Transcript: Lawrence Martin | Jun 09, 1994

(music plays)

The opening sequence begins.
Fast clips show the daybreak on a lake, birds flying in the sky, and a house covered with snow.

A song says TALK TO ME, SO I CAN HEAR
YOUR VOICE LIKE A LAKE
SO DEEP AND CLEAR
SOARING THROUGH THE
TOPS OF THE TREES,
DANCING BY MY WINDOW
LIKE A WIND BLOWING THROUGH
MY DOOR, DISTANT VOICES,
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES

[drumming and singing]
Fast clip show white and lilac flowers, a frog and an insect by a lake.

Lawrence Martin is in his early forties, with a black moustache and black hair. He wears a camel shirt.

Lawrence says WHEN
THE BUDS ARE FAT,
THE FROGS SING AND THE
SOUTHERN WINDS
COME TO RENEW THE
LAND OF THE CREE.
WAWATAY ALSO VISITS, DRAWN
BY THE WHISTLING SOUNDS
OF THE MATING CREATURES.
WAWATAY IS DANCING SPIRIT
WARRIORS THAT RETURN
EACH SPRING TO CLAIM THE
SOULS OF THE NEWLY DEPARTED.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Lawrence Martin. Communicator."

Lawrence continues I WAS GROWING
UP IN THE BUSH,
LIVING THE LIFESTYLE,
AND TODAY ALL OF THOSE
MEMORIES ARE VERY STRONG,
VERY RICH IN MY HEART
AND MY MIND, AND I'M ALWAYS
THINKING ABOUT THEM,
AND I'M ALWAYS WRITING
SONGS ABOUT THEM,
AND I'M ALWAYS
PASSING THOSE STORIES
ON TO THE KIDS WHEN WE
GO ON LONG DRIVES,
LIKE TO THUNDER BAY
FROM SIOUX LOOKOUT,
FOR INSTANCE.
THEY'RE ALWAYS ASKING
THEM TO TELL THEM
ALL KINDS OF STORIES.
AND I MIX THEM UP WITH
SOME OF THE LEGENDS.
JUST PASSING THINGS ON THAT
I LEARNED FROM MOOSE RIVER.

The title of the show appears in yellow letters. It reads "Distant Voices, with Eva Solomon, CSJ."

A song plays
MY GRANDMOTHER TOLD ME
ALL KINDS OF STORIES
SITTING BY THE RIVER WHEN
NIGHT FINDS THE DAY
SHE SAID WHEN
SOMEBODY DIES
THEIR SPIRIT WILL
RISE TO THAT PLACE
WHERE WE SEE WAWATAY
WHEN THE SOUTHERN
WINDS ARRIVE
THE LAND COMES ALIVE...

The caption changes to "Lawrence Martin’s accomplishments are diverse and far-reaching. He is a musician, whose CD Wapistan won the 1994 Juno for best aboriginal recording artist. He is the executive director of Wawatay, the northern Native communications society responsible for media services in radio, television and newspaper, as well as for translation services and hi-fi radio systems. He was also elected mayor of Sioux Lookout and is the only Native mayor of a non-Native community in Canada. Although he has many executive responsibilities, his roots are in his childhood spent in Moose River, where he grew up the child of a Cree mother and an Irish father. Those memories inspire his music now."

Holding a guitar, Lawrence says A LOT OF TIMES
WHEN I'M TRAVELLING,
ESPECIALLY ON AIRPLANES,
I START TO COME UP
WITH THESE IDEAS.
AND I REMEMBER ALL
KINDS OF THINGS,
AND I START PUTTING
THOUGHTS TOGETHER,
START PUTTING THE SONGS
TOGETHER THAT WAY.
SO IT'S USUALLY WHEN
I'M BY MYSELF SOMEWHERE
THAT THAT
USUALLY HAPPENS.
AND SOMETIMES,
TOO, YOU KNOW,
THERE'S A STORY THAT
TOOK PLACE BACK ABOUT
FOUR YEARS AGO, I WAS
INVOLVED IN ORGANIZING
A POW WOW OUT
OF TIMMINS.
AND IN THAT TIME, I
WAS HELPING WAWATAY,
GETTING THE WHOLE
THING ORGANIZED.
AND IT WAS A
WONDERFUL POW WOW THAT
WE ORGANIZED IT SO WE
CAN TELEVISE IT LIVE
FOR FOUR HOURS.
AND IT WAS A
LOT OF WORK.
WE HAD SATELLITE
TRUCKS, YOU KNOW,
UPLINKS RIGHT UP
THERE IN THE BUSH
AND EVERYTHING ELSE.
BUT THE IDEA WAS TO TEACH
PEOPLE, TEACH THE PUBLIC,
WHAT THE NATIVE
DANCE WAS,
PARTICULAR DANCE OR WHAT
A PARTICULAR
POW WOW SONG WOULD BE.
SO THAT'S WHAT WE DID.
AND AT THE END
OF ALL OF THAT,
THE CLOSING CEREMONIES,
BARNEY PATISTE
THE CHIEF OF
MATACHEWAN BAND,
CAME UP AND HE GAVE
ME AN EAGLE FEATHER,
SAYING HE WAS REALLY
PLEASED WITH THE WORK
I WAS DOING.
AND HE CALLED ME AN
ELECTRONIC WARRIOR.
[laughing]
I CARRIED THAT
FEATHER WITH ME.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, YOU
CAN SEE IT ON THE ALBUM
JACKET COVER, THAT
EAGLE FEATHER.
AS IT MEANS A
LOT, YOU KNOW,
GETTING RECOGNIZED IN A
VERY SPECIAL WAY
FOR THE WORK WE'RE TRYING
TO DO BRINGING LANGUAGE
AND CULTURE BACK.

