Reconciling Humanity, on Skyward TV and Hopeful Radio. The spiritual & Mind Health perspective on Truth & Reconciliation for all. With Host Eleanor Hayward, Co-Host Jody Harbour and Guest Angela DeMontigny.

Reconciling Humanity, Episode 2 on Skyward TV and Hopeful Radio

Welcome to Reconciling Humanity! Your hosts are Eleanor Hayward, Holistic Facilitator and Jody Harbour, co-founder of Grandmother’s Voice!

We are passionate about creating time and space for healing connections in community. It is our purpose to bring together people in relationship for wellness and reconciliation.

How can we reconnect to our Souls, our village, and our environment across Canada and beyond?

In this third episode, we hear from Indigenous award winning and internationally renowned Canadian Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur Angela DeMontigny.

Angela says that years ago, she realized just how little general populations the world over understand and know about Indigenous culture and practices.

She embarked on a career teaching the stories and culture of Indigenous people through her art, fashion and wellness products.

Angela talks to us about her many projects, including her recent efforts related to mental health and Indigenous healing.

Widely recognized as a trailblazer, Angela has become an inspiration for future generations of Indigenous women and entrepreneurs.

About Skyward/Hopeful platforms:


Millions today suffer from depression and anxiety. Often ignored is the spiritual side of recovery. Skyward TV is a new free resource that explores spirituality and self-healing to promote mental health. 


Hopeful Radio Podcast features interviews with wellness experts, coaches and spiritual leaders. We also talk to a wide range of people who have suffered from depression and anxiety who have a story to tell about recovery and inner strength.


Listen to HOPEFUL RADIO or watch HOPEFUL TV to discover powerful strategies to coping and winning in today’s insane world:



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Hello, everybody! Haha Jody’s screen there. I’m Eleanor Hayward. Welcome so much to Reconciling



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Humanity. Really grateful to be streamed on Hopeful TV or Hopeful Radio and Skyward TV.



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Here we are to discuss mental health and spirituality, specifically with the purpose of this show



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with Reconciling Humanity is to discuss truth and reconciliation in Canada and decolonization



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in a process that is rather institutional and policy driven, but yet we also need to



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learn how to decolonize our minds and our hearts. So if you’re interested in wellness



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about the world and about people, then you are in the right place. So stay tuned. Welcome



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to my guest Jody or my co-host Jody Harbour, and our guest today, Angela DeMontigny. I



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will start with a land acknowledgement and we will jump right in with the beautiful ladies



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to my side here. So really grateful today. I identify as a settler descendant. My blood



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is English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish, and I acknowledge the past and current stewards



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of this land, the Haudenosaunee, Wendat Heron and Attawandoran peoples. Today I am in Burlington,



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which is between Toronto and Niagara Falls and wanting to honour all of the wonderful



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elements of creation that exist, including the four directions, the land, the waters,



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the plants, the animals and the ancestors that walk before us. Our territory is subject



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to the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, which is an agreement to peaceably share and



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care for the lands and relationships around the Great Lakes. Specifically, I am grateful



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for the autumn colours, the fresh air, even when it’s raining. I just love fall and autumn.



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This is my favourite season and loving seeing all the animals getting ready for winter and



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the shift of the tides. We just had a solar eclipse and a new moon and being in touch



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with the realms that are often beyond our five senses. So thank you for joining us here



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today. Jody, would you like to share with us how you’ve met Angela?



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Of course. Hi everyone. Jody Niigaso. I’m Jody Harbour and I’m an urban Indigenous woman



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and have just been enjoying my life as that. And especially in the last 10 years, really



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being able to embrace who I am in community and really stepping into my responsibility



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in a time when Indigenous ways of knowing and history needs to be heard and just supporting



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wherever I can with the knowledge that I have and that I carry. My great-grandmother is



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of the Cayuga Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory on my mom’s side. Sorry, that’s



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on my dad’s side and on my mom’s side. I’m English and Romanian. I’m a mother of two



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and I have a son and a daughter and a husband and that’s, and a dog who may bark at some point



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in time. But I had the pleasure of engaging with Angela. One day I think I emailed her



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and then we ended up on the phone. I called her. I called her shop in Hamilton when she



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had her shop where she was a fashion designer. And truly it was so funny. I was on my healing



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journey which we, you know, connecting to your roots and wanting to know more about



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what I can share with my children. I started to do research and then I was starting to



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become curious about clothing and fashion because I always, I had this one girlfriend



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of mine growing up, she always wore feather earrings. She wasn’t Indigenous, but I was



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and she was like, well, you know, it’s just her fashion. But I always tried my best to



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show my Indigeneity, I guess you could say. And people would question, you know, well,



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you know, what tribe are you, you know, back then. And so I had that interest of really



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being able to show who I was on the outside without, you know, because I don’t look Indigenous



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enough to some people, right? You know, when I say I’m Indigenous, it’s always about, you



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know, well, what percent are you? Yeah, that’s a good one. I like when they, oh, what percentage



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of Indigenous are you? And so, you know, that’s a reality for someone like me. And so when



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I called Angela and she was just like, so cool. She’s like, hey, yeah, come to my shop.



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And I never did, you know, I didn’t make it to the shop, but I, you know, I started to



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follow her and then I was so intrigued because of how whole she was as a woman and things



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that she did. And I really, I related with someone like her, you know, not because I



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thought she was cool and had great hair and, you know, it was gorgeous. You know, strong



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woman. That always helps when you feel like you have something in common with someone.



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But I, you know, I just really was proud, you know, and I along my way and my journey,



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I’ve met really proud women. And it just, you know, when you meet them, you just, it



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gives, it encourages you to be yourself. So I thank you, Angela, for being you. And I’m



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proud that you are here with us today. I’m honored and honored that, you know, we have



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a relationship and we’re doing this together. So, Nyawa, for being here and tell us about,



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you know, cause you do a lot of stuff and you’re great at everything you’re doing.



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And so how do you do that? How do you do it?



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Oh my gosh. I don’t know. It’s just, I like to say that it’s that I’m divinely inspired



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all the time, you know, and when you are connected and, and, you know, this has been, you know,



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through a number of years. And I think my sort of spiritual practice has informed everything



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that I do. So, and everything is, is with purpose. So it’s, it’s my way of helping others



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in a sense by, in the fashion design was really about creating beauty, but because I, you



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know, incorporated my cultural heritage as well as, you know, sort of contemporary designs



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so that, you know, they gave people a sense that we’re wearing a sense of their own identity



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or, you know, people could feel the spirit in the clothes when, when I created them for



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them. And then educating people has always been about changing people’s perspective of



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who we are as contemporary Indigenous people, because, you know, the, the more that I traveled



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around the world realized how little people know about us. They have a very stereotypical,



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incorrect view of Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island, North America. And so my, my



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doing this, I’ve been a bit of a pioneer in that sense and, and doing things in a, what



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I came to realize was Indigenous luxury, which to a lot of people is kind of an oxymoron.



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Like, what do you mean? Like people didn’t actually know what Indigenous fashion was.



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So it’s been very new. It’s been like almost 30 years of pushing that idea forward because,



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you know, we’re always dealing with cultural appropriation, especially in art and fashion



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in the rest of the world. And, and so showing like we have, this is part of our culture,



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who we are, we are still here, you know, it’s still a part of who we are. It’s, you know,



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those Indians, you know, the people thought disappeared, you know, a few hundred years



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ago, actually that’s not the case. We are still here. So it’s, it’s getting people to



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relearn history. And I do that through, through arts and fashion and, and lifestyle products.



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And there are always teaching moments for people. So even, you know, using legends and



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things like that for, for some of my fashion collections, like of the stars. And I started



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incorporating Cree language into some of the imagery, like embroidery on my jackets. And



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there’s Cree cosmology. People don’t know that. They don’t know our stories and doing



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it in a way that’s kind of cool that, you know, people are learning, even though they



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may not realize that they’re learning. Right? So it’s like, well, somebody might buy something



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because everything is cool and then beautiful and I love it. But if someone wanted to go,



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like there’s many, many layers. And so I love, that’s just how I, I work. And, you know,



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I came to realize it a couple of years ago when I had to unfortunately close my boutique,



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which I had been there in a downtown location in a major arts street in Hamilton on James



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Street North for about six years that I became, I was the only sort of entity that was Indigenous



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in the city in that sense. And so kind of became a bit of an ambassador in the sense



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because I was, you know, also promoting and, and showing people other Indigenous art and



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artists and selling their products and doing little art shows and things like that in a



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very high-end way, which people don’t normally, you know, expect. So, so I got to know people



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in the city, especially the arts community and, and, and the creative communities. And



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it was a stepping stone to, you know, what I got to do next. And so having to close the



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store at the beginning or the first lockdown of pandemic, which was really hard. It was



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25 years of me, you know, trying to become an international Indigenous designer and doing,



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you know, some really groundbreaking shows in South Africa and, you know, different fashion



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weeks around the world. And then having to like, okay, I can’t do that right now. So



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I had, I always did numerous smaller collections that were attached to the fashion and soy



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candles was one of them. And I didn’t set out to become a candle maker. It wasn’t about



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that. They were, they were tools for healing and ceremony. And so one of, one of them called



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Ceremony that I actually created for myself because I was so busy, you know, traveling



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and running business, and I’ve been a single mom for 20 years and I have two kids and it



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was kind of crazy the amount of work that I was doing on my own. And then I couldn’t



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attend some of our larger ceremonies at our lodge near Six Nations. And so one day I just



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kind of sat down and imagined and meditated on what it smelled like, what it felt like



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to be in the lodge and the ceremony. And what we do is we, we smudge with burning cedar



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smoke before we go into the lodge to remove anything negative that we may be carrying



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because we’re going into a sacred space and then we’re burning our medicines or sage and



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our sweetgrass when we’re in there. And then as a pipe carrier and what that means is that



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I have a, I’ve been, I’ve earned and been gifted a tool, which when you smoke that sacred



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tobacco, you are praying for other people as well as yourself. And so it’s, it’s a huge



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responsibility. So if someone comes to you for help that you are responsible to, to help



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them and it’s a direct connection to Creator and all of my ancestors and spirit guides



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and helpers. And it’s so powerful. So when you smoke that tobacco, the smoke, literally



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that’s one of our, as Indigenous people, one of our most important medicines, it takes



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our prayers up to Creator. And so you’re putting that and people are praying and they’re putting



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their tobacco and their prayers into a sacred fire, which is doing the same thing. I put



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That, all of those oils and that intention into a candle thinking nobody would understand



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on any level other than they thought it smelled nice because you know, those oils and those



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medicines are powerful and they’re grounding and they remove negative energy and what they



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  1. And to this day, so this was like almost 13 years ago, I can’t keep that candle in



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Stock, so people could feel it. And so when you start to understand how energy works,



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how prayer works, how intention works, how I’m able to channel that, you know, through



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my, my own ancestors into something like that and how it helps people, you know, it’s just



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been like learning that and expanding on it. And so I moved from Indigenous fashion at



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the beginning of the pandemic into Indigenous wellness. So was able to move all that online.



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It was a huge learning curve, but knowing that these, these small things and having



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your own sacred fire basically just in a, in a candle, which is what we do sometimes



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when we can’t have a real sacred fire, how powerful that was and the healing that it



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brought people. And because of my getting to know people in the city and the arts community



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was given an opportunity to, I was asked, I came, I had an idea and my friend that I



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knew had an idea and he said, there’s a public call for art for the city of Hamilton. And



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it’s the theme is, it’s going to go down at the waterfront and the theme is water. And



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we never see Indigenous artists apply for these things. And I know why, because, oh



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my God, what a hugely difficult procedure that is. And you need a whole team behind



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you. And because Jeremy Freiberger, who runs Cobalt Connects, that’s what he does is he



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manages public art projects. So he said, I love your beadwork. I love, you know, your



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art. I’ve been watching you over the years. What do you think? Can you come up with something



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that sort of incorporates that? And so I did. And the more I thought about it, it’s like,



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okay, so yes, the water is important. Water is Life, but so is everything that’s around



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it and what that water supports. And so how I do my, my own personal ceremonies and my



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prayers, you know, have always been taught to acknowledge and give thanks, because that’s



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what I do every morning. I give thanks to everything, all beings, because as human beings,



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we are just one small part of a bigger picture, right? So the, the four-legged, the winged



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ones, the creatures that crawl and swim, the water, grandmother, mother earth, grandmother



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moon, grandfather sun, all of, all of the ancestors and the stars, you know, the thunder



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beings, all of that, the four sacred winds and how, so I realized it couldn’t just be



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about the water. It had to be about everything. Cause I wanted people to become aware of everything



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that surrounds us and the importance of it, that we are all connected and we are in relationship.



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That’s why we call them our relations. And so that, so my drawings in order to incorporate



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all of that, I didn’t just do, you know, design one sculpture, it became five. So in the end,



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and then I was like, it has to be made of natural material and in order to do, and it



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has to be colorful and it has to be glass. And so we just went through this crazy process



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and found a local artist who does, you know, is a glass blower and made handmade glass



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beads. This has never been done before in history.



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The beads were like that big, eh?



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Yeah, they’re like that big and they weigh like a couple pounds each. And so I had, he



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wrapped a team around me of, you know, a structural engineers, a, well, the glass blower, a steel



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fabricator. And because of what it represented and the beauty of it, and everybody could



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imagine what it would look like having the sun, you know, shine through, through the



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beads, through the glass that we won. And I’m like, oh my gosh. And so through, it’s



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been a four-year process, there have been nothing but delays and then COVID and costs



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went crazy. And, and because nobody had done this before, it was so, it was very challenging.



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It was a learning curve for absolutely everybody. But the fact that the delays, you know, even



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with the city and the, and the foundation of the park that they built, I didn’t realize,



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you know, there were foundations that they had to build in order to support these structures,



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which are 40 feet tall each and 11 feet wide. And they weigh like tons, right? So you have



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to be able to, anyways. What ended up happening is, and this is where I really, it hit home



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about divine timing is that at the beginning of this process, there was one, I think maybe



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two, but one for sure, Indigenous woman who was working at the city, who was, you know,



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working in what they were starting to create as an urban Indigenous strategy, the city



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of Hamilton. In the last few months, all of a sudden they hired an Indigenous curator.



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They hired a couple of other, there’s a whole team of Indigenous people working in the city



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now that were never there before, that were my support. All of a sudden, you know, we



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were able to, because of the delays, we were able to, because I built in an education component



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that I wanted to have, to be able to, you know, share the teachings of this and invite



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schools and have that included in, you know, high school curriculums, grade school as well.



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We, Jeremy was able to get a grant and so we were able to, in the spring, we paid for



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the busing and for the food and we had an entire week of workshops where we brought



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150 high school students from 11 Hamilton area schools and two from Brantford where they



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came and they went to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, which at the time still had the Radical Stitch,



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this amazing Indigenous beadwork exhibit, which was completely tied into what my art



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project, which, you know, I took them down to the site down by the water and this is



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where it’s going to be. And then they went, we did workshops with them and I invited some



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of my friends who are Indigenous artists from different kinds of mediums. They learned about



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the public art process and then each one of them, we were able to get one small section



00:20:47,220 –> 00:20:52,440

of one of the panels where they could actually put in a bead themselves. So these are like,



00:20:52,440 –> 00:20:58,400

you know, grade 10 to 12 students, right? Oh my God. And you know, like it’s hard to



00:20:58,400 –> 00:21:04,420

inspire any teenager. I mean, let’s be honest. And they were so, oh my God, they were so



00:21:04,420 –> 00:21:09,240

excited. Like the teachers would send me emails like afterwards and it’s like, they are still



00:21:09,240 –> 00:21:13,400

like a month later, they’re still talking about it. So the fact that we were able to



00:21:13,400 –> 00:21:19,760

do that and then even more delays, it was like down to the wire, but because of that



00:21:19,760 –> 00:21:23,840

and we wanted to enable, you know, just the general public, anybody who wants to come



00:21:23,840 –> 00:21:29,680

in and be a part of it because it’s about, it’s community building. And so people came



00:21:29,680 –> 00:21:35,400

down in the summer and they, you know, sometimes came, you know, for like an entire week and



00:21:35,400 –> 00:21:42,280

went and put in beads in the installation for us. And they met other people that they



00:21:42,280 –> 00:21:49,960

didn’t know. And then they feel like they have, like this art is part of them. And so,



00:21:49,960 –> 00:21:55,440

and that’s what I wanted. And apparently that’s never been done before either. So it’s truly



00:21:55,440 –> 00:22:01,600

something for the public. And then the park that they built to house the sculptures is



00:22:01,600 –> 00:22:06,720

now going to be a dedicated space for the urban Indigenous community in the city where



00:22:06,720 –> 00:22:11,720

we can have sacred fires, gatherings and things. And so those are things that I couldn’t have



00:22:11,720 –> 00:22:18,600

possibly hoped for. And then on September 30th, when we had our actual, a huge ceremony



00:22:18,600 –> 00:22:24,560

and installation and National Truth and Reconciliation Day and oh my gosh, there were hundreds of



00:22:24,560 –> 00:22:30,000

people that showed up, the Indigenous community, as well as everybody else. And it was as a



00:22:30,000 –> 00:22:36,360

sea of orange shirts. And we had elders talking and elder Norman Jacobs talked about, you



00:22:36,360 –> 00:22:43,800

know, residential school and Chief Laforme. And we had, you know, a young man, Nathan,



00:22:43,800 –> 00:22:51,000

who did the Thanksgiving address. And it was so moving. And people were in tears like,



00:22:51,000 –> 00:22:55,200

you know, throughout the day. It was, you know, we had, you know, we made a coloring



00:22:55,200 –> 00:23:02,600

book for, you know, of the art installation. So kids could color and learn about, you know,



00:23:02,600 –> 00:23:06,440

what everything meant. And so it was like the most incredible day I think I’ve ever



00:23:06,440 –> 00:23:16,500

had in my life. So what has come from that is healing. So it’s, it’s been amazing to



00:23:16,500 –> 00:23:28,160

see that this, this art is has become, it has its own spirit. It’s a working thing.



00:23:28,160 –> 00:23:34,000

And so, you know, there was, there was something that, you know, kind of negative happened,



00:23:34,000 –> 00:23:40,600

as I know, you know, the next day. And so, you know, I want to talk a little bit about



00:23:40,600 –> 00:23:50,040

that because somebody, it’s about colonized thinking and many people are not aware because



00:23:50,040 –> 00:23:58,760

we have grown up in that kind of environment and that way of thinking and understanding



00:23:58,760 –> 00:24:04,840

how, you know, some something that someone does thinking that they’re doing something



00:24:04,840 –> 00:24:16,000

good, but realizing it caused harm. So Hamilton Volkswagen, there was, they posted something



00:24:16,000 –> 00:24:24,840

right after our huge celebration and in connection and some, a young man had taken a photograph



00:24:24,840 –> 00:24:35,400

of one of their new Atlas vehicles in front of one of my sculptures. And what they did



00:24:35,400 –> 00:24:43,480

was is they, the beginning of the post was about, you know, we’re, we’re promoting our



00:24:43,480 –> 00:24:49,760

new vehicle. And then at the bottom said, oh, and we want to, you know, say, you know,



00:24:49,760 –> 00:24:54,000

happy National Truth and Reconciliation Day and this beautiful artwork by Angela DeMontigny,



00:24:54,000 –> 00:25:00,600

All Our Relations. I didn’t see it until like, you know, maybe, I don’t know, 11 almost,



00:25:00,600 –> 00:25:07,540

almost noon, but I was getting these notifications on Instagram from people on my team and like,



00:25:07,540 –> 00:25:13,400

what is happening? And I looked at it and I was like, are you kidding me? And so then



00:25:13,400 –> 00:25:22,200

I posted, you know, how I felt about that and it just blew up. So the wonderful thing



00:25:22,200 –> 00:25:26,640

about that is that there were so many people who were like non-Indigenous as well, who



00:25:26,640 –> 00:25:40,640

were calling them out for like, this is wrong. You’re using a very sacred day, an art, Indigenous



00:25:40,640 –> 00:25:49,840

art as a way of promoting a car. And so that so many people recognize that that this isn’t



00:25:49,840 –> 00:25:54,200

okay. And they started phoning, it was on Twitter, it’s like people were phoning the



00:25:54,200 –> 00:26:03,560

dealership. I’m sure it was like their worst day ever. But what I did was, people were asking



00:26:03,560 –> 00:26:13,520

for them to, you know, offer an apology. And so I did, I got a call from the general manager,



00:26:13,520 –> 00:26:22,880

Tim Johnson, from Hamilton, Niagara, and, you know, very heart… Well, at first, I don’t



00:26:22,880 –> 00:26:29,120

think he quite understood why people were so upset. So after talking to him, realized



00:26:29,120 –> 00:26:34,760

it said, you know, I know you think that you were doing something positive, but this is



00:26:34,760 –> 00:26:44,240

a very colonized way of doing things. And this may be how you have operated in the past,



00:26:44,240 –> 00:26:52,880

but especially on, you’re co-opting this day. And you’re not really understanding, you know,



00:26:52,880 –> 00:26:59,080

the harm that you’re doing to the Indigenous community and to myself by doing that. And



00:26:59,080 –> 00:27:02,720

of course, there was never that intention. They never had that intention. They thought



00:27:02,720 –> 00:27:13,200

they were doing something good. So he apologized, the young man who took the photo, who actually



00:27:13,200 –> 00:27:17,640

didn’t even realize that there was something happening that day, because it was after we



00:27:17,640 –> 00:27:23,480

were packing up and it was a closed-off, it’s still a live construction site. So once our



00:27:23,480 –> 00:27:28,960

ceremony was over and we were all packing up, he had to actually sneak in a gate, because



00:27:28,960 –> 00:27:36,920

it was all fenced off, to get his car in there. And I heard from one of the, my team on the



00:27:36,920 –> 00:27:42,840

city said that he asked that man, young man to leave because you’re not supposed to be



00:27:42,840 –> 00:27:47,480

here, but not understanding what he was doing. He was just taking photos of his car, right?



00:27:47,480 –> 00:27:54,400

Anyways, they were, both men were quite upset and that they, you know, doing something that



00:27:54,400 –> 00:28:02,600

has upset so many people. But what I did was I asked the general manager if he would not



00:28:02,600 –> 00:28:12,080

only write a public apology, but if he would, you know, if their company would, you know,



00:28:12,080 –> 00:28:17,680

provide a donation to, I chose the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre, if they would give



00:28:17,680 –> 00:28:24,940

a donation to them. And he agreed. And so he sent me an apology and I looked it over



00:28:24,940 –> 00:28:30,920

before I reposted it. And then I went down to the waterfront and met the young photographer



00:28:30,920 –> 00:28:37,960

and, you know, talked to him about that. And, you know, these are all teaching moments.



00:28:37,960 –> 00:28:45,880

I had to educate them about why this was wrong and, and how you could do better. And, and



00:28:45,880 –> 00:28:51,560

they did seem to get it. I mean, they were, you know, heartfelt people. And then the next



00:28:51,560 –> 00:28:56,960

day I asked the general manager to, he said, well, you know, I’ve got to check here for,



00:28:56,960 –> 00:29:01,960

you know, for HRAC. I can give it to you and you can get to that. I said, no, no, no, you’re



00:29:01,960 –> 00:29:08,080

going to come with me down to the Centre and you’re going to meet the executive director



00:29:08,080 –> 00:29:15,840

and you’re going, I want you to see what they do there and have a one-on-one with them.



00:29:15,840 –> 00:29:21,400

So that was amazing. He did that. And they, to their credit, I’m so impressed with them.



00:29:21,400 –> 00:29:28,100

They said, we actually can’t accept this donation, but what we want you to do is we want you



00:29:28,100 –> 00:29:33,480

to commit to building a relationship with us. We would like you to take cultural sensitivity



00:29:33,480 –> 00:29:38,600

training for yourself and become a leader in your organization and teach your staff



00:29:38,600 –> 00:29:47,680

and the people that work for you about this. And he agreed. And, and so this turned into



00:29:47,680 –> 00:29:54,720

a beautiful, positive thing. So instead of getting angry, you know, it’s, it’s about



00:29:54,720 –> 00:30:00,320

teaching people a whole different way of operating, which, you know, you have to realize that



00:30:00,320 –> 00:30:10,760

people don’t know. And so this, this art installation is doing its work. And so when you look at



00:30:10,760 –> 00:30:19,660

how spirit works and how all of that intention and prayer and, and all of that, how powerful



00:30:19,660 –> 00:30:26,320

that is. And so, you know, I hope, I hope, I’m hoping that I can get that across to people,



00:30:26,320 –> 00:30:32,200

that that’s how it works. And then it will just keep rippling out.



00:30:32,200 –> 00:30:41,480

Beautiful. I mute myself, not just because of my dog. I mute myself because I’m, mmhmm, oh my



00:30:41,480 –> 00:30:47,440

gosh. Yes. And I would… you can hear that in the podcast. I know, but I would interrupt so often because



00:30:47,440 –> 00:30:54,480

I get, I get so excited, like full of goosebumps. You know, I, it resonates everything that



00:30:54,480 –> 00:31:00,920

you talk that you shared, you know, as I think Indigenous people moving forward where they



00:31:00,920 –> 00:31:08,000

are, where like, it’s not just us healing, it’s a nation healing. And so that is, that



00:31:08,000 –> 00:31:13,000

Installation… That’s when I saw that and, and watched everything you talked about. I



00:31:13,000 –> 00:31:19,160

watched that, watched it through, you know, your social media and just knowing what they



00:31:19,160 –> 00:31:25,080

could experience through the children, the youth, you know, the community. I’m doing



00:31:25,080 –> 00:31:30,040

that in my own community. And I, and I believe, and I trust, and I pray that one day it’s,



00:31:30,040 –> 00:31:37,400

it’s as, as welcoming as, as you were welcomed and wrapped around and all of that, because



00:31:37,400 –> 00:31:45,520

it’s not easy. You say it so gracefully, Angela, the way that you are sharing your story, it’s,



00:31:45,520 –> 00:31:52,080

it comes with a lot of grace. It’s not that easy. Things like that happen in the moment.



00:31:52,080 –> 00:31:57,720

I mean, it’s, it’s like, you know, me, I want to be with you in the room when it’s happening



00:31:57,720 –> 00:32:04,660

to you, because when it happens, it happens to your body. It happens inside your spirit.



00:32:04,660 –> 00:32:10,400

So you know, Niawah, for being so strong in the community and rising and raising, you



00:32:10,400 –> 00:32:16,680

know, the vibration of the people and the community, the whole community. So good for



00:32:16,680 –> 00:32:25,000

you on that, on that, that project and your candles. Mine is like over there on my altar.



00:32:25,000 –> 00:32:31,600

And you know, I love it. I have them everywhere. And you know, that’s another really beautiful



00:32:31,600 –> 00:32:39,280

project that, that you work on. And it’s, yeah, amazing what you’re sharing and in community.



00:32:39,280 –> 00:32:45,080

So I know that, you know, there’s so much more we could speak to you about. But you’ve



00:32:45,080 –> 00:32:50,360

taught, you’ve touched on healing, you’ve touched on, you know, the important thing



00:32:50,360 –> 00:32:54,680

where we’re, you know, where we’re at as a society. And so I know that there is, you



00:32:54,680 –> 00:32:59,440

know, something really near and dear that you’re working on right now and in community.



00:32:59,440 –> 00:33:06,600

And we were talking a little bit about it backstage before we went live today. And,



00:33:06,600 –> 00:33:12,960

and it’s a, it’s a real thing in our, in our society right now, our youth, you know, our



00:33:12,960 –> 00:33:19,280

mental and mind wellness. And so, you know, if you can just share a little bit about that



00:33:19,280 –> 00:33:24,360

passion work that you’re doing right now. That’s so important in our, in our communities,



00:33:24,360 –> 00:33:27,360

hospitals and again, healing.



