My thanks to Prof. Mary Jane Miller for allowing me to post this essay about
"Dream Storm: A North of 60 Mystery." You can see more analysis of Nof60
in Prof. Miller's book, Outside Looking In: Viewing First Nations Peoples
in Canadian Dramatic Television Series. The book was published by McGill-
Queen's University Press in Spring, 2008.
Prof. Miller welcomes your comments on this essay, which you can send to:
Dream Storm was very different from anything that had been depicted before in North of 60, yet it was also a continuity of the occasionally self-conscious, usually unself-conscious strand of spirituality and ceremony which threaded through the series. Carol Kalafatic writes in "Keepers of the Power: Story as Covenant in the films of Loretta Todd, Shelley Niro and Christine Welsh" (1) that "our purpose as Indigenous peoples is guided by our historical relationship with our territories and lands, that, as artists, we carry in our languages of colour, light, rhythm, and word. Todd thinks that most Aboriginal artists work with varying degrees of awareness of the covenant that is part of living on the 'red road,' [where we say] "I didn't create myself, I was created and need guidance" [ as opposed to] "I created myself and need nothing"...our role as contemporary carriers of oral traditions that are rooted in the covenant is to examine and acknowledge our relationships with others, between people and the universe, between the physical and the spiritual; we are story keepers who help acknowledge our peoples' collective responsibilities to fight, laugh, and tell stories in order to live. And we become warriors by living." [italics in the text]
There is an irony in this citation. Dream Storm was not written or directed by indigenous film-makers but by whites. True the writer, producers and director had been with the series for years. Nevertheless, North of 60 made for TV movies, unlike the series, remain a closed shop creatively as far as most roles behind the cameras are concerned. However, the quotation is relevant to the subject of the movie, the role of memory, vision and oral tradition in the lives of the contemporary inhabitants of Lynx River. Michelle and Teevee are not artists and Elsie fears she is too old to help, but both of them are compelled to reconnect with the community of the dead ancestors who lived and live there still and to bring what they learn and share back to their own people as a healing which is both physical and spiritual.
Dream Storm was also very different from the first two made for TV movies because it is much more culturally distinctive and not caught up in the cop-show format. It was broadcast October 1, 2001, like the other two was written by Andrew Wreggitt and produced by Tom Cox and Doug MacLeod. The director, Stacey Stewart Curtis, had worked on the series since the first season. She gives the film a fresh look, using unexpected but appropriate camera angles on several occasions. She also adopts certain basic conventions for the appearance of the supernatural (2), swift and fragmentary montage for the drams which haunt Michelle and Teevee, an interrupted slow motion with a suggestion of cross fade for the appearances of the mysterious blanketed figure in Michelle's waking vision. She does not resort to all kinds of gimmicks in the supernatural sequences.
One of the problems, however, with this film, as with the other two is that there are many characters both old and new. Even my husband--who, perforce knows something about the characters from our evenings watching the series (which he quite enjoyed as well)--found that there were too many characters to keep track of in the two, commercial-laden hours. Regular viewers would have less trouble, although the characters of the chief of a rival town, Swan Landing, and the oil company executive were not easily distinguishable for any viewer for a few scenes.
Dream Storm is about memory which is one of the forces driving many of the narratives in the series. Memory is a key element to identity and to a sense of place and ownership. Memory is also preserved in oral traditions which are of paramount importance in Dene and other First Nations cultures. This film does not push its narrative logic to be overly explicit about politics and land claims, although the series had dealt with the subject on several occasions, but it does subvert written history with "memories [that] are positioned as 'nonhistorical'" (3) by politicians, media, businessmen and historians in the past. Dream Storm was billed as another "North of 60 mystery" in the advertisements and by Cynthia Dale, who introduced it on air. Yet the mystery of who killed Bob Sampson from Swan Landing is never truly solved. Instead, the film is what mainstream culture would call a "ghost story."
It is always interesting to hear what the makers think they were making. This excerpt, from Patty Winter's interview with script writer Andrew Wreggitt during the shooting of the film, is used with permission:
AW: It was a challenge at every level. I struggled with the writing. I worked very hard at it and did a lot of drafts, and we finally found our way through it. And then the director had the same kind of struggle to find a way through this kind of material. No one has seen a TV movie like this before. It's not like anything that we've done--or anyone else, as far as I know.
PW: Did you have a lot of discussions with the Native consultants on this one?
