Monday, December 2, 2019


November 29, 2019

With Christmas almost upon us, it is time for my year in review. Christmas always has a way of inspiring reflection within me.

First, to make clear these are my personal thoughts and opinions, and I say to family if you recognize yourself in my description of events over the year, it is not meant to reveal, confidences, or any personal information.  

Instead, the following should be read to get insights into how I processed my year, in particular, close relationships with family.
 Secondly, blogging to me is a form of therapy and it helps me process challenging situations, ironically enough, I use blogging to help me process my family dynamics so that I can have a better relationship with them, but sometimes family are  the most critical. Honestly, I don't mind that, it helps me be accountable with my written word.  They often will give me push back after they have read something I have blogged about, most of the time their  interpretation is distorted. What I am writing is my story, my truth, and if it conflicts with another’s’ truth, the best way forward is to have a conversation with me, I am open to amending the blog if I have portrayed something incorrectly.

Lastly, it is important to point out that my blogs
Are written without malice. It really is about documenting events in my life.

That said, 2018 was filled with a wide range of emotions, sadness, disappointment, grief, confusion and, of course excitement and happiness.   It was an incredible year for expanding my knowledge, creating opportunities, and challenging myself. 

We celebrated our 27 Wedding Anniversary in November.  I am blessed to have Hubby who is my strongest advocate, and editor of my blog, he keeps me out of trouble more times than I can count.  lol   In December our son turned 22, He has made some changes to his life plan, and as an adult he has every right to do it.  We support him and encourage him to be the best version of himself. He is intelligent with good judgement, which will,no doubt  stand him in goodstead, and whatever the rout he chooses  he will succeed.    

Professionally, through unforeseen events I have taken leadership role, as chairwoman of Nechi Institute. A challenge I am ready to meet.   That said, we are immediately faced with a challenge. However, I feel confident with the dedicated and committed staff on board, we are prepared strategically to address it.

If I were to give a theme for 20019, I would describe it as a year of learning,  Leadership, and personal growth.  

 I continued to dig deeper into nutritional health, neurology, and creating new pathways in my brain, and to optimizing my mind, body and spirit.   I increased my knowledge by listening to podcasts from leading experts, reading books that enlightened and piqued my interest further. The more I discover, the more I am aware of how little I know.

Something I am proud that I  created an online social network group "We Belong", it is filled with friends from diverse professions and interest, I carefully selected the group to encourage real connection among my friends. To challenge people's behavior on social media, so that they would contemplate more deeply about connecting with each other as supposed to mindlessly scrolling and liking post. I often said to people that liking a post, does not do anything to connect. with the other person.

 To have meaningful connection You have to
consciously make a decision to connect on a deeper level, it does not have to be on social media, we can send private messages, or call them.   Take a moment to write a comment with substance. what is it about the posts that you like or agree with, ask more about the person posts. In other words, connect on a richer level.  

Andrew December 2019 - 22 years old 

 It began as a social experiment, as an alternative to other social network platforms, I wanted to see if you put the right people together, would they behave differently, and would they build deeper connections? On the whole, I would consider my experiment a success.
What I discovered is that people are reluctant to comment because 
A. They don't believe their comment has value.
B. They don't have any trust in the group.
C. They simply are not interested.

 We ended the year with a secret Santa activity with a twist, the gift giver would not be anonymous but someone in the group. Both the giver and the receiver would exchange gifts.  I matched people by what I observed in their connection with each other, and if I thought they would be a good fit for each other. And recommend they exchange gifts.   I am not sure how it worked out, but I am confident they were able to build a better connection by discovering what type of gift to give each other. A couple people declined to participate.  I am okay with that, because it should be volunteering. You don't want to force people buy a gift for someone they barely know. Others embraced it and good sports about participating.  They appreciated what I was attempting to do, and it was all in good fun. 

Another experience, I am pleased with is this year, I my decision to put my name forward as a Conference speaker. I am particularly proud that I made it work for me. Showing up to speak at an indigenous conference in Alberta on October14,15,16, was a huge step forward for me, because although I had spoken at many conferences, nationally and internationally, this was different because the topic was centered on me.  Previously my speaking engagements were more academic than personal. 

Honestly, it was with the encouragement of my physician that gave me confidence in my capabilities and knowledge that I could do it.  I prepared a PowerPoint presentation, and he helped me keep it focused on the theme of the conference, which was on resilience, and, to ensure I had the medical technical descriptions correct.   I felt confident, that the protocols I adopted in my own healing journey could benefit others, and I was happy to share my experience. My presentation was well received, and I got positive feedback from a number of people.  I was pleased with my effort and the reaction to my presentation. Indeed, it was a confidence booster to say the least.     

Early in the new year, I created, a routine in my day for reflection and meditation. This proved to be an exceptional way to identify things that I am grateful for.

Throughout this year, there were more and more things to be grateful for.  Information studies I read supported that having a gratitude journal promoted good health when one includes a daily ritual of gratitude. It increases happiness, and overall health, and balance.

It is incredible what will come to the surface when you pause and take a deep breath of reflection. It creates a space to respond properly, rather than reacting emotionally to a given situation. Like a family conflict. I feel it makes me a better human, kinder, can plan, more compassionate, and more present people.

 and, even with all the work I do on myself, I can still be triggered by my own conditioning.  For a brief period, I was caught in my own family conflict. It created feelings of disconnection, and a sadness, which was unbearable and stressful, this threatened to break the trust I had in that person. I worked really hard on myself to interpret where my feelings were coming from, as I made an earnest attempt to understand the other person.  In the end, we resolved our conflict. However, not before I felt damage was done. And like most conflicts, began with a miss understanding. Indeed, there remains residual remnants on my part around trust issues. Will we recapture the closeness we once enjoyed? I hope so, she means a lot to me.    

I have commented previously, in other blogs, family dynamics is one of the most complex and confusing relationships we will enter into, filled with emotional and psychological implications.  my view is the reason it is so charged is because there is a lot in the balance, and a lot of history. On the flipside, there is much to be gained in to resolving these issues because it could strengthen the bond between family, and it is clearly worth the effort to work through any dispute and get pass the hurts.  Interestingly, because I process through writing, it is my blogging that often, as much as it helps me, also gets me into trouble with my family.

However, in some cases it actually can brings me closer to some of my family because I am able to see them for who they are and appreciate them more deeply. A comment from one of my nieces after reading what I blogged about her, she said “I cried when I read what you wrote”. That meant a lot to me. 

Sadly, A few months ago, my baby brother passed, it was gut wrenching and so sudden, situations that occur suddenly resulting in a huge loss makes me appreciate family and want to create a more harmonious relationship with my surviving brothers and sisters.  Although, as with most of our family funerals, due to the high emotions and grief. Drama will inevitably ensue, and this was not any different.

What was different with my baby brother’s funeral is that all the arrangements were handled by our chief who was just reelected for his 11th term, he was my brothers’ best friend and with him the night of his election victory, Max passed the  next morning.  the chief’s speech was focused on reconciliation and asking family to set aside our differences and to be accepting of each other, to get along instead of creating division.  I was never so proud of my chief, as when he spoke at the feast, he conveyed how making all the arrangements for Max was actually an honor for him and he provided the utmost attention to every detail. Stories he told, the food for the feast, all the details were handled with care and to honor  my brother. Thank you chief.

What will 2020 hold for us as a family, that is the beautiful Mystery, although, I do know that learning what of I've learned over the last two years, what counts is how we respond to the unanticipated. And no matter what, good or bad, we should always maintain our integrity, stay in gratitude, and look for our blessings. 

I wish for you to have a happy peaceful year with much love
and blessings.  

Monday, November 4, 2019

Max Deranger

July 7 1963 – October 31, 2019

This week, we will be gathered to remember, the life of our baby brother Maxi, who was taken too soon from us. 

We have no control over how short or how long our life will be, and if love could hold us here, Maxi would still be with us. Because he was truly loved by all who are here today.  He touched each and every one of us. He created a lasting impression in our hearts, of what it means to be a man, human, a nephew, a brother, a cousin. Max never married and didn't have any children.

Maxi’s passing into the spirit world got me thinking about our purpose in this life.  Every one of us has a purpose and this is our unique and special gift. I am confident that Max lived his true purpose, with integrity, with authenticity, and with grace.  which is evident in the way he lived. He was a helper, caregiver, teacher, and always a solid and dependable friend.

