Saturday, October 17, 2015

Vote but stop shitting in the water

I think people should vote if the want to and I hope they use their best judgement. It is hard to decide who to vote for in an election that comes around once every four  years. You cast one ballot and then you are stuck with that government for four years. Apparently, democracy is something that can only be done on the same schedule as the Olympics or the World Cup.

It looked like it was going to be Trudeaumania all over again and The Hair Guy was riding a wave to sure victory. His final week commercial clipped from his triumphant speech before the largest crowd of the campaign had just the right amount of fascist undertones to make him look darn near presidential.

Then days before the vote, news breaks that The Hair Guy's right hand man is sending around a  "How to get access to the Hair Guy's New Government" cheat sheet. The back room politics of access and corruption that drove the Liberals into the ground are still creeping around.

The sponsorship scandal and the insult heaped upon Quebec as being a corrupt province is what unraveled Liberal support in that province and ushered in the current regime. There is no mania if Quebec isn't dancing.

It wasn't supposed to go this way. If Jack were alive. It would be game over. It would have been a coronation. The Orange Crush would have been the new thing. Quebec and the Youth vote and the Native vote and the New Canadian vote would have crushed the Old Stock Canadians.

It would have been Real Change and instead we got Beard Guy who is no only the smartest guy in the room he's also the creepiest. He could not deliver that message of Hope that Jack delivered with so much conviction and so much humanity. But just because someone has zero charisma doesn't mean they can't be Prime Minister.

Case in point.

What is it with Damien? In his final commercial he is lit by the studio lights to look as white as humanly possible with pink skin tones and bright blue eyes while speaking blissfully from within his bleached out world.

It is shocking that he is even in this race after the corruption and scandal and crimes that plagued his government. Conservatives are supposed to follow the rules and manage money.

Conservatives support the Military. These Conservatives have treated our Veterans shamefully and yet we are at War. Conservatives are into hunting and fishing. They have removed the majority of protections for our rivers, lakes and streams.

They mismanaged the economy and watched the oil industry flounder and left Canadians put of work in that sector on their own. They sold out the last of the Canadian auto sector in the Trans Pacific Partnership. It's not about jobs.

Yet they might win this thing.

Is it really the race issue that is going to give Damien four more years? He knows the deep, dark, racist, misogynist Canadian spirit that exists in the Old Stock Canadians and that it is more widespread than most would like to admit. He knows we aren't all Martin Short and John Candy. He knows this is the heart of his base so he stirs up the shit and clouds the water.

Meanwhile we are getting ready to dump 8 billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Laurence River. We have the technology to pump out this sewage and treat it before putting it back into the river; but we are acting like a third world country when it comes to having fresh water. No one wants to spend the money to take care of our shit so the best response is the cheapest one dump it into the river.

This is happening in Montreal. You know it gets worse from there with raw sewage being dumped all across the country. That is not the worst of it, we are planning to bury nuclear waste under the Great Lakes.

We are shitting in pool. We are pissing in the garden and poisoning the well. These are bad times and the vote cannot be your only act to save this country.

Where you shit matters as much as where you vote.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Weesaykayjak and the Rainbow Smile

I had been in camp for two days when the girls asked if I wanted to see their Little People house. Absolutely, I replied. We walk up the path and by the sweatlodge and into the bush following the trail where fasters make their camps. I point out the small fire pits to the girls and tell them that I had fasted in this place a few years ago.

I am reminded about my experience with the Little People when I was fasting. I had a small red flashlight with the Metis infinity sign on it. It was taken from my camp and I knew it was Little People. I had planned to put out small offerings of candy before I started fasting and then I forgot. On the last night my flashlight disappeared.

Two months later when I returned to the Culture Camp I found my flashlight placed upon my pillow.

Not far from where I had fasted the girls and some of the boys had made a teepee about 3 feet tall and covered it with clumps of moss. Inside they had place three to four inch birch stumps and on each of those they had placed mushrooms caps. It was really cool and quite beautiful.

On the walk back to camp I told them my Little People story and there were expressions of fear or concern. I said, I have never seen Little People, although I know that children and Elders see them and that one should consider it an honor to see such a spirit.

As we were walking back I realized that my other visitors had not been seen. The Whiskeyjacks which had kept me company throughout my fast were nowhere to be found. This thought bothered me as much as the thought of seeing Little People bothered some of the girls.