A close-up shot of the cover of an album appears. It shows a white feather against a silk pink fabric.

Lawrence sings
AT NIGHT WHEN
I GO TO SLEEP
I DREAM ABOUT THE
LIFE I OUGHT TO KEEP
THE LANGUAGE
AND THE CULTURE
OF MY PEOPLE
NISHNAWBE ASKI
I DREAM ABOUT THE ELDERS
WHO KEPT IT ALL TOGETHER
BUT THROUGH TIME
THEY'RE LOSING
THE LANGUAGE IS HARDLY
SPOKEN ANYMORE
WHAT'S GONNA
HAPPEN TO ME?
WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN
TO THE INDIAN?
TO THE KEEPERS
OF THE EARTH?
NO MORE THAN MEMORY...

Clips show native people.

Lawrence says I THINK RACISM
EXISTS EVERYWHERE.
AND IT'S UNFORTUNATE
THAT IT DOES.
IT'S UNFORTUNATE
THAT IT HAS EXISTED,
AND IT STILL EXISTS
IN SIOUX LOOKOUT,
IT EXISTS EVERYWHERE.
BUT I THINK IF PEOPLE ARE
JUST GOING TO SIT BY
AND LET IT HAPPEN AND NOT
DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT,
OF COURSE IT WILL
ALWAYS BE THERE.
BUT TO ME, RACISM EXISTS
IN A LOT OF CASES
BECAUSE OF A LACK
OF THE EDUCATION
AND UNDERSTANDING.
AND I'M ALWAYS COMPLAINING
ABOUT THE LACK OF NATIVE
INVOLVEMENT, ABORIGINAL
PEOPLE'S INVOLVEMENT
IN THE HISTORY
OF CANADA.
YOU DON'T SEE
IT IN THE BOOKS.
YOU DON'T SEE IT IN THE
EDUCATION SYSTEM AT ALL.
THE ODD PARAGRAPH,
YOU'LL SEE SOMETHING,
HOW THE INDIANS HELP
PEOPLE PORTAGE THE FLOUR
AND THEIR POTATOES
ACROSS SOME AREA.
BUT VERY LITTLE
OF THAT.
SO IT'S THEIR OWN
FAULT, YOU KNOW,
IT'S THE FAULT OF
THE GOVERNMENT,
IT'S THE FAULT OF THE
EDUCATION SYSTEM.
BECAUSE I DON'T SEE
HOW THIS CAN CONTINUE.
I DON'T SEE HOW NATIVE
PEOPLE CAN CONTINUE
TO BE IGNORED IN CANADA,
OR ANYWHERE ELSE.
IT JUST DOESN'T
SEEM REAL.

Black and white pictures show a child by a modest tent and people sailing a boat.

