Knowing Our Place is proud to present author Lynda Gray on November 4 at Cove Commons. Lynda, a member of the Ts’msyen Nation will read from her best-selling book, First Nations 101: Tons of Stuff You Need to Know About First Nations People, an overview of the diverse and complex day-to-day realities of First Nations people.
Lynda is a member of the Killer Whale clan from Lax Kw’alaams on the northwest coast of B.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from University of British Columbia, served as the executive director of the Urban Native Youth Association for seven years and serves on community boards including the UBC President’s Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Issues. Her work is grounded in a strong belief in community development, youth empowerment and culture as therapy.
Not willing to just stand by and wait for change, Lynda wrote First Nations 101,“My contribution in helping restore First Nations communities to our former healthy, independent and proud selves,” writes Lynda, “and to move towards reconciliation between First Nations and non-First Nations people.”
Lynda writes with honesty and humility. “I do not profess to know all the answers or to be an authority on all these issues,” she says. Nevertheless, she highlights the many topics that affect First Nations people’s lives and she does this with humour and insight. For readers who want to continue their learning, each section ends with a short list of resources.
There is no shying from difficult topics. The Indian Act, treaties, addictions, poverty, residential schools, feminism and the land bridge theory are all discussed in a straightforward, compassionate manner, as well as language preservation, the Medicine Wheel, Indigenous ceremony, governance, music and literature. In an easy-to-read and engaging style, she offers practical solutions for individuals, groups and governments to address the social and economic problems created by colonization.
“It has taken me decades to learn what I know about our history, challenges and strengths,” she writes. “First Nations 101will make it easier for others to learn.” Lynda appeals to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers. She is fully aware that reconciliation is not possible “without you and I working together, encouraging others to join us, and by making governments accountable to us all.”
First Nations 101is a presentation of Knowing Our Place, a reconciliation initiative I lead, sponsored by the Bowen Island Arts Council and the Bowen Public Library. The aim is to educate ourselves on the shared history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada and to foster mutually-enhancing relationships.
In the past two years, we have presented the blanket exercise - a workshop to experience the effects of colonization, building bridges through art with Squamish Nation storytellers and carvers, and the June 21 celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, sponsored by the Bowen Island Municipality, Knick Knack Nook, and Literacy Task Group. Our book club meets monthly to read and discuss books written by Indigenous authors. The interest shown in our programs gives one hope that the time has come to heal Canada’s deepest wound and to discover how we might move forward. Together.
Please join us on November 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. as we welcome Lynda Gray. Grab a glass of punch, and join the Q&A. First Nations 101will be available for purchase.