The Refugee ‘Welcome Kit’ Nods to a Kinder Canada—and a Harsher World ·

This is a long and lovely essay about Canada’s greeting to refugees.  It was written before the inauguration and the dramatic rise in refugees walking or swimming across the Canadian border. The federal government has stayed pretty silent on how to handle the recent changes in policies, south of the Canadian border.

Parkas, art, and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms embody an aspirational vision for our country

Source: The Refugee ‘Welcome Kit’ Nods to a Kinder Canada—and a Harsher World ·

Northern Cree prepare for their return to the Grammy Awards – Home | q | CBC Radio

Many Canadians are really not familiar with the traditional music of this nation but the members of Northern Cree have been drumming for round dances and pow wows since 1982!  According to their webpage, “the group originates from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation but is made up of members from the Treaty 6 area, most notably the Frog Lake Cree Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Cree Nation, and the Poundmaker Cree Nation.”  All of the members have full-time jobs and other activities that keep them busy, like raising their families but the group is frequently present at round dances in the winter, pow wows in the summer, and award shows when they are nominated.  Tonight, they will be opening for the Grammy Awards, after being nominated for an award for the 7th time!  Take some time to listen to some of their contemporary and traditional music, as well as the CBC interview with Steve Wood (very slow and clear English).

Northern Cree’s Steve Wood discusses his group’s Grammy nomination and their upcoming performance at the ceremony’s pre-show.

Source: Northern Cree prepare for their return to the Grammy Awards – Home | q | CBC Radio

Enoch Pow Wow

Last weekend, there were 2 pow wows, which were both held fairly close to Edmonton: Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation (near Lac Ste. Anne), and Enoch Cree Nation, near the end of Whitemud Drive, in west Edmonton.  My grandson and I attended Grand Entry at Enoch, on Saturday night.  I first attended Enoch pow wow about 15 years ago, when it was held mid-week, and the old arbour held only a few people.  What a change now!  There were a few hundred camping units on the site (next to highway 60), and a long lineup for security to check entering cars for drugs, alcohol, and weapons.  On the grounds, there were many vendors with food and clothing for sale.  We were able to put our blanket down to save a seat in the arbour, but it was very full, in advance of Grand Entry.

It’s hard to describe how powerful it is, when all of the 1-20 drumming groups are playing and singing, and hundreds of dancers and dignitaries fill the ring.  There are many different styles of dancing, and the regalia is so amazingly colourful!  Take a look and see for yourself.  I only use my cellphone to take pictures, so you can get much more amazing photographs if you have a good camera. There will be several more pow wows coming this summer, and several of them will be within 1 hour of Edmonton.  It’s well worth your time to visit one.

Why every Canadian should attend a pow wow



Pow Wow Season 2016

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Every summer, there are colourful, amazing festivals that take place at First Nations all around the province.  Dancers and drummer practice all through the winter season, and family members help to make the dancer’s regalia by hand.  I have posted … Continue reading

23 Reasons Why Edmonton Is The Worst City In Canada

The title of this post is meant to be ironic. It’s not true that Edmonton is the worst city in Canada. In fact, it has the largest park system in North America, tons of recreation facilities, and non-stop festivals in fun. You can stay away if you want, but you’ll miss out, if you do!

What’s so great about a mall, anyway?

Source: 23 Reasons Why Edmonton Is The Worst City In Canada

Differences between my country and Edmonton for me

Snowy winter river valley

Snowy winter river valley

Students in Intermediate A were learning about “Can” and “Have to”, and they were interested in comparing Edmonton and their hometowns.  I think they did an excellent job!

First, I like to live in Edmonton, but I love Brazil. I like to stay here because I can study English, work and meet new people. In Brazil, I can’t study English and work. The English schools in my country are pretty bad and when I studied in University, I was so busy.

In Brazil, I had a big apartment and a car. Here I have a small apartment and I don’t have a car. This is terrible for me because I love having a big space and driving a car.

I enjoy visiting my family every year. In my country, I could visit my family and eat different types of food at my mom’s house. In Edmonton, this is difficult for me. I’m a Christian, and I like to go to church, but here I can’t go a lot. In my country, I could usually go to church.

