No Borders Community Voices

Welcome everyone: What you will find here

If you are interested in joining the No Borders Community Voices please contact Patricia at reyconnect.reynolds@gmail.com

No Borders Community Voices

A beautiful community choir project

Calling on singers from all backgrounds and abilities join the No Borders Community Voices to sing Beverley McKiver’s beautiful Odaabaanag 3-song cycle in late Spring of 2022.

The three songs are based on the stories of Indigenous Elders from Lac Seul who describe life before and during the  Residential School period and the cycle ends with a strong statement of resilience. The songs combine Anishinaabe and English words.

There are no auditions, and the ability to read music is not required. We learn the songs by ear with the lyrics and with the aid of audio and video resources available online, or in other formats if necessary. 

We have been rehearsing online since April 2020, with plans to move to in-person singing at some point in the new year when this is widely considered to be a safe activity.

Obaadaanag is an initiative in the spirit of reconciliation. Our values are based on the 7 Grandfather Teachings: respect, honesty, truth, love, wisdom, humility and bravery. We strive to be diverse, inclusive, welcoming of all abilities, respectful of all, participatory, and equal/non hierarchical.

If interested please contact  Patricia Reynolds – 613-292-8901 reyconnect@hotmail.com or Carmel Whittle – 

photo credit Beverley Mckiver: Lac Seul

Song Series for Odaabaanag

Song 1: Before We Went Away
Music by Beverley McKiver

Verse 1.

     Mino bimaadiziwin, mino bimaadiziwin 

Before we went away, it was wonderful, it was wonderful, it was wonderful.

       Aki Anishnaabeg, aki Anishnaabeg 

We lived off of the land, sense of family, sense of family, sense of family.

                   to the land                people                           in the way              seasons                    of life                     of life

Belonging to the land, natural people. We grew up in the way of the seasons. The cycle of life, the cycle of life.

                   the     land                people                           the      way              seasons                   of life                     of life 

Verse 2.

Ziigwan maajiigin, ziigwan nibwaakaawin

    Springtime of the year, regeneration, rebirth of life, sacred teachings.

Biimaazhagaame, wadabii makuk, miigwech waawanoon

We’d walk along the shoreline with basket in hand, giving thanks for the eggs we were taking.

                   to the land                people                           in the way              seasons                    of life                     of life

Belonging to the land, natural people. We grew up in the way of the seasons. The cycle of life, the cycle of life.

                   the     land                people                           the      way              seasons                   of life                     of life                    

Verse 3.    

     Niibin, gabeshiwinan, niibin, gabeshiwinan

In summertime, we moved to the fish camps, to the fish camps, to the fish camps.

     Tikinagan, miinan, tikinagan, miinan

As soon as you left tikinagan, picking blueberries, picking blueberries.

                   to the land                people                           in the way              seasons                    of life                     of life

Belonging to the land, natural people. We grew up in the way of the seasons. The cycle of life, the cycle of life.

                   the     land                people                           the      way              seasons                   of life                     of life 

Verse 4.

Dagwaagin, manoominike, dagwaagin, manoominike 

In the fall, it was harvest time, it was harvest time, it was harvest time.

  Ozhiita, miijim,      manoomin, moozoo wiiaas

Preparing for the winter, manoomin, nokaa’igan, nokaa’igan.

                   to the land                people                           in the way              seasons                    of life                     of life

Belonging to the land, natural people. We grew up in the way of the seasons. The cycle of life, the cycle of life.

                   the     land                people                           the      way              seasons                   of life                     of life 

Verse 5.    

    Endaso biboon, naajiwaanii’ige,  endaso biboon, naajiwaanii’ige

In winter we would go to the trap lines, to the trap lines, to the trap lines.

Zaagidewin, inawendiwag, zaagidewin, inawendiwag

Sheltered in our love, a strong family, a strong family, a strong family. 

                   to the land                people                           in the way              seasons                    of life                     of life

Belonging to the land, natural people. We grew up in the way of the seasons. The cycle of life, the cycle of life.

                   the     land                people                           the      way              seasons                   of life                     of life

Verse 6.

