World Indigenous Business Forum 2014!

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The Indigenous Leadership Development Institute Inc (ILDII) in Winnipeg helps organize the World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF) with a community host in different parts of the world every year. This year it was hosted in Guatemala City at the West Camino Real Hotel in the heart of Guatemala and took place from October 28th – 30th.

The forum’s website states that the forum is a platform that engages Indigenous communities and their leaders in global discussion on economic development issues such as community, industry, academic and government and the varying challenges/successes. The forum operates on the seven generational thinking that provides sustainable prosperity for children and the children seven generations on. The first portion was connecting and networking of indigenous communities and their leaders. The second portion was sharing knowledge and strategies for community development and the third included inspiring diverse speakers from around the globe to motivate future endeavors of economic success.

I had the privilege to participate and listen to the various speakers and it was interesting to see similarities between all nations in attendance such as the hope to alleviate poverty through focuses on investment and financial strategies and the importance to maintain cultural practice to sustain their heritage for future generations. It was very inspiring to see Indigenous leadership participating in this forum through networking, learning and being able to relate to one another. I also believe it was very appropriate and important to have different levels of Indigenous individuals involved in the forum such as individuals at the grassroots level, local Indigenous communities, individuals who owned their own companies and leaders such as the president of Guatemala. It is important to include and engage all members of a community in the dialogue towards economic development for the success of communities in the future and to participate in the learning process toward a better economy with the use of efficiency, effectiveness, self-reliance and sustainability.

I also had the opportunity to showcase the Indigenous hoop dance to everyone in attendance which left me with a sense of pride to showcase and represent my home community and my brother, Jesse Spence, was also able to showcase the grass dance. Youth from Fisher River Cree Nation were also able to showcase their unique styles of powwow dance. I believe we all finished feeling proud to be able to educate all of these different communities in attendance of our culture, dance, songs and ultimately ourselves as individual, unique, proud indigenous youth.

Overall, it was an amazing experience and it truly inspired me and embedded a deep hope that it is possible for nations to come together in peace to learn from each other, grow and help each other toward positive, sustainable economic development. Next year, the forum will be held in the beautiful land of Hawaii. If you have any further questions or would like to become involved in such a wonderful event please visit their website at http://www.wibf.ca. Also feel free to search #WIBF2014 to see a glimpse of this years forum.

Thanks for reading!

A P O E M

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The Performance of the World

For strength. To embrace me,
I can recognize its brevity,
Surviving among impulsive disasters.
For evolution, revolution,
And time. To withhold
Dreams, imploding at the seams, inspire,
Open our minds. To maintain
And protect damage – of land
From populations pollutants, of toxicity
From each nation. To thrive.
To pry open our eyes from
padlocked visions. To enhance the reflections.
To be reminiscent of the true power.
To arouse cultures and states,
And trick our minds of divine beauty’s meaning,
Bringing us closer to the light. To be
Connected, picturesque, state of mind.
To provoke change, commence humanity, like a game
of chance I’m constantly playing
But was informed of no victor.
Write antiquities, evolve.

Hey guys! Sometimes I like to unleash the inner creative poet within me and it helps to be taking a creative writing class in university at the moment to suck out all of my creative juices and plaster them on to paper. There are much more poems and short fictions I wrote so if any of you are interested in reading more I can start posting some? Let me know in the comments. I may surprise all of you with a poem here or there anyway in the future. I also thought that the images I captured on a sunset on a spontaneous beautiful evening complimented this poem very well. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Travelled Northern Manitoba

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I’M BACK!

Hello wonderful people! I feel like I haven’t written a post in a very long time & that is true so I am sorry for the lack of content & for my foolish unmotivated ways. Anyways… I have a nice adventure to fill you in on!

