Latest Posts

Get Shady with Derek Cardigans

Categories: Contests

DK Sun Side


If you didn’t get the memo, the sun is out! Unless you live in the far north … and if that’s the case, then I’m sorry. You should move. Just kidding. But YES, finally it is sunny out and the shorts and sandals are already in full effect. I even got my second sunburn ever last weekend in the park. Yes, the second in my life. I waited FAR too long to get sun clearly.

I’ve got these lovely pair of Derek Cardigan Sunglasses in Fog to give away from They might just spruce up that sundress you want to sport for your next Trinity Bellwoods Park venture …

The deets:

—> This contest is only open for Canadians (lo siento)

—> Tweet “@UrbanNativeGirl – I’d like to win some #DerekCardigan sunnies from @ClearlyContacts!”

—> That’s it. That’s all. I’ll pick one of you lovelies to win Saturday, May 12 2013 at 12 PM PT and let you know by Twitter

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DK S Front

Chayla’s Beauty Picks

Categories: Beauty


Well tonight is the big night. Chayla Delorm Maracle is one of the national finalists to participate at the Miss World Canada 2013 pageant tonight in Vancouver. Read more about her here. Stay tuned tonight here for the updates on her finalist status!

When you want to know something, you go to the pros. So I asked Chayla what her top 6 beauty picks are in her beauty arsenal. With photo perfect makeup always on, she’s bound to know! All of her picks sound like beauty gems. I know she’s got me ready to do some online shopping …

Beauty Blender 350

1) Beauty Blender sponge

When you apply it with your foundation, it leaves a flawless, airbrushed finish. It doesn’t even look like you have foundation on. The first time I tried it I was like “whoa this is like magic right here.”


2) Sugar lip treatment (Sephora)

I’ve always had a problem with dry lips so I’ve tried every Chapstick. I got this one as a gift from Sephora and ever since then it’s worked so good and keeps my lips right and moisturized and there’s no taste. It’s awesome.


3) Urban Decay Naked Basics eyeshadow palette

I got it from Christmas and it’s the best. I bring this with me everywhere and it’s all I need. I don’t even use any of my other eyeshadows anymore.


 4) Morroccan Oil

I love that stuff, I’m addicted to it. It keeps my hair nice and silky and not greasy, and nice and moisturized as well. I have curly hair so my hair is naturally dry all the time.

All  Nighter 5)   Urban Decay All Nighter

It’s a setting spray. So you put makeup on and then set it, you spray it on your face. I love it because it keeps your makeup flawless all night until you get home and wash it off.

potion primer

6)   Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer

I apply it on my eyes and I use it with the setting spray. The eyeshadow primer is good for your eyeliner and shadow and the setting spray is good for your all-over face. So you’ll have double protection if you use them both. I know how it is frustrating when your eyeshadow creases. Ever since I got these products it’s flawless all the time, it doesn’t move or anything but you do really need to wash it off at the end of the night.



Thanks for the tips Chayla and GOOD LUCK!!!

Photo Credits:

Urban Decay photo by Makeup and Beauty Blog

Moroccan Oil by Around the Way Curls

Urban Decay All Nighter by The Honeybee by Andee Layne

Urban Decay Potion Primer by Beauty Buzz

Brass Vixens Aerial Stretch

Categories: Health

Splits 600

When is the last time you took time to play? I mean really play? I know for myself that I don’t give myself the opportunity very often. I’ve got 3,000 things on my to-do list at any given time and why would I take time to play if I can be productive? And then aerial stretch class happened.

It was a Monday afternoon and I had no idea what to expect. I was told to wear long sleeves and long pants and to bring some water. That was it. I entered the Brass Vixens studio full of brass poles and was unsure what I had signed up for. Brass Vixens is most known for offering pole dancing classes for those who are looking to add some spice to their fitness routine.

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The instructor, Dawn, helped set  some of us newbies up with our suspended “silks” (not actually like the ones you see in Cirque), and then handed out ginger slices for those of us who get queasy or haven’t eaten enough that day. I got nervous and downed a few slices. I’ve only managed to drink coffee before the class.

A few minutes into the class and my nerves subsided as I got to start playing with the “silks.” Instead of feeling like I was doing yoga, I felt like I was dancing or doing acrobatics, or better yet – gymnastics. I was a gymnast for about five years of my childhood and early adolescence and have yet to find a form of fitness that I enjoyed as much as gymnastics. The moves came fairly easily to me as I took control of my body and lunged, pointed, and stretched out my legs in ways that I haven’t for a while.

Upside Down 350

Dawn, the instructor, was a sub for the regular Aerial Stretch teacher and mostly teaches pole dancing. And it showed. I felt like I was in a cross between a pole dancing class and an aerial class. If the fabulous Toronto burlesque troupe Les Coquettes were to teach a silk class, I feel like this is what it would feel like. And it felt amazing. I’ve always wanted to try burlesque classes, pole dancing classes, circus training classes, and have somehow never made it happen.

