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Why Are We Upset?

We are fractured people

Learning a fractured culture second hand

Put together with

Bits and pieces of

What colonization

Missed with the dustpan

And taught to us by

Equally fractured teachers

Who have to do the best they can

With what they have

And patch the holes

With plastic pony beads

From Wal-Mart

While being led by power-hungry Chiefs and Councils

With dollar signs in their eyes

And big new shiny Ford Trucks

We are learning

Our culture and identity

As Aboriginal people

Like tourists

Through trinkets and

Pendleton blankets

And trying to become

The stoic, bucolic

Red Indians

Of the movies

Wouldn’t you be mad?

John McDonald (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

John McDonald is an award-winning writer, artist, historian, musician, playwright, actor and activist originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

A sixth-generation direct descendant of Chief Mistawasis of the Plains Cree, John’s writings and artwork have been displayed in various publications, private and permanent collections and galleries around the world, including the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. John is one of the founding members of the P.A. Lowbrow art movement, and is the Vice-President of the Indigenous Peoples Artists Collective. He has served as guest editorial writer for several international publications. John is also the author of The Glass Lodge, published by Kegedonce Press, which was selected as one of the books for the 2009 First Nations Libraries Community Reads program. He has also contributed work to anthologies and secondary school textbooks.

John has studied, on scholarship, at England’s prestigious University of Cambridge, where in July 2000 he made international headlines by symbolically ‘discovering’ and ‘claiming’ England for the First peoples of the Americas.

John is also an acclaimed public speaker, who has presented in venues across the globe, such as the Anskohk Aboriginal Literature Festival, the Black Hills Seminars on Reclaiming Youth, The Appalachian Mountain Seminars, the Edmonton and Fort McMurray Literary Festival, the Eden Mills Writers Festival and at the Ottawa International Writers Festival. John was honoured with the opportunity to speak before the Governor General of Australia in Sydney, NSW in April of 2001. John was also included in the Aboriginal Artists and Performers Inventory for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, BC.

John’s artwork and writing have been nominated for several awards, including the 2001 Saskatchewan Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award, and in 2010 and 2013 he was honoured with grants from the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

A noted polymath, John lives in Northern Saskatchewan.

Visit John's website for more information on his work.

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