Rita Walker (Blog Fourteen):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Fourteen):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

In 1974 Spanish pilot and marine officer Juan Pérez was the first European to discover the Haida Gwaii but bad weather stopped him from landing and claiming it for Spain.   James Cook, Captain of the Royal navy was the first European known to visit the Haida Nation.  Archaeology digs have determined the Haida have been living on the Haida Gwaii islands from 6000 to 8000 years ago.

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/haida-gwaii

https://www.raconteur.net/business-innovation/cobalt-mining-human-rights

https://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/giants/aegir-and-ran/

https://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/aborig/haida/havwa01e.html

As she drives home from the college the sky is dark and clear.  A song she hasn’t heard in a long time comes on.  Chalk Circle’s “This Mourning” gets her tapping her hands against the steering wheel.  It reminds her why Kaneki needs to go back to Centre Earth.

The weeping willow string she planted is growing little nubs that she hopes will grow into tiny branches.  It was wonderful that Kaylee asked her to teach a Haida language course three times a week along with her once a week Environmental Technology class.  She knows she’ll be financially stable for the next three years.  Her real focus though is on what she does at night.  So with a cup of licorice tea she sits in front of her window in her kitchenette and concentrates on the tiny willow sapling.  A quarter moon shines through her window awakening the elemental inside her.  She could control its pull for her to change but tonight she wants to transform.  Her eyes remain open but become unfocused.

She finds herself at Soper Park.  Before her Oya is dressed ready for action.

“What do you want child?” Oya asks in an exasperated voice.

“To visit Rán.”

“This is a bad time for me child of Ailbe Rose.  I must deal with Kaneki’s influence on mining for cobalt in the Congo.   Think of Island and go!”

To Icelanders their home is known as Island.  It’s where her grandfather wanted to return to.

When Rita was five her father took the family to Kiusta at the northern tip of Haida Gwaii.  Taking her hand he led her to the shore where the ruins of a long boat rested near a group of ancient totem poles.  “My father, your grandfather arrived on this boat.  He was nearly dead when they brought him to a sweat lodge and your grandmother nursed him to health.  He came from far far away.  You and I have his eyes whereas your brother has pure Haida eyes like your mother.  I would find him staring at this ruin as we worked on his new boat.  I think he would have stayed if your grandmother had not died during the Tsimshian raid.”

Rita only remembers her father’s father vaguely.  Tall and strong, with long brown hair and a red beard that flowed to his chest.  His voice was loud sometimes but more often hushed as though his soul were broken.  By the fire pit he would stare at her but with his chin turned slightly away.  It made her feel as if he was watching her wearily.  His Haida Gwaii words were clipped and often he added words she had never heard before.  He always kept his distance from her.  “There is something else in this child,” she would hear him say to both her mother and father at different times.  He would shake his shaggy head afterwards and stare at her out of the corner of his eyes.

When she was four her father’s father had taken dry fish and fresh water onto his new boat with its many ribs.  “Someday others like me will come,” he warned before he paddled north towards the Bering Sea.  In the distance Rita remembered seeing him unfurl the strange red and white curving sail his mother had helped him sew.  He was right others like him would arrive at Haida Gwaii but Rita wouldn’t learn about that until later.

Her vision becomes cloudy.  As the cloud dissipates she can see Rán walking in modern clothes by a river.    Rán stops and turns to her with a beaming smile.  Rita realizes Kaneki has not made his presence known as much on Iceland—yet.

Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 by Freyr Holldorsson
Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 by Freyr Holldorsson

“What can I do for you Rita?” Rán asks in her boisterous voice.

Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 3 by Freyr Holldorsson
Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 3 by Freyr Holldorsson

“Do you have student named Marlo?”

“I do.  When you change you can watch him by the lake near where you live.  He is with you Rita that I can assure you.”

“Thank you, Rán,” Rita says as Rán fades away and she feels herself changing.

Rita Walker (Blog Six):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Six):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

An interesting twist.  The Haida believe that animals are more intelligent than humans and can transform into human form.  If you are from the Haida it would be good to hear from you.   Why have we included Indio’s (Gordon Peterson) song Hard Sun?  We’ll leave that up to you to figure out.

