seven years

It is a special day of reflection for myself and my husband. Another year has passed and we have survived another year together. You have no idea how difficult it really is being married to me, or being married to my handsome and smart husband for that matter. Seven years ago we were married in front of a quince tree where later I learned that my father put down tobacco and said a prayer for us on our wedding day. My parents marriage ended when I was in grade 7. My mother fled from my father while he was working up in Northern Saskatchewan. She left him for many good reasons but the most important one was to protect my sisters and I. And there we were, twenty years later, my mother, my father and my two younger sisters together to celebrate the union between my husband and I with our 16 month old son by our side. Both of our families and friends were there to witness us, well pretty much growing up.

Around this time last year I shared a post about how my husband and I met. You can read more here https://teaandbannock.com/2016/06/06/kisakihitin-you-are-loved-by-me/

Honestly, I don’t write very much about him on social media or on here because of his profession and out of respect because he is a private man. I still take a lot of photos of him though because I’ve been doing so for nearly 12 years. The thought makes me blush. As a young girl I knew who I was going to marry one day and it happened, even after years of making out with guys from around the world (yessss…. I have an international record and only two of them were indigenous), heartbreaks and just dating baaaad dudes. Oh and I must mention the English lad named Mike Hunt. No joke.

My husband and I are still learning how to be together. I wanted to share with everyone a few questions that I gave my husband for you the readers to get to know me a bit more. And it is a chance for me to see how well he knows me.

Which of my achievements am I most proud of?

  – I am worried about answering this question, as I feel that my response may be used to judge me at some future point. But I think that it may be our two sons, because they are pretty amazing and I am proud of them too.

Later in my adult life, I had an epiphany. Which comic book character from my youth did I realize strongly influenced my style?

  Veronica. Totally Veronica. I know this one.

What is my least favourite housework task?

  Hmmmm… taking out the garbage? or is it dishes? or is it vacuuming? or it is perhaps washing the floors?

What type of music do I secretly like?

  – Terrible late nineties house.

Which song do I sing when we argue?

  – Witney Houston’s “I will always love you”.

What was yelled at us by total strangers while we where out on our first date at Jericho Beach? Is this too personal sweetheart?

  – No, its not too personal. It was: “Hey look, there are some indians making out in the bushes!”

How did I spend my summers as a child?

  – Uhhhh… going to Batoche? 

*Note: this is the ONLY question that he didn’t answer correct. Yes, every year we went to the Back to Batoche Days but my fondest memories are of spending time with my mom’s family in Melfort and camping & fishing with my dad’s family in Northern Saskatchewan.

What kind of footwear was I wearing at our wedding during our first dance?

  – Moccasins.

When shouldn’t you talk to me?

  – Anytime in the morning, before you have had a coffee.

Which of your shirts do I dislike?

  – You dislike one of my shirts?

What kind of food makes me drool? Note: I considered leaving you and Elijah because neither of you like it but quickly realized it meant more for me.

  – Dried moose meat.

Why do I take so much time to get ready?

  – Because you have a double XX chromosome.

What song can always make me dance, especially when no one’s around?

  – I have no idea. I obviously am not around when you are dancing to it.

What’s a personality trait I dislike about myself, and I share with a parent?

  – Anything that your mother does that annoys you.

Am I related to Louise Riel?

  – Sure, why not.

Are you related to Louis Riel?

  – Again, for sure.

When we hug what do our kids and dogs do?

  – Try to get in the middle and break up our hug.

What made me fall in love with you?

  – Uhhh…hmmm… my cowboy boots? or my sweet personality? No, it was totally the cowboy boots.

You did good my  husband. xox

-Amanda Laliberte

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We share the breath

Life and death have been on my mind a lot recently. This community has gone through too much heartache the past few months and to be honest, I have lost count of how many people have died here. I am not immune to this. I am constantly reminded of this shared sadness though social media, seeing people hugging and holding each other, or driving around the island and noticing that other drivers or pedestrians are not waving at me. Everyone’s spirits are low and it effects all of us in one way or another, especially when it’s the young people who are the ones passing into the spirit world.

What do I know about death? How can I understand this? The church taught me that if I behaved like a good little girl, when I die, I would go to heaven to be with the angels and hop around on the fluffy white clouds in my halo. My dad taught me about the stars and their connections with our ancestors when he took me on night drives to the outskirts of Saskatoon, where the lights of the city faded away. My kookum taught us ghost stories about relatives who had died, and how they had come back to visit her bedside. She would tell us to watch out for her when she died because she was going pay us a visit before going to heaven. We would all erupt into laughter; to be honest, I believed that she would pay me a visit just so she could tease me one last time. Whenever my cousins, sisters or I found dead animals or butterflies, we always had a funeral procession and buried them.  I’ve been told that the first funeral  I attended was of a family friend of my mother’s side of the family, but I remember very little from that day.

I am raising my children with a very different understanding of death than what I was taught. My boys are being taught other ways of knowing that don’t include halos and fluffy clouds. Since we’ve moved to Alert Bay, we speak about death quite often with our children. We have to. Either because someone close to us has lost someone, or a child that they know in school has lost a parent, or we have found another dead animal on the beach. This is for real.

My boys found a dead crow yesterday while out walking on the beach. My four year old tried to pick it up and bring it home to me. Instead, I went down with my camera and took some photos and video of the dead bird. I then started filming my surrounds the ocean, trees, a tree swing, tension of a rope holding on tight to the land and a fire.  I wanted to move away from the still image and work with moving images and decided to piece this brief moment in my life into a short video.