Lawrence continues AND TO ME, TO BE INVOLVED
IN THE POLITICS
OF SIOUX LOOKOUT, AND TO
BE INVOLVED IN THE OTHER
THINGS I'M DOING,
THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT
FOR OUR PEOPLE TO BE
INSIDE, SOMETIMES,
FOR PEOPLE TO TRY
AND MAKE CHANGES
FROM WITHIN BECAUSE YOU CAN BE
KNOCKING FROM THE OUTSIDE
FOR SO LONG AND NOTHING'S
GOING TO HAPPEN FROM WITHIN.
SO YOU HAVE TO BE
PART OF THE SYSTEM.
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO
COMPROMISE WHAT YOUR
BELIEFS ARE, AND WHAT
YOU ARE TRYING TO DO.
YOU HAVE TO COMPROMISE
TO BE ABLE TO GET INTO
A POSITION TO BE ABLE TO
GET YOUR POINTS ACROSS
FOR THE CAUSES THAT
YOU ARE FIGHTING FOR.
SO IT'S QUITE DIFFICULT,
BUT THE POINT
I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE IS THAT
IT'S VERY IMPORTANT FOR US,
FOR OUR PEOPLE,
TO GET INVOLVED,
RATHER THAN SITTING
BACK AND FIGHTING
FROM THE OUTSIDE.
WE HAVE TO COMPROMISE
AT SOME POINT,
AND THAT COMPROMISE
IS ONLY TEMPORARY.
THE COMPROMISE HAS TO
HAPPEN FROM BOTH SIDES.
BUT I SEE TRANSITION
HAPPENING WITH ALL
THE BIG CHANGES HAPPENING
AROUND THE WORLD.
THAT'S ALSO HAPPENING
WITHIN CANADA ITSELF.
ACTUALLY, THE OPPORTUNITY
TO BECOME MAYOR
OF SIOUX LOOKOUT WAS BROUGHT
ON AGAIN BY OUR OWN PEOPLE
THAT ARE NOW LIVING
IN SIOUX LOOKOUT.
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO
WHEN THE ELECTION
FOR THE MUNICIPALITY
WAS TAKING PLACE,
THE PREVIOUS
MAYOR, TERRY JEWELL,
SENT A MEMO OUT TO ALL
THE NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS
SAYING YOU GUYS SHOULD
RUN A COUNCILLOR
IN THIS UPCOMING
ELECTION.
SO A WHOLE BUNCH OF
PEOPLE GOT TOGETHER
AT THE FRIENDSHIP CENTRE
AND THREW SOME NAMES OUT.
SO I RELUCTANTLY
PUT MY NAME FORWARD.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, I
EVEN SPELLED MY NAME
BACKWARDS ON THE BOARD.
THEY HAD THIS BOARD UP,
AND I WENT AND SPELLED
MY NAME BACKWARD BECAUSE
I WASN'T REALLY SURE
IF I SHOULD DO
IT OR NOT.
AND AS THE WEEKS WENT ON,
IT BECAME A LITTLE MORE
OBVIOUS TO ME, HEY, I'M
GOING TO BE A COUNCILLOR
FROM THE LOOKS
OF THINGS.
I DON'T KNOW IF I
REALLY WANT TO BE.
SO I SAID, WELL, I'LL
BE MAYOR, INSTEAD.
SO I PUT MY NAME
UP FOR MAYOR,
AND THAT THE
CAMPAIGN GOING.
THAT GOT MORE
PEOPLE EXCITED.
THEN WE STARTED TALKING
TO THE COMMUNITY
AND ALL MY PEOPLE WHO
WERE HELPING ME,
WHICH WAS BOTH NATIVE
AND NON-NATIVE,
AND THEY WERE GOING
AROUND DOOR TO DOOR,
AND THEY WERE COMING BACK
WITH SURPRISING RESULTS
SAYING, YOU KNOW, THERE'S
AN AWFUL LOT OF PEOPLE
WHO ARE IN
SUPPORT OF YOU.
AND WE WERE
SURPRISED AT THAT.
WE THOUGHT SIOUX
LOOKOUT WASN'T READY,
OR SOME OF THE THINGS
THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN
THE PAST, I GUESS, IN THE
WHOLE OF THE COUNTRY,
WITH SO MUCH
RACISM GOING ON,
THERE ARE SO MUCH
DIFFERENCES PEOPLE
ALWAYS POINT OUT.
AND WE WERE
QUITE SURPRISED.
SO WHEN THE ELECTION
FINALLY ROLLED ALONG,
AND WE HAD BEEN DOING
ALL KINDS OF CAMPAIGNS,
AND TALKING ABOUT ALL
KINDS OF DIFFERENT THINGS,
THE RESULTS
WERE THAT, YOU KNOW,
IT WAS A 2:1 WIN FOR ME.
IT WAS SURPRISING.
IT FELT GOOD.
I FELT REALLY HONOURED
TO BE IN THAT POSITION.
AND EVER SINCE THEN, I'VE
BEEN WORKING HARD TO TRY
AND NOT ONLY BE A MAYOR,
WHATEVER A MAYOR
IS SUPPOSED TO BE, BUT TO
TRY AND BRIDGE THE GAP
THAT SOMETIMES EXISTS,
AND SOMETIMES GROWS,
AND GETS BIGGER,
SOMETIMES GETS SMALLER
WITHIN THE NATIVE AND
NON-NATIVE PEOPLE.

Eva says SO YOU VERY CLEARLY
WENT INTO THE POSITION
OF MAYOR BEING REALLY
CLEARLY AWARE YOU WERE
GOING TO BE A ROLE MODEL
FOR YOUR PEOPLE,
IN A WAY.

Lawrence says IT HELPED.
IT HELPED TO HAVE
THAT IDEA IN MY MIND,
AND ALSO BEING TOLD OF
THAT FROM THE ELDERS,
FROM THE BOARD.
THEY WERE QUITE HAPPY.
AND ON THE ELECTION
NIGHT WHEN I WON,
I WAS GETTING SO
MANY PHONE CALLS
FROM NORTHERN COMMUNITIES
CONGRATULATING ME,
AND EVERYBODY
FELT REALLY GOOD.
IT'S BEEN ALMOST TWO
YEARS NOW SINCE THEN,
AND STILL PEOPLE ARE
TALKING ABOUT IT,
AND STILL PEOPLE SEEM
TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT.
OF COURSE, I, MYSELF,
FEEL WONDERFUL ABOUT IT,
YOU KNOW?
AND I BELIEVE THE
RELATIONSHIP OF PEOPLE
WITHIN THE COMMUNITY HAS
BRIGHTENED AN AWFUL LOT.
THERE'S A LOT MORE
WILLINGNESS TO SEE
EACH OTHER, TO TALK
TO EACH OTHER.
MORE WILLINGNESS
TO DO BUSINESS,
AND TO BE ABLE TO
ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER.
SO I'VE SEEN THAT WHOLE
TRANSITION TAKE PLACE.

