~ Dave Casey
Dave Casey is originally from San Francisco and holds a Master’s Degree in Metalsmithing and Jewelry with a minor in Painting. He has taught drawing, painting and sculpture at the Alberta College of Art + Design for more than thirty years. Dave has painted with acrylics for years and during the past ten has included digital photographs. In the paintings objects and surface come together as sites for remembrance, and as a location for our stories.
~ M. Roberts
M. Roberts is well known for photographing the Calgary literary scene.
Sh … Sh … don’t cry … your father will be back soon … I am hungry too … today is the day they will sign the Gah hala’s treaty … today the pipe will be smoked and everything will change … there will no longer be emptiness in our bellies. They say they will protect the buffalo if we agree. They made the promise the police will help us … they will look after the women and children and keep us safe. Things are going to change soon. Everything will be plentiful again and we will walk together with the newcomers. We will share the land with them and we will teach them our stories and our songs and they will teach us theirs. We cannot stop this change. Sh … please don’t cry … you are going to grow up to be a strong warrior and you will speak of the days when the change began. We will always be here, my son … we will always be here … don’t cry … the change is coming and we will always be here …
I’m still here … I’m still hungry … I need change … do you have any change? I don’t want your pity, I want your change. What? What are you looking at? Just acting right good. Don’t you look down on me … I know who I am!! My great grandfather signed the treaty of this land! Do you know who you are? I don’t need this. I don’t need anything. I just need … I just need my babies … my babies … where are my babies!! You!! You took my babies you son of a bitch! My babies … I just need a light … you got a light? What, do you want me to dance for you? I’ll dance for you!! Ahhhh, just kidding. Please … give me some change.
So that you know … the history of this land. Hear the songs that are held deep in this land. Ask me questions about who I am, about who my parents and grandparents are. I want to mean something to you … something more than western movies and alarming
statistics you read in your newspapers. Our young people are rising up … now is the time for them to feel proud of exactly who they are. They will stand up and use their voices. Education is the new buffalo. Let go of any stereotypes you may have held about my people. I don’t want you to be afraid of me … I don’t want to be afraid of you. I want to feel protected by the police. I do not want broken promises. I want the truth. I need for us to talk. I need you to hear me. I am survival … I am connected to this land by the very being of who I am, by the songs that flow through my veins as long as the sun shines and the grass grows and the water flows. I am respect, and I am here. You are here and we will always be here. I want you and me to see each other as human beings. I want change.
~ Michelle Thrush
Michelle Thrush is a Gemini award winning screen actress (Blackstone), who has also appeared in Arctic Air and North of 60. She is a tireless supporter of youth education and arts, a promoter of First Nations rights and culture, and the proud mother of two daughters.
~ George Webber
George Webber has been photographing the people and landscape of the Canadian west for over thirty years. He was inducted into The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1999. His books include Requiem, A World Within, People of The Blood, Last Call, In This Place and Prairie Gothic.
“Everything is holy!” Allen Ginsberg, 1956
Along this reach of the river, snow outlines
empty limbs of the cottonwood,
green spruce branches
are weighted by white clumps.
Midstream, a few rocks topped by snow
break the moving sheet of water.
From the current’s edge west to the forest
a meadow extends pure white.
What is the purpose of a universe
that contains such beauty? When time and matter were one,
the location that was each potential future instant
did not float in a where. The primal speck of energy
was all the All needed to be. What, then, impelled existence
to abruptly form?
I do not believe poverty is holy,
nor the act of parents who sell a child,
nor men and women preaching that a god
demands the murder of other people.
The panic of the middle-aged man who stops me on the sidewalk,
terrified because he has left his wallet on the bus
and no one will help him recover his ID, his money,
is abnormal, disturbed we call it,
That which is designated “holy”
by those officially appointed to award the term
is intended to possess qualities that transcend
humans’ ability to attain them – virtues we can only worship
or try to emulate. Rather than venerate pain, or an alp,
though, let us stand up for our wholesome selves.
Let us accept that in the presence of
fields of snow that sparkle back at sun
a sensation of joy suffuses us, as in the June woods, too,
we might be overwhelmed by pleasure
at the trees’ gifts. Can we not acknowledge such sweet mysteries
or the entire cosmos, experience awe
at the body’s delights and weirdness
We have no way of confirming
angels feel rapturous in the divine presence
or if for them it isn’t just another day at work.
We do know a human possibility
is exaltation when we encounter the good. Let us praise
to and for ourselves
the best of ourselves,
the bend of the winter river.