Friday, November 2, 2012

MC the Burn Out King

Have you ever heard of burn out before? It is a term that is often used in caring professions to describe the deflated sense of helplessness that overtakes the helpers. For the past month, I have been feeling very strange. I have been feeling quite anxious, overwhelmed and feel like I have been falling behind on the things that are expected of me. This feeling of burn out is chasing me in my paid work, in my volunteer work, and in my work as someone who is regularly in the public eye. It also creeps into my social life, with my friends family and other personally important relationships.
This is an example of the items I worry about on a daily basis...Does this look like your life?!!? you need some SELF CARE!!
When you burn out (and I have done so many a time before) it often comes because you, as the helper, are not taking care of yourself. Our ability to help others is entirely dependant on our own ability to take care of ourselves. If we do not take deliberate measures to take care of ourselves, than we are not going to be able to take care of others.

Burn Out King

I call myself the burn out kind, because I think that I burn out at least once a year. I over work, over schedule and over demand of myself to give to others. I actually help out, volunteer and give so freely of my time because I am very unhappy with the current realities of our little North End Community. Also, I am very unhappy with the way the media is perpetrated. Also am very stressed out by the failings of the institutions that are intended to help us.

But I have the Power to Change that!!

Because of this large unhappiness, I use my ANTI-BULLY approach and do it the AYO way: by getting involved. If something makes you unhappy, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I have said that before many times and for that reason, I have become involved in so many community initiatives, started many community initiatives, sit on many councils and have been able to do so with a smile.

But you gotta Balance

I am here to get it off my chest: I CAN'T SMILE ALL THE TIME!! Sometimes I need to hide in my bed, not answer my phone and just do nothing.

Other things that help me:

  • asking others for help
  • listening to HOPEFUL music
  • getting myself organized
  • smudging
  • having a coffee
  • doing push ups
  • eating soup
  • playing practical jokes

So, this weekend, I am going to a youth sweat on Saturday to hopefully clear my mind a little bit and get some motivation to continue with all of the important activities that are coming in the community in November. On sunday i am gonna visit my brother in Stoney Mountain, but after that...Sunday evening, is going to be a "Michael Chill the heck out and do nothing" time. I have to schedule it in to my activities so I can actually sit down lol.

Self care homies, I am trying to share my example because I do not want this to happen to you!!

with love


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kimbi is going to South Korea!!

21 year old Grass Dancer Kimbi Chartrand is one of 6 people chosen to represent Canada and the Indigenous people of North America at a worldwide event called Fokloriada (C.I.O.F.F) which happens only every 4 years. Its an international festival that brings cultures from every country together for 2 weeks. The Festival takes place in South Korea this year. the accomendations there are covered by the city hosting the event, and Kimbi just need to cover the cost of his plane ticket.

So far, Kimbi has raised $1400 by himself, he only needs $398 more dollars to be able to represent our worldwide. Please bring any donations you can to the Bell Tower tonight to hear Kimbi speak about this issue himself!

Let's support our youth as they reclaim our culture and REPRESENT!!



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How the World Works

Many people often show a lack of regard for others' chosen field of employment. I often hear people who work in Government have a love/hate relationship with those who work in Business. Those who work in business have a love/hate relationship with non-profits and those who work in Labour have a slight attitude towards those that work in Government. I could go on, but you get the point.                              -MC 

I see the world as one big medicine wheel. Each different sector of the world is integral. If you take away one of them, the circle is no longer complete. The balance is not present. We must understand what one another do/are responsible for so we can make a better decision for ourselves where we want to work and focus our own energies for our future employment and where we should be for our ideas to develop in a good way.

With Labour Day coming up, I figured I would share my 2 cents on how I see the world, and why all of these groups, need each other, and must begin to have a better understanding of how these different worlds/industries/fields of employment NEED one another to continue doing their work. But before I can explain that, I want to do a quick summary of what each of these folks do.

These are the law-makers. These people decide how our society is run, and when they say something is going to happen/needs to happen they have the authority to change laws so something actually can go ahead and get done.

These people actually carry out the work that is required. They work in construction and in other physcially demanding work. They build houses, roads, buildings and anything that must be built. Without labour, the government wouldn't have anyone to actually carry out their little plans/ideas/laws.

these are the folks who do work, and expect to be paid for their work. These are entrepreneurs, business owners and folks that at the end of the day like to make money/have a profit. They create tons of employment opportunities but many businesses have a close-minded perspective on where they fit in in the community

CIVIL SOCIETY aka Non-Profits
These are the people that do everything else. Often not expecting to be paid by their clients for the human services they deliver.Many of these groups/organizations have a relationship with government where they are exclusively funded by government dollars.

So Now What?

