Wednesday, November 08, 2017

re: thoughts on Nlaka pamux language.....

Hello friends, fans, foe and lovers,

next week there is a conference in Merritt on the Nlaka pamux language and I wish i could go. I would do a presentation on video and documenting our language, our stories and language speakers. i worked on what i would also say if i could speak it there.

here it is:

Thoughts on Language: by Chris Bose. 08/11/17

What are my thoughts on language, language revitalization and culture? Well, the past couple years, even longer I have been trying to reclaim my Nlaka pamux language. The only resources I had were on the First Voices website. No one seemed to have any or want to share any language resources if they had them. So I copied and pasted made my own document on language, trying to build up my vocabulary. Then numbers, animals, insects, birds, reptiles, and so on, all while scouring the internet for anything, any shred of language or cultural stuff I could find. Since I am in Secwepemcullucw, whose language is also struggling, at least I was able to find resources and others willing to share them with me. For free, no charge, willing to share with someone wanting to learn more.

For a few years I knew more words in Secwepemc than our own language, Nlaka pamux. I learned more of their stories, met more of their elders, interviewed them, talked to them and befriended them because I am in their territory, and they were more than happy to share stories and songs with me because I am young and want to learn. Now I have worked at Cooks Ferry Band office, and while my office was in the archive room, I dove into everything I could. From Our Tellings, Nlaka pamux Oral Traditions galley copy, to archeological research to the out of print They Write Their Dreams on the Rock Forever, to Teits books, as well as research and documents about our people done in the 1980s with our elders about place and story. I started making videos in the language, basic ones, about animals, counting, body parts such as nose, ear, mouth, I tell my kids you cant go smooching without your sploochen!

I scanned every document I could and uploaded it to the CFIB website and printed out as much as I could to bring home and read, transcripts of interviews with elders, including my grandmother, my yeah-yah, Mary Anderson. I imagined the stories in my mind, trying to remember my yeah-yahs voice, her gleeful laugh and the joy of hearing our language again. When I returned home last year to my place in Tkemlups, I continued my research, finding whatever documents or books I could about our people here, finding and reading Charles Hill Touts book on our people in Lytton, and another book on the people of the Fraser Valley, Spuzzum: Fraser Canyon Histories, and watching the movie Canyon Wars with my kids, all the while continuing to work on my own on Nlaka pamux vocabulary with my kids and myself.

Reading all of these historical documents as well as traditional stories, and recalling stories and tracking down old family videos made me realize our people were and are incredibly strong. We have been here forever, thousands upon thousands of years. I sometimes sit and look at the landscape and imagine what it would have been like; at one time I thought it would be have been harsh and even hostile. But then I think of how much food and game there would have been before colonialism. How we lived and moved with the seasons, traded with one another, helped each other and knew the land, knew where the food was and how to harvest it to make sure there was more next year. I think about the salmon and the rivers, our sheestkins, our clothes, our basketry and our language. It all changed rapidly from 1810 with the first fort in Tkemlups and the fur trade starting.

Since then, we have been impacted extremely harshly from colonialism, greed and the residential schools. We were hit 3 times with smallpox in the 1800s, wiping out village after village, then the gold rush of 1858, during our salmon gathering time, and train building and road building and finally residential schools doing their best to take the indian out of the child. All these things have literally pushed our people to the brink of linguistic and cultural genocide. But we have survived somehow, we are resilient, but that isn’t enough anymore, our language, stories and culture should be at the forefront because once it is lost, we are stuck reading books and listening to tapes.

Language is a living thing and has to be shared in person, in workshops, in gatherings, in schools and in band halls and organizations. People and organizations have to set aside differences and share resources of language, stories, books, tapes and whatever else they can, it has to be pooled and it should be a defining priority of our people. This past summer I worked with our youth at the CNA film camp and only a couple youth could say Nlaka pamux, they instead called it Thompson language and referred to it as dead already.  
But, I did my best to teach them at the very least a few words, calling them Shin-je, and Che-cha, Kuktch-kuh and any words I could think of to get them hearing our language. Even less was known about our history or culture. It was saddening.

I too struggle with my kids to learn their language, my daughters are receptive and practice, but my son is less so, consumed with videos games and other typical shamut lifestyle things. He recently became a young man, moving out of boyhood and there was no ceremony. I didn't know it. I didn't know anyone who knew it. My daughters are approaching the same age and I have a cousin who has offered to help, but I am not certain if my daughters even want to do the coming of age ceremonies. Not only is there a divide between our organizations, but it is even in our families, someone may know something but think others are below them and wont share or simply just don't care anymore. We have been taught well by the indian agents.

But at least I have their ears on language and we work on it all we can, but I need more resources, our people need more resources, more workshops, more language and cultural gatherings, more time on the land reconnecting our people to one another, the stories, the places and living history. That is one thing I realized reading all these historical documents, is that I wish I could hear my Yeah Yahs and Spa-puh-luhs voice again, Mabel Joe, or hear Annie York talk about the Fraser canyon, or Louie Phillips and so on. Reading these stories is one thing, but living them is another, hearing the inflection of the voice, the laughter, the joy at someone remembering an anecdote to go with it and the boom of laughter once again. I grew up hearing our language and stories, and it helped shape me into the person I am today. I have realized if our language to rebound from the precarious place it is at, it will take a lot of ambition, a lot of sharing, a lot of healing and it has to be a priority. I mean not just talk, but real action, real plans and real things getting done once this conference is over. Yes, I am obsessed with our language and culture and I think that is what it takes, because once it is gone, who will share it or live it?!

Monday, November 06, 2017

re: kamloops writers festival and workshops upcoming!!!

Hi friends, fans, foe and lovers,

here are some gig posters for a couple events that just happened. or are happening. its pretty rare to have two gigs going on the same time in the loops, so stoked its happening. yay!!!!!

its nice being off the road, i do miss it sometimes, but when you spend ten years on it, a reprieve is nice to have and sort of relaxing. i plan on doing more creative writing workshops as well as filmmaking and even a filmschool in the new year. so, stay tuned!

blogs are a funny thing, i wonder if anyone even reads this anymore. so why do i continue to do it? good questions, habit i suppose?

hope all is well in your world!!



i joke i am fat wolverine in this one, but i guess
i should take things a little more seriously. 
the good news is my heart is good, 
but my lungs, not so good. 
which makes it hard to get more exercise.
le sigh.
but i wont give up.

the other writers were awesomely nice 
and the kamloops writers festival was a good time
its nice to get gigs at home
and some love as well.

Monday, September 25, 2017

re: more mural photos!

hey friends,

here are some more mural shots, showing the process and time, energy and support it took to create this behemoth mural!
first i had to mount all the pieces up onto the wall with double sided tape, then draw it out in marker, this took about 8 hours or 2 - 4 hour sessions.

then we reached out to the community and invited people
to come participate and help paint the mural!!!

it was a larger undertaking than i expected, but so worth it. indigenizing the landscape, the urban landscape with aboriginal art and presence is so needed in every community. to give voice and creativity to my people is a victory, and i was pretty excited to help create something i hope will inspire and push things forward in creating dialogue and more opportunities for others. 


chris bose. 

re: summer art and fun when it wasnt smokey.

hello friends, fans, foe and well wishers,

here are a few images from the summer, i was asked by the kamloops arts council to create a mural for canada 150, but they didnt want a jingoistic, gross mural glorifying the colonial history of canada. i proposed a landscape populated with aboriginal people and a close up of a family from a 150 years ago, sort of a jab at the group of 7, who were commissioned by the canadian government to paint these vast landscapes and towns, but totally devoid of people. but there were tens of thousands of people in the southern interior alone, secwepemc, nlaka pamux, statlimx, nsyilx, ktunaxa and more.