It was Bobby Brightnose who told me that the Whiskeyjack was the first representative of the animal world to greet the human beings when they came into the forest. The Whiskeyjack will always be the first to come around when you are cutting wood or if you are cleaning a moose or once you have set up camp. He is the one that likes the human beings the most.

Later that afternoon as we were readying the sweatlodge I mentioned to Andrew Jacobson that I had not seen a Whiskeyjack. “That’s right,” he said. “Now that you mention it.” He thought that perhaps the bird had a 7-year cycle like other creatures and that this was the point in the Whiskeyjack’s cycle when their  numbers are small.

As I stood doorman to the lodge I could hear Andrew offering prayers and Herbert Sanderson from Moose Lake was singing the songs. It was the fourth and final door and I was thinking about how Andrew was concerned about his fishing prospects over the next few weeks before the fall season closed and how there was no pickerel this year.

It came to my mind that perhaps the Whiskeyjack was not happy with the human beings and that we weren’t taking care of the water and the forest like we should. As this thought came to mind I heard a “peep beep peep” and looked up to see a Whiskeyjack fly across the northern sky. Then immediately a hawk flew right above and I lifted my head to follow it. Directly above there was a partial rainbow. It looked like a rainbow smile in the sky.

Behind the rainbow there was a wispy Cirrus cloud that looked on one end like a herd of deer and on another end like a school of fish.

The next day the Whiskeyjacks were back at camp.

I told my mother this story and she said, “Don’t call him Whiskeyjack that is the White man’s word. He is called Weesaykayjak.”

Monday, September 14, 2015

I don't want your Medicine Chest. Keep your Magic Beans. I want my Land.

I hope to die one day. I am not sure if that will be possible.

These are things that are said by teenagers. Punk rockers and 1 per centers. I am saying this as a 50 year old who is currently on no medication.

My goal is not to take medicine that is manufactured and I don't want any more parts cut out of me and then one day I hope to die.

This is not a joke. But I fear that it is.

No one has to right to keep me from dying. I am not sure if that will be possible. I know it is possible today to keep someone breathing and acting as though they have life long beyond that individual expresses that right. Your only hope of defining your own existence must be defined by law. You can make the necessary choices today.

But I plan on living a long time. Once that time comes. I don't know if I will have the freedom to die. I don't believe that choices made today will equal the choices I make in the future long after I am dead or whatever society defines as death.

If you think that is a joke you are a fool.

I have been adamant for years that I would not be offering any of my parts before I was out of here and I am pleased that at this point none of my children or loved ones require any of my particular parts.

Now that I am 50 I am sure that my parts may not be the best choice. But I can't say that for sure. Considering the fact that the majority of people seem to trading their humanity for pills. Not too many boys are going to be racing me to the top of the hill.

It is always easier to take your life as long as it doesn't take anyone else. I don't think my parts are that awesome. I have abused my self. I am sure. But I have always accepted that responsibility.

I have taken that responsibility with the knowledge that only myself will be harmed by myself. Sadly, I don't believe that will always be my responsibility. I fear that one day, before I am gone, that freedom will be taken away from me.

I fantasize that I will either drop dead or have the notion and head out into the bush or ice flow and deal with what no one wants to deal with.

I know that makes me weird. I don't care.

I am Metis Nation. I have seen first hand how the Medicine chest offered in treaty has turned First Nations into junkies.

I don't know the future. But I know. I don't want that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

True NatCon Should Be CanCon with Soul

There is a reason that you know too many Tragically Hip songs. There is a reason I know way too many Prism songs. It is CanCon. CanCon is the percentage of Canadian music all radio stations licenced by the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) must play and it is usually 35%. One out of every three songs on the radio.

The Canadian Content guidelines were introduced in 1968 and in the 1970's there was such a dearth of Canadian Music that I have only recently forgiven Burton Cummings. We suffered so that this generation could have Metric, Tegan and Sara, Arcade Fire and The Trews. It was a painful yet ultimately successful bit of social engineering.

Meanwhile south of the border it seemed Black Radio was supporting their own since always. Artists could develop a career and audience that could cross over into the mainstream. Today the mainstream is dominated by Black Artists.

What Canada needs is a NatCon system that is like CanCon and Black Radio. True NatCon should be CanCon with Soul.

