When asked what interests, motivates and inspires me besides Speech Pathology several things run through my mind:
1) Shopping (certainly)
2) Food (definitely)
3) Social media (most assuredly)
However, my strongest and most important interests and sources of motivation and inspiration are best described by my twitter handle @ndnspeechmom. Ndn is an abbreviation of the term “Indian” which, although not politically correct is the term I grew up using to describe myself as a First Nations individual. Speech seems self-explanatory and mom is the title I wear most proudly.
The importance of family and cultural identity is the cornerstone of my life and is something that I plan to pass on to my children. As a child I danced Pow Wow and was even once Thunderchild Junior Princess in 1986. (If you’d like to see my beaded moosehide sash my dad has it in his man cave.) It is difficult to describe the feeling you get when you dance to the drum. It has been years since I was part of the Pow Wow circle but whenever I hear the drum and the singers start those familiar songs I can feel it in my heart. Someday I want to dance again, but I especially want to raise my children to be comfortable traveling on the Pow Wow trail. I was so proud on August 28, 2011 at the Thunderchild Pow Wow because that was the first day I got to take all three children into the center while they danced Tiny Tots. My nervousness as to whether they would like it melted away when I saw my daughter lift her arms and begin to dance. I was surprised because I didn’t even know that she knew any steps. My sons were more reserved but they didn’t panic even with the crowds watching them. I was so excited I forgot to take as many pictures as I would have liked.
This compilation video includes pictures from the Thunderchild 2011 Pow Wow and several from my family photo album. The music is a song called, “It’s a Good Day to Dance” by the drum group Blackstone.
This is a video that I shot with my phone of the drum group that sat directly in front of us. I was proud that my children enjoyed listening to the drum so close. The two men visible onscreen are my cousin Marvin Thunderchild and my uncle Eric Tootoosis. The name of the drum group is Saddleback and I believe they are from the Edmonton area of Alberta.
I feel as though my focus on family and culture serves me well in my professional life as well since I am a school based Speech Pathologist travelling to several different First Nations communities. I find it rewarding to work with children in the communities around my home reserve of Thunderchild and I hope that I can encourage more First Nations people to enter the fields of Speech Pathology and Audiology. I encourage everyone reading this to partake in the beauty that is native culture and to feel the heartbeat of the drum. It is always indeed “A Good Day to Dance.”