(music plays)

Eva says BECAUSE HE WAS
RAISED TRADITIONALLY
BY HIS GRANDPARENTS,
LAWRENCE DIDN'T START
GRADE SCHOOL
UNTIL HE WAS 11.
HE COMPLETED ALL OF
THE PRIMARY GRADES
BY THE TIME HE WAS 14.
ALTHOUGH HE SAYS HE WAS
TEASED BY THE OTHER
CHILDREN BECAUSE HE
WAS SO MUCH BIGGER,
IN NO TIME AT ALL HE WAS
ABLE TO PROVE HIMSELF
BECAUSE OF THE
CONFIDENCE GAINED FROM
HIS UPBRINGING.

Old pictures show Lawrence’s childhood years.

Lawrence says I CAME
FROM MOOSE RIVER,
AND I WAS RAISED THERE.
IT'S A SMALL LITTLE
COMMUNITY JUST SOUTH
OF MOOSE FACTORY IN
THE JAMES BAY AREA.
THERE IS WHERE I
GREW UP.
I GREW UP WITH
MY GRANDPARENTS.
THEY TAUGHT ME,
AND RAISED ME.
WE LIVED OFF THE LAND
MOST OF THE TIME
WHEN I WAS GROWING UP.
AS A MATTER OF FACT,
THAT WAS SOMETHING
THAT WAS REALLY NICE
ABOUT IT, TOO.
I DIDN'T HAVE TO GO TO
SCHOOL FOR A LONG TIME.
I DIDN'T GO TO SCHOOL
UNTIL I WAS ALMOST
11 YEARS OLD BECAUSE THEY
WERE TEACHING ME
THINGS OUT IN THE
BUSH AND SO FORTH.
WHEN I FIRST STARTED
PLAYING MUSIC,
IT HAPPENED BACK
WHEN I WAS A KID,
NOT SUCH A SMALL KID,
I WAS ABOUT MAYBE
12, 13 YEARS OLD BY THAT
TIME, WHERE A LOT OF
MY RELATIVES WERE MOVING
AWAY FROM THE COMMUNITY,
AND THEY WERE ALWAYS
PLAYING DIFFERENT
INSTRUMENT, THE
MANDOLIN, THE SPOONS,
THE FIDDLE AND THE BANJO
AND STUFF, THE GUITAR.
SO CAME A TIME FOR
ME TO PLAY BECAUSE
ALL THE OTHERS
WERE GONE.
AND MY AUNT SAYS I WANT
YOU TO LEARN HOW TO
PLAY THIS GUITAR SO YOU
CAN CHORD FOR ME.
SO SHE TAUGHT ME A FEW
CHORDS ON THE GUITAR,
AND SHE REALLY INSISTED
THAT I LEARN FAST.
SO SHE SAID, I WANT YOU TO
CHANGE AT THE RIGHT TIME.
BUT I DIDN'T KNOW HOW
TO DO ALL OF THAT.
SO SHE SAYS, OKAY, WHEN
I KICK YOU ON THE SHIN,
IT MEANS I WANT YOU TO
CHANGE FROM D TO G.
THAT WAS FAIRLY EASY.
AND THEN SHE SAYS,
OKAY, NOW I WANT YOU
TO CHANGE TO A.
THEN SHE WOULD KICK
ME AGAIN IN ANOTHER
PART OF MY LEG.
AND SHE WOULD KEEP
THAT UP UNTIL I GOT
THE STRONG RIGHT,
YOU KNOW?
AND I WAS REALLY SCARED
SITTING THERE, OH,
GEE, SHE'S GOING TO
KICK ME AGAIN.
I'M REALLY TRYING TO
LEARN AS FAST AS I CAN.
[laughing]
AND SURE ENOUGH, I DID
LEARN HOW TO PLAY
THE GUITAR SOMEWHAT.
AND OVER THE YEARS, I
ALWAYS TEASE HER ABOUT IT.
AND WE LAUGH EVERY TIME
WE TALK ABOUT THIS.

The caption changes to "Lawrence Martin CD Playlist. 1993 Wapistan is Lawrence Martin. 1994 Mushkigo Our Home and Native Lands."