There is a version that does exist now. All Type B Native Radio stations are required to play a percentage of Native artists and provide some kind of programming and even language. The required amount of NatCon can be as little as 2% and it is usually around 15% but some stations are only "encouraged" to play "current Aboriginal music." Some stations deal with their NatCon requirements in a manner similar to many Canadian radio stations in the 1970's by playing music in non prime hours or in specialty programming.

Despite minimal support from Canadian mainstream radio and support from Native radio stations that is spotty at best, Native music in Canada is groundbreaking and glorious. It deserves to be heard. It deserves to be in your head and in your car. All of it. The traditional music current and archival; contemporary music from Buffy Ste. Marie in the 1960's to Buffy Ste. Marie in 2015.

The required amount of Native/Indigenous music should be increased to 35% or more for all Type B Native radio stations and if you want to add the Soul on top of that then play more. There is so much incredible music that 24/7 should be the goal.

It is only in a greater commitment to the music by the people working at the stations and higher requirements by the CRTC that Native artists will make the breakthrough they deserve.

The gaming aspect is an important part of the equation. If a station gets the majority of its money from gaming it should be playing 100% NatCon as they are not really competing in the commercial radio market.

The exposure of the music to a wider audience will build listener awareness and loyalty to the artists, the music and the radio stations. If the artists are registered with SOCAN and the stations are up to date on paying fees and filling reports this would put a lot more revenue into the hands of music creators.

This would ensure that some of our most popular Native artists are getting paid and give emerging artists incentive to keep going.

But don't forget the soul. The DJ's and Programmers at the Native radio stations need to have that feeling that this music has to be shared and that this song is going save your life, this one will make you fall in love and this one will inspire the revolution and this one will shake your ass.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Aboriginal Voices Radio Silence

In a way, I was there at the beginning. It was 1988 and I was working at Sunday Morning for CBC in Toronto producing documentary radio for the nation. One night in the editing bays, there was a very large Native man editing tape in one of the plexi-glassed cubicles. It was audio editing the analog way, listening to tape with headphones on a reel to reel machine until you found your spot, marking the tape with a grease pencil and cutting it with a razor blade. I took the bay next to him. 

I did not know Gary Farmer from the stage although I knew of him and the success of Thomson Highway's Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing was all over Toronto.  PowWow Highway the movie that would make him an international star was not going to be released until 1989. We were two Native guys trying to get our work edited and ready for the national airwaves of CBC. It was a couple of nights in the late 1980's and I do not remember if he talked about Aboriginal Voices Radio but I know we talked about radio and getting our stories heard and being in control of the medium.

When Gary created a pilot episode of Aboriginal Voices Radio in the mid 1990's, he brought me in as talent and had James Cullingham our Executive Producer from CBC produce the show.  Gary and I would do other projects together but never radio. 

He used his great influence as a person and personality to put together the team that got radio licences in most of the major Canadian markets and Aboriginal Voices Radio Network was born. The first licence for Toronto was granted by the CRTC in 2000. Licences in Regina, Saskatoon, Montreal, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary would follow.

Then at some point in the mid-2000’s he was driven out of Aboriginal Voices Radio Network. I don't know how it happened, I broached the subject a few times with Gary but it was not something he would talk about. These days he continues to act on stage and screen as well as singing the blues with his band Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers.

In the years after Gary very little radio was made and the long lonely death spiral began. In 2009, AVRN lost their licenses in Kitchener-Waterloo and Montreal. Many began silent witness to the dream circling slowly inevitably into oblivion.

In 2012,  I offered to take on the AVRN operation in Edmonton. I had family there and had helped build a youth driven Native radio station in Winnipeg. I would go to work in programming and finding talent but also identify job training dollars and other sources of revenue to build the station. The offer was rebuffed. 

A year later, I read the CRTC warnings to AVRN online and sent a number of emails with concerns about the future of the network for the purpose of writing on this blog. On June 13, 2013 I received an email from Jamie Hill, President AVRN. 

“AVR is not at risk of failure at this time. Though I do believe it was at great risk of that in the distant past. When I became involved with AVR in 2004, AVR was about $1.8 million in debt, had very little money coming in, had not filed required financial statements with the CRTC and was thus in a state of non-compliance with conditions of licence, and was well past the CRTC policy maximum of 3 extension requests to get the stations on the air in 6 of its 7 cities. At that point AVR was at great risk of failure.”