Now you alter your perspective. Where in this world do you fit? Where are your gifts and interests? Regardless of where you wanna work, its important to know that we cannot pretend to know everything. If i spent my whole life in Government, how could i possibly relate in a good way to those in business/cibil society/labour?? That same question applies to all industries. We have to understand that our world is connected to one another, and what you do in your job affects me. Not only me, but my family, my community and the next generation (of all of our kids). Let's build a better understanding and appreciation for those who work in the places we cannot, or choose not to. Let's celebrate the contributions of others while we refocus ourselves in sharing our gifts in the best way we can.

So this Friday, at the Bell Tower we will be learning about LABOUR day, and why we have it. We will have a few people to share with us their own perspectives and hopefully we can learn a little but more about how we, as a community can become more connected with Labour, work with them in a good way and share the load....remembering that we are not alone in the work we do. We can make changes that benefit all 4 directions.

Key word: TOGETHER!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crazy Dreams...

I have been having mad dreams lately. There are 2 dreams that are so vivid...and recent. They involve me interacting with challenges, my family, usually some type of modern element. But I am noticing that the animals in these dreams are becoming aggressive, almost violent....and while other people in my dream seem unaffected by these animals, and I am very afraid. Check em out (the full dreams are at BEGUILE -
I dreamed that I was with my niece and we were looking for turtles. We found a little baby one the size of her hands. But when we got to the highway 2 larger turtles. When we got to the trailer with the rest of the family we were attacked by bears. I left the family with another person and we were chased by the bears into the North End. the bears were crashing through fences trying to get us, but then...we got split up.

This time I dreamed I was once more in the woods, but this time had another pair of interactions with animals....all surrounding my family.The first had to do with 3 large male deer that were just watching me....and the second animal was wolves. What does it mean when you kill a wolf in your dream?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

#RevolutionMusic - A Playlist for the People

 rev·o·lu·tion [rev-uh-loo-shuhn]
noun 1. an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough
replacement of an established government or political system
 by the people governed.
When I look at the above image (in case of revolution break glass) I feel like that is a metaphor, or even a challenge. Are you satisfied with the status quo? Are you willing to take action to ensure that your children have a healthy world to live in? I welcome and invite all of you to challenge yourselves and reach out.  Together we can create a peaceful revolution.

I tried something random the other day; I asked my social media friends to help me build a playlist called Revolution Music. It was triggered when I was listening to and inspired by the above video (One Love by David Guetta feat. Estelle) and felt compelled to create a PLAYLIST FOR THE PEOPLE with other inspiring, motivating songs on it. Of course I can't build a people's playlist without you guys, so please feel free to add your 2 cents and let me know via FB/Twitter/Blogger what other items you would add to something called Revolution Music? At the present time on my YouTube Channel, 'Revolution Music' has over 60 videos on it with more to be added as long as I am receiving suggestions.

  1. David Guetta – One Love (feat. Estelle)
  2. Lupe Fiasco – The Show Goes
  3. Flobots – Rise 
  4. Aerosmith – Come Together [Beatles Cover]
  5. Hopsin – Nocturnal Rainbows
  6. Playing For Change   – Stand By Me (Song Around the World)
  7. Blue King Brown - Stand Up
  8. Michael Franti and Spearhead - Yell Fire
  9. K'naan - Take A Minute
  10. Lauryn Hill - Everything is Everything
  11. John Legend & The Roots - I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free
  12. John Legend & The Roots - Our Generation (The Hope of the World)
  13. Black Eyed Peas - Where Is The Love?
  14. The Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
  15. John Cougar Mellencamp - Authority Song
  16. Wolfmother - Joker and the Thief
  17. Rage Against The Machine - Renegades Of Funk
  18. Rage Against The Machine - Wake up
  19. Ani Difranco - Coming Up
  20. The Raging Grannies - Halliburton & BP, You Suck! (BP Oil Spill Protest Anthem)
  21. Tracy Chapman - Talkin Bout A Revolution
  22. Nas & Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley - Patience
  23. Dead Prez - Hip Hop
  24. Blu - Rise up
  25. 4 Non Blondes - What's Up
  26. Gil Scott Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
  27. Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna Take It
  28. Bodeans - Closer To Free
  29. K'naan - Wavin' Flag
  30. Jet - Stand Up (Garage Sessions)
  31. The Beatles – Revolution
  32. the Five Man Electrical Band - Signs
  33. The Impressions - Keep on Pushing
  34. Nas - I Can 
  35. Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues
  36. Stevie Wonder - Blowin' in the Wind [Bob Dylan Cover]
  37. Leon Russell - A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall
  38. Bob Dylan - Times They are a-Changin
  39. Asian Dub Foundation - Colour Line
  40. Thievery Corporation - The Richest Man In Babylon
  41. Rage Against the Machine - Calm like a Bomb
  42. Black Flag - Rise Above
  43. Minutemen - King Of The Hill
  44. Donny Hathaway - Little Ghetto Boy
  45. Immortal Technique - Point of No Return
  46. The Coup - Ride The Fence
  47. Tiken Jah Fakoly - Quitte le Pouvoir
  48. Rage Against The Machine - No Shelter
  49. Muse - Uprising
  50. - S.O.S (Mother Nature)
  51. Folk Song - One Tin Soldier
  52. Digging Roots – Spring To Come
  53. Floyd Red Crow Westerman - B.I.A
  54. Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up 
  55. Arcade Fire - Abraham's Daughter (Hunger Games Soundtrack)
  56. Keewatin Otchichak Drum Group– As long as the Rivers Flow
  57. Nina Simone - I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free 
  58.  Lyrical Militant - Never Give Up (feat. Dele-O)
  59. Stan Rogers - The Mary Ellen Carter
  60. Dead Prez - Police State [Banned in Germany]
  61. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s - I Have a Dream
  62. Wab Kinew - Heroes

