Episode 8 : Talking healing, identity and Indigenous pride with Geena (Powa) Haiyupis

In this conversation, Geena (Powa) Haiyupis talks with me about her journey of separation, trauma, healing, and reunification and the impact of her experiences on her life and the work she does know to share Indigenous culture and language with the next generation (indigenous and non-indigenous). 

Resources from this episode

Geena’s website: HaiPowa Design

First voices website

Indigenous Canada

Transcript of this episode


indigenous people, community, inclusion, trauma,


Margaret Flood, Geena (Powa) Haiypus

Please note that Geena’s introduction (at 01:58)  in her traditional language is currently transcribed phonetically. This will be updated with the correct Hesquiaht words once translated.

Margaret Flood  00:03

Welcome to talking about all things inclusion, a podcast where I get to meet and learn from people in the field of inclusion in its broadest sense that inspire me. I hope that they inspire you to.

Today, I’m talking with Geena Haiypus  whose traditional nuu-chah-nulth First Nation name is  pawackʷaačiiƛ (sounds like Po-wats-kwa-chilth). I hope I pronounced that properly, Powa for short. Geena continuously strives to find balance between her indigenous roots in the modern education system. Her art is one medium in which navigates this for herself and with her learners. As a Knowledge Keeper, and sharer, Geena strongly believes in reviving and restoring First Nations’/Indigenous Peoples’ languages for future generations and works to find creative ways to keep our members engaged in learning. and changing.  will not be defined by my past trauma or the present challenges of my educational goals but by striving for a life of language living through art.  As a residential survivor, Geena is not defined by her past trauma, or the present challenges of her educational goals, but strives for life of language living through ours.

Geena we first met through a leadership course about reflective practice. I was there to teach you. But in actual fact I learned more from you and your peers, your openness and willingness to share your indigenous culture and pass with me to invite and answer my often complete, not completely formed questions give me a whole new perspective on bias and racism that honestly hadn’t entered my consciousness and consciousness until we had those conversations. And that is why I’m so delighted to be catching up with you again today to speak with you more about your indigenous roots, how we can authentically address bias towards Indigenous people and your role as a knowledge keeper.

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  01:58

Perfect thank you for making space for me today. I just want to take time to ground our conversation by introducing myself in our traditional language. “C-yocks” Gina Powa Haiypus, which means I’m Gina Powa Haiypus. “Uh-qua-sish”  Powa “scritches” which means my traditional name is Powa “scritches” which loosely translates to Eagle leaving the big nest. “His stock shift hash griotte” which means I come from  Hesquiaht (hash quit). Hesquiaht  means I’m a Hesquiaht woman and I come from the hammer use duck soup. So I’m a woman from the him I use house. I am currently in the land of Zuma OS which is important Bernie UCLan Naka, make cuts means I have two boys, which is one of the biggest reasons why I do what I do in my life is because I want to make a difference for my children.

Margaret Flood  02:59

Thank you so much for Geena. And thank you for giving that traditional Welcome to here as well. Geena, can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself your background? What is a knowledge keeper? And what inspired you to take on this role? Well,

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  03:20

I feel like I am a really privileged woman because I come from a very broad range of a background where my journey started back home in and how was it what were which is where my grandfather’s roots are from. I had a really quite a range of historical knowledge from my great grandparents to my grandparents and their adversity over the trials and tribulations of colonisation and, you know, 200 years of colonisation impact. And the first part of my life, I grew up in residential school for maybe like a year and a half, two and a half years. And so that was kind of where we got disconnected from our land. And we were all relocated. So me and my siblings were all separated from the time of residential school. So we never actually came back together until I actually have my my older son. So he was probably about four years old, where I kind of sort of had more of a reunification where we started coming together with my siblings for the first time. We kind of sort of knew of each other all along, and we kind of bounced in and out of each other’s lives. And you know, I didn’t really realise that this wasn’t a normal way of living life that this is like an abnormal way of life for people to live like I didn’t really, you know, I am kind of bounced around in foster home And then I ended up in my uncle’s home. And so he fostered me for several years until I kind of, you know, just kind of ended up like, you know, living the dark riches of kind of drug addiction and alcohol. And then when I had my first son, that kind of made me realise that I needed to get more out of my life, and I needed to apply my life skills to making a difference for my son, because I didn’t want my son to live the life of violence and alcoholism and drug addiction. And it wasn’t until I was actually 43 years old that well, I’m 43 now, but I never realised that this is not a normal way that people grew up, like people didn’t grow up in residential schools, people actually had nuclear families where they had a mom and a dad, to parents or whatever, you know, and like, you know, people didn’t bounce around, and, you know, go through all of this trauma, like, in trauma isn’t something an everyday lifestyle for people. So I realised that I wanted to make a difference for my children. And, you know, in that knowing and, you know, observing the way of the life of our indigenous people, you know, I realised that I wanted to make a difference by going back to school. So I went back to school, I immediately started upgrading. And that was with the help with the hub Opia adult ed, which was up here on the reserve in Port Alberni. And so here, they helped me get into university and they were, they were really encouraging. They’re like, you’re so intelligent, like, you should go further with your education and like, really, really do something with your life. And I never ever really believed in myself, because that wasn’t kind of the lifestyle or the thought pattern that I had grown up with. And so having somebody come into your life and tell you, you’re intelligent, when you don’t really feel intelligent, is really kind of something that is kind of an internal conflict. And so, as I was going through the years,

