Before her performance at the 2010 Olympics, before the casino shows across the U.S. and before the Juno nomination, Tracy Bone was a rez girl growing up on the Keeseekoowenin First Nation in western Manitoba.
Her sophomore album, Woman of Red, follows No Lies, a CD that landed Bone a 2009 Juno Award nomination and the award for songwriter of the year at the 2009 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards.
Bone also travels across North America giving workshops to youth with what she describes as "a focus on building self-esteem, encouraging healthy relationships, songwriting and performing while incorporating the traditional values and our history."
LISTENListen to the title track from Woman of Red.
Below, Bone tells the powerful story behind "Woman of Red," in her words.
Woman Of Red is an empowering anthem that encourages forgiveness and healing after the residential/boarding school plague that swept across our Red Nation.
To walk with courage and share the stories brings us all freedom and the knowledge to pass onto our children and generations to come.
Both my grandmothers on my mother and father's side attended residential school. My maternal grandmother shared her experience and life with me while I filled out the abuse portion of her application for compensation.
At first, she was somewhat ashamed and embarrassed to share everything. She left out parts here and there until she was able to "go there." My grandmother confided her fears, recurring nightmares, long-kept secrets and the details of the story of her life.
Today I know who I am, where I come from and my eyes are completely open. I have a great compassion for our people and the fight we have on our hands; that is to learn about who we are as a people so we have pride, to listen to our elders and the youth equally so we can grow to make informed and positive decisions with and for ourselves and families.
I used to hear negative comments about native people a lot when I was young. That made me feel ashamed to be me. Like many, I struggled to "fit in" and "find myself" due to the loss of identity that intergenerationally affects us all.
My grandmother gave me the ultimate gift when she shared her life with me; she gave me direction, courage, humility, this song and the story that I have shared with my children so they, too, can grow with pride. Today we are reclaiming our lives.
Tracy Bone on CBC Music
Tracy Bone on Facebook
on Jul 03, 2012