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Photo courtesy of Paul Smith / Photohouse Studio /

Also this month stories from Jan Vanderstelt, Ryan Van Dijk, Holly McDonald, John Bradford, Rev. Jonathon Massimi, Elizabeth Doxtater, Dave Carrol, Dr. Peter Farrugia, Steve Straza & more.


WWW.HAWKANDBELL.COM / 519-304-8229


Humble Beginnings
by Lucas Duguid, Twitter: @sophiasbakery
We talk a lot about humble beginnings. Ill never forget Marc, Andrew and I discussing the Advocate over dinner for the first time in May of 2011. We didnt even have a name at that point. We just referred to it as the paper. Without any idea of how to proceed we did just that. Proceed. Looking back I think what made it so exciting was the uncertainty. Nothing like this has been done before. A newspaper thats not a newspaper. A vehicle whos focus rests squarely not on the what, where and when of traditional newsprint but rather the who and the why. Who are you? Why do you do what you do? Why are you passionate about what you do in this community? Or, who or what would you like to advocate for? Who would you like to shine a light on in this community? Maybe its a person or maybe its an organization. The overall goal was and continues to be simple... introduce the great and wonderful people of this community to this community. I believe there is a mountain of star power right here in Brantford and surrounding area and its us who need to be reminded of this. The Advocate does not have a staff of writers. The task of writing your story falls to you. It is our belief that no one can tell your story better than you. No one can capture the essence and passion of who you are and why you do what you do better than you. From the humble beginnings of three friends delivering 10,000 papers from the trunks of their cars two years ago - to partnerships with The Brant News, The Sputnik, Rogers Television, digital content, events and podcasts that are enjoyed by thousands each month... you, the readers and the contributors are responsible for all this. We are a world class community filled with extraordinary people doing amazing things and it has been an honour to help shine a light on your stories.

Everything Two Years Old is New Again

by Marc Laferriere, Twitter: @MarcLaferriere
This month marks our 24th edition. When we started we said that The Brant Advocate was going to be a voice for the stories of Brant. And in the last 2 years weve kept our promise. Weve been able to showcase over 500 pieces of local content in the paper, on our website and social media and with our podcast. Thats 500 local stories that weve been able to help find an audience. Its been wonderful for us with our contributors, advertisers and readers - to help provide a stage for some great stories. Our community is wonderful. It truly is and yes there are always going to be challenges but we as a community shine brightest when we face those challenges together. If The Brant Advocate is about anything it is about teamwork. Recently I was asked to speak at a strategic planning meeting for Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications. They wanted me to talk about building community using media. I started to speak about how The Brant Advocate came together. When talking about it I realized something it shouldnt have worked. Creating a successful and independent print publication in an era where many say print is dying shouldnt have worked. Relying on crowd sourcing for the content shouldnt have worked. Black and white shouldnt have worked. Partnerships with other local media like the Brant News and Sputnik shouldnt have worked. Doing it in a midsized area like Brant shouldnt have worked. But it did and we have you to thank. So thank you. Truly. So what do we have on tap for year 3? The edition you hold in your hand is in our new format. Everything has to change over time and we think this new format will help with readability and portability. Youll no longer have to open The Brant Advocate like you would a road map, We will miss the oldtime feel of our previous broadsheet format but were really excited about the design possibilities our new format allows for. Were growing our circulation as well in order to have more editions in homes across the region and in many local businesses. Increasing our monthly print numbers is a huge milestone for us and we are confident this is the beginning of a trend. On the digital front our website, social media and podcast are all growing each and every week thanks to your support. People want to engage with their media and with local stories and were happy many of you are choosing to spend your online time with The Brant Advocate. And of course there is the big announcement from our cover. Advocate Television is coming this fall on Rogers TV. Were excited to work with the folks at Rogers who have had us on numerous times over the last 2 years to promote the stories of The Brant Advocate. Now with the television show we can explore these stories in another medium and shine on light on some people you know, some people you dont and some people you thought you knew. As someone who originally started a relationship with Rogers TV during a highschool co-op many moons ago and has been a part of many of their shows in the intervening years Im happy to say the courtship has finally turned into a marriage. Its just another way to put a spotlight on some of the fascinating stories of our community. We couldnt be more excited and look forward to your reaction. And that leaves me with one last note for you. Be heard. This project wouldnt have happened without people in Brantford, Brant and Six Nations putting pen-to-paper or fingers-to-keyboards to share the things that make this community tick. Please keep it up. We want to hear from you and we want to publish your work so that we can continue this big community conversation weve been having for the last 2 years. Send us an e-mail at with your work or to be directed to our publishing guidelines. Until next time...keep on advocating.

Authorized by the CFO for the Brant PC Association.




We Will Remember Them

By Dr. Peter Farrugia
Associate Professor, History & Contemporary Studies Brantford Academic Centre West Have you ever been to Vimy? Perhaps you have travelled there and seen the two pale hands of stone thrust heavenward from the ridge that dominates the surrounding French countryside. Or maybe you are fond of wordplay. In that case, you could well know that the term chatting was coined by Indian troops observing their British colleagues discussing matters high and low during grooming sessions when the quarry was lice. Certainly, more than one person has wondered perhaps while poring over a byzantine tax return what evil genius devised the temporary expedient of personal income tax and under what circumstances this unfortunate measure was undertaken. If you answered Yes! to any of these questions then you will likely be interested in the Great War Centenary Association of Brantford, Brant Co. and Six Nations. The GWCA was founded in 2012 and its primary purpose is to preserve and make available to the public, a permanent and evolving record of our communitys involvement during the First World War. Brantford has a strong connection to the Great War. It had one of Canadas highest participation rates with a steady flow of volunteers signing up to serve in various capacities (from nursing sisters, to engineers to infantrymen). Support for the war remained strong, even after the imposition of income tax in August 1917. The Bell Monument inaugurated October 24, that same year was designed by the young architect Walter Allward, who later designed the monument commemorating Canadas most famous victory at Vimy Ridge. And as the war progressed, people on the home front sought to keep abreast of trends from France and Belgium. How else to explain the popularity of a song thought to be a favourite of soldiers but which had little to do with the conflict directly (A Long Way to Tipperary)? In the same way, words and phrases like No Mans Land, blighty and chatting crept into popular usage in Brantford as well as across the Empire at this time. As 2014 and the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of this terrible conflict approaches, the GWCA is preparing a series of initiatives designed to raise awareness of Brantfords role in the First World War. The cornerstone of our effort will be an interactive website containing information on all the men and women from Brantford, Brant County and Six Nations who served. This selfless group includes Katherine Maud MacDonald. She was the first Canadian nursing sister killed in the War and efforts are underway to pay tribute to her sacrifice through the commissioning of a special stamp featuring her image. In addition to the website, the GWCA has been active in the community in other ways. Beginning this past February, it sponsored a lecture series held at Laurier Brantford that featured seven lectures on topics ranging from the submarine threat to sport in wartime. Looking forward, in partnership with the Brantford Public Library, the GWCA will be organizing a WWI film series. Between November 11 and 13, 2013 three famous Great War Films Lewis Milestones All Quiet on the Western Front, Stanley Kubricks Paths of Glory and Richard Attenboroughs Oh What a Lovely War! will be screened and discussed. Other events in the offing include an antiques roadshow type event, a possible theater festival and musical concerts. Finally, we will be working in partnership with many dedicated local teachers to raise awareness of Brantfords war experience among students. Through oral history, walking tours, special workshops, web based assignments and other methods we will seek to broaden and deepen students understanding of critical matters such as conscription, war production, internment of foreign nationals and commemoration. Victory in the Great War took an alliance of many nations, as well as a coalition of forces within Canada. So too, success in this task we have set ourselves will only result from a concerted collective effort. If you are interested in assisting the GWCA in any way or would simply like information about future events, please contact us at You might also want to check out our Facebook page: Doing Our Bit Great War Centenary Association.

