Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Indigenous people from across Canada have been sharing healing dances and songs on social media.
One of the biggest calls to action was for women jingle dress dancers to post videos. In an interview with CTV News, Pine Creek Ojibway Elder Barbra Nepinak said the dance came from the wisest elders, and the original jingle dress dancer was a woman named Maggie White from White Fish Bay, Ont.
“The jingle dress is known as a healing dance and it came through a vision and that lady that had that vision shared it,” Nepinak said.
Nepinak said an adult dress should have 365 cones to represent each day of the year.
“You’re supposed to hold your head up. You’re supposed to look forward like in life you look forward in life, right. What you are doing is art,” she said. “If we all, us jingle dress dancers, if we all stood and prayed and danced for our people, people will get better.”
She said cultural sharing is a way for people to take care of each other.
Tania Black Plume is a member of Kainai First Nation in southern Alberta and has been dancing at pow-wows all her life. She said she looks forward to pow-wow season every year. When she watches the little children dance she said it lifts her spirits and makes her happy.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting group gatherings, pow-wows have been postponed or cancelled. The Manito Ahbee Pow-wow in Winnipeg was postponed. Which means Black Plume’s family can’t get together or travel with friends for the dance. She posted on Facebook she would be holding a special dance for her daughter who started dancing last year.
“With all the self-isolation and everything that’s going on, I wanted to do something to bring families and kids together,” said Black Plume.
She got 50 entries from across Canada; with some coming from the U.S. Black Plume said she had only been expecting between 10 and 20 kids to join.
“Some of their outfits were amazing,” said Black Plume.
Black plume said this time of isolation is an opportunity to spend time showing children traditional Indigenous ways, such as the jingle dress dance.
“We’ve lost so many of our traditions already and I think it’s really important for us to try and keep them alive. And the only way we can keep them alive is by teaching out young ones,” said Black Plume.
That’s a belief awarding winning Cree/Salish singer Fawn Wood, from Saddle Lake, Alta., echoes.
“It goes with that generational teaching and that generational knowledge – that genetic knowledge that we all carry. It’s something that withstood time and memorial and has also withstood everything that us as Indigenous people have faced,” said Wood.
Wood and her husband Dallas Washkahat started hosting online singing opportunities in March. She said it’s been amazing to watch people come together through social media.
“People share amazing stories about how their families look forward to this every weekend,” she said. “It also promotes self-isolation, and that’s what we are trying to encourage and entertain people while they are at home.”
They have had 18 evenings of round dances so far and have had people tune in from all over the world including New Zealand, Hawaii and Germany. Wood added the virtual round-dance page has also allowed graphic artists and video editors to get involved and use their own skills.
She said their friend Tito Gomez is editing every episode for those who couldn’t tune and put them on the Songs for the Nation YouTube page. Wood said it also involves special guests from around the world, including Canadian actress Jennifer Podemski and Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas.
“It’s really beautiful because everyone is volunteering their time just for the cause of connecting everybody and uplifting everybody,” she said, adding she believes it’s important the sound of the drum, dance and songs be heard around the world.
“It’s been medicine for us to be able to practice it and see it, not just us as an Indigenous people, but as a whole human race,” Wood said. “We’re being strong and resilient for everybody. ”
In addition to the virtual round dance session, they also hosted singing contests. Wood said she wanted to honour female singers and called it the “Song Bird Special” and receive 75 submissions.
“Over 75 ladies from all over shared their voices like that,” she said. “It makes me feel good to know we are contributing to others to help them feel good in a time like this.”
From singing contests, to other dance specials like Black Plume’s, or those posting prayers, the indigenous community has used social media to connect to each other and others to share the love of their diverse culture.
Trump tweets threat to shutter social media companies after Twitter warning – CBC.ca
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies, one day after Twitter Inc. for the first time added a warning to some of his tweets prompting readers to fact-check the president’s claims.
Trump, without offering any evidence, reiterated his accusations of political bias by such technology platforms, tweeting: “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”
He added: “Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”
….happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!
Representatives for Twitter and Facebook could not be immediately reached for comment on Trump’s tweets. Shares of the companies were down in pre-market trading following his posts.
In the pair of early morning posts, the Republican president again blasted mail-in ballots as being rife with fraud — though there is no evidence that’s the case, and many Americans have used mail-in ballots in previous elections. Five states currently use only mail-in voting for all elections.
Trump posted similar tweets about the ballot topic on Tuesday, which had moved Twitter to add an alert, signified by a blue exclamation mark, below the tweets to warn his claims may be inaccurate or unsubstantiated, and direct readers to a page of news articles and information about the topic.
Twitter said it was the first time it had applied a fact-checking label to a tweet by the president, in an extension of its new “misleading information” policy, which was introduced earlier this month to combat misinformation about the coronavirus.
The dramatic shift by the tech company, which has tightened its policies in recent years amid criticism that its hands-off approach has allowed misinformation to thrive, had prompted Trump to accuse it of interfering in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
Social media isn't a one-size-fits-all marketplace. This training explains it all – The Next Web
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Torstar buyer says Canso picked to provide financing because of media experience – OrilliaMatters.Com
TORONTO — A private investment company that is a major backer of Postmedia Network Corp. has agreed to provide financing for NordStar Capital’s acquisition of Torstar Corp., the owner of the Toronto Star and other newspapers.
NordStar said in a statement it considered several sources of outside funding and chose Canso Investment Counsel Ltd. because of its experience in the Canadian media industry.
The statement also addressed long-standing speculation that there might be a move afoot to merge Torstar and Postmedia, which own two of the country’s biggest media businesses.
“The financing arrangements for the NordStar bid are not, in anyway whatsoever, connected directly or indirectly with any other media company.”
Canso didn’t immediately respond to a request for information about its involvement with the NordStar deal.
However, talk of an eventual deal to consolidate Canada’s newspaper industry was fuelled by the involvement of Canso — which provided $93.5 million after fees in September for a refinancing of Postmedia’s debt.
NordStar’s statement said it didn’t include Canso in the initial press release but “their participation would have been disclosed in due course as part of customary public fillings.”
NordStar is a new company formed by Toronto businessmen Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett, whose backgrounds are in corporate finance.
In order to buy Torstar, they required the support of five families that have controlled the company for decades — the Atkinsons, Hindmarshs, Campbells, Thalls and Honderichs.
The five stepped in to run the Star after founder Joseph Atkinson died in 1948, leaving the paper to a charitable foundation to be run by trustees.
In announcing the deal on Tuesday, Torstar chair John Honderich said it was “time to pass the torch.”
Unifor national president Jerry Dias says his big concern is that Canada could lose the Toronto Star’s voice for the progressive social issues if it’s combined with the company that owns the National Post, which has taken a more conservative stance.
“Let’s be candid, people are nervous with Canso being the money behind the National Post and now the Star. For us, the broader issue is how comfortable are we eliminating progressive voices in this country? That’s what the big issue is.”
Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with subsidiaries of the Globe and Mail and Montreal’s La Presse.
— with files from Tara Deschamps
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020.
Companies in this story: (TSX:TS.B)
The Canadian Press
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