My Past 9 Years of Work & Life Summarized: Challenging 3rd Year Social Work Practicum.

Dear Laurentian University and the Faculty of Indigenous Relations,

Today I write you in hopes that you will consider my past and previous work history, along with related human service work experience with Indigenous peoples over the past nine years in my eligibility to challenge the third year field placement within the Indigenous Social Work Program at Laurentian University.

My journey begins in 2009, when I was hired as a Clinical Support Worker for Broken Arrow Residential Treatment Services in North Bay, Ontario. Though I do not necessarily agree with much of how this company operated or how it benefitted monetarily from the oppression of Indigenous peoples, the actual job of me working with young Indigenous peoples began here, and thus a sense of purpose to become a more informed, educated and empathetic person. Over the roughly ten months I worked for Broken Arrow, I was able to pick up various hours for respite working with numerous Indigenous youth placed in care in North Bay but from all over Canada. My full-time position with this company had me working as a Clinical Support Worker with a 13 year old Innu youth, originally from Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation in Newfoundland and Labrador. I was tasked with taking this young man (who I found out later from him that he was not told he would be taken from his family and flown several provinces over into care) to school and helping direct him to positive engagement and interaction in the school setting. It was a very difficult transition for this young man to take on so early in his life, with someone such as myself so new to a position. Eventually he was removed from school and I was tasked to spend my days with him in the community, build rapport with him and encouraging small obtainable goals and skills.

My time ended working directly with this young man after an incident occurred while I was driving a vehicle and was struck in the face by this young man. Now I tell you this with his consent and also to reach my next part of the story. A couple of years after this happened, this same young man reached out to me on social media and apologized for his actions and asked for forgiveness, to which I was willing to accept. What was most impactful and meaningful though is that he began to talk about his feelings and how it felt to be moved so far away from home, his concerns with family, friends, and other social issues. He started to tell me that he often would have thoughts of taking his own life. He would talk of how he wished he had listened to me while I was trying to guide him through school and through life and how meaningful he felt our relationship was; how he was grateful for the extra time I spent with him after my shifts were over where we would play road hockey and how I would never let him win. While this was all amazing to hear, what he didn’t know is the positive effect he was having on me directly; teaching me about not just his struggles but his family and people as well. It felt really good to know that I could be a good influence on someone’s life just by showing up and being myself, though it also felt as though I let him down because he was still in a rough spot and I felt I had given up on him, I had burned out. It is now 2018, and I continue to talk to this young man who is in his 20’s; we have created a great friendship and he will always message me for help while he continues to try and do the best he can to move forward. I mentioned earlier beginning to have a sense of purpose; while it started here it did not necessarily come to fruition or my consciousness until 2011, a year after I decided to move 30 hours from home and family to Thompson, Manitoba, where I knew nobody.

In 2010 I made the decision that I needed a fresh and new beginning, and began to apply for positions all over Canada. I had two serious offers from an organization in Alberta and a non-profit organization in Thompson, Manitoba.

In May of 2010 I moved to Thompson, Manitoba after accepting a position with Macdonald Youth Services as their Wilderness Supervisor. This title does not necessarily reflect the exact job in which I was to do over the next year. My job entailed taking at risk youth (of all genders) from group homes on outings, helping them complete community service hours and volunteer hours, engage in traditional and cultural events and ceremonies, and teach life and work skills in preparing the youth in transitioning to adulthood, where these skills would be applied. Moving to Thompson was an enormous culture shock, coming from the small and quiet, predominantly Caucasian town of Powassan, Ontario to this small mining community in northern Manitoba that is populated and surrounded by many people of varying Indigenous backgrounds as well as other backgrounds and is repeatedly ranked as one of the most violent cities in Canada per capita each year by Maclean’s magazine. At the time I was very uninformed and uneducated in regards to Indigenous peoples, culture, language and history, but was introduced to many positive and negative moments over this year in working with primarily Indigenous youth. I experienced both the creation of wonderful and lifelong relationships with some of these youth whom I found commonality with in being away from our families, along with the pain and heartache of losing one of my boys whom I worked with to murder. All of this gave me the beginning of my informal education and journey to find my own purpose in life through a re-examination of myself as a human being, through this grief and loss, and finding that purpose in viewing the world through the eyes of a seven year Indigenous girl, my ray of sunshine amidst all of the sadness.

I continued in the position of Wilderness Supervisor with Macdonald Youth Services until November of 2011, when I accepted a position with the Health Authority here in Thompson, Manitoba as a Mental Health Clinician for the newly formed Mobile Crisis Services for Youth program. I was able to receive training in working with youth and identifying biological, psychological, and social factors contributing to the mental health and well-being of youth in our region. Over four years I was able to hone in on my crisis assessment skills, intervention skills, safety planning and client centred collaborative care and work with families, among many other skill sets for not only the mental health field but for the social work field as well.