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  07:17

Malaspina, at that time, which is now via you over Nanaimo, I had to disconnect myself from my family, I had to leave everybody, I had to leave everything that I knew, all of my culture, all of my tradition, all of my family networks, my social networks, like everything that made me who I was. And I went to university, which was really challenging. And I was there in the city, almost by myself. And so I started recruiting people, my sister came to university, after me, and then my other sister had came over to university. And so there were two of three of us and University of Dallas Mina, and then my foster mom came over to and so we kind of all kind of figured a way out and stuff like that my aunt had moved to Nanaimo. And she was in charge of watching my children while I went to school. And then I had a problem with my heart, and then I stopped going to university right in the last semester, so I didn’t actually complete my degree. So with the little bit of education that I had, you know, I kind of got into being into social work. And I did that for 12 years, which is really challenging, because you’re on the ground, in the womb of communities, seeing all the social issues of alcohol, drugs, violence, and, you know, watching people’s children get taken away, and, and their struggle to get their children back from the government and like, you start seeing how fast life is and how challenging it is. And so, to me, it was at that point where I was looking at all of these times in my life, and like just this whole entire thing of reflection back to my life, thinking I did not I’m not in the right place at the right time, you know, watching indigenous people thinking that, you know, this is the rite of passage was at 19 to go and apply for Social Assistance, that that’s not a regular thing for people to do, you know, and I needed to make a change. And so I needed to get to the source of the problem quicker. And so what I did was I shifted my practice. I started bringing in more educational and training programmes and like started asking the community What they wanted to do, and, you know, really started harnessing this relationship with the community with the elders, what did the elders want to see for their children and for the youth of the community,

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  10:13

and how to build this relationship between the youth and the elders at the same time. And so I thought, at this point in time, I had had a massive breakdown, like I had, like, several people die at the same time and stuff. And so my life changed really drastically. And so when I was kind of in this pit of sorrow, at the very bottom of my barrel, I got asked to go and work in the education field, and it was supposed to be a three day job, which turned into a two day job, which turned into six months. And then here I am, like, five years later, like totally loving, every single thing that I’m doing. And I realised that at this point in time, that this is where I needed to be. And I needed to apply all those skills that I had, from my life, my life experience, you know, living on the land, and, you know, with getting to know or traditional medicines, and with what little exposure, I had to my traditional language. And so it really shifted when my youngest son got into Hoback. School is when he, he was the person who brought language back to me, you know, and he was the one that was going through all of the culture at the school, they were singing and dancing at the school and watching his little life, really fill up with light, you know, watching that culture and watching the songs, light him up and watching his his intelligence grow, you know, with learning the language and stuff. And you know, he soon got me attracted to language, and that relationship with Me and him really harnessed over a certain period of time. And I then started going to university to start taking back my language, which is kind of the whole full circle 360, where education took away my language, and then, you know, coming back to university, and having my language be restored. And so now it’s kind of now it’s part of my job of who I am. So I think that’s really a neat experience. Thank you. So

Margaret Flood  12:33

agenda, there’s so much there. And what I what I noticed, while you were talking is that impact is is so important to to our lives, and you start talking about the impact of colonisation on indigenous peoples and on First Nations, and then brought it to yourself. But you ended with the positive impact of an education system that took away something from you, and then returned to you and everything that you’re talking about there is that reunification, and that engagement and relationship with yourself, your family and your community? Is that where your role of knowledge keeper came from? This this association with impact and unification, whether it be negative impact or positive impact,

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  13:28

I would think a big part of that too like, is like having children who were taken away from their communities. That disconnection and the relocation of children, you know, not having the ability to grow up on their land, and really feel the rhythms of the land and have that direct impact, the connections that would have naturally evolved with the grandparents and the aunts and uncles, you know, the aunts and the uncles played a huge role in raising our children that moms and dads were really the ones that were raising their children, because the aunts and the uncles would take the opportunity to watch over you and harness skills that you exposed, right? Like if you were really good at carving, for example, like myself, I’m good at art. You know, being an indigenous artist, and you know, having that exposure. I feel like I use those skills in the education system. You know, at the time of reconciliation, truth and reconciliation. We have this huge demand, this huge resurgence. And it’s not just language revitalization. It’s the whole resurgence of cultural protocol that comes with that relationship. You know, and we have to create a generation of people who are strong in their cultural identity. And you know, showing our youth today that We should be proud of where we come from. And these are like Courage stories that our people have been denied, right? Like, they never got to celebrate, that they survived this massive amount of trauma. And I think that this is going to be an incredible story that when we raise a generation, knowing who they are and where their grandparents come from, you know, there’s going to be a huge shift in the next 10 years. What is the follow of our hard work that we’re doing for truth and reconciliation.

Margaret Flood  15:35

So this role of a knowledge keeper, and I’ll ask you to explain what knowledge keeper means in a moment. But that role is actually part of that journey to inclusion, really, if I’m hearing you correctly, that it is giving pride back to the next generation. And that pride is then celebrated, which then forms part of building inclusion in schools and on your reservations. And in Canadian society in general.

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  16:14

A big part of being a knowledge keeper, a big part of that role. I feel for myself, and I can’t speak for all of the indigenous people in Canada, or even in my family, for example, if I’m just looking directly at my family, my responsibility to my nieces and my nephews and my grandchildren that are not like you know, and like an all of those people inside of that, like, knowledge keeper in my education system in my direct society, here in Port Alberni. And that whole building that inclusion, because in indigenous worldview, that paradigm, that pedagogy of living on the land, everybody can benefit from that meant with their mental health and their physical health, and, like really feeling space to have emotions. And I feel like being a knowledge keeper kind of restores that voice that has been taken away from us for the last 200 years. From the time of, you know, the Indian out to come in to say that you can no longer do all of these things, and with a Potlatch ban, and all of that those things that have come and stripped our identity away from us. And so being a knowledge keeper in the education system, kind of builds that inclusion and invites people into this conversation to say, I’m a safe person for you to talk to come and talk to me, if you want to have any kind of questions that you feel uncomfortable about, let’s build up that confidence that you have more knowledge, then you can make better decisions because you have a better knowledge base of, you know, the impact of colonisation. And so that whole pride in identity is a restorative measure for our youth, but not just our youth, our youth today, are literally the core of our communities. And that impact of building our youth up in education systems with the cultural resurgence of cultural protocol, and that exposure in the school system right now, is restoring the identity of their parents and their grandparents. Now our our people are in a safer space of inclusion, that they can share these stories, and they can come out from the shadows, and not have to hide anymore. So, you know, it’s really building that bridge from a dark history, you know, and coming into where we are today. And inviting people into the light and saying, Hey, we’re safe. Now let’s share our stories and, you know, really build up a community of understanding and compassion.

Margaret Flood  19:06

And what I like there, and I hadn’t thought about it this way before, is that when you talked about impact, so I was thinking in terms of impact for future generations, but actually, it’s also having a positive impact on your elders and on previous generations, so on the parents and the grandparents of the youth as well, which it’s, it’s a, it’s an amazing journey to be a part of, but it sounds like a very difficult and challenging journey. And you did mention trauma and a couple of times, and I know from previous conversations that I had, that you actually work with some of the youth in addressing trauma through your art and I wish people could actually see we’re on Zoom now and I wish they could see all the amazing art in the background behind you But you’re using your art to help your your youth build this knowledge, and transverse is the correct safe indigenous language as part of this education system that they’re going through,