Lawrence says WAWATAY MEANS NORTHERN
LIGHTS IN CREE.
AND IT'S A COMMUNICATION
SOCIETY WHICH WE PROVIDE
RADIO, TELEVISION,
NEWSPAPER,
AND WE PROVIDE ALL THE
TECHNICAL MAINTENANCE,
INSTALLATION OF
RADIO STATIONS IN
ALL THE COMMUNITIES WITH
NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION.
TODAY WE HAVE OVER
40 PEOPLE ON STAFF,
AND WE HAVE EXPANDED
TO THE JAMES BAY AREA,
WHERE WE HAVE RADIO AND
TELEVISION SERVICES.
AND AGAIN, THE WHOLE IDEA,
AND THE WHOLE MANDATE
IS LANGUAGE AND
CULTURAL PRESERVATION.
AND I CAN SEE, ESPECIALLY
WHEN A LOT OF THE ELDERS
ARE TELLING ME THIS,
THAT THE LANGUAGE
IS BECOMING STRONGER.
AND THE CREE AND THE OJI
CREE AND THE OJIBWAY,
NOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE
ABLE TO UNDERSTAND
EACH OTHER BECAUSE OF
WAWATAY BEING THERE.
BECAUSE ON THE RADIO
NETWORK, FOR INSTANCE,
ALL THE COMMUNITIES ARE
NETWORKED TOGETHER.
WE HAVE 35 COMMUNITIES
THAT ARE NETWORKED.
AND WE START OFF
7:00 IN THE MORNING
WITH BROADCASTS
FROM SIOUX LOOKOUT,
AND WE JUMP TO MOOSE
FACTORY BROADCAST,
THEN BACK AGAIN.
AND IN THE LAST
COUPLE OF YEARS,
WE'VE ALSO INCORPORATED
OTHER NATIVE LANGUAGE
BROADCAST FROM ALBERTA,
B.C., YUKON TERRITORIES,
SASKATCHEWAN, MANITOBA.
SO WE HAVE LINKED
IN NETWORK TO OTHER
COMMUNICATION SOCIETIES
ACROSS CANADA.

A man works in a record studio.

Eva says WHAT YOU ALSO HAVE
IS A SYSTEM OF EDUCATION
IN WHICH THE CHILDREN, I
SUPPOSE PARTICULARLY
THOSE THAT COME FROM THE
NORTHERN COMMUNITIES,
ARE ABLE TO CONTINUE
WITH THEIR SCHOOLING
IN A SCHOOL FOR
NATIVE YOUTH.
IT SEEMS LIKE THAT
WOULD HELP TO BRING
A POSITIVE SENSE OF
DIGNITY TO THEMSELVES,
PRIDE IN THEMSELVES,
AS NATIVE CHILDREN.

Lawrence says OH, YEAH.
THAT'S BEEN A REALLY
EXCITING PROJECT.
A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN
WAWATAY WERE TALKING
TO NISHNAWBE EDUCATION
COUNCIL ABOUT
DISTANCE EDUCATION.
I KNOW THEY WERE TRYING
TO GET DISTANCE EDUCATION
HAPPENING THROUGH THE
CONTACT NORTH SYSTEM
FROM THUNDER BAY.
AND I REMEMBER GOING TO
THAT MEETING AND SAYING,
WELL, WHY DON'T YOU TAKE
A LOOK AT UTILIZING
THE WAWATAY SYSTEM BECAUSE
WE OPERATE WITH SATELLITES.
WE CAN GET A BETTER SIGNAL
TO NORTHERN COMMUNITIES.
AND PEOPLE WERE NOT
REALLY USED TO THAT
KIND OF SATELLITE
SYSTEM AT THAT POINT.
SO SOME MONTHS WENT BY,
AND FINALLY THEY CAME UP
AND THEY SAID, YES, WE'D
LIKE TO TAKE YOU UP
ON YOUR OFFER.
AND TO GET IT STARTED,
AND TO START USING IT,
YOU KNOW, WAS
REALLY EXCITING.
WE'RE ABLE TO OFFER
HIGH SCHOOL COURSES
TO THE STUDENTS BY
SATELLITE BY RADIO.
AND TO BE ABLE
TO SET IT UP,
GETTING THE
COMMUNITIES INVOLVED,
AND HIRING DISTANCE
EDUCATION COORDINATORS
IN COMMUNITIES, AND
HIRING TEACHERS.
EVEN THE TEACHERS WE HIRED
WERE A BIT RELUCTANT
TO TEACH IN THIS FASHION
BECAUSE AGAIN,
THIS WAS SOMETHING
TOTALLY NEW TO THEM.
AND THE COMMUNITIES
TOOK IT QUITE READILY.
IT WAS DIFFICULT
BECAUSE A LOT OF TIMES
YOU DON'T HAVE MUCH
SPACE, AVAILABLE SPACE
IN THE COMMUNITIES.
AND SOME OF THE HOUSES
HAD TO BE RENOVATED
INTO DISTANCE EDUCATION
CENTRES FOR THEM.
SO IT'S BEEN, THIS IS
NOW OUR THIRD YEAR,
AND THE FIRST YEAR SAW
US GRADUATING SO MANY,
I THINK IT WAS
OVER 20 STUDENTS,
AND IT BEING A VERY
IMPORTANT FIRST
GRADUATION, WE DECIDED
TO TELEVISE IT,
SO IT WENT LIVE BY
SATELLITE OUT
OF SIOUX LOOKOUT INTO ALL
THE NORTHERN COMMUNITIES
THROUGHOUT THE
WHOLE PROVINCE.
IT WAS A
WONDERFUL MOMENT.