Gi-otapinagomin, maanendam, gi-otapinagomin, maanendam

Then we went away, things were different, things were different, things were different.

Mmmm (hummed) (everyone)

                   to the land                people                           in the way              seasons                    of life                     of life

Belonging to the land, natural people. We grew up in the way of the seasons. The cycle of life, the cycle of life.

                   the     land                people                           the      way              seasons                   of life                     of life 

Song 2. What is Going On?
Lyrics by Josephine King
Music by Beverley McKiver

Chorus:
You are here for a reason
You are here for a purpose
Walk on this Mother Earth for a little while Be a good person while you’re here
It’s up to you to find yourself
Your spirit name will guide you
Youth and adult and elder
Everything ceremony.

My name is Moon Woman
I was born in the bush
Kookom brought me into this world They did ceremony for me. Shoomis was a healer
The drum used to put me to sleep He went looking for medicines
For healing a long time ago.

Chorus:
You are here for a reason
You are here for a purpose
Walk on this Mother Earth for a little while Be a good person while you’re here
It’s up to you to find yourself
Your spirit name will guide you
Youth and adult and elder
Everything ceremony.

Priest and police came looking for kids To take to residential school
Big ugly truck, my mom was screaming Dusty gravel road

Couldn’t talk to my brother
He was a lonely, little boy
After we left, my mother would moan Her ritual every morning.

Chorus:
How can it be? What is going on? She! Eya aaniin nao ziisom kamik? How can it be? What is going on? She! Eya aaniin nao ziisom kamik?

Couldn’t speak my language
Don’t talk Anish’naabe
I couldn’t speak a word of English
I was always punished.
We were told our native ceremonies Were no good
Devil worshipping, they said
But our way is sacred.

Chorus:
How can it be? What is going on? She! Eya aaniin nao ziisom kamik? How can it be? What is going on? She! Eya aaniin nao ziisom kamik?

Anish’naabe way of life
We’ve got to get it back Giinawaa gidaa bajigook Creator’s instruments.
You have to take care of yourself Take care of everything.

You are here for a reason You are here for a purpose

Chorus:
You are here for a reason
You are here for a purpose
Walk on this Mother Earth for a little while Be a good person while you’re here
It’s up to you to find yourself
Your spirit name will guide you
Youth and adult and elder
Everything ceremony.

Song 3: We’re Not Going Back to Shingwauk
Narrative by Tom Chisel
Music by Beverley Mckiver

In the late eighteen hundreds,
Two brothers went by train
Far from their Lac Seul home to Shingwauk (Shingwauk). They didn’t like it there.
They missed their family.
They ran away from Shingwauk (Shingwauk).

The brothers stole a sailboat,
And set out on the water.
“We’re not going back to Shingwauk (Shingwauk).” On Kichigami,
Lake Superior,
Two young boys in peril.

They tried to sail northwest, hit a storm and got lost. What will happen to the children?
Little brother so afraid,
Big brother strong and brave,

“Lay down and sleep, little brother.”

Can you see her, standing in the bow?
She shows us the way.
We will live another day.
We’re not going back to Shingwauk (Shingwauk).

At Nipigon River, they could see the train tracks, Continued on foot to the west.
Travelling so far,
Oh, so weary.

“We are tired and hungry.”

They came to a house, and knocked upon the door “Please, sir, may we have some food?”
“You will have to chop some wood
While I go to town.

You can have some food if you stay here.”

Brother, let us leave here.
I don’t trust this man.
He might fetch police to take us back to school. We’re not going back to Shingwauk (Shingwauk).

They made it to Port Arthur, and met some ‘Nishnabeg. Who took them in as kinfolk do.
Paddled with a woman to Lac de Mille Lac.
Everything happens for a reason.

On to Dinorwic, with a group of people
Where someone recognized the children. “You’ve been gone so long.
We thought you were drowned.
Welcome home from Shingwauk (Shingwauk).”

Mama do not fear,
We did not disappear.
It’s not a spirit that you see Your two sons are here.

“We’re not going back to Shingwauk (Shingwauk). We’re not going back to Shingwauk.”

%d bloggers like this: