Happy June! Happy National Indigenous History Month!
As a Metis woman, living on Treaty One Territory, that may seem like an odd thing for me to write, especially given the recent uncovering of further atrocities at Residential Schools in Canada. I write these words because I know we are more than trauma, more than what has been done to us. It's important to remember that before the harm of colonization, we were here - living, loving and making our own history. Since colonization, despite colonization, we are still making history and we are making our own path into the future.
This is why we celebrate. Our past. Our future and even our present. Things are far from perfect and it will take years, decades, to continue to work towards truth and then reconciliation but we are more than our trauma and the pain of colonization. We are intelligent, creative, funny and determined. And we are diverse.
Here are a few Indigenous folks of note who have made history and filled our world with beauty.
Betty Albert is a gifted Cree artist. Adopted by a French-Canadian family, it wasn't until Betty reconnected with her birth father that her career took off. Under his encouragement, Betty began to tell the story of her Indigenous relatives through her use of vibrant acrylics. Many of her designs have been featured prominently across Canada. Image is "Three Sisters" courtesy of Ca-Sinn Native Enterprises.
Senator Murray Sinclair, now a well-known advocate and voice of wisdom in our country, began his life in the Selkirk area. He gained recognition in high school for athletics and academics which he carried in to his university pursuits where he study sociology, history and eventually, law. Sinclair was the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba and the second in all of Canada. He was then made chair of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and was instrumental in the development of the 94 calls to action. Sinclair was later appointed as a Senator under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's direction.
Tom Longboat was a long distance runner prior to World War I. He held and broke many records during his running career and was famously determined to train himself, in a way that made sense to him. With the start of World War I, Longboat left his successful running career to join the military. He became a dispatch runner with 107th Pioneer Battalion. After the war, he resumed his running career and continued to set and break new records.
Lee Maracle was one of the first Indigenous poets to be widely published in the 1970s. Maracle is a poet, novelist, screenwriter, actor and storytelling. She is a keeper of myths and legends among her people, the Sto:lo People of British Columbia. She uses her words to create beautiful imagery while telling deep truths about Indigenous people, indigenous women in particular. She was awarded The Order of Canada in 2018 for her contributions to Canada's literary landscape.
So what do these four people have to do with a flower shop? Well, nothing directly, but here, at Academy, we believe in people. We also believe in supporting our community.
This time of year is full of graduations and looking to the future. Its the moment before new beginning. The moment filled with excitement, nerves and great big life questions. It's also the moment when young people could use a little support.
So, this month, as we celebrate Grads, we also want to give back to our local community and lend our support to young adults launching into adulthood. We are doing this through our continued partnership with Ka Ni Kanichihk, a Winnipeg-based organization doing great things in everyday ways in our community.
A portion of our proceeds from the sale of our special Graduation Bouquet will go towards this stellar organization. We hope that you will consider gifting this bouquet - no matter the celebration - and help us to spread the love and support, this Indigenous History Month.
Journal entry written by Academy Florist team member Nichole Forbes