Andraya as Vilas for Rita Walker (2)

https://prezi.com/vy0c2vx1kudj/the-haida-tribe-spiritual-beliefs/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1tVvQUAcf4

Lying in her bed Rita stares at the black cloth of the curtain that blocks the view of the night sky.  Soon she will pull the curtain back but not yet.  She turns off the lamp beside her bed and stares up into the darkness of the room.  She thinks of the Indio song Hard Sun, and the verse:  When I look to leave her I always stagger back again.  The song reminds her of the first time her world changed.

She was born in Haida Gwaii to parents with ancestry in both Haida and the Vikings, and something else that her parents never discussed with her.   She was a little girl when she learned of her difference.  What she thought was unique she later discovered to be very rare.  Lying in a four person tent with her parents and older brother in the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, with the rain pitter-pattering against the tent’s canvas, she dreamt.

She crawled along one of the nearby trails on her hands and knees with her blanket over her back.  In the dream she needed to move like this during the night in order to sleep.  Occasionally she would nap on her blanket then continue crawling.

The dawn light awoke her but she was not sleeping in the tent.  She grabbed her blanket and stood up.  Looking back at the trail she had crawled along she saw the imprint of a cat’s paws as far back as she could see.  She ran back to her parent’s tent.  Peering into the tent she saw they were all asleep.  She did not want to disturb their slumber so rolled into her blanket near the fire pit her father had made.  The second dream that night was the one that changed her forever.

She stood in a field of deciduous and coniferous trees.  Near her a young woman in a blue cloak stood.  Rita just knew she was one of two sisters.  This sister was a Vilas who answers to the Ailbe Rose, an ancient being who resides in Ireland.  Rita had stared wide eyed as the Vilas picked up soil from the ground with one hand and took one of Rita’s with the other.  The Vilas turned her hand with the soil over and let it pour into Rita’s.  When Rita’s hand was full so that the extra soil flowed off her hand back to the ground the Vilas closed Rita’s hand over the soil remaining.  When Rita opened her hand with the soil there was nothing there and the dream ended.

Rita Walker (Blog Two):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Two):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

I listen to Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” often.  He is a member of a group called the Elders, founded in 2007 by Nelson Mandela.

https://www.theelders.org/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDaLEGb_mo8

Cloverdale’s Horizon Ultra Low VOC paint  , Bioshield paint, and others are making environmentally friendly paints.

 

A woman in her mid-forties wearing a blue blouse and blue jeans walks towards Rita with a beaming smile.  Her raven hair is tied back and hangs half way down her back.  Her wide brown eyes glint with mischief.  It’s the tattoo of the wolf on her left arm that makes Rita feel instantly at home at the college.  The human species has a variety of races.  Some are considered more pure though she isn’t sure that the word pure is the best choice if it’s considered better than.   Rita herself is Haida from the British Columbian coast but she also has Celtic roots.  What links her to Kaydee, the woman now in front of her, is that they share a separate race all together.

“Sister,” Kaydee cries out with joy hugging Rita to her.

“Sister,” Rita replies.

“I am so glad the college agreed to give you one of the newly built rooms to teach your course on Environmental Technology.  We already have you filled up with local and International students.  And yes there is a gym on the grounds.”

As Kaydee talks and they walk towards the new room Rita will be teaching in Rita peeks through some of the doors to the other lecture rooms.  Between two large, erasable ink boards is a screen that the professor can use a pointer stick with in one hand while clicking a remote with the other.  Students sit at desks on a sloping floor.  Kaydee takes her down a new corridor painted eggshell white with a red band down the centre.

“The painters used Cloverdale’s Horizon line paints because they’re non-toxic,” Kaydee tells her as they stop at door with a small square window at the top.

She sighs deeply.  Many years ago Peter Gabriel sang Biko with an orchestra at the Ed Sullivan theatre on the David Letterman Show.   The music plays in Rita’s head as she remembers what Peter Gabriel said as he thrust his hand in the air.  But she isn’t here to tell the next generation it’s up to them.  She’s here to say, “ It’s up to all of us now.”

Kitchener Comic Con is this weekend at Kitchener City Hall (200 King Street 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.). After that I’ll be blogging The Gothic Horror Musical “Hierarchy of the Undead”

Hierarchy of the Undead

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Photo of the road to Castle Ward taken by Leah Weir, January 2018.

Castle Ward is located in the village of Strangford of County Down in Northern Ireland.  The Hierarchy of the Undead is in no way associated with the castle, we just wanted locations and buildings with a Gothic feel to them.  The Ward family took over what was originally Carrick na Sheannagh, owned by the Earls of Kildare in 1570.