Peaceful Revolution

While many revolutions are accompanied by violence, I must ask this of my fellow revolutionaries that we refrain from violence in the physical, mental, verbal and spiritual way. It is going to be a challenge, as many of us, myself included, make mistakes and are sometimes even violent towards ourselves or loved ones. We must remember the mistakes made by ourselves, others in the past, and especially to put our egos aside so we can acknowledge the responsibility that is today upon us. With Respect. With Love. With Humility. And with fun!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Canadian History Lesson from Jason Kenny (on Twitter)

I had a very interesting experience on Twitter the other day with one of our current Members of Parliament and Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney. First of all, kudos to the Minister for actually responding, most times when I have contacted conservative candidates on social media (espcecially locally) they do not respond ever. The conversation is regarding a comment he made on Twiitter about the 200th Anniversary of the Canadian Victory at the Battle of Detroit.

I will let the conversation speak for itself.

Jason Kenney is Blue. MC is Yellow. Other Twitter folks are pink.

A great way to mark the bicentenary of the Canadian victory at the Battle of Detroit: 

@kenneyjason Canada wasn't even around 200 years ago dude #HistoryFAIL #quitglorifyingwar #cdnpoli(this tweet was RT'd by a few folks)

"@kenneyjason : @northendmc OMG how clueless is this @kenneyjason we pay BIG BUCKS to know, as part of his JOB, about Canadian history?#cdnpoli @MPJulian"
"@kenneyjason : @northendmc wow... Seriously? What were u doing in school while they were teaching Canadian history in school?"

@ElliottRoss6 @northendmc Most of those defending what were called "the Canadas" in 1812 called themselves "Canadians" (or "canadiens").

@kenneyjason @ElliottRoss6 @northendmc $28MM to celebrate the nominally Canadian vs: veterans care, refugee health, experimental lakes....

@ElliottRoss6 @northendmc Thanks to their sacrifice, we live in Canada, not the USA. That's why we should remember: 

@kenneyjason @ElliottRoss6 @northendmc ... statscan, first nations statistics, parks canada... lot of places to put $28MM
@kenneyjason @ElliottRoss6 @northendmc reframing Canada's birth around war instead of peaceful act of parliament is more important #cndnpoli

@ElliottRoss6 @northendmc 200 yrs ago this week, Canadian militiaman composed "The Bold Canadian" after fall of Detroit 

@kenneyjason @ElliottRoss6 @northendmc Why is it $28MM important to try to 'rebrand' Canada as being built out of war?#cdnpoli

@GlynnP75 @kenneyjason @ElliottRoss6 @northendmc divert and deflect #cdnpoli

@Beari8it @kenneyjason @ElliottRoss6 @northendmc an incredibly visible investment and a strange one in times of austerity. Why so important?

At the time of posting this thread (which  is about 18 hours after) we have not yet had an answer from the Minister. 


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hair Cut Day

It has been about 2 months since my last hair cut...this is what happens to me, I fro out!!

The Before Pic

The After Pic 

Hahaha, I feel like my head has lost 10 pounds. It totally feels like I have a shrunken head....but on the plus side, it doesn't feel like I'm wearing a toque in the summer time! (shout out to Skeeter's on Selkirk Ave for the awesome haircut!)

Good times.



Saturday, July 28, 2012

News on my mind...

Things have been interesting lately. this post is a compliation of news articles that have my attention.

media around Missing & murdered Aboriginal Women have exploded after the arrest of Shawn Lamb. Now if only we can maintain and build that momentum into an actual national inquiry into this important issue.

The City of Winnipeg has been declared the Murder Capital of Canada again in 2012

recently re-elected Shawn Atleo had a meeting with the premiers and was not successful in garnering their support for a National Inquiry.

The National Aboriginal Health Organization is closing its doors due to federal cuts (many ppl blame Atleo's nice-guy approach for the cuts to Aboriginal programs)

the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry is going to have a broader scope that they originally thought. In addition to examingin that specific case, it will also examine how poverty and other social conditions may have factored into her death.


