Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy Two: Magazine Launch Times Two

The morning is wet with deep drama: white bouquets against dark foliage; lime-colour leaves against black bark, and that's just one blink in this step-by-step beauty walk. I'm past the trees and the lake at my back is misting, the greening trees along its shore in silhouette. I stop and turn many times on my way toward the Governance Centre, to which I will be returning with a bus-load of students for our magazine launch.

We unload from the bus just before ten am. Photographers meet us at the door. The students and I walk into the Governance Centre and cameras are snapping. There is a red carpet. This is a gala, after all. Many of those interviewed in the magazine are arriving as well. We are ushered along the red carpet into the round room where we came to participate in the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings just last week. Nelson Bird from CTV News is our emcee. He tells us that he could be in Regina meeting Prince Charles, but he chose to be with us. There are speeches from teachers and students, from organizers and facilitators. They hand out shirts and our magazine: Kitoskayiminawak Pikiskwewak Our Young People Speak: The Leadership Edition. The kids pour over it as we mingle, eat lunch, and gather again for closing remarks.

I visit, laugh, listen, speak, and try to be in the room, but a cloud has followed me from the morning. I received a hand-written letter from a parent, which, summarized, said, my child is not aboriginal therefore this project is a waste and not educational.

This day is huge, deep with drama.

After school, Michael, Moira, Arwen and I climb into the Envoy at drive into Regina. We meet Victoria at Langs and order fresh roles for all. Michael and Victoria have N5, I have N12, Moira has chow mein, and Arwen orders won ton soup. We drink water. Michael and the girls are giddy and loud. I'm quiet and grumpy with my noisy family, making notes to emcee the Windscript Launch at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival at 7:00pm.

Michael, Moira and Arwen walk off down the street. I get into Victoria's car and we head to the Unitarian church where the launch will take place. It's raining and cold. Victoria and I wait inside the wooden church. When the magazine arrives, I page through quickly, eyeing the striking layout, proud to have edited this collection of young Saskatchewan voices. I walk over to each group who comes in and meet the young people and their families. We are about to start and a tall, dark haired young man and what could be his parents walk in the back door. I rush over, sure enough, this is Andrew. He and his family have travelled eight hours from Waterhen First Nation to be here tonight. He is the first to read. He walks to the pulpit with his laptop, long hair, long jacket, sneakers. He introduces his poem by explaining some context, watching a documentary on residential schools. Then he reads his chosen poem followed by many other young Saskatchewan poets and authors. Later at the reception when Andrew comes to say goodbye, I give him my copy of Kitoskayiminawak Pikiskwewak.

The evening is wet, deep with drama as Victoria and I walk on the sidewalk of Regina's Cathedral neighbourhood. The wind whips me cold and I run for the car.

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