Max was born in Uranium City; Saskatchewan July 7, 1963. He was the youngest of the 19 children who were born to Mama and Baba.  Max lived a full life.  He was a confident, self-assured man. To the people in Fort Chipewyan, he was known as “Bushman” for his love of being on the land. 

One evening, as a child he was looking at the full moon and argued with his niece Beatrice and brother Chris – it’s a moon, no it’s a plate and Max said ‘no, it’s a ball.’
As a child he got his nickname A-A-WaWa from his grandfather Chris Adam because he was how he asked for bannock and water. When he was little, our family tried to break him of the habit of sucking his thumb. They put pepper on it, and then salt, but nothing could deter him from sucking his thumb.
He enjoyed working with his hands and built tree houses.  Many kids climbed up and fell off.  He played alone mainly with his collection of army men and cars.  He would be seen on the floor attentively lining them up on the floor.  And, he enjoyed building model planes. Max was very imaginative, and creative.

In high school, he joined the wrestling team, and excelled.  He enjoyed teaching the boys in the family since they were children how to wrestle, punch and kick, and the importance of the mental as well as the physical aspect of fighting. How to work out, how to maintain a proper diet. And how to build muscle and strength. He said the three most important things in fighting are ‘speed, flexibility and endurance and to also come up with your own fighting style that is unique and be confident in your style to win.’ A true champion is the one that can come back from a loss and learn and win again. That is a true champion. Max most definitely was a true champion.

Max was resilient. Although he went through a lot, it all made him stronger. He lost his front teeth one evening when the car he was in rolled and he went through the windshield. He went through the lake ice a few years ago with his friend Charlie Cardinal and they had to hurry to shore to gather wood, build a fire and dry off. While hitching across Canada Max witnessed and helped many people during his travels and was first on the scene for numerous car wrecks on the highways. He told us about the people he helped save. He was proud of the fact that he was able to help many people.
He traveled across Canada as a youth after volunteering to join the Federal program called Katimavik. Their mission was to develop diverse youth and engage them while forming them into capable contributors and leaders.  He was proud of his experience traveling across Canada in the program.

He was brought into our lives to teach us, make us strong and prepare us for hard times; always telling us to stock up on dry goods and outdoor gear. Right until his passing, he continued to give advice on how to be the best person we can be. He mentioned the night before he passed, that we have to work harder to get along, and to support each other. In particular, within our family, we should not be divided, we must get along, put aside our petty grievances, and love and honour each other. We would do well to observe his wise words.

Max worked for Syncrude in 1988-1990 in the wash bay washing all the big heavy equipment, which he enjoyed. Max also worked for Clearwater Welding and became good friends with the owner Doug Golosky and family. When Baba became sick Max put his life on hold for 4 years to honor his father’s last wish to die at home. Max honored this and took care of Baba until he passed away in 1993.

Max then moved to BC to attend the University of British Columbia for 3 years, studying anthropology which is the study of Human behavior and societies in the past and present. He was proud of his lineage and heritage, and his connection to the land and his language resulted in a major project for anthropology he produced a report on Mama and Baba and their connection to the land.  Max enjoyed the outdoors and spent many summers working as a professional landscaper in Vancouver working for some of the local millionaires that he befriended in the mid 90’s.

He was good-natured, kind and gentle.  He enjoyed sharing his knowledge.

In his later years he moved back to Fort McMurray and then finally Fort Chipewyan. Even with his heart condition worsening he continued his love of hard work doing what he enjoyed, landscaping with his good friend Charles Wilson. Max always wanted his own permanent home in Fort Chip but at the same time he was always a nomadic restless spirit who travelled and befriended everyone and left a lasting impression on their lives.

He was really proud of his home in Fort Chipewyan. Anyone who entered his home could see pride he had. It was spotless, and he had on his walls souvenirs from Mama and Baba, with feathers next to them. He had posters of past warriors, like Geronimo, Black Elk, etc. He had humility, and would not have considered that he too was a. warrior. But in my eye he was a modern-day warrior. Strong, focused. A leader.

Mad Max was no longer restlessness. He was at peace with himself. He was content and in his last days he was a very happy man because his life was fulfilled, and he knew he did not have long to be with us. To the family he did everything he said he was going to do but I’m sure he wanted to do more. Max began his journey into the Spirit world the morning of October 31, 2019. 

I will miss him Dearly   

Max + Andrew

Ronnie, Mary, Liz, Max 

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