Monthly Archives: September 2016

On Treaty One Land

winnipeg_art_gallery-public-domainI work part time at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a tour guide. We are encouraged to begin our tours by acknowledging that the art gallery building stands on Treaty One Land, land that once belonged to Canada’s Indigenous people.

All gallery guides have participated in training sessions where we learned about the negotiations between Indigenous leaders and the British Crown at Lower Fort Garry in 1871. These negotiations resulted in the signing of Treaty One. The Crown and the Indigenous leaders had very different ideas about what that treaty meant. Indigenous leaders believed they were signing a treaty that would protect their way of life and create a framework for sharing the land with settlers. The British Crown understood the land was being ceded to them.

Shaman Never Die by Jane Ash Poitras Part of the Making Good exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Shaman Never Die by Jane Ash Poitras Part of the Making Good exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

During our training sessions we also learned about the residential schools set up by the government to educate Indigenous children. Through first hand stories and artifacts we came to understand how devastating the residential school experience was for many Indigenous children.

A current exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is called Qua’yuktchi’gae’win or Making Good. Through a variety of art pieces it catalogues the Indigenous experience and pays tribute to the strength that has allowed many to survive and even thrive despite its hardships.

university-of-winnipeg-public-domainI have a second part time job at the University of Winnipeg. If you go to their website you will read that, “Our University is located on Treaty One territory, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe peoples and the homeland of the Metis Nation.  The University and the Forks of the City of Winnipeg sits at the crossroads of the Anishinaabe, Metis, Cree, Dakota and Oji-Cree Nations.”

The University of Winnipeg is committed to the goal of someday having a province where the percentage of Indigenous people with a university education is equal to that of the general population. I am beginning to see that commitment as more Indigenous students join the department where I work.

human-rights-musuem-winnipegI live just down the street from the Human Rights Museum and have a membership there. Museum literature clearly states they are on Treaty One land at the historic location of Métis occupation and Louis Riel’s provisional government, on a site that’s been a meeting place for Indigenous people for over six thousand years. I know from visits to the museum they have multiple exhibits exploring the legacy of residential schools.

treaty-one-brochureDuring services at the Mennonite church I attend in Winnipeg we have begun to acknowledge during worship that our church stands on Treaty One land. I was recently asked to create text for a brochure our church published titled We Are On Treaty Land. It states our church acknowledges much of the land referenced in Treaty One was given to our Mennonite ancestors when they immigrated to Manitoba.

bethel-treaty-one-brochureThe brochure indicates our desire to recognize the important contributions of Indigenous people to the history of the area where we worship, to learn from their spirituality and culture, and to work at building strong respectful relationships with one another that will result in reconciliation.

My friend Mindi launches her book Subversion at McNally Robinson

My friend Mindi launches her book Subversion at McNally Robinson

I was at a book launch at McNally Robinson on Tuesday night and the staff person who introduced the launch reminded us we were on Treaty One land.

Many institutions are beginning to publicly acknowledge they stand on land that once belonged to Indigenous people. It’s a good first step toward reconciliation. But what is the next one? 

Other posts…….

Abstract and Frustrating

Edge of the Trees

Discovering a Grandfather Rock

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Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit

royal-canoe-burton-cummingsTonight my son’s band Royal Canoe debuts their new album Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit at the Burton Cummings Theatre. I’m looking forward to this exciting evening.  I’ve been listening to the songs on live streaming for the past few days so I can sing along at the show tonight. I like all the songs but my favorite is Walk Out On the Water.   If you don’t have tickets to the show there are still some available. See you there!

Here are some other interesting links for Royal Canoe

Winnipeg Free Press

CBC Radio on q



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The Dakota Boat

Two worlds in juxtaposition.  I’ve been learning about a landscape at the Winnipeg Art Gallery that will be included on our upcoming aboriginal history tours with kids.  It’s called The Dakota Boat and was painted by W. Frank Lynn in 1880. When we think of steamboats most of us imagine them chugging down the Mississippi so I was surprised to learn that more than one hundred and twenty steamboats navigated the prairie waterways in the late 1800s.  