Back to the element of play. It was there in that class that I felt like I had stolen an hour just for myself to enjoy the element of play. I hadn’t felt that euphoric about fitness since I tried surfing for the first time in Costa Rica two years ago. It was that much fun. By the time the class was over I wanted more. I could’ve done this for three hours straight and not noticed that I was A) getting a good stretch B) getting a good workout or C) noticed that I was active for three hours straight. This are very good signs.

If you’re looking for a new form of fitness to engage yourself in, and bring in that element of play, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I’m so thankful that Brass Vixens invited me to come try out a class so that I could remember this valuable lesson. Now who’s up for pole dancing next?


Brass Vixens Studio, 721 Queen West Street Toronto, ON

Twitter: @BrassVixens


Is there a new Nygard?

Categories: Fashion

Bianca Nygard Top 500

When I think of Nygard, I used to think of pastel suits in a corner of a Sears store somewhere. But thankfully, things have changed. Nygard has updated their look, specifically with the Bianca Nygard division, which is aimed at a younger demographic. It’s more akin to Smart Set, a place to get your basics and stock up on those “smart, casual” basics. Yes, I just used smart casual. But, you know the clothes you can wear to the office and also blend into your weekend wardrobe with ease.

I selected this Bianca Nygard from their collection. Of course I chose black, because I’m angsty like that. This Bianca Nygard Lace Top has really worked itself seamlessly into my wardrobe. I love to wear it with a cardigan out for dinner or by itself for those conservative days. And then add it with pearls when I’m feeling particularly conservative. Note: This is a size 4 and fits like a size 6/8, so order down a size or two if you can. Think of Old Navy sizing when ordering.

Shorts and Crop Pants 350

I must say though, that looking through the Nygard site, it was hard to find just one item to get shipped. I love the Petite Cotton Sateen Cuffed Short and the Petite Cotton Sateen Crop. Great options for Spring/Summer.

 $50 Nygard Gift Card Giveaway

————-> #1 Like Nygard on Facebook

————-> #2 Sign up for Nygard emails here

————-> #3 List your favourite item in the comment section below

That’s it, that’s all. I’ll pick a winner next Friday, May 10, at 12 PM EST and announce right here on this post.

UPDATE: Congratulations Debbie Peterson for winning the contest! 

Bianca Nygard Top Seated
Get the Bianca Nygard Lace Top for only $41

Salsa for Spring

Categories: Fashion

Salsa Jeans 500

When Salsa approached me to try on one of their Spring/Summer ’13 collection jeans for size I was a little reticent. I am one of the most picky people when it comes to my denim. I think it’s the cowgirl in me (I am Tsilhqot’in from the Interior of BC after all). Anyhow, I have had a jean fetish since Guess Jeans had all of those amazing ads out when I was a kid. I would only wear Guess Jeans, it drove my mother crazy.

My tastes evolved as I got older and it at one time got to the point where I wouldn’t even consider wearing a pair of jeans that cost less than $250. I figure to go for the quality, and have them last and last. I am still a big believer in quality over quantity, but I’ve ventured into more inexpensive brands and I’ve had success.


After checking out the Salsa store online I saw that they had some beauties in their collection. I decided to try the Colette ‘Comfort’ jeans, because they look sleek and like a pair that I’d wear everyday. Also I really do want to meet my second skin. As you can see from my photo, they didn’t quite turn out that way. I ordered a size 2_, which is my actual waist size. Mistake #1. Always order a size smaller. Call it a moment of insecurity, but I was worried that I’d be getting this perfect pair of jeans all the way from Portugal and I wouldn’t be able to wear them right away and I’d be on some crazy “juice fast” to try to get in them or something. So they are exactly one size too large. Also, I forgot to specify “skinny leg.” The jeans do feel amazing though, I just wish I’d known to order a size down. They retail for about $75. Nice.

MysteryBut guys, I think I chose too quickly and tried to find an old faithful pair of jeans because look at this … Mystery jeans with padding in the derriere! Now if you are a Native woman than you know just how amazing this is. I mean, yeah, I guess we could be doing three hundred squats a day, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

Salsa Store is online and available in Canada and the US now, so if you want to shop for some jeans, go get the goods, just remember ORDER ONE SIZE DOWN. Learn from my mistakes. XO

Minaake Awards in Toronto

Categories: Events


Last week it was the First Annual Minaake Awards show, which are Toronto’s first Aboriginal Women and Youth’s Community and Achievement Awards put on by the Native Women’s Resource Centre (NWRC) of Toronto and sponsored by TD Bank. I was honoured to be one of the thirty nominations that NWRC received (for the Culture Keeper category). It looks like it was a fabulous event and fun was had by all. I am very glad to see such an initiative started and look forward to celebrating the many talented Native women in Toronto!

Traditional Drummers Opening

Throat Singers

Krystal Jessica Jolene

Krystal Abotossaway, Jessica Yee, Jolene John

The award categories and the winners were …

Challenger (Youth) Award

Recognizes a youth between the ages of 15-24 yearsold who is setting goals and meeting them, overcoming hardships, demonstrating leadership, and acts as a good role model for young people.

Krystal Abbotsway

Krystal Abotossaway is from Aundeck Omni-Kanging First Nations and grew up in Regent Park. She has consistently achieved high marks in her Human Resource Management program at York University while dedicating herself to her family — helping her mother, who has cerebral palsy, to raise her 7-year-old brother, and assisting her father who struggles with addiction. Growing up, Krystal quickly recognized the need to advocate for equality for Aboriginal people, disabled people, women, and youth. Her volunteer work at York is dedicated to this pursuit, whether she’s working in the Aboriginal Leadership and Mentorship Program, at the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services or on the pow wow committee. At just 21-years-old, Krystal is already an essential part of the Aboriginal community in Toronto, setting a positive example for others and doing it with humility. Her passion for diversity and inclusion will continue to be put into action this year when she graduates — she’s already been offered a position at RBC’s diversity unit.

Leadership Award

Recognizes a nominee who has shown leadership in the workplace and/or community that brings about positive change for others.

Tracey King 2

For the last 22 years, Tracey King has worked tirelessly to help community members achieve excellence in their lives — from finishing school, to finding jobs, to advising universities and government on Aboriginal education — Tracey has done it all in her 22-year career. Her spirit name is Essinhs Kwe (Little Shell Woman), she is Ojibway and Pottawatomi, Otter clan, and a member of Wasauksing First Nation. As a single parent, she raised her son Lucas (Black Bear), who’s now 18-years-old. While teaching and leading others, Tracey is a lifelong learner herself, recently completing her Masters in Higher Education at the University of Toronto. As the Aboriginal Human Resources Consultant at Ryerson University, Tracey advises the university on how it can promote and advance Aboriginal faculty and staff on campus. She calls this “securing and advancing our Aboriginal Intellectual Capital,” — something she’s done in Toronto for the last two decades.  She also serves on the board of the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada.

Culture Keeper

Recognizes a nominee who is keeping the culture and/or stories of Aboriginal people alive.

Affectionately known as “Grandma Rose,” to the thousands of children and youth at Toronto’s First Nations Public School, Rose Logan shared Aboriginal culture and language with several generations of young people in Toronto. A jingle-dress dancer, Rose was from the Marten Clan and originally from Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island and was a member of the Muncee Delaware First Nation.  She worked as an Ojibwe language teacher after finishing the Ojibwe Language Teachers Program at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. Always willing to share a story or teaching with anyone who asked, Rose always carried herself with grace and kindness — and she walked in “that good way.” Grandma Rose Logan walked on to the spirit world on January 26th, 2012.

Advocacy and Human Rights Award

Recognizes a nominee who works to make positive changes to the rights, freedoms and liberties of others.

After leaving home at 14-years-old, Katherine Hensel paid her way through university and law school, where she was a competitive rower and a new mother. Since being called to the bar in 2003 Katherine’s work as a litigator has focused on making the rights and voices of First Nations people across the country heard and respected. Early in her career, she left prestigious firm, McCarthy Tétrault to become an Assistant Commission Counsel to the Ipperwash Inquiry. In 2007, she joined Stockwoods LLP before founding her own law firm, Hensel Barristers, two years ago. Hensel Barristers is frequently called on to represent First Nations and indigenous organizations in some of the most important legal challenges in Canada. Katherine acted as counsel to the Native Women’s Association of Canada at British Columbia’s Missing and Murdered Women’s Inquiry, and, last year she represented Attawapiskat First Nation in its successful application in to have the imposition of third party management by Canada declared unlawful. Much of her important work she has taken on at no charge, all the while running a daily practice where she helps her First Nations clients fight child welfare disputes, and teaches Aboriginal Rights at her alma matter, the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. Katherine is Secwepemc.

Good Path Award

Recognizes a nominee who is walking a good path by setting goals and achieving them to foster positive changes in their own life and/or in the lives of others.