00:33:27,360 –> 00:33:39,960

Well, unfortunately, hospitals are institutions that are run as businesses. And I mean, we



00:33:39,960 –> 00:33:45,880

all know our healthcare is, you know, in a terrible state at the moment for many reasons.



00:33:45,880 –> 00:33:56,840

But through personal experience, I have come to realize that, or to see the lack of compassion



00:33:56,840 –> 00:34:04,920

and care and healing, especially in the mental health area where, you know, due to so many



00:34:04,920 –> 00:34:11,480

Things, and the pandemic for sure was something that, you know, has really affected people



00:34:11,480 –> 00:34:20,480

in so many ways. What’s happening in society and the division and all of that has created



00:34:20,480 –> 00:34:25,320

so much anxiety for people. And as well as, you know, our own people with the trauma that



00:34:25,320 –> 00:34:36,960

people are, still families are still dealing with, and not having enough people who understand



00:34:36,960 –> 00:34:43,120

that trauma and how to help people with it. And really it comes from a place where, you



00:34:43,120 –> 00:34:50,160

know, people who have experienced harm to their spirit and harm to their heart, which



00:34:50,160 –> 00:34:53,720

informs everything.



00:34:53,720 –> 00:35:01,680

So I have decided, or been asked to be a volunteer, specifically with Brantford General Hospital.



00:35:01,680 –> 00:35:08,360

And I’m really happy to know that they are, they want to change and they understand that



00:35:08,360 –> 00:35:15,600

they need to change and they’re willing to embrace the possibilities of other ways, other



00:35:15,600 –> 00:35:21,880

forms of healing. And definitely, you know, the hospital nearest to the largest reservation



00:35:21,880 –> 00:35:29,640

in Canada, which is Six Nations on the Grand River and how they treat the Indigenous population



00:35:29,640 –> 00:35:41,160

is not good. There’s like huge room for improvement. I don’t know what that beep was, but anyways.



00:35:41,160 –> 00:35:51,000

So, and this is how, you know, I’m doing this also, you know, for my family, for everybody



00:35:51,000 –> 00:36:00,240

else. And I think I don’t like to call myself a healer, but basically I have, I am and I



00:36:00,240 –> 00:36:07,680

have a responsibility, I feel anyways, to do what I can to help people or be of service.



00:36:07,680 –> 00:36:11,520

And so I do it in numerous different ways. And sometimes, like I said, it’s creating



00:36:11,520 –> 00:36:20,720

beauty or it’s through art or whatever. But this is about, you know, my personal knowledge



00:36:20,720 –> 00:36:27,160

with working with traditional Indigenous healers and the power of it and knowing what that



00:36:27,160 –> 00:36:35,920

can do and that that knowledge that can heal people that they are not getting access to.



00:36:35,920 –> 00:36:43,560

And so in the Western medical world, dealing with mental health, which we, which is really



00:36:43,560 –> 00:36:50,680

what I would say is of epidemic proportions at the moment. And everybody is, you know,



00:36:50,680 –> 00:36:55,680

mental health is like the buzzword, you know, of the decade, right? But when it comes to



00:36:55,680 –> 00:37:02,480

actually people getting the help they need for that, it’s not there yet. So, you know,



00:37:02,480 –> 00:37:07,080

people are at companies like Bell are using it, you know, so they’re, they’re positioning



00:37:07,080 –> 00:37:14,840

themselves as the champion of mental health. But what are they actually doing to facilitate



00:37:14,840 –> 00:37:21,800

that help? And so I’m not seeing that in a hospital setting. And that’s, you know, how



00:37:21,800 –> 00:37:27,880

you’re treated as a patient. Like if you can’t advocate for yourself in the healthcare system



00:37:27,880 –> 00:37:34,960

right now, you don’t get the help you need. And so, you know, people need to be aware



00:37:34,960 –> 00:37:42,160

of that. And if you’re in distress, you aren’t in a position to be able to advocate for yourself.



00:37:42,160 –> 00:37:46,280

You’re going there, you know, thinking that you’re going to get the help you need. And



00:37:46,280 –> 00:37:52,200

when you don’t, it’s like putting in a bandaid on something, and then they send you on your



00:37:52,200 –> 00:37:58,920

way. And then you end up coming back because there was no real healing that happened there.



00:37:58,920 –> 00:38:04,080

And so, you know, yes, you know, the system is overrun and people are overworked. And



00:38:04,080 –> 00:38:15,160

they also, it’s just like basic human compassion for people and understanding, you know, like,



00:38:15,160 –> 00:38:20,120

there’s a reason that there’s something traumatic that has happened to someone which has facilitated



00:38:20,120 –> 00:38:26,080

them coming to the hospital in the first place. You need to, so they just want someone to



00:38:26,080 –> 00:38:31,320

talk to sometimes. Sometimes, yes, it’s, you know, a drug related thing that, but there’s



00:38:31,320 –> 00:38:39,560

always a core trauma that has caused that. And if you’re not getting to that place with



00:38:39,560 –> 00:38:44,640

that person understanding that you can’t help them. And just giving them, putting them on



00:38:44,640 –> 00:38:51,360

drugs, you know, and then not necessarily having any follow up or any care for them



00:38:51,360 –> 00:39:01,880

afterwards. I think it’s perpetuating the harm. So I want to, and to their credit, they



00:39:01,880 –> 00:39:06,360

are building, you know, the process of building a new hospital because they really need to,



00:39:06,360 –> 00:39:14,600

a new ER and the ER situation is terrible. And, you know, many parts of that hospital