Despite all the negativity...I am hopeful.
I am hopeful because these are opportunities. If we take advantage of these, work together and raise our collective voices, we can help address many of these issues. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Under the Influence: SAXOPHONE (Chubby Checker, Lupe Fiasco, Jack White & Alexandra Stan)

Under the Influence: SAXOPHONE
The saxophone is an instrument invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846. It was originally very popular in the military, and eventually in jazz and classical music. In recent months, the saxophone has become more and more popular in pop music, rock music and even rap! Check out these examples of the awesome sax! (Check out Wikipedia on the Sax here)

Chubby Checker - The Twist (1960)
So for a long time I have enjoyed saxophone. It goes back to my younger days listening to the old fifties tapes my parents used to listen to. The most memorable of these early songs that I really loved was Let's Twist Again which came in 1961, one year after the original twist. Not only did it have awesome singing, background singers, but one of the awesomest saxophone solos. Songs like this made me fall in love with the saxophone.

Return of the Sax in 2011 and 2012!

The following songs have made use of the sax recently in 2012!

Lupe Fiasco - Around My Way (May 2012)
This song is awesome because it draws attention to the issue of Aboriginal land rights and other civil rights issues that are relevant to America. It also uses an awesome saxophone loop sampled from Pete Rock & CL Smooth's 1992 release "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) ...this will be its own UTI someday!

Jack White - Love Interruption (Jan 2012)
This is a great rock song released in January that is very simple in composition, but is awesome. It is like a trio between male voice, female voice and sax.

Katy Perry - Last Friday Night (June 2011)

I do not like the lyrics in this song, but another example of a pretty cool saxophone solo.

Lady Gaga - Edge of Glory (May 2011)
This song was my first indicator that the sax was coming back. I always loved sax solos and when I heard this one, it gave me hope that more were coming!

And, just for fun, here is Homer!
Homer's Saxomophone

Monday, June 25, 2012

National Chief Candidate Videos (by Wab Kinew)

So if you didn't know there is an election for Assembly of First Nations National Chief about to happen and this will decide who is our main voice as First Nations people is to the Government of Canada. The current Chief Shawn Atleo is facing 7 candidates that are also looking at getting the top job. The candidates are:
  • Shawn Atleo
  • Bill Erasmus
  • Ellen Gabriel
  • Joan Jack
  • Diane M. Kelly
  • Terrance Nelson
  • Pam Palmater
  • George Stanley
Now I have been checking out Wab Kinew's Website & blog and am very happy. He has committed to independently checking out the AFN Candidates and posting summaries of their interviews (and even the whole interview). Check out these videos that were put together so far with 3 of the candidates!

Joan Jack
So I have never met Joan but she seems like she wants to let young people decide how to get involved. I would be interested in hearing a more complete answer on youth engagement. [WAB's ARTICLE HERE]

Shawn Atleo
I have never met him either, although we were in the same building on the same day at some point last week. I would also like to hear what his take is on youth engagement and let us know how he has engaged youth during his 1st term! [WAB's ARTICLE HERE]

Pam Palmater
She is the only candidate I have met. I also love her blog and book and so have a slight bias. Also, she is a very charismatic speaker and is a outspoken 'fighter'. So far, since she is the only one I have met, she is my favourite candidate. She has a natural advantage here as two of her main strengths are social media and public speaking. [WAB's ARTICLE HERE]

Other Vids to come

I met Bill Erasmus' brother at a speaking engagement 2 weeks ago, but have never met any of the other candidates.

Thanks Wab for doing this great work. if you wanna see what these folks are up to on Twitter, check out my twitter list AFN Election 2012!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Congrats to Sagkeeng's Finest!

Earlier this week, Sagkeeng's Finest won Canada's Got Talent. It is exciting to see some young Aboriginal rez boys setting such a positive and talented example. It shows our young people that they can be successful and achieve anything if only they put their minds to it. It also shows the power of community support and what people can achieve when their family and neighbours and friends and others work together. I hope this serves as a reminder to all of you young people reading this that you all have gifts, and if you really focus on practicing and perfecting your gift, when you share it with the world you set a powerful and positive example.

NORTH END COMMUNITY CELEBRATION MAY 31ST - On Thursday May 31st come to the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre to see SF perform and congratulate them on their accomplishments. FB Event click here!

Proud of you boys! Let's keep going!

Sagkeeng's Finest - Final Performance (Canada's Got Talent 2012)
Check the performance that won the competition!

Sagkeeng's Finest @ Streetz/NCI Studios
The boys stopped by the Streetz/NCI Studio jsut before their win, check out their improptu performance in the lobby!

