Publisher: Rebeka Tabobondung
Art Director & Webmaster: David Shilling
Editor in Chief: Cherie Dimaline
Graphic Designer Trainee: Robin Sutherland
Office Manager Trainee: John Croutch
Video Editor: Malinda Francis
Muskrat Youth Arts Advisor: Wenzdae Brewster
MUSKRAT magazine is published twice a year by MAAIINGAN Productions, a collective of Aboriginal artists, designers and researchers working collaboratively to promote and support each other’s work in community and media arts. www.maaiinganproductions.com
Contributors & Guest Artists
National Chief Shawn Atleo
Chief Wilton Littlechild
Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinabe-kwe image and word warrior from Beausoleil First Nation. Her mediums include visual art, filmmaking, writing, curating and arts administration, consulting and leadership. Recently she curated House of Wayward Spirits with artists Rebecca Belmore, James Luna, Lori Blondeau, Adrian Stimson, Archer Pechawis and The Contrary Collective. She has a Masters in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto Nanibush has published in FUSE magazine, Literary Review of Canada and in the book: This is an Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Blockades, amoung others.
Lee Maracle is the author of a number of critically acclaimed winning literary works including:Sojourner’s and Sundogs, Ravensong, Bobbi Lee, Daughters Are Forever, Will’s Garden, Bent Box, I Am Woman, and First Wives’ Club: Salish Style, and is co-editor of a number of anthologies including the award winning My Home As I Remember, Telling It: Women and Language Across Culture. She is a member of the Sto:Loh Nation and has served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor at both University of Toronto and Western Washington University. In 2009, Ms. Maracle received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the St. Thomas University. Her upcoming work, Memory Serves: and other words will be published by Coromont Book sin 2013.
An award-winning writer of Cree/Métis ancestry, Marilyn Dumont’s work has been widely published in literary journals around the world. Marilyn’s first collection, A Really Good Brown Girl, won the 1997 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award presented by the League of Canadian Poets. This collection is now in its 11th printing, and selections from it are widely anthologized. Her second collection, Green Girl Dreams Mountains, won the 2001 Stephan G. Stephansson Award from the Writer’s Guild of Alberta. That Tongued Belonging, her third collection, was awarded the 2007 Anskohk Aboriginal Poetry Book of the Year, and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year.
Marilyn has held several positions as Writer-in-Residence at academic institutions and currently teaches Creative Writing at Athabasca University. In 2008, she was Writer-in-Residence at Edmonton Public Library. Marilyn is currently working on her fourth manuscript in which she explores Métis history, politics and identity through her ancestral descendant, Gabriel Dumont.
Randy Fred survived nine years as a student at the Alberni indian Residential School. He first shared this experience as a foreword in Celia Haig-Brown’s book, “Resistance & Renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School”, published by Arsenal Pulp Press’ imprint, Tillacum Library, for which he was the Managing Editor. After a degenerative eye condition prevented him from continuing in his career of accounting he moved into the communications field. He worked in radio broadcasting, video production, book publishing, newspaper publishing and currently publishes a magazine, “FACE: Aboriginal Life & Culture”. He set up short courses in communications, trained many people in book and newspaper publishing and today does contract work in training coordination for aboriginal fishers.
National Chief Shawn Atleo
Shawn A-in-Chut Atleo is the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada. Atleo is a First Nations activist and formerly served as the AFN’s Regional Chief in British Columbia. He is a Hereditary Chief of the Ahousaht First Nation, part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation and holds a Master of Education in Adult Learning and Global Change (MEd) from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. In 2008, he was named Chancellor of Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia, becoming the first university chancellor of Aboriginal heritage in the province’s history.
Atleo has been the executive director of a family addictions treatment facility and of an Aboriginal post-secondary training institute, Umeek Human Resource Development. He was a participant in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and led a delegation to assist in rebuilding Indigenous communities in Indonesia following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and its associated tsunami. He is also a member of the World Future Council.
Atleo and his partner of 26 years, Nancy, have two adult children, Tyson and Tara.
Nuu-chah-nulth from the Ahousaht First Nation on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, BC. Artistically, J’net expresses herself through traditional cedar bark weaving and contemporary textile art on clothing. Professionally, J’net’s goal is to work as a cultural resource, mentor and facilitator to create forums that engage with Indigenous communities which foster networks and celebrate through culture and the arts.
Chief Wilton Littlechild
In 1976, Chief Wilton Littlechild had the distinction of being the first Treaty First Nation person to acquire a law degree from the University of Alberta. He received his Bachelor of Physical Education Degree in 1967 and his Master’s Degree in Physical Education in 1975. In June of 2007, the University of Alberta bestowed the Doctor of Laws Degree on Chief Littlechild for his outstanding achievements.