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  20:18

well, I like to use, like, it’s kind of a transformative therapy, you know, I feel like it’s transformative in the way that it gives people’s space to be their own person. And it’s really hard to invite people in to tell you what to do and show you how to do it. And, you know, and like really having the space to make a mistake and say, Hey, it’s okay, if you make a mistake here in this art right now, because I can show you how to fix that. And so really alleviates that fear of making mistakes, where those things, you know, were punishable before. And I think that all across world, you know, we’re coming out of a disciplinarian area era, in all the world, not just residential school survivors, or Canadian or indigenous people, I think that, you know, coming out of the trauma of the world wars, and Vietnam and all of that, that everybody has trauma. And a lot of people need to feel that safety, and that inclusion to step forward. And, you know, it’s really a transformative thing for people to start thinking in a different way. And art has that way to open up the that paradigm of seeing the world in a different way, where, you know, it’s okay to miss make mistakes. Whereas you’re doing math and you make a mistake, it’s just wrong, right, like two plus two, equal five, right? So like, those kind of things are really kind of an in it creates that relationship and trust and rapport and, you know, makes that everlasting impact with those students that I’ve worked with in the past where, you know, they may be 12 1314 years old, and they’ll see me on the street, and I’m still their friend. And I’ll probably be their friend until I’m an old lady, you know, like, Granny sitting on the rocking chair on the porch, and like, still waving at these kids, you know, I think that’s, that’s who I am.

Margaret Flood  22:26

But it’s really supporting them to build their resilience isn’t us because just that sentence, you said, it’s okay to make mistakes, and I can show you how to fix it, you’re actually modelling the cameras, the Okay, let’s go back and think about it again. And that they can bring, even to the math class. So yes, two plus two doesn’t equal five. But they can actually bring back calmness and that, okay, let’s go back and see where I can make a change. And then that goes out into society as well.

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  23:03

And making mistakes is a really big kind of thing that people have, you know, just getting this slap on the wrist or whatever like that that used to happen in the old days. I think that just having that gentle approach, and it’s, it’s inviting people in to take the same approach where, you know, we already have anxiety, we already have panic attacks, you know, and I think our students and people in general, need to find out that we all learn in different ways. And that’s the whole UDL thing, right? Like is everybody learns, in different ways in our jobs as, as indigenous educators, I might my job as an indigenous educator, is to be a mirror to open up that window for people to see themselves in a different light. And then that way, they can see their own strengths, their own weaknesses. And even in their own weaknesses, they can take those weaknesses and develop that. And then make it a strength as well, too. So it’s just areas of girls, it’s not even a weakness.

Margaret Flood  24:16

Yeah. And you’ve you’ve actually used the phrase inviting people in a couple of times there. And when you when you started this part of the conversation, I was thinking feedback. And I was thinking like, one a positive way that Geena is is is giving feedback to your students. It’s very safe. It’s very, it’s it’s very, let’s work through this together. But actually, when you turn it into inviting people in, it makes it much more relationships, doesn’t it? There’s a big difference. And I know you and I had a conversation in the past where you had very negative connotations on the word feedback because of your past. Does that build into this concept? of inviting people in?

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  25:02

Yes, I would think that because I’ve been raised with a heavy hand, right? I’ve, I’ve kind of found a way to make people or not really make them, but kind of encouraged people to learn that, you know, we all have different ways to see the world, and it’s not fixed, everything is fluid, everything’s constantly moving. And you know, it’s not my job to go out and walk in front of everybody, but I can walk alongside of them, you know, and, you know, just guide them through this process. And think that, you know, you know, even my own children, for example, you know, when my son brings home a report card that, you know, he’s not very studious and education, but he works really hard. And, you know, and he can come home with a really bad report card. And he sits there, and he’s freaking out, because he’s got C pluses. And he wants to have the A’s on her because he likes the a’s and the b’s on there. And it was like, the whole feedback thing, you know, he looks at the comp, he looks at the comments, and the teachers saying, really works really hard. And, you know, and, and, you know, he’s, he’s a good person, and he’ll go around the classroom and help other people out. And so that’s my feedback, that’s my report card that I want to see is that my son is living that example, in his daily life, that, you know, he’s making sure that he’s going around and making a difference in his life, it’s kind of hold, paying it forward, sort of, you know, reciprocate reciprocity lifestyle that I have. So, you know, that was somewhere somewhere along the line, somebody else will do that for, for him, whatever, or hit, somebody else will do that for somebody else. So,

Margaret Flood  26:54

but also reassuring him at a young age, that it isn’t all about the grades, you know, that education is more than that, and it’s the whole person, which is what you do in all of your work, not just not just, you know, supporting your son, but supporting the other learners who you are working with in the school.

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  27:15

Yeah. And, you know, I was telling him that, like, it’s better that you go, and you’re doing a good job as being a good human being, like, you know, and he, uh, he will put himself down to help somebody out, if they didn’t have food or something held, give them his food. And, you know, and that’s his way of restoring that balance in the world, because he knew that, you know, we came from a lifestyle where food was an issue, you know, and so he knows that generosity of lifestyle that, you know, if you give, if you give in this world, more of that will come back to you for for this kind of my teaching. So it’s more like that whole, developing a worldview, for other people to see that generosity in this world will go a lot further than being a disciplinarian. So

Margaret Flood  28:14

absolutely. Geena, can I ask, are you working in a school with just indigenous youth? Or is a general population? I don’t know if that’s the term you would use. But

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  28:26

yeah, it’s it’s a, it’s a mixed population with all we have international students, Canadian Students and indigenous students all together. But the programming that I create an AI model is an all inclusive educational programme, because I feel like the more people that know about indigenous worldview, they have more to, you know, they, they progress more, you know, and I think that lots of things that I I like to develop in learning is emotional health, like emotional safety. And you know, like, creating a world where people can know that I don’t feel comfortable sharing that with you, or like, I don’t feel safe to talk about that, or I don’t understand this. And so like, how do you get questions for them? How do you develop them to ask questions in a way that makes them feel safe? So really just teaching students how to use their own voice to because it’s not something that’s a real regular occurrence, and you never really pay attention to that, right.

Margaret Flood  29:47

Yeah. And that that builds cultural knowledge, not only within your own indigenous community, but then within the wider community, which I was reading an article on Just this week by Nicole Tucker Smith, and it was about the importance of representation and about if, if US white people are only seen representations of our own skin colour in our education, that that’s going to impact us in our future, even in our careers, and she gave an example of, of the medical profession not being able to deal with her black hair. So you’re actually starting at a very early stage where this cultural representation is happening in a mixed classroom, and everyone is learning to gather and off of each other. And did you design for that as part of being a knowledge keeper? Or did this come from your social work background?

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  30:47

Oh, it’s more from my knowledge keeper points of view, they would think, back in my grandfather’s and my great grandparents era that, you know, we didn’t have key terms like social worker, or teacher or health care profession, we had words like OSHA, Q, which meant a doctor, somebody who could take care of you. And we had like somebody who were like to top down or like people who did the thinking, and like the Great thinking for the chiefs and stuff like that. So people had roles immediately back, then I think that we kind of, as we create this new generation, that we need to bring back these, these key terms and our protocols and the way that we think because our thinking, the way that we feel in our emotions kind of come from the land. Right? And so everything that, you know, it kind of gets a grip. And I think it’s one of the things like knowing that you’re coming from whose territory you’re on, right? You start thinking in that worldview, as well. So

Margaret Flood  32:00

okay, and I know, I didn’t say it in your introduction here. But I know that your art and how you represent yourself through your art is actually rooted in one side of your I don’t want to say family, would it be once one of your communities?

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  32:19

Yeah. Well, my mum, her nationality would be the hash graph, which is under the new channels nation. So there’s 14 bands that create the new channels nation. And so I’m more kind of hybrid between new channels and CO Salish art, my life form line is more aimed towards Coast Salish, because I feel more comfortable that way. But it definitely is. It’s more distinctive than then other nations like quality, or, you know, hideout up in the north. So like, it’s a way you’re more different than and I think that that comes from my, my DNA, right? That’s like kind of imprinted on on me. And that’s kind of passed down through my genes and my genetics, and having that ability to see things in a different way. So yeah,

Margaret Flood  33:22

and you, you so we’ve talked predominantly now about your role as a knowledge keeper, and as an educator, and I did talk about you using art with your students, but you actually use art to two share knowledge, or I’m not sure if knowledge is even the right word, but to share more about indigenous cultures through your art as an adult, not as an education tool. Can you talk a bit more about posh?

