June 21, 2019. I pulled into Kenora, Ontario after an exhausting, soul-crushing drive from Brandon, Manitoba. I was delighted to find space in the Anicinabe RV Park & Campground where I could set up my trusty tent, and was even more delighted to have arrived at the park on National Indigenous People’s Day as there was a Pow Wow in full swing. I found my spot, threw up my tent, and ran back to the lawn where the event was taking place. There was a drumming circle in the centre, and if the sound of the singing and drumming does not move you, you have no soul. I always find it close to overwhelming. The sound seems to bypass my intellect and go straight for my core. The dancers were in remarkable costumes–jingle dresses, and a few male dancers in more symbolic, animal-icon attire. I loved it. The host was thorough in his attention to the power of women in the world and the native community, as well as the real, and difficult challenges still facing his people. He was wonderfully welcoming to those of us outsiders as we watched. I was deeply touched. I saw Starla dancing in her lovely jingle-dress (the healing dress). She had changed out of it before I found her to ask if she would participate, but believe me, she was a sight in it. She was very kind and agreed to be a part of the project. Her answers were thoughtful.
Are you in love?
"“Yes.” (She chuckles)
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
“My father. He was…he influenced my life a lot, and when I was travelling down the wrong path he helped me to get back to where I needed to be. So, now that he’s passed on–it’s been a year now–I…I’m still trying to follow his…his words, what he wanted me to do.”
How do you feel about the future?
“Uhm, I…I’m optimistic. Just going day-by-day. Whatever comes, ah, just going to learn by experience and hopefully everything works out to what I want to achieve.”