For the month of July this year, I toured through three Canadian states performing at summer music festivals in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Bella Coola and Harrison, made possible by the support of the Canadian Council for the Arts. Along the way we met so many wonderful First Nations performers, community members and Hereditary Chiefs and clocked around 5000 kms driving through some of the most spectacular country I have ever seen. I felt so welcomed by everyone we met along the way and was honored to have spent meaningful time with so many First Nations people. My spirit was filled to overflowing. One performer, Leonard Sumner, I had the opportunity to see perform at several of the festivals I was also performing at. Leonard has just visited me at home in south west Victoria and we had the best yarns from our time together...
A big shout out to all our friends from the Nuxalk Nation Bella Coola BC, especially Peter Tallio, Health Director at Nuxalk Health and Wellness and Noel Scott Pootlass, Nuxalk Artist Chief Nuximlayc, Sheldon from Nuxalk Radio 91.1 FM and Clyde from Copper Sun Gallery & Journeys Petroglyph Tour.
To Dr Reg Crowshoe, Elder and leader from the Piikani nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy and his wife, Rosie, who transferred a name to me at the Calgary Folk Music Festival, and gifted me with a robe to keep my voice strong, Amy Willier and Curtis Lefthand (both members of the newly appointed Calgary Folk Festival Indigenous Advisory Group).
To David McLeod the CEO of Winnipeg's First Nations radio station, NCI FM - The Spirit of Manitoba, Alan Greyeyes and Destiny for connecting us all. Many beautiful connections made with other First Nations musicians, Leonard Sumner, nêhiyawak, A Tribe Called Red and importantly a deeply moving Welcoming Ceremony at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in Manitoba led by Anishinaabe Elder Sherry Copenace.
You will all be in my heart forever.