Words from the Editors

The on-going COVID-19 pandemic, which took the world by surprise last winter, negatively impacted the release of the 6th issue of our journal, Muses from the North (MFTN), the second in the series of two special issues that were sponsored by UCN Seed Grant dedicated to Indigenous student writers. The University College of the North (UCN), like other institutions of learning in Canada and around the world, was forced by the rampaging virus to go into a lockdown mode and to pivot to virtual classrooms for instruction and learning. The production of the journal also ran into rocky waters. It became challenging to keep track of our student writers, especially indigenous students in their reserves due to the stay-at-home order and the poor internet connection that has become one of the characteristics of Northern Manitoba. Despite the disruptive episode of the coronavirus, the production team at MFTN, and our resilient student writers managed to stay true to the mantra “North Strong,” with the release of this 6th issue. However, the COVID-19 problem did not leave us unscathed, as this issue has the uninspiring record of having the fewest number of published articles since the inception of the journal in 2017. That said, less volume does not translate to less quality, as we invite our faithful readers to come along with us to explore our offerings.

The first article in this issue, “A Thompson Youth’s Perspective on Youth Delinquency and Crime,” by Jaydeen LaChapelle is a must-read for everyone who is interested in understanding the lopsided Canadian justice system as it applies to Aboriginal youths. Having used her experience of being a Thompson youth and witnessed youth delinquencies and crimes, the author tries to appeal to the public, who is always quick to castigate crime-prone youths in the city of Thompson, Manitoba, on social media sites without first attempting to understand their complicated history. LaChapelle’s reflective research paper is followed by Colette McKay’s interview with Elder David Blacksmith of Cross Lake. The subject of their conversation is “The Rattle.” Elder Blacksmith talks about the importance of the rattle in the Indigenous traditional/cultural experience. For instance, the use of rattles to communicate with the ancestors actually helps facilitate healing for a sick person. Alexandra Hart’s article comes with the title, “A Response to Johnston’s ‘Is that all there is?’” The author argues that the quest for the knowledge of other people and their culture should be the driving force in the education of young minds, not whether the subject is aesthetically or intellectually appealing. It should also be about respecting and honouring other people’s knowledge rather than just promoting their culture. Finally, in this issue, we are showcasing more works by our student, who is also an artist, Jasyn Lucas. Our readers have the opportunity of viewing Jasyn’s art works on the roles of women in Indigenous traditions, in line with the seven sacred teachings of the Indigenous people.

While congratulating our student writers for all the hard work which they put into the production of this issue of MFTN, we also wish to acknowledge the unalloyed support and encouragement that we continue to enjoy from our principals and colleagues at UCN. These include President Doug Lauvstad, VPAR, Dr. Dan Smith, Harvey Briggs, Associate VP, Reconciliation, Research and Academic Excellence, Dr. Carolyn Creed, and Professor Noreen Barlas.

Joseph Atoyebi (PhD)

Ying Kong (PhD)

Posted in