Monthly Archives: September 2022

Truth and Reconciliation

Today on Truth and Reconciliation Day I offer some images from my photo library that came to mind when I thought about the meaning of the day.

Panel by Cathy Busby at the Winnipeg Art Gallery where it was displayed in 2010 as part of an installation called We Are Sorry.

Barber’s Chair with a voice recording saying, “I was tied fast to the chair.  I was crying a lot as I felt the cold scissors against my neck. The first thing they did was cut our hair. While we were bathing our breechcloths were taken and we were ordered to put on trousers. They took our identity.” – I photographed this chair at the Heard Museum in Phoenix Arizona. It was part of an exhibit called Residential Schools- the Hiroshima of the Indian Nations.

The Scream by Kent Monkman. I photographed it at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It was displayed as part of an exhibit in 2019 called Shame and Prejudice.

Tribute to Indigenous children found in unmarked graves on Canadian residential school burial grounds. I photographed it on the steps of the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria in October of 2021.

A brochure explaining why my church has a treaty acknowledgement on our website and why we announce it at the start of our services. I wrote the text for the brochure in 2016.

baby bottles boil water Don't Breathe Don't Drink

Baby bottles and water glasses filled with contaminated water and bacteria from 96 northern Canadian reserves with boil water advisories. Art piece Don’t Breathe, Don’t Drink by Ruth Cuthand. I photographed it at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

A book my ten-year-old grandson introduced me to last year when he was explaining what Truth and Reconciliation Day was all about and how they had marked it at his school.

A drummer on a tour we took of Indigenous land in Saskatchewan. I photographed him in 2013. He was singing this song.

We are all one people

We all come from one Creator way on high

We are all one nation under one great sky

You and I 

We are all one people

We are all one nation

We are all one people in her eye

We are all one people if we try. 

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A New Picture of Grandma

I was preparing for a presentation I had to make yesterday morning about my novel Lost on the Prairie. I needed to check a reference in a history book I have about Drake Saskatchewan which is one of the settings in my novel.

While flipping through the Drake book I found a photo of my grandmother Annie E Jantz that I had never seen before.

My grandma Annie is pictured in a wagon with her brother Henry and her sister Marie. Grandma is in the middle. The photo was taken in 1910 so Grandma was 18, her sister 20 and her brother 25. None of them was married yet. They look so carefree, Henry with a wry smile his foot up on the front of the wagon, Grandma Annie looking boldly into the camera, and Marie in her fashionable hat.

My grandmother Annie on the right and her sister Marie in 1902

I have photos of my grandmother, Annie, when she was a child.

Grandma is in front as she poses with two of her friends

I have photos of her in her early twenties.

My grandparents Annie and Peter on their wedding day in 1917

I have pictures of her as a bride.

I have photos of her as a mother.

With my grandparents as a baby

And photos of her as a grandmother.

But I didn’t have a photo of her as a teenager and I’m glad I can complement my picture collection with this candid image of her when she was 18.

Other posts………..

Grandma’s 1905 School Notebook

All Those Doilies

Getting to Know My Great Grandfather

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Where Were You?

One of the great things about having a blog is that it makes it easy to look back and see what I was doing in the past. What was I doing in September in other years?

In 2013 we were exploring the city of Toronto on our bicycles.

Dave and his Dad look at pictures of his great-grandson on the computer

In 2014 we were visiting Dave’s Dad in Leamington Ontario.

In September 2015 we took my Dad to Saskatoon to visit his grandchildren and great-grandson.

With my cousin Lynne on the top of Signal Hill in St. John’s

In 2016 we were spending a few weeks in Newfoundland.

In 2017 we were visiting Iceland.

In September 2018 we were enjoying Burger Week in Winnipeg.

In September of 2109, we were visiting Croatia. Here we are on our walk on the wall around Dubrovnik.

In 2020 my friend Esther and I were enjoying a fall birthday party hosted by our friends Debbie and Glenys.

Last year my friend Esther and I took a boat cruise down the river at The Forks in Winnipeg.

This year I was on a cycling/ wine tour in southern Ontario.

I wonder what I will be doing next September?

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Kids Are Creative

I love art that is made by children. It provides the viewer with such a unique look at the world and never fails to intrigue and engage me. Being a teacher, a learning facilitator at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and a grandmother I’ve had a chance to see many creative art works by children. In today’s post I feature some of them.