An avid sportsman and athlete, Chief Littlechild has won more than fifty provincial, regional, national, and international championships. He has served as a coach and organizer of sports events, was a founder of the North American Indigenous games, and has been inducted into seven different sports halls of fame.
Chief Littlechild is a respected lawyer and operates the law firm of J. Wilton Littlechild, Barrister and Solicitor, which is situated in the Ermineskin Reserve. He is a strong advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and promoter of implementation of the treaties between Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Crown, now represented by the federal government. Chief Littlechild also served as the Chairperson for the Commission on First Nations and Métis Peoples and Justice Reform, mandated to review the justice system in the province of Saskatchewan.
Chief Littlechild served as a Member of Parliament from 1988 – 1993 for the riding of Wetaskiwin-Rimby. He served on several senior committees in the House of Commons and was a parliamentary delegate to the United Nations. Chief Littlechild organized a coalition of Indigenous Nations that sought and gained consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. He was re-appointed by the E.C.O.S.O.C. President to represent North America and has completed his second and final term as the North American representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Chief Littlechild was honoured by being appointed the Honourary Chief for the Maskwacis Crees and also honoured by the Chiefs of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations as the International Chief for Treaty No. 6 Confederacy. He is married to Helen Peacock and is the father of three children: Teddi, Neil and Megan.
Audrey Huntley is a wanderer, storyteller, documentary filmmaker, community researcher and writer/producer of mixed European settler and Indigenous (Anishnawbe) ancestry. She grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and moved to Europe as a young adult. Audrey has a Masters in Political Sciences from the Philipps University of Marburg, Germany. Audrey has been doing community based research in Indigenous communities in BC and Ontario since 1998. Her documentary about Norma George, an Indigenous woman from Takla Landing who was murdered and dumped on the outskirts of Vancouver, Go Home, Baby Girl (2005) aired nationally on CBC television in addition to Letters from Caledonia/Six Nations (2006) (11min) and Mohawk Smokes (2006) (12 min).
Produced independently by WolfDogProductions A Warrior-Woman’s Journey: From Six Nations to Oaxaca (26 min) screened at ImagineNative 2008.
Audrey has authored several reports as well as a book in German Writing Resistance: The Discourse of Decolonization in Native Women’s Writing (1996)
Audrey is currently based in Toronto, ON.
Zainab Amadahy is a writer and activist of African American, Tsalagi and European heritage. Her publications include the novel Moons of Palmares (1998, Sister Vision Press) as well as an essay in the anthology Strong Women’s Stories: Native Vision & Community Activism, (Lawrence & Anderson, 2004, Sumach Press). Most recently Zainab contributed to In Breach of the Colonial Contract (Arlo Kemp, ED) by co-authoring “Indigenous Peoples and Black People in Canada: Settlers or Allies?”, Many of her articles can be found on rabble.ca. As an artist and activist based in Toronto, Zainab has worked with a variety of organizations to support decolonization, social justice and First Nations struggles.
Tannis Nielsen is of Métis of Cree, Sohto and Danish descent. As a practicing professional Indigenous artist and academic, Tannis has focused her research interests upon the examinations of an anti-colonial, Fourth World / Indigenous paradigm, as well as the Western / Euro-centric paradigm, Tannis locates herself within the praxis of a critical method of instruction that places emphasis towards the ideas of political, cultural, spiritual, social and environmental justice.
As an artist Tannis has exhibited her works at such galleries as the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and has co-curated exhibitions such as the Enacting Emancipation show at A-Space Gallery, with Vicky Moufawad Paul.
Tannis has also written a number of articles on arts and culture, some of which include “Re-materializing the Matriarchy” for Spirit Magazine. The Conundrum of Critical pedagogy in Community Arts Education”
Rebeka Tabobondung, Publisher
Publisher of MUSKRAT Magazine, Rebeka Tabobondung is a community documentary filmmaker, poet and Indigenous knowledge researcher. Rebeka is an M.A. graduate in Sociology & Equity Studies in Education. Her documentary work has screened at festivals across Canada and internationally, while her written works have been published in numerous journals and anthologies throughout North America. In 2008, Rebeka was the Festival Director of the imagineNATIVE film & Media Arts Festival and was also the former Director of the Centre for Women and Trans People at the University of Toronto. Rebeka’s latest research and film work documents traditional birth knowledge from Wasauksing First Nation where she is also a member. Rebeka has traveled extensively throughout Central America working to build meaningful links between Indigenous communities in the North and South. She is the co-founder of MAAIINGAN Productions and Research Coordinator of the Indigenous Knowledge Network for Infant, Child, and Family Health at St. Michael’s Hospital. She is the co-founder of MAAIINGAN Productions.