The Dakota Boat by W. Frank Lynn

The Dakota, the steamboat in the painting, was built by a Minnesota company owned by Norman Kittson. It could navigate rapids as well as shallow water. It hauled lumber, meat and fish and brought new immigrants to their homes. When the first steamboat docked near Fort Garry the Cree called them ‘fire canoes.”  They represented a world very different from the traditional life of the Indigneous and Metis people in Fort Garry and artist Frank Lynn captures that in his painting. 

 A photograph of the Dakota docked at Upper Fort Garry in the early 1870s

A photograph of the Dakota docked at Upper Fort Garry in the early 1870s

Frank Lynn was born in England. His father was a surgeon. One brother became an astronomer, another an engineer, but Frank took a different path and became an artist and a writer. He went to the United States to cover the Civil War as a journalist and then took a job accompanying immigrants from England to their new homes in Ontario and reporting on their lives. In 1872 he traveled to Manitoba on an assignment and stayed. He worked for the newspaper The Manitoban and wrote regular letters to the Toronto’s Globe newspaper about living in Manitoba.  Eventually he owned a grocery and notions store, run by his wife, on a plot of land that would later be sold to the T. Eaton Company as the site for their department store. 

One thing I want to explore with the students on my tours is how this painting might have looked different if an aboriginal artist had painted it and also ask them to compare it to the way the Upper Fort Garry site at the corner of Broadway and Main Street in Winnipeg looks now. 

Other posts…….

Brenda and Annie

What’s a Bandolier Bag? 

Whale Bone Sculptures

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Dolly Patron or Parton?

Can you believe they made a typo on the tickets for the Dolly Parton concert last night?  Yes our tickets stated we were going to the Dolly Patron Show.  

dolly-parton-ticketDolly Parton certainly served her concert patrons well putting on a terrific concert! At age 70 she strides across the stage in incredibly high heels, sings her heart out for a couple of hours, and provides a great evening of entertainment. She played the alto sax, the piano, the recorder, the dulcimer, the banjo, the guitar, the fiddle, the autoharp and the harmonica during her show. She sang a bunch of songs that other people made famous, but she was the one who wrote them.  


Enjoying the concert with three great friends.

Best of all she is a great story-teller and during the concert she told us the story of her life in such a humourous and personal way. She is warm and had a way of reaching out to people in the audience that made them feel special.  

Dolly told us about her Imagination Foundation which helps provide free books to pre-schoolers. I had heard about this initiative of Dolly’s, but didn’t know till I attended the concert that she was inspired to create it because her own father never had a chance to learn to read and write. 

Dolly Parton is a talented and caring person. I’m glad I was a patron at the Dolly Parton concert. 

Other posts………….

Leonard Cohen

James Taylor

Baseball Singalong

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And That Led Me

This morning my brother who is traveling in Bulgaria sent me a photo of the spectacular view he encountered as he hiked above the tree line in the Pirin Mountains.  His only comment in the e-mail was……… What a wonderful world it is!

That led me to a poem by Mary Oliver…………

I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.

so why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about.

Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime

wild flowersAnd that led me to remember my visit to the house in Rome where Keats died at age 25 and these lines from a Keats poem…….

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

And that led me to start this day, 9/11, with a prayer to look for and appreciate the joy, the beauty and the wonder that it may bring. 

Other posts……….

Beauty on the Beach

Beauty in Ordinary Things

The Beauty of Surgery

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Peggo- Keeping Up with Hong Kong

pegoo-cardI got my peggo card this week. I ride Winnipeg Transit a fair bit especially in the winter and now instead of buying bus tickets or depositing coins I will be paying my fares from a card connected to my credit card with an electronic chip. 

octopus card hong kongI’ve had lots of practice using an electronic method to pay for public transportation because during my six years in Hong Kong I had an Octopus Card which worked almost exactly the same way as peggo and allowed me to ride ferries, buses, trains and street cars. Hong Kong has been using Octopus cards since 1997.  

Winnipeg is only twenty years behind the times!

Other posts…..

