« Good Life Project

Bridging Worlds | Violet Duncan

2019-07-18 | 🔗

Violet Duncan (https://www.violetduncan.com/about) is an author, storyteller, educator, performer and Native American Hoop & Powwow dancer. She's a proud member of the Plains Cree of Kehewin Cree Nation & Taino. Violet facilitates workshops to promote spiritual wellness and cultural education across the United States, Canada and Europe. After becoming a mother of four, saw a need for Native American representation in literature and authored two children's books; "When We Dance" & "Let's Hoop Dance!" She is now a featured storyteller at many festivals nationally and internationally. Her work addresses her native culture and is accessible for anyone trying to understand the modern Native experience. She is currently working on her next children’s book, “I am Native.” 


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The super excited to share today's conversation with you for a couple of reasons I sit down with violet duncan, who is an author. the her educator performer native american hoop and power dancer. She is a member of the plains. Creed, of having creation and time now I have no idea said that right. I hope I did part of the broader or larger first nations community in canada, where she grew up, as you facilitates workshops to promote spiritual wellness, cultural education, all over the united states and canada europe she's, also a mother for, and she really saw the need for native american and indigenous representation in literature, an author to children's books and is now a featured storyteller at
festivals nationally and pretty much all over the world, and I had the opportunity to sit down with violet when I was actually out in mesa arizona to this Recorded on the road- and we are at the core working slash community space of a dear friend of mine, pam slim, the spaces called care and attention it's arizona, so the sound fear. He was a bit different than what we normally have and just one and hopefully you drink in the beautiful communal violence. space and really enjoy, and as I did really learn from the conversation tat. I had with violet duncan so excited to share with you I'm jonathan fields, and this is good life project the as a I even work where it is creativity, come from. What's this
where to living longer, ted radio, our explores the biggest questions with some of the world's greatest thinkers they will. prize challenge and even change. You listen to and purist head radio, our whatever you get. Your pa guests, library is supported by the economists saw. The world seems to be moving faster than ever: climate economics politics, a eyeing culture wherever you Events are unfolding at a rapid pace and it's hard to stay on top of it, which is why I love that now, for the first time, you can get a one month, free trial of the economist, so you won't miss a thing I have literally
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So the ten percent happier podcast has one guiding philosophy. Happiness is a skill that you can learn. So why not embrace it? It's hosted by dan harris journalists who has, a panic attack on national television and then send out on this journey of transformation and he's now on a quest to help others also achieve peace and happiness, and every week Dan talked you top scientists, meditation teachers. Even the odd celebrity in wide ranging conversations that explore topics like productivity, anxiety and lightness, psychedelic and relationships. The interviews cover everyone from bernay brown to cerebral ass to SAM Harrison more. I love learning from his questions and experiences and incredible guess think of listening to ten percent happier as a work out. For your mind, fine ten percent happier where every listen to pot casts pan out with a very special guest today duncan hey,
then, so I thought you'd think I soon guy ass, kissing squirrel that way, milk you sit down and eat attack the flame yoke is gonna democracy good to meet you don t, know cree internal beautiful tell me what you were just saying. I said my name is old sky woman in the cree language, but old sky woman is not a very good. Translation sounds like an older woman from the sky, but old sky woman in cre. It actually
is the translation of you know that golden hour in the day round, five o clock that beautiful time is my name. But in english we say old sky woman that lay down the closest rags of it ass. The best we can do but increase that some that's my name is that time and then I said it's a beautiful day to be sharing stories. I love that tell me about cry. The cremation I'm actually planes cree that some from northern border and the creation as a huge nation all across canada, planes creep. Bush cream staff needs, create James bakery, audibly creed or object. We were all the way across in that's, because we were nomadic we for travelling in following the buffalo. Then, when we kind of got pressure to stay on land, we had to stay right where we were so that's why you're, fine up teeny, tiny little nations, all different forms of crete right across Canada?
and the plains career from northern alberta. That's that's my people, oh no kidding so sir. Your lineage comes from Alberta. Canada does and what were the stocks are well on the way to get her miss arizona. I know we had. Well. Let me tell you about my husband here come here in the southwest: tease apache sancho arizona which has just east of us of east of mesa and We actually met in florida. We were performing at a festival now there's a story about how the native american flute was used as according instrument to capture the mai, in the eventually the heart of a young woman, I had never fallen for it before, but he is the flute player and he was playing on the main stage. We were there for about six days and he just captured my heart and I was guided to his music and that's how we got to talking and six days was not long enough, and I mean now. We
skype. We emerson messengers our hearts out until we can finally be with each other again about half a year later and he was a desert guy and, unlike oak, let's do it so I finish off school and made the track to the desert, and I mean we live happily ever after this, the desert has become home. I do go home, though, every summer, but on the desert. We ve been here eleven year, So it is home, then, in canada, home is in canada, yeah, northern Alberta and honestly, I don't miss the winters Yeah we went back one winter and it was if froze me and my core was freezing and I'm like how do people survive here? I've been there my whole life, but yeah it was. ok, I'm a wimp. Now I'm gonna stay hissed and outside
the older you get, it's like the warm weather, isn't so bad. Actually, yes, I tell me about sort of like the community, the neighborhood and you as and when you're sort of like younger in life when you're growing up as a kid. Well, let me tell you, I think my family actually stayed to our nomadic roots and we never lived anywhere longer than four years, so we were in Alberta for years we moved to, terrio, which is above new york, state removed all the way to vancouver bc, which is above washington, and then we will back to albert, and we can do that. For years, and so definitely this has been the longest I've ever state anywhere is, so arizona and dumb. It's very weird. Like my kids back to school, we have little four hood. That's like a little slicer Heaven, and
no these people for a very long time and I ve really planted routes and it some it's very different. Growing up. We always kind of went back home in the summer time. We would we whither finish off school work, we were and we would go home and home was the rest. Northern operator is time. My reserve is calling who in creation- and we would spend our summers there and it summers like come powerhouse which social gatherings, fairer native people, and it would be sweat. And sundance mixed with lakeside, camping and just being with only cousins like. I don't even think I had friends, because I have like one hundred cousins and that was our summer for two months of the year we would go home and then we would go back to traveling wherever, wherever that was for my parents, and