Sara Luey is a remarkable woman of Cree and Saulteaux decent and a member of the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation who has reclaimed her own destiny. As a child of the 60’s scoop, Sara suffered many of the trials experienced by those growing up in the child welfare system. As a teen mother, Sara fled an abusive relationship and later struggled with severe drug addiction, poverty, and homelessness for almost 18 years. At the age of 34, Sara learned she was pregnant — it was then that she promised herself that she would get clean for her baby’s sake.  Today, she lives in her own apartment with her son Sterling, who is in Junior Kindergarten. In 2011, Sara enrolled herself into the Finding My Way (FMW) Program at Anishnawbe Health Toronto and was accepted into the Community Health Worker Program (CWP) at Anishnawbe Health Toronto. Despite fighting the child welfare and criminal justice system for years, Sara has always maintained a generosity of spirit, a willingness to forgive and humility. She now plans to become an Addictions Counsellor and continues to raise her son in a positive and healthy way.

LGTB2S/Two-Spirited Award

Recognizes a nominee who is making positive changes in the LGBTQ and Two-Spirited community.

Corena Ryan is of Ojibway and Italian decent, and a mother-of-two who takes pride in having a spirit name, spirit helpers, and traditional colours. At a time when there was a lot of fear over AIDS, Corena heard about the mistreatment that some of her community members were suffering near the end of their lives and volunteered as a palliative caregiver at 2- Spirits of the First Nations. She went on to work there as the Volunteer Coordinator for 11 years, supervising volunteers to help Two-Spirited and Aboriginal men and women living with HIV/AIDS.  Corena’s innovative programming brought happiness and holistic healing to her clients — she offered everything from storytelling and medicine picking to drag queen shows and a softball team. Her career has come full circle, today she is the Client Care Coordinator at 2 Spirits, where she helps clients plan end of life logistics and assists with hospice and palliative care.

Photo Credit:

All photos by Paige Rice Photography

Comics Coastal Style

Categories: Art


I don’t read comics (errr graphic novels) much these days. There once was a time where Archie comics filled my reading time, but those days are long past. I do think it’s fair to say that there is not much Indigenous representation in graphic novels these days. I can think of Shelley (Comanche) in Wapsi Square, that Native Batman comic, Rabbit and Bear Paws, Super Indian, and this comic book I just heard of today ‘The 500 Years of Resistance‘ by Gord Hill.

In fact, just this week as I was dreaming up illustrations, I was wishing that there were more Native artists doing work in the graphic style. And then BOOM. Later that day, I got a tip about this artist Jeffrey Veregge, a Native American artist trained in that westcoast style comes on the scene with these gorgeous graphics. I. AM. AMAZED. Aren’t you?



Jeffrey Veregge (Klallam/Squamish/Duwamish) is clearly one talented guy. He’s got ten years of experience as a Lead Designer/Studio Manager for a media agency that specializes in non-profits. He is an honor graduate from the Art Institute of Seattle, has studied form-line with David Boxley, Tsimshian master carver.

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I, for one, am very glad that he’s making his art to fulfil his spirit as I know it will bring delight to many. These designs will make for amazing prints and t-shirts for all to enjoy. Although his shop isn’t quite set up yet on his site, this print below is titled “Bat t-shirt design” so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Check out the rest of his work on his site here, and be sure to say hello to him on Twitter @JeffreyVerege and let him know what you think of his work.

Bat-t-shirt design

Northern Nurses Needed

Categories: Native, Politics

Disccovery College Photo

Back on my reserve in the Interior of BC, if you wanted to see a nurse you went to the trailer by the snack shop. It looks a bit dilapitated, and the trailer seems slightly askew, as if one of the four wooden blocks holding it up is a few inches short, giving you the uneasy feeling when trying to balance beverages on top of a wobbly table. This is the nursing station, where one person is there to service the entire community’s varied health needs. The nearest hospital is an hour and a half away, and for those without gas money or even a car, it might as well not even exist.

Nursing Shortage

A recent article by Postmedia News is calling attention to the fact that Health Canada is facing serious challenges recruiting and retaining First Nations nurses for reserves northern Manitoba, northern Ontario and northern Quebec. So much so, that it may have to temporarily close those few nursing stations and hospitals that service remote First Nations reserves if “urgently required” contract nurses aren’t hired.

There are 76 nursing stations and nearly 200 health centres servicing Canada’s more than 600 First Nations communities, according to Health Canada. About half of the facilities feature registered nurses employed by Health Canada; in the others, they are employed by the band councils, which have responsibility for health care through a transfer agreement.

Action Plan Nurses

Nature of the Position

In 2010 I wrote an article about the need for nurses in remote and rural First Nations communities for Job Postings Magazine. I explored the opportunities from Health Canada for these type of postings in nursing stations, not all are as underfunded as the one on my home reserve. Many of these positions allow for a regular  37.5 hour work week with compensation for overtime work and isolation pay. Salaries can range from $67,000 to $108,754. Not too shabby of a salary, but it doesn’t come without it’s challenges.

Many of these positions require nurses to quickly gain community health experience, advanced assessment skills and to gain skills to prepare the nurses to prepare themselves for all types of health care. These positions are often posted in places where the nurses may have to travel frequently through various nursing stations, deal with the isolation of being in a remote location, and have to frequently be on call due to lack of alternative health care practitioners in the area.