the trick was it would be on 150 panels of wood, that were roughly 12x12 inches. no problem, i came up with a design and they liked it, the city of kamloops liked it and approved it, all murals undergo an approval process with the city. it kind of sucks because it creates a bureaucratically heavy procedure to create art, or public art that is, but it is what it is. plus, that committee, the kamloops arts commission only meets once a month, so if you miss getting your multi page application in with support material, you have to wait weeks more and then weeks more to get a mural approved. it can definitely suck.

anyway, foolish me, i made the mural so it was wavey and not a static rectangle, silly move, haha. it looks cool, but was tough to put up. i learned a lot on this mural, what to do and what not to do. it was fun to paint, we invited community members and groups to come help paint it and i loved how it brought people together, which is what it was intended to do. i also had a studio to work out of, so that was really rad, a space i could go paint and listen to music and enjoy being creative. i will post some pics now and you can check it out. the mural is 26x8 feet roughly and i used acrylic outdoor paint. i found some cool cds at thrift stores and brought my boom box down.

my daughters also helped on the mural, it was rad.

here are a couple images because i finally started
playing with adobe illustrator, what a great tool,
a learning curve, but i enjoy it. 

this was the last piece of graffiti i never did.

cheers and thanks for dropping by,

chris bose.

re: keep crushing it out!

Hello friends, fans, family and foe,

so, despite the last post I did in july 20th, is there an answer? a change? something miraculous? well, no, but i continue to use oxygen and keep moving forward. i have been playing a lot more guitar, and it is mostly ambient, atmospheric, a bit dark and fun to experiment. some would even call it shoegaze guitar style. i am also painting again, a sort of tongue in cheek style of art, posing the question what is aboriginal art? in one painting i did a donut with icing in the colours of the medicine wheel with a couple feathers on each side, another one i have a popsicle melting in the summer sun posing the question is this aboriginal enough? it is the start of a new series i will call Sacrilicious.

i survived a pretty lousy summer here in the lower interior of bc, we had smoke from wildfires almost every day for months. it was so bad at times you couldnt see a block away and the air quality was in the 50s when the chart is 1 - 10. so yeah, that sucked. it was getting a bit depressing because it was constantly dark and smokey, i was house bound by it because of my lungs and breathing problems which made me feel a bit or a lot cabin feverish. i will post some photos. i also made and posted some new guitar videos, they are a lot of fun and i hope people enjoy them, watch them here:

all in all i guess all we can do is keep moving forward, even if it seems impossible, we all have struggles and challenges to face in life, when it gets you down reach out to friends or family, dont let yourself feel alone in the world, because you are not. until next time!


chris bose.
so, the start of summer to the rest of summer.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

re: rambling thoughts jelling together to make sense. could be an article or something?!

Dear friends, fans, foe and lovers and haters,

here is something i just wrote, trying to write my way out of my own prison in my head. have a go at it if you like, i think by the end i start to get it together. lol.

sometimes the simple way out is to confront it and work it out.

i feel a bit better having worked on this:

What to do?
I cant remember the last time I had a dream of something, doing something. I feel like every day is exactly the same, and I am trapped in a room without a key or windows or a way to a new world. I am trying to focus my thoughts and figure things out. I need goals. I need a project. I need to envision something positive and go for it. I don't know what I want to do anymore. Make art? Play music? I feel like every day is exactly the same. I need something to look forward to. To doing. To be. To go. Something. Anything. I look back on ten years in the arts and it feels like nothing has changed or been accomplished. I am still broke. Still in Kamloops, and feels like still going nowhere. Its brutal. I get depressed thinking about it. Or bummed out for sure. I know I have to make changes. Something has to give. I miss my kids. If anything I want to be something or someone they can be proud of and realize this whole dream of rock and roll dad or art dad has mainly been an illusion. But that is okay to dream.