tell me to serve and geographically so when you're, whether in the resolution on the reservation, wants a proper I kiss on the reservation, reservation is actually what they stay in here in the united states. We discovered a reserve re, but what's answer to this So I'm learning as I'm as I'm literally having this conversation with you, because I've heard the term first nations used. I've heard the term indigenous peoples use I've heard the term native americans used. Is there bet you're the ultimate arbiter of what's appropriate or not yeah, but I'm curious because it's very often I've heard them do actually look like first nations. I've heard use more in the context of canada. Is there an association with geographic geography around the honestly? If you're going to talk about all of us american would be native american? Okay, Canada would be first nations. All of us would be indigenous, but the best way is the absolute best way to find out the tripe. Okay, I'm cree, my husband is apache
That's how you identify so when people say that were native or like it's like. Not is not the best thing because We get caught up in native american and native american. That term is such a mishmash people thing: ok, american that must be teepees and buffalo and mean rye, bread and, and it's like war yeah. That is absolutely incorrect. There's over five hundred seventy four tribes in the united states alone, just united states and then those branch off like apache, is just considered one where they branch off to saint Carlos apache white mountain apache. There's another patchy new mexico. So I mean but they're just consider what mike patchy and then we go to canada and there's another five hundred and we are very different from each other, and I mean no one native person is the is the historical
well guru, so we're even learning from each other- and I think that's what's beautiful about it, you could these inter marriages and we get to find out about each other. I had never met an apache person before my husband, so I mean I'm learning about his culture and whose history- and I think that when we all take a moment to learn about each other that scan how we we can have more respect for one another there. No thank you. That's actually, I'm sure helpful for me and just understand cause. I think so much and I mean it's interesting, I wonder often and when you have conversations with people come from just profoundly different backgrounds from you There's so much dancing around of not wanting to see where are they now? I am, but also just rather than the same ellison, I'd like to where you came from, I don't know you don't Mere where I came from how we had the most basic conversation and the basic language so that we can understand each other and income from place of respect and dignity and love. I honestly
cause like for me coming in the southwest on thy hadn't people survive here, you look out there and I would like. die within three water there's nothing up north! You can, a street areas and my husband looks out the door. when he sees grocery store and pharmacy. He can survive, and- and this is me totally different culture- just opening my heart to and it's not because I love him, but it was because I'm genuinely curious how do you? How does one do that? What are the salt refer? People the tunnel at them? That's the land that we're on how? Why would they be here? How would they survive here? I mean asked those questions, because the answers are beautiful, they didn't just. We didn't just have miss our phoenix here. These we come from the traditional lands of the polish people and it's because of the actually even before them it's because of the hooligan. They had created the waterways that waste use here today and that because yeah was at that
thousand years. We are, unfortunately, the who will come people up and left his very mysterious, but when the salt river, the Tom autumn, people came in, continue to use these waterways and then, after that, the colony weeping and they continue to seize waterways, and I think that is just because for me, coming from a lush forest asking questions like how did you survive here and it just that was Mansour o the who come had created waterways that we use now today in phoenix actually with a european. Unlike all, ok there's my answer, it was not me researching and coming up with my own eyes. Who was just going to the people in saying I have questions and I think if you come at it in a good way like that, my gum and a respectful way, you get the good answers. You get the respect for answers and on when you come at it like. I already know
of course we're here, but phoenix is here. This is how we get our water. We have brilliant scientists, then it's like we'll just take a step back. Let's all learn together know, I I wonder: if we're we are so afraid of standing in that place of of owning. The fact that we don't know it is a scary place is really scary. What is that that word, I think, vulnerable vulnerable vulnerability. I mean if you can get to that space in a safe way. It's amazing, amazing things happen, and My grandmother always says we have two ears to listen twice and to speak once. and when I'm learning something- and I feel it If there's learning going on, I'm going to listen twice and then really think about my questions, because more than likely, your questions are already being answered if you're just listening twice and I I always follow that and then and my mum was always sexing asked question
which was the opposite, be curious as questions, so I was actually really shy in school and it was. It took me to college to where I finally said you know I'm going to start asking questions now and when I started asking these questions I to me was the hard questions I got. I got answers and I mean that doesn't really make any sense, but it was coming from that vulnerable state of ok, I'm going to throw this question out. There see what happens and when you do tat you it's not like your questioning something you're coming from a good place for you to genuinely want to know, I dare say you grow up and reservation in canada where'd, you gotta call it. I went to college in victoria the reason I went to victoria it's another province away and is not because I had a scholarship or anything cool like that. It's because I wanted to be far from home, and that sounds awful well. It sounds like pretty much ever
We had ever seen her for each more. I was very close to my mom and I didn't want to leave them. But what happening, is two hours away. Was the big city of edmonton and anybody who live there? Their home would just be a second place for people to crash really that's fine miguel me? We have people staying at our house all the time, but when I was trying to succeed at that young age because I graduated at sixteen, I was so worried about dry soon after that was that's a number one concern. My whole life growing up is ok all you can be dream big, but don't drink and don't do trucks, and I love mainstream, says that, but for the statistics for native people, it's so much more hire you have. drink, and one person sees that ensure that stat you're just a drunk indian, and so I was so afraid of that that anybody, but-
that to me, while I'm learning in college, I didn't want to get mixed up and have my dreams crushed, because I've seen it over and over and over again people leave. They go to school mitten they have big dreams and aspirations, and I mean they're house becomes party house and scary, and then they come back home and that because I grew up steam, then that's what freaked me out, then I said no, I'm gonna go far away enough for its a plane, ride home, but far enough or nobody will stay there and that was actually my only reason why I chose that college. It would have been good. Because they don't really have winter, a toilet, since this is my first area of of mild winter and I would buy to school and it was very exciting, but hum yeah and I actually didn't become homesick, because the setting was so different. It was like a rainforest, and so when I would look how it I wouldn't feel like I was at home missing out. I just felt like I was an adventure and so on. What
come home. I would have these adventures of the stories the earth, my mom and my dad, and it was some it was. It was a really good time I really enjoyed going to school and being on my own. Then and, if anything were I'm, what was it like, so growing up where you grew up and then was going to college for you, the first substantial expands of travel and then being very outside of the culture that you grew up in a huge new. That's all, my parents, are they have a performing arts company? Ok I'll, give you a native thence, theater and tat. The story here when I was in great to my have who older siblings and we went to school now, every day on the school bus we would get really boyd, beat up spit on me, not curse, and that was just life.
