21 Comments
Jan 31, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

I love the reminder to pay attention to the treasures of the elders--in every tradition. Al's story about the bush dances reminds me of a tradition I was once privileged to witness: in western North Carolina there is a tradition around Jan 6 called "Breaking up Christmas." In the version I attended, friends were invited to someone's house, bringing along their Christmas trees and a contribution to a shared supper. There was chili on a wood stove inside. Outside, there was a bonfire to which each guest would add their decomissioned Christmas tree, which would go up with a glorious spray of sparks and pops. Those outside at the fire would tell stories or just watch the fire until they got too cold. Or look up at a sky brilliant with stars. Inside, a room had been cleared and those who brought instruments were playing guitars, fiddles and other instruments, playing one song after the other. Or in the room with the food, just visiting and sampling each other's offerings.

It was magical. Music, singing, food, fire, gathering--these are all elements that have brought people together for millennia. I mourn that the pandemic has made gatherings with food so risky, but maybe a bonfire is in order...

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I love this. Thank you.

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founding

Love this image. What a great tradition.

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Jan 31, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

"Their outrage grows louder and more aggressive but that is a sign they are failing to keep us contained."  For some reason I often think this outrage is self-generated, rather than a reaction. And because I think that way, I don't have a lot of hope. But what you say is true--they're angrier and louder when we make even the tiniest bit of headway. I need to remember this. Thanks.

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I think it is self-generated out of fear and ignorance. Some come around, others take it to their graves.

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Jan 31, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

What an absolutely wonderful post, Chris. I am moved by your story, and your reverence for the story. The bitch light image is now haunting me in a good way. Thank you.

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Thank you, Joyce.

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founding

Just filled my heart right up and kept kn going, Chris. Thank you 💗💗💗

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💚💚💚

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Jan 31, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Hi Chris,

To spend another afternoon in the garden with my Grandmother Antoinette! It is my great misfortune that she passed when I was 15. Had I been a bit older there are so many more conversations we could have had. I ever endeavor to keep her memory alive and to honor her.

And to share a personal thought, live in the light with hope and compassion and equality and Justice will eventually prevail. Not that there will no obstacles, some ugly obstacles. Continue to forge ahead with your passions and your dreams.

Sincerely,

Melissa

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founding

Chris, I love this so much--was moved by Lorelie Ivanoff's essay as well, have been thinking about it all week and love that you wrote about it and the story of the bitch lights, and the joy of the dance, and this: "But I don’t need those resources because I have Al’s story. And now you have it too. So find your origins, friends. Talk to your elders. We have largely forgotten what bounty they provide us. For all our digital convenience, they are the sources that matter." Yes. It's so easy to forget this.

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Thank you, Freya!

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Feb 2, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

My knowledge of Metis' is so limited. The Google search results I came across do not seem to be written by indigenous writers. Until your book comes out, is there something else I could read?

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author

"Strange Empire" by Joseph Kinsey Howard.

"With passion and verve, Joseph Kinsey Howard, author of the best-selling Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome, narrates the tragic story of Louis Riel, the Métis people, and their struggle for a homeland on the plains of the U.S.-Canada border."

https://www.factandfictionbooks.com/book/9780873512985

"We Know Who We Are" by Martha Harroun Foster.

This one details specifically the Métis who founded Lewistown, MT.

https://bookshop.org/books/we-know-who-we-are-metis-identity-in-a-montana-community/9780806153483

"Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land" by Toni Jensen isn't so much about Métis as it is a memoir-in-essays written by a Métis woman and it's great.

https://www.factandfictionbooks.com/book/9781984821201

There is also "The North-West Is Our Mother: The Story of Louis Riel's People, the Métis Nation" by Jean Teillet, a Canadian scholar and Riel descendent, but I think it's a bit more difficult to find in the USA.

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Feb 1, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

This struck SUCH A CHORD with me, thank you!

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Thank you, Anna.

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Great read as usual, thank you Chris

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Thanks, Thomas.

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founding

Was just thinking about you this morning, wondering what the next newsletter topic would be. Love this one. Good reading today!

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Thank you, Marie!

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Quilliq, music, dance, food in community has sustaining power. Thank you for the reminder.

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