I’m fine here too. Living here has positive and negative points for my life.


Hi, I’m new here. Now I live in Canada, and before I lived in Spain. When I lived in Spain, I had three dogs, but in Canada I don’t have dogs. In Spain, I had a house in the country, but in Canada, I have a house in the city. In Spain, I could see my family every day, but in Canada I can’t see my family every day. In Spain, I could always speak Spanish, but in Canada I can’t always speak Spanish. In Spain, I could understand everything, but in Canada I can’t understand everything. But I have wanted to learn English, and here, I can do it!!!


Differences between Edmonton and Bogota:

Not all of the differences between my home and Edmonton are about the climate. Many things are very different, such as the food, the clothing, and the culture. As Colombia is in the tropics there aren’t any seasons, but in Edmonton, the year has seasons.
• In Colombia, I can wear the same clothing all year, but in Edmonton, it depends on the season.
• In Colombia, I can’t ski, but in Edmonton, I can ski while it’s winter.
• In Colombia, I can find many fruits while in Edmonton I can buy some fruits.
• In Edmonton, I can move around the city very fast and quietly, while in Bogota, Colombia, transportation is complicated and slow, so I can’t move around quickly.
• In Edmonton, I can’t wake up with the sunrise while in Colombia, I can wake up at sunrise.


When I stayed in Poland, I had to study all day and I had more free time, let’s say two weeks. I was driving in Germany and I had to work all day. In Canada, I have to study English all day. It’s good for me. I can’t work here, because I am on a Visitor Visa. In Poland and Germany, I can see my parents, my brother and my friends. Here I can’t see them, so I have to use Skype to talk to them. In Poland, I didn’t have time to learn English, but here I can learn it all the time, when I’m going to school, on the metro and bus, in shops, at school, and at home. Everywhere, there is English. In Canada, I have time for myself. I can grow and learn new things. For example, I can play golf, I can ski, and I can go ice skating. I can travel, and Canada is beautiful. I love this place. In Poland, I haven’t time for travel, because I always study and work. Here I can read more books and here they change me. I would like to stay here because I can do so much here! ☺


Differences between Edmonton and Spain

In Spain, we can swim in the rivers in summer and in Edmonton, we can’t swim in the rivers because they’re too cold. In Spain, we can use the metro, but in Edmonton, we can’t use the metro, because we don’t have it. In Edmonton, we can play rugby on the street, but in Spain, we can’t play rugby on the street because we don’t have curbs. In Spain, we had the Olympics in Barcelona, and in Canada, they had the Olympics in Montreal, in Calgary, and in Vancouver.

When I lived in my country, I had to work all day. Here, I only study English in the mornings, and two afternoons a week. I can’t work because I have a tourist visa and I don’t speak English very well.


In Argentina, I saw my family in the evenings and on weekends. Spending time together was normal. Now, I can’t see them in person, and I have to speak to them on Skype or WhatsApp. However, in Canada I have a different experience. I can meet many other people, and I can travel to my country to see my family.

When I was an adolescent, I wanted to know snow but now I think when it’s snowing, it’s nice for the first two days. After that, I’d prefer to see the snow on TV. It is so cold and snow is not my favourite thing about Canada, but with positive thoughts, I think I can handle it. I don’t like to go out to ski or sled, or go walking in the snow, but when I stay inside for this I really enjoy these moments.

In my province, the temperature is never minus zero and in winter, you don’t have to wear a coat. The climate is so hot, but here, I have to wear very warm clothes for the winter, and it’s truly cold.

In my city, I don’t have to speak another language. It is not a tourist city and is very strange to meet people from other cultures. Here, I have to learn English and I have the opportunity to get to know interesting people.


Hello! I came to Edmonton from Kiev, Ukraine. Kiev is the capital of Ukraine. Edmonton and Kiev are different cities, but sometimes, they are very similar. Kiev and Edmonton are both located on the banks of a river. The river in Ukraine is called the Dnieper. Here it is as beautiful as it is in Kiev. A lot of my friends live in Ukraine, and I really miss them. I hope that in Edmonton, I can find a lot of friends.

I graduated from Kiev University, and in Edmonton I want to continue to learn. Now, I am learning English.