And we didn't know what this is when we lived in ontario. We don't know that this was like crazy. We just start crazy kids and we get off the birth and go home and we never thought to tell our parents sleep so weird and then one day it got really violent and was around christmas, because I remember they took my doll and they were saying really vases stuff. It was like a little micro, and my sister or my brother was holding my ears and he had long breeds and they were pulling his hair and a come very crazy in her by striving, never stopped it and we got off the bus- and I was crying are mostly because they took my doll and my sister join football that year and she decided that she's going to use her strength. So when we got home and my mom and dad saw us looking crazy, they said what is going on here and we told them that this has been happening for
three months and never like. Ok. This is not how king you should tell us what is what's going on so when they got the story out those kids, it turns out that they told their parents and their parents came to, house and Blue also just screamed at us from the driveway, and my parents were saying just all deal with it at the school. When we went to the school we found out that they don't know about native people at all. They don't know why we would go to powers why my brother had long hair and it made them angry that they didn't know and so school this is yeah. We school was cite the further on the fence. They were defending sing well, where your kids go, how come they get to go on? can be. He has long. Hair were confused and so my mom said you know what we're going to share with you. We're gonna tell you stories and we're going to do a performance for you where we're going to ants, and so that's what we do and overnight we were superstars. We were like because it turns
eighty per cent of that schools native. They did not know it and they said hey. We have that hey. I seen pictures my mom and that kind of our, and so we were, we were superstars and this kind of started, my parents dance company, and from thereon we did shows that other schools and you can early, see the bullying rate go down by half within the month and almost honey percent, because it was just that they didn't know they didn't understand and I it's amazing: what knowledge can do and it turned out that those kids I'm some of them, he's on the bus for native, and they were just confused end this open their eyes and we still know a lot of kids today and down. That's that's the kind of people my parents were. They were wrong They originally had done social justice. Peter had talked about the hard issues so doing shows like this,
we're happy. It was easy for us as kids to get involved cause all we were doing, was dancing in doing what we normally do and this brought us too. World stage immediately. We ve got to huge conferences and festivals and we is celebrated- and so going off like that was- was no problem so going off. On my own I mean it was. It was so easy because I was used to kind of speaking for myself. It was the whole fear of becoming an alcoholic that I thought even we I didn't even want to see it. I was so freaked out that I'm like oh my gosh, I'm going to get influence well badly, and I mean I have to say it was society that freaked me out, because I would be told by students and teachers that and that were just drunk indians, and that became my fears. I don't want to be that I don't want to do that.