During the week of July 27th – August 4th I travelled up north in Manitoba with the family. We drove up to The Pas and visited some family in OCN then caught the train to Pukatawagon, Manitoba which consisted of a slow 12 hour ride full of hyper restless children, bone chilling air conditioning, beautiful northern scenery and the fresh smells of the outdoors. Luckily we managed to keep ourselves productive and occupied through that journey. Once we arrived in Puk we met up with more family; cousins, aunties, uncles, etc! During our stay up in Puk we danced everyday at their powwow which took place at their youth center for 3 days. We all felt so grateful for their wonderful hospitality, friendliness, and welcoming arms. We also had the chance to explore the area. Swimming at high rock, shopping at the Northern, driving up to the airport, carpooling to the sweat/sundance grounds and climbing up the Pukatawagon “mountain” and taking in the sights. I felt so humble and proud to meet so many strong women and family members who I am related to and share ancestry (sorry for the cheezyness). After the trip to Puk we headed back down the province to camp for one night in Clearwater Lake at the Guy Hill Residential School Gathering that was taking place. As we approached the grounds we all sat silent through the drive down the long, twisted, eerie gravel road with nothing but brush and solemness as we thought about those young children that were forcibly taken from their families and taken to this place. Some of my relatives attended this residential school which had one of the bad reputations of horrific abuse. My family and I had the chance to learn about local medicines and how to identify them. We also heard many stories that I will forever hold in my memory and we were surrounded by the spoken language of Cree which I was particularly grateful for since I would really like to learn it. After our stay at the grounds, I left feeling like I had the responsibility to keep the memory of these elders and their stories alive and to further educate people on what was on the residential school system and the effects it still has on our communities today. I also left feeling incredibly grateful to be surrounded by such strong, loving relatives and lucky to have had this experience and meet all those people. After we had left, we returned back to some civilization back in The Pas where we went to visit my grandpa who had passed away approximately 4 years ago. It was a lovely way to end our trip and we are all happy to be back on the road to hit back for home. 

After this trip and the entire experience I felt so much more grateful and humble for the experiences I have had in my life so far and grateful for the chance to see, hear, listen and learn from my family, elders and community. I hope to carry these memories far off into the future and educate others on what I have experienced in hopes of continuing the memory and not allowing our important indigenous heritage/culture fade away throughout the years.

I look forward to travelling back up north to possibly teach and host workshops on our culture, specifying on the hoop dance since their was a great interest from the community for that. I also want to find a way to give back to the community of Pukatawagon for everything they had done for us during our stay. I came home feeling a sense of renewal. I captured much more images of our time up north, if you would like to see more just “like” this post or comment down below requesting them! I must just do an extended post to showcase the beautiful images I had captured throughout our trip!

Thanks for reading! Much Love

Adventure Is Just Around The Corner. Literally.

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If you are anything like me, you tend to crave adventure. 

This past month, I had the chance to visit the old jails on Vaughn Street here in our little city and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The old, grotesque and odd stories of past sinister villains, public hangings and other oddities that had happened there filled my mind with awe and wonderment as I tried to picture the things we were being told; some of the stories happened as recently as the 1960’s! The tour continued as we were brought down into the basement into the actual old jail cells where they continued to tell us horrifying stories of past prisoners and other things that had gone down in the spaces we were standing.

My advice to you is that if you don’t have the funds for an extravagant trip, or if you don’t have the time or simply want to fill that void of adventure but would like to stay close to home go out and explore that area of your city or town that you’ve never been before. Book a tour of an old building or a part of your hometown that has a lot of history. You’ll be surprised to learn about things you’ve never known before in your own backyard.

Thanks for reading, Hope you are all doing well!
P.S – Stay tuned for more adventure & photography type posts, summer is here & will be full of travel! 🙂

Self Doubt, Insecurities, Etc.

332Self doubt. we all have it from time to time. some more than others. In fact, I’ve had major self doubt about this post. I haven’t written anything in awhile because I’ve been over thinking on what kind of content to write. Should I write about serious personal stories? perhaps a comedic piece? or how about just some photography? maybe a story about an upcoming event? so many things crossed my mind and then I would scratch them out because I would think that it wasn’t interesting enough. Then I got to the point where I was questioning my previous posts. After way too much thinking about what to write next I realized how ridiculous I was being.

I started questioning myself, why do I always worry about what others think? why do I always compare myself to other people or other blogs? I can write about whatever the hell my little heart desires! Then I got to thinking that I’m not the only one who does this. Just by reading this post so far you can imagine how deeply I think into things and how my train of thought can be crazy sometimes. Anyways, after all of this wondering I starting thinking, why do so many of us doubt ourselves? maybe it’s the messages and images put out by the media or the way society raised us or maybe it’s just all simply a part of human nature. I guess no one really knows. This is starting to turn into a ramble which is alright and I’m glad that I warned you about ramblings in my blog title and my first post entitled, “New Beginnings”. So don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

Anyways, after all this thinking of self doubt, insecurities and things related to this I started wondering about how it would be if more of us started to not worry about what others thought, if we lived in a world without self doubt. Sure, there must be a balance of consciousness obviously, we don’t necessarily want murderers to be running around our neighborhoods confidently. But what if that boy down the street wasn’t afraid to go after his dreams, what if that woman went beyond her self doubt and created a masterpiece of art, what if YOU moved beyond all that self doubt, all those insecurities and purely did what you loved without worrying about what the outcome would be. Sure, they may be individuals out there who have come to this epiphany way earlier that I did and they are doing this as we speak but my point is, we all have the potential to do great things, we all have the potential to create wondrous things! It may sound incredibly cliche but it’s true. We may fall down sometimes and we may fail but with hard work, passion and moving beyond those fears we can all bring great things.