When I left Africa (DRC) for Europe (France) and I arrived in France, I experienced many changes. The climate changed because there are 4 seasons. I discovered the metro and high-speed train, and then I had the ease of traveling by car or train in France. Now that I’ve been in Canada for 5 months of this, it is still a very great discovery and a big change.

I like Canada because people are nice and I like the city of Edmonton, too. There are differences; for example in France, we can’t pass another car on the right but in Canada it’s normal. In France, the speeds are so fast on the road, but not here, where drivers take their time driving. In France, I used the Euro, and here, the Canadian dollar is very complicated. In Edmonton, there are not many trains, and when I want to travel, I usually have to use a plane. Winter is really different here than in Europe, so I hope I’ll get used to it.



Hi Sugar,
How are you? I miss you very much! I have been here for a year in Edmonton. I like it very much. Edmonton traffic is very convenient because is not as crowded as Dalian, China. And people here are very polite and friendly. But it is cold in winter, and it is not as warm as Dalian. The clothes here are not as fashionable or beautiful as in Dalian. Even so, I like the city.

In Edmonton, I can take part in English learning, I can go to church, go shopping, I can go to the gym, and go skiing. But I cannot work here because I am on a tourist visa. So, I cannot work and I cannot drive here because the Chinese drivers’ license cannot be used here. These things are not the same as in Dalian.

In Edmonton, I have to do everything I can, and if I do, if I stay positive, then I have a shot at a silver lining. I don’t have to work hard. Ha ha!

Take care of yourself.

Exciting time, summer in the city!

National Aboriginal Days Poster
As the summer continues, there are more and more festivals and speciall events around the city.  One of my favourite festivals has just started: The Works Art & Design Festival All around the downtown area, there are art exhibits until July 1.  There are beer gardens, food and art vendors, and live entertainment every day in Churchill Square: Street Stage, Churchill Square  Take some time to enjoy some visual arts, as well as some music!

National Aboriginal Day (June 21) is being celbrated all month.  Special celebrations Aboriginal Day Live, in Edmonton will occur Saturday, June 20, at Louise McKinney Park, with other celebrations happening Saturday, in Churchill Square. Edmonton Aboriginal Days celebration

Spectacular Sunday: Art- Consumption and Production

Artwork in Government House

Artwork in Government House

Summer weekends are usually a time for me to get outside the city to be active.  However, I needed to be in town this weekend, and I found some very interesting activities.  In the morning, I enjoyed a 5K race, organized by MEC , followed by brunch at The Sugar Bowl where they have the most delicious cinnamon buns and an excellent beer selection (not before noon, thanks!).  Because my friend and I had some “time to kill” before our afternoon activity, we decided to visit the Royal Alberta Museum.  When we arrived at the parking lot, we were surprised to see an unfamiliar sign: Government House was open for tours (only on Sundays, 11-4).  Normally, Government House has only been open to the public on New Year’s Day (January 1) for the Lieutenant Governor’s levee, an annual reception.  I’ve always been interested in attending but never have.  The building is over 100 years old and was used as a residence by the province’s 6 first lieutenant governors (the province’s representatives of the Queen).  It was vacant and used for other purposes between 1938 and 1975 when it was restored to be used for private government meetings, as well as to host foreign dignitaries.  I was very interested in seeing what the inside of the building looked like, but I was very pleased and surprised to see how much art the building contained.  By the way, tours are FREE!

There were several works of art by a couple of my very favourite artists, Alex Janvier, of Cold Lake First Nation, and William Kurelek, born in Alberta, of Ukrainian heritage.  Both artists have very distinctive work, which I recognize immediately. I don’t think that our tour guide expected to be spending so long taking us around the building, but my friend and I, and 2 other people who joined us, spent a great deal of time looking at many of the different works of art in the building.

As well as the amazing artwork, the architecture and design of Government House is quite interesting.  The lower 2 levels have been restored to their turn-of the century design and style, with some of the original furniture having been recovered.  The top floor is very different, but equally interesting since it’s very representative of the style in the 1970s when it was restored.  The meeting room is huge and comfortably appointed so that the government in power (NDP now) can have private meetings every Wednesday.