[wind howling]

He continues WHEN I TALK ABOUT THIS
KIND OF TECHNOLOGY
TO MY GRANDMOTHER,
ESPECIALLY, YOU KNOW,
IT REMINDS ME OF WHEN
I FIRST TOLD HER
ABOUT THIS TECHNOLOGY,
HOW WONDERFUL IT IS,
THE TELEVISION IS NOW
CAPABLE OF HAVING A TWO-WAY
VIDEO SYSTEM BECAUSE
I WAS USING SOMETHING
BELL CANADA HAD.
AND SHE'S SITTING
THERE LISTENING TO ME,
AND SHE SAYS, WELL,
THAT'S NOT REALLY
ANYTHING NEW.
AND I SAID, WHAT
DO YOU MEAN?
SHE GOES, WELL,
YOUR GRANDFATHER,
WHEN HE WAS PRACTISING
HIS TRADITIONAL WAYS,
HE USED TO HAVE A
SHAKING TENT CEREMONIES,
AND HE WAS ABLE TO
COMMUNICATE WITH EVERYTHING.
HE WOULD BE ABLE TO
COMMUNICATE WITH
THE SPIRITS,
WITH THE TREES,
WITH THE ENVIRONMENT,
HIS PEOPLE.
AND HE SAID, CAN
YOU GUYS DO THAT?

They laugh.

Lawrence says OH, NO,
NOHKOM, I'M SORRY,
BUT NO WE'RE NOT
AT THAT STAGE.
SO SHE WAS LOOKING AT IT
FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE.
AND TO ME, I ALWAYS
THINK ABOUT THAT BECAUSE
COMMUNICATION IS
SUCH A NATURAL THING
THAT WE HAVE AS
NATIVE PEOPLE.
THAT'S SOMETHING AGAIN
THAT WAS TAKEN AWAY
AS PART OF THIS WHOLE
PROCESS OF ASSIMILATION
THAT WAS HAPPENING
FROM THE CHURCHES
AND FROM THE GOVERNMENT.

Eva says IT SPEAKS TO
THE ADAPTABILITY
OF OUR PEOPLE AGAIN.

Lawrence says YEAH.
I ALWAYS HEAR PEOPLE
SAYING WE'VE SURVIVED
SO MANY YEARS NO MATTER
WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING,
AND HERE WE ARE AGAIN
ADAPTING TO THE TECHNOLOGY.

Pictures show native children attending school.

He continues AND PROMOTING
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
IN THE NORTHERN
COMMUNITIES,
PEOPLE TAKE IT SO EASILY.
THEY SEEM TO REALLY
UNDERSTAND EXACTLY
HOW IT CAN BE USED.
DOWN SOUTH, WE, I
THINK, A LOT OF TIMES
TAKE IT FOR GRANTED.
AND UP NORTH, IT'S
A REAL NECESSITY.
SO WE HAVE COMMUNITIES
OF 200 PEOPLE
WITH JUST ONE
TELEPHONE SYSTEM.
THAT'S RIDICULOUS.
AND SOME OTHER PHONES
ARE BY MICROWAVE,
OR BY SATELLITE, AND
THERE'S ALL KINDS
OF PROBLEMS
LIKE THAT.
AND ALTHOUGH IT'S UNIQUE
LIVING IN THE NORTHERN
COMMUNITIES, WE STILL
DON'T HAVE THE SUFFICIENT
SERVICES THAT
OTHER COMMUNITIES,
OR OTHER PARTS
OF ONTARIO HAVE.
AND THIS IS ONE OF
THE THINGS, AGAIN,
WORKING WITH WAWATAY
TO TRY TO BRING
BETTER SERVICES TO
THE COMMUNITIES.

(flute music plays)
The sun sets in quiet village.

Eva says IN HIS OWN PERSONAL
HISTORY AND TRADITIONS,
LAWRENCE HAS A MODEL FOR
COMMUNICATION TO REFER TO.
HE SAYS THIS WAS TAKEN
AWAY DURING THE PROCESS
OF ASSIMILATION BY
CHURCH AND GOVERNMENT.
DESPITE ITS USE OF
STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY,
HE SEES WAWATAY AS A
MEANS OF RESTORING
THE COMMUNICATION NETWORK
THAT WAS ONCE
A VITAL PART OF HIS
TRADITIONAL CULTURE.