There are solutions to ease this tension, although many of them might not be immediate. The Canadian government is also starting to provide student-loan relief for new nurses and nurse practitioners who choose to practise in rural and remote communities across Canada, which offers further incentive for those incurring large student loan debts to obtain their education in Health Care.

UBC Viola Graduate


Lakehead University offers a bridging program for Native students interested in pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN), Thompson Rivers University offers an Aboriginal Nursing bridging pathway as well as reserved seating for Aboriginal students in their BScN program, and University of Ottawa University offers Aboriginal entrance to it’s BcSN program.

Practical Nursing and with Aboriginal Communities Diploma is offered at Mohawk College, and Bow College offers an Aboriginal Practical Nurse Diploma which is delivered in partnership with First Nations communities. There are also many universities and colleges integrating Aboriginal cultural awareness and sensitivity education as a part of their core curriculum to prepare students for the realities of working with Aboriginal populations. Here is a list of additional Canadian Nursing post-secondary programs.


The Realities

According to the 2006 study Aboriginal Registered Nurses in Rural & Remote Canada,  Aboriginal nurses indicated that it would be easy to find another nursing job and that they have great employment opportunities in nursing in their own community. This is an excellent opportunity for Aboriginal youth to  have secure employment in their own communities, or in locations near their home territory.

Jan Frith, a community health nurse who works with First Nations people in northern Alberta enjoys her time as northern nurse immensely after leaving her job at a small town hospital.  “It continues to provide me with wonderful experiences and appreciation for the land and its people,” she says. “There’s a lot of autonomy and lots of support …  Health Canada is a really good employer. Treat it like an adventure and learn as much as you can because it really is an adventure. It can be a really fun learning experience.”

“My involvement in my culture turned into a drive for me to go into the nursing profession. I want to be able to give back to my people and to assist them in improving their quality of living. Often that quality of living is low — and significantly compromised,” Viola Rose Brown says to UBC staff .

For First Nations nurses, the opportunity and experience can much more than being a learning experience, it can mean the chance to make change in your community. For UBC BcSN nursing graduate Viola Rose Brown it meant all the difference in the world.

~ Click here to view current opportunities for Registered Nurses at Health Canada. 

Photo Credits:

Two Nurses Photo- Discovery College Community

Two Nurses Photo – Canada’s Action Plan

Education Photo – UBC

Chayla Delorme Maracle sets sights on Miss World Canada 2013 title

Categories: Beauty

Chayla Title

Chayla Delorme Maracle is one determined young woman. Not only is she running for the Miss World Canada 2013 title, she is also intent to become a psychologist to meet the needs of Aboriginal peoples. Her top three role models in her life are; her mother, her grandmother, and retired Psychologist Dr. Sudha Choldin, who worked to service the Aboriginal community in Edmonton.

“With my mom being a social worker in Edmonton, she really sees the need for there to be an Aboriginal psychologist, and that’s one of the reasons that I’m going to school and want to get my masters and PhD for Psychology,” she says.

Chayla Delorme Maracle is just 24 years old and is both Cree and Mohawk from the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan and from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario. She is currently a third year Faculty of Arts student at the University of Alberta where she is majoring in Psychology, and minoring in Native Studies.

While she never dreamed of becoming a pageant contestant, she has always enjoyed watching Miss Universe on television as a little girl and has also pursued modeling. It was her Model Mayhem profile that incited a Miss World Canada scout to approach her to compete.

Chayla Quote

“I didn’t really commit at first, I researched what it was exactly and what you had to do and that type of stuff. Initially I applied online and I got a phone interview. After that I was accepted,” she says. “It happened very fast and it was kind of overwhelming at the time.”

In just under a month, Delorme Maracle had to raise $5,000 for the pageant fee, which covers entrance, accommodation, flight, and food during the contest. It also covers the cost of her gown. There is still a lot of other expenses that she’s had to incur, including professional photographers, videographers, promotion, beauty costs, and shoes for the evening gown portion.

Support has been leant from her Saskatchewan Band Office, the University of Alberta, and a few Edmonton businesses. Her family is also completely behind her. “It’s a very heartfelt feeling to have all this support, especially from the Aboriginal community,” she says.

“Our culture is so strong and powerful, it’s one of the most beautiful and powerful things I’ve ever experienced in my life. I realized this once I started sundancing,” she says.  “It was a feeling that I’ve never felt in my life ever felt before and that’s really what helped me become sober. I realized that this connection with my culture and the Creator was way more meaningful than drugs and alcohol and trying to fit in into the society where I wasn’t who I really was.”

Jingle 600

Delorme Maracle is a seasoned jingle dress dancer and has been on the pow wow circuit for over eleven years. She uses her background in learning Native culture and pow wow dancing to work with high-risk Aboriginal youth in Edmonton, which she enjoys very much.

“A lot of them suffer from disorders like FASD and ADHD,” she says. “ A lot of workers have said they are surprised at how well the kids listen when I come there and that’s one of the things that I feel is needed is a positive role model who lives a sober lifestyle, identifies with their culture, and is proud of their culture.”

“It’s all very exciting and I practice my faith a lot, so I believe that the Creator will always put me in the direction that I was supposed to be going in,” she says. It’s the cultural strength coupled with determination that will enable Chayla Delorme Maracle to be a real contender for Miss World Canada 2013.

Chayla Closer


Chayla Delorme Maracle’s FB page

Vote for Chayla Delorme Maracle for “People’s Choice Award” on Miss World Canada FB Page

Watch Chayla Delorme Maracle’s interview on APTN

Chayla Delorme Maracle’s Twitter 

Photo Credits:

-Jingle dress photo by Claudine Gladue Photography

Feline Friendships

Categories: Personal

AS Quote 300

More than a few years ago I made a new best friend. We had just met and really had a lot in common and had a lot of fun together, so we kicked it as often as we could. I was pretty new to Toronto at the time, having moved away, and then moved back again. I needed some new peeps to hang out with outside of my university friends and she was cool, young, fun, Native and was showing me what Toronto had to offer culturally. It was awesome.

Then this thing happened. She had another really close friend. I was kinda wary about her. Something felt off. But, hey anyone who is a friend of my new bestie is a friend to me! High hopes. One night we were all going to meet downtown and go out for the evening. We had a whole night of events lined up and we were going to have a blast.  I was still living on campus at York University at the time, and for those not in Toronto, it’s a pretty epic venture from the city via bus, subway and then usually a streetcar is involved. All in all, that trip can take over an hour and some change.

My new bestie was already downtown with her close friend, let’s call her Tina. So yeah, I was texting back and forth with bestie and she asked if Tina could borrow a shirt to wear. The one she had worn out earlier got a stain on it from the street meat hot dog ketchup she had eaten earlier that afternoon and her place was *way* out in the east end. I was reticent, but agreed since I trusted new bestie, so Tina must be solid too. There was even a special request to borrow this t-shirt that I had just had custom printed a few weeks back and had only worn once. Hesitation. Well excitement was in the air for our epic night, so I wasn’t going to spoil it by being a party pooper and being greedy, so I texted back that I’d bring it along with me.

I met up with my new bestie and Tina a few hours later and we were meeting at the Harbourfront for a few drinks to start off the evening. The weather was warm, the sun was still shining and we were feeling like we had the world in front of us that night. I gave Tina the t-shirt and she gushed in thanks and said that she’d get it back to me next week. Sigh of relief. We made a deal. I would get my new fave tee back.

The night went on … and on … and it was a good night, that night.

A few days later I got Tina’s phone number from bestie so I could arrange her to get the t-shirt back to me. No response. Uh-oh, this isn’t good. Finally a text came a day later saying that I could come over to her place in the east end to pick up the t-shirt. I was furious because I did her the favour and now she wants me to travel for over an hour and a half each way to go pick it up myself? How rude, I thought. I tried not to show I was upset via text. I said let’s meet downtown at some point and make the exchange.

A month later and there was no exchange. I was obsessing about my t-shirt. I know, I know, it’s just a t-shirt, let it go. I had spent a fair some on this t-shirt to get it custom made and even had a matching one made for my new bestie, so IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT. I asked Tina to just give it to my new bestie since they saw each other on occasion.

Six months later and I’d given up on texting and given up on that t-shirt. I did learn a really important lesson (AGAIN) to never lend clothes out to someone unless you A) trust them or B) expect to never see it again. Same goes for books. Books should always just be given out. But anyways I digress …

Jealousy Quote 250

Back in 8th grade I had a similar experience and that’s when I made up my no-lending rule. I had a few shitty friends who coveted the designer goods my mom spoiled me with on occasion and they never saw the inside of my closet again. My mom was not about to replace those clothes “I had given away.” Lesson learned. At least I thought. But hey, we are adults now, so we’re all grown up and are respectful of other’s peoples property and are trustworthy.

Some people just never grow up. Tina unfriended me on Facebook. Next time I saw her at a community event she whispered about me to her friends as I walked into the grimy bar, grossly overdressed for having just come from Toronto Fashion Week. They laughed and then cackled together. I ignored her and just moved on to those few friendly faces that I spotted.

I have often thought of Tina and the lessons that t-shirt also taught me. Some women just get jealous. I had stolen her best friend, and was taking all of her time. AWAY FROM HER. I guess that infuriated her so much that she felt the need to get back at me and steal this t-shirt, and then talk behind my back. We could’ve been all great friends, best friends in fact. If she had just been kind and supportive and allowed for a new friend in her life.

I guess some people just don’t want new friends.

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Killigrew Fashion: Tee-shirt Contest

Categories: Contests, Fashion

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Whenever I hear of a new tee-shirt design that has a decidedly Indigenous or Native flavour, I’m always skeptical at first to see if it’s some sort of Jeremy Scott (Adidas) vision, or an authentic spin. I was totally excited about the new Killigrew Fashion collection of Aboriginal art inspired tees once I heard that they collaborated with Native artists to create their collection.

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Killigrew is a Canadian line that grew from a mother and son partnership and vision (seriously how cute are they?). Cleo and Mitch Darragh desired to create garments “with a feel good factor – comfort meets luxury – suitable for the discerning customer.” With their collective background in modeling, cosmetics, fashion and business they took the plunge.

When it came time for them to try their hand at creating this collection, it was a long time coming.

“We always had a passion for Aboriginal art, the connection to nature, the meaning and symbolism that are attached to it along with the rich culture of the people have always been a source of inspiration,” both Mitch and Cleo answer. “We didn’t know at what point we would use art in the Killigrew collection, but always knew we would at one point. It just came together so organically.”

And as Cleo tells me, the process of finding the artists was truly organic. While she was dining with her husband and daughter in the Byward Market in Ottawa they were asked by a man sitting next to them how to spell a word. He was writing an email on his BlackBerry she tells me. “I noticed that he was wearing a tee-shirt with beautiful images of an orca and I asked him where he had purchased it. He said that the image was created by himself, Brad Henry, and Christina Moore,” she says. This led to a further discussion about fashion and art and they exchanged contact information so they could begin the collaboration process. It turns out the man was also dining with Phil Fontaine, the former AFN Chief. This only happens in Ottawa, right?

Brad Henry (Tlingit) and Christina Moore (Huron-Wendat) of the “Peoples of the Longhouse” created  the art works that are printed on the Killigrew collection – the Bear (pictured above), the Orca, and the Eagle. The tees are all made of an acid washed jersey of 100% organic Peruvian Pima cotton. That is sure to feel like luxury. They retail for $78 CAD each.


Thanks to the folks at Killigrew Fashion, I’ve got one of the Bear tee-shirts to give away. I know you want it.

Contest Deets:

—–> Check out and look at “Where to Buy”

—–> Leave a comment below of one of the stores where you can buy Killigrew tees along with your desired size

That’s it! I’ll draw the winner next Friday, April 12 at 5 PM EST and post a Vine on the UNG Facebook Page. Stay tuned!


Announced the winner:

Congrats Tracey Valladares!

Reelworld Film Festival: Croker Island Exodus

Categories: Film + TV


Hey Toronto, I’m sure by now you’ve already heard of the ReelWorld Film Festival, an annual film festival that features over 85 films from diverse voices. This year the festival takes place April 10 -14 at the Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas (2190 Yonge Street).

On April 13, 2013 the North American premiere of Croker Island Exodus will be featured at this festival. This documentary follows the story of 95 Aboriginal children and their missionaries as they make a journey across their continent in 1942 on Croker Island when Japan is bombing Australia’s north. They travel over 5,000 miles by foot, boat, canoe, truck and train over 44 days to seek safety. It’s a story of struggle and survival.

I’ll be going to check out this movie and I invite you to come join me as I’m co-presenting the film, along with imagineNATIVE Film Festival and Aboriginal Professionals Association of Canada (APAC). Here is my Facebook event and be sure to use “promo code “2013UNG” upon checkout to receive a 20% discount on ticket purchases.


Movie: Croker Island Exodus

Date: Saturday April 13, 2013

Time: 6:00 PM

Location: Famous Players Canada Square, 2190 Yonge Street

Cost: $10.00 w/ promo code “2013UNG”

Event on Facebook:

Reelworld on Facebook:

Reelword on  Twitter:

ANDVPA’s Red Revue featuring Don Amero CONTEST

Categories: Contests, Music

Don Amero

This Saturday night the Association for Native Development in the Visual and Performing Arts (ANDPVA) is having an special fundraising concert as a part of their Red Revue series. Award winning performer Don Amero will be performing at Monarch Tavern at 9 PM. Tickets are only $10 with proceeds going to fund a visual art project for Images Festival.

Artists Duane Linklater and Tanya Luane Lukin Linklater to create an interdisciplinary project titled (g)rains. Their new work composed of dance, sound and image, grain(s) see artists Duane Linklater and Tanya Lukin Linklater responding to two films, Robert Flaherty’s seminal documentary Nanook of the North (1922) and Hiroshi Teshigahara’s fictional narrative The Woman in the Dunes (1964).

The artists have selected these films as source material because they both centre on expeditionand engage with “indigenous” populations and their respective relationships to the natural world. While Teshigahara’s work is decidedly fictional, one could argue that Flaherty’s narrative surrounding “Nanook” and his family is also constructed.

If you are unable to attend the fundraising concert but want to contribute to this unique performance, you can donate at their Indie Go Go campaign here.

The Long Way Home Don Amero

The Contest

And if you want the chance to win two tickets for the ANDVPA’s Red Revue featuring Don Amero this Saturday night AND a signed copy of his new CD ‘The Long Way Home here’s what you got to do (I’ll make it easy, promise):

     1)  Join the Fundraiser for Images Festival – Red Revue and say that you are “Going”

     2)  Comment on this link and say “I would like to attend Urban Native Girl”

I’ll pick the winner Friday at 5 PM, and let you know via Facebook. I hope to see you there!

ANDPVA’s RED REVUE featuring Don Amero Saturday April 6th @ 9pm.
We are coming together to host ANDPAV’s Red Revue concert series featuring
Don Amero and hosted by Andre Morrisseau.
Location: Monarch Tavern @ 12 Clinton Avenue, Toronto ON
Tickets: $10

Urban Warrior: Israel Garcia

Categories: Urban Warrior

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Israel Garcia (Ojibwe/Latino) lives in Toronto and works as a hairstylist/artist out of Salon Daniel in Yorkville. He is originally from Walpole 1st Nation.  

1. My seal fur mitts

I got these as a birthday gift from my sister. I always get tons of compliaments when I wear them. It was a cold winter in Toronto and these mitts are essential for making it through.

Chanel Makeup

2. Chanel Correcteur Perfection Long-lasting Concealer

Works wonders on those dark sleepy morning eyes. In a city like Toronto where there’s lots to do … those mornings can get kind of regular :P.

3. My iPhone

It’s my best friend in the whole wide world … it’s always interested in what I’ve got to say.

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4. iamamiwhoami

I really love their sound and music videos. I think they use each in a unique and amazing way.

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5. Jacob & Sebastion

I use them for both my bath and beauty products. They always have great service and knowledgeable recommendations. My favourite product is from their grapefruit cleanser from their Malin + Goetz line.

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6. Tita la Guanaca

A guilty pleasure of mine is the Latin food at Tita la Guanaca. Not the best for food for you, but it feels so right.

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7. The Golden Girls

Season 1-7 DVD boxset. They’re some crazy broads.

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8. G2 Thirst Quencher

Low calorie hydration. I have at least one a day.


9. Brylcreem

It’s a old school mens hair pomade that works well on longer hair.


10. Fashion Magazines

It’s a serious addiction, and admitting to it is the first step in recovery.


To book a haircut with Israel, call Salon Daniel in Yorkville at (416) 975-1935.

Photo Credits

Top photo by Summer Faith Garcia of Rez Kat Studio

Chanel photo by Daily Musings

Tita la Guanaca photo by

Malin + Goetz photo from

Golden Girls illustration property of Glenn Hanson

Brylcreem photo from Lovely Package

Native Reappropriation

Categories: Fashion

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Natives are so hot right now. Recently I was interviewed for a documentary and asked the question “If you were to wear a piece of your cultural heritage in an obvious manner out on the street, how would you be treated?” I answered that the Native trend is so huge right now that I’m sure I’d be given looks of approval, and coveted stares if I wore my Nathalie Waldman leather fringed bag or my Manitobah Mukluks out walking down Queen Street in Toronto.

The picture is not always so bright. Controversy over cultural appropriation is ripe in the current climate. Just last month there was a lot of fuss about Michelle Williams on the cover of AnOther Magazine as it was speculated that she was donning redface. My background in fashion editorials informed me otherwise, although I have also been known to get upset when I think pop culture has crossed the appropriation line. There was also that Paul Frank and his Fashion Night Out racist pow wow party, and who can forget the Navajo hipster panty disaster and following lawsuit?

The times are changing. With the advent of social activism and social media Native people are really working together to begin to make magic happen. Media outlets are aware that authenticity really is best. In April’s GQ Style Bible, Sante Fe Indian Market is listed as one of twenty five shops worth traveling to.

”No disrespect to Urban Outfitters, but the legit Navajo prints are at this summer mega-event.” 

And then there’s Beyond Buckskin Boutique’s lookbook, which just got mentioned on CNN today. Native peoples making Native fashion and making their own images. We are finally moving beyond Edward S. Curtis lens and making our own marks.

Photographer Thosh Collins (aka Thoshography) teamed up with Ashley Callingbull (Model, Blackstone Actor, Pageant princess) to create “Reappropriation.” In this series of photos Callingbull digs in her closet to showcase her authentic Native fashion and present it in a good way honouring her family, her nation and all Native people across Turtle Island (North America). Welcome to the new frontier of Native fashion.

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