Kids using plasticene to make portraits at the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Children in my grade two school classroom who worked together to make a mural for the poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
Masterpiece by my one year old granddaughter
Some of my students in colourful collars they painted for a dress up day when we were studying Ancient Egypt
Chalk drawing done by a young visitor to the Winnipeg Art Gallery
High school student who created their own original cover during our novel study of To Kill a Mockingbird when I taught grade 10 English
Paintings in the tradition of Emily Carr created by children in a grade three classroom I visited as part of my job as a mentor for the University of Winnipeg
Nativity scene drawn by one of my grade four students in 1999 and given to me as a Christmas gift
Portrait of me drawn by my grandson when he was five
Oil painting done in the style of the Group of Seven by a young visitor to the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Artwork by school children I saw in a public building in Rotorua New Zealand
The Last Supper created by Steffi Li one of my grade five students in Hong Kong

Other posts……….

What Talent- Olympus Inspired Art

Two Artists- Me and My Grandson

Warli Art- Kids Love It

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Hutterite Life- Stunning Photography

Children playing tag on straw bales after a shower
Spring Valley Colony – 2010

Last week my friend and I went to visit The Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery on the Canadian Mennonite University Campus to see the exhibit In the World, But Not Of It. In a series of absolutely stunning photographs Tim Smith reveals the intimacies and intricacies of life on Hutterite colonies. Smith has spent thirteen years building relationships with Hutterite families and photographing them at many different moments on their life’s journey.

Chantel Hofer plays with her niece in a wheat field. -Deerboine Colony- 2015

Hutterite colonies are patriarchal and so what struck me about the collection on view at the gallery is the way Smith has captured Hutterite women. He presents them as daring, capable, independent, happy and quirky.

Kelly Waldner on her quarter horse- Baker Colony – 2016
Hadassah Maendal practices headstands on the Baker Colony in 2016
A young Hutterite woman displays a henna tattoo she designed -2018
Doria Waldner from the Green Acres colony on a midway ride at a fair in the city of Brandon-2018
Lissa Wurtz head gardener on the Deerboine Colony- 2018
Hadassah Maendal takes her horse for a swim- Baker Colony -2016

This is just a tiny sample of the wonderful photos you can see in the exhibit at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery. The exhibit will be there till November 12.

You can also view Tim Smith’s stunning photography on his website.

Note: I took the photos of Tim Smith’s photos used in this blog when I visited the gallery.

Other posts……..

Hutterite Artists

Could I Be A Hutterite?

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Filed under manitoba, Religion

I Like This Photo

In this photo from left to right- Governor General David Johnson- Prime Minister Paul Martin- Prime Minister Kim Campbell- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau- Governor General Mary Simon- Prime Minister Stephen Harper-Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Governor General Michaëlle Jean.

I like this photo. It was taken at a ceremony in England where those pictured had gathered as part of the Canadian delegation that attended Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. At the ceremony, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was formally given the Order of Canada.

I like this photo of Canadian leaders because……….

It includes three women, when so often photos of government leaders are exclusively male.

It includes people of very different political persuasions and beliefs.

It includes people from different geographical areas of Canada- the west, the east, the north, and the south.

It includes people of different ethnicities and racial and cultural origins.

It includes people of various ages. There is an almost forty-year difference between the youngest and oldest.

It includes people who had very different professions before serving as national leaders- teachers, lawyers, writers, journalists, broadcasters, diplomats, professors and economists.

It includes people whose families came to Canada from many different places in the world as well as one person whose ancestors have been in Canada for 5000 years.

It includes people who all speak at least two of Canada’s heritage languages.

I could go on….. but suffice it to say that while we have a long way to go before the leaders of our country truly reflect the diversity of its population this photo proves that we are at least making a start.

And at a time when political leaders are regularly sworn at, insulted, harassed and vehemently criticized for totally inconsequential things, it is good to see these leaders set an example of decorum and respect.

Canadian comic Rick Mercer upon seeing this photo commented that “This is a cool picture. Not a lot of historic love in that room in any direction but yet they appear together and are civil, they might even be enjoying themselves.

If only we could all try to be civil and respectful towards one another our country would be a better place.

Other posts………..

Mandatory Voting

Stepping Back and Letting the Women Speak

Why Do Men and Women Vote Differently?

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Filed under Politics

Art to Inspire

One of the things I love about my job at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is that I am always meeting new people and learning new things. That happened again this past week when I was asked to help out with our Art to Inspire program.