AW: Yeah, I had a long talk with an advisor up in Yellowknife [presumably Eleanor Bran who appears in the credits with Nick Sibbeston]. We talked through what the plan was and what I was hoping to do, and she told me a lot of stuff that was very helpful, and kind of confirmed what we had hoped, that we had earned the right to do this story.
PW: They trusted you to tell the story well.
AW: Yeah, we had earned it. We had proven that we were serious and could be trusted...This is an everyday thing in the Dene world, that the living and the dead are together. It's the sense of ancestry, and the sense of the continuity, that when people die, they aren't gone. That's why you have to respect your ancestors, and why it matters how you live your life, because you have a responsibility to the people who have gone before you, and are still around you. In the end, it's all about the land, and the sense of strength that it gives the Dene people.
Dream Storm is a more detailed portrayal of Dene spiritual practice than has been seen before. Frances Abele (4) said at a conference which I attended in 1994 that First Peoples' geography and history were identical, in a landscape that was neither hostile nor featureless--a perception that is the key to the dramatic conflicts and resolution of Dream Storm. At the same conference, Alfred Young Man pointed out that his people do not see themselves as coming from Asia, that animals are not a food choice, that bones do not belong in a graveyard like the Smithsonian, that the maturing of civilisation could not be defined as stone age to atom bomb and that oral histories are a paradigm in their own right. (5)
But above all, Dream Storm is about the protagonist, Michelle Kenidi. In the first film, a white antagonist, an ex-Mountie, forced her to kill him to save others. In the second movie, she had first to distrust her brother, and then distance herself from Peter who had been involved in questionable practices to serve the higher good--and his own ambitions. In Dream Storm, the focus is Michelle's reintegration into Lynx River's past as well as present as she learns that the past is present and that the future is part of an endless circle.
Despite getting along better with her partner, James Harper, early scenes establish that Michelle has been losing her way. Her adopted son is drinking and rebellious, and her husband Andrew One Sky is travelling a lot. Late in the drama, she confides in Sarah, whose friend Martin is also away a lot--which, Sarah says, is how they manage to stay together. It is an affectionate, simple scene, one of the best in the drama. Michelle fears that Andrew may leave her and so is considering moving away to be with him. Sarah says, not altogether truthfully, that you pack the boxes, send the boxes and then follow them. That Michelle is considering leaving strongly suggests that she is feeling rootless. Her malaise is very clear, but she has no idea of its source.
Michelle has already been the conduit of vision and dream in the series, although less so than her brother Peter in "The Ties that Bind" and in the later, less effective "Peter and the Wolf". She is with Peter after he sees his dead parents at the end of "Trial By Fire". In this movie she will unexpectedly serve as a guide/companion for part of Teevee's inner exploration and will herself be guided by her old enemy. She rediscovers that becoming one with the dead, one with the ancient ways, is fundamental to the health of the Dene of Lynx River, especially the children. Both Michelle and Teevee, as individuals and as community leaders, are vital to a renewed sense of purpose in the community.
The visions, not unexpectedly, include both sleeplessness and a physical ordeal--Michelle runs until exhausted, then runs again, while Teevee builds and uses a sweat lodge. The unified vision of the next two generations, Michelle in early middle age, Teevee still in his 20s, helps to bring Elsie Tsa Che who is one of the oldest in Lynx River out of her despair and her forgetting. Equally important, the vision creates a circle of understanding between Michelle and her old antagonist Albert Golo. It effects a cure for the children who are ill, suggests a way forward for the bored and restless teenaged Charlie by re-engaging him in his culture, and helps Michelle reignite the trust and love she had in Andrew One Sky by renewing her sense of self. (6)
I have only one review of the movie, which was broadcast three weeks after the trauma of the WTC/Pentagon attack, September 11, 2001. The headline of Andrew Ryan's article in The Globe and Mail (October 1, 2001) is "Tired of the world's dumbest shows? Try Dream Storm." He begins "Far and away tonight's best program is Dream Storm: A North of 60 Mystery (CBC, 8 p.m.). It's a new movie based on characters from the popular series...From its inception, North of 60, which featured an almost entirely native-Canadian cast, had a fervent following among viewers--a decided rarity for a Canadian drama. Since it left the air, there has been a series of movies that have also aired to very respectable ratings."