00:39:14,600 –> 00:39:21,280

don’t communicate with each other. So it’s really about communication, about, you know,



00:39:21,280 –> 00:39:28,160

having another way of doing things. And so I’m hoping they seem to be very excited about



00:39:28,160 –> 00:39:32,960

the possibility of bringing in, you know, Indigenous knowledge and ways of doing things



00:39:32,960 –> 00:39:39,760

and medicines. And they now have a floor in the hospital, which I didn’t know about previously,



00:39:39,760 –> 00:39:45,080

where families can go and they can smudge and they can use our medicines and make medicine



00:39:45,080 –> 00:39:52,800

and that, which is great. But it’s not, you know, like I said, I didn’t know about it,



00:39:52,800 –> 00:39:59,240

you know, when I, I, it could have helped, you know, in a few situations. So it’s about



00:39:59,240 –> 00:40:04,320

having that, you know, come more into the mainstream. So people, because we know our



00:40:04,320 –> 00:40:12,480

medicines are powerful and they work. And sometimes it’s just even a drum, having access



00:40:12,480 –> 00:40:25,080

to, you know, smudging with sage, which if someone is in a, a stressful mode, high anxiety,



00:40:25,080 –> 00:40:32,080

whatever it immediately calms people. And so just having, instead of using a drug, using



00:40:32,080 –> 00:40:39,920

a natural medicine that just is so simple that could, you know, facilitate so much healing.



00:40:39,920 –> 00:40:45,920

And yeah, it’s the beauty of our culture and what we know how to do that, you know, needs



00:40:45,920 –> 00:40:53,800

to be incorporated into mainstream medicine. That’s that then it’s, thank you for sharing



00:40:53,800 –> 00:40:58,440

that because this is, you know, a passion that Eleanor and I share, you know, which



00:40:58,440 –> 00:41:04,480

is why we’re doing, we’re doing this together, bringing together, you know, we say the two



00:41:04,480 –> 00:41:10,000

worlds, but really it’s, you know, we’re in the world of the Creator’s world. And, and



00:41:10,000 –> 00:41:16,240

this, what you’re sharing is, is really what was left out of our society. That’s what was



00:41:16,240 –> 00:41:22,900

Taken. Culture, genocide, all the, all of those things that we speak about. That’s a reality.



00:41:22,900 –> 00:41:32,520

But when we really look at, at what was removed from a beautiful, you know, nation, land is,



00:41:32,520 –> 00:41:39,880

is this way of taking care of yourself and wellness through this understanding. And so,



00:41:39,880 –> 00:41:45,640

you know, Grandmother’s Voice were so, we’re lucky because that’s the organization that



00:41:45,640 –> 00:41:51,720

I’m a founder of, we work closely with an Indigenous Elder, healer. He, he doesn’t even



00:41:51,720 –> 00:41:55,400

call himself any of those things too, cause I’m just like a, what we’re, we’re Creator’s



00:41:55,400 –> 00:42:01,480

helpers. That’s what we are. We’re Creator’s helpers. And so he, he shares the knowledge



00:42:01,480 –> 00:42:05,760

and so sort of the Grandma’s and they really believe there’s this time where, no, this



00:42:05,760 –> 00:42:10,280

is our knowledge. This is for us, but it’s not like that. And it’s not like that. We



00:42:10,280 –> 00:42:16,580

can’t hold this knowledge as Indigenous people. We know it’s our responsibility to share this



00:42:16,580 –> 00:42:22,280

knowledge and share this with the people that are serving others, because if they’re not



00:42:22,280 –> 00:42:27,400

well, we’re just, like you said, you know, we’re, we’re just, it’s just sharing and not



00:42:27,400 –> 00:42:33,720

sharing what’s the word that you use. Yes. Right. Like we’re, we’re, what’s the word?



00:42:33,720 –> 00:42:38,560

It was a P, but anyway. Perpetuating? Perpetuating. Thank you. Right. It’s like going back and



00:42:38,560 –> 00:42:45,200

forth. Yeah. And so we know that our, our systems of oppression, the hospital, the educate,



00:42:45,200 –> 00:42:52,240

like they’re there and they need to do, they need to work harder at making sure that people



00:42:52,240 –> 00:42:59,520

within those places are well, because that’s, you know, that’s where we’re at as a society.



00:42:59,520 –> 00:43:04,720

This is not an easy fix, but it’s, if we can make people aware of what needs to happen



00:43:04,720 –> 00:43:13,080

and why, um, and you know, how, how natural it is that you can heal yourself. That’s what



00:43:13,080 –> 00:43:18,920

that you, we are healers of self because we can heal ourselves. So I love all of that.



00:43:18,920 –> 00:43:23,520

I love the work that you’re doing. Uh, you know, we’re, we’re in that realm as well,



00:43:23,520 –> 00:43:28,040

you know, uh, with Dennis Windego and Ontario Health and the Indigenous Health Network.



00:43:28,040 –> 00:43:32,840

So it’s happening. We’re penetrating. Um, you know, it’s time to come together and really



00:43:32,840 –> 00:43:41,200

start to, you know, reconcile humanity. Right. Like it’s time to really look at what does



00:43:41,200 –> 00:43:48,880

this all mean? You know, what we’re here together talking about the history, the realities and



00:43:48,880 –> 00:43:54,680

that, you know, what happened to Indigenous people is actually in our society now. What



00:43:54,680 –> 00:44:02,880

happened to them is happening to all people because that’s what happened. And so



00:44:02,880 –> 00:44:13,120

now that everybody is affected by colonization, everyone’s affected in this way. Um, you know,



00:44:13,120 –> 00:44:17,600

we just have to keep, keep doing our work. You just have to keep being who we are and



00:44:17,600 –> 00:44:25,160

taking on our responsibility. And you do really, really, a really good job at keeping balance,



00:44:25,160 –> 00:44:33,800

making it fun and beautiful and wholistic with the W you know, um, Eleanor, like I know I’m



00:44:33,800 –> 00:44:40,920

just kind of chiming in because I’m, I just like to talk and you know, and, and just,



00:44:40,920 –> 00:44:47,520

but she was great. We did. It was hard to even try to, you know, interrupt and ask a



00:44:47,520 –> 00:44:53,040

question or get involved like his, like, I was just like, mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Engaging.



00:44:53,040 –> 00:45:00,160

Great flow. You know, so, you know, for being here, you know, and I don’t know, Eleanor,



00:45:00,160 –> 00:45:02,840

go ahead. Did you want to say something or ask or,



00:45:02,840 –> 00:45:08,760

Oh, that was so beautiful and so rich. Angela, thank you so much. And Jody for enhancing



00:45:08,760 –> 00:45:13,280

that. I’m sorry. I missed your boutique in downtown Hamilton. I live there too. Um, but



00:45:13,280 –> 00:45:17,480

I do have your candle. I met you. It’s interesting. I was introduced to your work through, you



00:45:17,480 –> 00:45:22,000

know, Elvira Hopper, who’s a colleague and friend of mine. And she brought your candles



00:45:22,000 –> 00:45:27,080

to our retreat last year. And then I was following you on social media and I went to Grandmother



00:45:27,080 –> 00:45:33,840

Voice, Grandmother’s Voice full moon circle in, I believe it was September. And I was



00:45:33,840 –> 00:45:38,200

like, I look at what sat beside you. I was like, Oh, are you Angela? I recognize you from



00:45:38,200 –> 00:45:42,640

social media. So thank you so much. And, uh, purchased some candles from you that night.



00:45:42,640 –> 00:45:50,960

And I’ve been using the matriarch blend, which has been beautiful. New moon circle. And was



00:45:50,960 –> 00:45:56,720

there on September 30th, the Truth and Reconciliation Day. That was, it was so powerful. Like it



00:45:56,720 –> 00:46:00,920

was a beautiful sunny day. It’s like Creator knew that the sun needed to be there to shine



00:46:00,920 –> 00:46:07,080

through the beautiful glass beads. I met a couple of teenagers just walking around. I



00:46:07,080 –> 00:46:10,400

had a dog sitting, so I had a dog with me and these teenagers were like, Oh, can I pet



00:46:10,400 –> 00:46:16,720

your dog? And they’re like, Oh, well we put some beads in and they were so proud. It was



00:46:16,720 –> 00:46:21,760

just like, Oh, thank you so much for your community service. It’s beautiful. And, um,



00:46:21,760 –> 00:46:29,040

like they were just bubbling to share that. And I think to tie this together, I believe



00:46:29,040 –> 00:46:37,080

one of the core traumas of colonialism is separation. That’s all about ‘me first’. And



00:46:37,080 –> 00:46:42,800

I believe that that is the root wound of a lot of the mental health crisis, that people



00:46:42,800 –> 00:46:46,680

feel like they’re on their own and then they go into the institution. And as you say, if



00:46:46,680 –> 00:46:53,320

they can’t advocate for themselves, then they’re left on their own. And that is a shame. It



00:46:53,320 –> 00:47:02,040

really is. And that’s the, the, the colonialism perpetuating itself and yet healing through



00:47:02,040 –> 00:47:06,280

art. And I mean, usually in the colonial mindset, it’s like art’s like just this extra floofy



00:47:06,280 –> 00:47:11,440

thing. We don’t really need that, but yet it was shown that art connects us. It can



00:47:11,440 –> 00:47:18,680

connect us. It helps us feel like we’re part of something and we’re in relation with everything.



00:47:18,680 –> 00:47:22,480

We’re in relation with the animals and the, the creatures that fly, and the creatures that



00:47:22,480 –> 00:47:27,560

swim and the water and the sun and the moon. It’s like, we’re all here together. And I



00:47:27,560 –> 00:47:35,760

think that’s the unlearning. We need to unlearn all of the falsehoods of colonialism and re-Indigenize,



00:47:35,760 –> 00:47:42,520

relearn how to connect. So I’m really grateful for your, all of your community service here



00:47:42,520 –> 00:47:48,800

in healing through art, but then also actually getting into those institutions and sharing



00:47:48,800 –> 00:47:53,920

your medicines with the Brantford General Hospital. I’ve been in and I’ve massaged some



00:47:53,920 –> 00:48:00,800

staff there. It’s, it’s like, there’s, there’s so much potential for us to reconnect and look



00:48:00,800 –> 00:48:05,600

at things differently. And it is, it’s a perspective shift and the unlearning and the relearning.



00:48:05,600 –> 00:48:11,960

So really grateful for your time and your wisdom and your pleasure. And thank you Jodi



00:48:11,960 –> 00:48:16,240

for, for organizing Grandmother’s Voice and, and bringing this healing to the community,



00:48:16,240 –> 00:48:27,040

no matter what your background is. Thank you. Blessed be. And really, really grateful to



00:48:27,040 –> 00:48:33,160

Skyward TV and Hopeful Radio for, for sharing a platform with us so that we can bring these



00:48:33,160 –> 00:48:40,520

connections of, of healing because it really is a spiritual path to mental wellness. And



00:48:40,520 –> 00:48:46,200

that’s just a brilliant mission. And thank you so much. Thank you Jody. Thank you Angela.



00:48:46,200 –> 00:48:53,640

Hi, thanks so much for having me. Blessed be. Have a wonderful day. Thank you everybody



00:48:53,640 –> 00:49:04,360

for listening.

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