David Shilling, Art Director and Webmaster
David Shilling was raised in Rama and Tyendinaga First Nations and in the city of Toronto. As well as being self-taught Dave has studied graphic and web design at George Brown College and Ryerson University. David is the art director and designer for FNH magazine and the co-founder of MAAIINGAN Productions.
Cherie Dimaline, Editor
Cherie Dimaline has held many jobs including magician’s assistant, museum curator and executive director. Her creative work has been featured in national magazines and sought after for diverse anthologies. Her first book, ‘Red Rooms’ debuted in Spring of 2007 and received positive accolades from both Aboriginal and mainstream audiences, culminating in its receiving the Fiction Book of the Year Award at the Anskohk Literary Festival. Since its release, Red Rooms continues to find its way onto college and university reading lists and into libraries and schools internationally. She has traveled across Canada and to Australia to give readings and present lectures on her writing. Cherie lives in Toronto, Canada with her partner and their three children. She is the writer in residence for First Nations House at the University of Toronto and is the editor of FNH Magazine.
John Croutch, is Anishinaabe and German and a member of Wikwemikong First Nation and a recent graduate at the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelors of Art.
John has over 30 years experience in the food industry and is the current owner of Accidental Caterer, which specializes in the use of Indigenous ingredients in updated traditional First Nations cuisine that he fondly refers to as Native Fusion. Prior to Accidental Caterer, John owned and operated Frecklebean Café in Toronto, which emphasized fresh, wholesome, homemade cuisine at prices that local students from the nearby OCAD University could afford.
John’s interest vary from the effects of colonization on traditional food systems to understanding how corporate greed has used its power and influence to co-opt the governments role as overseer of food safety and nutritional integrity through intense lobbying at the political level and through the sponsorship of scientific research, journals, and university and hospital programs at the professional level. He twice elected president of the Native Students’ Association (NSA) at the University of Toronto, and was instrumental in restoring the NSA’s sacred garden – the Kahonake Kititikan.
John was also a member of the Toronto Star Community Editorial Board and was selected to attend the Terra Madre, The Slow Food Conference in Turin Italy in October 2010 as an Aboriginal representative. 2010 was the year that Terra Madre added a new feature that brings a focus to “cultural and linguistic diversities – in recognition of the need to defend minority ethnic groups and indigenous languages, and with an appreciation of the value of oral traditions and memory.”
As a filmmaker, Malinda’s craft is embedded in my community. Media must work towards social justice, build community, and create solutions to our problems. She believes in creating space for stories of Black/Caribbean and African Diaspora, and works to connect communities across the Diaspora with Indigenous Communities. In order for our stories to reach their audience it is vital for us as storytellers to work in building towards a film industry.
Telling the untold story by any means necessary, We don’t need your permission and our stories will be told. We don’t want your credibility from your unjust system. Working to support artists and communities to become self-sustaining and autonomous. The themes that she explores in her work are around urban living and cities, and as well migration stories. Malinda is currently working her first feature Documentary The Diaspora Travels: Haiti: in Development, a film as well archival of stories that follows the Diaspora back to Haiti, and documents the long rebuilding process after the Jan12 2010 Earthquake.
Follow her adventures on www.docuvixen.com
Ian Wylie is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto. Outside of his studies, he assisted in expanding the Canadian Roots Exchange into Alberta. Currently, he is working on a project with his partner exploring the experiences of Aboriginal peoples living in cities. He lives in Toronto.
Wenzdae Brewster (West Indian/Ojibway Metis) is a grade 8 student and arts enthusiast based out of Toronto. She has won national and regional writing contests, danced professionally, performed in several onstage productions and is an accomplished vocalist. She is currently studying traditional beadwork, visual arts, photography and Aniishabemowin. Wenzdae enjoys travelling internationally and powwowing whenever she gets the chance.
Jenifer Rudski is Tetlit Gwichen/English/Polish/Scottish. She has always felt a deep connection to water and paddle boarding’s balancing connection to body, breathe and water compliments her Yoga roots. She loves sharing her passion of early morning paddles, sun-salutations and full moon paddles on Lake Ontario.
Jenifer is a Certified Paddle Board Instructor through Paddle Canada, Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, and CPR & First Aid Certified.Special Thanks
Greg Harmandayan, Jessica Kraitberg, Zeegwon Shilling-Tabobondung, Rachel Shilling, Glenna Matoush, Indigenous Sovereignty Week, Defenders of the Land, Eva Rose Tabobondung, Zainab Amadahy, Glen Gould, Muin Gould, First Nations House at the University of Toronto, Centre for Community Mapping, Toronto Native Community History Project.