Good Sunday morning!

And did you know that it’s almost the end of February, and that February is Black History month?

Although there is genuine discussion about whether having a month dedicated to a certain kind of history is tokenism, I’ll take this dedicated month as an opportunity to consider the connections I have to people with African ancestry, and the histories of the places I’ve lived in.

Canada is made up of so many different kinds immigrants (even if it’s many generations back), as well as the First Nations people that were already here.

In my own immediate and extended family, we have many different backgrounds. It’s one of the beautiful things about being Canadian.

And it’s sometimes one of the challenging things. Many ancestries have been hidden and covered up as people tried to cope with racism and get by in a sometimes cruel and challenging society. In my own family our distant First Nations heritage was held secret and often denied for that very reason.

In addition to that, my family also contains people with African ancestry. My daughter, for one, via Barbados on her father’s side. And my cousin’s husband (and thus their children), who was adopted by a family in Canada, came from Ethiopia.

I do believe it is so important to honour and reflect on all of these different pathways of arrival into Canada, the impact each different culture had on shaping Canada, and to ensure that histories that often get erased or hidden, get illuminated.

With that in mind, I want to share a few fascinating links and stories with you.

Lucille Hunter was, in her old age, a neighbour to my mother, when my mother was a child. She was also brave enough to climb the Chilkoot Pass, pregnant and alone at the age of 19, in 1898, on her way to the Klondike Gold Rush in central Yukon, Canada.

Clyde Duncan, of mixed English/Barbadian/Creole ancestry, had quite a role in shaping British Columbia, in Canada.

Illuminating the history of West African portrait photography. Photos that are sublimely beautiful.

I can’t stop listening to this song. Her bass line. Her voice. And thanks to Alexandra Franzen for sharing the link.

Saltspring Island is a 10 minute drive and 10 minute ferry ride away from where I live. It’s famous for many things – yoga centres, counterculture, creativity and spirituality. Did you know that one of it’s founders was a Missouri woman born to slaves, Sylvia Stark.

Anthony Barboza devoted his life to photography, creating images which grew out of his education as a member of the Kamoinge Workshop, a group of fifteen black photographers.

Will you be my black friend? In which the white author digs into stereotypes and a lack of diversity in his own life by taking out a craigslist ad.

And finally, I’ve never really understood the appeal of Beyonce. However, her latest song and music video? She’s hooked me. Talent, beauty, history, politics, feminism and fantastic dancing. Wow. I get it now.

As always, I’m curious. What did you think? What stories grabbed you?

Janelle

PS – what do an executive director, university student, tow truck driver, yoga teacher, pilates instructor, chef and structural integrator have in common?

We all used to dance professionally!

I’m thrilled that our 6:30 show on March 5th is sold out. However, we still have tickets for our 8:30 show.

If you’re on Vancouver Island, come see us at The Bare Bones dance showcase: an evening of exquisite contemporary dance pieces, Saturday March 5th, 8:30pm, $20 / ticket (+$0.60 paypal fee.)
Learn more and purchase online here.