shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I have worked on writing the following over the past couple of days when I've had spare time. It's part of my application to be part of an ocean expedition. The theme is reconciliation, and how it affects me personally.

Critiques and comments are encouraged. I still have another short write-up to create before the deadline, but what do you think of this bit?


I am part of a lost generation, the child of an indigenous parent who did not know he was indigenous himself. I grew up in a gatherer/hunter family, living off the land using a lot of traditional ways. I gathered mushrooms, berries, and fruit. I picked Labrador Tea for medicinal use, and smeared black alder mud on bee stings and scrapes to bring down swelling. I helped harness the dog team to haul in the winter’s firewood. I ate bannock by the campfire, smacked my lips over moose meat, and I helped with butchering and with cleaning and gutting fish. I delighted in tales of Glooscap, and although I turned my nose up at seal meat, I enjoyed throat singing and playing in little igloos. I experienced so many trappings of a culture I had no name for, yet spoke none of the languages of my ancestors. I was raised to think of “Indians” as other people

My ancestors were people of sea and snow, tundra and forest. I am Innu; I am Mi’kmaq; I am Lnu. And yet, through no fault of my own, I was far removed from this.

I am working at reclaiming my lost heritage. I wrote a play about Inuit folklore. I attend powwows. I consider getting an Inuit women’s tattoo. I share what I learn with other people through my blog and through conversation. I need to know more, learn more, share more, and experience more. I want to embrace a tradition which has been all but lost due to generations of cultural genocide.

Last year, I downloaded the Truth and Reconciliation report. Reading it helped me understand why my grandmother never spoke to me about her history and upbringing. So many of my family were taught to be ashamed of their traditions. So many hid who they were. The only thing I know of my grandmother’s younger days is this: she was so light and swift of foot that she appeared to fly when leaping from ice floe to ice floe across the sea’s frozen skin. My grandmother walked on water.

I yearn to visit the sea again. I will see it through her eyes as well as mine, and then I will share what I have seen. I will reclaim what was taken from us and be a part of setting things right.

Date: 2017-03-09 01:45 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] dark-phoenix54.livejournal.com
That's very beautiful. I hope you win the trip!

Date: 2017-03-09 09:53 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] shanmonster.livejournal.com
Thank you! You and me both. :)

Date: 2017-03-09 05:03 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] elanya.livejournal.com
There are a few minor grammatical quibbles, but my main critique is this (with the caveat that I don't know what the other write up you have to do is, so maybe it will be covered there).

This covers really well the personal aspect, but reconciliation is a much larger project. If I were selecting someone for this kind of experience, I would want a sense of how that experience is going to have a broader impact beyond the individual, and this is currently lacking that. How are you going to move this experience beyond yourself? I know there are great answers for this form you, as an artist and someone who has had a broad reaching online presence for decades!

Date: 2017-03-09 09:52 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] shanmonster.livejournal.com
They want the personal angle, so I wasn't sure if I should go into it from a larger perspective.

I could do that in the second part, though, which is what my vision is for Canada in the future.

Are you suggesting I include my blogging, etc. about indigenous issues should be added? I'm just trying to clarify your suggestions.

Thank you.

Date: 2017-03-10 10:41 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] elanya.livejournal.com
I went and looked at the question in context (and am now toying with applying myself...), which asks how reconciliation resonates with you on a personal level. I do think that what you wrote captures that really well.

I do still think that moving the concept of reconciliation beyond yourself would strengthen it - what you have written is very much about your personal relationship with your heritage, but for me, at least, reconciliation (as a national project) has to move beyond the individual as well. I have see you, as you explore your relationship with your heritage, make an effort to share it with others as well though your blogging, etc - highlighting issues afecting FN communities, supporting and sharing FN artists, etc. To me that increase in voice and visibility is am important past of the project as well. You've always been very good at sharing personal stories and experiences in a way that reach people, and I know that you would use this opportunity to share it as well. Leaving the aspect of sharing the experience (both in terms of the trip, and your own journey of reconciliation with your heritage), and how the impact can reach past yourself would be unfortunate, because I think it could really strengthen what you've said. Also, let's be fair, blogging in general is a significant personal aspect of you as well!

Does that make any more sense?

Date: 2017-03-13 05:23 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] shanmonster.livejournal.com
APPLY! :D

And go check my reworking. I edited it some. Does my rewrite look better?

Date: 2017-03-13 05:40 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] elanya.livejournal.com
I thought about it, but I don't think I have enough time to get all the materials together :/

But yes, I think that puts the sharing aspects a little bit more forward!

Date: 2017-03-09 03:21 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
I think this is an amazing start and made my eyes prickle with near-tears. [livejournal.com profile] elanya has some great suggestions. I really hope you get this.

Date: 2017-03-09 09:53 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] shanmonster.livejournal.com
Thanks. Wouldn't that be fantastic?

Date: 2017-03-09 09:55 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
It really really would!

Date: 2017-03-10 09:24 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] the-lucky-nun.livejournal.com
That's beautiful.

Date: 2017-03-13 05:23 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] shanmonster.livejournal.com
Thank you.

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