I know that at any given moment, there are thousands of us across the country grasping to any shred of youth, before we realize it is okay to grow and mature and reshape dreams. I don't want to be that guy, trying too hard to be youthful but ever aging and fattening. Haha. When is enough enough? A rut is easy to fall into and so hard to escape. I have time but no money. No focus or ideas to get more money. Being an artist or musician or author or filmmaker is one long endless hustle for more money and more projects and more grants and more madness. When I finish a project I need to rest my brain, painting a giant mural 28 x 8 feet really takes a toll on you. Physically and mentally, constantly coming up with things, creating, jumping up and down, painting, mentoring people and teaching them new things and techniques while constantly learning new ones yourself is brutal.

After a decade in the trenches I am not sure what I have to show for it? A few nice toys, that I use to create music or art with, and I guess freedom. But what good is freedom when you have nothing else? No money to do shit. I am not one driven by material things, believe it, if you knew me well enough, you would know this is truth, I still catch transit for F sakes, haha. But money is a power, and energy, you can use it to open doors, to create opportunities, not just for yourself, but others because you want others to have and enjoy success. That is rewarding, helping someone have a breakthrough on a painting, a film, a story or a song is immensely rewarding because you see their brain working and sorting it out and then the moment when it comes together and you see that smile of accomplishment and ownership. I think I have seen this happen more in the last couple years than ever before because I am no longer driven to do stuff to benefit me, well, maybe financially so I can pay my bills and rent and stuff.

When I get asked to participate in projects or what have ye, I tend to look at the project, check out how much freedom there is in it creatively and how it will benefit the community?! When I work on a mural with the community, I dream it will provide some sense of pride for the community, the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community as well. We have so many ugly walls in this town why not make art for them, and help create a sense of ownership and pride in the walls and murals? Growing up Indigenous has never been easy, and I never had community role models or even role models on TV or movies. We were always the bad guys, the drunks, the savages, and always expendable. Then on the news, we were protesting, or roadblocks, or portrayed as always wanting a handout. Or ending up on the news missing and murdered. And believe me, that can really F@$# your head up because where is the pride? The culture and language that once held us together, nation by nation, territory by territory, band by band, family by family was torn away for over a hundred years. So, where was the representation that you could hold your head up with and walk proudly down the street and speak your language and know your culture?! It was nearly destroyed, and I believe that creativity can help recover so much of what was lost. Over the past couple years I have helped with several community mural projects and digital storytelling projects and it has been awesome. I hope that in some way, I can give back to this community and all over Canada as I travel on my traplines, that when youth see a mural created by youth and with youth that it speaks to them and gives them hope and pride in being Indigenous. I know it would have made a difference when I was younger.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

re: motorbike dreams

Hello friends, fans, foe and lovers,

i bring to you a new dream, please read and enjoy in some way, it's a calm dream, but it's filled with anecdotes and memories. let's begin.

Motorbike dreams:
Woke up last night from a dream, where I was given a motorbike, some kind of blue/green Honda motorbike. It was a gift from a friend, a dude whose face reminded hidden behind an ever shifting blur that was like a mask that was constantly moving in an octagonal shape, a flesh covered mask. I rode the bike from the North shore part of town, somewhere around Schubert, maybe Courtenay Avenue, which was the last place I lived before I left Kamloops when I was sixteen.

When I was that age, it was tumultuous to say the least, I remember cutting the grass in the backyard and when I was finished the neighbour asked how I was doing and I broke down crying. Which was a rare show of face, because I came from the era of hide it, the pain, deep down inside and never show anyone. But for some reason I balled my eyes out and the neighbour reached out and gave me a hug and assured me everything was going to be alright.

I have a feeling it was that neighbour who gave me the motorbike, he was an auto salesman, and constantly had new bikes, trucks and cars. Anyway, back then Courtenay Avenue was a rough street, a balance of low income renters and middle class home owners, the crime wasn’t bad, but the drinking and physical abuse could be heard happening any given night on that street along with sirens and cops and occasionally ambulances. I had no safe place to run to back then, so I left for good in the coming weeks and didn’t really look back again until now.