Lawrence says I REMEMBER
THIS ELDER FROM KENORA.
ONE SUMMER I WAS TALKING
TO HIM AT A TRADITIONAL
POW WOW AND JUST TALKING
TO HIM IN GENERAL.
AND HE SAID, YOU
KNOW, HE SAYS,
OUR CHIEFS WENT MARCHING
OFF TO OTTAWA
TO GO AND DEMAND
SELF-GOVERNMENT.
AND ALL THE FIRST
MINISTERS WERE THERE,
THE PRIME MINISTER WAS
THERE, AND HE SAID,
AS I SAT THERE AND LOOKED
AT THEM, AND I THOUGHT,
OUR PEOPLE, THEY'RE
OUR LEADERS,
THEY'RE NOT TRADITIONAL
NATIVE PEOPLE.
THEY'RE A BUNCH OF
CATHOLICS AND ANGLICANS.
HOW CAN THEY DEMAND
SELF-GOVERNMENT
WHEN THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW
THEMSELVES WHO THEY ARE?
AND THAT STATEMENT
ALWAYS STUCK TO MY HEAD.
AND AS I SEE MORE PEOPLE
STARTING TO GO BACK
TO THEIR OWN TRADITIONAL
ROOTS OF PRAYER,
OF SPIRITUALISM, I SEE
THAT TRANSITION TAKING PLACE.
EVEN AT WAWATAY,
THREE YEARS AGO,
WE STARTED TO PLAY SOME
POW WOW MUSIC ON THE RADIO.
AND WE HAD A BIG FIGHT
WITH THE ELDERS,
AND THEY FOUGHT AMONGST
THEMSELVES AS WELL,
WHETHER THEY SHOULD
ALLOW US TO HAVE POW WOW
MUSIC OR NOT.
AND WE HAD PHONE-IN SHOWS.
SOME ELDERS WOULD SAY GET THAT
DEVIL'S MUSIC OUT OF HERE.
AND SOME ELDERS WOULD
SAY, NO, THAT'S US,
THAT'S OUR MUSIC, THAT'S
WHERE WE COME FROM.
AND OVER THE COURSE OF
A GUESS A FEW WEEKS,
THIS TOOK PLACE.
FINALLY, YOU KNOW,
ONE SIDE DIED DOWN,
THE SIDE CALLING IT THE
DEVIL'S MUSIC PEOPLE,
AND THE TRADITIONAL
PEOPLE STARTED
TO BECOME A BIT
STRONGER.
AND TODAY WE'RE PLAYING
POW WOW MUSIC FREELY.
WE CAN SHOW IT
ON TELEVISION.
WE CAN PLAY IT
ON RADIO.
AND THE DRUM THAT WE
LOST AS CREE PEOPLE,
YOU KNOW, WE HAD
TO RELEARN IT.
WE HAD TO GO DOWN TO THE
OJIBWAYS IN SUDBURY,
MANITOULIN ISLAND, WE TOOK
THE DRUM BACK TO JAMES BAY,
TO MOOSE FACTORY,
AND EVENTUALLY STARTED
CATCHING ON WITH
YOUNG PEOPLE.

[drumming and singing]
Native people dance wearing traditional clothing.

He continues AS I WAS GROWING UP, I
ALWAYS FELT THE PRESSURE
WAS BEING ON ME
TO PERFORM WELL.
YOU KNOW, MY GRANDFATHER
AND GRANDMOTHER
WOULD TAKE ME OUT
AND SHOW ME THINGS,
AND A LOT OF TIMES
THERE WOULD BE A LOT OF
PRESSURE TO DO IT RIGHT,
TO LEARN HOW TO SET
A TRAP PROPERLY, OR TO
LEARN HOW TO SKIN
A BEAVER PROPERLY, OR HOW
TO SET THE NET, YOU KNOW?
I HAD TO LEARN ALL
OF THOSE THINGS,
UNDER A LOT OF
PRESSURE AT THAT TIME.
AND I USED TO
HATE IT AT TIMES.
I USED TO NOT LIKE THE
WAY MY GRANDMOTHER
OR GRANDFATHER USED
TO KEEP AT IT,
KEEP TELLING ME
THINGS OVER AND OVER.

A series of pictures show Lawrence standing by a boat and holding a deer head.

