Tag Archives: Chief Dan George

Joan Phillip, the second First Nations woman in the ‘B.C.’ cabinet, is patient but unrelenting

By  Kayla MacInnis, IndigiNews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

In February of 2023, Melanie Mark stood before the “B.C.” legislature, visibly shaken, as she read out her resignation speech.

“This place felt like a torture chamber,” she said, holding an eagle feather and wearing her grandfather’s beaded moosehide fringe jacket.

A descendant of the Nisg̱a’a and Gitxsan people on her mom’s side and Cree, Ojibway, French, and Scottish on her father’s side, Mark was the first First Nations woman to serve on the cabinet of “British Columbia” from February 2016 until April 2023.

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Ann Mortifee: Coming Home To Cortes Island

Conclusion of a 4 part series.

Hollyhock brought Ann Mortifee to Cortes Island. She was one of Vancouver’s leading singers, but had no previous teaching experience when they invited her to do a workshop. That was 40 years ago. 

“Martha Abelson convinced me to give it a go. I remember the first workshop I did. I went into a wild panic because I’m not a teacher, I’m a singer. I went to the library to find out how I could teach,” she explained.  “At the end of the first session in the morning, I told  Shivon Robinsong (a co-founder and Director of Hollyhock), ‘I can’t do this. I’ve used everything that I was going to use in the five days in the first morning. I have no idea what I’m doing for the rest of the week. I have to give them the option to leave. I’ll pay for everything that Hollyhock would lose.'”

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Ann Mortifee: ‘Dreaming I am Ann’

(The first of a series of interviews with Ann Mortifee) 

Ann Mortifee is probably the most famous musician on Cortes Island, which is more of a compliment than it sounds like because there are a lot of talented musicians on Cortes. However from the start of our interview, it was apparent this story was about a lot more than singing. I had this bizarre feeling to lead with the question, ‘When did you start becoming Ann Mortifee?’ 

Her answer came out of the memories of a 4-years-old girl.

AM:  “It happened maybe a hundred times in my childhood. I had the same dream. I’d be standing somewhere looking into a bedroom and there’d be someone lying in the bed. I’d go, ‘Oh no, I’m starting to dream of her again.’ Then I would get this anxious feeling, ‘I’m going to get stuck there in the dream and I’m going to believe it’s real.’ This dream gets more and more upsetting to me. I can feel myself starting to fall asleep and that I’m in a dream.” 

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First Nation’s History Seen Through A Village Workshop

I recently took part in a “Village Workshop” at the Klahoose New Relationship Building on Cortes Island, in BC. This is a role playing exercise designed to help people see British Columbian history from a First Nations perspective.

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