3 Easy Steps to Support Hashtag Poetry Portraits



Hashtag Poetry Portraits: an exploration of indigenous teachings through digital literacy

Ahnee, She:kon:

Wow it’s been a minute…almost a year since my last post. Mainly cuz life offline…analogue took a major priority. I think it is only fitting my return is motivated by a little project that could….no correction, “Will” create a nu form of poetic expression grounded in an ancient indigenous philosophy…how kool is that?! Hashtag Poetry Portraits is currently a top 10 finalist in the Neighbourhood Arts Network BMO Seed Arts Project Grant. Right now all 10 projects are fighting to make the top 6 by getting “liked” to death on FB. The 6 projects with the most “Likes” by 5p Monday June 10th…will be awarded
$1, 000 start up for their project. Honestly this is the most bananas competition I’ve ever been involved in. It’s become a full time job….it involves Friends, Family, Arts Networks, Community Organizations and complete strangers. Like after like after like, I feel like I gotta keep motivating all our supporters, rallying my digital soldiers….with the partnerships with ArtCity in St. James Town and Daniels Centre of Learning Regent Park in RP we’ve been able to hustle the whole social media landscape and support is growing. Artists and community members across Turtle Island and abroad have been holding me down. We came in as underdogs in 8th and climbed as high as 2nd. I am doing this for kids 6-13 native and diverse kids who struggle to express the written word but got a lot to say. Kids who live in hoods that get a lot of negative press…but for them that hood is where they call home. My connection to these inner city communities is authentic. I have been a part of them for almost 13 years and don’t plan on stopping.

Click on the link below:

Hashtag Poetry Portraits

Like! Share!!

It only takes on step to start a run…lets run together!!

Nia:wen Chi Miigwetch


Aboriginal Education in Tdot….Can we break the cycle??

As an educator and artist of First Nations heritage who has been working in communities and classrooms in Toronto, ON for over 12 years the inclusion of contemporary imaging and historical contributions of Aboriginal Peoples as the First Peoples of Turtle Island has slowly through mighty determination become more visible in our schools, which is encouraging students of Native heritage to self-identify and proudly embrace their roots; instead of being a invisible majority in the classrooms of our Toronto schools.

The Cycle that I am interested in breaking is our kids dropping out because they do not feel any validation and therefore their self-worth is low. I agree as many do that the nightmarish legacy of Residential Schools and the 60’s Scoop and the Child Service System is at the heart of the blame…

Please find the article:

Closing the ‘achievement gap’ for Toronto’s aboriginal students

Many people I respect in the community share their stories in this one.

Also if you are a parent or teacher native or non-native and you would like an Aboriginal Artist to work with your students or your kids during the 2012-2013 school year and you are based in Ontario please check out the OAC Aboriginal Artists in the Schools Roster which I am also listed in:


Finally if your in Toronto and your interested in the Red Slam 4 Directions Urban Community Arts Workshops check out our links on the Neighbourhood Arts Network which is supported by the Toronto Arts Foundation.




Red Slam Collective @ Alignment

Red Slam is bringing sum heavy hitters to Haudenosaunee Territory John Waaseyahbin Hupfield aka 7th Son Anishinaabe from Wasauksing First Nations; MC Miles T Mohawk Six Nations; Mahlikah Aweri aka MC AngelHeart Mohawk (Kahnawá:ke) & Mi’kmaw (Bear River) First Nations; Beat Boxer Skratch Won Cree/Dene (Alberta); B-Boy Dizine Izm (Rawn Razer) Cree (Saskatchewan); William Charbonneau (Bass) and Fumu Jamez (Percussions).

2012 is becoming a monumental year for the little Collective that grew and grew up from humble beginnings at the NCCT youth program office to showcasing at the 2011 NXNE, Manifesto and the 2010 CFSW. This year started with performances in Vancouver, New Mexico and in June Red Slam will showcase at NXNE 2012 and Pride 2012. The Hip Hop Fusion Movement S.L.A.M. (Spoken Lyricism Arranges Meaning) is unstoppable with the anticipated release of their full length studio album on the horizon for 2013!!

Red Slam Collective


A multi-disciplinary event brought to you by Nationless Minds, Burlington Slam Project, and PENTA

On Saturday, May 12th, we converge on 2 floors of Hamilton’s beautiful Pearl Company to bring you Alignment. Hosted by the dynamic Greg “Ritallin” Frankson.

You won’t believe our stellar line-up of performers and artists… exploring where various artistic expressions intersect and align with spoken word.

Missing Lynx (Urban Legends 2011 team)
Red Slam Collective
Amanda Hiebert
Electric Jon
Poetic Speed
Cathy Petch
the 2011 Burlington Slam Project team
Hyf & PrufRock
Kevin Sutton
Fire Flower Revue

and… as if that line-up isn’t more than enough to blow your minds… we also have one more dynamic duo… Brad Morden & Ian Keteku as Atomic Wednesday.

A Bboy-Bgirl showcase. Progressive Movement representing a downtown Hamilton youth centre known as ‘The New Globe’.
Live artists Komi Olafimihan & ZS Cheetham will be creating on the scene.
And a gallery including previous works by the above, plus photography & videography by Michelle Darby and Ruzanna Shortstuffyan.

tickets will be available in advance at various spoken word events throughout April in southern Ontario, or
contact us at we.are.PENTA@gmail.com for online purchase.

Doors open and the magic starts happening promptly at 7pm and we party until late in to the night…

Red Slam Collective’s Mahlikah Awe:ri is a member of PENTA for more info about the artist collective check out the web site:



Nommo: The Power of the Word

On March 29th 2012 I had the honor of having an artistic role as a spoken word mentor at two different Toronto High Schools for two separate artistic events.

The first was a poetry slam at Central Tech HS involving 5 area high schools and approximately 16 poets. My role was to judge the slam. 5 pts total content. 5 pts total performance. The event was a culmination of several months of poetry workshops lead by my spoken word colleagues Alessandra and Rittalin.

I was joined by TDSB’s Christine Jackson. All the youth had something to say. The general theme was what’s in a name . The poems expressed what was missing from their names. What their names meant to them; society; “Webster’s”. How to supersede your name; reclaim ur name; overstand ur name. Some pieces were rhyme acrobatics; some were in ur face; some were quiet and unassuming; some were movement and throwing objects…

They all were powerful…

My 1-2-3 were all female; all of colour and all deep in content and courageous in owning their space.

They taught me to see beauty in myself for my creator named me not this world; to remember a colonial name can’t always reflect the inner identity of the one who bears it so kno who u are beyond it; and naming is sound; colour; silence and everything we choose it to be.

That evening I joined Diaspora Dialogues at the Young Writers Edge Showcase at Danforth Tech HS; where I had mentored my first group of HS students in the art of spoken word and slam poetry this winter. Students read pieces from a chapter book of their writings. Some were poems about cultural consciousness; some were poetic monologues about love lost and love found; some were more like teen screen plays for television or the big screen….a few students read from older unpublished works. And one student shared an oral retelling of the first poem he wrote as a tween in Columbia in Spanish.

They all were powerful…

Like the earlier event their were HS who before experiencing NOMMO the power of the word…were extremely shy; or embarrassed or not confident to speak those emotive thunderbolts and sandpaper mind melds which lay just beneath the surface. Awaiting the awakening….

It was in HS that I too found that awakening although I had been writing poems since I was 9…HS was when the poems began to connect to everything and nothing all at the same time and it was NOMMO!

I felt eyes wide open. Faces a glo. It was NOMMO. An ancient magic that does cast spells on the audience. A hypnotic trance of words which are rhythmic sounds of provocation of thought and invocation of feeling.

My journey as a spoken word mentor has just begun as my journey as a teller is never ending and always evolving.