He goes on. "The superstitious [sic] townspeople fear the return of the local bogeyman, Albert Golo (Gordon Tootoosis), who presumably died years before, although the resident RCMP officers ([Tina Keeper as] Michelle Kenidi , Peter Kelly Gaudreault [as Harper] ) pursue more feasible theories. Written by Andrew Wreggitt [note: it is very unusual in Canada for a TV critic to acknowledge the vital role of the writer], Dream Storm is quite simply a terrific mystery tale. It has all the essential elements: good pacing, multi-layered characters and more than a few surprises. It is also a worthy homage to the original series, which signed off in 1997. North of 60 was a well-crafted show--one of the last great dramas ever produced by the CBC--and this movie makes the viewer achingly nostalgic for those days." Ryan also notes that television programming was still shadowed by September 11 and that comfortable, mindless shows were popular in the weeks after the attack.
Clearly, this film would not fall in the category of comforting--or would it? It explores a belief system in which the spirits of the community's ancestors are continuously present, who will offer guidance when the people have lost their way. It also shows that, although whites acculturating to First Nations ways find the path is usually open back to the 'outside', First Nations acculturation is different. It is more difficult and can be literally dangerous for First Nations people to find their way back home. There are more dimensions in the world of First Nations peoples than the 'outside' cultures dream of.
On one level, as Dream Storm unfolds it becomes an allegory, a teaching tale if you will, about what happens when a Dene community is in danger of forgetting its ancestors, its unique values and its place in the world. As Elsie tells Teevee when he asks her (not before), this is the place where the grandfathers are present to guide their descendants. It is also when the Slavey speaking Dene band loses its sense of self, children literally become sick with odd rashes and fevers of unknown origin (puzzling Sarah), where Albert's burnt out shell of a house starts smoking, Elsie starts to forget her traditional wisdom and medicine, and Teevee and Michelle have troubling dreams. Only when people start to acknowledge these events to one another can a solution be found. In the concluding episode of the series Lynx River had chosen to stay put and not be bought out and disperse--partly because, as Michelle said, Hannah was buried there and so were the rest of their dead. In many ways this is the movie most directly connected to the series.
On another level, it is about cleaning up environmental messes and not making more. Teevee, now band chief spends a lot of time bargaining over the right of way for a pipeline over "the cut", a part of the Golo trap line, now unused. Early on, he points out to the oil executive, self referentially, that the band has a stable pool of jobs and has accomplished a great deal in ten years. The program had begun a decade ago, in 1992, and despite its tribulations over six seasons, many changes for the better have occurred. Typically, Teevee is also trying to outsmart and outbluff both the chief of Swan Landing, where there has been bad blood with Lynx River for 50 years, and the young, smart, white executive. Teevee cooks dinner for the executive, shakes hands with the chief, yet tries to get the gas plant as well for Lynx River, citing the facts and figures about the executive's company and why he needs the deal. (He knows the business background because Harris and he "do a little on-line trading on the Internet.") When, toward the end of the film, Peter comes home temporarily, Teevee tells him all about the deal. However, Peter is more sceptical and cautious about the impact on Lynx River. Thus the program works on different levels for different viewers.
There is also a sub stratum of grotesque humour concentrated around the drowned body of the hunter from Swan Lake, Bob Sampson, and its effect on the white residents. Sarah has an experience which is half way between waking vision and her own reality. The body is first brought to her clinic as a make-shift morgue, but in the night is found to be sitting straight up. Both Michelle and Sarah force it back down with the appropriate creepy sound effects and Sarah offers a scientific explanation.
When the medevac is delayed, Gerry very reluctantly agrees to have the body put in his walk-in freezer, displacing his moose and caribou meat. Unlike Sarah and Michelle who have an ambivalent experience with a rational explanation, Gerry has a full waking dream about the body in his room. He rushes from his room to the freezer, and persuades Sam (one of the older hunters) to open it. Gerry unzips the body bag and the ghastly face, eyes open, peers back at him. Sam leaves amused and Gerry promptly moves into the band office, refusing to re-open the store until the body is flown out for an autopsy.
Then Harris finds the bedclothes soaking wet and the drowned body lying beside him. When he runs shrieking, in his under-shorts and T-shirt, out into the street, he meets his wife Lois coming home from an ordinary trip to the grocery store. She is shocked and displeased with his appearance. Needless to say, when they go into the bedroom, there is no body in the bed. Why these apparitions about the body trouble only the white characters is never made clear, adding another level of mystery, but also making clear that such experiences can invade the lives of everyone, not just the Dene. But Harris and Gerry, both agnostic, have no way of integrating this level of the paranormal into their lives. As we shall see, Sarah is also excluded from the knowledge of what happened to the children, as well. In the end, these apparitions are not connected in any way to the waking visions from which Michelle and Teevee learn what is needed for their people and for all who live in the town.
