Saturday, December 10, 2016

Canadian Currency celebrates Black Civil Rights Victory But Equal Rights Awaits

The Bank of Canada has put the first woman on Canadian currency. After months of debate the choice was made and in 2018 civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond will be on our $10 dollar bill. I agree she is a very worthy choice and a great improvement over the drunken mug of John A Mcdonald.

Viola Desmond became a key player in Canadian history when she refused to move from the whites only section of a movie theatre in Nova Scotia. Her story has become a part of the historical text of Canada. Her actions will not be forgotten.

Although the honour is well deserved and her families and communities should be justifiably proud, her selection fits into the essential Canadian narrative. Canadians like to bemoan their lack of identity but from an Indigenous perspective, let me tell you, we know who you are.
The one agreed upon characteristic of Canadian identity is that “Canadians are so humble.” As I like to say, “Canadians sure love to brag about how humble they are.” Although the phrase has only recently been created in the wake of social media Canada invented “the Humble Brag”.

Now when Canadians have to explain the new face on the $10 dollar bill they can use the phrase “She is like Canada’s Rosa Parks.” This should explain things to most and for others you may have to say, “Rosa Parks was the African American woman who refused to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus. Her actions were an essential component in America’s civil rights movement. The concept of refusing to move to the back of the bus became a metaphor for any action in which you were expected to be treated as second class.”

Desmond's act can be seen in the same light – refusal to be treated as anything less than equal. Where the humble brag component enters the discussion is that Desmond took her seat in 1946 and Rosa Parks refused to give hers up in 1955. So Canadians can feel humbly superior, once again, to our neighbours in the south.

The second part of Canadian identity is the denial of Indigenous history and in particular acts of genocide, racism and segregation that occurred or exist in this country. Most of us Indigenous and Non were all indoctrinated into this Canadian identity by learning a history that was incomplete or manipulated. In most instances in order for an Indigenous person to learn the truth they have to learn from oral history and from their own research.

So when the story of Viola Desmond entered my life I learned a bit of my own history. Historica Canada is an organization which creates vignettes about Canadian history and a few years back produced an episode about Desmond. It came onto the screen while I was visiting my mother Nellie in Grand Rapids, MB and we were likely watching something incredibly Canadian such as Hockey or Curling. After the vignette played my mother said something like, “I did the same thing in The Pas but I doubt they are going to put me on TV.” And then she laughed her wonderful laugh.

I knew she wasn’t lying. So I wasn’t laughing. She explained that when we lived in The Pas there was a white’s only section at the local theatre. She said she went to sit in the Whites only section because it had the best seat available.

I have vague memories of my time in The Pas, being only 5 or 6 years of age. Or rather I have vague memories of having any contact with Non-Native people and can only really remember having experiences with other Metis and First Nations children in the collection of row houses in which we were all lumped together.

I began to research this historical fact and came upon this reference from Manitoba’s Aboriginal Justice Inquiry.

"At the (Lido) movie theatre, each group sat on its own side; in at least one of the bars, Indians were not allowed to sit in certain areas"

This was the reality in 1971 and the reason the inquiry was looking at this point in history is that this was when Helen Betty Osbourne was murdered. The young girl from Norway House was attending school in The Pas when she was raped and brutally murdered. Her murder was not investigated for years although it had become an open secret in the town. Everyone knew the truth. Yet the truth was also – “Who cares she’s just an Indian Girl.”

Today segregation is no longer accepted although whether it is tolerated is another question. The issue of murdered and missing Indigenous woman and girls continues to haunt our communities.

Though the new $10 bill will mark a victory for Black Civil Rights and for women in Canada it is not a time for Canadians to humbly brag about their superiority. The brave act of Viola Desmond may have been nearly 10 years before Rosa Parks. But 25 years after her defiance of whites only seating in a Nova Scotia theatre that racist segregation still existed against Indigenous Peoples in The Pas, Manitoba. And for the years since and continuing today the national tragedy of Murdered and Missing women and girls remains. A tragedy that exists in a country that still draws racial lines.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Two Stone Colds

It’s was 10:30 in the morning and the bus was full. Most of the people were on their way to some kind of productive activity many likely going to work or perhaps school others out to spend money and support the economy. I was working on a freelance project and was heading to the downtown library to do some research.

The bus stopped around Main Street and Dufferin and a Native couple got on board. They looked to be in their early to mid-thirties and had the shiny faced visage of a long night becoming day. In his arms the man clutched to his chest like precious twin babies, a pair of two liter plastic bottles of Stone Cold Beer. This is a locally brewed Manitoba product that has a strong 6.2% alcohol content and is a 2 liter bargain for under $9.00.

Is it possible for an entire bus to tense up at the same time? Maybe. I know I did. I have been a public transit person for most of my life. I have been on the bus through the core of Winnipeg thousands of times. I have seen this scene more than a few times. A Native person gets on board and they are highly inebriated and they want to get the attention of the entire bus. Sometimes in vulgar and inappropriate ways. 

It isn’t long before the man begins to make his presence known. He speaks loudly to the older man sitting directly across him as they are both up front where the seats face each other and not straight ahead.
“Hey Buddy, Do you know who I am?”
The older man shakes his head.
“I’m A-Nish-A-Naw-BAE”. He says it like that. With much emphasis on each vowel, not the smooth way that some people say it and he really punches the "BAE".
The older man nods his head.
The man sticks out his hand, “Welcome to my country!” I have to hold back a smile on that.
The man turns to his partner whose face I cannot see but for some reason I feel holds a look of amusement. He says “So you know what I said to the first old white man?”
“I said Hey Buddy…I’m a little short.”
“And he gives me .35 cents”
“And you know what I said to the second old white man?”
“I said Hey Buddy…I’m a little short.”
Now, I can hear his partner chuckling. She is clearly admiring her raconteur.
“And you know what? He gives me .50 cents”
“And look at me now.”
Here he takes the two bottles that he had been hugging to his heart and lifted them up in a raise the roof motion.
He says triumphantly, “Two Stone Colds.”
It was a great performance and his partner chuckled with appreciation.

There were a few more exchanges but that was the most memorable. They got off at Winnipeg City Hall and the collective sphincters upon the bus relaxed.

I thought how this plays out in this city in different ways and how this is something that the regular Canadian can’t stand. They can deal with the notion of a street person or someone living close to that life being ashamed, being timid and being beaten down. This is not always the reality.

I have had experiences where a street person has punctured my own ego. One time I was heading to a meeting and I was dressed up, suit coat, nice shirt, pants, shoes and running late. I had gone to the wrong downtown hotel. Now I was walking frantically down Portage Avenue and was on my fancy new blackberry texting away to my boss trying to get directions. Suddenly, I hear, “Hey, Big Sot! Big Sot!”
I look up and this dude has a grin on his face and when I make eye contact his smile widens.
“Heeeyy, BIG SOT!”
I smile, he’s got me.
He holds out his hand and I give him the change I got all the while nodding my head to let him know that I know, "That's right I'm acting like a Big Shot."

But you know. The thing I think about Native people is this. And I know some people won’t like this, because I have said it before and it never goes over. But what the hell, this is it. In all my travels across Turtle Island one constant that I found was that one of the Creator’s teachings was to be humble. Now the Creator should not have to keep telling you to be humble unless you got a problem.

Yet to be clear, there is a huge difference between being humble and being humbled. Still that is only part of this story. The other part of it is that people who live on the street or who won’t work don’t want to play this game. They don't want to be part of this capitalist society of birth, school, work, death. They have opted out of the system. They are off the grid in the middle of the city. They don’t want to have to bow down to some boss or company or government that they don’t like or respect just so they can have money. 

Most of us on the bus had a place to go and something to do that we felt we had to do even if we didn’t want to do it. Maybe in our secret hearts we wished we could be so free as to answer to no one and to be so confident and full of life as to share stories with a bus load of people, make our partner laugh and raise the roof with a hearty - “Two Stone Colds!”

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Suicide Solution

There are people dying to get into this country and Native people are dying to get out. The statistics for suicide in the Native population has been off the charts for decades. This is not a new reality. This is the result of a centuries long campaign to destroy the Indigenous Peoples of North America. The end game is one where the Indigenous Peoples abandon their hope and begin to kill each other and themselves.

This is a Living Genocide.

The big challenge for all Canadians is that they were educated with the lie of their creation story. They believe that Canada was created in a peaceful way with little-consequences to the Indigenous Peoples. It is hard for anyone to come to terms with the lies that form the foundation of their being. It is realizing that your loving father was a pedophile and a murderer.

