Prince Albert Voice
We are living in a moment in history which, we will all one day look back on, and recall our actions with pride or with shame. I say shame because I have seen and read some contemptable things regarding human beings acting at their worst – from selling toilet paper for three dollars a roll to contributing to the gossip and slander of people who were evicted from their home, it is sad to see how people lash out when their own comforts are restricted. With that being said, I have no wish to dwell on those negative stories. I’d much rather focus my attention where it ought to be, with those who are reaching out to touch their neighbours and bring joy during this difficult time.
Stepping through the door of the North West Company Inc. on River Street East, I am greeted with the familiar smell of tanned hides. It is a comforting smell and one that only brings happy memories to me. I am continuing my hunt for a craft resource I can rely on for quality resource supplies. The Parenteau family has run the North West Company for as long as I can remember. They’re committed to providing authentic craft resources, food, art and services to people from Prince Albert and the North. As the door closes behind me, my visual senses are overwhelmed with all sorts of treasures hanging from the ceiling, walls and displayed on the shelves. Even the floor provides the ideal location to showcase various items which may appeal to any taste.
I recently decided I need to find a way to allow my creative energy to flow in a way that is more authentic to who I am as an Indigenous woman. My journey began by taking a class at the Mann Art Gallery. I am still working on the skirt I learned to make that day, although I do face challenges as illness had me beat a hasty retreat well before I was ready to leave. Then my sister and I decided to take another class being offered. This one taught us how to make moss bags and was incredibly interesting. There is just a bit of it left to go and then it will be a beautiful completed project. All the while I’m learning about my culture and identity as I make and complete these projects. And I know I will make another of each so that has me doing some shopping… yes, I know – I’m taking one for the team as I shop for resources to start another project.
The Crow Moon is lazily making its way into the sky as I head north to the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation for the evening. I’ve been looking forward to attending the Prince Albert Council of Women’s annual Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2020 for a few weeks. I’m looking forward to learning more about this year’s inductee, Laura Quesnel. Recipients of this award include a long list of women who have found incredible success in their professional and personal lives as they follow their heart with passion and humility. They have become role models within our community, working together to influence policy and change public attitudes in a way that promotes empowerment through equality. This goal includes advocating to improve the quality of life for women and children on an individual and community service level of volunteerism.
I have a secret that I’ve held so close to myself over the last number of years I’m not sure I’m ready to reveal it to anyone, much less here in such a public forum. At the same time, I feel like talking about it and creating a safe place, here in this column, for open dialogue amongst my readers might create something positive for someone who is trying to cope alone with similar issues. My secret is… I am depressed. I have been suffering with depression for well over five years and I am working with my family doctor, psychologists and soon, a psychiatrist, so that I can learn coping skills which will help me identify triggers that send me into something I call “the blues” but it really so much worse than that. As an example, I really remember very little of last November and early December. I went through the motions of being “well” but I wasn’t. When I woke up in the morning it was because of my children and seeing to their well-being. My Mom was there so I really could have stayed in bed. I wanted to. Instead I got up and lived my personal motto throughout the day, “Fake it till you make it, baby!” And fake it, I did. Very few people knew how much mental, physical, emotional and spiritual pain I was in during those weeks. I literally withdrew from everyone who was left in my life. To be clear, I have limited myself to my immediate family and a few friends in my life. It takes too much energy to maintain relationships outside of that. So why am I talking about this now?