32nd Battery. Photo compliments of Geoffrey Moyer


My Prayer for a Friend

by Reverend Jonathan Massimi, Twitter: @RevMass
Today I met with a friend. The first thing I asked was, How are you? He responded, Im Ok. As we continued to talk, cracks began to show in the Im OK veneer. The fact was everything wasnt OK: an accident, loss of job, a possible issue with his unborn child. As my friend shared these things I could see that he was coming undone. He began to assure me that things would be OK. Then the topic of conversation shifted to our friends. My friend commented, It seems like everyone I talk to is dealing with major things in their lives; I guess its just that stage in life. I responded by saying, The unfortunate thing is that our society doesnt provide the framework or the language for us to make sense of, or help deal with, these experiences. We are told to be happy, work hard, buy more and think positively and everything will work out in the end. Religious people have also bought into this language when they say, God will not give you more than you can handle. This last one gets under my skin. For me, this is the Oprah-fication of the Faith. We present people with a do good, God wants you to be happy, think positively and good things will happen type of faith. This, when Jesus calls his followers to abandon everything and to take up their cross. This, when he calls them to follow him even to the point of death. Death! What more is there to handle? Happy is not the only emotion that we are wired to have. Anger, fear and sadness, I believe, are also emotional blessings. My anger at injustice causes me to act. Fear helps me to assess and challenge my limits. Sadness allows for introspection and a reordering of ones life and priorities. In my moments of sadness, a season Ive been going through for the past couple of weeks, I have been able to look at life through a new set of lenses. Im beginning to value that which should be valued, like my relationships with my family and friends. My faith has deepened in this time where Ive come to see the vulnerability and brokenness in my existence. Ive also come to accept that others are just as vulnerable and as broken as I am. Yet in this I give thanks. Although we are all dealing with major things, moments where our vulnerability comes to the fore; like shattered glass our broken pieces can still reflect the light of God. In my hurt I was able to have compassion, to suffer with my friend. I was able to offer prayer. In his brokenness he was also able to reflect light into my life with a hug. In addition to this, in those moments of darkness I personally find an overwhelming sense of Gods presence. As I write Im reminded of the first half of Psalm 23 which reads: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his names sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. A good part of our lives are spent on the brim of the darkest valley and when lifes circumstances lead us to descend into the darkness, be assured, you are not alone. To my friend, and I hope you read this, I offer you this prayer: Dear God, I thank you for my friend. I know that you see all that he is going through at this moment. I pray that in this season, as it appears that he is walking in the darkest valley, that he may have an overwhelming sense of your presence. Comfort and sustain him. Calm his fears and anxiety. I also pray for his unborn child. May the baby be healthy as it is received into the hands of loving parents. I also ask that through their love, this child may come to know and have an understanding of your love and care. Lord, I ask that you bless my friends family and continue to surround him with people that love, care for and support him. Amen

We are told to be happy, work hard, buy more and think positively and everything will work out in the end.

Secondary Trauma
by Holly McDonald, M Ed., MSW, RSW
At first I thought writing an article on Secondary Trauma (ST) would be limited to social workers and first responders like police, firefighters, ambulance and hospital attendants. However, I realized many people are vulnerable to experiencing ST, which is also known as Compassion Fatigue, Vicarious Trauma and Burn-out. Symptoms include: sleeplessness, constant worry, a sense of doom, negativity, inability to focus, self-doubt, confusion. It occurs as a result of helping or wanting to help a suffering person. This cuts a wide swath and could apply to social workers and first responders, but also to politicians, bar tenders, wait staff, your favourite barista, hairdressers and many more. ST is the accumulative effect of working with survivors of traumatic events and its negative effects can creep up on you. One minute you are functioning well and the other you are feeling helpless and lost. Another time you are driving to work on a sunny day then suddenly a sense of doom comes over you that something terrible is going to happen to you or a loved one. A sense of helplessness and imminent danger is most pronounced in trauma workers but can also occur with anyone hearing repeated stories of abuse. As a probation and parole officer I not only read victim impact statements but also see evidence of harm and abuse when my clients come to see me. It can be difficult to see men and women who have sores on their arms from using needles to inject drugs or to see bruises on sex workers faces after being assaulted. Most difficult is when you have been meeting with someone for two years on a regular basis and they die from complications due to their drug use. Trauma looms large with many clients who find themselves involved in the criminal justice system. Past trauma takes many forms including generational abuse in Aboriginal communities stemming from mistreatment endured at Residential schools. The good news is that ST does not have to take its toll. It is very important to notice and then monitor when you are feeling out of sorts. It is also very important to listen to colleagues and loved ones when they tell you something is different about you, as they know and care about you. Self-care is vital in taking care of ones mental health and well-being. The most important form of self-care is connecting with others; studies have shown people who are prayed for after heart surgery or those who attend support groups during cancer treatment have the best outcomes. Talking to your supervisor, co-worker, or loved one about how you are feeling is a huge stress-buster. Conversely, taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with someone who needs to talk is equally important as long as your empathy tank is not drained. Other good ways to avoid or minimize ST is to exercise, have proper nutrition, and engage in interests and hobbies outside of work. Do whatever makes your soul sing and time fly by. Yoga, tai chi, meditation, journaling and being in nature all help to quiet ones mind enough for internal guidance and knowledge to come through. Listen to your body. If you experience symptoms of ST as mentioned above, or fatigue, withdrawing from others, and/or an increase in addictive behaviour, reach out as soon as possible. Speaking with friends, colleagues and professionals helps to off-set and minimize the effects of ST. Socrates sage advice of, A life unexamined is a life not worth living is extremely important. Self-awareness and conscious living allows ones mental health to stay at the forefront. Positive selftalk and acknowledgment of the important and meaningful work we do is key.

Secondary Trauma is the accumulative effect of working with survivors of traumatic events and its negative effects can creep up on you. One minute you are functioning well and the other you are feeling helpless and lost.

Take the ProQol on-line test at Mental well-being is an on-going task.

90 Morton Ave East Brantford 519.757.1800


Youth Take Charge

by Jayde Johns,
Grand River Community Health Center (GRCHC), in partnership with the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie, has a research project funded by The Ontario Trillium Foundation, which is dedicated to researching ways to improve educational outcomes and graduation rates in Eagle Place. The goal of this project is to create an afterschool program that would raise high school graduation rates and increase enrollment into college, university and the trades for youth living in the neighborhood. This program would help future educational success rates by providing more opportunities and helpful resources to residents of Eagle Place. This project is guided by a small group of teens, calling themselves EPAC, which stands for Eagle Place Action Crew who act as a Youth Advisory Group. I happen to be a part of this group. I have been there since the beginning and am still involved today. When I first joined it happened by just pure chance - an opportunity that I could not pass up. It started as a simple interview conducted in order to hear my thoughts about the community of Eagle Place and the opportunities it could hold. I was, in fact, the first one to join. Then there would be days that I would partner up with Jen Vasic to walk around Eagle Place and inform people of our project. As time progressed, it turned into a growing group with other youth from Eagle Place giving their input and thoughts. One thing that has made this group successful has been the sense of home. I never felt in danger there. We all come from the same area and challenges. I no longer live in Eagle Place, but that feeling of belonging with the neighbourhood has not changed. The youth in EPAC have thoughts, knowledge and full understanding of the challenges in Eagle Place, including low income, costly house maintenance that is needed more often on the many older homes in the neighbourhood, drugs, and even something as simple as lack of motivation. These challenges may also serve as a reason as to why some youth dont see the point of getting their Grade 12 diploma. In addition to acting as an advisory group, what else is EPAC doing in our community? The group is currently working with a local graphic designer to create a logo. We are organizing an event during Lifelong Learning Week on September 21, 2013 from 1-4 p.m. in the Eagle Place neighbourhood with food and activities. More details will be announced in early September. We will be organizing an event at the end of the project. The purpose of this event will be to share findings from this project and future plans for an after-school program. In addition to EPAC providing insights, the Community Based Researcher, Jen Vasic, who is coordinating this project, is engaging and consulting with many other youth, ages varying from 12 to as old as 21. Jen is also currently speaking to several parents/guardians who live in the neighbourhood. Both youth and parents/guardians have important insights. More help means more minds, more knowledge, and more solutions. Stereotypes exist everywhere, from what clothing brands people wear, to what they are interested in, to categorizing communities. Half the talk saying Eagle Place is a bad part of town is mostly just talk. This reputation becomes part of the neighbourhood identity and regularly enters small talk. However, residents of Eagle Place seem to stay to-

gether and are a tight knit community. This sentiment is supported by other people from Eagle Place as well. In initial conversations with neighborhood residents Jen says, I am hearing people say they strongly feel connected to their neighborhood and the people in it. They care about their neighbors and feel like their neighbors care about them. This environment, one in which people are invested in other peoples safety and well-being, makes Eagle Place an excellent location for an after school program that would help more children and youth succeed at school. If there was a program that would help even a handful of kids to study, to have a safe place to go to, or even to find people to help with day to day skills, it will be useful. A program like this will brighten the future for children, serve many youth in the community, and change peoples lives. If you would like to become involved as a volunteer, or if you have any questions or comments please contact Jen Vasic, GRCHCs Community-Based Researcher at