Niki Ashton - Shout out in the House of Commons to S.F.
Even our political world is acknowledging what a great opportunity this is to highlight the importance of culture and the arts, and supporting our young Aboriginal population to be successful & healthy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Under The Influence: Rihanna (2012), Johnny Cash (1996) & Geoff Mack (1959)

What do Rihanna, Johnny Cash & Australia have in Common?


Rihanna - Where Have You Been (2012)

This song was released a couple days ago and immediately caught my attention because of its opening line. "I've been everywhere man" is a phrase from a song I remember from my grade 10 geography class (for real). I am personally a fan of this song, it has some really catchy instrumental parts and Rihanna's singing is quite good. On the down side, the lyrics are pretty lame and while the dancing is feels very 'subliminal message-y'. A little creepy. In the Billboard Chart world, the song went from 78 last week, to 29 this week!!!! That's a jump of 49 spots, which is probably why she is also the 'digital gainer; of the week as well!

Johnny Cash - I've Been Everywhere Man [North American cover] (1996)

This is the version I am personally most familiar with and many of you will probably agree. If not, get acquainted. I personally can't help but enjoy this song, and actually find myself laughing out loud out of how impressive the speed is. It takes a lot of verbal dexterity to be able to sing this song and its pretty cool. It was actually made famous in USA  by Hank Snow in 1962 Country Music Charts. And although this song lists many cities and towns all across Turtle island/North America, the original version of the song actually came from over seas in Australia...

Lucky Starr - I've Been Everywhere Man [Original Version - Australian names](1962)

The song "I've Been Everywhere"was written by Geoff Mack in 1959 and made popular by the singerLucky Starr in 1962. It is actually really cool. You can hear all the strange sounding words that come from the Indigenous population over there and even some that have come into use in popular culture like "Billabong" and others. I especially love how slick the transitions are, with "I'm a killer" being my personal favourite, haha.

Anyway. There you have it, Rihanna digs Johnny Cash & even Geoff Mack's artistry from 1959. You know you wrote something cool when it is still being referenced in songs 53 years later!!



Sunday, April 1, 2012


I dedicate this post to all of you who like to say “I’m bored”.

I never understood boredom, because I am never bored. Yup, you read that right, I am never bored. Why not? Well, I think I have come to a point where I realize I have a lot of things that need to be done. For my work, for my volunteering, for the relationships of people that I have in my life; I have things I need to do to take care of all of these elements, but also mysel so I CAN do all of those things. Like eat, get a job, do laundry, go talk with people, sharing ideas and brainstorming. But BORED means you aren’t occupied. And you don’t like what you are currently doing. If you aren’t doing anything right now, and you don’t like your current situation, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Do Something

If you don’t know what to do come and see me. I have a never ending list of things that need to be done, in order to help our community. I once heard a quote that changed my life: "until all of us have made it, none of us have made it". And what that means is no matter how good things are for me, I wanna make sure all of the people in my life can enjoy that same level of goodness. That usually means people need to be able to have control over their own lives.
Do you have a solid place to stay? Do you have your school completed? Do you have a job? Do you have all of your IDs? Do you need help getting your challenges taken care of (addiction, relationships, violence, etc)?  Are you sharing your gift? Do you even know what your gift is? Do you have a baby, little sibling, smaller cousin that needs something (anything)? Is your family 100% comfortable, safe and secure?
If you answered NO to any of these questions, you have zero reason to be bored. There are things that need to be done. There are people that don’t have houses, jobs, safe places to be, friendly faces to talk to. We all have such capacity inside of us to do good, and help those around us. Many of you readfing this will think “I have nothing to offer” but I disagree.

I disagree

I disagree because we all have a gift. We are all good at something. My something happens to be talking. Its what people ask me to share with them most of the time, and people tell me that I am good at it. Once you have realized your gift…you can't keep it to your self any more. Once you have realized you can do that one thing better than most other people, now comes the responsibility. Responsibility to share that gift. Not only with the people you love, but that’s a great place to start.

Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it.

Sharing. Responsibility. Patience. Humility. Courage. You can do it.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

North End Pride (Cleaning Up Our Yards)

Spring is here!

Selkirk Avenue Bus Stop - earlier today
And with the melting of the snow...the entire winter's worth of garbage is sitting there. Right in front of our faces. Many people have a negative stereotype of our community, and think we do not care about it. When I look at so many homes, back lanes and businesses....those perceptions appear to be true. We don't care, if we cannot take a moment to tidy the areas where we live, and where kids play. There are some upcoming community clean ups which we could help with...but what about our own homes?! It only takes a minute to go outside with a garbage bag and clean up the Robin's cups, the chip bags, the cans, bottles and other random papers and throw them away. We can beautify our own little corner of the North End...and if every resident did this...imagine what our hood would look like!

