Our guest speaker, Darrell LaFrance, a story teller of French Native American descent, belonging to the Algonquin Bear Clan Tribe, also a Traditional Eagle Feather Dancer who’s great grandfather was a Tribal Chief and who is a Durham Regional Police Officer spoke to us through chosen traditional stories and in personal memories of his ancestors and his modern day family.
One of Darrell’s stories tells how Creator was upset that the People were not following traditions of prayer and caring for each other and their community.
“Creator said that because of this he would destroy the people. Eagle spoke to Creator asking “Before you destroy the People, let me fly over the people and see if there are any who still Follow Traditions”. So! Creator agreed and Eagle flew all day to the north and found no one who still followed the traditions. The next day Eagle flew all day to the south and found no one who still followed the traditions. The next day Eagle flew all day to the east and found no one who still followed the traditions. Then Eagle flew all day to the west and found one family who still honoured Creator and followed the traditions. Eagle brought this knowledge to Creator and Creator said “As long as this continues I will spare the people”.
Darrell invited the audience to participate in a Round Dance and spoke about All Nations Invitations at PowWow telling us that First Nations Traditional Teachings invite All Nations to participate in many aspects of PowWow traditions especially when an Inter-Tribal Dance is announced. Please do join in as Inter-Tribal means Everyone, Native and Settler. Clans and Tribes did not inter-marry in the past and PowWow was the meeting place for people to find their life partners and renew friendships and visit with family members who may have traveled great distances to be there.
A young boy’s question about where his Eagle Feathers came from allowed Darrell to explain that Eagle Feathers are earned or gifted – never bought or sold. Eagle Feathers that are found by Natural Resources Staff in wild life sanctuaries are sent to a reserve as recognition of respect.
As an Eagle Feather Dancer, Darrell mentioned that working within his reserve had made it possible for him to earn the Eagle Feathers that make up his regalia. As a particular point Darrell told us that we should never touch an Eagle Feather that has fallen to the ground because an Elder must retrieve it. Traditional Teaching is that a Fallen Feather suggests a Fallen Warrior!
Commenting on choosing to become a police officer, Darrell felt that while there were challenges he felt there would be valuable opportunities to educate police officers and other co-workers about First Nations Traditions. It is clear that Darrell’s ability as a Traditional Story Teller wishing to “Share Culture and Keep Traditions Alive” resonated with settler’s and First Nations people who attended our lecture.
Barbara Blower Nov 30/19
COMMENTS FROM OUR LECTURE:
Good morning Barbara,
I attended an Uxbridge meeting of the Maamawi Collective a month or so ago with my father and I am so glad that we did. I have to share this with you and the group as it has connected me more to my experience at the meeting and storytelling of that night. I recently just finished reading The Reason You Walk by Web Kinew. The book is the story of a son learning of his father’s terminal cancer diagnosis and decides to spend a year reconnecting with his father, Tobasonakwut. Learning of his past and childhood, a survivor of the residential school system and mentor to Indigenous youth. While I read the last few chapters, I opened my YouTube app and looked for certain songs mentioned in the book. For example, a lullaby that is sung to his father, https://youtu.be/5ZVK1irdO4Q This brought the story to life. So much so that I had tears rolling down my cheeks as it came to an end. I don’t want to ruin it completely for anyone interested in reading this story but the YouTube clip I have attached is one mentioned in the end and one we experienced as a group. https://youtu.be/x2Nx4jUEZfc
Miigwech and Happy New Year – Heather
I Cried When We Did A Talking Circle
This link was sent by Ian Mc Clelland after he and his family, including sons age 8 and 12, attended our November 2019 Lecture ”Walking & Working in Two Worlds” Maamawi Collective is investigating the possibility of showing this film in Uxbridge. This Film spells out treaty relationship and obligations to non-Native allies.
“I cried when we did a talking circle because I was witnessing white people who were actively involved in trying to help us, to help their own people understand their own history instead of me as an Indigenous person always having to feel that responsibility to educate them.” —Dr. Patricia Makokis an author, speaker and educator from Saddle Lake Cree Nation.
A Great Evening
I really enjoyed the presentation and found the presenter very interesting. It was meaningful the way he just rose from the circle to emphasize the he and we were all the same. What I liked best was the story telling. Fantastic stuff. I could see myself around the fire, huddled with family and elders listening to the tales with wide eyes. I could see the two young native boys in the circle were engrossed. The dance at the end where we all snaked around the room was embarrassing at first but quite enjoyable after a few minutes. I suspect it provided instruction to aid in joining in a similar dance at a pow wow. My very favorite part was his explanation of the eagle feather. I had never heard a direct explanation before. It was a great evening and I hope you can run something similar again.