The Hidden Quilt

by Paula Whitlow, Woodland Cultural Centre
Ten years ago, two staff members of the Woodland Cultural Centre discovered four quilts behind the walls of the Mohawk Institute. Their location: the third floor wing on the 'boy's side. Who made them? Whose are they? How long did this hiding spot exist? We don't know. What we do know is these handmade quilts were considered contraband to the survivors at this Residential School. The Mohawk Chapel (1785) and consequently the Mohawk Institute (1831) was erected through the efforts of Anglican Mohawks, displaced veterans from the American Revolution. The first children who attended the school would have been the direct descendants of Six Nations veterans of the war of 1812, who served as faithful allies to the crown. The current structure of what was once the Mohawk Institute was erected in 1904, prior to that the site and building have gone through major structural changes, due to intentional fires set by students. With such a traumatic subject as Residential Schools even in our contemporary society, it is often a struggle in how we present any issues associated with this topic. Many victims still live in our community with vivid memories of the horrors they endured here. What we have been able to research and through oral history of quilters, and Residential School survivors is that the pattern is one of the oldest quilt patterns known. The pattern of the square is a variation of the Dresden design. The fabric appears to be remnant pieces datable to about the 1950's. There is some suspicion that this quilt may have been made by a former student(s), the girls sewing work was often sold to local businesses, unpaid child labour, without which the school could not have functioned. The hiding spot: a place of reprieve from the oppressive and abusive treatment at one of the oldest and longest running Indian Residential Schools in Canada. The decision to reproduce this quilt as part of the Barn Trail was not made in haste. Our hope in presenting this quilt is to offer a prominent place to honour and pay tribute to the legacy of survivors, and their families. Your experience(s) at the 'Mush Hole' were not in vain. We dedicate the Hidden Quilt to all those who walked these halls before us.

Woodland Cultural Centre


The Last Word

by Elizabeth Doxtater
I remember there was a TV show years ago called Thats Incredible. Every week new scientific discoveries would be showcased. They covered a story about how venom from poisonous snakes became the key ingredient in the remedy to cure the (same-species) snake bites. This became a metaphor to me which helped me understand how we could use the English language, which was often violently forced upon our people, as part of the cure. With apologies to the ancestors, I will try to the best of my ability to explain and decipher in a foreign language the gems that I have come to understand using a strategy called syncretism: the combination of different systems or beliefs. When I went back to school years ago, I was exposed to words belonging to the language that I was first taught (English) which finally defined many of the things our people have experienced. I was impressed with how eloquent everything sounded. Their language described our history, post European-colonizer contact. They were so academic sounding, so official. The short list included words like: assimilation, exploitation, genocide, intergenerational-trauma, manifest-destiny, oppression, subjugation. These words were delicious, mouth-watering morsels of empowerment. Before being exposed to this language (academia) many of the concepts had only existed as gutfeelings, or soft-spots. They (the words) filled a gap, the missing piece. But: These words!? From that language!? These words put into perspective the historic imbalance that had been imposed on many Indigenous people since the late 1400s. Their own words made our experience crystal clear. Our ancestors were victims! We are victims! We continue to live under their oppressive regime! Their rule of manifest destiny continues to exploit our people! The subjugation of Native America(s) and many other Indigenous people has held unrecoverable consequences! Within all of this eloquence, something was still missing. Despite the high volume of traumatic events that occur in our collective (Native) communities, there is another tiny piece of truth that often gets lost in the pile of stories and statistics offered daily (by the media) that overwhelms anyone who might be listening. That piece of truth is this: were okay! Somehow we have been gifted with a spirit that emanates resilience. After centuries of a history that was detrimental to our people and determined by European-colonizers and their leaders, then conveniently denied and/or downplayed or somehow evaporated, we are not just still here, not just dejectedly existing, but rather our resilience demonstrates something more. History Lesson The Doctrine of Discovery is one example of how the concept of manifest-destiny has impacted our people. Learning the details of the perpetual and calculated subjugation of a race of people can truly be paralyzing especially if that is the race that you represent. The sub-human treatment of anyone (historically and currently) neither was, nor is, acceptable. We might be at a time in history where we need to find a manner to address the imbalance, without creating a new imbalance. We may need to, armed with the power that comes with Peace, become empowered, continue to strive for and maintain equality, without the main-stream becoming the new human in form only. Expressions of Hope It may be important to take the same words and phrases that describe the equal but opposite legacy inflicted by them and reconfigure these same words to express our collective Indigenous experience from the perspective of empowerment, reclaiming/reinventing them for our people. We will continue to deal with and heal from the intergenerational trauma that impacts our lives, families and communities as well as an overwhelming high number of related issues. However, it might be just as important to take the next step and understand the positive ramifications, start developing a language that expresses our collective successes as we strive to heal or to just live our lives. Revillagize will become the next step after decolonize. After Indigenous people become strong, have clear understandings of traditional values and the ways and means to express such (within the modern world), no longer living in fear of outdated genocidal policies and legislation, we will then start the process of psychological revillagization. The people will have the frame of mind our ancestors did while they were living in the villages. Peace, power, righteousness will be an expectation of each member of this group. This will counter the current oppressed peoples survival tactics associated with lateral violence. Survival-IndigenousResilience-(SIR) replaces Manifestdestiny and celebrates the survival spirit of Indigenous people, globally. Indigenous Peoples Existence (IPE) replaces Whitemans burden and represents the understanding that Indigenous people need patience as the colonizers and their descendants understand and heal from the atrocities inflicted by their ancestors. Reverse Colonialism Their language has been used to describe and dictate our experience to us and to the world. It has been used in their courts, their media and their education system(s) to explain our historic and current circumstances. We can now respond in at least two ways. First, we can invent words that do not directly correlate to existing words. These words can define concepts that we understand, if only as gut feelings, and that we can explore in order to open a discussion regarding how we can use their language to describe and articulate our worldview. We can also start to incorporate words from our Native languages, introducing them as current social norms. It has been an apparent oversight that we do not have a word to encapsulate the magnitude of our struggle. I have often understood the lack of a word similar to being an illness without a diagnosis. I do wonder if we actually need a word, our word, the one that is supposed to encompass the enormity of our collective, historic and on-going struggles. It is possibly still to be determined, waiting until the appropriate time to present itself to us and the world. Or maybe we dont really need one after all. Perhaps our endurance, our survival, our resilience and our on-going existence says it all. Or just maybe in this instance we do need to return to our language(s) to find that word. We dont need anyone from outside to describe or define our destiny. We will always be here to embrace our own and it can be found in our language(s). A few years back I was in Tyendinaga. An elder was speaking at the microphone explaining some of the local history. He was a fluent speaker whom I had known through my parents for many years. He talked about the importance of language. He also talked about many things that our people have overcome. I remember that he translated one word. The word: Onkwehonwe, it means real people. Maybe it is a good thing to know that on this part of the planet, we are validated as real. Onkwehonwe: Good word!

These words were delicious, mouth-watering morsels of empowerment. Before being exposed to this language (academia) many of the concepts had only existed as gut-feelings, or soft-spots.
We can now take their words, and repurpose them to help our upcoming generations, the unborn, and the faces yet to come. The same European language(s) that were often violently forced upon our people will now aid in neutralizing their effect and become part of the cure, a type of verbal anti-venom. Definiate (de/fin/i/ate) could replace the word assimilate, and mean: the ability for an individual from an Indigenous society to maintain their identity despite colonialism while participating in mainstream society. Inter-generational survival represents the resilience demonstrated by Native/Indigenous people despite centuries of perpetual (man-made) manifest-destiny being imposed and replaces intergenerational trauma. Intergenerational survival could also create the opportunity for our young people to celebrate that same resilience and become empowered as a result. Inter-generational healing symbolizes the expectation that we are able to celebrate the many and diverse gifts and contributions from our people to (both) our communities and the world. Although struggles still exist, we can celebrate the strides that our people have made despite the historic human in form only labels that were once imposed on us by Canadians and Americans. Indigecide (In/di/ge/cide) would replace genocide: and would mean: with the endurance and survival of Indigenous peoples beliefs, culture, land base, language, and traditional governments despite sanctioned attempts to eradicate.



