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The last few days were a whirlwind. Never did I expect that I would be an ambassador for my culture, but I am quite humbled that I was able to share my culture with Canada when I was called to the bar at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto on June 23, 2015.
It was proudest moment of my life. I got to sit amongst my peers, cross the stage and receive the right to practice law in Ontario. I am equally proud that I won the right to wear my Tsimshian button blanket and cedar bark hat, and from the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Watch: Heather Milton-Lightening on First Nation and Palestinian solidarity: 'We have a responsibility to help each other'
Heather Milton-Lightening, Indigenous scholar and activist, currently based in Toronto, speaks to First Nations solidarity for Palestinian rights. This is an excerpt from her talk at the "Sailing to Gaza – Again!" event with Bob Lovelace, a Canadian delegate on the Freedom Flotilla III. Filmed in Toronto, June 14, 2015. Camera: Darryl Richardson (youtube.com/drryll, mediacoop.ca). Editing: Canadian Boat to Gaza, (tahrir.ca). Learn more about the Freedom Flotilla here.
Christina Gray will set a strong precedent when she is called to the bar this week.
In a sea of black barristers' robes at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall, Gray, a proud member of the Lax Kw'alaams Tsimshian, will be wearing her woollen black and red Tsimshian button blanket and her cedar hat. On her back there will be a hand-sewn killer whale, representing her clan.
The regalia represents her Tsimshian culture, laws, ways of being and history, said Gray.
Gray will be the first in Ontario to wear First Nations regalia instead of the traditional barristers' robes when called to the bar on Tuesday.
Freedom Flotilla III has set sail for Gaza and on board is respected Queen's professor and Indigenous activist Robert "Bob" Lovelace.
The Flotilla is sailing to Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid and to collect artisanal goods made by Palestinians for sale.
"Every little bit of material aid helps," said Richard Day, spokesperson for Lovelace while he is travelling. "There's that first, very material, goal of bringing medical supplies, of bringing blankets and basic stuff that's next to impossible to get in there."
Lovelace, who is a member of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, sees a parallel between the settler-colonial occupation of land in Canada and in Gaza. He has referred to Gaza as "the world's largest Indian reservation."
Train of Thought, an artistic journey across Canada consisting of Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices, pulled into Toronto last week.
On Wednesday, I found myself sitting cross-legged in Ange Loft's workshop -- described as 'quick theatre creation using audio' in the program.
I had my brown sheet of paper in front of me and my blue oil pastel in hand, ready to be inspired by the interview with Lee Maracle playing on the speakers.
The interviewer asked Maracle how she felt about treaties.
"It's sort of like this," Maracle begins. "You had a house, and the neighbour moves into your house. Pretty soon he kicks you out. It's still your house, and you will always believe it's your house."