Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Reading by the Salish Sea

Thursday night was the final event in the local Arts Council's series of readings.

Our guest, here from Saskatchewan to help us with our month-long celebration of National Aboriginal Day, was Louise B. Halfe.

Besides reading from her three collections of poetry (Bear Bones & Feathers, Blue Marrow, and The Crooked Good), she told stories. These ranged from her family's experiences in residential schools to the meaning behind her Cree name, Sky Dancer.

It seemed appropriate to have her with us this week, the same time Canada's Commission on Truth and Reconciliation is meeting in Winnipeg. The day was also auspicious for being the same day the residents of Haida Gwai officially 'returned' the old name for their home, 'Queen Charlotte Islands'. Even this posting today feels as if it offers some kind of closure, as today is the final day of the Truth and Reconciliation events, with Michaelle Jean in attendance.

It was evident from all she said and did that Louise is a firm believer in crossing barriers and continuing dialogue. To summarize her performance, I need to steal a line from her -- "the people were filled with mystery and magic." Yes, we were.

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