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  33:52

Um, definitely, I feel like art is like a form of oral history. Or tells the story of where you come from. My crests that I usually wear are usually Thunderbirds, or eagles, because of my name is like the eagle leaving a big nest. And so lots of the crests that we represent kind of align with our, our spirits. You know, like if you look at the grizzly bear, and you look at the way that the grizzly bear kind of represents that courage and the brief and the protective nature and you know, when so, you know, our crests kind of came with the rules of the the positions that you played in the community and, you know, I’m a real nurturer. I take care of people and I help people along and I guide people and so like, you’ll kind of notice like my son, rave he’s kind of, he’s very much like the Raven. He’s like the whole Corky. He kind of trickster person who, who just wants to make you light hearted all the time. And his, his energy’s really kind of really brilliant because he’s intelligent, and he’s inquisitive. And he sees things differently than we do. And so I often line him up with a raven, when I’m looking for art that kind of represents my son and stuff like that. And so my, my other son, he’s more of the caretaker, he’s kind of more my emotional person who’s, who’s kind of more grounded, and he’ll take care of me and feeding me and making sure I’m warm, and they kill, like, make sure that I got an Epsom salts, foot bath and stuff when I’m doing my studies. And so I feel like he’s more like the grizzly bear who kind of comes in and takes care of you and make sure you’re, you know, really well put together and stuff like that. And so, you know, and I feel like because of my, my leadership role, I really identify with the eagle and, you know, I think that you kind of see these things in, in people and you know, and indigenous people they live by, you know, like, even the frog crest, some of the frog crests, you look at them, that means they kind of live in two different worlds where I can identify without, you know, being an indigenous educator, you know, that I have to both live in the new channels, traditional worldview, and still be able to be able to see through the Canadian worldview as well. So I feel like that’s kind of an important thing

Margaret Flood  36:39

is, like, you talked about inviting, I have to say, from, from your art that I have seen, you are actually drawn in, by the colour, and by the shapes, I didn’t realise that there was this kind of character alignment with it as well. So that, you know, those things that people can learn about different communities, is what actually makes society more inclusive and gives pride then to the work that is going on. I think what you said about you having this hybrid approach initially, I suppose you’ve got a foot in two worlds in in a sense, don’t you? Like, there must be challenges and rewards to that, in the journey that you’re on to promote inclusion of indigenous people.

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  37:34

I feel like as I work to implement more indigenous worldview, it’s definitely bringing a lot of healing between, I would say, specifically the Canadian, and then in new channels, people are, well, indigenous people, because they feel like it’s kind of giving everybody the safe space to come and meet at the line, and bring each other’s conversations to the line and really work on some of that healing together. I feel like that’s kind of been my biggest role in the world. Because we have a saying that Acacia Nish is our walk, we are all one like everything is one like the land, the earth, everything, like we looked at the world. And it was kind of like that whole conversation a little bit earlier, where we were, we’re doing that healing, not just for ourselves, it’s not going to just go into the future for our children and our grandchildren. But it’s also doing the good work for our parents, and our grandparents and our great grandparents because they never had the opportunity. I live my life in a very opportunity way because I have the opportunity to share my culture. And I get to share this generosity, part of myself with a whole entire world, whoever I come in contact with all the time. And I have to be on key all the time, because I feel like this representation as I walk through the world, I am representing him ie sock soup, I am a woman of the house of him is. And so that means I have to be this person all the time, just like my name poets purchase. My name has been carried on by some very strong indigenous woman. And that way they live through me all of my work that I do all of the healing that I do, I’m not just healing from myself, but I’m healing from my mom and my grandma and my great grandma, and all of those experiences and they’re gonna celebrate you know, they’re celebrating in the spiritual world, you know, when I finished my masters, because how is it that they never had the opportunity to go and get educated? Do all the things that I get to do so freely today that I get to drum and sing with my drum and dance and Play my hell fun games and you know, all that kind of cool stuff, you know, I get to celebrate going for a walk on the land with my children, and talk about traditional medicines with them, where my mother never had that liberty with me, you know, my mother died really young, because of alcohol because of residential school and all of that. So it’s like, I get to heal all of that. And, you know, I couldn’t make amends with that part of history, and do it in a real forward manner where my children to get to heal with me.

