Jamie Hunter introduced Russell Nogonash, a member fo the First Nations Band of Georgian Bay and a sculptor and painter.  He entered foster care but left when he was in grade nine to work on construction and other jobs.  He was led to sculpture and now teaches in the 'Survival School' in Calgary. 

Russell said he was presenting a show with Peter Meyers in Barrie and was invited to speak to the Club by Rod, so thanks for the welcome.  He feels it is an honour to share his experiences.  He will be having a show at the Huronia Museum from Sept. 10 to Oct. 10.

He finds himself now reflecting on a new generation of artists.  Finding art was a struggle for him.  He did experience abuse in the foster home and ventured west in 1977 and art has been part of his healing process.  It helps him follow the teachings of his people.  The education he did receive was brutal and scary and he lost the ability to trust, but it was God's wish that he go back to his culture.  He did search for his parents but his father was killed and his mother died as an alcoholic.  He holds an eagle feather as he would a bible, as an assistance to his prayers for guidance. 

It all led to a meeting with Norval Morrisseau who taught him and others to accept events and to love the children.  He could be a stern teacher but he helped them see that life was changing and they needed to adapt to it.  His rock sculptures represent the transformation of these teachings.  By focusing on the traditional stories through his art he is following what the elders teach, which is that we are placed here, from above, to teach the next generation.  He sees the first nation children going out into the western society and some suffer but some come back stronger, following the drums that are the heartbeat of the earth.

He hopes to share the experiences of ceremony, that every day is a blessing and to express his gratitude to Norval and to the world.  Norval told them to take what you have home with you and that the world is better off for artists.  They show the past, the present and the future and help us look to the next generation.  He is also a dancer and travels widely performing.  He designs his own regalia.  He thinks the best thing that happened today was that he woke up, that we should always tell our dearest that we love them and that we should all give the gift of touching, healing, praying and laughter.

Ron offered the thanks of the Club to Russell for bringing his message and for the work that he is doing.