The body itself--indeed, the murder which may not be one--is a red herring as far as plot goes. Did Joe kill Bob Sampson, the hunter from Swan Landing, who has been found far from his own territory, because he was suspected of killing Joe's sister fifty years ago? When asked, Joe tells Harper that he would have killed Bob at that time, which makes sense. The body is also connected to a sheathed knife also found on the scene, which turns out to be Albert's knife, the one he used as a wordless summons to Joe when he asked him for a swift death. The sheathe has appeared in Michelle's dreams. Elsie, looking closely at it identifies it as work by someone she knew. Joe eventually tells Harper that his sister loved Albert and that he loved her--a new sidelight on their old rivalry. Harper, driven by unanswered questions and unexplained events, finally admits the possibility of the dead interpenetrating the land of the living and asks Joe if he thinks Albert murdered Sampson. Joe, as he moves off camera, says levelly, "Albert's dead." Harper is not going to find out what has happened. From widespread advertisements, many viewers will know that the drama special has supernatural overtones and that Gordon Tootoosis as Albert Golo--whom Joe killed in the last episode of North of 60--reappears. They may therefore suspect who the blanketed figure in Michelle's waking visions and troubling dreams is.
The movie tackles the subject of spirituality in a broader yet more detailed fashion than the series did. Nick Sibbeston was a cultural advisor on much of North of 60, and he served as advisor, with Eleanor Bran who also worked on the series, on this film. But how much either would have to say about what is actually portrayed here, I do not know. The film begins with Michelle's fragmented nightmare, then moves to the discovery of the drowned man in close up, under water. Then we see daytime appearances of the blanketed figure, first to Michelle and eventually to Teevee. The narrative moves from dream to vision, with side excursions into the odd behavior of the corpse in the body bag as the source of much of its humour. Eventually Michelle and Teevee discover that they share the same visions and dreams, but others, including the elders Joe and Elsie, do not.
In one of the most affecting scenes Teevee wakens Elsie who has fallen asleep on her couch. (When he needs her help or he is feeling close to her he calls her 'Ehtsu', grandmother, with a connotation of respect for one in a long line of elders, as well as affection.) The scene is shot in a tight two shot. Both appear even in action/reaction shots. Elsie: "What is it? Is it Kyla?" "No, it's Albert. He came to me." "In a dream?" "No in 'the cut'", that is, in daylight. He asks for her help. She turns away: "I can't. I don't remember." Teevee quietly pleads, but as the adult he has also become, reassures her as well: "Yes, you do. I know you have trouble remembering. I know that it's not gone. Ehtsu, look at me, please. It's still inside you." Almost with a uncharacteristic sob, she says she can't remember any more how to help the children. Teevee: "Why is Albert back? What has he come for?" She collects herself and says that "the grandfathers come to guide us, they don't come asking for things." Finally Teevee asks the right question: "What do I need to learn?" Elsie asks about his dream and he tells her about a rock falling into a fire in a shower of sparks which covers him (which is fragment of Michelle's dream as well). Elsie tells him to build a sweat lodge. The meaning of the dreams and visions will come when he has worked and prepared for it. We see him building the sweat lodge entirely by himself, the fire for the heated rocks and water for the steam ready nearby.
Meanwhile, hunting at the 'cut' for clues to Bob Sampson's death with Harper and Joe, Michelle once more sees the blanketed figure in the distance. She runs after it through the bush, finally falling exhausted to her knees. Albert appears on her right, then suddenly on her left, as she asks him why he has returned. "Because I missed Gerry's coffee"--a sardonic joke worthy of Albert. She asks whether he killed Bob Sampson. Was it because of the knife? Because of Doreen Golo? Albert laughs, then, during a slow but broken tracking shot of him, tells her: "These are the wrong questions." There is a narrative pattern in the series, when Albert in different episodes is asked by Sarah, Rosie, Peter or Michelle about various crimes, some of which he is responsible for, many of which he is not. He never gives them a direct answer. Michelle: "What do you want from us?" He appears in profile right next to her ear. As she flinches and closes her eyes, then opens her eyes, he says, "I want you to remember." Then he leaves and she follows again.
Cut to Teevee stripped to the waist in his jeans, head on his folded arms, alone and pouring with sweat in the sweat lodge. A long shot reprises another part of Michelle's dream, with a difference. As before the blanketed figure, head covered, hauls its double out of the earth. But this time Albert reaches into the ground, roughly hauls out the figure and we discover it is Michelle, completely covered in the identical old grey blanket. As he pulls her from the earth, Albert says strongly, "You came from the dirt. The dirt coughed you up to live for a few minutes in the air--or did you forget?" No tender, new-age words about Mother Earth here. Instead, the empowering archetype of a hero on a quest, who must spend time in the underworld, appears very strongly here.
Michelle then moves from her role as a cop to her role as mother. Making the connection that Albert apparently has power, yet still seeing him as her old enemy, she asks, "Why did you make the children sick?" He slips the blanket off his head to his shoulders and begins to look more like the familiar Albert. Quietly: "It wasn't me, it was you." Michelle denies it, but listens as he tells her that "Your [not our] people let strangers go where ever they liked, take what they want." "What did we forget?" "You forgot who you are"--a cliché in the mouths of pop stars and politicians, but vital to the film's major theme of collective responsibility.
He turns her to look at the brilliantly sunlit 'cut' where the army had left behind its rusty fuel drums and worn-out machine parts during WWII. Albert: "When you forget, you steal from the dead." As the camera circles them continuously, fluidly, Albert describes this place as "where the mountain splits and lets the river through. Where we [note the change of pronoun] have always honoured the dead, the animals." From behind her, he takes off her blanket, which fills the screen momentarily. When the screen clears we see Michelle in the sunlit clearing, in trousers and wearing her sweater, as she watches her ancestors smoke fish, cut meat, tan hides. Children are playing games. Slowly her hunched shoulders and tense, closed look relax. She walks through the clearing, taking it all in, handing a fish to a woman. She is not an observer, she is a participant who belongs. A man with tattoos and special beading in his hair, uses the bone knife she had seen in her dream to cut off a sliver of meat. He hands it her with words the viewers cannot hear, perhaps because we cannot claim her past. She takes the meat and places it in the fire with a prayer we do hear. We are part of her present. She remains kneeling comfortably, eyes closed. The whole scene is very leisurely, unlike the usual pace of television drama, full of small objects and little gestures that recreate a few details of pre-contact life for viewers to enjoy.
Cut to Teevee still drenched with sweat, coming out of himself to find he is also in the cut, full of oil drums and junk. He sees Michelle seated, eyes closed. He puts his hand on her shoulder, saying, "I was trying to find you." She looks at him warmly, puts her hand on his, and says, "Look around." Cross fade to the encampment full of laughing, playing children and lots of dogs. Teevee also walks around, savouring the scene. Eventually, however, he says, "We have to go back." She nods. Only then do we see Albert, screened by trees, watching. He pulls his blanket back over his head and walks off, just as before, in interrupted slow motion. The camera swings back into a long shot of Teevee and Michelle and the older man who is their ancestor, then up into the trees. In this sequence, Michelle has made common cause with two former antagonists: Teevee, once a young troublemaker who is still learning how to do what is best for his people, and Albert, her most formidable antagonist, who is also part of her heritage. As he said in their last encounter just before his death, in another time they would have been on the same side. She rejected that truth then. Now she understands it.
Harper is the one who finds her in the dark night, sleeping peacefully where they have looked "eight times" before. "How long have you been here?" "I don't know." Peter's question is more to the point: "What have you been doing?" With a long look she says simply "Visiting." He nods imperceptibly, as she says "Let's go back."
Cut to Teevee who emerges from the bush in the cold night to join Elsie. She is dressed in her very best, sitting in a lawn chair, looking after a fire. She gives him a blanket, rubs his face gently, then asks, "Did you find her?" When he says, still panting, that he did, she gives thanks in Slavey, putting herbs from her leather medicine pouch into the fire. Then, with a side-long glance, wordlessly, she indicates that he should do the same. We hear his prayer in close-up, but see them both in a crane shot, two small figures outside the house in the dark with the bright fire.
Cut to a daylight close-up of scattered rocks mixed with a few bones. Joe is showing Charlie, Michelle and Harper the grave where Joe says he buried Albert with his knife. He had chosen to bury him far away on the ancient Golo trap line. Michelle: "The wolves must have dug up the bones." Harper asks Joe directly if he killed Albert. Joe gives a carefully worded answer: "I buried him. I didn't say I killed him." Doubtfully, Harper concludes that maybe Bob Sampson came, found the knife, slipped and fell into the river, hitting his head and drowning. Cut to Teevee on the phone saying no to the deal offered by the oil and gas company.
