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Blondin in Vancouver

Adam Johnson
Northern News Services

Vancouver (Nov 27/06) - When Dogrib elder George Blondin released his third book in Yellowknife, it was just the first stop on a long journey.

Shortly after wowing crowds in the capital, Blondin, along with his son, assistant and sometimes interpreter, Ted, made a journey to British Columbia to do it all over again with Trail of the Spirit: The Mystery of Medicine Power Revealed. "I used some of my Air Miles and we went," Ted said, bemusedly.

NNSL Photo/graphic

A good crowd gathered at the Rhizome Cafe in Vancouver to take in Dogrib elder George Blondin's book launch.

The trip took them to Vancouver, where George's publisher, NeWest Press organized a book launch. As before, Blondin's editor, Fort Smith author and University of British Columbia instructor Richard Van Camp was in attendance, introducing the book and helping George with questions from the audience.

"That avoided a lot of yelling back and forth," Ted explained.

"My dad is very hard of hearing."

The show began with a greeting from Musqueam elder Larry Grant and a welcome song from Musqueam Language and Culture Program representative Victor Guerin.

Ted said this inspired George to take up the drum and sing a Dene celebration song.

"It was a really good cultural exchange between First Nations."

More than 50 people were in attendance at the small cafe, which was rendered standing-room-only. Many were UBC students from the NWT, as well as youth and elders from the Musqueam reserve.

One of the questions the audience asked focused on the historic Akaitcho and Edzo peace treaty. As before, Van Camp emphasized the importance of the treaty in Northern history.

"The leaders of the world could learn a lot from the Dene people," George said during his Yellowknife presentation.

"There was a good amount of people there and a good feeling of respect that flowed around the room," Ted said of the event.

Following the launch, George and Ted both travelled to Royston, B.C. on Vancouver Island, where they visited with Horst Wist, George's old shift boss at Giant Mine.

"The whole trip was very rewarding and memorable for my father," he said.

-with files from Ted Blondin