Kegedonce Authors

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Talking Stick Festival 2012

Posted on by Joanne Arnott
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Here we are on that rarest of days, 29 February.


I had the pleasure of sitting in on a conversation this morning, listening to Maria Campbell, Jeannette Armstrong, and Margo Kane, addressing the question “Why do we do it?”As creative artists, activists and organizers, each one a hub of widespread communities of thriving artists at work in diverse fields, how did each one arrive at this place of creative leadership?


The panel’s official title, Sharing Perspectives: The Paths We’ve Travelled, was entirely descriptive: each woman spoke of the paths travelled, from family and girlhood through schooldays to crisis points, defeats, and early accomplishments. Who were the important teachers and friends who led each one along the path, what were the compromises required, and the plums of luck that arrived so deliciously?


Through the conversation, each of us in the witness chair could locate and identify our own experiences as they interwove with the trends and the times discussed, so that by lunch time, our places in the oral history of the indigenous lit of Canada– where our individual streams join with the larger collective stream– had been clarified.


I had to scoot homeward after lunch, so I missed the second half of the interactive day.  I did arrive at my children’s school to find everybody outside, celebrating Anti-Bullying Day with a flash mob performance. (That was cool, too.)


Talking Stick Festival is hosted by Full Circle Performance, on Coast Salish territories in Vancouver, B.C. This year is the eleventh annual celebration of indigenous arts and artists of Turtle Island, featuring visual arts, music, dance, theatre, literature and new media workshops and performance.


Our local group, Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast, enjoyed a day together participating in a “Wish Come True” Writing Challenge, details of which I have posted on my blog,


Events continue in venues around town, concluding Sunday March 4 @ Zawa Restaurant on Commercial Drive (After Party). For details on artists and events please visit the website,


About Joanne Arnott

Joanne Arnott is an award winning Metis writer from Manitoba. Born in 1960, in Winnipeg, she studied at the University of Windsor, in Ontario. She has lived on the west coast since 1982. Her first book of poetry, Wiles of Girlhood won the Gerald Lampert Award in 1992. Other books include: My Grass Cradle, Breasting the Waves: On Writing & Healing, and the children's book, Ma MacDonald. She has performed readings of her work and given writing workshops across Canada and in Australia. Mother to five sons and one daughter, Joanne lives with her family in Richmond, B.C.
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