At the same time in which I started this new position, I also met a seven year old Indigenous girl in care through a friend who was working as a respite worker for Macdonald Youth Services. I was immediately able to connect with this little girl and when her respite worker became a foster parent, I decided that I would like to become a respite worker and work with this girl. This little girl, until this very day has been my coping mechanism, has been a bright light to help me overcome grief, saved me from moving home, become one of my very best friends and helped me find my purpose in life: to help other youth and people be able to help and save themselves; I especially enjoyed and continue to enjoy working with Indigenous youth. I feel that learning more about the history and culture of Indigenous peoples, along with creating lasting and meaningful relationships and friendships with Indigenous people over the years has given me a great appreciation for the resilience I see in their young people growing up in a world where trauma has been passed forward through the generations. Along with working with this seven year old, I began to also work with her younger brother who was in the same foster home, and who was (at the time) nonverbal. Both brother and sister have been affected by concerns I will not disclose here, but it was and continues to be amazing to watch their special relationship and how they take care of one another. When the young boy was nonverbal, he would make noises and was learning sign language and his sister would always know what he wanted. Today, as I write this, this seven year old is now turning fifteen, and is unique, intelligent and becoming an incredible human being. The young boy is now ten, has the most amazing personality and is making up for lost time being nonverbal by literally never being quiet, and always asking a million questions which are often times impossible to answer. When I do not have foster children in my home, I continue to do respite with these kids, have them over at my house for weekends, or just hang out with them in my spare time, which I have very little of these days. Being able to spend time with them completely changes my mood and my outlook on life when I am around them. I hope that they have gotten as much out of their time with me as I have with them; they quite literally saved me when I needed it the most.

When I began working for Mobile Crisis Services for Youth, I also joined the Hope North Suicide Prevention Committee, which is comprised of many people in various helping careers throughout the city of Thompson and Northern region of Manitoba which organizes mental health initiatives and life promotion events within the community of Thompson. I continue to be a member of this committee to this day. Each year we put on a large event called “Hope Forum” which has a different theme each year. This year will be the tenth year in existence, and over the years we have been lucky to partner with Bell, Mental Health Commission of Canada, and various local organizations as well to bring amazing speakers and professionals to the north to offer training, stories of lived experiences and most importantly hope!

I continued working as a Mental Health Clinician until 2015, and met some amazing young people and their families along the way. I was able to further my learning throughout this time taking many courses related to my professional development which are listed on my resume for your viewing. Around this time, I was also able to apply to the long process of being grandfathered into the Manitoba Association of Social Workers, to which I am an active and practicing member today as well and have been for several years.

Late in 2015, I accepted a position with the Northern Health Authority as a Community Health Developer, and was able to work with many of the remote communities in the region in the creation of programming in their own communities and providing them with funding for these initiatives through a government grant program entitled “Healthy Together Now. I was able to fly into some of the more remote reservations and meet with people, engage in their programming, tradition, culture and ways of living of periods of time. Over this almost two years I was able to help fund programs for communities which would otherwise go without.  I was able to travel to such places as Lac Brochet, Manitoba to engage in a youth traditional weekend camp, and to St. Theresa Point, MB to assist community workers in the creation of smaller initiatives in which they were looking for funding for. I was able to be shown around the communities, meet new interesting people and really get a sense for where many of the youth I had worked with in the past had come from and some of the obstacles in which they face in their home communities, given the lack of resources and the social determinants of health which were severely lacking in most communities. During my trip to St. Theresa, my good friend and I were able to get in contact with the father of the young man whom we worked with who had been murdered and were able to be picked up by this humble man via boat and brought to the community of Wasagamack First Nation. I had not been to this community since the passing of his son, and his father and his older brother were able to take us to the cemetery where years before I watched his family and friends dig his grave in the middle of winter, and where the headstone in which I was able to fundraise for with the help and support of the Northern communities now was erected.

In late 2015 and early into 2016, a suicide crisis was declared in Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake, MB where several young people had taken their own lives over a very short period of time. A team was assembled from the Northern Health Region by the Director and I was asked to be a part of the group given my work now in community development, and my experience working with youth, crisis and suicide. Following the initial work done in the community in supporting the people and youth, I was asked by my manager to continue to visit the community long-term, create relationships and determine if there was any programming that could collaboratively be put in place that would help the youth in the community work through this noted crisis of suicide and look towards the future, planning for the future and becoming leaders in and out of their communities. I was able to work directly with the Cross Lake Health Director, as well as with the Youth Chief and Council in supporting events, building relationships and collaborating on ideas that may benefit the young people of the community. A leadership training framework was proposed to the youth chief and council, and though it was never able to get going my time spent in Cross Lake was one of the most influential in my decision to return to the mental health field and working with youth in crisis as well as their families. I have a strong affinity for the community of Cross Lake and the people there. The people’s resilience is astounding and their graciousness in welcoming me into their community, into their events, cultures, traditions and lives was extremely humbling and meaningful.

