Unity & Diversity Q&A

Attempting to achieve unity without diversity leads to conformity. The ancient teachings of the Haudenosaunee people emphasize the space for all people to seek shelter under the long boughs of the Tree of Peace. And it is no accident that we created the Two Row Times in “the spirit of all nations.” In the weeks to come we are following (4) different individuals and asking questions about their heritage and cultural identity to foster conversation and understanding among neighbours. Join us as we celebrate the diversity of our newfound friends!

Laura Hill: Laura Hill is an Onondaga/Irish mother of one sweet and strong willed toddler, one hopeless dog, and two scheming cats. She is a Project Coordinator by day, and by night she dreams of hermiting in the woods with her family, a typewriter and a garden.

Adrian Dion Harjo: Adrian Dion Harjo aka “A. Dion” is a Multi Award Winning “Jack of all Trades” when it comes to performing arts. Adrian started singing powwow style when he was 7, Fancy Dancing at the age of 10, and then began Hoop Dancing at the age of 12, all of which has taken him around the world numerous times to share his culture with many different audiences.

Currently, Adrian now owns his own production co. (OvenBakedBeatz LLC) where he has successfully placed music from Film/TV/Radio/Live Theatre and more. Still hitting the powwow trail to this very day, Adrian stands evenly in both worlds of Traditional Culture and Modern Music, with credits including a NAMMY(Native American Music Award), CANAB(Canadian Aboriginal Music Award), Grammy(2001) and an RIAA GOLD Certification(500,000 units sold worldwide)!

Nicole Staats: Nicole Bailey Staats is a member of the We Canada Walk board of directors.

Nicole works with young woman in Winnipeg and in far Northern Manitoba communities, helping transition into independent living while teaching important life skills.

As an advocate for youth she wanted to be their voice, directing her strong passion to show people the struggles they endure through the world of video documentaries.

She began working in film and video when Juno-Award Winning director Jeth Weinrich caught eye of her photographs and asked her to work with him. These productions have now been aired on CMT featuring country singers like Beverly Mahood and Chip Taylor. Nicole has also worked on corporate commercials for Moxies that have been aired during NHL and CFL playoff games.

Nicole continues to explore her love of Directing and Producing and remains involved in many different independent productions. Her goal is to see this walk inspire youth to stand up and make a difference in their world by honoring the Missing and Murdered by making a change.

Jonathan Garlow: Jonathan Garlow is an award-winning music producer, artist and has recently become a media publisher in 2013 with the launch of the Two Row Times.


Q1. Imagine a gathering in your home – a birthday, graduation party or Sunday dinner. What kind of foods are at the dinner table? Is there a recipe in your family that has made its way through the generations?

LH: Our family gatherings are usually potluck style, with everyone bringing their own recipes to share. A typical spread will consist of pasta salad (a classic in our family), corn chips and salsa, some kind of grilled meat my brothers concoct, fresh rolls, fresh veggies, and the all-important cheese/pickle/olive tray. There is always, always too much food at the table. The most iconic recipes in our family are my dad’s pasta salad, corn soup and stuffing. Oh, and something called Aunty Sally Cake.

AH: At most of my gatherings when I was a child we always had one favorite that would feed everyone, and that’s Beans & Spanish Rice (Sopa) with tacos or tostadas! It was a little similar when I went to Pow-wows where we had Indian Tacos with almost the exact same ingredients besides the obvious Frybread substitute. The recipe for the Sopa was handed down from my Grandmother Acosta which I still make and feed my family with!

NS: Growing up I was introduced to all sorts of ethnic foods and hot spices. They tried to get my brother and I accustomed to what people eat all around the world so the all-American traditional turkey/mashed potato style Thanksgiving dinners were considered bland and boring in my household. So on every special occasion we all got a chance to pick an East Indian, Jamaican, Thai or Italian dinner by taking turns each year. It made our holiday dinners really something to remember.

JG: I am completely colonized so parties are totally pizza and pop. Sunday dinner was roast beast and smashed potatoes cuz I grew up a ‘meatatarian’. I was embarrassed about the Garlow tradition of eating “Achaa” when I was a kid until I found out other people on the rez eat it also – although they call it pepper root. My Duda Frances would make a lime jello and cottage cheese dish that my brother and I thought was the grossest thing but I feel bad about that now because I miss her. My dad calls it “Soylent Green”.

Q2. Which holidays does your family celebrate?

LH: My family celebrates literally everything. Just recently we had a barbecue at the family homestead just because the gardening season had begun. The bigger celebrations tend to be birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We aren’t big on gift giving but really love spending time together, eating and laughing.

AH: Well the Mexican half obviously celebrates Mexican Independence Day (Cinco De Mayo) whereas my Native side seems to celebrate life every single day, if not in addition to certain times of the year when traditional ceremonies are necessary. Yes we do the obvious Holidays i.e. Christmas, Halloween etc…but only because it’s a common thing for Canadians/Americans. Another part of our assimilation I presume?

NS: My family would not celebrate any holidays if it was up to them. But they do because us kids were around.

JG: The super colonized ones, Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. We go to Bread & Cheese even though we realize it was originally table scraps from the British Queen.

Q3. What sort of activities or events have become a tradition in your family? Do you intend to pass these traditions on to future generations?

LH: When my siblings and I were young, my parents always gave us new flannel pyjamas to wear on Christmas Eve. It is a simple tradition but it’s my favourite and it’s something I’ve been passing on to my daughter and husband.

AH: Well, my wife and I are professional powwow dancers and we do shows as well and have travelled all over the world sharing our culture, so it only seems right that our children would do the same. I learned the Hoop Dance many years ago from a gentleman named Kevin Locke, and I went around the world doing this dance and I have now passed it down to my son who has just about mastered the art and has competed at a World Class level and proven himself a champion as well as a good human being, due to the teachings of this dance and his family.

NS: My friends have always been a close type of family, and having backyard BBQ’s are usually an unplanned event but always an amazing turn out with the best memories. So having large BBQ’s and inviting friends and family around have been a tradition and I hope to host more of them in the future and pass that along. It’s all about building great memories with people closest to you.

JG: At easter the Garlow family cracks eggs. I have no idea where my grandparents got this from but you hard boil eggs then have a family wide competition to see who has the “Champion Egg” by hitting the pointed end of the eggs together. I am quite sure we are the only family on planet earth that does this.

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