I Did It

Guess what I just did? I went out into my front yard, and outside my fence, and picked up all the garbage. No one paid me to do it. No one even asked me to do it. But because I want to lead by example, I know I cannot ask any of you to do this without doing so myself. And so PLEASE! Help me, and all the other residents who keep the garbage in their yards at bay, help us break the stereotype that we do not care. Help us change the perception that people view the North End piece of garbage at a time.


We got it. So lets make sure the beauty (and cleanliness) of our hood reflects that.



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy 2nd B-Day AYO!

 2 years old!
On March 17th, 2010, 24 young people gathered at Thunderbird House in Winnipeg, MB to say, with one voice “Aboriginal youth need meaningful opportunities”. Exactly 2 years later, that small gathering, has come so far. We have initiated and supported many youth driven, youth led, youth created ideas. And while everyone one of them was unique, they all had one thing in common: a belief that we as young people can work together to solve our communities challenges.


I am overhwlemed with emotion as I write this, remembering the faces of those youth, many of whom I still work with today. It began out of love for one another, out of a common sense of history, and especially of hope for what the future can hold for us.


Some of our accomplishment’s include:
  • Creating AYO LEADERSHIP, the driving force  behind AYO with a SHIT model that aims to break Stereotypes, work at reversing Hypocrisy, engaging in Institutions to empower change and to Take our culture back
  • Creating relationships with businesses, organizations & media so that we can truly send our own message to our peers and to the world that we are not apathetic
  • Initiating a HEALING STILL CONTINUES group that focusses on providing cultural opportunities and healing from the challenges our nation & communities face
  • Initiating POLITIX and its corresponding Get Real Youth forums to engage young people in politics and make sure youth’s challenges are addressed
  • Starting CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS, a program that has moved all around the community to empower young people to dream big, and create their reality in a way that makes sense to them
  • Brand new banners on Selkirk Avenue (the first in 20 years!!)
  • Developing and delivering the ARROWS youth engagement strategy not only in Manitoba, but all across Canada (presented in MB, SK, AB & ON)
  • Initiating the North End Anti-Violence movement MEET ME @ THE BELL TOWER which has created an opportunity for our North End to come together and celebrate the beauty that we know lives here
  • working with University of MB & City of Winnipeg & North End schools to support the creation of The FWD North End Youth Newspaper

That’s not everything, but I just wanted to highlight some stuff. In April, we will have AYO’s 2nd Belated Birthday Bash, and all of you reading this, and all of you that helped build this amazing movement are invited to come.


Thank you to the amazing youth leaders who believed. Thank you to the young leaders who shared their audacious dreams, and stood together and made them reality. We haven’t won all of our battles, and every mistake is a chance for us to learn and grow. I just needed to take this time to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY AYO, I never in a million years thought we would achieve so much in so little time…but we have.

Lets keep going


Can I get an AYO!?!?!?!

With love, respect, humility & courage. 


Saturday, March 10, 2012

What Happened at MM@BT - Taking Back Our North End (TBONE)

Dear Bell Tower Movement

We braved the cold winds last night for one of our most exciting Bell Tower events yet: 
Taking Back Our North End aka TBONE! 
The theme of the event was food security and we were able to have 3 special speakers (Ian, Margo & Jasmine). We then went into Indian Family Centre where we had our usual prizes portion (cook books, art projects, original Bell Tower Art courtesy of John!!! & a book of Thumb magic). Find below, a video summary of what happened for those of you who have not been, look at ho much fun we have! Come on out, its getting warmer, and we are getting closer and closer to our Dream of 1,000 people @ The Bell Tower.

THANKS SO MUCH TO JACKIE FOR RECORDING ALL OF THESE VIDEOS!! There are plenty of videos in the works: Winnipeg Foundation has recorded a small PSA for us, Chris is putting together a documentary, & Rosanna is going to write an article for the Winnipeg Free Press! Keep your eyes posted, more awesomeness to share will be coming soon :)







As you can see, it is always an amazing time at the Bell Tower and we are excited to continue our work. The next Bell Tower event on March 16th, our theme is SPRING IT FORWARD and we will be celebrating the power of acts of kindness! (share the FB event by clicking here)

Ekosi Bell Tower Fam :)



Friday, March 9, 2012

Why Stop at #KONY??

By now, we all know the story of Joseph Kony. The man, in Uganda leading an army that steals children, forces them to become child soldiers, murderers, rapists and sex slaves. There is a video that has been made by ‘Invisible Children’ with the intention of making Kony Famous so he can be caught by the end of 2012 and brought to justice. The response by the social media world, celebrity world, and specifically the youth world has been huge. Kony has been trending on Twitter, blowing up my facebook and every other method of communication (email, BBM, even in person). Young people and seemingly society as a while, have unified around this cause of atrocities happening in Africa. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the 16,000 charged up young people that were involved in We Day in November 2011. My criticism now, is the same as my criticism then.