The film ends with a sequence re-establishing health for the individuals and the community. The parents are collecting their children from the make-shift infirmary where Sarah has been trying to look after them. They are now quickly recovering from "the flu," as Teevee calls it to Sarah. When Teevee and his family meet Michelle and Charlie on the street, a look and a small smile is exchanged between the two as they pass each other in slow motion. (7) Nothing is said. Andrew is back, Charlie has a family again, Michelle is herself. Cut to Teevee hauling the garbage in the 'cut 'into a truck while Bertha helps him and Kyla and the new baby play in the background. And the credits roll on the best of the three TV movies to date--after which Cynthia Dale, who introduced the show, suggests to North of 60 fans that a fourth movie is going into production. "The saga continues."
(2) The Native American Political Issues web site gives a coherent and accessible account of Mi'kmaq spiritual beliefs by Noel Knockwood, which he has requested not be copied elsewhere. There are, of course, major differences in the beliefs and practices among First Nations but this may help introduce the reader to the complexities as well as a few of the basics of one belief system. The press release (Toronto January 21, 2002) of the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards announces that "Mi'kmaq Elder Noel Knockwood is this year's recipient from the east coast to win a 2002 National Aboriginal Achievement Award. 'Elder Noel Knockwood joins a long list of extraordinary Aboriginal elders who have won a National Aboriginal Achievement Award,' said John Kim Bell, founder and president of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, and executive producer of the awards. 'Elder Knockwood is being recognized for his work to restore and build Aboriginal spirituality in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,' said Bell."
See also Ojibway Heritage: The Ceremonies, rituals, songs, dances, prayers and legends of the Ojibway (1973, reprinted 1990) McLelland and Stewart, Toronto: 1990, and The Manitous: The Supernatural world of the Ojibway, Key Porter Books, Toronto: 1995, both by Basil Johnston. His books are accessible and a helpful introduction to this culture. His dedication to The Manitous reads "I dedicate The Manitous to the recovery of the Anishnaubae language and the restoration of the spiritual and cultural traditions in Anishnaubae family and community life." Years in residential school did not destroy Basil Johnston's roots in his own traditions. He is one of the few speakers of his language who can write in it as well.
For a white perspective on one First Nations' traditional sense of the land and spiritual values see Rupert Ross (the Assistant Crown attorney for the District of Kenora ) Dancing with a Ghost: Exploring Indian Reality , Octopus Publishing Group, Markham Ontario: 1992, with a foreword by Basil H. Johnston (Ojibway), xviii-xix. Ross speaks and writes on Native Justice Issues.
(3) Subhabrata Bobby Banerjee and Goldie Osuri "Whiting Out Aboriginality in Making News and Making History" Media, Culture and Society, vol 22, (2002) (263-284).
(4) Her paper, "Various Matters of Nationhood: Aboriginal Peoples and Canada Outside Quebec" was published in Kenneth McRoberts, ed. Beyond Quebec: Taking Stock of Canada. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995,
(5) And that First Nations artists belonged in National Galleries "as part of Canada's patrimony." His article "Native Arts in Canada: The State, Academia, and the Cultural Establishment" also appears in Beyond Quebec (1995). Not completely irrelevant to this book is my article "Will English-Language Television Remain Distinctive? Probably" which concludes that English Canadian television was distinctive enough to survive the secession of Quebec, partly because series like Beachcombers, The Rez, Spirit Bay and North of 60 helped make it so.
(6) See Irene Moser's Native American Imaginative Spaces (287 ff.)where she identifies "Recovering personal and tribal memory" as the common thread in the novels of N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich and the Acoma poet Simon J. Ortiz. The origin story told by some of the Dene also emphasises that the earth was pulled form the water by muskrat but the pawful of mud was made larger and larger by all of the animals and people together. We are also told in an episode by Elsie speaking to Teevee that the dead become the star people see chapter 4, p X). Land, water, under the earth and the sky are all one.
(7) See also Fuse Magazine, vol 18. no. 4. Summer 1996 "Native Love: Subverting the Boundaries of the Heart" by Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew who quotes Paula Gunn Allen as follows: "The physical aspect of existence is only representative of what is real," and continues a little later "A deeply personal and unmediated relationship to the land and spirits also sometimes goes beyond any language. While language and cultural values are very significant, my personal expressions such as dreams, visions and coalescing events that function spiritually beyond the definition of mere coincidence often are unnameable, lack descriptions in language, and can only be hinted at, or communicated with assistance from the spirit world." (30).
(c) 2001 Mary Jane Miller
Introduction updated 6/18/2008 by Patricia Winter.
Links updated 6/19/2009 by Patricia Winter.