds.org/
Here are some great videos suggested by our son Cliff for you to enjoy!
” I stumbled over…”