Youth Led Revolution

Global activism is important, but we must not overlook the challenges that are happening in our own back yard. For years Aboriginal people in Canada have been the victim of a government and church led systemic genocide. Our children were taken from their homes, our communities shattered, our mother, the earth, exploited for economic gain. The inter-generational effects can be seen in the statistics. We as Aboriginal people make up only 4% of the Canadian Population, and yet Aboriginal people make up 80% of those incarcerated in Federal Justice institutions. The number of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women and men is on the rise, with 600 unsolved cases and a lack lustre response from our so called Justice System.

Injustice in Our Own Backyard

We Day and #StopKony, to me, are standards that we as a society are setting. We are displaying a unity that has not been seen on such a large widespread scale, at the very least in my 24 years of living. And while I speak critically of the large focus on this Kony character, I am happy and I am proud that young people are leading the way towards a cause that truly can affect the future for children in Uganda. But my question is this:


We cannot allow this momentum to fall, and we have already displayed what is capable when celebrities, adults, and especially our youth for making this a national issue with celebrities like Rihanna, Oprah and others helping to spread the word. Let us keep going so that, on a global level, we can stop these atrocities against children. Even here in Canada. Shaneen’s Dream (of Attawapiskat) just became one step closer to become real. A delegation of First Nations Children have presented to the United Nations on the atrocities of inequality on Reserves that leads to hopelessness and addiction in our communities. The Crown has taken a small step towards reconciliation with a Crown First Nations Gathering. We as Aboriginal people are caretakers of this earth, not for our own personal gain, but for the benefit of future generations. Even here in the North End, the # of people interested in our Meet Me @ The Bell Tower movement is growing.

It is my hope that this Kony business, and even this We Day business, can not only highlight international causes we can stand behind, but also can highlight the challenges and atrocities that some of us must face every single day of living.

Let’s Keep Going. Together.

With Love


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Save The Burrows (Resource Centre)

So some of you have likely heard that by now, over ½ the money has been raised to save the Burrows Resource Centre, and official from the province and the city are committed to working with the volunteer board, headed by the fearless Irene, in creating a workable solution.

 It is interesting to me that this is happening for several reasons. Burrows Resource Centre, once upon a time used to be called Boyd Park, and was a satellite building for the Sinclair Park Community Centre located at 490 Sinclair (who, by the way just had their grand re-opening yesterday, congrats). Now, once it was decided that it cost more money than made sense to the individuals at the time, Sinclair Park CC let go of the site at Boyd Park, and only operate 1 satellite office now, instead of 2. So I find it odd how as one building is celebrating a new renovation and a grand re-opening, its ex satellite office is being forced to close its doors.

In speaking with folks in both sites, Burrows and Sinclair, it seems like they have an element of agreement. Many of the youth that live around Burrows Resource Centre are not comfortable making the trek all the way to Arlington & Church to play at the Sinclair Park CC. The Burrows Resource Centre serves an area from Arlington to McPhillips, and Selkirk to Mountain. Many young people live in that area and it has been reported in the media that over 200 youth have utilized the building in that time.

What is with this division?

It may seem odd to those that do not live in the North End that youth would not be willing to attend services in a community seemingly ‘a few blocks away’. But I know personally, and continue to observe the phenomenon among youth today, that there are invisible barriers when you are a young person. These are not necessarily gang lines, although they can be, but they are often territories where ‘outsiders’ are made to not feel welcome. And so I believe it is important for groups such as Sinclair Park and the Burrows Resource Centre to continue to work together to provide opportunities for many of the young people that live between their 2 sites.

Not About Money

One last important point I'd like to make is, although the media blitz is having some financial successes with Winnipeggers stepping forward and donating their money to keep the building open, that’s awesome. Also, political pressures seem also to be having quite a nice effect with even the premier Greg Selinger commenting on the case. However, that does not excuse our role as residents of this community to let such a situation happen again. If you are a resident of the North End, living between Selkirk & Mountain & Arlington & McPhillips, I challenge you to become a volunteer with the Resource Centre. I challenge you to become a volunteer because even if we do not have money in our pockets to help, we do have our hands, and we do have our time. So join myself and other members of AYO Aboriginal YouthOpportunities in volunteering one day a week at Burrows so there can be more consistent hours, and more regular opportunities for the young people in that area to have a safe place to be.

Join the young leaders in our North End Community and volunteer.

Meet Us @ The Bell Tower this Friday to hear a speaker from Burrows, and also bring any donations of equipment, money or time with you. You can also donate here at their PayPal.

