“Indigenizing” child apprehension

“The first time I met my grandmother, she was crowded into my tiny apartment with a group of Anishinaabe mothers and grandmothers, each family involved in a battle with Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies (CAS). She wasn’t my grandmother yet – the adoption came later, after her family began to heal from their ordeal. I had been invited to join the group as a writer – a friend struggling with her own CAS case asked me to help them generate media attention. My adoptive grandparents know all too well how important it is to have family that’s close, and they invited me into their family when they learned that my own family lives far away. As a white woman, I remain an outsider to Anishinaabe laws and traditions, albeit a well-informed one. But I am also someone whose family is on the line.”

Sarah Mann – Briarpatch – January 2018


Return of the Mummers

“Mummering has become a powerful symbol of identity here in Canada’s most easterly province, so it’s no wonder ‘a mob of mummers’ pitched up to march through the capital city, undeterred by a halo of rain, drizzle, and fog—courtesy of the island’s position in the North Atlantic. The original parade was axed when mummering was banned in Newfoundland and Labrador 150 years ago, back when social unrest was high and the disguises enabled violence and public nuisance. At the time of the 2009 festival, I’d lived in the province for three years, there as a graduate student in Memorial University of Newfoundland’s folklore department. I’d studied these disguised Christmastime merrymakers in their various contexts, but the parade was my first attempt at being one.”

Emily Urquhart – Hakai Magazine – December 2016


“The first person to touch my vagina was a doctor. I had just returned to Toronto after my surgery. I lay on the examination table, my legs in stirrups, while the doctor explored my changed body. I stared at the ceiling while she poked and probed my healing vagina. Suddenly, I felt something that I had never felt before. It hurt a little, but it also felt good. Normally, when someone touches my body, I can roughly tell where they are touching me from the sensations. This time, I had no idea where the doctor’s hand was. It was like some part of me, completely disconnected and floating away from the rest of my body, was being touched in another world.”

Gwen Benaway – Carte Blanche – December 2018

The Year in Rebuilding

“After we broke up, I spent 2018 re-learning how to trust myself—my thoughts, my feelings, things that happened right in front of me. If you’ve never been with someone who negates your experience of the world, it’s hard to imagine how it starts. It’s like a brainwashing you agree to. At first, I kept notes like life preservers around me, reading them behind the locked door of the bathroom when I felt reality washing away on his words. Eventually though, worried he’d find them, I shredded them. I deleted the whispered voice memos from my phone because they seemed like evidence he was right. They seemed like the sort of thing a crazy person would keep.”

Amy Kenny – Hazlitt – December 2018

Found and Lost

“Nakuset sat across from me in a CBC studio in Montreal, headphones turned up, straining to hear her sister Rose Mary Murray’s voice on the other end of the line. ‘Rose, are you there?’ There was a delay on the phone line from Austria, where we reached Rose Mary — a technical glitch that seemed unfair given how many decades the sisters had waited to hear each other speak. I was hosting CBC Radio’s Daybreak program that day in July 2016, and all of this was happening live on the air. On another line from Kenora, Ont., their other sister Sonya Murray was listening in.”

Ainslie MacLellan – CBC Montreal – December 2018

Ontario family’s legal fight to keep daughter on life support could change how death is defined across Canada

“For more than a year now, Ms. McKitty has been sustained on borrowed time in the Brampton Intensive Care Unit, her family providing round-the-clock attention to a woman they believe to be alive and deserving of a chance to recover. Though at least five examining physicians have declared Ms. McKitty brain dead, hospital nurses still rotate through her ICU room for care. The family’s refusal to discontinue life support kicked off a labyrinthine legal dilemma, which they’re taking to the Ontario Court of Appeal this week. The question of what constitutes death, and who decides when that line has been crossed, has no clear legislative answer across much of Canada. The case pulls on opposing threads of science and faith, evokes questions about Charter rights and challenges the role of cultural practices in modern medicine.”

Victoria Gibson – The Globe and Mail – December 2018

Animal House

“It had become trendy for tech companies to hire media refugees like me to serve as ‘brand storytellers’ instead of spending millions on conventional advertising. Vision Critical had invented a position for me on the marketing team—senior director, content. I knew next to nothing about promoting software to market researchers, yet I would be overseeing an in-house propaganda machine of writers, videographers, graphic designers and social media managers. My salary would be double that of the average magazine editor. I signed the contract.”

Mark Pupo – Toronto Life – December 2018