Sean Hunte was a young man who was just starting to realize his potential: he was viewed as a youth leader, he worked at a North End drop-in centre and, even though he was only 18 years old, he had already begun helping people.
His close friend Alyssa Ziolkoski, 20, says, "Sean had a huge impact on my life and honestly I will go as far as to say that he broke me out of my shell and let me be me again."
"We the undersigned put forth his name, to the Hockey Hall of Fame..."
Those words wove their way through the halls of the esteemed institution of hockey lore in Toronto on Feb. 23. John K. Samson, best known as the frontman for indie rockers the Weakerthans, led a group of 25 people who sang the chorus as they hand-delivered a submission addressed to Hall of Fame chairman Bill Hay.
If you are to believe the mainstream media, the Idle No More movement has been divisive. It has pitted the racists versus the activists, the chiefs versus the prime minister and well, these chiefs versus those chiefs. This is really too bad because the goals of the movement itself, social and environmental justice, are ones that many Canadians can identify with. Beyond that, indigenous cultures have always been inclusive. From our ancestors inviting the early European settlers to share the land right to the modern era.
With that in mind, I decided to reach back in to our traditions for some ideas on how to smooth over some of the tensions that have arisen lately. Call it conflict resolution, aboriginal-style.
I will never forget the last hours I spent with my father. We had already conversed about his life. We had already enjoyed the celebratory travels together. We had already passed the point of no return beyond which he might recover.
Instead, we were together in his darkened bedroom, mostly silent. Occasionally, I would help him up or fetch him some water. More often, however, he slept. Here and there I would sing and tap out a traditional song on a hand drum, reminding him of the meaning. In Anishinaabe I would tell him, "Here is the thunderbird pipe song... this one is a woman's song."
When First Nations chiefs angry with the federal omnibus budget Bill C-45 scuffled briefly with RCMP on Parliament Hill on Tuesday, it certainly made for compelling images. It also raised some compelling questions. Are we seeing a renewed militancy in the aboriginal community? Is this a "tipping point" of sorts? What can we expect next? To me, the most interesting question is what was the catalyst for this showdown?
It was actually a simple message, likely unintelligible unless you are an avid Twitter user: