First Nations Healing Workshop, North Battleford, August 2015

Sincere thanks to David MacKinnon, Tyrone Tootoosis, and everyone they assembled in North Battleford to present this wonderful gift of traditional knowledge. The tachings of Jerry Saddleback and Wes Fineday made an inspirational morning; Michelle Good and Kim Tootoosis gave us a heartfelt afternoon.

I was thrilled to have so many far-flung friends assembled in one place with such a  powerful purpose, building optimism for the future of First Nations people. Thanks to Nadine McDougall for making the journey with me from Winnipeg, to Elaine Greyeyes for taking such good care of us in Saskatoon. To Dolores Sand, whose position as “Creecher” is always at the ready. To Dorothy Thunder, Roxanne Tootoosis and Pearleen Baptiste for coming from Edmonton: I only wish we could have had more time to visit (when I wasn’t running around delivering easels, looking for my car, or hunting for my keys!)

Best of all – for the Cree Literacy Network – was the opportunity to unveil  paintings that Dawn Marie Marchand has just completed – with the sponsorship of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts – to illustrate a pre-contact text collected by the late Donna Paskemin from her late father, Myron. Many thanks to David MacKinnon for allowing us to share the paintings at the workshop,  to Leah Garven of the Allen Sapp and Chapel Galleries for helping us out withe the loan of easels, and to Amanda Foster of the North Battleford Public Library for allowing us to overtake her foyer for the day! Looking forward to sharing more news about this project as it edges towards publication!

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