I had queried about AVRN’s transparency.

“Also Miles, I would like to comment on your statement about a lack of information regarding AVR. As you are aware AVR operates in an extremely competitive business environment and must behave prudently as far as releasing information about its operations that other competitors could acquire and distort and attempt to use against AVR in Ottawa to advance themselves at the expense of AVR. I view this as AVR doing its best in undertaking sound business practices to ensure AVR's business survival. Rest assured there are numerous other broadcasters in Canada who would like to see AVR fail so they can have an opportunity to try to acquire AVR's radio licences - each of which would be worth tens of millions of dollars to a commercial broadcaster.”

I didn't know what to write and so I kept my silent vigil. 

In October of 2014, the station in Ottawa ceased broadcasting. 

According to Wikipedia, "In December 2014, AVR renamed itself to Voices Radio, as its scope expanded out of the aboriginal realm and more into music from mainstream artists, generally bent towards adult contemporary. In February 2015, Voices Radio began to air old time radio programs from the United States."

On June 25, 2015, The CRTC rescinded all the licenses of the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network. 

The death of Aboriginal Voices was greeted with a murmur. There was a story on APTN and a few words here and there. I saw one post on facebook and nothing else. 

It should have been a beautiful thing - a place to share our music and our voices and it was wasted. Silence sings the dream dying.


In response to this blog Gary Farmer sent me the following message. I have edited out references to individuals other than Jamie Hill who was quoted in the original story. 

Hey miles.  took a read.  the big thing that sticks out to me is that jamie says, "AVR was in debt when he took over"  1.8 million.  that is a total lie.  in the first 7 years of operation we had financing from the private broadcasters to build the network.  So we were not in debt when I left.

(The board) would not let me take the dollars and develop original content. I knew our original content would see the station to audience enough to make it reality.  We needed public support to survive.  I did not want to survive off Canadian government financing.  I knew that was a dead end.  If we were to meet success it would have been with Canadian audiences ready to embrace the history of relations between Canadian government and Indian people.

In the end the Canadian government did not want a free public voice for Native people in Canada cause they had already made deals to exploit natural resources to continue their way of life...and they knew a public radio voice from Native people would raise issue. 

If you read our original submission for can see our effort clearly...we wanted 25% spoken inform Canadians of that history between Canadians and Indians.  Seeing Harper in office it all becomes clear.

CBC fought every license we ever tried interesting to get the legal costs to do that for so many years and we beat them good...our writing and concepts won us those licences...and jamie's harvard educated self was a hired gun to do exactly what he did..bring it to demise.

All I ever did was give it money.  money i earned from my career as an actor to book the magazine and radio licensing.  For that matter I financed myself to help win APTN license as well. TVNC enlisted me because of my CRTC experience winning radio licenses. Of course with the strength of mark macleod and john the engineer both from public radio initiatives.

In the end. AVR owned legit $100,000 of my own money. Now that my career has obviously subsided I have nothing to show but this story. No home.  A beater car.  And tour small time to make ends meet playing harmonica and singing blues songs.  A fitting end to a dream to engage Native Canadians in our reality in a creative way.  

I believe still today that that is the route of success as Native people.  We need access to all audiences to tell our story and to inform the young to their Indian history and heritage. The reality is to be Canadian is to be Indian. We made Canadians.  

They owe us our common histories.

Aug 6 - 2015


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Stoics and Sundance, Truth and Reconciliation (Part 1)

I was packing my bag for Sundance and I was going to take the two books. Both had something to teach me and that I wanted to share on my journey.

The first I picked out of our yard sale. It had been on the main shelf but as space was needed it made the trip from living room to back room to yard sale box in the shed. Essential works of Stoicism – Marcus Aurelius: To Himself, Epictetus: The Manual, Diogenes Laertius: Life of Zeno, Seneca: On Tranquility.

I had read some of it before but nothing that would suggest the text would live up to the author's introduction that the teachings of the Stoics, "left its mark on both the constitution of the Roman Empire, the teachings of Christianity and eventually it helped prepare the way for the French Revolution."

I started, of course, with Marcus Aurelius: To Himself. It was the movie Gladiator that put Marcus Aurelius back into the cultural ether and into my mind. I could see Russell Crowe shouting out the name as he led the Spartans in the movie 300. (I know. Two different movies but that’s the way it was Gerard Butler entered only in the afterthought of writing.)

To Himself is a list of teachings and philosophies that begins with giving thanks to his parents and grand and great grandparents and the many teachings they shared with him such as “To endure Freedom of Speech, and to have become intimate with philosophy and to have been a hearer.”

To "endure" freedom of speech. That is beautiful.

Epictetus: The Manual is a list of 53 things that one can do in order to live conforming with nature. 

“Of things some are in our power and some are not. In our power is the power of opinion, movement toward a thing, desire, aversion (turning away from a thing) and in a word, whatever are our own acts.”

I would post Epictetus quote about gossip.

“If a man has reported to you that a certain person speaks ill of you do not make any defense to what was told to you but reply, “The man did not know the rest of my faults else he would not have mentioned these only.”

The goal of the Stoic was self-sufficiency autarky by conforming to Nature. I began to wonder if Stoic was accurately placed on the Native Americans by the settlers as a term that is close to  Warrior/Philosophers. That something true had been turned into a lie.

Why not? Everything that has been taught to me must be considered a lie. A resumption of presumption. Everything should be questioned. Everything is upside down.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission had proven that a great conspiracy of silence hid Canada’s cultural genocide in the implementation of the Indian Residential School System. It is in every school and every history book - lies and deceit towards the willful elimination of Native people and their history.

It was a narrative that was divined soon after discovery and before the arrival really began. These people can not be human beings. They are not like us. They are less than us. 

In Myth of the Savage, Dr. Olive Patricia Dickason writes, “In 1513, a presentation to Pope Leo X had claimed of Amerindians, “they are our brothers.” But there were others who were not so sure, and from the very first, opinion was sharply divided on the subject. As spiritual conformation was considered to be all-important, it was immediately asked why Amerindians had not been informed about the Christian God, Pope Alexander’s bulls notwithstanding, there were those, even in the church, who held that the answer lay in the fact that Amerindians were brute beasts and incapable of learning the mysteries of the faith.”

So began the “Wild Man” period in which tales of cannibals covered in hair and communicating in grunts, dog headed men and other bizarre tales became acknowledged truth. Dickason notes that the reality to early explorers was jarring, “As Claude observed, “In truth, I expected to find fierce beasts, men totally rustic, rude and savage (as we call them), but I found that to be far from reality. Instead I have never encountered any people with such perfection of their natural senses, whether exterior or interior, and I have never heard of a nation which excels them in this.”

There was another book that had my mind and unlike Dickason's beautifully illustrated coffee table size book this was pocket size and one I could easily carry with me. I had discovered it by accident when the book was used as a prop at a wedding. The pages were painted shut and the cover had a faux pearl design and the words "The Kiss" in a tasteful font. I got bored and peeled open the book.

 The Story of ModernScience Vol 8 – Bettering the Race is part of a ten volume set published in 1923 by Funk & Wagnalls Company, New York and London. The book celebrated the new school of anthropology as “the science of man in all his relations”. Although fitting in all his relations into the brotherhood of man was as difficult for the scientist as for the religious fundamentalist.

“There are writers of the present day,” says Dr. Pritchard, writing about the year 1840, “who maintain the offspring of the primitive Mosaic pair did not comprehend the uncivilized inhabitants of the remote regions: and that the Negroes, Hottentots, Eskimoes, and Australians are not in fact men in the full sense of that term, or beings endowed with like mental faculties as ourselves.”

The book pointed to the debate on the origin of the species and “associated with this question of the origin of mankind as a whole was the allied question as to the origin of the so-called Aryan Race.”

Its scientific recommendations on bettering the race include “judicious inbreeding” which the royal family is held as the example. 

It was with these teachings and the accompanying perceptions and interpretations weighing upon my mind, the text of Bettering the Race in my bag and The Essentialism of Stoicism in my hand, I headed to Sundance. 