Me, Uncle Andre and Bach

by Ryan Van Dijk,
Anyone who knows me knows I love to sing. Everywhere I go throughout my day I unashamedly hum, sing, whistle and chant. Yes, Im that person. As music director for Counterpoint Church in downtown Brantford, and Bell Master for Grace Anglican, music is a part of my every day. Yet it hasnt always been that way. Although I come from a musical family on a whole, neither of my parents played an instrument. Nor did I take music lessons as a kid. I never participated in music class at school and I thought the piano was for girls. It wasnt until I was about thirteen or fourteen (long after the prime age to begin learning music passed, apparently) that I found myself on a piano bench at my grandmothers house seated beside my incredibly gifted Uncle Andre. Watching his fingers run up and down the keys like dancing devils performing pirouettes of prestidigitation that day, at that time did something magical to me. He was there, a self-taught musician himself, at a teachable moment in my life. What I saw and heard him do had put everything else in life into perspective. I thought if I could do that I would have a voice, a friend and a purpose to set my mind to that made sense to me. I remember that as the hour the fire of music was lit in my soul. There we were: just me, Andre and Bach. I wanted my fingers to do that dance. I was in love, and everything else in life moved into the periphery and music reigned supreme. Almost twenty years later I am now moving into the second year of a childrens choir I began last winter with the help of some talented friends. This is no Kings College Choir; these are kids having fun singing (sometimes screaming) sea shanties, Pink Floyd, medieval music, sacred music, popular music, etc. The trick to learning music is to learn music you love, music that makes you excited and want to be a part of it. I was amazed at how fast these young people learned a tune. Within a few weeks they were singing in two parts with basic harmonies. There is nothing more enchanting under the sun than hearing children sing in a beautiful setting such as where we hold practice in the bell tower of Grace Church. This is something I never once believed I would be able to do in my life, yet it is being done because someone at the right time and place was there to introduce me to music and unlock a passion within me many moons ago. We need people along our way to take an interest in us, to challenge and encourage us, to tell us we did a good job. Most especially, when we are children, though even still when we are adults. I have even bigger dreams for this year and I thank my stars I have mentors around me that believe I can achieve them. I dream that not only children will come to the choir, but that their parents will come as well. I dream of a folk choir in Downtown Brantford made of family and friends. One where we replace traditional soprano\alto\tenor\bass sections with mother\father\children sections. An hour and a half of laughter, singing and community engagement every week with no need for a babysitter. An amateur choir made of ordinary people who may or may not believe they can sing, but are learning that it doesnt matter.

Here is a little secret and a few little facts 1. Everyone can sing. It is your birthright as a human being. I am constantly amazed by the amount of people who believe they cannot sing. Often they were told so as a child and simply ended up believing it. 2. Did you know that the health benefits of singing in a choir are equal to that of practicing yoga? 3. Did you further know that within the time it takes to sing a few songs together the hearts of an entire choir will beat in sync with one another? 4. Also, performing improvised music is the only activity known to us that uses every area of the brain simultaneously. There is nothing else that engages and unifies the body, mind and spirit more than group singing. I have never met a person who felt worse leaving a choir practice than when they arrived. Its free medicine for the masses. Yet, we are living in a highly commercialized culture that teaches us that if we are not good enough to make it past Simon Cowell on American Idol, then we should simply be quiet and leave it to the Professionals. A culture that cuts funding to music and arts in our schools. A culture that reduces music to a spectator sport that only the elite and trained

can take part in. Little by little I feel like something is slowly, subconsciously being taken away from us that has been elemental in our physical and spiritual group history since the dawn of time. Whether working or playing, worshiping or cursing, lamenting or rejoicing, singing gives us language to express alone, or in a group, the mysteries within us that otherwise can find no voice. This is an invitation to singers and non-singers alike. Family, friends and neighbours both young and wise: beginning Tuesday, September 17th at 7pm in the beautiful historic Grace Church in downtown Brantford, join us for this community choir project for amateurs, led by amateurs. Where we tinker not with musical excellence, but foster participation, growth and community through group singing. I am less concerned with the outcome of our efforts than I am with that which we create together, and that it be true, honest and life giving. If any still small voice within you is saying that this would be something you would like to try, then I challenge you to come out, bring a friend, bring your children and dare to raise your voice. Let us create a space where not only our children can find their voice, but where adults receive a second chance to claim that which is rightfully theirs as well. If you or your children, or you and your children, would like more information concerning the choir please contact Ryan Van Dijk at

Counterpoint Childrens Choir
If you want to learn rock, pop or classical we have the right program for you. Beginners are welcome. Call today to begin your musical journey.

eadership L rn e d o M g n o tr S lsky
Twitter: @alexfe x om/brantndpale www.facebook.c


Photo courtesy of Empirical Photographic Arts /

I believe that every voice is valid and deserves to be heard. No one should be made to suffer as a result of neglect, abuse, or long standing conflict; however, many suffer all the same. I believe in the power of people. Together, we can bring change and safety to this city when we speak with one voice. I believe in the ultimate goal of solution and resolution, and the power of the electorate to make that happen. My passion for resolution however, is based in the hope for healing in the community at large. I do not believe that isolation, exclusion, and powerlessness help. My passion for creating safety and respect for all people in our region including the city, the county, and Six Nations comes from a unique place in my personal history. My passions are based on a story of time and healing, listening and patience, honesty and vision, but most of all, hope.

The beatings, rapes, and hospital visits never seemed to stop, and I thought it was normal.
This is my journey. Growing up during the early 70s at 98 Paris Road was like death. The beatings, rapes, and hospital visits never seemed to stop, and I thought it was normal. It took 11 operations to repair the profound deafness that would isolate me during the change of every season. The experience of being neglected, drugged, abducted, and repeatedly raped in my early childhood years has left the smell of wine and the texture of a cheap plastic yellow cup deeply embedded in my psyche. I was not safe. And worse yet, I did not know that I wasnt safe. I had no voice but I felt a presence that has never left me. So the abuse continued. I would run away, away from pain and into the worlds uncertain safety within the reach of a 6 year old child. I ran from the back shed beatings that would occur as a punishment for physically running away from pain. The people who exercised their power and control over me helped me settle into a routine: raped if I stayed, beaten if I ran, and left alone to bleed in my mute deafness. By the age of seven, I scratched out a suicide note on a piece of paneling and cut my wrists only to bind them alone and clean up the mess I had made in the garage. Alone. I was running from pain. I was a silent victim. I had no voice. The secrets remained with me throughout the dark moments of living with 6 different families before the age of 14 while trying to hide all the dissociation, out of body experiences, cutting, self-torture, drug use and suicide attempts. By 17, I was running from the fear of pain itself and suffering from the effects of abuse 10 years after it had stopped. Abuse in all forms is full of nothing but lies. By the age of 23, I was suffering through depression, anxiety, and what is currently understood to be post traumatic stress disorder. It was, at that same age, and after thorough investigation, I learned all of the facts that you just read about. Knowing what had happened, and how it happened, gave me the vision for how to move forward with a life not controlled by abuses of the past. Thank God for good people! I have been blessed over the past three decades with the wisdom borrowed from a wide variety of people who have helped me define the strength of that undying presence. The compassion, understanding, and selfless devotion of others toward my healing process has been the most rewarding experience of my life and have eliminated the paralyzing fear of my past. I do not own the healing, however. I just borrow it and share it when invited to. There is no greater honour in my life than to witness and nurture the strength of human nature while it struggles for healing in a broken world. People find their voice when they heal from the effects of abuse and begin to gain a sense of safety within their world and the world at large. They become survivors and strong advocates for the silent ones. Healing comes with great responsibility, however. It demands awareness, prevention, action, and repetition. Whether its private or corporate, I cannot remain silent when witnessing the abuse of power and control. As a matter of fact, I will not remain silent. I will continue to speak out in favour of protecting tomorrows victims from todays lack of foresight. I am no longer a victim or a survivor of abuse. I thrive. I am alive with an inextinguishable hope and a clear vision for a safe future in my neighbourhood, my city, and in the government offices I frequent. I am charged with the legislative power of providing safety and, more importantly, removing the causes of discord and discontent. I refuse to live in silence and fear of more abuse of power and control. I will advocate for those who are too weak to speak for themselves regardless of race, age, or stature. I will share my hope when the situation seems hopeless. I will strive for solutions to the problems of our day in the hope that it may prevent tomorrows abuse. I will not be silent.

By Jan Vanderstelt

Originally Printed September 2011.


Showcasing Local Talent

by Lucas Duguid, Publisher. Twitter: @sophiasbakery
The bio of digital artist Steve Mcghee includes a rather unique disclaimer: My work is in no way intended to glorify or condone acts of terrorism or celebrate the loss of millions of souls who have perished in past events, rather it is a commentary on the frailty of human existence and to honour the families, friends and loved ones left behind to deal with their unbearable loss. The work of Steve McGhee was once described as Disaster Porn by a representative of the Vatican. In many cases this is a fitting description. Steve Mcghee is a world- renowned, multiaward-winning digital artist. Steve has contributed to Photoshop UK and is widely considered to be one of the best Photoshop users in the world. His specialty; fabricating natural disasters. Why create disasters? Steves online bio sheds some light: Ive been able to find creative freedom and hope within the images I create. And that in itself has allowed me to cope with some of the issues I face. If you meet your fears head on, and blast right through them, you can never be controlled by them. I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Steve for several years. When hes not wreaking havoc on large cities, he is a mild-mannered husband and father of two, and graphic designer at Ricter Web Printing in Brantford. If you would like to get to know Steve, you can visit his website at



The Sheep Plays Timbits Soccer

by Alex Bouman, Facebook: Alex Bouman
wanted to pursue animation since I was a kid, Pokmon was probably the thing I drew more than anything, and occasionally still do. My art was one of the few things that even the kids who didnt like me very much were willing to admit was something Chickens arent very brave, but theyre I had going for me. And, along with what I too smart to do something stupid just bedo as a comedian, my art is still the thing cause somebody calls them Chicken. that really catches peoples eye about me. Sheep, on the other hand, dont think for For some reason, one of the things people themselves and are always following the always ask of me is to draw to them (and at leader. Sheep are like that; they follow a one point even my friends baby) as a suleader anywhere. And some folks are like perhero. Im pretty sure this came about that too; they follow a from one original request leader wherever he goes: for a superhero drawing, Sheep are like that; they and for some reason it across a highway, over a cliff, into a watermelon follow a leader anywhere. caught on. patch And some folks are like Do our childhood friends really impact us more that too; they follow a Let me put this into conthan we think? I admit leader wherever he goes: that I maintain little or no text for you. This is from an old Berenstain Bears contact with most of my across a highway, episode I saw as a kid in childhood classmates. over a cliff, into a which Brother is repeatSomehow most of them watermelon patch edly lured by the neighhave faded from my Faceborhood bullies, Too book over the years. I Tall, Smirk and Scuzz, into doing dont know if I stopped being interesting at foolish things such as going through dark some point but thats just how it happened. caves, taking dangerous shortcuts and stealWith the ones that do remain, I maintain liting watermelon from the local farmer by tle or no communication. Being a part of daring him to. But this isnt about the weird two churches with few people my age things people name their kids; this is about means most of my friends are adults in their me being a sheep. 20s and 30s. Its been nearly a decade and a half since I started kindergarten and now, In my last article, I talked about how I wasbeing almost 20, my peers and I are at that nt the most popular kid. Nevertheless, I age where were all going off to college, had friends. There was this one particular heading in different directions, developing kid that I kind of clung to. I just decided careers and stuff, and its just kind of weird one day that he was the coolest kid Id ever for me to realize that its pretty much commet, that he was going to be my best friend pletely over, and that from now on well and that I wanted to be just like him. It was have virtually nothing to do with one ana weird relationship for the first year or so, other. but I guess I grew on him. Our families did dinner a lot together and the friendship Its not to say Im not happy where I am lasted a good few years. There were a numnow, but youve got to give me credit for ber of things I got into because he was into noticing that theres just something odd them, the most predominant being Pokabout remaining where youve always mon, a nerd fandom of which Im going on been, yet none of it feeling quite the same. 15 years. Yeah, Im cool like that. He also I truly believe, however, that the people I got me into soccer. He was a kid who know, and the places I find myself in now, played pretty much every sport you could are gifts intended by God and that theres imagine. For some reason, soccer is what nothing but good ahead of me. got me. I played two seasons, and I was good. That is, if you define spending field I cant wait to see who Im supposed to be time repeatedly giving my teammates timea sheep to next. bulletins with the childhood thrill of using my first watch, (before the coach came along and confiscated it) and spending goal time dangling from the overhead bar facing inside the net while not paying attention to the game, as good. After two seasons, I was big enough to admit that I was not good at soccer and it was time to stop, even if Tim Hortons was giving me free drinks after each time I had played. I was a sheep. A sheep who played Timbits Soccer. As the unpopular kid, I had a constant want to belong. I always tried to get involved with what my classmates were doing. Sometimes these things were fun, like when my friends were organizing the construction of human pyramids. I grew up to do this with my camp kids, which actually went pretty well, until we put the final kid on top. Some things were not so good, like soccer. But we covered that. As I look back though, I realize just how strongly these guys impacted me. Having Because Im a lifelong cartoon geek and aspiring animator, Im going to start this article off with some wisdom from somewhere, I believe, no other Advocate writer has ever taken inspiration.

An ongoing series to promote peace through story sharing by Elizabeth Doxtater Skywoman lived on Turtle Island. She was able to provide for herself and soon adapted to her new home. After a length of time she gave birth to the daughter whom she carried in her womb from the Skyworld. The daughter and her mother lived on Turtle Island for many years. The daughter grew into a young woman. One night she had a dream. In her dream she was visited by a being; some say he was a Thunder Being, others say he was the spirit of one of the winds. Her visitor left two arrows on her chest. When she awoke she showed her mother the arrows: one straight and sharp, one crooked and blunt. The Skywoman explained this message; her daughter would be giving birth to twins. Throughout her pregnancy the twins quarrelled, even though they were still inside of their mother. Their behavior led to much discomfort for their mother. After the normal length of time passed, the daughter gave birth to the twin boys. The first son was born the natural way. The second boy was impatient and forced himself out through his mothers armpit. This caused their mothers death. The Skywoman buried her daughters body in the soil. Some say that because she was the mother of the twins she would now be known as Mother Earth and would continue to provide life for the people. From her grave grew the three plants which became sustenance for the people. The women would be known as the sisters to these plants: corn, beans and squash. The plants from the Skyworld also grew from the grave of the Sky womans daughter: the strawberry, which is shaped like a heart, and tobacco, used to communicate with the Creator. The twins grew into strong men; however, their quarreling continued. They often argued and fought and the Skywoman, who was their Grandmother, would step in to mediate. She named them Holder of the Heavens and Mischievous One. She favored the better natured of the twins. She believed that the better natured was the twin who was born the natural way, and that his brother caused her daughters death. She mistakenly named them the opposite of their behaviour. Some storytellers say that during a dream, the twins actually transformed into each other, which caused more confusion. It is also told that we are to remember this and remember to not judge others too harshly, as we do not know how our lives will change in the future. If we judge others differences, we could become just like those whom we criticize most. Grandmother Moon The boys continued to grow and quarrel and the Grandmother continued to try to be fair to both boys. When they were full-grown they engaged in a very heated debate. The Grandmother stepped in between the boys while they were in their rage. Their emotional state was beyond any type of intervention. Their rage was escalated to the point that any reasoning was completely beyond their (then) current state of mind. In their rage they accidentally killed her, ripping her head from her body. Her head was thrown and travelled far, returning into the sky to remain among the stars, even to this day. It is understood that the twins grandmother is now the moon and will forever be the grandmother to all. She guides us at night. Grandmother moon controls the waters on the earth, from the tides of the ocean to the water that protects an unborn baby, deciding when babies are born and visiting women to ensure new life. The twins, left without any guidance, continued to live on Turtle Island. They were given many jobs. First they were given the job of creating and naming the plants and animals. The twins made different plants. The better natured twin would make a plant or bush full with berries or fruit that would be beneficial to the people. His brother would put thorns on it or place other plants in the way that would be harmful to the people. Whatever the good natured twin would do, his brother would scheme some way of altering it. The better natured twin created the deer, a life source for the people, especially helpful during the cold months when your body needs heavier foods that take longer to digest. His brother created the natural predators of the deer so that the humans would need to compete for their food to feed their families and villages. The better natured twin retaliated by giving the deer antlers as a form of protection. The antlers would help the deer to perfect his skills at maneuvering through the woods in order to navigate through difficult terrain, especially during the winter when weather conditions are unpredictable. Later in history the significance of the deer antlers and the selflessness that was to be the temperament of the deer became important symbols for the people



Soul Food
by Steve Straza,
Just over a year ago, I started to read about a new trend that was coming out of the United States. Community Cafes started to pop up across the country. I instantly fell in love with the idea. What is a community cafe? It's a place where anyone can go to get a healthy meal served in a restaurant setting, regardless of means. Most cafes are only open for one meal a day. The meals will have a suggested donation price. You can pay the suggested price, or more or less depending on your situation. If you can't afford a meal, you can help around the restaurant for an hour and earn yourself a meal. So everybody eats, but nobody eats for free.