Hong Kong Inspiration

Where the Amazing Race Canada SHOULD Have Gone in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Frogs That Sound Like Cows Bellowing


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Happy Birthday Two Days in A Row

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and today is his mother’s birthday. She would have been 93.   A tribute I wrote for her was published in the Toronto Globe and Mail after her death but was edited and shortened.  Here is the original tribute I wrote using the format the paper requires for their Lives Lived section. 

mom at hannah's weddingAnne Enns Driedger

Wicked left-handed pitcher, strong alto singer, skillful quilter, trustworthy confidante, the heart of her family, a woman of quiet religious faith.

Born in Rudnerweide, Ukraine, September 9, 1923. Died October 14, 2011 at the Leamington Ontario Mennonite Home after a stroke at age 88.

heinrich and gertrude enns family

My mother-in-law sits on her mother’s lap in a photo taken just before her family left Ukraine and immigrated to Canada. 

Anne was an infant when her family fled to Canada to escape the turbulent period following the Russian Revolution. Her father was withdrawn during Anne’s childhood in southern Ontario. Despondent about losing his family’s vast estate, he never really recovered from his many near-death experiences in Ukraine. 

mom as a young girlAlthough Anne had to quit school in grade eight to take jobs as a housemaid and tobacco factory worker to help support her family, she was always learning new things. An avid reader and interesting conversationalist, it was hard to beat her at Scrabble.

mom and dad wedding dayAnne had a trim figure and deep brown eyes. Her husband Cornelius said she was so lovely, the minute he saw her for the first time he said, “She’s the one for me.” It was raining the Saturday of their wedding in 1942. They arrived at the little house on the farm where they would be sharecropping, to find the kitchen flooded. Thankfully the bedroom was dry, but when they wanted to set off for church the next morning, they discovered their friends had let the air out of the tires on their Model A Ford as a joke. They made it to church, but walked in noticeably late.

driedger 25th anniversaryAnne worked energetically alongside her husband and five sons on the vegetable and greenhouse farm they bought near Leamington, Ontario in 1952. She would put in full days in the field and then hurry inside to do the cooking, cleaning and laundry. She remained an attractive woman. One of her sons remembers as a teenager driving her to town on an errand, and as Anne stepped out of the family truck some men passing by gave an appreciative whistle. In photos taken on special occasions she is wearing fashionable dresses, nice jewelry, elegant hats and has perfectly coiffed hair.

50th anniversary

Mom and Dad celebrating their 50th anniversary

Feeding six men and later the daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who joined the family wasn’t just a duty but an art for Anne. She was famous for her paper-thin pancakes, creamy rice pudding, succulent roast beef and soft zwiebach rolls. Her homemade donuts were the stuff of legend.

Anne’s oldest son died of cancer in 1974 and she suffered from severe arthritic pain for most of her adult life, but she accepted these difficulties with stoicism and rarely complained.

Her family loved baseball and an annual trip across the border to a Detroit Tiger Game was a tradition. As Anne lay dying the Tigers were in the American League finals and the family animatedly discussed their progress at her bedside. It is exactly what she would have expected.

mom quilting

Mom quilting

Anne had a green thumb and the flowerbeds around her home were always awash with color. Her favorite flower was the pink rose and each of her grandchildren laid one on her coffin before it was lowered into the ground.

Anne was a positive person who never had a critical or angry word for anyone. Her laughter, selfless nature and love of all things beautiful leave a charming, heart-warming legacy.

 MaryLou Driedger is Anne’s daughter-in-law.

Other posts…….

Good-bye Dad

Driedgers at the Bat

Heaven Meets Earth

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Happy Birthday Dave

Today is my husband Dave’s birthday. He turns sixty four. Here are some photos from the past year.

john dave tussle plains of abraham

October- Reenacting the famous battle between the English and the French on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City with his cousin John

dave at winkler monumentNovember- Finding his name on a historical plaque in Winkler

christmas faith and life male choir

December- Performing a Christmas concert with the male choir he sings in

boogie board four

January- Boogie Boarding in Costa Rica

dave-shirley-marylou-paulFebruary- Zip lining with his brother Paul and sister-in-law Shirley

curling teamMarch – Curling game with our church

img_0057-1April- Touring the Triple E Factory with his friend Bruno

great uncle and great nephewMay- Meeting his new great nephew

dave and his dadJune- Giving the eulogy at his father’s funeral

golf buddies on the roof topJuly- Enjoying a party on our roof top with his golfing buddies

43 anniversaryAugust- Celebrating our wedding anniversary

What will the next year bring? 

