To me, my aboriginal heritage is priceless. The ways that
aboriginal people make a difference can be seen in several of
my heroes, including Beatrice Culleton, Pauline Mitsuk, and others
who have contributed to the wealth that is the visual artistry
Beatrice Culleton is an author, and she has written books
like April Raintree and a children's book called Spirit of the
White Bison. She plans on writing a sequel to April Raintree.
Her life started on August 27, 1949 in St. Boniface, Manitoba,
which is where I live. Her parents were Louis and Mary Clara
Mosionier and she was the youngest of their four children.
When she was three years old, Culleton became a ward of the
Children's Aid Society of Winnipeg. She grew up in foster homes
away from her real parents and her people, but for a couple of
years she lived in a foster home with one of her older sisters.
Years later, both of her older sisters committed suicide; at
times she must have agonized over her loss. She is now involved
in a coalition on Native Child Welfare and the recently formed
Mamerve Wici Itita Centre. Beatrice Culleton is truly a Metis
hero to me.
Another strong person of the Aboriginal people is Pauline
Mitsuk. I respect her because she has achieved status as a leader
in the St.
Boniface School Division as our Aboriginal Outreach Worker.
In May of this year, she organized an entire day where senior
high school students like me could gather at our Board Office
to celebrate various aspects of our culture.
We took part in aboriginal dancing and singing and got to pick
what workshop to go to: there was Dream Catching, Singing and
Dancing, Rock Painting, and Clothing. I picked Rock Painting
with Sharon Hull. On my rock I painted an eagle, and a wolf connected
to the eagles wing, and moon connecting them all together. Sharon
Hull says that animals represent sharing. Another thing she said
was that it is good to use only two colours because colorus are
sacred, "...And let the great Spirit guide you when you're
Another artist is Norvel Morrisseau, Ogibbiwan Artist. He
was part of the Wood Land Seven; other members included Eddie
Cobiness, Alexander, Carl Ray, Daphine Odjig, and Jackson Beardy,
but unfortunately he's dead. Norvel Morrisseau usually paints
about legends and stories and his stories are done on birchbark.
Art on birchbark was and still is common. Over 1000 years ago
the Aboriginal people did art on rocks, birchbark, and they also
used porcupine quills to make their designs.
Clearly, my aboriginal heritage is priceless to me, a Metis