Feet stomping da earth
Arms pounding da maize
Hands balancing gourds filled with water on the crowns of our heads
We weave and bead
We chant and dance
We love protect rejoice

And we say

And we say

And we say
And we say

They took our drums
and stole our tongues
so to each other
we could never speak
til our jaws grew weak
From a silence
Heavier than death
Did surround



Beneath the ground
in the hopes
That they would never b found
Never b found

See they thought they took our
The power of our words
But I guess they never nu
And I guess the never heard
That u can’t take our Nommo
Cuz our Nommo is our soul
and u can’t take our soul
cuz our souls not ready to go

And we say

And we say

And we say
And we say



Distance…Does It Make The Heart Grow Fonder?

U wanna mek a distance between us
U wanna mek a distance between us
U wanna mek a distance between us
It will kill our truss
It will kill our truss
U wanna mek a distance between us
U wanna mek a distance between us
U wanna mek a distance between us

I can see it in ur eyes
Hear it in ur sighs
Feel it in ur embrace
Kno it from ur face

Build ur fence ur wall ur fortress
My light will make it fall
Build ur fence ur wall ur fortress
My light will make it fall

Ur still hurting but she is not I @ all
Ur still hurting but she is not I @ all

Don’t mek a distance between us
Don’t mek a distance between us Don’t mek a distance between us
Don’t kill our truss
Don’t kill our truss
Don’t mek a distance between us
Don’t mek a distance between us
Don’t mek a distance between us

Don’t wanna see it in ur eyes
Don’t wanna Hear it in ur sighs
Don’t wanna Feel it in ur embrace
Don’t wanna Kno it from ur face

Build ur fence ur wall ur fortress
My light will make it fall
Build ur fence ur wall ur fortress
My light will make it fall

Ur still hurting but she is not I @ all
Ur still hurting but she is not I @ all

U wanna mek a distance between us
U wanna mek a distance between us
U wanna mek a distance between us

Love is a funny thing. When I`m not feelin`someone they are usually feelin`me and when I am feelin`someone they wanna `just b friends. Romance tends to flo from cinnamon red hot to icy blu and it`s hard on this Mi`khawk woman. I had this fleeting moment this past fall when I had given up on second chances and met someone who I felt a synergy that wuz both on the physical and mental. I wuz smiling again, laughing again. Connecting with the roots of the land and the roots tied to bloodlines across generations. They say luv is blind. Wuz I blind or just projecting a perfection onto this person, because I so wanted to believe in second chances. Looking back I wish I never met this dude. He made me believe we had a possibility in this sometimes impossible fractured world. Fellas don`t take a chic to your Mom`s if u plan on breaking ish off a month or so later…it`s kinda foul and emotionally it`s kinda twisted. I felt the distance growing….sensed the signs about two weeks before I received that verbal confirmation…no no actually it wuz a text message…even sadder I kno. So I gave the distance to preserve a friendship. My challenge is I can`t seem to go full `friend`mode with this dude. And truss me I despise myself for this. I really try, but I still find ways to txt him or fb msg him just so I can make contact. And even when he completely ignores my implicit flirtations I keep trying. I actually dread passing through his subway station cuz there is a part of me that actually would love to run into him, but the other part of me doesn`t want too cuz it could be awkward. This Distance is actually making me want this guy more, which means I either gotta let dude know or just join the distance movement. Damn!


The worst love is the one filled with Ego and Selfish ways. You ever part ways with someone because of these very traits? I did. And even after parting ways I still observe the same behaviors. The thing that really gets me is when they attempt to justify….and try to convince you that they are actually showing you love. When you love someone you don’t intentionally hurt them, or make them feel less than they are or put your needs before yours when you know they need the support and empathy in that moment. You ever date someone who actually told you the reason why they cheated on you was because they were “insecure”, and thought you were going to leave them or that you were a cheater?? Messed up huh?? Then they still expect me to believe that I have no idea, “how they feel about me”, like I was the greatest love story ever told….it’s kinda twisted if you ask me.

Anyway I composed some pieces in response to being caught up with someone like this. Honestly, just maintaining a friendship with a guy like this is near impossible, because my spirit just can’t take someone who has no sense of humility and compassion. They think because you’ve flexed or worked with someone for 5 plus years that this behavior is actually unconditional love…naw maan…it’s you not knowing how to show real love and communicate honestly bro. Ladies doesn’t matter how the sex was with this dude or how much he says he still has deep feelings for you…put up the force field.

This is an open letter
To a selfish bastard
This is an open letter

No more AngelHeart
Mo like a blk widow
No more love2give
See the tears on my pillow
Natural born killah
Wolf clan  predator
More sinister than a US senator
Givin’ u a heads up
U abt to catch the vapors
U b hustlin’ da trees
Makin’ paper from leaves
Now u down on ur knees
Prayin’ for a savior
Dere is no mercy in my eyes
No gyration in dese here thighs
Dis is RIP to this relationship
Look at the smirk on my face
I’m not mourning dis

This is an open letter
To a selfish bastard
This is an open letter

This goes out to the boys who cry wolf
And the Shortiez and the heartache
U took
U want me to catch a grenade 4 ya
Already took 2 much pain 4 ya
When u were cheatin’ and lyin’
I still maintain 4 ya
Even took the blame 4 ya
So to my sistren do a round about with a snap and bend
Tell this selfish bastard this shit gotta end
We do right women
deserve a do right man
If u walk a mile in my moccasins
U’d kno to stroke it first
before u stick it in
No more games
Posse up 4 sum real drum talk
Cuz Dis Mi’khawk won’t  b stopped

This is an open letter
To a selfish bastard
This is an open letter

This is an open letter
To a selfish bastard
This is an open letter

No Eulogy juz an Egology

Ego trippin’
Boy u b slippin’
Rippin’ unconditional luv
At the seams
Destructive tunnel vision
Evaporating ur dreams
Can’t see thru da steam
Cuz u been denying
ur own mortality
The 3rd Grandfather
is requesting u consult ur humility
When u speak like an atom
u divide
Like Jedi Skywalker
Manifesting da dark side
Ur a traitor 2 ur humanity
Disguised in flesh
No one has the power to dictate when something is
over or under for me
No one has the power to make me move
from the place where I stand
Only the creator
And since the goddess force
lives in me
I choose when shit ends for me
Are u that absorbed in
ur so called invincibility
dat u believe
I will disintegrate with u gone
Get over urself
Do u think I give a fuck if u write or don’t write lyrical landscapes
about me
Get over urself
Chiefs; Emperors and even Kings
Have extracted excerpts of my
Sequence and shadows long before my physical birth
I am legend
Hold up dat mirror son
Reflect and refract
There is always someone
who gives up
I seen the signs in u like
Da zodiac
A coward who cowers
at the thought of being thought of as insignificant so attempts to blind side
So u are consumed by the imposing tide
They need to b needed
but yet they say they need no one and u should move on
cuz it’s over
This isn’t a battle
So don’t start one
Your Ego stole ur luv
Ur truth is no longer overstandable
I don’t want to converse with Ego
So let go of this Trip
There is soooo much worse shit going on in the world
than ur fight flight impulses
Who tricked u
Created these falses
So u treat ppl who were there
when no one else wuz like shit
Who put up with ur shit
When no one else would
Cuz honestly
Sumtimez u b straight up intolerable
Loyalty; Commitment and the Sacred Trust
Means nothing
To ego
To ego trippers
I’m not juz sum bitch
who juz hollered at u 4 dick
And sick guitar licks
But u be speakin’ to me
like I Rep’d dat shit
I took heat 4U
Riot Squads
Cuz I protect what I luv
In da end we alwayz begin again
So I wanna leave this
On my terms
Terms I earned cuz I gave my all
When so many chose to fall
Away from u
They curse ur very being
In the darkest  of corners
And in ur own place holder
They treat u like a foreigner
I will still b there
Until I can’t
Cuz I can

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