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:




On my way home after participating on a panel of community artists for Mayworks my train stopped. Lights went off and then emergency lights came up.

The Train vox said “we are currently experiencing a power outage both ways at Spadina Station. emergency crews are on there way. We apologize for the inconvenience. Standard procedure dictates that we will be at stand still for half an hour”.

“Half an Hour!!” everyone except me exclaims, outraged at the notion of being trapped in a train underground for a mere 30mins.

30mins….that’s shorter than child labour or a labour strike or laboring at work…lol.

I used that 30 mins of quite to contemplate my current non-status First Nations…non marital status…non corporate status artist…lol. Naw I made that up…I actually thought about how messed it was the cell phones were non service providers underground what if were trapped indefinitely…and I need to contact the outside world…Naw I made that up too…actually I started reciting one of my 2011 pieces:

Sitting swaying to my own verbalations
Like a cryogenic stasis
I b frozen in my own medi-native meditations
In my last reincarnation
shit wuz hard
In this lifetime shit is harder
Once wuz a blip on ur radar
Now I b deep sea level sonar
Once wuz jus a face
Now I b a face wit a name
Yea I caught a little fame
Yea Red Slam is too blame

So I move to run
And u won’t let go
Won’t let go
Won’t let go
U hold me tight
Tell me to take it slo
Take it slo
Take it slo
U look into my eyes
Say Im an inspiration
Ur frequency rhythmic inhalation

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

Holding Haters close
But my crew even closer
Rizin higher like a star has been
Da ultimate roller coaster ride—
Do blk skins or red skins
Go to heaven when they die?
Bob said heaven is right here on earth
But it’s hot as hell and it’s only getting worse
Lately I been feelin’ da price of fame is a curse
After each show everytime we rehearse my love my hate for dis is only become definitively emersed

So I move to run
And u won’t let go
Won’t let go
Won’t let go
U hold me tight
Tell me to take it slo
Take it slo
Take it slo
U look into my eyes
Say Im an inspiration
Ur frequency rhythmic inhalation

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

This is bigger than me
This is bigger than us
Rise and Fall
Fall and Rise
Syncopating inter-tribal rhythms we must


So I move to run
And u won’t let go
Won’t let go
Won’t let go
U hold me tight
Tell me to take it slo
Take it slo
Take it slo
U look into my eyes
Say Im an inspiration
Ur frequency rhythmic inhalation

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it
And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

Emergency Lights


Mahlikah Contemplating


Nodin Says…April 2012

Nodin is the youngest of my wolf pack…an exurbanite 6 year old who has started droppin’ sum knowledge on the verbal that actually has been school’n me. So I thought I would blog a series of monthly Nodin Says moments for my readers….

I was using goat milk soap in the bath:

Nodin: “if you use goat soap you will smell because goat soap come from goats. If you eat goat cheese or drink goats milk you will smell like goat”

Mom: “Why do babies have to grow up?”
Nodin: “To be like you.”

Carrying a heavy Nodin up the stairs for bed on my back:

Mom: “Oh god help me!”
Nodin: “God is helping you.”

After talking to the wolf pack about how hard I work:

Eldest Son: “Mom work puts food on the table.”

Nodin: “No, work doesn’t do nothing it just makes you tired.”


Our Health Should Be In Our Own Hands

NAHO is no no! It’s a wrap! In a time when Aboriginal Peoples across Kanata got the highest rates of all the major silent killers they cut NAHO. Our water is sick; our housing is inadequate; unemployment is up and education is still not a funding priority and you cut NAHO. It’s time our people thought seriously about putting our health back in our own hands. Our hands can heal. We need our medicines. We need the teachings for those medicines. We need our traditional elders. We need our clean water and our clean soil.

Perhaps this is a wake up call we needed. All I know is when I don’t feel well I don’t go to my doctor first or consult my local drug dealer excuse me pharmacist. I take my medicines, boil those medicines and drink those teas, bathe in those teas, steam and inhale those teas…rub those oils and ointments…and speak to an elder.

It’s been almost 4 years since I have consulted my family doctor. Since putting my health in my hands.

NAHO Gone!

Face 2 Face

I still have a few peeps who are not on facecrack…and I respect that. I do have to admit though for the work that I do as a professional artist and educator it has led to fan reach; biz deals and a few authentic friendships.

Lately I actually have been having Facebook Friend Face 2 Face encounters. You kno where someone steps to you and says, “your a spoken word artist”. And your like, “yea”. And he’s like extending his hand for a shake telling you his name and that your Facebook friends. And of course you don’t recognize the face to recognize the name but you take his word for it. And tell yourself to check when you get above ground. He proceeds to ask if you do one off’s…
And it takes about 60 sec’s to process the expression at the end of a long work day. You mention your in a band. He says do you do solo stuff, he says he knows your band he’s joined your fan page. He wants to know if he can send you some tracks cuz he’s not jus a Facebook friend but he’s a producer.
You say, “Sure, cool”….he gets off at the next stop. No phone numbers exchanged cuz that is sooo 2008. He’ll hit me up on FB and find my gmail.
Dude didn’t even ask my name during the convo but again he doesn’t need to cuz we on FB.

Face 2 Face….lol.