Monthly Archives: August 2015

This December: Confluence at Aberdeen Canyon, a sound installation project at Arts Commons in Calgary

Me and the T. Aberdeen Canyon, Sept 2014.  Calder Cheverie Photo.

Me and the T. Aberdeen Canyon, Sept 2014. Calder Cheverie Photo.

Musician/ composer and fellow Peel paddler Anthony Wallace and I are working on Confluence at Aberdeen Canyon, a sound installation at the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts (aka Arts Commons). The piece will be a mashup of poetry, music, and ambient sound collected on the Peel. Tony and I have been toiling away on different sides of the country, Skyping when necessary, writing, recording and sharing. No portaging though. Screw portaging. Confluence at Aberdeen Canyon runs from December 16th– April 29th 2016. Hope you can make it.

Thank you to Arts Commons for their generous support of this project. Many thanks to Daniel J Kirk.

To learn more about what’s going on in the Peel River Watershed, visit

In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation

I contributed an essay to an anthology about reconciliation that will be coming out with Brindle & Glass in 2016. Here’s the press release. Congrats and many thanks to editor Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail.

Brindle & Glass Publishing will publish In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation, a collection of reflective magazine-style essays edited by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail.

Metcalfe-Chenail commissioned non-fiction pieces written by Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals from across Canada. The contributors are journalists, writers, academics, visual artists, filmmakers, a city planner, and a lawyer; they carefully consider their own experiences and assumptions about Canadian Indigenous peoples and histories in hopes of sparking further conversation and increased understanding of Canada’s colonial legacy. In an afterword that is essentially a candid converstaion between Chief Justice Murray Sinclair and renowned CBC radio host Shelagh Rogers, Sinclair shares his thoughts just as he wraps up the executive summary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He says one of the most common statements the commission heard was: “I didn’t know any of this, and I acknowledge that things are not where they should be, and that we can do better. But what can we do? What should we do?” This collection is a response to what we can do.

The project was inspired in part by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission but also by Edmonton’s Year of Reconciliation and the Idle No More Movement. Metcalfe-Chenail is convinced that Canadians want an open dialogue that encourages everyone to begin the important work of reconciliation in Canada, and maintain the conversation long after the buzz of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report has faded. Metcalfe-Chenail is Edmonton’s Historian Laureate, author of Polar Winds and For the Love of Flying, and a columnist for CBC Radio Active.

Taryn Boyd, associate publisher of Brindle & Glass, acquired the project. It is slated for release in 2016.

Angelique’s Half-Blood Funeral

Here’s a little Métis flash-fiction for ya. Happy Tuesday.

A mother, a friend, an aesthetician. A woman in stilettos and a ruffled pink blouse raves about Angelique’s skill with hot wax. Acrylic nails airbrushed with cherry blossoms. A cousin (and there are many) tells us how Angelique used to snare gophers when she was fifteen. Made earrings from their tails for her friends in the city; that sort of Daniel Boone aesthetic was popular in the late seventies. The earrings were a big hit until the smell set in—Angelique was no taxidermist. Laugh a little, she’d want us to. Remember her from the PowerPoint projected on the clubhouse wall: Salsa dancing at a three star resort on the Mayan, hiking the Andes, kayaking on Stave Lake with her boyfriend, Ed. He put together the PowerPoint. She was loved, Ed reassures us. So deeply loved, and when he’d tried to be unbiased and think of something less than ideal to tell us about her, all he could come up with was her terrible spelling. An affliction—she never recovered from learning French as her first language. A woman in a blue rinse and a polyester suit nods vigorously. Oui, c’est vrai. Laugh a little, our people have always made light in the dark. Even when it’s inappropriate. We’ll keep laughing.