Friday, May 1, 2015

Coming out in Canada

We stopped at Tim Horton's after dropping our daughter off at Western University in London, ON one morning in January. I was short about 15 cents for my order. I cancelled the muffin that I did not need and which I thought was on sale.  The server asked if I had a status card. Which never happens in this part of the world. I said, "I don't have one". She began to share that she had recently helped a friend of hers get a status card. I told her that I could get a status card but I chose not to have one. She seemed to think that I was put off by the paperwork, I assured her I was not. I asked why her friend did not have status, "was she adopted out, a lot of people have been adopted out of their communities". She said no, her friend's family came from Manitoba when she was young and then recently she decided voice trailed off, she did not have the words. I said, "She Came Out". "Yes, that's it", she said.
"Well it can be harder to come out as Native than to come out in the other sense, after all, this is Canada." She paused and then her hand went to her eyes with the napkin she was to give to me. "Oh my god, that's so true...I never thought about it like that." She wiped her tears and pulled her self together. I offered my apologies, "I did not mean to ruin your day", I said. She said it was "Ok". I told her I was Metis Nation, "you know Louis Riel's People", and that is why I did not have a status card. She was pleased that I had shared and she smiled brightly and told me to have a good day. It wasn't until later that I thought about my dark haired server and how people sometimes say "my friend" when they tell stories about themselves.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

#shutdownCanada Honor and Shame

I had heard about #shutdownCanada in advance of February 13. I knew that it was another day to try and bring the national crisis, the national tragedy, the national shame that is Murdered and Missing Native Women in Canada to attention of the world.

I was not sure about the date of this event in comparison to other actions and days around the issue, but it didn't matter. It had my support. This must stop.

When the day came I had forgotten about it and went into the radio station for my afternoon show with the intention of playing four hours of sweetheart songs. It was going to be my first Valentine's Day.

Not soon after arrival at work a council member for the First Nation said that Highway 21 at Aazhoodena was closed down and people had to drive around. I asked what for and he said it was for Murdered and Missing women ,and he told me, as though it was news that he himself could not believe, "they say that that there are thousands across the country."

I did spin songs for sweethearts and the sweethearted and I played songs for the broken hearted. I went into my first break after my intro and I was going to talk about #shutdownCanada. I said that it was a national campaign that was driven online with the hashtag #shutdownCanada and I did not offer specifics on actions but began to talk about the national tragedy that sparked the day. When I got to the word "Thousands", I could no longer speak. It was though, I too, could no longer believe the words that I was saying. I could not go any further.

I hit off on the mic and the red light went out. Dead Air. I tried to speak but it wasn't going to happen. Thank God for Music. I hit play and Pray Sister Pray by Crystal Shawanda begins and she tells the story as honestly and as harshly as it needs to be done. I have a good cry and keep going.

I go online to see if I can get any details on what was happening but there was no stories coming out and when I went to the hashtag on twitter it seemed to have a lot of haters. In my facebook circles I didn't see much action. I posted the hashtag and played the music along with songs to round dance and slow dance.

If people were listening down the road at Aazhoondena that were taking action, I wanted to inspire them and for our non-Native audience I wanted to speak from the heart about this great pain in our country.

Later in the day I was home with my wife and grand daughter. My wife asked me if we could see any images from events across Canada on Youtube. There were only a couple videos posted to the hashtag, one was blocked, one looked like a rant and the first actual action from Montreal. In the video a group of men in black stormtrooper outfits blockaded a road. The men in black are speaking and acting aggressively. They are bearing signs in English that I did not understand. I didn't see anything about our women.

There was a "Bill C- something, something..." I didn't know. My wife said it was the new terrorism surveillance bill. I asked what this had to do with the Murdered and Missing. It was a farce. I felt I could see what those faces underneath looked like and deeper into what their true motives and spirit expressed. I felt ill.

We went back to our search and went to the only other video that looked to be a live event. It was a round dance in BC. Once again in an intersection and once again the traffic was stopped. The women are leading the drumming and singing and it looks to be a gorgeous day and I don't have to imagine what their faces look like under their masks and I can see them smiling and singing and there is no twisting undercurrent of threat and violence and anarchy.

I also know one thing there are people in that circle who have lived with this national nightmare and that their sister, daughter, cousin, friend, mother, wife or lover is gone forever in violence or mystery and no one seems to care.

Men in stormtrooper gear and with hidden faces using the threat of violence do not get to co-opt a movement that is the national crisis, the national shame, the national tragedy of Murdered and Missing Women in Canada. Whoever those men were behind those black masks. Shame on you.

To all of those who danced and sang in the spirit that honours our Missing and Murdered I am grateful that we continue to show the world how to stand against violence in peace.

They say that the only thing to allow the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. Good united becomes great.