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Stories are the miracle of spirit + journey. Stories are a vehicle we can hop on and ride: from, to, away. Stories are the way we escape, the way we arrive, the map we follow, the destination we cheer. Stories are immortal. And therefore, so are we. As Indigenous people, our history is a collection of tales we fold carefully and walk with, understanding the importance of seeing exactly where we’ve been. Our future is a collection of stories tuck carefully into our pockets, each one of us, the older curating the younger’s stash. We cannot forget the old tales, and equally, we cannot stop being the author of the new stories. There is more than a metaphorical link or a casual acquaintance between our healing and reconciliation to story. By telling our truthes and sharing our perspectives- from more than one worldview- that is how we will arrive. MUSKRAT is pleased to present our third issue dedicated to the Truth and Reconciliation process and the thousands of Aboriginal children who endured the residential school era in this country. These tales and truthes are theirs, and we tuck them carefully into our pockets, grateful for the guidance, sorrowful for the loss, and crafting new stories onto the bones of the old ones.

And a story will show them the way
By Cherie Dimaline
Originally published by CBC Books in honour of National Aboriginal Day 2012

Roll up your sleeves, lace your fingers together and turn the steeple of your hands inside out, pushing away from your body so that every knuckle cracks. Bend your neck allowing each ear to touch the corresponding shoulder like a praying forehead to the ground. Now you’re ready. Reach deep down, past the opening, in through the introduction, slipping on dialogue that slithers and stammers, right into the middle of the story. Don’t mind the sticky bits that smooth into the whorls of your fingerprints like white school glue and ignore the jagged edges that catch and pierce under your nails. Just keep reaching. Stretch from the shoulder and bend at the knee not from the waist; you wouldn’t want to risk injury. Make sure you book some time off from work, this won’t soon be over. And when you hit the disturbing part, the mess in the middle that makes you shudder and grit your teeth, that’s when you know you’ve made real headway. A story can be a scary thing, dangerous as a germ; it was the infamous pioneering author William S. Burroughs who called language ‘a virus from outer space’. But a story, despite (or perhaps, because of) maleficent metaphor and misguiding twists, can also be useful as a map, letting you know with brutal efficiency where you are, where you have been and exactly how you feel about the journey that got you there. It’s a sentence that punches you in the gut. It’s a word that gets stuck in the back of your throat. It’s an image that pulls you in through a window before promptly kicking you out the backdoor after it’s had its way with you. A story is a suitcase we pack with our culture, our defeats and our triumphs, our questions and our answers. Stories are both the way we relate to each other and the way we react to one other. In an uncertain future together we can only hope to have the stories that map out how we got there, and mark with red X’s and circled detours the paths to avoid and the ones to skip merrily down, hand in hand. Then all that’s left to do is to roll up our sleeves and reach in as far as we can.

Cherie Dimaline
MUSKRAT Managing Editor


What We Do:

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture and living magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary.

MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation on an accessible, day-to-day basis.

Traditional ecological knowledge has been, and continues to be, accumulated through time spent living on the land. This includes Aboriginal oral traditions and Indigenous knowledges expressed in a multiplicity of ways. It encompasses all aspects of the environment and sees humans as an intimate part of it, rather than as external observers or as the controlling entity.



Publisher: Rebeka Tabobondung

Art Director & Webmaster: David Shilling

Editor in Chief: Cherie Dimaline

Graphic Designer Trainee: Robin Sutherland

Office Manager Trainee: John Croutch

Video Editor: Malinda Francis

Muskrat Youth Arts Advisor: Wenzdae Brewster


Contributors & Guest Artists

Wanda Nanabush

Lee Maracle

Marilyn Dumont

Randy Fred

National Chief Shawn Atleo

J’net Cavanagh

Chief Wilton Littlechild

Darlene Ritchie

Cherie Dimaline

Rebeka Tabobondung

Audrey Huntley

Zainab Amadahy

Tannis Neilson

Ian Wylie

Jenifer Rudski

MUSKRAT magazine is published twice a year by MAAIINGAN Productions, a collective of Aboriginal artists, designers and researchers working collaboratively to promote and support each other’s work in community and media arts.

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