But there is much more to it than Adam. I wish I could tell my younger self to say like it's, it's! Ok! It's not your fault that this is happening and you don't have to be afraid A car like that is not the fear here. You are strong and capable, but it with like only my mom, was telling me that and the whole world was saying, be careful, we're gonna be a drunken din and soul. that's. What's my fear, someone I reno college. I would see anybody having a party and I would be purified- don't die. Bring it around me, and I we know in my brain. I would cite I'm good it involved and I'm gonna fall flat and it was it was very
The turning point when I realized I could be around it is not that I'm curious to cause it. The way you talk about. It was the concern that you may be exposed to this and you mister to participate and that the perception from the outside in was okay, so now you're, one of quote those people or was a concern that that there was a fear that there was something biological or physiological within you that made you more susceptible to the addiction with substances than other people. I'd have to see it was both
It was both because, if fom I was always freaked out about image and when we do a show we had to arrive. You know exactly on time because we were not just representing the family in the company. We were like all native people, author late, one of those indians are always laying all their hair is not the audit. So for me my it was my parents that would stress it. We have to be there on time. We have to be there on time. We have to make sure your outfit is ironed the night before and it was like because we have to we're not just representing ourselves. It's everybody. We are trailblazers, so we have to this right and a good way, and so that was put on me when I left home, because I was, I call you when I go to school. I do not have the luxury of wrong and wearing sweats. I had to have in or not
I do my assignments had to be finished. They had to have a pluses on them and not only did they have to have a pluses on them. I had to look like I am worthy. I can't look like. I went to a party the night before, even if I didn't I was studying my heart. Oh, I couldn't look like that, so it was very. It was very difficult to kind of keep up this image and I was afraid that yeah. If what if alcohol came into my life- and I mean eventually, I will enjoy a glass of wine and the fear would be there- I'm going to get out of hand, but when I didn't, I realized okay, how come I didn't? How come I can handle it. Of, and it said that it came at a shock to me because I was so scared, but I have to think my mom, because My mom was always saying: you're, you're, so strong, you're, so smart
and to me? I was like ok, but when I'm not drinking, I'm so strong, a smart waiter and she was sick and I now I get it and when I'm older that it wasn't, I could do what I want to do and I could keep a hold it so hard to explain, but on it was that fear was irrational and it was just mainstream kind of tricking me and I think, there's a lot of young people out their native people who have this fear of it built around it, don't touch it, but it's like because you are in control and nobody ever says than a night. It's, I think what I'm trying to explain is just the it's that that's all that were seen us and it was like as creative and not as artists and scientists in searchers. That's when it was in. So that's why I was afraid, because on statistics
but I mean now social media when I see different research, and scientists and doctors. That's when I am pointing out to my children, I for children, my eldest is nine and that's. Why show her? I never tell them about stats, because it didn't help me and I don't think you will help them. I talk to them about about the different researchers that are out there and scientists, and then people doing amazing things who just happened to be native women and thank goodness for social media that's! What I use all the time- and we see more, those who are nato and it's it's so cool. This tool that we have now and that's my main thing that I use to share with my children- and we never talk about you not to be afraid of alcohol to be free if chucks we always talk about. How would you want to do and I hope plan I hope it will have a good
fact I know one day somebody will come up to them and say you know why, because my husband he's never effort drank and in his whole life and that was his it out of a similar. It's very similar. It's it's a huge fear that, and I feel that we have seen so much of their association with that we just sit hand in hand. People are dying because they were drinking or around drinking and soul. I think my generation has tat fear, but this next generation is so cool because they don't even have to be told that they're just dreamers and movers and makers and I'm socks. Did I mean they were prophesies near the seventh generation, the generation that will wake up and silver? Unlike I see hit I see in this,
in time and who their amazing and I mean going to climate summit meetings at the? U n and the coming. I mean used to be one in ten thousand native students. That's just post secondary just one would become a doctor right now. I can name five doctors on my hands, so worry we're changing, moving in we're we're getting our voice where spin needed and it's cool thing. met yet the worldwide private aviation leader is known for exceptional service for personalizing, in detail and elevating every flight because not yet stand, is not just to meet their definition of perfection. It's to exceed yours all by provide The custom curated luxury experiences. You deserve explore net yet pre,
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is really driving serve the next generation of distant looking at life differently? I'm an animal so curious. You mentioned prophecy of the seventh generation, I'm kind of curious to learn more about nazi yeah. Well, okay. I have to say that it was my parents, general and there are one of the last ones that went residential school resident school. What happened for three hundred years? My my mother, my great grandmother, my father went residential scorn and now strip them of their culture and language, and for hundreds of years that when that was happening, people had to go into hiding to learn and pass on the songs and the stories, and there would be risk of imprisonment or death, and they would still do it because they knew our culture had to be passed down these stories. And when I hear these stories, I am so grateful because
these stories were: some of them are really funny and unlike, why would someone who risk their lives for this story? And you learn that there is more to it there's more lesson: it's not just about a funny trickster, this reason for it and when you dig deeper and you realize somebody risked their life just so the story can get passed down to me and my children and makes it so much more powerful, so my parents creation more the ones that said, no, I'm gonna keep my children I'm gonna choose life because there was so much death and and some of them I mean many many many of them still chose to drink, but my parents actually didn't. I was very thankful off my pet it's an and storyteller, so they were like the hippies in the sixtys, but because of their their ability to celebrate our culture and make
a beautiful thing like the stories that they do now. Some of them are so strange and so weird, but they tell them in a way that is intriguing because How do they bring in like mainstream stuff like randomly spongebob will make an appearance in traditional story and that's how they make it so the kids today will- cup and listen back when I was younger, bugs bunny would make an appearance, and I'm like wait a second he's not supposed to be in there and it's because of them and what they were doing with the stories and the songs bringing an english sole cause. I know group and my language. I get to hear english in it and then I get to hear the and the language on parallel. So I know what they're saying because they said in an but then I can learn some of my link
so this stuff was happening. Songs and stories and dances were making a revitalization for my parents' generation and then they birthed us are my generation and we kind of were like ok. But where do we bring this? So we started to bring it into schools and we brought it into our books, but this next generation, my children's generation there, like I, don't need to apologize for myself, no apologies necessary because there who they are for me, I would say, excuse me: can I sing a song? No ok sorry and offer them they're like we sing a song right now, because this is what I'm told and its own, it's so cool that they can do. That and there's a story all across indian country about the seventh generation when Louie veto was in a battle and he passed away was hung.
