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Letter From The Guest Editors

After a long cold winter, when longer days return, and the sun begins to melt the snow, the land reappears before our eyes with long yellow grass and dry herbs that lie in the ditches, fields and along the bush line.

Water fills the streams again and the rivers begin to flow.

Up in the sky, as it removes its grey blanket and reveals its refreshing blue, we hear a call from above:

waniska waniska waniska

waniska waniska waniska

waniska waniska waniska

It is the geese. They return home after a winter flight to sing us a song. They call down to the trees, the plants, the roots; to the four-legged, the two-legged, the swimmers, the fliers, the crawlers; they call down to the earth waniska! Wake up! they say in Cree. It is time to wake up after a long sleep. It is time to share your gifts with each other. It is time for joy and celebration as brighter days ahead bring longer days to spend with one another.

*****

It is in the spirit of the goose teaching that we felt inspired to name the Wood Buffalo Indigenous Edition 2.0 natthirįt’a, waniska, Wake Up. The focus of the second annual edition is on cultural reclamation and how are communities are working together to awaken languages, traditional practices, and values.

Due to years of historical interruption that have impacted Indigenous peoples, many feared we would lose our ways completely. But we are reminded by the goose, and by the connection we share with all beings, that our ways are only sleeping. It is our responsibility as ancestors is to work with those who came before us to wake up all that lives within for the generations after us.

We are grateful for all the contributors and what they have shared in these pages – from Elders and Knowledge Keepers, writers, photographers, creatives, and storytellers – kinanaskomitinawaw kahkiyaw.

— Jes & Allison

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Allison Flett
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Jes Croucher
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