We stopped to check out the giftshop and cafe in the museum.  Almost everything in the giftshop is 15% off right now, and the cafe also has good prices and selection.

After this visit, we continued on to our original destination, Calder Library in the Northwest section of Edmonton.  June 21 is National Aboriginal Day and the Edmonton Public Library is celebrating with special events all month.  I saw that another of my favourite artists, Aaron Paquette  was giving an art class (FREE) at a time when I could attend. This was a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.  Aaron’s artwork is on display in the Grandin/Government Centre LRT Station.

Aaron showed us a lot of tips and tricks, and I really like the walnut ink and Grey’s Paper that he showed us how to use.  We got very interesting effects from using both, and neither of these art materials is very costly.  The paper is especially low-cost, and I preferred it to the heavy watercolour paper that we used for later work.  He is a very nice, and enthusiastic man, with a very good personality for teaching.  His twin, 15-year-old sons also joined the class and did excellent paintings.


Pow Wow Season

Many American pow wows on this calendarPow Wow season has begun, although most of the pow wows that have already happened are indoors. Soon, the full-meal-deal will begin, 3 days of grand entry, competition, and drumming. Many lifelong Canadians don’t even realize that there are pow wows all over the continent through the summer season. These events provide a wonderful opportunity to see amazing colours, and talented dancers, enjoy fantastic drumming and singing, and taste some treats like “bannock burgers”. Many First Nations around the country host these events, but information about locations and dates can be hard to find. Here is some information about the coming season.

June 6, 2015

Alexander Powwow
Kipohtakaw Education Centre
School Gymnasium
Alexander First Nation, Alberta
Phone: 780-939-3868

June 13 – 14, 2015

20th Annual Aboriginal Gathering and 12th Annual Powwow
Peace River Agricultural Grounds (East of Peace River)
Peace River, Alberta
Contact: Dennis Whitford
Phone: 780-624-6367


June 20, 2015

APTN Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration
Louise McKinney Park
Edmonton, Alberta
12:00 – 10:30 pm
LIVE concert begins at 6:30 pm

Phone: 204-947-9331 ext. 358

June 26 – 28, 2015

Iyinowak Annual Powwow
Saddle Lake Cree Territory, Alberta
Phone: 780-726-3829

June 30 – July 2, 2015

Beaver Lake Cree Nation Annual Competition Powwow
Honoring Iskwewak
18 km SE of Lac La Biche
Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Alberta
Contact: Gerald Whitford
Phone: 780-623-2553

July 3 – 5, 2015

O’Chiese First Nation Competition Powwow
Celebrating Our Cultural Heritage
O’Chiese First Nation
Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

Contact: Doreen Gladeau
Phone: 1-888-256-3884 /


July 3 – 5, 2015

Ermineskin Cree Nation Powwow
Maskwacis Park
Maskwacis, Alberta

Contact: Iris Albert / Phone: 780-585-3065
Contact: Nina Makinaw / Phone: 780-352-1321

July 10 – 12, 2015

Enoch Cree Nation Powwow
Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta
Phone: 780-470-0359



July 10 – 12, 2015

Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Annual Powwow
Nakota Sioux Nation, Alberta
Contact: Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Administration Office
Phone: 780-967-2225


July 17 – 19, 2015

Kainai Powwow & Celebration
Red Crow
Standoff, Alberta

Phone: 587-220-0046

July 31 – August 2, 2015

53rd Annual Lac La Biche Powwow Days & Fish Derby
Lac La Biche Recreation Grounds
Lac La
Biche, Alberta
Contact: Colleen (780-623-2477)


July 31 – August 2, 2015

Kamloopa Powwow
Secwepemc Powwow Grounds
Kamloops, British Columbia
Contact: Kamloopa Powwow Society

Phone: 250-828-9782

National Geographic recommends…  That you visit Edmonton this summer!

Visit Edmonton!

When people arrive in Edmonton from another part of the world, they often complain that the city is boring and cold.  During the winter, it is dark for a long time, and the weather is cold.  You often won’t see people out on the streets during the winter months.  However, from  the May long weekend (third Monday in May, just finished), until Labour Day (first Monday in September), there are so many choices of activities that you can’t possibly enjoy them all!!