he's my tea, meaning that he was cree in french and he said the native people will sleep for a hundred years and it'll be the artists that awaken them and through song story and dance. Because of our artists, we are waking up and the seven june, in prophecy talk tells about a story about how and when we were it changes nation to nation. But it talks about how we were buried as seeds and how our grandmothers and grandfathers were buried so deep that, finally, when they bloom that seventh generation will
bloom and that's. I feel like that's, what's happening right now and I see them, I mean children are going to protests, not because their parents think that they should go because they want to go because their fighting for their relatives, which is the water and the plants for the air and for the animals, and that is, we are all related. So when we fight for water and air, it's not like an environmentalist thing. We are fighting for a family, that means. It's it's so ensuring here you serve describe. Everything seems to have a sense of consciousness of being this in that even inanimate objects. You know is this something that you were brought up as totally part of the neolithic. The thick the core, knowing or it's really need, because in our language there is inanimate like a chair because it comes element when you're sting in it. My name
is a time of day, but when you, when they are describing me it is, it makes or sense in English were more connected, and I feel that if we in more of our language? You get more connected because your force to be at that time and they inexperience it and say this is I mean and you forced to when you when you're born you're after birth goes to a tree and its planted with the trees, and it gives trees, life and when you grow, your life is giving the trees from that, makes you connected neural, physically connect, and when you aren't that connected, they say that when you go out into the world and new you miss home, you just go to your relative, which is the tree. People the plant people and you can share with them whether its physically talking out loud or just being next to them, and people say that there is like a camera
Who reaction signed? Has talk about that with the plants, but it is that connection that we were related to them. This is our family and when you realize that the language is intertwined with water and air, and I mean time and space. That is that's you being a scientists. That's you being an environmentalist, and that's due to being I mean it's a it's a beautiful thing to find out that you're connected in that you belong. It's, not something bad? It's like that will go away, but you can just say: well, I'm an environmentalist, but I like you know- and it's no and that's just think word we're using today, a hundred you're sure now who knows what environmentalists will be but right now your people have been here for thousands of years, and this is these are your politics that we are all connected here and dumb. I think that when you look at it,
way that way of being, and you can really start working on yourself and saying the balance, my balance, spiritually, socially also, mostly and physically, and that balance since the medicine will and that's how you check with yourself. It's like a self check. Socially am I engaging like with my friends is, is if it's too much, then you better your wheel becomes uneven. So you want to make sure that you do make time for your friends, but emotionally take time for yourself, spiritually or if it's religious or if it's his going for that walk and connecting and numb lets the other one is mentally. I think it's mentally. Don't know when am near. You make sure that the entire medicine willis is imbalance and its at some other way
that is ingrained. I think all across indian country to to have that balance, and that makes you a spiritual, being physical, being an emotional being, and that makes you further connected. So it's almost like the medicine wheel is part diagnostic tool. Part recommendation party are like core philosophy I live like what what's wrong and you check with your henderson. Well. Okay. Well, physically, I'm fine and I'm working out, and I mean physically, that's part of it. It's not just your body, it's like what have I done physical today,
I do and then what have I done for myself emotionally. What have I done for my friends, because you can't just not be there for your friends, so you saying how can I help my friend today and sometimes with going for coffee and buying the coffee for the next person, but that's that social part, that's important to do that and then spiritually. How am I spiritually connected and for some well that is a religion and for others it's that walk and every day every hour. Anything seems out of sync. You want to check in with that, and that's just a good yeah. It's a great teaching tool, especially when it's r teenagers. That kind of all crazy in the physical at their doing so match in your like wait. A minute. Take time for your friends are social part, but also thanked him for yourself. That has to be a balance there. How? How open are you I mean I'd? Imagine your
it's like yeah, four kids and they're growing up in your family in these traditions. I'm curious at like how open are they some apparent? I have a daughter so like if we always try and pass on certain things for our kids and certain values and stories and doesn't necessarily mean they're receptive to them. How how open are your kids to stepping into these traditions stories and values and beliefs versus their immersion in a modern world which operates at a very different pace and exposed to a very different set of yes, I'm or I think my children are just the coolest there, each very different now and we were not expecting. I was not expecting how different that they would be. I have an artist that his wild spirit for she will draw and create for hours, and I love that about her, and I have my son, who is like very logical
What are we doing? How long will it take on how many miles? Ok when we start up- and it is so funny because I dont think that way at all in other daughters. Like me, she reads and she's like a bookworm and she wants to talk philosophically about charlotte's web, and then I have my baby, who you would think she's born last. She should be the baby but she's so independent, fiercely independent that on my court you come from. Who are you and and so their little paths, I'm just very proud of them? for what they're doing, because they do things that I wouldn't think of and and it kind of forced me and my husband to reevaluate and say things like come: okay, what, basically they are? They are the beings they're going to live their life. What we want to make sure that they, you know they have a path to follow, so we're trying to make sure that they that when they go to dance,
make sure that their are moccasins for good and that their beadwork is nice and we show them how to take care of it. The symbolism in the meat in the beadwork and designs and how it got passed down the the outfits that they did choose the key is it's all about when you're dancing in your outfit, you pick colors that make you feel good. I know a lot of people get really like ooh. Why? Why? Which use the purple color that wasn't around in the eighteen? Hundreds in this thing were actually purple was around in the eighteen hundred but purple makes me feel good and that's why I'm not trying to replicate something that happen beyond my grandfather's time talking. But today and so when we remind our children, that the culture is moving and changing that it's not we're not stuck in the eighteen, hundreds we're not stuck in the fifteen. Hundreds we're here today, two thousand and nineteen, then how are we keeping our cultural life,
And so we try to bring them to as many things whether its social events like powers, cultural, like spiritual events like us, apache sunrise, dance. I mean all we're trying to do is make sure that they see these things, because once you see it and experience then they'll remember and if they want to do that again, like a sundance which is a four day fasting and dancing, and if they see it experience it whatever they take away. I feel like well that's what they're meant to take away. I don't wanna poles on their learning and say no, you know this is a time for prayer and whether they get that it's time for prayer or a time for you know,
dressing, your body. However, their mental learning is what they'll take away. We just want to make sure that we give them the tools, and I think that is what me my husband are doing. Right now is just giving him all these tools to work with them. Whatever they choose is what were were excited about, whatever they choose, but am I mean we? We got a soccer games as much as we go to work. It's no powerhouse we go camping as much as we go to a man as much, but we also go to sunrise to answer you campo there and it's an event. So I mean- Being immersed in it, but I dont want to push it like. This is what it is to be creed. This is what it has to be apache, because it will change in the future. It will change. how will maybe we get more traditional or something? But I don't want him to feel like They are not being native enough because we're not gonna these events and for me growing up.