What is a community cafe? It's a place where anyone can go to get a healthy meal served in a restaurant setting, regardless of means.
Knowing that the bug of this idea was making his way through me, Brian Beattie, our senior minister at Freedom House, took me on a road trip to see how one of these cafes operates. We hit the JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, New Jersey. It is, without a doubt, the most famous of the cafes out there because it was started and is in part funded by rock star Jon Bon Jovi. John has often been sighted helping out in the kitchen when he has the time. I'm sure that more than a few of the patrons who walk in the door are hoping for a chance to meet their idol. In one of the rougher parts of town, surrounded by old broken down factories and signs of decay, sits a little restaurant with an herb garden growing out in front. It looks totally out of place. With the exception of the chefs, and the manager almost everyone else is a volunteer. I asked our server where she was from. Her answer surprised me. Germany, she said. I asked her if she had just arrived and she answered, Yes. Having come with little to no money with her, she asked a local agency where she could get an inexpensive meal. They directed her to the Soul Kitchen and she volunteered to earn her meal there. Ryan, the manager, sat down to talk with us about the vision and what he's seen. When you look around the room, you can't really tell the difference between who is "in need" and who isn't. That's exactly what they're shooting for. It's an attempt to create a place where lines of income level are erased and we're all just people. The real purpose of the cafe is to act as a hub for needs. As patrons frequent the place again and again, Ryan gets

to know them and find out their stories. He recently helped a middle aged man get back on his feet. After living a very normal life with a wife and kids and a job, everything went wrong. Shortly after a nasty divorce, this poor fellow found himself out of a job. Within months, he had literally lost everything and was living in a shelter. The Soul Kitchen works with more community based groups than you can imagine. This is completely intentional. Not only can other groups point those who need the Kitchen in the right direction, but they in turn can do the same. Ryan had connections with a number of local employers. He made a few phone calls, and got this man a job and got him back in the game. Everybody has a story. The restaurant is the place to draw that story out. It's a place for people in transition. I asked if they had problems with "street people" showing up. His answer was no. The reason? The meal wasn't free and almost all of those who were asked to work for their meal refused. Draw your own conclusions on that one. This is about a hand up, not a hand out. It's a place for people who are trying. The kitchen offers courses in food handling and

prep work so locals who are uneducated can find jobs with over a dozen local restaurants they work hand in hand with. A local grocery store has given the Soul Kitchen a line of credit for $100 000 annually to buy the food and supplies they need to make the meals. The location was built with volunteers and free labor from a local contractor. Sit down and eat and get to know us. What do you need? If you have an addiction issue, we can help direct you to the right people. Do you need clothes or a place to stay? Do you need training for a new job? The list is endless. This place is really a community need bank and I'm absolutely enthralled with the way it works. Many people who need nothing and have lots of money come to eat here. They are what keep the place alive and operating. You wouldn't think they would come, but they do. They love the idea and support what is being done here...not to mention that the food is great. They come to pay it forward to someone who really needs it. I could go on about this concept for days. I'll write about it again I'm sure. It is my vision to see something similar happen right here in Brantford.

Why Not City Missions / Youth Centres has been actively reaching the at-risk youth, the disadvantaged and the homeless population since 2002. Founded by Charlie and Sue Kopczyk, the Mission is still providing food and clothing for those in need.

Brantford Paris Burford St. George


101-96 Nelson St. Brantford, ON N3T 2N1 Phone 519-759-0361 Fax 519-759-6439 TTY 519-759-4953

Dave Levac, MPP Brant.



Go and Go and GO Some More

by Dave Carrol, Facebook: Dave Carrol

Creditor Protecting Your Future

I had a client call me today and the tone of her voice was that of worry and despair. Anytime someone starts a conversation with Weve had a terrible incident occur at the house, its generally not good news from my clients. After a lengthy conversation with my client, she had let me know that she had been served with papers and notified she was being sued by creditors. These creditors were, for lack of a better work Unleashed, as a result of her husbands company and his non-payment of goods & services rendered. Why is she being sued then, you ask? Well its quite simple. Unbeknownst to her, all of her assets we listed on his initial credit application with the goods & services company. Even though she didnt sign and was unaware of her husbands mis-doings and fraudulent claims, her assets were put at risk. From a personal property standpoint, they were ever so careful in setting her up with sole ownership of their home. This is a common mistake as the house is subject to creditors. The point to remember here is no matter how well you try to hide assets; the creditors will get their money Except in one circumstance. An attractive feature of life insurance policies is that they may be able to provide protection from the owners creditors if the proper beneficiary designations are made, and are made well prior to any insolvency on the part of the owner, or collection action by the creditors. In my clients case we made the switch to segregated funds over four years ago because of the fact that her husband was a self-employed business owner and potentially at risk to creditors. When we set the contract up, all beneficiaries named were family members or in the preferred class. Bottom line, this means that every hard earned RRSP dollar she has saved CAN NOT be touched by the creditors. Her tone turned from despair and started to show signs of relief. The knowledge that her hard earned retirement is not in jeopardy eased her mind. Is she in the clear? Yes & No. Her RRSP assets were all protected as were all life, critical illness and disability insurance policies. However any Bank, Security or non-Life Insurance assets are subject to creditor claim. This includes a Registered Education Savings Plan that was to ensure that their children receive the best education possible. To sum up, heres a couple points to remember; 1) Creditor Protection applies only to Life Insurance contracts only. Mutual Fund assets are not protected. In any scenario where our client or our clients spouse is a business owner we highly recommend they consider protecting their assets from Creditors. 2) Assets in Life Insurance contracts are only considered creditor protected if the beneficiaries you name are in the preferred class (spouse, children, mother, father, grandparent). Anyone named outside of this class may subject the assets to creditors. This article is a brief synopsis of how using life insurance products can creditor protect your assets. For more information please view your provincial & federal Life Insurance act. We also feel very strongly that savings and goal planning are areas where professional advice is a necessity. If you wish to talk about your financial goals and how to creditor protect your assets give us a call, were here to help. Alford & Associates is a family owned and operated financial practice in Brantford. For over 25 years we have helped our clients secure their financial goals. First and foremost we help you secure your greatest asset Your Family

"I just don't sleep enough. But I have never met someone very successful who, at the end of their life, says 'I wish I slept more.' Nothing of any consequence was ever achieved without enormous passion and total dedication." ~Robert Herjavec There are moments where I wish I didn't want out of life what I want out of it. Those moments sometimes creep in during times where I have 2 weeks of evenings booked solid, 4 project deadlines looming, and a growing collection of flagged emails to return, none of which even pertain to my paid profession. I look and think, "I've voluntarily done this to myself..?" But those moments melt away as quick as an ice cube in summers 40 degree sun... because of the reason why. More and more, I think that WHAT we do, doesnt mean nearly as much as WHY we do it. Whats will come and go seasonally. But discovering your why will make each what meaningful, even when times get tough. Recently someone actually asked me the question, "How's your soul?" simply because of how much I seemingly am doing. I was a little taken aback, honestly. My answer is THRIVING. My body gets tired. My brain gets frazzled. But my soul is rockin'. A few weeks ago I cancelled a baseball trip that I wanted to go on... for a meeting. The guys I was planning on going with were aghast saying, "Just ditch it!" But the truth is that I would rather take the meeting because it feeds the ravenous beast inside me that wants something tastier than a few innings and crappy nachos. In 2003 I spent two weeks in the Philippines, in and around Manila. During that time I met a man named Pastor Nonoy who was our local escort from engagement to engagement. He was one of the most incredible people I'd ever met. His ministry position within a denomination was to be the "troubleshooting" pastor for churches that were going through tough times. Essentially Nonoy was leading about 25 churches at once. He would go and go and go and go and go some more AND be a good husband AND be a good father AND be a community leader AND make time to guide Canadian missionaries around. He genuinely cared about all of it, and gave ALL of himself to ALL of it. It's likely the one common character trait I've seen in all of the men I truly respect. One night I was preaching at a youth service in

Valenzuela City which is just outside of Manilla. I was bothered that night by the "What am I really doing here?" question. My trip to Asia wasnt something that I was planning on doing. We had JUST opened the doors of Freedom House, my newborn first son was about to crawl for the first time and we had no money! But I got on a plane and went anyway... because somehow I just knew I had to go. Pastor Nonoy looked at my agitation before the service and said, "David... I need to ask you a question. What do you really want to see happen with your life?" It was kind of out of the blue but I EXPLODED the answer back on him. I said, "I want to see a city transformed. A whole city. Transformed by people acting out Gods love in tangible ways. I want to see businesses revived. Churches full. Streets paved. Schools prospering. Economies re-dreamed. The sick healed. Poverty ended. A FULL city transformed. THAT'S what I want!"

There are moments where I wish I didnt want out of life what I want out of it. Those moments sometimes creep in during times where I have 2 weeks of evenings booked solid, 4 project deadlines looming, and a growing collection of flagged emails to return.


Insurance & Investment Advisors, 254 Brant Ave., Brantford, ON N3T-3J5 Ph: (519) 751-0901 Fx: (519)751-0522 Cell: (519) 758-4224 Email: Website: LinkedIn:

I'd known this in my head for a few years, but that day... it EXPLODED into life. Pastor Nonoy wept and prayed with me at the evident breakthrough that had just happened. I preached my guts out that night. The beast was loosed. I don't think we get to pick what our beast is SUPPOSED to be. We are, however, the gatekeepers of the beast. We are the final word on what GETS to be our beast. We can decide whether it's a good beast or a bad beast. We can stoke the fire of whatever beast we choose... BUT what we were ideally designed to have inside us... is not ours to decide. Callings are God's doing. It's our job to dig until we find it, unearth it, unleash it and then LIVE it. If Nonoy wasnt going and going and going, being driven by his beast, Im not sure if I would be fuelled to do the same today. You have something special in you that your community, neighbours, family and friends NEED. I want to encourage you to dig up your beast and be relentless with it. Find out what you really care about and go HARD at it. Realize that it can, and likely will, cost you everything. All the best dreams do. BUT in doing that, you'll find the full and fruitful life that too many willingly forgo... because we like sleeping too much. "Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it." Luke 17:33



Ok Dad! Road Trip!

by John Bradford, Facebook: John Bradford
Ive been a biker for 50 years. My first little sweetie was a beat up Ariel Square Four, 1000c.c. kick start, 20 bucks. Of course back then you were allowed to ride with a learners permit at 15. So, off to school I went, listening to the pieces rattling and littering the road behind me all the way to grade nine. However, there was the one incident I recall, when the fuel line had a leak and ignited on the engine between my legs in the driveway. That was the last I drove her and the fastest drop in my biking career. Many bikes and stories later, married with three daughters, the call of the road was tempered with softer suspensions, touring bikes and long distance explorations. So this is when the grand deal with my daughters was struck. When each turned 13 it was their choice: a one-on-one with Dad; anywhere in continental North America, two weeks, and had to include a celebration of Canada Day and a trip to the U.S.A. for July 4th. The eldest, Chandra, chose the Gold Wing as transportation and Washington D.C. as the destination. The ride was full of twisty back roads, glorious sunsets like muzzle flashes passing in the fir trees, the scent of pine stands and the sparkling lakes of the Adirondack Mountains. We wheeled to the former Olympic site at Lake Placid to sing God Bless America on July 4th and quickly continued to Massachusetts in search of a lobster feast. Stopping in Plymouth we asked for a free room at the William Bradford Hotel, since my ancestor was the second Governor of Plymouth and the only scribe from the Mayflower. That didnt work out so well, as the Innkeeper explained he didnt live there anymore. Coming into Washington was a little problematic, remembering this was long before GPS technology. My daughter was the navigator with a map unfolded in her lap as she leaned into the comfortable back rest. As the map, ripped by the wind, lofted in slow motion towards the sky we knew wed be winging it (pun intended) and entered the core of Washington. Soon we were in front of the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool. As we stared over our fairing there were thousands of people, a stage where The First Lady, Nancy Reagan, was hosting a live concert, and John Denver serenading on acoustic guitar as only he could. Surely, they knew we were coming. The second daughter, Piper-Lee, saw her opportunity arise just 2 years later. But, she had no interest in bugs in her teeth or the smell of wet leather and fertilizer day after day. She just wanted to go shopping by car. So, we did: at the West Edmonton Mall. We did a helicopter tour over the Bad Lands in North Dakota, Yellowstone National Park and Old Faithful Geyser. July 4th brought us through the forest to the face of Mount Rushmore. Our American neighbours had gathered the remaining workers who had actually carved this world wonder, most in their 90s, to celebrate their achievement. It was a torrential storm, a heartfelt moment, everyone in tears and we had to practically scream God Bless America into the wind as these men stood proudly for their nation. In a way, though the trip through the mid-west was breathtaking and would have been a memorable bike tour, the return trip along the Trans Canada was somewhat less inspirational. I tried to explain that to the officer as he wrote the speeding ticket. My youngest daughter, Miranda, was in for a bike trip to an island. She wanted to go to Newfoundland on the fully decked Honda Aspencade. We front loaded this trip in Canada so that we could get back from the rock before July 4th. We boarded the HMCS Bluenose II, of Canadian dime fame, in Lunenburg and watched the water go the wrong way at the Reversing Falls near the Bay of Fundy in St. John New Brunswick. We sent cards from the Peggys Cove Lighthouse Postal Station and marvelled that by looking due South, through the tumultuous breakers, we could see the unobstructed path to Barbados. The Cabot Trail seems to get wet a lot, (doesnt it?), but its

worth every second for the spectacular view when the fog lifts. And finally we met the ferry at North Sydney. Our destination: Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland (pronounced NewfunLAN). For those bikers unfamiliar with ocean crossings, motorcycles get special consideration and preferred loading order because the pointy end of the vessel can be crammed with bikes stored at funny angles. We found ourselves below decks: me, my 13 year old daughter, my Honda and 25-30 Hells Angels on Harleys with monkey bars and straight through pipes. We thought we were going deaf. The crossing was fun but the exit became a statement of differing cultures. The guys in colours were less than thrilled about a Japanese bike in their parking spot and each ceremoniously kicked at our wheels in passing, and the ships crew quietly righted us each time. So began one of the most glorious bike tours ever experienced heading north, up the treacherous natural terrain of the west coast. At one landmark, pointedly called Wreck House, the wind swirled through two mountains on the coast switching directions to blow back across the highway towards the open sea and ominous fiords 50 feet below to our left. There was no choice; lean far right at 45 degrees into the relentless wind and keep your head down or risk the invitation of the oceans lure. The two of us white-knuckled together and bore ahead for what seemed like infinity, 15 minutes maybe, the mountain rush ending as suddenly as it began and the bike seeking its natural centre of balance. It was exhilarating. From that point on we had fallen in love with the Province. Everywhere we travelled, we were welcomed and granted instant family from away status. Crossing a bridge onto the island of Twillingate we approached a lighthouse. We could see the northern sea and flocks of icebergs serenely cruising south to meet the melting currents. We stopped at the lighthouse and were offered tea. The man there explained in a broad accent that he wasnt a lighthouse-keeper; that just meant dusting and vacuuming. Indeed he kept the light as solace for desperate sailors seeking land. He had a mission and he was proud to serve. We travelled in the northern circle and eventually back towards St. John where the Irish tin whistles and skin drums, (Bodhrans), kept traditions in place. I have intractable bonds with my girls that began with two wheels. Ah, and then theres the grandchildren OK GRAMPS..ROAD TRIP!



Originally Printed April 2012.

