When Spirits Sing and Singers Have a Voice

Beverley Diamond


Most people are coming to Newfoundland this summer to celebrate John Cabot's historic landing in 1497, Iam here to celebrate the folks who greeted his arrival and helped him ashore - or maybe they hid. I Iwas pondering how to handle
this notion of "discovery" - which First Nations people predictably find both insulting and amusing, last week as the annual multicultural Caravan celebrations were just gearing up in Toronto. The First Nations pavilion there was also recognizing 1497 as an important meeting point but, to quote their spokesperson, they "see 'discovery' more as people looking at native people through new eyes." I would like
to affirm that it is the related task of hearing anew which is my objective here today. In the next hour, I want to reflect with you on how singing, the very sound of Aboriginal and European voices has been and continues to be a site where we - their descendants - negotiate who we are and how we relate.

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