Around the time I started working in Pimicikamak Cree Nation, I also found inspiration and started a blog entitled “My Hero Movement”.  I write about people who have influenced my life in very positive ways, people I look up to, people who are doing good in the world; people who are my heroes, some of which I have mentioned briefly in this paper. I have been able to raise money for charities through this blog and my aspirations are to one day make My Hero Movement into a registered charity as well. In this same timeframe, I also began exploring the possibility of returning to school with the hopes of obtaining employment back in Northern Ontario, close to the region where I was born and raised in Powassan, Ontario. I decided on Laurentian University and your distance education program of Indigenous Social Work, as I believe it to be my purpose to work with Indigenous peoples and more specifically with Indigenous youth.

With my spirit reinvigorated, in 2017 I interviewed for and accepted a position as Recovery Support Navigator with the Northern Health Authority at their new facility which is named Hope North Recovery Centre for Youth. I currently oversee a six bed Crisis Stabilization Unit/ Youth Addictions Unit for youth 17 and under and work with youth and their families in determining risk for suicide, mental state and status,  and engaging in planning, recommendations and referrals upon discharge from the unit. Clients are able to stay up to seven days on the unit, which allows workers as well as myself time to begin some of the work with our young peoples and their supports before referring them to longer term services necessary for their well-being.

As of today, I am also a full time licensed specialized treatment foster home and currently have a young man staying with me. I began to work as a foster parent in 2015 and have had several young men live in my home, from various backgrounds and communities in our north. Many of the young people I take in are living in group homes and need a better environment to have a better chance at success as they move into adulthood.

I am sure there are several experiences that I have missed that have unbelievably changed my life for the better throughout the past almost nine years. My goals are slightly different these days, with my father back home just retiring and my second niece or nephew on the way. I am looking to move back home and take care of my family. If there is one thing I have learned from Indigenous people from my time here in Northern Manitoba and especially from the youth here, it is that family always comes first, no matter what. I have heard the most horrific stories of grief, loss, neglect, abuse and trauma, and I must say the Indigenous peoples as a whole in their ability to forgive and be resilient and be true to their families is second to none. I admire many things about the Indigenous peoples that I have met, though none compare to their resilience and loyalty.

I am asking that I be granted ability to challenge my third year practicum because I feel I have the work experience and life experience to do so. I feel as though over the past nine years I have been put on a positive path and journey to find my purpose, and in finding my purpose I hope to inspire and help others to find theirs before giving up too soon, before they find purpose. I want to challenge this practicum as I believe I possess the skills and requirements to do so and wish to continue to help and serve others in Northern Ontario as soon as possible with the attainment of this degree, which is a symbol of my dedication to serving Indigenous people in our country and moving towards a future based on forgiveness, empathy, reconciliation, opportunity, access, equality and equity for all peoples across all nations represented here.

If you require letters of reference and/or recommendation from my references or others, I would be more than happy to provide you with these as well.

Kindest Regards,

 

bf2Adam Driscoll

Love is Still the Answer: KTC and Orange Shirt Day.

 

I took a few months off during the summer. I needed to recharge the battery and look for reasons to continue to do this. Luckily over the past few weeks there have been a couple of really great offerings of events in the Thompson area and it has renewed my faith in humanity…so onward and upward we go with this thing.

On October 1st, 2018, I was able to attend the Keewatin Tribal Councils “Orange Shirt Day”, which is now a day in Canada which is nationally recognized and rightfully so. People talk about how friendly Canadians are globally, but in actuality we hide a very dark and cruel past even to this day. Orange shirt day is to recognize the history of and people involved and affected directly/indirectly from the residential school system. Indigenous children were wrongfully taken from their families and government and religion combined attempted to assimilate and essentially (according to the government) “kill the indian” in these Indigenous kids. Any horrible thing you can think of happened at these “schools”, be it rape, murder, assault, or even the act of assimilation. All of this swept under the rug. The last Residential School closed in 1996! are you kidding me? It is hard to be a proud Canadian when this dark mark has been hanging over our heads for decades.

Orange shirt day is also a day to reconcile, to admit past wrong doings, and to ensure that the healing journey continues, with ensuring that all children are protected and that every child matters. It is an opportunity for non-Indigenous peoples to become educated and leave their ignorance behind. It is a time to learn from Indigenous peoples and ensure that we do not make the same mistakes of our ancestors (white, European, westernized society etc…).

Keewatin Tribal Council hosted a lovely and insightful Orange Shirt Day on October 1st, 2018, with many beautiful people from all walks of life in attendance.