Genocide is not mentioned in any history book and every generation and every New Canadian is indoctrinated into the great lie. If there is awareness it is comforted by the notion that it happened a long time ago. Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children were taken away from their homes and communities and placed in Indian Residential School for re-education up until the early 1990’s.

Today, that daunting number is being surpassed and blown away by the number of Indigenous children placed in the foster care system. It is a system to remove children from family and community and has been in full effect since the period known as “The Sixties Scoop”.

The reason for this has also been the same land, resource, avarice and greed.

Indigenous Peoples are connected to the natural world. This is not just something that is said. It is our connection to the land and the water that makes us who we are. It is our undying love and respect for our Mother Earth. 

The ongoing destruction of traditional lands and waters creates an existential crisis for Indigenous Peoples. If we cannot drink the water, what hope is there for anyone? Indigenous Peoples are canaries in the coalmine for this country. Canadians don’t understand that the water story on First Nations is about everyone. The drinking water crisis isn’t about water treatment centres. It is that you can’t drink out of the river anymore. That is about everyone and everything. 

Water is Life.

We need to help all people get back to land and reconnect to our Mother. The great science of the modern day has proven many things perhaps most importantly there is no planet, no moon, nothing that is any match for our beautiful Mother Earth.

Our people who are living in Northern Communities have a higher degree of language retention and many of them have traditional skills that come from living off the land. The youth who are crying out, living in crisis and taking their lives at a horrific pace have something to share that cannot be found anywhere else. It is in these communities that live Canada’s future. They believe they are hopeless yet they may be the hope for us all.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Manufacturing Dissent - The future of media is here.

This was the future. The promise of the future of an independent online citizen journalism may have been lost before it really started. The dream was that the new technology would free journalism from the media giants that had been controlling the narrative for decades. You could not have a say unless you had earned your way into their cloistered halls and found your way up the ladder. Although you would have to toe the line in some way unless you were fortunate enough to simply share the bias of your great benefactor.

It was the media critic Noam Chomsky who had the highest pulpit to rail against the limited voices allowed within the mainstream media. It was his work in Manufacturing Consent that exposed how the media of all kinds simply acted as a tool to keep the masses quiet. The job of the media was ultimately to sell you something. Usually consumer goods but also the ideas that we are the good guys and of course that we live in free societies with a free and independent media.

The promise of the new journalism offered by technology was no one could be contained by the old structure. Anyone could have a say. Anyone could be a journalist. Anyone could have a voice. The problem was still the same - your voice only really matters if people hear you. This means that you have to trend in someway. If you are trying to remain true to some journalistic integrity then the chances that you will be read or heard or trend in anyway is very slim. If you are trying to remain unbiased, no one cares. If you are trying to avoid sensationalism, no one cares. If you are trying not to be racist, sexist, misogynist or deliberately offensive, no one cares.

It doesn't always have to be extreme; sometimes it is just a matter of appealing to the lowest parts of ourselves. The enduring appeal of what is called clickbait. How many times have you found yourself clicking on a story that you knew was a simple manipulation. 40 Pictures from the Past that will blow your mind. What these actresses from the 1960's look like today. 15 foods to avoid belly fat. Although that may seem like a small issue. Still it is filling our minds with mush which aids the ongoing intent to provide opiates for the masses. (Although our society has now reached the point where opiates are the opiates of the masses.)

As people continue to uneducate themselves a more terrifying beast has formed. The rise of fake news is the story of the day. This is the practice of creating fake news headlines in a fake news website and then posting to other websites and social media sites that are looking for a story that proves their own paranoia or conspiracy theories. As Paul Simon wrote, a man believes what he wants to believe and disregards the rest.

Fake news was an essential part of the recent presidential campaign that saw a reality TV star elected to the most powerful office in the world. He defeated a far more experienced, intelligent and qualified candidate. The United States has been tragically divided into two camps for many years where the choice is Democrat or Republican. Right or Wrong. Good or Evil. The chance for unity in that country has always been small.

It may be almost impossible. The most recent campaign was the most divisive ever and the power of fake news and the disturbing movement for more and more people to get their news from Facebook is an unholy threat to individualism. People seeking news from sources that tell them what they want and from their like minded Facebook friends has created shrinking information bubbles for them to exist.