Visit the River Valley, where you can walk, run, ride a bicycle, or just drive your car to a park for a picnic, a Barbecue, or just to relax.  Our ribbon of green runs the full length of the city, so you can spend your full day there, if you want.

Go to our leisure centres, indoor and outdoor sports facilities throughout the city.  I’ve never visited another city with so many swimming pools!  Play basketball, kick a soccer ball, play tennis, or walk on a track.  You can keep healthy and have fun.  There are competitions in all kinds of sports, including triathlon, dragon boat, slowpitch baseball, street basketball, ultimate frisbee, you name it.  There’s no good reason to stay inside your house or apartment during the summer!


FESTIVALS!  Edmonton is known as festival city, and it’s hard to believe how many kinds of festivals we have here! The Sikh Parade was on the weekend, the Children’s Festival is coming up, and Edmonton’s Fringe Festival in August was the first, and is the largest theatre festival in North America.

Cultural exchange: Do you want to eat injera (Ethipian), practice Capoeira (Brazilian), learn to play Chinese chess, watch a pow wow (Indigenous Canadian dance competition), pray in a Buddhist temple, enjoy fresh perogies from Ukraine, or pasta from Italy?  Do you want to learn a new language or skill?  You can do all of these things on the same weekend, without travelling too far from the city centre.  People from every corner of the world have made Edmonton home, and now, they are happy to share their traditions and culture here.  The Edmonton Heritage Festival is a very popular time to see, taste, and hear many different cultures.  Personally, I avoid the crowds on that weekend, and visit many small businesses and activities all through the year.

Student writing, retell a story you know (students’ choice)

20150511 Write for Success writing

Turkey, an Interesting and Paradoxical Country

In the spring of 2009, I was in bed. It was about 2:30 am when the phone rang. I had a long distance call from Turkey! What an unexpected event for a Cuban, who was not supposed to know anybody from abroad, and even more, from a country so geographically distant.

In order to make a living in Havana, I was working as a musician at that time. One of my former bandmates had already been sent by the government to Turkey to work there under a contract. So, he contacted me that night to find out if I was interested in joining his band on a tour throughout the south of Turkey and Istanbul for five months. I didn’t think twice. Of course, no Cuban that I know would hesitate either.

The sensation of freedom that I experienced after arriving in a foreign country’s airport was overwhelming, considering that for Cubans, being able to travel abroad is not even a possibility. Firstly, Cubans don’t earn enough money to buy a plane ticket. Secondly, you need a visa to visit almost any country, and last but not least, is that at that time you had to have permission from the government to leave the country.
In addition to all of this excitement and my desire of being abroad for the first time, my expectations were exceeded once I started to discover an interesting and different new culture.

The first thing that really impressed me was the combination of old traditions and modern life throughout the country. In spite of the fact that Turkey was at one time considered to be a socialist country, Turks had indeed embraced capitalism.

If you travel across the country you notice right away the differences between small villages and big modern cities. Both have become tourist destinations for thousands of visitors a year. Small hamlets are often ancient. Their people still embrace traditions like weaving fascinating rugs, and if you are an enthusiast of eating well, you can get really addicted to their cuisine. Villages also look very clean although their houses are in disrepair, reflecting in my opinion, their pride and hard-working spirit. Big cities are in different ways always fascinating too. Places like Marmaris, Bodrum and Kucadaci have now become tourist destinations because of their beaches and active nightlife. But you can still experience the real life of an average Turk. These places have plenty of humble restaurants, markets and other attractions where interacting with nationals is very easy.

Istanbul is a unique city. About 20 million people live there. Its main streets are packed most of the time, mostly at night. Turks like going out for dinner, drinks and listening to music all the time, as you can see on Istiklal Kadeci, one of the most popular downtown streets in Istanbul. There are hundreds of restaurants in the neighbourhood, but it is difficult to find a table on a Saturday night. One example that illustrates how dynamic life is in the city is a bank employee who I met through a friend of mine one night at a pub. He and my friend spent the whole night drinking and eating until sunrise and they both went directly to their jobs that morning.

