Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Down South

Hello blog followers and friends!
I'm taking a bit of a break from the blog as I let the rest of my summer play out in Winnipeg, MB.
But I will definitely be updating it as soon as I make a decision about where to go come September.
Right now the Republic of Georgia appears to be winning out, but one never knows where life will take them. (especially me!!)
If you want to keep in contact please feel free to email me anytime at:
Take care, Mahsi Cho (that's "Thank you very much" in Slavey) for following and Happy Summer!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One More Goodbye

Tomorrow I leave Fort Good Hope to head back to Winnipeg for the rest of the summer. I haven't really made a big deal in my blog about leaving the North, because for the longest time I thought I would be returning in September for another placement with Frontiers Foundation.
Funny how life never seems to quite work out how you think it will...
I've been offered a job teaching English in the Republic of I must decide if I will do that come September. Yes, the Republic of Georgia. It borders Russia, but is also close to the western Asian influences of Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Talk about going from one extreme to the other.
But for now my attention is focused on saying goodbye to Fort Good Hope...something that is going to be very hard to do.

Friday, July 16, 2010


The Assembly closed today. It was here and gone so quickly!
Also, more importantly, Charlie Tobac's funeral was today. Fort Good Hope truly has lost one of its best. I think that, besides a way for family and friends to say goodbye, funerals are a way to remind those of us who are still on this earth to cherish every minute. It's sad that it often takes a funeral to do this though. Life can be over in the blink of an eye. And like Laura (Charlie's wife) said at his funeral today, "I wasn't ready for him to go." Are you ready? Am I ready? Am I ready to leave this world? Am I ready if anyone in my family were to suddenly pass away? These are the things I think about at funerals...but I don't want to think about them only at cliche as it sounds, I do want to live each day as if it were my last. This is not something I have always done, but it's something I want to strive each day to do.
Here is a picture I took this afternoon as I was walking to the church for the funeral. It's of the older part of town.

Cherish every moment and tell those people who you love that you love them!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Yesterday I participated in a workshop presented by humourist, wellness worker and healer, Don Burnstick. I also attended his Comedy Show in the evening. Apparently (according to his website) he is "one of Canada's best comedians" and I had never even heard of him! I believe it to be a true claim though. His show gently and sometimes not-so-gently mocks White people, Native people, the differences between White people and Native really was hilarious, and I'm glad I got to see him live and participate in his workshop.
Don Burnstick
 I look like such a DWEEB in this photo, but I figured my mom would like to see it so that's why I'm posting it, but only a small size hahaha. Yeesh. Such a Dweeb...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Having fun in the Field
During the day, the Dene Nation delegates hold meetings and presentations, conducting official business. I haven't managed to make it to any morning sessions yet, but I plan to! The evening, though, is when the fun and games happen. Yesterday in the town field there was a "feeding of the fire" ceremony. Then I took part in a sharing circle presented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. I've mentioned it in a previous blog it! And then, I witnessed for the first time, the famous Dene Hand Games! I've never seen anything like it. The energy, passion and vigor that these guys put into playing was awesome. I'm still not sure of all the rules or what the point is lol. But watching it is like watching a show. Exciting and very entertaining.
Feeding the Fire ceremony
Men playing the Dene Hand Games
Hand Games
And just for information sake, these pictures were taken at about midnight. This is what night time looks like in the North!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Dene Drummers
Yesterday evening the Dene Nation Assembly kicked off with a late yet lively Opening Ceremonies in the town field. I have been hearing about the Assembly non-stop since I arrived in Good Hope, so it was very exciting to finally see it come to fruition. It was to a somber backdrop though. Two days ago a loved and respected member of the Fort Good Hope community, Charlie Tobac, passed away very suddenly. Charlie was a truly kind and generous soul. He was so dedicated to the traditional Aboriginal way of life, yet so willing to share his knowledge with outsiders. He is, in fact, one of the people who met my parents in Winnipeg during the Residential School Convention. He will be so, so missed.
Fittingly, the Ceremonies began with the Dene Drummers taking the stage and playing a prayer song for Charlie. Then there were some very amazing drum dances, of which I took part!! And a fun jig, twist and jive competition, of which I didn't take part. lol.
 Angus during the prayer song (I think this is one of my favourite pictures)
Drum Dance!!
In honour of Charlie I'm re-posting this picture. He's 2nd from the right between his wife, Laura, and my Dad. He will be missed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

His birthday was yesterday, but I didn't have time to blog so today's post is in honour of him.
Arthur was one of the first people I met in FGH. At first I was kind of scared of him cuz he was very mellow and having a "not too cheery" day. ;) Little did I know that I was soon to become friends with a most trustworthy, loyal, intelligent and generous soul, who also has the BEST sense of humour. "Stop saying 'nice one' Arthur!!!" lol
In my quest to reach out, make more friends and become a better friend myself, Arthur has taught me a LOT!
Thanks so much Fur-Fur!! I will miss you soooo much! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It begins on July 12 and runs till the 16th - the 40th Annual Dene Nation Assembly, and this year it's happening in Fort Good Hope. Everyone is very busy getting ready for it, and I'm helping out where I can. :) The Dene Nation is the people group that most Aboriginals in the Northwest Territories belong to, and delegates are coming from all over the North. It should be very exciting.

And in other news...I forgot to share another recent "Only in the North" story. While I was waiting for my plane from Fort Good Hope to Inuvik (delayed 2 hours!) I got to talking with Douglas who works at the tiny Fort Good Hope airport. I told him where I was going and he quickly exclaimed, "My sister lives in Inuvik. I'll give her a call and ask her to pick you up at the airport and drive you into town." Needless to say, Douglas's sister Keltie met me a couple hours later in Inuvik. She was sooo nice and did indeed drive me the 10 kms from the airport to town. Thanks Douglas and Keltie. Everyone knows someone somewhere who can do such-and-such for you up here! :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Back in Good Hope :)

So the rest of my time in Inuvik was awesome! Whenever I travel, inevitably, I'll end up meeting and having great conversations and/or adventures with strangers who quickly become friends. Crystal is one such person. I met her in a shop in Inuvik. We instantly got along and she invited me to hang out with her on Canada Day. We had a BLAST!! I adore those perfect spontaneous moments that will never be repeated yet stay with you forever.

And now I'm back in Good Hope...with only two weeks to go till I head back down south for the rest of the summer!! I don't want to think about that tho, cuz I want to blissfully avoid, at least for two more weeks, the decisions that will have to be made when I return "home". Plus, I don't really want to leave Good Hope...and I can honestly say that I've never said that about anywhere before!! Maybe my decisions won't be as tough to make as I fear...
Here's one more shot from Inuvik. They have the most Northern community greenhouse in the world! I went and toured it. Awesome.