Margaret Flood  40:35

Yeah, and again, it goes back to that impact and intent and unification. Like I know, you talked about reunification, but even unification with the new as well as the old Geena, it’s like, I could talk to you forever, because every time I listen to you, first of all, you’re so calming, you’re so inviting. And I feel that even where I’m not using the right language, because I don’t know the language, that you can take that on board. And you can help me through the process of trying to learn more about you and about your culture. And I really appreciate that. We are coming to the end of our conversation. So firstly, I’m going to ask you, do you have any resources for further independent learning that you would like to share with me and anyone else who is listening here, and if you tell me what they are now, I’ll upload them along with the podcast when it’s published.

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  41:37

That’s perfect. Well, I do have my own biography on my website, on haipowa.com , all of my links and things that I have worked through people who want to look at my art or see things that I’ve done, that’s all on my website on high powered.com. There’s links into the website for my language revitalization programme that I actually am part of and working for is the hash quit language programme. There’s some toggles inside of there that kind of tell you the thing, the resources that we have, and the things that we have done in the past, it’s really kind of incredible story that the hash language programme has been functioning for 12 years already. And you know, they’re, they’re doing incredible things, you know, and I don’t think that it’s about language revitalization to like, talk about the grammar of building words and stuff. I think it’s about, you know, having the conversations with the elders and bringing back the whole thought, perhaps the thought patterns and emotions and the feelings, because language is a way of seeing the world. So we are feeling the world, smelling it, and having all of this sensations inside of it, and hearing the way that the wind kind of rolls up and down. And so I think that all those things are like, brought through language. So that that those toggles are on my website. We do have like the nation that I belong to the new tunnel nation, they have a Indigenous Canada .org. And that kind of shows you the whole governance structure of where my people come from. And so I can have, I can send you the links to those to that. Absolutely super. And for people in British Columbia, there’s like the whole first peoples Cultural Council that kind of work with language revitalization, and art, and like culture and just building those things back up. And they even have an area in the first peoples Cultural Council for people who want to like create music and they do like digital music. So like, if you’ve ever heard of like a tribe called red or the the, you know, nose Rez case and stuff like that, like they all have the beginning, right? And so I think that, that we all have a beginning too, so I’ll send you those things too.

Margaret Flood  44:09

That would be super unjust. I have read your website. And I have to say it is so reflective and so honest. And going back to the word you’ve have used so much tonight, it is so inviting. So I highly recommend that people click onto that link before you click anywhere else. Geena, have you any final words that you would like to share with everyone before we finish up?

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  44:35

Um, I just I just wanted to reiterate, you know, we’re creating generations of people, you know, the education system is creating, you know, safe space for children, you know, emotionally and with mental health on the rise and they really paid attention through the whole COVID-19 pandemic, you know, really being aware of where people are at Meeting them in that place. And, you know, sometimes it’s not about ourselves. And sometimes we’ll have to think about somebody else’s, you know, meeting them where they’re, you know, and just come to the line and, you know, open up the conversation and be real with each other, you know, and if you don’t understand something, ask questions, find out, so use first person to have that conversation with his eye, like, like, I was saying with you earlier that, you know, you, you created that safe space for me, you know, and I wasn’t really ready for reflective practice and all of that, that you even showed me how to take on a mistake. And, you know, and just to be able to, to manoeuvre with it, to shift it in a really good way and shifting that balance of energy where I wasn’t really there were a mistake, you know, could have, you know, flagged me down for two weeks, and, you know, I would have been like a complete mush of emotional pain. And, you know, you carried me through that, and it was really transformative. So I appreciate that with you and your approach of, you know, giving me a part of myself. So, thank you.

Margaret Flood  46:11

No, thank you for saying that. But really, I do believe that I learned so much more from you. It was wonderful. The the 910 weeks we spent together on that course. And I’m hoping that we can continue the conversation, you might come back and do another podcast. I what I’d like to end with here is something you’ve just said there is just come to the line. And if you don’t know, ask. And again, it’s that inviting. And for those of us who don’t know, we have to deal with our own biases and our own fears, to be able to ask the question, because if we don’t ask you, like you’re not forcing your knowledge on us, you’re inviting us. So we do need to start asking the question and we do need to start coming to the line. Geena on that note, I’d like to say goodbye to everyone and thank everyone so much for joining myself and Geena for talking about all things inclusion, and I hope you will all join me again soon. Thank you again, Geena for sharing with us tonight.

Geena (Powa) Haiypus  47:17

Okay, thank you very much.

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