It was led by one of our Learning and Programs Coordinators Colleen Leduc who is an art educator and certified art therapist. She is so warm and inviting that everyone attending immediately felt at ease.

Photo from the Winnipeg Art Gallery website

Art to Inspire was designed and developed in consultation with the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba College of Rehabilitation Sciences. Attendees typically come in pairs, a caregiver along with someone who has received an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis.

When I helped out on Wednesday we had mother-daughter pairs, husband and wife pairs, and a friend duo. We met in a window-lined sunny studio looking out over the gallery’s rooftop. We introduced ourselves, enjoyed tea and cookies and conversation and then went into the art gallery to sit in front of a trio of paintings and talk about them.

It was a lively discussion and although the paintings we were looking at were ones I’d viewed many times in my decade of working at the gallery, I learned new things and gained new perspectives from our discussion.

One of the paintings we discussed was Frederick Horsman Varley’s View From the Artist’s Bedroom Window, Jericho Beach 1929.

Later we returned to the studio and everyone was invited to make a watercolour painting. One of the artworks we viewed was from the perspective of someone looking out a window and so participants were invited to paint a window view as well. The work they produced was unique and amazing. People admired one another’s artwork and talked about it before heading home.

I discovered later that several other Winnipeg public places have been inspired by the Winnipeg Art Gallery and have designed similar programs of their own which are featured on the Discover and Explore page of the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba site.

Participants in the Journeys Through the Zoo program- Photo from the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba site

Tales along the Trail takes place at the Fort Whyte Nature Center, Journeys Through the Zoo at Assiniboine Park and Now and Then a Journey Through Time is at the Manitoba Museum.

I so enjoyed my afternoon with the lively and interesting group on Wednesday who not only had astute observations to offer about art but about politics, travel, history, life and family as well. I hope I’ll get to help with Art to Inspire again.

Other posts……….

Siloam Mission At the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Four Grandmothers

What Talent!

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Filed under Art, Health

Lost on the Prairie – A Blast From the Past

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about what’s been happening with my novel Lost on the Prairie. More than a year after it was published there are still lots of copies being sold and my editor mentioned in our last phone call they are considering another print run.

I am so grateful to my publisher Heritage House who continues to promote my book on social media with unique graphics like this one

I have to pinch myself sometimes when I consider the idea that thousands of copies of my book are out there in the world and my publisher thinks it has a strong enough future to publish more.

I am always excited to hear from people who are just discovering the book and reading it for the first time.

I was out for a walk with my son and his family when a man popped out of a house we went by to tell me he had just finished reading Lost on the Prairie to his son and daughter. My novel had been a gift to his children from their grandmother and when he saw me walking by he wanted to let me know they had really enjoyed the book. I still get a thrill from encounters like that.

I know one of the reasons my book has experienced a surge in sales is because of my nomination for the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award. (MYRCA) This has meant that many community libraries and school libraries have purchased my novel. Lots of schools have MYRCA book clubs and they’ve ordered copies of Lost on the Prairie for kids to read.

I noticed in recent MYRCA advertising they’ve put the 2023 nominees into groups and mine is in the Blasts From the Past category. I am thrilled to be featured together with Leslie Gentile’s book Elvis, Me and the Lemonade Stand Summer. I LOVED her novel and wrote a review of it a couple of months ago.

This summer I walked into the McNally Robinson Booksellers branch at the Forks to buy a copy of my friend Jodi Carmichael’s new book The U-nique Lou Fox. Jodi is in my writing group and I have written a post about her latest novel which will launch at McNally Robinson Booksellers on September 28th.

Later looking at my photos I realized a book by another member of my writing group was there too, Gabriele Goldstone’s Tainted Amber. Three members of our writing group all displayed together on the same shelf! Marvellous. My book would never have been published without the help of my writers’ group.

Thanks to Teacher Librarian Mrs Dutka and Library Technician Miss Brydges at Highbury School in the Louis Riel School Division for creating this fabulous MYRCA bulletin board that includes Lost on the Prairie.

I’ve been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 2014 but have always been listed as only an associate member because I didn’t have a published book to my name. It was kind of thrilling to log on to the site recently and see that I am now listed as a ‘full member.’

My brother-in-law is outside the James Bay Library in Victoria letting me know they have a copy of my book on their shelves.

However, family stories related to Lost on the Prairie are the ones that never fail to make me tear up.