Going to these events, it didn't seem like a big deal and, as I got older, I realized some people don't go to and saw I wanted trick my children and say you should be lucky to be here. Some people cause that never feels good. It felt good to me knowing that this is a safe space to learn, and I think that's what made it special, not that this was a special place. and that you know this is just another way to learning we learn in school. We learn in our traditional setting. There too, when you went to college, were generally steady The first two years, it's a nightmare. My whole high on my fullest secondary experience was awful. The first two years. I took native studies because I mean how cool is it But history. I never learned about it night school. I anybody
though, that leader was right. The first by three really wanted yeah, I needed to know our history and angels. I knew my parents version, but I didn't know dates and and and knew no court things and laws and what the white paper, ass. He was and what how treaties remained and stuff like that. I needed to know how super curious and the two year on NATO studies programme was awesome, because I got to learn. I got to talk about what I already You saw, I mean, there's a lot of non native students in there, and I was like a talking about like They would have these ideas of our native people and, unlike now we were they'll hear an unnamed because they would talk about us as past, like wolves, the the people who lived in the to peace in the eighteen, hundreds- and, unlike I mean we still camp in those today in palo- I'm creed- that's all you're talking about, and they will talk about the west coast,
Societies like they were, I'm royalty and, unlike maybe we should just go- ask like go see because they did have chieftain ships that were passed down. Hereditary weren't, some weren't voted in some were and so when they were told to just I. I suggested us to go to a community that there's a band office and ask your questions. They were like what the native community is here like what you mean the second our away word just right here and I thought good thing this class in order to make sure the native people are getting represented but then, when I was done my native studies programme, I really want to be because the plan was to go back home, heal my people, because we were very sick and the alcoholism that I talked about, and so that was my platen chemistry hates me I have learned that you cried need to know something about that. Go into med school so
I into nursing and nursing at the two years I was on my third year and we were doing practicums and the teacher said as an example. When we somebody comes into the emergency room, we can check their nails and check their, gin check their pupils and make sure, while they're telling you stuff, you check them in this way, this physical check and then, if they are made of, they are probably going to be drunk so prepared for them to come in. And so I was like okay, I get the nails and the hair thing. What so of my hand, shot up? What are you talking about? Why would we assume that they are drunk and she goes? Oh because many are, you probably don't know, but many indian people are drunk and I was like that you know I'm native and I'm not a drunk and why? Why would you tell these
new nurses that and she and she apologized, because she didn't know I was native. She did not apologize for what she had said and she backed it up by saying that happens time and time again, that a native person will come in to the emergency room and they will be out of it, and you need to call the police and just so happen that a year before, a native man went into the emergency room in vancouver and he was having a diabetic attack and his breath smells sweet, in small sank wine. I guess you could say, but he needed anything like a chuckle bars or orange anything with sugar, but they turned him away because they thought native man, emergency room, he's drunk and he died in the parking lot, and I brought that example the next class, and she said well, that's just one example, and I finished my ear and
I couldn't go back to the health care system after that and we did have a nurses talking circle in the way I see it like. That is because nothing happened. They just defended their style of teaching, and so I thought this is. This is pointless. I can't go into this system is going to be doing this and it wasn't just native people. They were definitely had stereotypes about all. Our people and none of them were good, and so I went back into the arts, and I found out that the arts, this a lot more healing for my people than the health care. Probably ever will so through performance. Talking about our treaties, performance, feeder and through talking about the general dress, which is a healing, dressed dance. bringing that home. I'm teaching the young people about our traditional ways in through dance camp. That is how we here
and I see a lot more healing happen through the arts than ever seen than anybody going through our health care system and so that's kind of the path we eventually took, and I feel I feel much better about that path and, I'm sorry to say non doktor. Mostly. I wanted the name or thought from maybe I'll get my phd in something were now. Yes, that was my plan, and now I still I'm still very grateful for the healthcare providers that are our going against the grain and sing like this is not ok, because the there's no tons of great healthcare professionals and they have to deal with backing up- why they don't stereo type and, unlike I support you and I know it's hard and I gave up and and went away, but am I have something for some of them headstrong and we're like new, in its interests from you, Look out playlists to your social media feed. Personally, the way to go and of personal leads,
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tradition days, but also it sort of late. This is this: is your way of stepping into the role of of healing serve at scale. You know, rather than just one to one but liking larger numbers of people So where do you go from there? You, when de your back home party, go somewhere while I'm The arts has opened tons of dore. It's been a wonderful adventure afternoon after college and that experience that's when I fell in love with me and yeah, and he his family was doing the exact same thing that my family was doing. Ok, yeah and it was sold. When we finally families know each other. We didn't know each other. We actually have a picture where there in the background that the same event and on that No, it's very, very exciting. So, of course we just walked walked right into it. We we knew what to do. We knew how we wanted to teach and educate, and now
I said my husband is not amazing flouted, so he one into music, the way I went into storytelling and that's kind of what we do and when I here, the stories of the southwest. He tells me them and then he creates the music and, unlike all this the song that goes with the story, and you didn't know it yet, but this is in he would take care. That is it Then sometimes the title of the song would match, but none were his song me, the album that he was working on when we met later become became called the sounds of beauty and before, in that he had melodies of the cane flute volume, one and melodies of the cane flute volume two. But if you hear sounds of beauty, it is the most loving songs and they're, so beautiful, and I think that me late, the time that we met and we were so full of love in that track. One is calm, violet and it's so beautiful, because when we met in the floor when we're getting to know each other, we want on this beautiful walk. We risk
order, and I was terrified an alligator come out of nowhere, but we walked around this water area and fireflies came out and they was sparkling. we were in the stars were out, and I mean you can was hear this song being created with what we were talking about. So when I play the song, I'm reminded right back to that moment of of ultimate bliss of getting to know my what would eventually be my husband but the funny thing with that in some three months before I met my husband, I dreamed of dancing in the an area that had stone and trees all around it and me and my mom were actually doing a performing arts piece in ottawa ontario and, and we were in the morning I told my mom about the stream dancing in this area over the stone and there's trees all around, and it's really lashing at that
It was november, so it was like I see and called out there and she said equerries. This place is a beautiful dream and I was bed and she was getting ready, and I see the tv and the tv had the image of my dream the area was in and it goes visit ITALY, and I got that that's why I need to go back to my dream and my mom goes. Wait I'll get a grant and we'll get going up there, and I said no, not in my dream. I cover myself and she's quite sure, and I said yeah yeah, I'm pretty sure I compromised So three months later by now, husband, his father comes in to our changing room and said Can anybody go to ITALY next month and don't even know this family, but, unlike I have to get to italy I'm gonna go. So he goes good and he walks out and I go wait who is actually going on
and it turns out. His name is KEN and he was saying a prayer for his son and he said please bring a queen for my son. At that time I was holding a title called miss indian world, which is the highest pageant. You can go to sort clean. You can call me a queen at that time so with him saying that in with my dream we were like destined and when we want ITALY. I kept expecting this miracle to happen, but we never went to that pleasure that I was dancing in and I thought why am I here going on. But you with handle tony for two weeks and I'm waiting for this moment to appear and mean tonia, poor, but then we're talking we go for wake up early for deficit, those and it was just the best two weeks ever and I ever would have been so curious because I'm looking for this place,
he's helping me and we're on this adventure, and we never found the plaza. And I just I'm in love with this man and I got home, I'm telling my mom yeah. I never found the plaza, but oh and tony this and tony then he saw amazing and my mom said. I think I know why you had to go to ITALY and I was like, oh, I think, you're right he was, before any as though we are the most beautiful land. Songs came out of them and that union, so we called it for eight months and then I took the plunging moved whose helena, which I never the arizona before heavy was her life for you at that point, moving tear. You know why. it's gonna be really weird, but I was like I was like I'm coming I'm coming to arizona and tony didn't even who pay
by the way I'm coming to arizona and at an already italy is not about. This is what they have. I'm coming get ready and yeah. I like went for in my mom was like why arizona Would you go now? Like I don't know, I need to go there, honeys change a pace, and I mean I came here and it's like we just one walking right in tune ended just mean tony against the world. Are I mean follow me and I would follow him and that's kind of house always been now. We have, we do shows together, but we're always creating different space for sharing were on the same wavelength with trying to share and educate at the same time. So he loves the world stage and I love a elementary and high schools, because that's where I was bullied the mouse, that's right, I feel the most need is our young people. We need to remind them that we're not stuck in the past
This is us today, antonius thing look world here we are. This is what we're doing today. So swimming the debts are complementary. You have all last night you have like the full speck cover. We have the impact we have, so we have no idea what we're doing at the same time. We we did this as anybody we're all just making it up as it is, and so when, when it's essentially in use, you talked about stories, and you talked about song or the distinct things to you. who my story telling has been. I mean it's weaved throughout my entire life story, telling it was all the road trips. It was either stories or reggae. My dad was like he had a book of cosette. With all reggae, you would think that there was not so much reggae in the world, because that would be it and he was our drivers. We would go for four days,
the tv and no ipads. So we're like we it'll break and I love reggae my mean after four is nonstop, like ok, it's too easy going in here, and so my mom would story, and sometimes the stories would be in all giants and animals who could speak and mountains that came alive in there are sleeping now, and you would hear my dad stories about the history of our people on. Some of it was so sad and some It was so funny and some of it would come back to bed with sadness and humor and that you dont know if you're crying because you're happy are you crying, because so horrible and storytelling was just the way of going about things in my life
I hope my family's life and my grandfather was also storyteller. He comes from Cuba, he's Diana and his stories were so different from from our stories in northern Alberta and he was so cool to see them and I still use them with my children because they think they're hearing a bedtime story, but am reminding them tat, spect further teachers, because giants are seen as our elders and when we talk about a giant and a story and if a trickster was beings disrespectful, its hopefully in there. You know in their tired mines, have respect for your elders, which is your teachers at this point and cause you never know, what's gonna happen because tricks there, He lost his eyeballs singing the song that would send his eyeballs out and he didn't listen did he instruction and his eyeballs went out and he the song too many times and he lost them and that's my favorite story sounds crazy.
