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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Alive and well

BY Sonny Orr Nov 9, 2018

Eons ago, at the end of the last century, a small troupe of youthful artists got together and came up with the idea of going for it, yes, carrying out their dreams. One fine lad dreamt of becoming a big-time photographer, and right up there next to him was another bright young man, who knew about computers. The youngest-looking lad, at that time, was a fine strapping break dancer with a penchant for picking out the right dance songs to make his moves shine. He dreamt of a magazine that was strong and true, just like the comic books. Of course, one young lass dreamt of big movies on the silver screen and eventually married the dancer.

Two-and-a-half decades later, these dreamers have become known forever as the Nation gang. I only popped up in the second half of the first decade and have been there since, living out the dream of a blissful family life.

At the magazine’s headquarters, on the chic plateau of Mont Royal in Montreal, there are many others who have survived successfully the deadline blitz that happens every two weeks. They also have dreams and those are all tightly woven together like the fine bowls our people used to weave from the long grasses that abound in our northern lands. They are also bound by a great computer network dreamt up by the electronic whiz kid, Will, who had whetted his media appetite by creating a radio station and network that still runs to this day.

The photographer, who had many talents including sarcasm and a sharp pen, actually went on to make incredible documentaries and films, hobnobbing with the ultra-famous Clint Eastwood. The now-married dancer burdened with children, was in the thick of things, producing, editing, voicing, thinking, acting and filled about every niche that needed to be filled. Today, he’s a celebrated and easily recognized television series host – go figure, he had the moves like Jagger.

Eons ago, at the end of the last century, a small troupe of youthful artists got together and came up with the idea of going for it

The young lass went on to become a powerhouse juggernaut producer and inspired many others to go for their dreams in television land. Today, she is an incredibly busy person, with all the kids out of the nest, concentrating on the next big move, but most likely snuggling with her dancer. They are family and friends to many people who work with them. They include brothers, close friends and colleagues who have worked closely to make all dreams come true.

It seems that a day doesn’t go by without knowing that these incredible services are provided to the loyal readers of the Nation magazine, the viewers of Rezolution Pictures, the designs of Beesum Communications, the electronic wizardry of Minority Media and who knows what might be created in the future.

I, as an avid reader of the Nation, eventually became a contributing writer, but I’m not the only one who has had the honour of having their words proudly displayed. Writers like Xavier Kataquapit, Amy German, Alex Roslin and Steve Bonspiel (who went on to become an award-winning newspaper magnate in his own right) are just a few to name. Of course, the office staff and most importantly, the finance person, Linda Ludwick, kept things running in the black. The marketeer Danielle Valade did the work of pulling in a steady stream of advertisements to cover the costs and many others, like editors Lyle Stewart and Martin Siberok, who shape our writing into the best prose possible.

And not to forget the infamous Niles Diamond, who created his own style of writing and started Reznotes. Funny thing is, after all these years, I still consider myself merely his replacement while he is busy becoming famous and all. Ernie Webb and Catherine Bainbridge and the original crew, I salute you all for the last 25 years of award-winning and creative services.

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.