Ken Bighetty was the MC and this man alone could be one of my next topics in this blog of heroes. He was very inclusive, eager to teach, share stories, and most importantly as with many Indigenous people, he used humour and laughter as a great tool to make people feel good, to feel welcome, and as a coping mechanism for dealing with the difficult stories that would be told throughout the day.

MKO’s (Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak) newly elected Grand Chief Garrison Settee was in attendance and spoke as well, and was nice enough to come and introduce himself to me and make me feel really welcome and included in this opportunity for reconciliation and healing.

Several things had a great impact on me during this event, though none larger than seeing two older Indigenous gentlemen have the bravery and courage to stand up and tell their stories of their time spent at Residential Schools. It was extremely difficult to hold back the emotions as you could feel their pain in every word they spoke. Something really wild happened as they talked about their experiences; I started to think a lot, I started to feel really guilty, guilty that “My” people could have been so wreckless, careless and hurtful to other human being because they were different. Being different is good thing no? Being unique and having beautiful culture and traditions is good no?

Another highlight of the KTC Orange Shirt Day was watching people speak when given the opportunity to in front of the audience. A young man from Thompson stood up (had recently been in running for mayor, had some bad racist comments & stuff show up on social media from 7-10 years ago, was condemned online for things from 7-10 years ago from overly judgmental people who think people cant change in 7-10 years) and this young man talked about how much he had learned at this event on this day, told the story of some of his past and fighting back tears asked the audience of people for forgiveness. The beautiful thing is that many Indigenous peoples got up after he had spoke, hugged the young man and forgave him. Yet another thing I love about Indigenous peoples; the great ability to have the courage to forgive for the sake of not just the wrong doer but for themselves as well to not carry around the weight of the negative energy. I have always deeply admired that about Indigenous people since I moved to Thompson going on 9 years ago.

One final highlight, nearing the end of the day and the story time where people were allowed to get up and speak, some homeless peoples had come into the event and were clearly intoxicated. What I loved is the way the MC Ken, as well as the audience members handled it. They invited the people in, the ones who wished to speak were allowed to speak and then afterwards were given the opportunity to finish the remains of what was left of the pizza lunch (which was lots). I believe they were included as the day was about healing and reconciliation and inclusion of some of the more vulnerable people in the healing process is essential. Throughout the day you could just really feel the aura of love, compassion, and welcoming vibes.

I want to honor KTC-Keewatin Tribal Council today for their hard work in putting this day on. It is very much needed and the conversation needs to continue to grow. I was greatly humbled to be a part of this day and to be welcomed and accepted to listen and learn. Thank you to all of the people who set up the day (including Clint S.) and to all of the amazing people in attendance for showing healing and reconciliation in action.

KTC are my heroes today. Ya! All of you!

Love is Still The Answer,

Your Bawd,

Drisc

 

 

 

 

C from the CCC: My best friend for almost 35 years is better than your best friend.

I was born September 2nd, 1983. 24 days later Ryan “Rycub” Garland (Gar in this post)   was born. I honestly cannot remember a time where we weren’t hanging out since that time. I actually had to go back in my timeline of posts because I was sure that I had already talked about him.

I figured if anything, now is the right time given the fact he is now not only an editor and producer at CBC Ottawa, but also a writer; I will share the link at the end of this post. I have been able to see first hand his abilities in videos he has cut for work but also for me personally as well. I know he is an intelligent dude, and I knew he was always really good with words, but the story he wrote regarding his time as a juror in a murder trial and being tasked with determining another mans fate…mannn….it was amazing. Amazing, as in making a person feel every type of emotion in a five minute read. wow. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/i-was-juror-no-one-1.4714233

Did it surprise me though? Hell no! People have been sleeping on my dude for years ever since I can remember; and he’s been proving people wrong for those same amount of years. He’s sometimes loud, he’s outspoken, he’s intelligent, he doesn’t like authority that judge people by looks, he’s fearless (sometimes maybe to a fault?lol), he’s rowdy, he’s outgoing, and almost always up for a good time, and these days he is the life of the party but not for the entire night and into the morning anymore, maybe midnight? I think people would quite frequently take him the wrong way before taking the time to get to know him. That was their bad. His mom “Jomama” told us one evening after parent teacher interviews in high school that one of his teachers said to her something along the lines of “your son will never amount to anything”, sweet teacher eh? Gar thought it was hilarious. If it hurt him he didn’t show it, we joked and still joke about it today.

35 years man. We’ve stayed best friends all this time being almost complete opposites as people, yet still finding commonalities. He has convinced me and put me in more near death situations than I could have ever imagined I would be able to survive; and I survived them all. Without him around for the past 35 years forcing me out of my comfort zone, I would have never truly lived to tell awesome stories of getting drunk for the first time, of lighting fires on water, of rally car racing in a van on a dirt road and almost hitting two moose, or burning down a sauna by accident (that was not funny though), or even the story of how Robbie Wagner stole his hockey number when we were 11 years old (that still gets him fired up 24 years later). I should have known he would be an excellent writer after he came up with the story of how I was conceived and how I got my name off the top of his head, including graphic details involving my parents. We have done far funnier stuff then the aforementioned over the years but it has to stay in the vault for now.

I’m proud to have this guy as my best friend. He is always my biggest supporter, even if it means I am 30 hours away and we don’t talk as much as we used to, when we do we pick up right where we left off and nothing changes; life happens and he understands. I  have always looked up to him not only in stature but the way he carries himself with confidence. I’ve always been a pretty quiet guy so to watch someone be such an extrovert is something I truly do admire and gain my own confidence from in speaking up and using my voice for something I believe in. I truly believe that his confidence has rubbed off on me over the years.

I could keep going through 35 years worth of stuff, but ill end like this. We’ve been through the good and bad together, I’ve had countless dinners at your family table, most spent spitting my food out and laughing while your parents gave you shit for causing it. We created such amazing games as “tap n go” and “candle in the wind”. When kids made their little gang in Powassan, we made a fake gang with a stupid name with MC and it actually stuck (CCC!!!!), and now we only fight against our main rivals Buck Bay. We revolutionized the usage of pulling “friend cards”. We made a habit out of breaking your dads shit a lot and him getting pissed at us for being idiots, and its followed us our whole lives haha. You’ll always be a cub and never a bear but I wont hold that against you. You’ve always had my back through everything and know that regardless of the situation I will always have yours. I’m proud of who you have become as a person not just in spite of what others may have thought, but also because it is what you wanted and aspired to be. I’m proud to have you as my best friend.

Love you bud,

Driscal

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/i-was-juror-no-one-1.4714233

 

 

 

 

 

Feelin Like The Whole World is Mine!!!

Just a quick morning post. I’ve been feeling like complete trash in the mornings lately and it’s been taking all of my willpower to go to work. I decided I needed to switch the mornings up into a positive so I take my dogs for rip, try to motivate myself to get in at least a tiny workout of some sort (tough for me) and as soon as I crawl out of bed I bump “Feelin Like” by Hellnback . I get to work and for the first 5-10 minutes I’ve decided I want to hear nothing but positive news, laughter, happiness before we dig into the tough stuff we face with our northern youth. If I’m in a negative space of mind kids feel that, people feel that and that is the opposite of what I am meant to bring to the table. More than all of that talk, I really wanted to make this post to shout out Karmen Omeasoo who is Hellnback. These hip hop dudes get a bad rep from a lot of people but if you’ve ever heard Karmen speak or had a conversation with the man you’d know how intelligent he is and how well meaning his music and his messages are. He not only is an artist but also a public speaking figure with his wife Lisa who is of equal brilliance (he might even say more so). I encourage to check out his new music, but more importantly to the messages within his music, it could change your perspective on shitty mornings that have gone on for months and turn that negative emotion into positive like it did for me. Yeah it’s still hard to get up, get moving, and motivated; but it’s a lot easier when you have a dude (or any person) speaking at you through their music/talents . It’s all about choice, you get to choose to start out miserable or to turn that shit around and get busy doing good things, and I choose the latter. It’s 7:35 am as I write this; time to get fired up for today. Check out Hellnback’s new album 1491 out soon. Start out listening to “feelin like” and “the spirit” which are available on Apple Music and YouTube. Thanks Karmen for the music, I’ll be that white boy in Thompson, windows down bumpn’ Helly loud. If you also check out any of his pages or vids he’s often rocking Hustle Tribe gear. I dunno if it’s appropriate that I wear their stuff but if I find out it is okay imma pick me up a nice SnapBack, their clothing is flashy and cultural and thought provoking and I love it! Check them out too! Have a good day everyone, you woke up on the right side of the grass, now it’s your move. Your bawd, Drisc. https://youtu.be/wKIvwY8VrFU. https://squareup.com/store/HUSTLETRIBE/

Building Community Through Grief/Loss

I have read a lot of comments on the Humboldt tragedy this past week. I have also read and seen so many amazing comments, videos and tributes. I am not an overly big fan of all of this “god” stuff being brought into the tragedy but it did really make me think about spirituality. Really overall, it left me with far too many questions and far too little answers.

With tragedies such as the premature passing of Erik Karlsson’s son, to the passing of Jonathan Pitre, and finally to the passing of 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos. Why have all of these affected an entire country as well as other parts of the world? Many people have been posting asking why more attention is not being paid to other deaths and such that happen everyday. While this is very true, there is a very strong reason why all of these events I just noted are filling an entire country with great grief and loss.

In the case of the Karlssons, it was only briefly covered through the media as to respect the wishes of the family, but in Canada, hockey players might as well be gods. To see or know one of them is hurting and grieving makes us as Canadians hurt and grieve and feel with them. On the same topic, many children have been lost before birth, and it greatly affects the entire familial unit, especially the mother. I know for my myself having known what loss is over the past eight years, and through a career as a social worker, I now internalize other peoples loss in attempt to understand how they feel, to empathize and to understand what they are going through if I have not yet been through it. For Erik to reach out in the worst time of his life and pay his respects to those lost in the Humboldt Broncos accident , is tearful and upsetting, but comforting in the fact that his son Axel now has a group of boys to guide him through his next life, with lots of love and lots of hockey.

I have heard a lot of people say that hockey has suffered a great loss. To me, it has absolutely nothing to do with hockey. The people lost are the great loss, hockey comes second. I think what everyone really grabs a hold of from this tragedy, along with myself is that “that could have been me” or “this could have been my team” or for my friends with kids “that could have been my children and their friends”. I can recall some of the best times growing up riding on buses. Riding on buses to and from school, riding buses to hockey tournaments and to football games. I can vividly remember atom/peewee hockey with all of the boys singing the entire Shania Twain “The Woman in Me” on a way to a tournament somewhere in Northern Ontario. I can remember our high school hockey bus driver Jim Rankin, who was also our biggest fan. I can recall having Jimmy Rankin as our bus driver to SARSTOCK in Toronto area and we were late to get back to the bus; the entire bus was so angry at us and Jim. Jim refused to leave the city without the three of us on the bus because we were part of his team and him ours. Jimmy Rankin is beauty! It was always less about the hockey and more about friendships, having fun, and going to battle with and for one another. Most of the guys I played sports with I would still take a bullet for or crash through a brick wall for, because I know they would do the same for me.

I think the outpouring of support has been so widespread because everyone realises “that could have been me”. That could have been me and the boys on the way home from AC/DC, or that could have been my 12 year old self and my teammates and our parents on that bus. I do not know a singe person that was involved in that crash, but I do know that I felt immense pain hurt and sadness for them.

Regardless of the media attention, community is important in grieving. Having people around you who can somewhat relate, or not. Someone just being present can being a real game changer. We all experience loss in our lifetime, it is inevitable. What is different sometimes is how people choose to grieve, how to deal with pain and loss, and the timeline in which that grief and loss stays in ones life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in these worst of times. Especially if you are a public figure, or a celebrity or pro hockey player; you may think you can deal with it on your own; you cant! Have a back up plan of “your people” who can help and who will listen or engage if that’s what you want. No person is invincible in the face of death or pain.

I have zero answers to the question “why did this have to happen”, or “where was your god”. I asked the same questions when my friend Fletcher was murdered, when my friend Hooter was killed in a car accident after turning his life around and enrolling in the military, after my bro Teeghan took his own life one week before he was to turn 18 and be free of the care system. I don’t have answers. I just know that if heaven is a real place, it consists of a lot of great people, many who I truly to do believe watch over for us and for one another.

To Erik and Melinda, I am so sorry for your loss, there is no doubt Axel is up there with the boys learning to take clappers from the point like his old man. To the family of Jonathan Pitre, thank you for allowing our country to get to know Jonathan, to see his bravery and courage and perseverance through the worst and making the best of every moment is truly a teaching lesson for all of us; thank you for sharing him with us, he’s up there too, no more pain, ripping around best rink of all time, friends with Axel and all the boys. To the family and friends of the Humboldt Broncos. There is nothing I can add that someone already hasn’t said, but know that those boys were ours as well as a country, even if we didn’t know them, because at one time we were them. No money in the world can replace any of the lives lost or the pain you feel, so please make sure you take care of yourselves and ask for help when you need it, and you will. Know that the entire country is wrapped around you in more than just thought and prayer, but in action in spirit and love.

Love your bawd,

Drisc

 

Hey yo! PCN Wrestling Team Rules!

I was able to briefly watch and support the only members of Team North in the Manitoba Winter Games in Thompson from Pimicikamak Cree Nation this past Friday. For the small time i was there I was lucky enough to see the small team of youth having fun and doing something positive, good for their health, and being role models for other youth inside and out of their community. None of this would be possible without the support of the community and their coach Kendall Robinson, giving his free time and devoting his life’s work to helping these kids stay busy and being that someone to look up to. I think if you asked him he would say it’s changed his life for the better as well. Ever since being able to visit PCN/Cross Lake on a semi regular basis in years past, It has always held a special place in my heart. The people are resilient, the land is beautiful, and there is hope in spite of the barriers past and present which they face. The team ended up winning 2 bronze and 3 silver medals in the competition, but more importantly were given the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their nation. I am honoured to have met and have worked with Kendall during my time in PCN and to now call him a friend. I am and always will be a lifelong fan of Pimicikamak Cree Nation and the good that comes from this community. Kendall and his team are my heroes not just this week but forever. I’ll always be the token white guy fan in the background with the Rock poster cheering for the young prior from this community to strive to achieve greatness. Congratulations wrestling team, coach and community, you deserve to be recognized. Your bawd, Adam

Feeling Grateful After Disappointment.

I thought that now would be the perfect time to pick up where I left off in December 2017. Things have changed while basically staying the same. This post isn’t just about one person, I guess it’s a shout out to many people. For the first time in a while I had felt the sting of rejection after being fully confident that I had done everything in my power to prove my worth as a person and as an employee. within a week that confidence was shattered but only for a brief moment in time. People stepped up with words of encouragement, some friends even busted out some f bombs; in the day and a half after that phone call of disappointment though, and with time to reflect it has given me the ability to cool my jets and think of everything good I have in my life. I am very lucky and blessed (not in a religious way). I have a very good life that I am fortunate to have, how can I even for a second complain about a moment of shittiness when I take a look around and see so many with so little who are so content. There should be very little to no time to sulk when you are doing okay and something difficult happens and you are still okay. I was banking on making my way back home for good, but that whole week after the interview all I could think of was all the good I would have to leave behind as well. So many people that have impacted my life in a positive manner. It’s funny to say out loud but Thompson saved my life, I’m sure of it! One day I will make the difficult decision to move home and choose time with my family over compensation for work. Family always comes first, family over everything, but it won’t be easy to say goodbye to the number of people that I have become friends with, the people who have given me opportunities to find my purpose in life, and especially the hundreds of kids I’ve met over the years here who have opened up and shared their lives with me good and bad and trusted that I would have their back. Man, it’s been almost eight years and I love all of you for what you have done for me and the impact you have had on my life; I am truly humbled. Setbacks are just opportunities for great comebacks. When it is time for me to leave, I will be excited but also sad; for now though you are stuck with me a bit longer and I hope that is okay. Be grateful for what you do have even in times of disappointment or loss or whatever it may be that you are going through. This post is for everyone who saw something good in me and saw my potential and gave me a shot, an opportunity. It’s my turn to pass it on. Love, your bawd, Drisc xo.

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

by Jeff Driscoll

A true hero is someone who doesn’t seek out to be someone’s hero, it is the person who hides in the shadows and seeks no praise. It’s in silence that you hear and it’s in patience that you help others grow, and it’s with that grace of being that a hero is born, which echoes through the lives that have been touched.

If you’ve made it as far as to read the title of this latest entry, you know by now that my brother’s blog has been hijacked (thanks Kristie!). He’s always spoken so highly of individuals through My Hero Movement, but for those who know my brother Adam, he is one of the most deserving to have his name among the greatest.

Unaware at the time, we grew up quite privileged, provided with all we needed. We have had the honour of learning from two of the greatest parents children could have, whether it was learning to appreciate what we have, never let things go to waste, help others out, and understand others by putting yourself in their shoes. These are just a few of the things we learned growing up, and to see where we are now, it’s easy to see my brother is a living example of these teachings.

However, I also like to think I played a role in his ability to thrive the way he has in life. As a kid, I was what you might call “a loose cannon,” whether it was going from zero to a hundred at the flick of a switch, being slashed on accident playing road hockey and chasing him with a stick, or sitting on him while punching him for calling me names. During these conflicts, not once did he ever strike me back or try to cause me any harm; and still defended me when I got myself into trouble. After all these years, he’s now a foster parent, dealing with kids that have far more issues than I did. It takes a strong and caring person to be able to take the abuse, shrug it off, and keep on rolling with the punches.

echoes

I gave this entry the title “Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace” for three reasons, one being his love for the Foo Fighters (as seen by the blog name), which has been contagious, the second being that he has these words tattooed up his arm from his wrist to the top of his shoulder, and third, it exemplifies him as a person to a tee. Whether it is working in crisis intervention, and sitting down and talking with someone who just attempted suicide, fundraising for a headstone for a murdered teenage boy so he could be honoured the way he should be, or simply being there for his brother at his low points. Furthermore, I cannot even recall a time that he has asked for help, complain about anything, or just needed somebody there for him. To highlight this remarkable human being, to deal with these individuals who have issues or haven’t had the privileges in life that we were blessed with, and to take that home with you day after day, and still push on when you know some won’t make it, just for that opportunity to make a difference in that person’s life and be that someone, to these lost souls, as a stepping stone in the right direction as our parents were for us.

I’ve always tried to push myself to be better than my brother, which has made me a better person because of it.  I used to feel like we were in competition growing up, living in the shadow of my brother, but as I’ve grown older and wiser, I know now that it was more of a tow rope pulling me in the right direction, learning and growing from his mistakes and successes. And, I have learned from my mistakes, not telling people what they mean to you before they depart this life, so this is a tribute to my brother.