Turkey is an interesting place to discover. There is a mixture of the orthodox Muslim traditions and the new westernized country. Turks are still very nationalistic, proud of their origins and traditions, but they are taking the risk of building a modern and prosperous country.

Drawing a snake and adding feet (superfluous details)

This is an ancient Chinese story. There was a sacrificial activity that had just finished. Many people had come to help the employer. For appreciation, the employer had prepared some food and a pot of wine as a gift. But only one pot was not enough for everyone.

Everyone quieted down, and then someone suggested, “How about we have a drawing competition? We can paint on the ground, and the person who finishes a snake the first, will win the wine!” Everyone thought that was a brilliant idea, and they all agreed. So they started to draw.

A man drew very quickly, and he finished in an instant. He took the pot of wine and got ready to drink it, but he stopped and looked at the others who had not finished yet. And He thought, “They are so slow, let me show them what else I can do!” So he held the wine in his left hand, and started to use his right hand to draw feet for his snake. He said triumphantly:” You guys are so slow, look at me, I have even given the snake a few feet! It’s not too late yet!”

While he was drawing it and talking, another person had just finished his snake. Suddenly, the second person snatched the wine from the first person’s left hand immediately. The second person told the first person: “I won the competition. Have you ever met any snake with feet? I drew a snake, but you did not.” After that the second man started to enjoy the wine.

After this story, people comment based on the story, “Drawing a snake and adding feet”. This idiom means, “superfluous”. People try to be smart, and often do extra things, which even make things worse sometimes.

-From a Chinese idiom story

My story is fiction:

One morning, a five-year-old girl looked at the sky and wondered how it became so beautiful. She thought, “Can I touch this wonderful world?” After that, she ran home and asked her brother to go outside with her. When they came out, he didn’t ask any questions, and they walked and walked, until they were tired. Her brother asked where they were going, and she told him today we are going to touch that beautiful world. Her brother was older than her, so he understood what she wanted. He said, “My sister, we must go back home and ask our father to drive us there”. When they got home, she went to her father and asked for his help to get what she wanted. Her father couldn’t believe what his daughter was saying. He said, “My Honey, you must wait until you grow up, and if you still want to go at that time, you will go there.


Dear Ellen,

What a very enthusiastic class we have! Thank you for being there for us. You always come to teach us in Write for Success class with 100% full energy!

English Writing is the most daunting task for me! I have to face the music if I want to get a higher mark on my TOEFL or IELTS test. As you know, I have limitations in my English, especially in Academic Writing.

After my second class, I am going to make a list of what I have to improve in a very short time in order to improve my writing skill. Firstly, reading more, to become familiar with more words and their applications. I am going to read magazines, especially those magazines that relate to history, nature, sports, people and other things that interest me. By reading those magazines, I will get two benefits. Magazines are always entertaining to me and they only contain short stories, so I will not get bored easily. For the next step, I would like to read more novels. Actually, I prefer reading non-fiction stories, rather than fiction ones. Nowadays, people like watching television or movies more than reading! That includes myself!

Secondly, I would like to use more idioms or more advanced words in my academic writing. I have to build some vocabulary, including synonyms, and antonyms. I will get started from now on.

Thirdly, I will try to write everything, about any subject that matters to me in my everyday life. This is a writing activity that I have never done, only when I was at school, of course. I don’t know why, but somehow, I have done more reading than writing in my life.

I am eager to see the outcome of my writing class in four weeks time. Hopefully there will be progress in my learning curve. Can I do that? What’s a big challenge to myself!

Yours sincerely,

Name On The Red Paper

P is the only son of mine. He has played computer games since he was thirteen years old. He was knowledgeable in science. He read a lot, including books about finances, war, politics, and life in New York.

One day, he requested a flight ticket to New York from me. He wanted a one-way ticket. He wanted to stay in New York, and he did not want to come back to Edmonton again. He thought that he could make a good life there, because there are many casinos there. If he were smart enough and lucky, he could become a billionaire. He would be rich.

I was shocked by this request. I was going to lose him. He was in danger. I couldn’t imagine what kind of life would be in his future. I worried and worried, and I thought about how to stop him, and how to change his mind. After a couple days of thinking, I phoned a fortune-teller to discuss this situation. He gave me advice. He wanted me to write my son’s name and birthday on a red paper, put it into a small box, and then seal it. Never open it again. I did this. This took some days to make it work. By the way, I postponed buying a ticket for him. I was trying to show him how good it would be if he stayed in Canada, as well as how much love we shared. The days slowly passed on. Finally, he forgot the ticket to New York.

He went to U of A and listened to me about studying in our country to become a dentist. I never opened the box.

I am getting older now. I started to think about what would happen, if one day I passed away, and nobody opened the envelope for me. After discussing it with my husband, I decided to open it. I opened it last week. I prayed to Buddha, “Please protect P; please give him a peaceful life”. I’ve lifted a heavy weight from my shoulders now. It was my secret, and I didn’t want to keep it for my full life.

My story: I worked in Brooks, for the company called Lakeside in Alberta. It’s a meat company, and there was a time that I left at 2:30 in the morning to come to Edmonton. This was on January 22, 2001. It was very cold, the weather was bad, and my car was making some noise while I was driving. Suddenly the car stopped on the road. I got out of the car, and then waved at every car. However, the first car that stopped was my neighbour. What can I say? I am a lucky woman, and that’s my story. Thank you.

A popular narrative story I used to hear

This tale, all parents have told it since long ago, to small kids, usually in the evening after dinner. At my earlier age, all fellows like me were very fascinated to hear about it, and we never missed the nightly get-togethers, which never bored anyone. Even nowadays, adults from my tribe have shared and reported this story to children, grandchildren, and it still is popular forever.

The tale is about animals who lived in the community. One of them was very smart with a strong bond to his widowed mother. He was called “KABUNDGI” a small and smart animal. One day, the younger animals decided to kill their parents because of lack of food in the community. Everyone followed this decision and killed his parents. Only Kabundgi didn’t do so.

Life kept going in the same way, which means it became worse and worse, and there was no chance of getting food. Crime increased in the community, and most of the animals became scrawny, starving, and sick. After all this, the community figured out that Kabundgi was the only one in good shape, and wasn’t affected, and they wanted to know how come?

Elephant, the chief, made an investigative group after the small fellow, Mr. Kabundgi. They learned that he had escaped in the forest many times, after checking to see that no one was around him. The investigation revealed that Kabundgi had a secret, which was, after he was a long way into the wilderness, he stopped, and started singing further up a high and huge tree. The song was to call someone, please him, and beg him. The others hid in the bush and Kabundgi never saw them.

The song with a specific melody was a sign to be identified before gaining access to the tree. He had to sing it three times in this way, “You are the lovely mother for everybody, the others killed and ate their mothers, instead of doing that I hid you very far in a secret tree where nobody could find you, and you are the special one”.

He had seen his mother many times, and he ate what his mother cooked. After a short rest, Kabundgi went back to the community without any clue that his secret was already revealed. One day, the chief sent three of the others to kill Kabundgi’s mother. Upon arriving under the high tree, they tried 3 times to sing like Kabundgi but they couldn’t get it. The fourth time, one of them perfectly imitated Kabundgi’s voice and his mother opened the access. They ate Kabundgi’s food and killed his mother. After this, they made some nice meat from Kabundgi’s mother’s body, and they left the place.

Kabundgi showed up late, tried several times to be identified and never got any response from his mother. Therefore, he decided to enter, and he was surprised that his mother was absent but left him a nice dinner. Without any suspicion about the meat, he took a short rest as a routine. When he wanted to leave, something fell from above, and it was his mother’s head. He realized that his dinner had been made from his mother’s body, and he started crying. It was very horrible for him.

It took a while to recover from what had happened. One day, he apologized to everyone about what he had done by not killing his mother at the same time as the others. He invited everybody to a big party he would soon organize, and the entire community accepted the invitation he gave. The day of the event, no one missed the party, and they enjoyed the big fiesta. But, earlier, the smart Kabundgi prepared fire pits surrounding the area, and later, during the time of the celebration, he started the fire in the pits, and everyone died. That was the way Kabundgi avenged his mother’s death. This tale pushes kids like myself to be close to their mothers.