Women’s Day andCultural Diversity and Race Relations is celebrated in March throughout the world. We at Banglar Gaan O Kotha (Saskatoon community radio show) invited prolific women, who we consider have contributed to our community greatly and is an example to many other women. Colleen Charles, our guest last week is one such lady. Collen, an aboriginal woman, who grew up in Woodland Cree located in Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan was invited to the show to mainly talk about her 14-years old daughter, Jewel Charles’, art exhibition, which is scheduled on March, 25th. Jewel, an excellent painter has won a scholarship to visit New York to learn more about art and she is organizing this exhibition to cover up for the remaining expenses. She also intends to donate a large portion of her proceedings to other students in school, to be precise, one Aboriginal student and the other would be an international student.
As I always mention, every episode of BGOK is a storehouse of new learning experiences, and being a host, it is full of surprises. And, one such wonderful finding from this interview highlighted the importance of co-curricular activities in breaking the stereotypes. Colleen and Jewel are an example of this. Colleen is herself a multi-tasker and a very learned woman, a mother of three, and Jewel is her youngestchild. Colleen never married and is a single mom, the first stereotype that she is asingle mom without marriage can raise wonderful children and at the same time advance themselves in every possible way. Colleen went to school, finished her Masters and got admitted to a PhD program while she was a mom. Here, she broke another stereotype that Aboriginal women go to school successfully for higher studies and have a purpose in life.
She spoke about how as a painter herself, she inspired little Jewel to take up painting. She bought Jewel all the necessary painting materials as a little girl so that she could start her own creation. Through painting Jewel today expressed herself, and, today, she creates marvelous art pieces, which is an extension of herself. This teenager, breaks the stereotypes and the negative sentiments attached to the Aboriginal community kids, who come from single parent homes. Jewel is an intelligent kid, she is 14,loves her family and friends and certainly is not a teen pregnant ! She goes to school, paints, reads books, and spends time with her loving mom. In other words, she is every parents’ dream child.
The crux of this interview revolved around the fact that getting into a co-curricular activity is always helpful to discover yourself. It is more important that you are engaged in something rather than what tangible benefits you get. Just because your little child learns music, does not mean s/he has to become Ustaad Tansen or Bob Dylan, or if your kid is in the painting does not mean that s/he has to be as good as Picasso. It is important to create and keep creating as this helps in holistic growth and development.
Host of Banglar Gaan O Kotha
Saskatoon, Community radio, Canada.