Brownfield sites exist in a city's industrial section on locations with abandoned factories or commercial buildings or other previously polluting operations. ~ Wikipedia

As we walk around Brantford, let us open ourselves to the ways of nature around us. Many living things make a stand, and live or die in a relationship with their environment. They do not have the luxury to move away: they feed us, clothe us, and provide us with fuel and shelter. Plants and living organisms in the soil reach out for their sustenance to the soil, the sun, the rain, the air, and everything they can draw from these four elements that surround them. From the sun they take energy in abundance, and with an efficiency that we would love to copy. From the rain they take their main ingredient, H2O. From the air they take nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and sometimes pure oxygen, to build their cells. From the soil they vacuum water, and everything in the water, at a molecular level. Osmosis allows all of this to pass through a plant's root's semipermeable membrane by diffusion. Plants do not discriminate much about what they take on board. To a degree they regulate the uptake of electrically charged (ionized) atoms to protect against excessive potassium ion uptake. That is all. Still they uptake all ions, just in a more regulated way. Chelating agents can be added to the soil, if wanted, to aid in the uptake by plants of heavy metal ions faster. These chelators are not poisonous. They cost about fifty cents a pound. The chelator agent product, EDTA, is made of only the main three elements in air: hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. It is harmless. As water transpires from the upper part of a plant in the heat of the sun, the water keeps flowing upwards from the roots, and with it, the molecules and atoms that entered the root system with the water. These molecules could be fertilizer or calcium or other minerals, or they could be cutting oil thrown out the back door of Massey's every Friday afternoon on the ground. These molecules can be diesel fuel, PCB's, heavy metals, and any other of over one hundred contaminants that might be found on our brown-

fields in Brantford. Scientists call this process phytoextraction. Usually plants degrade these contaminant molecules into harmless constituents by breaking covalent and divalent bonds to provide energy and building materials for the plant. Scientists call this process phytodegradation. Phyto is Greek for plant. What a plant cannot use, including heavy metal, gets sequestered in nodes and vacuoles in the green part of the plant. Scientists call this phytosequestration. We can call it Fixing Brantford. Sunflowers were famously used after the Chernobyl nuclear incident to successfully pull radioactive isotopes out of the ground. People are living there now. Scientists have now identified over 400 species of plants that will thrive in contaminated soil and pull up the contaminants, including PCBs, and heavy metal like lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and all the rest of these nasty chemicals. Scientists call these plants hyperaccumulators. Phytoremediation comes highly recommended by Environment Canada, the Environmental Protection Agency, the USDA, the United Nations, and all kinds of other organizations and professors. Plants can harmlessly sequester the lead and mercury from the battery and ammunition companies of Greenwich-Mohawk brownfields. Heavy metal is corrosive. It sticks to the Myelin sheath of their brain and nerve cells. It corrodes a hole and the electrical impulses leak out to the side and do not make it to the next cell. This causes brain and central nervous system damage that is permanent and accumulative. It is also carcinogenic. White Farm has been down for 23 years now, yet all the ground is sealed up with cement. Sternson's has been down for about 10 years now. Most of that ground remains sealed in cement. The rainwater goes through the cracks and under the cement and pushes the pollution plumes along, underground, under the cement. Scientists call using plants to stabilize pollution plumes, by reducing water flow,

phytostabilization. Some people say that natural soil remediation would take too long. It would take 8 -10 years to do a great job with chelating agents to speed up the uptake of metal ions. Professor Greenberg of the University of Waterloo has documented cases where it has taken 6 years. It would be thorough, effective, and cheap. Where plants did not thrive, a small city backhoe could excavate and the hot spot could be dispersed to lower concentrations, so plants could work. Artificial soil remediation is well over one hundred times more expensive then practicing natural soil remediation for 8 10 years with chelation. Nature works for free, but we have to have a little patience. I want to see a solution for the GreenwichMohawk that is safe for future generations, and is also cost- effective. If we practice natural soil remediation at Greenwich-Mohawk brownfield the resulting development will be better, less dense and less contaminated then it would otherwise be. After we have taken down the buildings, I hope we finally take up all the cement and asphalt and let in the air and the sun. This decision is ours to make. I believe that we should take it upon ourselves to raise our own awareness, and our friends awareness, of the choice ahead of us. No one can take this decision away from us. We have to give it away or keep it. I believe that if we give this decision away to other people then the people who make this decision for us, will make it based on other factors then we would use, in our thoughts on the subject. I believe in the benefits of natural soil remediation, to the soil, to our own bank accounts, to house values, to the future development there, to our carbon footprint for Global Warming and most importantly, to the lives of the children who will live there.

Photos courtesy of Empirical Photographic Arts /

Sunflowers were famously used after the Chernobyl nuclear incident to successfully pull radioactive isotopes out of the ground. People are living there now.



Landlord Learning Curve is Worth the Effort

by Randy Schelhas, Facebook: Randy Schelhas

September 2nd There will be lane closures on Colborne Street to accommodate students moving into residences Downtown.


September 2nd 7th, various locations Downtown
People may assume that because I often argue for the truth of science over fiscal economics that I know nothing of the latter. In fact, my wife and I have just purchased our eighth income property and in spite of both of us working full time, we manage this side business quite well. Interest in real estate, particularly income properties, has thrived in the past few years, largely because of the lower performance of stock markets and low interest rates. Several property-related television shows come to mind; however, none of them document pure land-lording as a business and many multiple property owners would rather not have people know their market lest they face competition. The Canadian magazine, Real Estate Wealth, has become a regular on the shelves of stores during the past few years and it explains some of the aspects of rental property investment quite well. We buy and hold older duplexes, fixing them ourselves, well enough to rent them at reasonable prices. Brantford once had a hundred or more older, multi-unit homes on the market in the early 1990s; however, this has dwindled to a much fewer average of 10 in the online real estate listings at today. People who have duplexes and triplexes are holding on to them while many are being converted back to single- family homes. Being a landlord in lower income neighbourhoods is not for the faint of heart. I don't screen my tenants (which some landlords would scoff at). I believe in respecting their privacy even though I could stand to lose some pretty good prospects from bad credit histories. To get around this, I pay everyone's heat and hydro bills for which they might otherwise require a substantial deposit, making them unable to afford the apartment. A lot of people can't afford first and last months rent too, so I do not ask for the last month's rent. This is strategic in part because month-to-month renters tend to stay longer. That said, when someone doesn't pay, I am forced to start the process of landlord notices and applications which are available from the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board website. I generally lose some rent if I have to go to landlord court; however, most tenants adhere to the notices, making the eviction unnecessary. Noisy tenants, or people who break the law, are also capable of being evicted. In one case a tenant was dealing drugs and I had to move adult members of my family into the apartment for a couple of years in order to facilitate eviction. The important thing to remember about evicting tenants is to be as nice as you can be, forgiving where necessary, yet also remain firm in enforcing your rights and your obligations to other tenants and neighbours. We lived in many of the lower priced properties we purchased in order to fix them up and keep our costs low. I am an industrial electrician by trade so my understanding of wiring has been a huge asset. Still, I learned a great deal about plumbing, drywall, flooring, windows, doors and roofing. A well maintained apartment does not have to appeal to the most expensive renters. It does, however, have to be clean and functional. When something breaks, it is critical to get it fixed as quickly as possible, which keeps me pretty busy. Beyond that, there are many more local people who need affordable rent than there are available apartments in older homes.


September 13th 15th Bell Stage in Harmony Square and various stages on Colborne Street and Dalhousie Street. Visit for more information.

As part of the 6th Annual Brantford International Jazz Festival: Manhattan Transfer Sanderson Centre, Saturday, September 14th at 8:00PM

Being a landlord in lower income neighbourhoods is not for the faint of heart. I don't screen my tenants (which some landlords would scoff at). I believe in respecting their privacy even though I could stand to lose some pretty good prospects from bad credit histories.


Saturday, September 21st at 8:00PM at the Sanderson Centre


September 21st 5 Downtown locations Visit for more information


October 11th and 12th in Harmony Square 2PM 4PM: Trick or Treating for the kids 4PM: Costume Contest 5PM 7PM: Brantfords Zombie Walk 7PM: Zombie Awards Also taking place on Saturday: Haunted House, Ghost Hunts, Hay Ride, Story Telling, Pumpkin Carving Contest, Scarecrow Contest and lots more!! Visit for more information

Advertising rental property these days takes place mostly on Kijiji with the remainder being pitched by the Brant News and a few by the Expositor. Successful ads are often listed in more than one venue. Clients on disability, welfare or even C.A.S. clients should not be overlooked when they apply for an apartment. Often they are among my best and longest staying tenants. As mentioned previously, opportunities to purchase income properties have become more limited in Brantford during the past few years. To get around this we have purchased three properties in Niagara Falls, New York. Real estate in the USA is still extremely cheap, particularly so in Niagara Fall, NY. Starting with the 1970s Love Canal fiasco, where a whole neighbourhood was found to be built on top of a toxic waste dump, this city's population has been quickly reduced from 100,000 to 50,000 people. Though its been previously said that Brantford had the "worst downtown in Canada", the problems in Niagara Falls, NY have run deeper. Still, I have hope for the town across the Rainbow Bridge. Recent changes in New York laws may bring more investment to the American side of Niagara. Like Brantford once did, Niagara Falls NY has a long road to recovery; however, we came back and I believe they can come back as well. It's only a matter of time and goodwill.

Visit these Downtown Brantford venues for more events and programs:


Visit for events for kids, teens and adults

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