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A bridge between worlds and a new beginning. A train bridge points to a new path, walking away from trauma toward hope and a bright future for one woman and her young family.

Storyteller statement: Daniel Hanover Knight

The memory I received was more current than my fellow artists, but yet it did have something that is as old as time in it, the strength of Indigenous women. I wanted to create something uplifting, I read Elizabeth’s memory and thought; it carries heaviness and sadness, it also reveals an inspirational strength. I read her memory and I was amazed by how strong of a person Elizabeth is.

The social climate was completely different, women were already looked down upon and valued less than men, but to be a single women raising two kids and going to school to get her life on track is truly amazing. Elizabeth definitely was a pioneer of sorts, a true living example of feminism, before feminism was cool. I wrote a very short concept album from her perspective, it’s more of an EP of sorts.
 

Story transcript

After leaving residential school then the reserve, I moved to Vavenby, British Columbia, to be with my partner, with our two children, a boy, age two, and a daughter, five months old. I left my partner and Vavenby. I was fed up with his alcohol addiction. I moved to Prince Albert, and went back to school to complete my grade 12. I applied to the Indian Teachers Education Program. This was the first year it commenced at the University of Saskatchewan. I got accepted. I was one of the first graduates of the new high tech program. While I was attending classes at the education building, I often accessed the train bridge. The train bridge was a connection from my old life to my new life. I also got to visit the Diefenbaker Centre, which is situated next to the education building. The visits to the Diefenbaker Centre was like traveling back in time. John Diefenbaker was deemed a hero to many First Nations people, my father included. I view the John Diefenbaker Centre as a special commemoration of a hero. 

[Music] I’ve been trying real hard to make a change. You’ve been laying around wasting your days, and you’re falling all apart and you twist and you shake and you drink a little more every day. But I still have dreams to do. You know I do, you know I do. It’s sad to have dreams to do. You know it’s true. You know it’s true. And I will make them come true. Yes, I, whoa whoa I, still have dreams to do. And I’m sneaking around when you’re coming down. A gurgle in my stomach, I just wear a frown, and I’m wasting all away at the thought I will break and I never know just why, but I need a change. Yes I still have dreams to do, you know it’s true, you know it’s true. Yes, I, whoa whoa I still have dreams to do. You know it’s true, you know it’s true. And I will make them come true. Yes I, whoa whoa I, still have dreams to do. So I’ll run to the living sky, make it out of Vavenby and I know that I can’t stay. Make a change and run away, yeah. I still have dreams to do. You know it’s true, you know it’s true. Yes I still have dreams to do. You know it’s true, you know it’s true and I will make them come true. Yes I will make them come true. I still count on the days that we’ve been apart. Probably the best thing I did for my heart.  

[Music] Set up in a new town. Started at this program. ITEP is the name. Teaching is the game. And I wake up in the morning, pack a few kids for school. We’ll make it on time. We’ll be alright. And I’ll spend all of my days reading books, staying up late. That’s what I said that I’d do, sit down and make a future for you. Yes I’ll make it true. And I love this new life, even though it’s filled with strife, gotta pay the bills. Heaven knows I will. And I’ll spend all of my days reading books, staying up late. That’s what I said that I’d do. Sit down and make a future for you, and I’ll make it true. And I don’t mind, I don’t mind, I don’t mind all the judgmental eyes. No I don’t cry. I got better things to do. And every way every way every way, you say, count the days till I graduate. Isn’t that cool? And I’ll spend all of my days reading books, staying up late. That’s what I said that I’d do, sit down and make a future for you, and I made it true. [Music] 


Credits

Written and performed by Daniel Hanover Knight  
Mixed by Andrew Towe

GORDON TOOTOOSIS NIKANIWIN THEATRE (Saskatoon)
Ed Mendez, General Manager  
Jennifer Dawn Bishop,  Artistic Director  
Cory Dallas Standing, Marketing Coordinator  
Darlene Okemaysim-Sicotte, Assistant Admin 
Cheyanne Lemaigre, COV Coordinator 
Elizabeth Ahenakew, Cultural Knowledge Keeper 
Lois Hardy, Finance 
Consulting (Indigenous Cities), Heather Cant 

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