He continues BUT WHEN I LOOK BACK
NOW, I'M REALLY GLAD
THAT HAPPENED.
AND AGAIN, THAT'S
TRYING TO PASS THAT
ON TO MY CHILDREN.
THEY ALWAYS SAY THAT
I'M NAGGING AT THEM,
BUT IT'S PART
OF THAT PROCESS.
YOU'VE JUST GOT
TO KEEP AT IT.
I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY
TIMES I'VE TOLD SOME
OF THE SAME LEGENDS
OVER AND OVER.
AND I UNDERSTAND IT'S
PART OF THE PROCESS.
AND IT'S PART OF
WHAT'S GOING TO STAY
WITHIN THEIR HEADS.
SO AGAIN, IT ALL COMES
BACK TO YOU AFTER
A WHILE WHEN YOU
GET OLDER.
AND IT WAS TOUGH
GROWING UP, TOO,
IN MOOSE RIVER BECAUSE MY
FATHER BEING AN IRISHMAN,
AND MY MOTHER
BEING A CREE,
I WAS ALWAYS
EXPERIENCING THE EFFECTS
OF BOTH SIDES.
YOU KNOW, THE CREE
CHILDREN WOULD BE MAKING FUN
OF ME AND SAYING
MY SKIN'S A LITTLE BIT
LIGHTER THAN THEIRS.
OR THEY WOULD SAY ALL
KINDS OF THINGS
AND CALL ME ALL
KINDS OF NICKNAMES.
THEN I WOULD GO TO THE
OTHER SIDE OF THE VILLAGE
AND THE WHITE KIDS WOULD
BE DOING THE SAME THING,
TEASING ME ABOUT
BEING INDIAN.
SO I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW
WHICH WAY TO WALK.
AND I WAS ALWAYS WALKING
THIS VERY THIN LINE
TRYING TO COMPROMISE,
AND AS WELL TRYING
TO UNDERSTAND
EXACTLY WHO I WAS.
BUT BECAUSE I WAS RAISED
BY MY GRANDPARENTS
ON MY MOTHER'S SIDE, I
FELT MORE OF A CREE
THAN I DID OF AN IRISHMAN,
EVEN THOUGH THERE'S
MIXED BLOOD THERE.
I FEEL A STRONG
SENSE OF BELONGING
FROM THAT SIDE
OF THE FAMILY.
AND BECAUSE I NEVER REALLY
ASSOCIATED TOO MUCH
FROM THE OTHER SIDE.
I GREW UP ON ONE
SIDE OF THE TRACKS
AND BASICALLY STAYED
THERE UNTIL I MOVED OUT.
THIS RIBBON SHIRT TO
ME, THIS IS PART OF OUR
TEACHINGS THAT WE HAVE,
WHERE WE HAVE DIFFERENT
PEOPLE OF THIS EARTH.

He shows the colourful ribbons that hang on his chest.

He continues WE HAVE THE RED PEOPLE,
WE HAVE THE WHITE PEOPLE,
THE YELLOW PEOPLE
AND BLACK PEOPLE.
WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT.
BUT WE ALL ARE ABLE TO,
AND SHOULD BE
ABLE TO WORK
SIDE BY SIDE.
AND THAT PHILOSOPHY TO
ME IS VERY IMPORTANT.
IT'S SOMETHING I CARRY.
AND I DON'T LOOK AT
PEOPLE AS THE DIFFERENT
COLOURS THAT THEY ARE.
I TRY TO FIND OUT IF THEY
ARE DIFFERENT COLOURS.
OBVIOUSLY, MY EYES
WILL TELL ME
THEY'RE A
DIFFERENT COLOUR.
BUT I TRY TO FIND OUT AS
MUCH AS I CAN ABOUT THEM
BECAUSE PEOPLE'S CULTURES
ARE VERY UNIQUE,
THEY'RE VERY
IMPORTANT, AND THEY'RE
VERY INTERESTING,
YOU KNOW?
TO BE ABLE TO FIND THAT
OUT ABOUT DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
I ALWAYS GET INTO AN
ARGUMENT BETWEEN
THE RED AND THE WHITE
ALL THE TIME,
WITH THE RED AND
THE WHITE, WELL,
LOOK AT THE DIFFERENT
COLOURS, OBVIOUSLY,
THEY'RE QUITE
DIFFERENT.

Fast clips show people walking down the street.

He continues BUT BECAUSE WE DON'T
TAKE THE TIME
TO UNDERSTAND
EACH OTHER.
AND THEN OF COURSE THERE
IS GOING TO BE CONFLICTS
AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS.
SO I TRY TO THINK ABOUT
THAT AN AWFUL LOT.
BECAUSE AS A PERSON
THAT'S TRYING TO LEARN,
AS A PERSON THAT'S
TRYING TO GIVE,
YOU MUST BE ABLE TO
FIND THOSE ANSWERS,
AND FIND PEOPLE'S
REAL SELF.
A LOT OF TIMES PEOPLE
PUT ON THESE AIRS.
AND YOU CAN SEE
IT RIGHT AWAY.
BUT IT FEELS WONDERFUL
TO SHARE SOMEBODY'S
OWN SPIRITUALITY WHEN
YOU TALK TO THEM,
AND YOU ARE ABLE TO SEE
WITHIN THEIR EYES
WHAT THEY'RE DOING,
WHAT THEY MEAN,
AND HOW THEY RESPOND.
SO IT'S ALL PART
OF COMMUNICATION.

(music plays)
The end credits roll.

Produced by Jim Hanley and Jim Hyder.

Co-produced and Written by Patricia Michael.

Directed by Daniel Robinson.

Photographed by Peter Walker.

Edited by Patrick Malone.

Title theme by Rodney Brown.

Closing theme by Lawrence Martin.

Executive Producer, Jim Hanley.

A co-production of TVOntario and Sleeping Giant Productions in association with Vision TV.

Copyright 1994, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Lawrence Martin