All cultures have humour. I remember hearing two First Nations women drumming and singing in their traditional way with words I didn’t understand. I assumed they were singing about Mother Earth, or healing the sick, or rain. Suddenly, I heard some words in English, “Meet me at McDonald’s and make mine a double-double.” I laughed. The unexpected words gave me a real connection between our cultures.
By chance I came across a book called “Fearless Warriors” by Drew Hayden Taylor. It was not a profound study about the First Nations. It was rather an easily-read book full of stories of gentle ironic humour and the occasional tragedy experienced by a college-educated Ojibwe man from a reserve near Peterborough in Ontario. The “fearless warriors” in one of these short stories were trying to be macho; however, they didn’t have the courage to put a suffering deer out of its misery.
Intrigued, I discovered that Taylor had published 25 books and served as the artistic director of Canada’s premiere Native theatre company. He was also a writer in residence at a number of universities. He’s written a documentary on native humour for the National Film Board. His books include “Funny, You Don’t Look Like One.” And then there’s “Me Funny.” His bio is on: http://www.drewhaydentaylor.com/biography.
Taylor will be speaking at the Runnymede library on June 18. I don’t expect bang-bang stand-up humour. But I look forward to more connections between our cultures.
This is one of many events available for all for free or nearly free in multicultural Toronto. For more Aboriginal History Month Celebrations at our public libraries, see: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/programs-and-classes/featured/aboriginal-celebration.jsp.