So, in the dream I had last night, I was given this motorbike, which you had to kick start, something I vaguely remember how to do, as when I was a kid, around 7 or 8 my cousin Michael had two little Honda 50 or 60 cc motorbikes that we used to rip around on out in Del Oro, a suburb on the outskirts of town. He’s deaf, but we’ve been close since we were toddlers, and I knew sign language, so he taught me how to ride a motorbike and kick start one. Those were the good days, riding around a barely complete suburb, empty lots and houses, doing brake stands and pop a wheelies and racing each other a km back to home.

Like any Aboriginal kid, or native or indian as we were known as back then, I lived with all my aunties and uncles at some point, my mother was 16 when she had me and was going through a lot of trauma from being in residential schools since she was 5 or 6. She went through hell and abuse and I have made my peace with her for the way we lived when I was younger, she’s my mom, I love her and she’s living a good life these days, so I’m really happy for her. Everyone deserves a fair break and for things to work out and she’s riding things out her way at last. Anyway, back to the dream, I get the motorbike and remember riding around the North shore testing it out, getting a feel for the throttle, the clutch and changing gears.

Once I felt comfortable enough, I rode out towards Westsyde road and down the 4-lane road out towards an undetermined street, maybe Fort Street, I lived there for awhile when I was a kid. I pulled the bike to the end of a street and a large open gravel lot and parked it. I went and got a white bucket from a house and filled it with warm water and place a Styrofoam cup in it. Then I left it and walked back to the house and went inside and waited at a table for the owners to come back. When they did, it was a man and a woman, in their 50’s and my dad in a wheelchair who came in the house, looked at me and left again outside. He didn’t say a word to me, the woman came and sat beside me and said something, but I can’t remember, along the lines of “it’s not your fault, he’s just pissed off about something,” and the man went to go get my father. I told her I had been given a motorbike and she said she knew already, so I told her I’d go get it, and I guess that’s why my father was mad, because I was riding a motorbike. I think he was worried I’d end up in a gang or something.

I left the house and walked to the end of the street and got on the motorbike and ripped past the house and my father doing a brake stand and riding on the back wheel of the motorbike and headed back to Westsyde road. Once I got back onto it I rode back towards town and woke up. It seemed like a new dream, a lot of my dreams seem old and recurring for some reason. But lately I’ve been dreaming about the Westsyde area, I went to one grade of elementary school out there, grade 6 or 7 and lived in a couple places. I wonder if I’m processing something from that time now? I was 11 or 12 when I lived out there and remember riding into town on my bike, a ten-speed classic with the mountain goat type curled forward handlebars.

Unbeknownst to my mum or stepdad I would bike 5km into town on Saturday or Sundays to go to a bookstore that is now a gun store, and look at mad magazines or other comics and funnies. Buy something or not, and bike the 5 km back home in an afternoon. I was reading full-length chapter books then too, mainly boy type ones, apocalyptic mad max type books, barbarians, sci-fi and horror even. I read voraciously like my son and daughters do, reading was an escape I suppose. Creating worlds and dreams of escaping Kamloops, and when I finally could escape and leave this town, I did. I traveled the world for almost 20 years now, as a tourist, an adventurer, a musician, an artist, a father, a writer and a filmmaker. Now I’m back and still in Kamloops and don’t mind it as much as when I hadn’t left. Tom Waits said it best, “the world feels like a shoebox if you haven’t left your hometown, but once you do and leave for a few years and come back, it’s as big as you can imagine.” Or something like that. Haha.

So, I wonder if I’m processing something long forgotten events and memories finally as I near 50 years old or if something else is going on in my subconscious? Like I’ve said, a lot of my dreams seem old and recurring, so when something new happens it’s exciting and interesting, at a certain point in the dream, I knew it was a dream, when I saw my dad with the man and woman come up to the house I didn’t recognize but made myself at home in and waited for them. Dreams are so strange and fascinating, I’ll probably this one again now that I’m aware of it, so we’ll see what happens shall we?

my youngest and i as i wrote this blog post

this blog post.

kamloops view north from the steps 
of the old courthouse.

creative fuel. 

old courthouse view facing west Kamloops valley

li'l Chris Bose, maybe 7 years old? 
missing teeth. haha.