There is so much things I would love to do and things I’ve been wanting to do or try for a very long time. I also find that I compare myself to other people  who are doing all these cool things which lead to me saying, you know what..I can do that! Instead of holding back in fear of being judged, envying others who are doing them and forever being to afraid to try, I should just get off my lazy ass, shut up my loud insecure mind and do it!  I’m taking it upon myself to move past my comfort zone and finally do all the things I’ve been wanting to try or do and I challenge all of you who are reading this right now to do the same! Life is all about experiences and learning from them, I know that far off in the future I don’t want to regret not trying something just because of fear of being judged or fear of failing. But please take into account, I am not advising that we all go try the new drugs or that new cocktail at the bar. Everyone has their limits, everyone has their choices so please move past your comfort zones responsibly.

Let me know in the comments below what you’ll do next!

50 Ways To Cheer Yourself Up

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“Because we all need cheering up from time to time.”

  1. Make funny faces to yourself in the mirror
  2. Blast your favorite music
  3. Start dancing like nobody’s watching
  4. Belt out and sing your favorite song
  5. Text or call a good friend or relative
  6. Watch baby goats on Youtube
  7. Watch baby leemurs on Youtube
  8. Watch baby animals in general on Youtube
  9. Watch babies on Youtube
  10. Try to picture a T-Rex making it’s bed
  11. Google, “hilarious puns” – enjoy
  12. Google, “awckward family portraits” – enjoy
  13. Cuddle with anything near you such as a pillow, or a pet, or a significant other
  14. Depending on weather, go for a nice run or walk around the block
  15. If it sucks ass outside, go for a nice run or walk around your house
  16. Indulge in chocolate or any other favorite sweets
  17. Order your favorite pizza because pizza = life
  18. Make a fort
  19. Watch a comedic film
  20. Watch a comedic television show
  21. Make a list of things you’re excited for
  22. Paint a picture
  23. Draw a picture
  24. Create a collage of all your favorite things
  25. Prank call someone
  26. Play dress up with your own clothes and make ridiculous outfits
  27. Play with your hair, create ridiculous looking hairstyles
  28. Drink some tea or another hot delicious beverage
  29. Play with a baby or child
  30. Realize how creepy that last point sounded
  31. Read motivational/inspirational quotes
  32. Reassure yourself that things can ALWAYS be worse
  33. Cheer someone else up, the positive energy and knowing you made their day can feel good
  34. Smile – Sometimes it can trick your brain into feeling happy
  35. If that last point doesn’t work, smile bigger with wide eyes and everything
  36. Realize how ridiculous you must look
  37. Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back
  38. Give yourself a well deserved self hug
  39. Find someone to hug
  40. Have a bubble bath. You’re NEVER too old for bubble baths
  41. Do something you love
  42. Bake a cupcake then have it all to yourself
  43. Take deep breaths. Imagine you’re inhaling positive and exhaling negative
  44. Remind yourself of everything good in your life
  45. Rant. Even if its to nobody
  46. Go out with some friends
  47. Spend time with your family
  48. Play a game
  49. Find ways to relax such as meditation or yoga
  50. Find the strength to believe that even this storm shall pass

Goodluck! 🙂
what are other ways that helped cheer you up?

New Beginnings

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Hey Everyone!
Spring has arrived! although the weather outside doesn’t feel or look like it at all, it still has a lot of catching up to do. we must be just a little more patient.

Anyways, spring always gives me that sense of new beginnings, turning over a new leaf and starting something new so I have created this new blog which is something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile now. I hope to share my experiences through writing,photographs and other forms of media on this blog and I promise the posts will get more interesting. This new blog is only the beginning of the exciting new opportunities that lay ahead. I will be doing lots of travelling in the upcoming years, getting involved within the community, performing in various locations and taking part in festivities that require ramblings of words and thoughts. I only hope that what I post will be interesting to the majority of you and that you come along on this ride with me.

I also hope you enjoy my blogs pun filled title. Since I am an Anishinaabe woman and my name “Shan” happened to fit perfectly within that word, you can understand the pure joy I felt when I discovered it.
Please enjoy, comment, share, explore & feel free to follow.

Take care ❤