Other posts…..

Happy Birthday Dave

Happy Birthday Dave

Terrified Times Three

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I Slept Right Through It!

bannatyne avenueThere was a confrontation with the police  right in front of my condo building on Friday night. According to a CBC news report a crowd had gathered. Someone got hurt and the police were called.   When they arrived on the scene  certain crowd members became aggressive and in an ensuing tussle one police officer had his taser gun stolen. According to the Winnipeg Free Press the whole thing happened at around 2:30 in the morning. 

My husband Dave was in Minnesota on a golf trip. He called me on Saturday wondering what I’d seen and heard the night before.  He’d read about the disturbance in the online version of the Winnipeg Free Press. I hadn’ t read the paper yet so I wasn’t even aware of what had happened. I had slept right through the incident. Didn’t hear a thing!  We got new windows in our condo building this past year and they just block out all the noise from the street. 

bannatyne ariel viewPeople have asked me if incidents like the one on Friday night in the Exchange District don’t scare me, but actually they don’t.  Our building is locked in the evening and on the weekends a security guard is on duty all through the night. I don’t make it a practice to go for strolls at 2 in the morning and by the time I went to the gym  at 9am on Saturday the streets were as calm and peaceful as always.  

People like to say the downtown isn’t safe but then neither are other areas of the city.  Just last Wednesday night 35 homes and garages in the Elmwood area experienced break ins. According to the Winnipeg Free Press some items were stolen from rooms inside homes just steps away from where the residents were sleeping.  Now that’s scary!

Even rural areas aren’t immune. At the end of July Steinbach online reported a rash of break ins and thefts in the city.  Apparently its an almost daily occurrence there. 

These incidents in different urban areas make me think about………

What happens to people that makes them want to harm police officers who have just come to help them?

Why do people steal? Do they need money to fuel addictions, are they out of work, do they feel it is unfair that others have wealth and they do not, or have they never been taught stealing is wrong? 

I know there aren’t easy answers to these questions. I choose not to feel scared about living where I do because there is no place that is immune to danger and when I look at the dangerous places in the world where so many people live, often not through their own choice, I know I am utterly blessed. 

Other posts…….

Welcome to Our Amazing Neighbourhood 

David Bowie in My Neighbourhood

Letting in the Light


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Thinking About Work On the Day After Labor Day

My son's band performing to a full house in Toronto

My son’s band performing to a full house in Toronto

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs

english department ics

My colleagues in the English department of the highschool where I taught in Hong Kong

Motivation comes from working on things we care about….with people we care about. 
― Sheryl Sandberg

My Dad putting in the dock at our family cottage at Moose Lake

My Dad putting in the dock at our family cottage at Moose Lake

We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work
― Thomas A. Edison

singapore scultpure coolies takea break

My husband with a sculpture called Coolies Take A Break in Singapore

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.       -Anne Lamont

With one of my students at the tutoring centre where we worked in Jamaica

With one of my students from the tutoring centre in Jamaica

If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.
― Plato, The Republic

My daughter-in-law with her patients in South Africa

My daughter-in-law with her patients in South Africa

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. 
― Theodore Roosevelt

Regional Champs

My son with the highschool basketball team he coached

Whatever your life’s work do it well. -Martin Luther King

My daughter-in-law conducting her boys choir

My daughter-in-law conducting her boys’ choir

Let what you love be what you do.  – Rumi

My father-in-law tending his greenhouse plants

My father-in-law tending his greenhouse plants

Without work nothing prospers. – Sophocles

Other posts……

The Pool of Bethesda


Visiting a Teacher in Borneo

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