Right now, but that's my favorite story because you get to hear about these animals than it saw it's when you learn in? Finally, I didn't finally get the lesson until how is like thirty of judge that I called home and I set my mom- I get the story now it above all. Bloodline, she's, like I know, I I've been telling you this whole time. Like, oh, okay, I thought you didn't know, and so I'm hoping my children will will realize that that these stories aren't just bedtime stories or stories to pass the time that they are really valuable. Teaching tools on respect and kindness and generosity there, so you and tony work together a lot now I mean it sounds like it's coming also of sharing traditional stories and songs and music, but also are you cry in writing all your own new stuff. I mean my favorite stuff is their older stuff, because I just make it current
my throwing in some new characters- irreverence, yeah, yeah, that's what keeps its current today. So they can relate to it. So my favorite stuff is out national stories. I can never get a new Story to ever worsening the way those ones now they're, just so powerful and when I remember somebody was in hiding, but this story and set this needs to be passed down. Unlike ok, I have to keep telling this somebody might have lost their life from might have been imprisoned. I have to keep telling their story and whether its becoming a bedtime story or a story to a bunch of non native children. I've never met. Somebody needs to hear the story, and suppose it comes out like that, where I mean to tell one story and the whole energy of rum is- is ready for this other one, which is sometimes more serious or more funny, and now it's cool how's stories can do not. The only problem is, is our traditional stories very long delays
three days long ass, all along that. Sometimes, when a story telling us telling you like, maybe they forgot to sign because we're time this would like and hugging for five hours and then the story? Teller will bring back pieces, it's like netflix syria is that you're like hey, there's that guy again those like the closure arise, and only you know, my grandmother was greater than that. I'm like maybe she forgot started with the story. Not she didn't forget, she knows exactly where she is. where she ended off and it'll be. Sometimes I won't see her for a couple of weeks and she'll come back to where we were and it's a mic didn't that already happen and I'm like wait. A second. Are you making this up comes back, and I mean that is that the the artistry of storytelling is to remember these crazy fact: right, unjust signature to remember the details of a story that takes potentially bay is new and old. That's pretty darling. I mean there has to be so embodied he catches be known
as it has like. Something's gotta almost be moving through you to be able to just access it so automatically really, and I tried to put storytellers on the spot, the eu here so and so tell them the story and the refuse and I'm like why they been like that. My thoughts and I feel it too. Sometimes people aren't ready for the stories they're, not ready for the lesson, and it's not like there being naughty earth. They don't deserve to hear the story, but this like any healer. They see another healing that needs to be done. First, so there's there's formats the storing sometime their simple stories like how the skunk got it spray and this smell and those of deeper story to the skunk, because actually that skunk spray some tribes mining.
Who did captures it and when you're sick, you can ingest it and when you hear the story, if you cut right to the chase of ingesting it, you're like. Oh, these people are disgusting. Who would do that? you just hear the story of the scope and the spray, and you hear it's actually a medicine animal too powerful. Most people, think of them in sight of the road in his mouth and stuff. No, this is a powerful being so first you have to learn to respect for this It's not just a wild animal that this actually has medicine. So when you evaluate new respect the skunk, then you can respect what it has, which is that now are the spray. And then you can respect how you can use that, and the same goes with the porcupine. The porcupine has the sharp quills and you don't mess with it and you
about having respect for the porcupine, but then you can use its quills when it suits them and you can flattened them and make beautiful designs and weaving with that men. Traditionally, before beads, we would use schoolwork, but first stoats without first story. having respect for that animal and once you realize the story that goes into your beadwork if its floor also geometric, you first learn the respect of this animal on and we didn't kill the porcupine, to get its quills, but you're, remembering that this came from a living being and that this is the artistry that came from it and why we have respect for the porcupine. But if you cut right to the designs and who work and- and this is what we were- you forget about the first story. So sometimes people can only here that first story
and I'm like? No, no, no get to the good pirate get to the good part. Where we talk about this and they're like no not yet, and and unlike me, but me as a storyteller, I'm almost it. I usually want to tell people the good parts of the story. I'm like the movie person. That's like all you gotta watch this, but pay attention to but I am eventually stepping back and reading people now, and I think that's goes into storytelling- that youth. You have to see what people are ready for and learning that their stages and that you don't have to. If you have time like four days to kill to tell stories, then maybe it'll be a good time to do that. But sometimes people don't have time or they're not ready, or they just maybe need one little story and that'll make their day about
just generosity, listening whatever this or maybe a radius of formal and some part marley, we level ever I love but merely having these are not to motivate young men had it for her. Visual cosette s. It was very treasure This is this is so unreal, it's fascinating, and so so we are going to weave in some of your arm, some of you and tony together, also and but before we get to that. I wanna count can come full circle said the name of this good life project and if I offer up the phrase to you to live a good life, what comes up to live a good life is to have
Respect for all things, all beings that we are all on our own paths, to get a good life or to live a good life, is to live it to the fullest, to explore and create and to inspire live. A good life is to truly live. Thank you. Thank you. So much for listening and thanks also to our fantastic sponsors who helped make this she'll possible. You can check them out in the links we have included in today, show notes and while you're at it, if you ve ever asked yourself watch it with my life, we have created a really cool online assessment that will help you discover the source code for the work that you're here to do. You can find it at sparc, a type dot com, that's s, p, a r K, e t, Y p e dot com or just click the link in the show.
and of course, if you haven't already done so be sure to click on the subscribe button in your listening out. So you never miss it at this hour and then share share the love. If there's something that you ve heard in this episode, that you would love to turn into a conversation, shirt with people and have that conversation, because when I has become conversations that lead to action. That's when real change takes hold, see you next time The.
Transcript generated on 2023-06-26.