-Amanda Laliberte

As the sun spends less time in the sky

Our summer is nearing its end, and I find myself reflecting on our second year in Alert Bay. My family loves it here, especially these long warm vacation days spent sleeping in, playing in the woods, slipping and sliding, and building forts on the beach.  Despite this, I must say this is one mama who is looking forward to getting some good back to school routines started again.

When we went for a dip in the freezing ocean and I made you go first.

When we went for a dip in the freezing ocean and I made you go first.

The day my dad took the kids fishing.

The day my dad took the kids fishing.

That time the Rockefeller and his sailing entourage were in Alert Bay.

That time the Rockefeller and his sailing entourage were in Alert Bay.


That time we made a zombie movie with our friends which was directed by my seven year old son. (Here you can watch our trailer that I made with imovie which was incredibly easy! Anyone with imovie I encourage you to try making movies with the program. This was made using the SCARY trailer template.)

That time we went for a walk in the woods and I made you guys pose for me. Again and again.

That time we went for a walk in the woods and I made you guys pose for me. Again and again.

The morning we got to ride on top of a fire truck and throw candy to the kids and adults at the annual Seafest parade.

The morning we got to ride on top of a fire truck and throw candy to the kids and adults at the annual Seafest parade.

The afternoon when we saw a pod of killer whales.

The afternoon when we saw a pod of killer whales.

The day my husband got a selfie with Evan Adams. Whoops, that didn’t happen in Alert Bay but I am so excited about it that I had to share. Matching doctors.

The day my husband got a selfie with Evan Adams. Whoops, that didn’t happen in Alert Bay but I am so excited about it that I had to share. Matching doctors.

Another day when we saw another bloody cruise ship.

Another day when we saw another cruise ship.

And another.

And another.

The night we ended the day with a beach fire.

The night we ended the day with a beach fire.

happy canada day

Images of the St. Michael’s Indian Residential School.

(before it was torn down last year)

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I haven’t shown any of these images publicly prior to this blog post. Even though these rooms were empty, the residue of the past was still present. If these walls could talk they’d have a lot to share with us. I wasn’t quite sure how to show these in a respectful way because these photos are not meant to be liked and shared around on social media. I feel that Tea & Bannock is the safest place to do so. Plus with the Canada Day celebrations happening across the country on July 1st, I want people to remember that this country was founded on indigenous lands. Don’t forget that.

-Amanda Laliberte

kisâkihitin – you are loved by me

Yesterday, someone asked me about how my husband and I met. I don’t get asked this question very often but when it happens I get this silly grin on my face, my eyes glaze over and my stomach feels lighter.

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In the summer of 2005 I had just moved to Victoria after spending a year in Nanaimo attending Malaspina College/University. My summer job was working for the Metis Nation of Greater Victoria as their admin assistant. One day, this guy walked in to the office. Oooooooo eeeeeeee he was one good lookin’ guy. He introduced himself and told me that he’d just moved back from Montreal. He wanted to be closer to his family. I thought, hmmm. Nice guy, good values. We chatted some more, I told him about our monthly potlucks and of the employment training programs we were offering that summer. Eventually he left and I remember the other women in the office rushing in asking me what had just happened. I told them nothing. Period. They told me they certainly saw something good. And from there on the teasing started, the blushing and a lot of laughter. This guy kept stopping by the office that month for other things, which I didn’t mind. And then one day I dropped the boyfriend bomb on him. Yeah, did I forget to mention that I had moved to Victoria because of my boyfriend? Whoops. I remember the awkwardness of the situation and the look on his face. He stopped dropping by the office after that for some reason.

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Over the next couple of years, our paths crossed again and again. Him and his mom would attend MNGV potlucks, we were  in a few of the same classes at UVIC, where we both got active in the Native Students Union and the LE,NONET program. There was even a time when I made an attempt on a first year Biology course (I barely passed on that one) and we tried studying together. Yep, it didn’t work, I found myself way too distracted by him just being him. The way he spoke, the way he looked, the way he would try to get me excited about cells and mitochondria and ATP and stuff like that. Many of my good friends will remember what it was like being in the basement of the NSU when he and I were in the same room. Me and my nervous cackle laughter and acting like I was busy. Him acting like he was busy in those silver Havaianas that he wore in the warmer months and cowboy boots in the winter months.

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One afternoon a few of us were hanging out at the NSU and my friend’s daughter and I were playing M.A.S.H. I named off 4x boys names, 4x jobs, 4x cars, 4x living spaces, 4x cities, 4x numbers, 4x pets and then she did the spiral thing and I told her to stop. The game started and she began to count and cross things off. As she started to cross things off, I felt myself blushing like an 8 year old girl but also crossing my fingers that THIS would be my M.A.S.H., my future. I felt myself changing another shade of red as she read my future out loud for everyone to hear. He was was also in the room. I would one day become a dolphin trainer, who would live in a motel in Duncan with a dog and drive a Porsche while raising 13 kids with my husband, Ami.

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As I write this I can’t help but laugh and cry a bit. Who knew that all these years later my life wouldn’t be so far fetched from that M.A.S.H. game? Thanks Emma. Just in case you need extra money while going off to university this fall, do your M.A.S.H. thing.

A few days from now, we will be reflecting, remembering and celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary. I am incredibly blessed to be sharing this crazy life with my husband and our two sons.

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