Love, Courage & Respect


Under The Influence: Dead Indians, Bobby Brown & Billy Paul

Billy Paul – Me & Mrs. Jones (1972)

This is a song from the 70’s that is all about getting a little extra on the side. Yup, it’s a song about cheating. As much as I do not agree with lyrical content every time, this song is awesome for its classic 1970’s vibe and you cannot deny the soulfulness of the original singer. Over the years the song has been covered by many notable artists including Michael Buble, but its original version released in 1972 made it to # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In the opening of the original song, it actually samples a saxophone loop from a Doris Day song from 1954 called “Secret Love”.

Bobby Brown – Girlfriend (1986)

In the mid-80’s, Whitney Houston’s notorious lover Bobby Brown had his first solo #1 single sampling the Billy Paul version of the song. Not my favourite....but worth mentioning considering the recent loss of Whitney.

 Dead Indians – Jonesin’ (2001)

And in the early 2000’s, in a world before Streetz 104.7fm, as Aboriginal Hip Hop was trying to make a name for itself, a trio of Aboriginal Hip Hop artists came together once more to sample the soulfulness of Mrs. Jones. Except this time, the gentleman chose to make an 80’s-tastic video, full of mullets and back lane break dancing, while somehow managing to retain the old-school and classic nature of the original track. Since then of course, Dead Indian Member Wab Kinew has launched a successful solo hip hop career, but this post is timey for one exciting reason.

Tonight the Dead Indians are back

That’s right, tonight at the Pyramid Cabaret for only $15 per person, you can see this Hip Hop group return to the stage and begin to once again, bring back a little bit of soul into the Winnipeg Hip Hop scene… Dead Indians style. With Special Guests Winnipeg's Most, Filthy Animals, Lorenzo, Hellnback and Blackout Music. 



PS – I remember when I worked at Ndinawe in 2005 and these gentleman were able to come by and play a Hip Hop show there…it was awesome.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Voices from the Bell Tower - Edition 1

Dear world

I am speechless. The amazingness that our Bell Tower Movement has become is amazing. Last night @ The Indian Family Centre launched its own Community Lending Library, and I am so proud of all of the hard work Michele, Tanya and the whole team over there does in bringing good service to our community. For this Bell Tower Report, we had approximately 60 individuals out, and some exciting announcements and stories to share...see below

A Vision of 1000 people @ Our Bell Tower

I had a dream children cutting out flowers,gluing them on old clothing, then there was a great march, that lit the streets on a sunny day. The light of humanity, but it wasn't just here but all over the world. There was no laughter but cries of mourning for victims of violence who could not join our march. I had to wake for my dream was becoming a nightmare. A wise man quoted NO MATTER HOW BIG OR SMALL THE PROBLEM,THE TREATMENT OF HUMAN BEINGS SHOULD BE THE SAME, God bless.See you at the bell tower.

Violence Comes in Many Forms

On my way home from the Bell tower tonight, I stopped at a pedestrian walk for a young girl. She looked about fifteen or sixteen. She was so intoxicated that she could hardly stand up. She fell on the street then got up. She was looking for a car to get into. A truck driven by a guy slowed down ---I drove across the street to where she was and phoned the police, then phoned 911 because the main line was on hold- I consider this young lady’s situation as an emergency. Then I started to talk to her- She said her mom made her do this, which to me is a form of violence, then she told me she was raped, which is another form of violence.  I told her she deserved better than this and that she had proud ancestors.  I told her that her mom had no right to do this to her and that it could stop-there was help-then a man stopped- I rolled down my window and told him I would take down his license if he picked her up – he had no intention- he phoned the police too – The police came and both of us asked them to please help her. I told them about what she told me about her mom and being raped.Then I thought of our Missing and Murdered sisters and just hope that this young lady is on a different course. Then I thought about a young girl I mentored a few years ago and how her dad gave her pills and alcohol when she was a  minor and I thought – would my friend be in jail right now if someone had made a stronger stand on her behalf?
There are lots of people who care, from all walks of life-people are changing and I would like young people to know that.It’s not about politics, its about spirit and in the creator we are one-
Keep up the good work ! I have a long prayer list-

 Facebook Love
What a wonderful time at the Bell Tower! I got free mittens as my little hands were shivering :) then won a prize for a ticket for a i-pad! And the best part had somosa's for the very first time! Yum yum spiciness!  A well spent Friday evening!

 The above image was made by 15 year old Matt. I met him for the first time this week @ Ralph Brown's Homework Club. Apparently is he is amazingly talented. Thank for ending your skills, and your hands to our movement.


From MC: Ekosi to the entire Bell Tower movement,  the Indian Family Centre and all of the community members that make this possible every week. Don't forget to come on out next week for 

Ross Eadie's Powers to The People Consultation 
We will be sharing ideas and brainstorming about how to revamp our Bell Tower!!!

North End MC

My photo
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Representin the North End of Winnipeg since 1987. I will share my journey tryna set an example and live a proud Cree life. I'll include my challenges and feelings and progress in terms of AYO! Aboriginal Youth Opportunities. You(th) are the reason.