Like when my daughter-in-law told me she had been at the library with our granddaughter and they had stopped to look at Grandma’s book on display in the children’s area.

Or when my son a school principal and teacher in Saskatchewan sent a text to let me know he’s ordered a class set of my books so he can use it for a novel study with his grade six English class.

Or when my niece who teaches in a community just outside of Winnipeg told me when she saw her school’s librarian unpacking copies of Lost on the Prairie she said, “My auntie wrote that book and I can probably arrange for her to visit our school.”

My marvelous Auntie Louise bought five copies of my book one for each of her children and one for herself

Having Lost on the Prairie published remains an exciting thing for me. I promise I won’t blog about it forever but for now, writing these posts is a good way for me to keep track of the ongoing adventure of being a bona fide novelist.

Other posts……..

Lost on the Prairie in Australia and Saskatoon

Lost on the Prairie Arrives in Hong Kong

Lost on the Prairie in the Great Outdoors

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Spanking

I was spanked as a child. Not often but often enough. My Dad would spank me with his belt and once he was finished he would tell me we were going to forgive and forget. I remember thinking as a child that it would be impossible for me do either.

I do recall Mom giving me a whack on the bum with her wooden spoon on exactly one occasion when she was really frustrated with me but usually if I did something wrong she would say, “Dad will take care of this when he gets home.”

There has been some back and forth on the editorial pages of the Winnipeg Free Press in the last few days about whether spanking children is a good idea. In one of his columns Carl DeGurse wrote about seeing a mother hit her child in the store because the boy was creating a disturbance.

No one stepped in to intervene which he thinks would have happened if a man had hit a woman during a domestic dispute or a caregiver had hit an elderly person.

DeGurse points out that it is not against the law to spank a child in Canada but bills introduced recently in both Parliament and the Senate could change that in the near future to bring Canada in line with some sixty other countries around the world who have made hitting a child a criminal offence. Right now our law has a loophole that says if the physical punishment a parent or teacher carries out is ‘reasonable’ it is not wrong.

DeGurse then goes on to cite all the academic studies and research that prove spanking is not only ineffective but detrimental to children.

Some people writing letters to the editor vehemently disagreed with DeGurse. One woman said she had been spanked as a child and it didn’t hurt her. She’s sure the crime rate would go down if more children were spanked.

Another writer said the current crop of children are pampered and spoiled and need a few spankings to learn respect and manners.

Of course other writers countered these sentiments including a woman who has studied corporal punishment for three decades and said no one has found evidence spanking helps children and many longitudinal  studies have proven it truly damages them.

Mother Spanking Her Child by Norman Rockwell

I don’t harbour resentment against my parents for using corporal punishment. I did feel loved as a child but I do think it would have been better if my parents hadn’t spanked me. However they were raising us in a different time and didn’t know what we know now. I am reminded of the Maya Angelou quote “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better I do better.”

As a school teacher I was sadly privy to knowing children who had been badly beaten and physically abused by their parents and it is imperative we have laws without any loop holes to stop that.

When looking on line for more information I discovered it was mostly ‘Christian’ websites that advocated still spanking children saying it was a Biblical directive. I found that incredibly disheartening.

There is plenty of advice available on effective and not harmful ways to discipline

There is plenty of advice from the Canadian Pediatric Society on how to more effectively discipline children in other ways than by spanking them. We need to heed that advice.

Other posts………..

What Will Our Grandchildren Think?

What Kind of People……

God Rest the Children

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Filed under Childhood

The Clouds of Winnipeg

Clouds decorate a Winnipeg skyscraper
Clouds reflected in the water in a pond in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden in Winnipeg
The Golden Boy atop the Manitoba Legislature with a cloud background
Clouds darken the sky over the Provencher Bridge
Clouds viewed from the tower on top of the Human Rights Museum
Fluffy clouds above a herd of bison at Fort Whyte
Clouds reflected in the river at Benjaminson Park
Wispy clouds above the sculpture The Eighth and Final Fire by Jamie Isaac at The Forks
Playful clouds above my husband and granddaughter at the playground beside the new Bill and Helen Norrie Library
Clouds race each other over Rorie Street in the Exchange District
Clouds reflected in the entrance to the Winnipeg Art Gallery- Qaumajuq 

Other posts………

The Lake is Like Glass

For the Beauty of the Earth

Beauty on the Beach

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Filed under Nature, Winnipeg