Monday, 21 June 2010

june 21 2010: journeys

I attended my local National Aboriginal Day celebration in Richmond on Saturday, listened with joy to the beautiful M'Girl.

Two of the many NAD events I wanted to share knowledge of are a World Poetry/Aboriginal Writers Collective west coast collaboration, and walk4justice 2010. The first takes a single evening to unfold, and the second will be unfurling for weeks, across half the continent at least.

Vera Manuel was a member of both the World Poetry community and the newly-formed Aboriginal Writers Collective west coast, and asked me to meet with Ariadne Sawyer and help organize a First Nations-focussed poetry event. We did that last June, in a twofold way, Russell Wallace helping with a Native Education College FN Poetry Day, and myself and others assisting with a Tribute evening for Vera herself,  at Richmond City Hall. This year, this evening, a single collaborative event will take place at the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library, featuring Doreen Manuel's short film, "Survivor," musician Wayne Lavallee, and many local poets of diverse traditions, performing in memory of Vera and with thanks.

Night scene inspired by a nature walk. Marie-Micheline Hamelin

I met Gladys Radek in November, on a rainy day, with doves flying around us: BC Bereavement Day in Vancouver, at a Downtown Eastside event dedicated to BC's missing women. Given my own dark night in the bush, which lasted a week and had a sort-of happy ending, and my years in the DE as a young mom and emerging writer-- or perhaps that's an emerging mum and a young writer-- I am wholly inspired by walk4justice. These ladies can sing! They can and do put their bodies on the line, to walk for justice, and in so doing they bring the famillies of missing and murdered women back into the compassionate awareness of the communities from which mothers, daughters, aunties, cousins, and sisters were plucked. From walk4justice 2010 brochure:

This walk is to continue to voice our concern about on-going violence against our women and children in Canada.

We want to honour our lost, but not forgotten, women who have died through violence and/or are still missing for over 40 years.

We will continue to walk to seek justice, closure, equality and accountability for the families of these victims. We are still demanding a public inquiry into all of the cases we have already presented to all the politicians and leadership nationwide. We want them to stop ongoing genocide and the legacy of "systemic racism" still happening in this country.

We want Accountability for the children of these women who are still missing and unaccounted for, they are our future leaders and we want them to know that somebody cares.

We will be leaving Kamloops, BC on June 22, 2010 and arriving in Winnipeg, Manitoba on July 28, 2010.

For more information, please visit our Website:

For full route details, and how to support the walking warriors and the famillies of missing and murdered women, please check their website, facebook page, and this years' walk4justice2010 brochure.