We may be 2526 kms apart, but I know at the drop of a hat that he’d be there for me, or anyone that desperately needed it.

I ask those of you reading this now, to raise a glass to Adam Driscoll. Love you my brother, Merry Christmas, and cheers!

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Happy Retirement To The Legendary/ Realest G.O.A. T. : Tom Driscoll. L2P, P2L.

Just wanted to stop by here for a minute and take the time to wish my old man Tommy Timber a Happy Retirement after 45 years of work. If you have ever met him, you know hes undoubtedly a GOAT candidate and an absolute perfect example of what people refer to as “A Beauty”. Love you Major Tom!! No one deserves it more than you!

Here is a video i sent to my brother for Tommy’s retirement party tonight.

****Warning* One F*Bomb at the end*****

 

The Little Red Fox Girl with Yellow Eyes: Starting a Conversation of Truth and Reconciliation (VIDEO)

Background on Name of Project: The project title is taken with blessing from one of the participants in the video, 18 year old Kiara Dumas, who lives in Thompson, Manitoba but her family is originally from South Indian Lake, Mb or O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation. Kiara was given her spirit name by a medicine man on her first visit to the sweatlodge just outside of Thompson, Mb. Kiara is an intelligent, young Indigenous woman who I believe will be a part of an Indigenous youth movement in the coming years to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma.
For this creative project I wanted to create something that may be meaningful for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. I wanted to create something that allowed them to get to know one another. For many years, non-Indigenous and Indigenous people have both had preconceived ideas of what each group of peoples is all about, what they believe in, and what they stand for.  Many times, both sets of peoples are given information that is incorrect, stereotypical, or only a one sided portrayal of how the history of Canada and its people came to be, instead of looking at the bigger picture and from various perspectives of truth.
Many non-Indigenous people have not been taught about the history of Indigenous people and the creation of Canada from an Indigenous lens, but rather have been taught in school how people of European descent recall history and how it all happened; much of what is being recalled throughout history being exaggerated or completely false and lacking emotion or empathy.
I feel as though sometimes people in this country simply just do not know about the real history of Indigenous people in Canada. Many people have never had the opportunity to be educated in Indigenous history and or culture as told by Indigenous people, or even had interactions with the various Indigenous people of this country. Sometimes yes, there are stereotypes, ignorance, and flat out hatred without even knowing one another’s story or what another person may be carrying with them along their journey. For many years this countries government did not even consider Indigenous people to be human beings. They were to share the land peacefully and productively together in peace through partnership and the Indian Act, but instead Indigenous people were colonized, oppressed, treated as lesser, sent to residential schools in an attempt to assimilate and kill Indigenous cultures and traditions, their children were kidnapped and adopted out to white families, and the list goes on. Much of this history continues today. The same oppression, assimilation attempts, and so on.  Many people who are not Indigenous don’t realize the intergenerational trauma in which the Canadian Government throughout history has caused, the lateral violence, the abuse, violence, suicide, poverty, Indigenous people incarcerated, and so much more.
What I imagined this video to be was a starting point. A raw, informal, real and positive beginning to a conversation to Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people starting to understand one another, value one another, and see one another as equals and as human beings. My two main goals were to:
Start a conversation. I wanted Indigenous people and Non-Indigenous people to start a conversation, to get to know one another, to hear a bit about what Indigenous people are involved with and in, and a bit about their culture and tradition and experiences. I want non-Indigenous people to be curious to explore Indigenous peoples and their traditions, cultures and beliefs further, and to educate themselves with the truth, while leaving assumptions, stereotypes and ignorance behind.  Doing this, I hope to help lessen the divide between people in this country, and create allies for equality, equity, and opportunity. I wanted to use this platform to transform privilege into equal opportunity for all.

I wanted to have something positive and visual for Indigenous kids and youth to identify with. I want Indigenous kids to see successful Indigenous people and role models that they can strive to be like. Much of the time social media and the media in general tend to focus on the negative aspects of Indigenous people instead of focusing on the numerous Indigenous people doing wonderful things for people from all walks of life in this country. I want Indigenous youth to be able to have the confidence to chase their dreams like the people in this video have and continue to do, to overcome obstacles, to relate to what other Indigenous people are saying, but most of all I want them to choose to stay alive and to love their life and look towards a better future; because this country is going to need them and they are going to be the ones soon enough to break their people free from the intergenerational trauma carried around and forward over the generations; ultimately the ones who will be restoring culture and tradition, equality, equity, opportunity to flourish, and the right to happiness.

I hope you enjoy this video.  So many wonderful people offered to talk about themselves and their lives, and also helped put this together with me.
“It has to start somewhere; it has to start sometime, what better place than here? What better time than now?”- Zach de la Rocha; Rage Against The Machine

I hope this explanation is what you were looking for.
Thanks,

Adam Driscoll