Over the last year and a half, I’ve done a lot of writing that has yet to find its way into the world. There are a ton of short stories and poems, blog posts and partial novel drafts sitting on my computer patiently waiting their turn to make their way into the world. And when all is said and done with my dissertation work, I intend to release most of that writing—to pair it up with the art I’ve done over the last two years and set it free into the world to find the people that it’s meant to.Read More
Dear Ione and Vivian,
I am writing this letter for you, because I think it is important that you understand some of the things that I have learned in my life that have to do with being an Indigenous woman living on Turtle Island and of belonging to the league of nations known as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
A lot of what I am going to share with you is reflective of things I have learned and thought about over the last fifteen years. Things I am still thinking about. There are stories about your family members here as well, about your grandfather and your uncle. About your grandmother and your aunties. Your family on your father’s side has many stories to tell as well, but I will let him tell you what those are.
I want to start by telling you that there is a lot of history in our community and that not all of it will be easy to read or hear about. But I did not know these histories growing up and I had to learn them in a sometimes hard and difficult manner over many, many years. I do not want the same thing for you—not when there is something I could do about it. A way I could empower you with knowledge by informing you sooner, though even by telling you—I cannot promise you will not grapple with similar issues in your lifetime.Read More
Today is the five year anniversary of my blog! I have to say, I find this so incredible. I’ve celebrated this day in a lot of different ways over the last few years, like writing super long blog posts or by doing giveaways and going to community events. This year, I'm going to spend it reflecting, planning and having some small adventures with my family. I have some giveaways planned for later in the summer, but today is definitely a day for reflecting about how to take the next step with my writing and creative endeavours, including language.Read More
Over the weekend, between two holidays celebrating two countries that have developed their identities on Turtle Island, my husband and I had a conversation about how we'll approach certain discussions with our daughters, who we hope will grow up enjoying reading and books as much as we do (including Harry Potter). In particular, we were referring to literature that erases the presence of Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island, the way J.K. Rowling's most recent Pottermore stories that take place in North America have done. Some of our discussion was also prompted by reading this article and thinking about the responsibilities we have as parents to speak up when things like this happen or to help educate others so that ours and other children experience less incidents of discrimination and racism in the world.
The answers we came to were not really simple. For the most part, they involved a lot of compassion, a lot of empathizing, a lot of patience, a lot of resilience and a willingness to flag when something doesn't feel right and to be able to talk about it with our girls in a good way. (Also a lot of learning of our language, sharing of our oral histories and writing of new stories).Read More
My blog is four years old today, which is amazing. So many wonderful things have happened over the last four years and while I don’t often post the events of my life in any kind of detail, I’m happy to have a small glimpse of them on record here—a sense of how I’ve grown as an artist, as a writer, as a mother, a wife, and a human capable of love and peace and compassion. There is a lot going on today in addition to the blog's anniversary. I am releasing a new book. It's National Indigenous Peoples Day. And finally, today marks the start of my effort to learn the Cayuga language using the master-apprentice method with my husband. All very exciting things and to celebrate, I am gifting away some of my books!
Celebrating Turtle Island
I started this blog because I wanted a space where I could share the positive things I saw happening in my community. Four years ago I had just left a job where I was fortunate enough to travel and visit many First Nation communities. The travel wore me out, but the communities never did. I love the people of Turtle Island. I love the stories they have to share. The resilience. The hope. The creativity. The ideas. The passion. In every community I visited I met people who were committed to making thing better for their children and for the future.Read More