I'm broke ... my entire family is broke ... I'm starting to think that goals are only for people with money ... is there anything I can do? - Kayla K.

WOW ... first of all, you need to tell yourself that goals have nothing to do with money.

However, your goals do need fuel: Coordination, Collaboration, Cooperation and Communication. The great thing about “The 4 C’s” is: they are completely free.

The most valuable lessons I learned in life didn’t cost me anything. The difference is: I paid close attention and realized how they could work for me

What do i do when I have a goal & no money?

  1. Communicate my goals to others
  2. Collaborate with those I respect
  3. Cooperate with people who can help me
  4. Coordinate our efforts so we’re all on the same page.

A belief in the greater good is also essential. Ask others for help. Soon you will realize that you are surrounded by people that can’t wait to help you.

You just have to take a bit more initiative.


In school, We just read "We're More Than Just Beads & Feathers". It really made me think. Please tell me more about what you meant by that phrase - Cathy P.

I grew up deeply rooted in both Blackfoot & Duwamish culture.

I was basically conceived, born and raised at powwows. As a young dancer we would perform in front of thousands and thousands of people. My family even had a dance troupe that traveled the world!

After my grandpa passed away, I was back dancing in front of HUGE crowds at the Calgary Stampede grandstand. This time was different though. I looked into the audience and wondered “why do they cheer wildly for me when I am wearing my powwow outfit and entertaining them - but ridicule and even laugh at me when I am wearing street clothes?”

My 10 year old self decided then and there that I wanted to show the world “we’re more than just beads and feathers”. Been doing it ever since.


I am not Aboriginal, but I work with Aboriginal youth and families everyday in my programs. Not sure of the right way to ask so I’ll just go for it: I’ve taken an “Aboriginal Training” or two at work over the years, but honestly I am still totally confused about how to truly empower and engage Aboriginal clients “beyond their cultural realms” - as you have often said. Frankly, what can a city-raised white girl like me really do? - Tanya F.

The only time in my life where I left an entire roomful speechless happened years ago—right after an “Aboriginal Training”. I said, “What I really need is some White Training, 'cause they confuse the heck outta me!" (one of those little jokes that’s apparently only funny when you are Native and have a thousand Natives standing behind you)

To be honest though - as misguided as that may sound - there is an ounce of truth to it. Especially when you consider the difficult circumstances that I (and many other Native people) have grown up around and basically just had to deal with—both on the rez and in the city.

Instead of the whole tear-soaked history lesson, just keep this in mind - everyone feels their burden is the heaviest - including (especially?) Native people. How do you ease your burdens in life - when you are always surrounded by them? You seek empowerment. What breeds empowerment? Trust, Humor, Awareness, Sincerity, Respect, Shared Knowledge etc.

The great thing about these powerful tools is that they are all absolutely free. Time and Effort can go a lot further than money ever will. Make the “FOUR—C’s” your new best friends— AKA Collaboration, Communication, Cooperation & Coordination— and soon all those Natives will be like ... “HOLEE! This city-raised white girl is really down for us!"


Did all tribes live in tipis? - Harold G.

My late grandpa, Glen EagleSpeaker, chillin' behind the family tipi.

tssss ... only at the Indian Village!

If you check out some of those old westerns from back in the day, Natives were always portrayed as living in tipis, wearing fancy warbonnets, war whooping etc. This mixed with some of the old Bugs Bunny & Disney cartoons may have contributed to an assumption that all Natives live that way.

Many Plains tribes were nomadic and did live in tipis, but other tribes never used a tipi at all. Other types of Native homes included Longhouses (some Coastal tribes), Thatched-roof houses (some Southeast tribes in the US), Pueblos or Adobe homes (some Desert tribes in the US), Communal dwellings—log houses (like the Huron out East) ... the list goes on.

My family's "traditional" Halloween Tipi


Remember - Google is your friend! Nowadays, its all different. I ain’t never met a Native that lives in a tipi year round.

Maybe during powwow season, but all year???

I think most people would be like ... “UMMM ... what’s up with the Super Indian shivering in his tipi in mid-January?” ...


I heard that native people don't have to pay any taxes. Is that true? - Kris R.

Yes, we have to pay taxes, just like all other North Americans in Canada and the USA. Income Tax, Provincial/State Taxes, Property Taxes, GST (Canada) ... you name it!

Taxation issues on reserves continue to be re-examined, this ongoing debate often gives people the impression that individuals, rather than tribes, do not pay taxes.

In Canada - when it comes to income taxes, GST and provincial sales tax - Natives living on-reserve do not pay income tax on the income they earn while working on-reserve. Natives also do not pay the GST or provincial sales tax for goods or services purchased on the reservation.

Natives that live off-reserve have to pay all these taxes, though. We get no tax breaks if we leave the rez. ... geez, too cheap ...

... However, check this out ... there are a few retail stores in Canada that do recognize Indian Tax Exemption status ... next time you’re at Sears or Canadian Tire, pull out your Status Card and ask about “point of sale tax exemption” .... (save some money on those winter tires or that bedroom suite) ...