Control is still the ultimate goal. Where Manufacturing Consent proposed that the goal of the media was to control people by making them think and do the same thing. This new future of the media is to create tiny little bubbles around people so as to feed their most basic sense of individualism by Manufacturing Dissent. They are convinced they are all fighting the powers that be and yet all they are allowed to do is shadow box in their tiny little circles.  They may think that they have created this safe space of truth that protects their individuality but in truth they are like a massive sack of frog eggs that hang together in the same tiny pond.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Juno Awards mark another breakthrough year for Native Music

In 1991, Elaine Bomberry was spinning records as a DJ at CKRZ-FM, the hometown radio station of the Six Nations of the Grand River. She had also started her company All Nations Talent Group. Around this time she was asked serve as Juror for World Music category by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). It lead to a chance to create a historic opportunity in the Canadian Music scene.

"I was asked by Anne McKeigan to be on the Advisory Committee for the (World) category, and during one of the meetings I was sat beside Daisy Falle (former Executive Director for CARAS), and I kept shaking my head saying, "our music doesn't fit here in this category, or that category'. Then Daisy leans over to me and says "Why don't you start your own category?" 

Native music has always been an essential part of North American music. Indigenous rhythms and singing styles root all music created in North America including Country, the Blues and Jazz. Traditional Indigenous sounds and songs are a unique form and have survived in Canada despite the government policy of cultural genocide that outlawed singing and dancing.

Indigenous artists have been significant creators in contemporary Canadian music for decades with artists Buffy Sainte Marie and Robbie Robertson internationally renowned. Local and regional artists also shared their songs, stories and styles for just as long. This year, the Grammy Awards nominated a recording filled with Canadian Aboriginal artists that span twenty years beginning in 1966. Native North America vol. 1  documents a period of music unheard on mainstream radio and unrecognized at the Juno Awards the annual celebration of Canadian music.

The awards began to take form under other names in the 1960's and by 1971 it was officially named after a bureaucrat.  In the 1980's, in order to be more inclusive CARAS began to add more categories. By the early 1990's there were categories for Best Francophone, Best Reggae/Calypso and Best World.

The Aboriginal award faced controversy in its first year. In 1994 the nominee list included Nancy Nash performing under the name Sazacha Red Sky. She was nominated for her recording of a sacred song that she said was given to her by Chief Dan George in a dream. The George family filed an injunction to stop the award from being handed out. A compromise was achieved and the awards went ahead.

Lawrence Martin took home the first award for his album Lawrence Martin is Wapistan. The category has consistently recognized the best recordings by Aboriginal artists for over two decades. There was a ripple effect throughout the country as regional music awards added Aboriginal music categories.

The category soon became overwhelmed in diversity. As someone who has served as a judge in the Aboriginal Recording category it is very difficult assessing new country versus hiphop versus traditional powwow versus folk versus experimental and on and on. In fact many recordings nominated in the category should have been considered among the best recordings in other categories.

There was criticism that the category creates a ghetto and that artists are considered Aboriginal first and artist second. Although the Junos haven't been entirely closed.

In 1995, the year after the award was created, Robbie Robertson won Producer of the Year recognition for his Music for the Native Americans soundtrack. Susan Aglukark won Best New Artist and Aboriginal Recording of the Year award. That same year Buffy Sainte Marie was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

In 1996 Susan Aglukark was nominated in the category of Best Female Vocalist. In 1998, Metis artist Holly Mcnarland won for Best New Artist. In 2004,  Kinnie Star was nominated for Best New Artist.

In 2014, A Tribe called Red took home the Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year and was also nominated in the best Electronic Album category. In 2015 Tanya Tagaq was nominated in the Alternative Album of the Year category.

The Nominees this year marked another big step towards Aboriginal nominees being considered in all categories. Sainte Marie's Power in the Blood won in the category of Contemporary Folk Album as well as taking home Aboriginal recording of the year. Ms. Sainte Marie was also nominated as Songwriter of the Year. Don Amero's Refined was nominated in the Adult Contemporary Album. Not nominated in the Aboriginal category yet a nominee in the category of Instrumental Album of the Year was Cris Derksen for Orchestral PowWow.

Following the awards which opened with a beautiful performance by the indomitable Ms. Sainte Marie, Bomberry shared that she "loved Buffy's spoken word," and added, "Its been amazing to watch our Indigenous music scene grow before our eyes."

Friday, January 8, 2016

Year in Music - 2015

It was another amazing year in Native Music and saw things come around full circle as it was Buffy Sainte Marie who lead the dance. Power in the Blood is another work of art in an unmatched canon of contemporary music. Her songs have been covered thousands of times and she has won an Academy award for the classic Up Where We Belong. There is no artist who has ever been more radical and more mainstream at the same time. Watched by the FBI and viewers of Sesame Street.
Ms. Sainte Marie has made an album for our time and all time picking songs and styles from eras and inspirations. The music is country and blues and folk and rock, a lullaby and of course, electronic which may be in vogue these days, but is something she has been experimenting with for years. The album was selected for the Polaris Prize, the top music prize in Canada. The record kicks off with a new take on It's My Life from her debut album.

I've got my own stakes in my own game
I got my own name and it's my way
I got my own wrong I've got my own right
I've got my own fight and it's my way

When it was released over half a century ago in 1964 the fires of the civil rights movement was growing in the United States and in Canada, First Nations had only received the right to vote four years earlier. It was a time of repression and fear but also of the people beginning to stand up and stand together. It was a time like today and the album speaks to that young generation that ignited the Idle No More Movement.

The title track Power in the Blood is a call to arms but also a call to heart and mind and spirit.

I don't mind dying 
Well I don't mind dying 
I don't mind dying 
But when that call it comes 
I will say no no no to war 

She also has a call to love and lust. Love Charms is a classic pop song, delicious and earthy and maybe too much for the squares. It should be a huge hit for her but will likely become another hit for someone else. Perhaps another "Until it's Time for You to Go" a contemporary standard covered hundreds of times by everyone from Neil Diamond to Elvis to Barbra Streisand. 

This is music for everyone. She sings the love song lullaby Ke sakihetin awasis which means I love you in her warm Cree language. She sings to the future generations.

Singing come back to the Sweetgrass 
come back to the Pipe and the Drum
and be your future.
Ke sakihetin awasis (I love you)

The music of 2015 reiterated, reflected and resounded that spirit that has been Buffy Sainte Marie's call to heart for over 50 years. 

Beatrice Deer Band's electro-Inuit alterna-rock sound is absolutely captivating and her fourth album Fox is one of the best of the year. Beatrice is from Quaqtaq on the northeast coast of Nunavik and describes herself as "a seamstress, a songwriter and an advocate for good health."
Her mix of singing and throat singing with the band's mix of electronic and rock is highly addictive. Relocation is sung in her beautiful language and there is tragedy in the title. The song hits a wonderful groove and one can well imagine that the Beatrice Deer Band must become otherworldly in a live setting. 

The title track Fox (the only one all in English) tells the story of a lonely hunter who comes home to find that a fox has become a woman and has begun to act as his wife. The band is plowing away with their electric grunge and Beatrice is howling like it's 1992.

And there a woman stood looking at the hunter, looking at the hunter
With a fox skin hangin’ on the line, hangin’ on the line...

Kristi Lane Sinclair released her second album Dark Matter which finds the brooding songstress backed by a stellar band that includes Derek Miller on guitar and Cris Derksen on cello who both played on Power in the Blood. The music inside suits the title with some tracks speeding along like the first single Kiki and others that veer into the more gloomy end of alternative with the bare depth of Sinclair's voice and Derksen's cello. This would be a great album to listen to when you have to drive all night long.

Sinclair continued the Red Ride Tour which toured across Canada and included live performances with Miller and Derksen. There must have been absolute electric magic at some of those shows this summer.

Black Bear released Come and Get Your Love, a breakthrough set of powwow songs for this talented cast of drummers and singers. For the first time they recorded live in studio working with the team from A Tribe called Red. The sound is amazing. If Kakakew doesn't get you moving I don't know what I can do for you. The group is clearly having a great time in the studio like they know they are on to something. After they run through the title track one of the singers says "That is going to be a hit." Then they hit it again. And it should be a hit. Some of the songs will be part of future ATCR recordings and they could be monster hits. But dig on the rawness of this beat right here.

Other notable releases in the powwow circle included Young Spirit - Nitehe Ohci, From the Heart, which won the Best Hand Drum CD at the Indigenous Music Awards. The Chippewa Travellers were winners at the annual event in the Traditional PowWow Category, while Northern Cree took home the honours for best Contemporary PowWow.

Derek Miller's tribute album Rumble - a Tribute to Native Music Icons was produced in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of the Native American in honour of what he called "the blueprint of American Rock n' Roll." It features Millers covering songs like Come and Get Your Love by Redbone, Rumble by Shawnee guitarist and inventor of the power chord Link Ray, as well as Codine by who else Ms. Buffy Sainte Marie. It is available online from the Smithsonian Institute

Another big year in Hip Hop with stellar releases from City Natives, Enter Tribal and North Stars. Edmonton's Rellik released The Dream in which he continued his fruitful collaborations with Nathan Cunningham and Plex. The Hour (Mama's Song) is Tupac meets Merle Haggard and is deserved member of the great Mama songs of all the time. Another solid track is the title song with dynamo vocalist Leanne Goose singing the hook.

Winnipeg's Drezus also followed the path of collaborative creativity on his beast of a record Indian Summer making music with Hip Hop luminaries Joey Stylez, Inez and Lightning Cloud.

Cody Coyote five track EP Lose Control is anchored by the track We Will See which swings like some old school RnB hip hop soul.

We, we, will see..a better future man
It's for my people man 
For my Native People, man

In addition to her standout work with Buffy Sainte Marie and Kristi Lane Sinclair, Cris Derksen continued her own musical journey with the release of Orchestral Powwow which features the classically trained cellist and powwow groups such as Northern Cree and Black Bear.

Don Amero should be Canada's Ed Sheeran. The guys writes and sings like an angel that is alternatively head over heels in love or completely broken hearted.  Refined is filled with middle of the road sound that Amero proudly occupies with great songs and sincere vocals. The highlight of the album is the duet Broken Hearts with Crystal Shawanda meeting Amero heartbeat to heartbreak.

Armond Duck Chief won Country Album and Songwriter awards at the Indigenous Music Awards with his album The One. Duck Chief was born and raised in the Siksika nation and has a classic country voice and he writes the songs that put it to good use.

Nick Sherman from Sioux Lookout Ontario released his self produced album Knives and Wildrice an album of guitar driven songs about the heartbreak of love and the love of heartbreak. Tears and Time is so good. 

I could never have stayed.
Every debt in this life I've paid
With Time and tears and this heart
and a year too late.

Jason Burnstick partnered with Nadia Gaudet for the trilingual album Dream Big Little Ones an album of lullabies in French, English and Cree.

Let your light shine in the dark Fill the room, the night, with your lion heart
Let your dreams take flight, little one To the moon, to the stars, to the sun

Nikamo is a Cree Lullaby written by Burnstick with Winston Wuttunee and Marlene Poitras. The song is absolutely gorgeous and should be the starting point for anyone who would like to start passing on the Cree language to the next generation.

In a similar vein Burnstick recorded Wrapped in Daisies with Nadine L'Hirondelle an album of songs for children in a daycare or pre-school environment and is filled with delightful tracks like Take Care of Your Body, Your the Best and Bannock in my Belly.

Other notable releases in 2015 included Will Belcourt and the Hollywood Indians who kicked off their album with punk rock hillbilly howl of Burn it Down. Digawolf continued to hammer out their northern grunge on Great Northern Man and Mariame earned the title the Cree Rihanna with her soulful release anchored by the ballad As Long as You are Here.

On December 8, Warrior Poet John Trudell moved on to the spirit world after a battle with cancer that had been deemed terminal earlier in the year. Trudell released 17 albums in his career including his 1986 classic AKA Graffitti Man which began his brief but brilliant partnership with Kiowa guitarist Jesse Ed Davis. Bob Dylan called it the best album of the year.

His story of tragedy and rebirth and the visionary music that came out of it is one that gives hope for all of us. We can survive. We can heal. We can create art in the face of horror. We can be grateful for every day. We can be "A human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human."

The year ended with the announcement that the compilation Music of Native North America Vol. 1 Aboriginal Folk, Rock and Country 1966-1985 was nominated for a Grammy in the Historical album category. The past is honoured in the present and the circle is complete.