Words from the Editors

We at Muses from the North (MFTN) are very pleased to present to the reading public the 5th installment of our student-oriented journal. This 5th issue of MFTN is a special one. In fact, it is the first of two special issues which will showcase articles submitted only by UCN students living on some of the reserves in Northern Manitoba. Our readership may be interested in knowing about the rationale behind the release of this special issue of MFTN. The reason is simple. We want every student affiliated with UCN, whether on the main campuses or in any of our Access Centres, to have an equal opportunity to express their musings and learning. This goal has been truly an onerous one to accomplish, no thanks to the wide geographical space between different points in the north. However, due to our resourcefulness and determination as a team, and the cooperation of our ever engaging and ever determined students, we have managed to surmount all odds to bring you this exhilarating issue of our student journal.

You, our readers, have the privilege of reading the original works of our students who attend their studies at UCN straight from their respective reserves. These determined students are future knowledge-keepers who through their residency in their community have the auspicious privilege of interacting with elders and knowledge-keepers. As one reads their essays in this issue, one cannot help but notice that these students are well-rounded in both Western and Indigenous education. The issue opens with Alicia Stensgard’s interview with Elder William Dumas, a knowledge keeper from O-Pipon Na Piwin Cree Nation (aka South Indian Lake). Elder Dumas responds graciously to Alicia’s questions on the subject of philosophy and culture of his people. Collette McKay is a student with ties to two reserves, namely, Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN), where she currently resides, and Pimicikamak Cree Nation (aka Cross Lake). In her article “My Northern Family Culture,” she reflects on different issues in her community that will be of great interest to the reader, one of them is language, especially, the dialectal differences that exists between the forms of the Swampy Cree that is spoken in the two reserves to which she is connected. Peggy Lathlin from Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) writes a personal reflection on education as the key to her life. Mervin Jr. Thomas, a resident of Chemawawin Cree Nation (aka Easterville), writes about why it is important that non-Indigenous people learn about the culture and traditions of the Indigenous people in the communities where they live and work. The fifth article is the second of the three interviews that are published in this issue. Cherish Halcrow from Pimicikamak Cree Nation (aka Cross Lake), interviews her kokum (grandmother), who tells her a legend that has been with her family over many generations. Darrell Lathlin from Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) revisits the argument on the importance of preserving and revitalizing Indigenous languages. He makes the point that the death of a language will result in the death of a people’s culture, and a loss of their identity. Finally in this issue, we are privileged to conduct an interview with the famous northern artist, Jasyn Lucas, who graces our platform with some of his original art work. Jasyn was born Cree, but was adopted and raised by his European parents in Flin Flon, Manitoba. While transcribing Drs. Joseph Atoyebi and Ying Kong’s interview with Jasyn Lucas, Desiree Balfour, a student from Kinosao Sipi Cree Nation (aka Norway House), reflects upon the interview from her perspective from the bits and pieces. She relates her own experience of the youth issues with the artist’s. We are hopeful that all the works in this issue will inspire our readers.

In closing, we would like to acknowledge all those without whose help and constant support we would not have come this far. First, we say a big “THANK YOU!” to all our contributors to this special issue. Second, our appreciation goes to UCN’s president, Doug Lauvstad, the vice-president academics, Dr. Dan Smith, Dean Harvey Briggs of the Faculty of Arts, Business, and Science, and to all our colleagues and encouragers. Finally, we would like to thank the Research Education and Learning (REAL) Committee at UCN for the Seed Funding grant through which we have been able to keep this project afloat.

We trust that you will enjoy reading and viewing all the offerings that we have put together in this latest and special issue of Muses from the North.

Drs. Joseph Atoyebi and Ying Kong

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