So, yes, we have to pay taxes. The real question is: Do we want to pay taxes?


I was talking to this guy at the office the other day and I said "the staff are gonna have a powwow at lunch today and bounce some ideas off each other". He looked at me like all offended and said "Powwow? How you gonna have a powwow in the Board Room?" Where did the word powwow come from? What exactly is a powwow? Can anyone go to one? - Ellen K.

That look in my eye was the last thing you'd see before your inevitable defeat.

The simple answer ... from the Narragansett Tribe of the Rhode Island region in the USA.

The long answer ... originally it meant Native Healer or Priest. Two early examples of it's usage: 1646 - the Massachusetts Bay Colony defined "pawwows" as "witches or sorcerers that cure by help of the devil" (crazy, ain't it?) and in 1674 - one observer said "Their physicians are Powaws or Indian Priests"

The meaning of the powwow was expanded by non-Natives to include the ceremonies which Native religious leaders participated. Later, it was widely applied /accepted by Natives and non-Natives and used as a generic term to describe all sorts of gatherings.

Today, in NDN Country, "powwow" means a tribal or intertribal dance, fair, rodeo, celebration or other gathering. They vary in size from a small local school gym to the HUGE Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico - with thousands of people (its in late April).

Some styles of dance you will see include: Traditional, Fancy Shawl, Men's Fancy, Jingle Dress, Grass Dance, Chicken Dance and others. Some powwows have dance and drum competitions, others do not (usually called Traditional Powwows). Powwows can be anywhere from a few hours to a few days long (with breaks, of course).

For the most part, powwows are completely open to the public. There are even some songs here and there where everyone can dance ... like the Round Dance, Owl Dance and my personal favorite - the Rabbit Dance.

Still confused? Click to download a pdf page on  "Powwow Protocol"

Still confused? Click to download a pdf page on "Powwow Protocol"

Lemme guess, it was a Native guy you told this to at your office? Happens to me all the time ... for some of us Natives, one just has to say the word "powwow" and we'll wanna know exactly where it is and, more importantly, what time is Grand Entry?

So when you say ‘powwow’ - and it turns out you weren't talking about an actual powwow - expect a little disappointment from us hardcore Natives. ITS JUST THE WAY OF THINGS.


Is there anything I can do in school, right now, that will help me learn how to run my own company? There's gotta be more to school than just memorizing stuff! - Sheryl V.

I learned life's most important lessons, before I was 10.

Elders have had it right all along, sincere traditional values can fulfill all your dreams. (Respect, humility, love, truth, wisdom, honesty and bravery are all traditional values)

There are three keys to success:
#1 – Hard Work – which we can all do
#2 – Talent – which we all have
… and the most overlooked, but most important …
#3 – Meeting The Right People – when you have sincere traditional values, The 'Right People' will want to know you … and your work …

Being an a**hole is never a wise investment.

True respect comes from how you live, not from what you demand.

Traditional values = people skills

School is an excellent training ground to test, perfect and hone your traditional values and how you conduct yourself towards others. Whether we admit it or not - racism, bigotry, cultural ignorance, sexism & discrimination all exist there - in one convenient place. Use your time in school wisely and you will be more than prepared for anything the world throws at you.

Formal education can make you a living, self-education can make you a fortune - master both!


I just moved to the city from the rez, but I still feel like a bit of an outsider. Any ideas on how to get connected? - Kelly M.

Keep moving forward!

The great thing about the city is that wherever you go you’re literally surrounded by opportunity.

When I was fresh off the rez, I also had that “what now?” feeling ... until I realized that if you know where to look, the city is jam-packed with people that want to share resources and help others.

Time & Effort are both something everyone can afford.

One great way to connect is to take part in some of the activities that my "7 Teachings To Success" program ... then once you’re comfortable, take the initiative and seek out further opportunities on your own. Soon enough you’ll find all sorts of doors opening for you. Good luck and keep moving forward!


I heard this was all started by one guy ... for real??? - Mitta P.

In all honesty, the answer is yes!

“How does that work?”, you ask. Sit back, grab a couple fresh frybread & I’ll break it down for you:

First, decide what your passion is: mine was to connect Natives with opportunities way beyond our cultural realms, and raise our own funds with cool graphic novels and comics

Then, make a decision: "When dealing with others, do I wanna put up walls or do I wanna build bridges?"

Then, make a plan: "How do I find local resources to help me with my goals? Who can help me? What should I ask?"

Then, ask for help: don’t just ask The Creator, ask people too. Its amazing how much you can get when you ask.

Then, follow through: good words mean nothing until they amount to something ... or you’re talking loud & saying nothing

Finally, always stay grateful: pack your bags, we’re going on an ego trip! Never forget where you came from.

Growing up I was always told that one person isn’t enough to make a difference ... that couldn't be further from the truth. Fortunately I had role models that showed me otherwise and this organization is the result.

Never let anyone say that you can’t make a change. You’re like a lone rock thrown into the middle of a big lake ... your ripples always reach the shore ...