Music for National Indigenous Peoples Day at Sled Island

Lido Pimienta performs at Commonwealth Bar & Stage during the Sled Island Music & Arts Festival in Calgary on June 21, 2018, National Indigenous Peoples Day.
© J. Ashley Nixon


National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada was celebrated on the Summer Solstice, June 21, with a variety of events in Calgary hosted by Sled Island Music & Arts Festival and Arts Commons. The Commonwealth Bar & Stage was the venue for a gig by Lido Pimiento and Guests, presented by CBC Calgary, Indigenous Resilience in Music (IRIM) and Drum Beat.

nêhiyawak, a drums, keys/bass and guitar/vocals trio from amiskwaciy (aka Edmonton) started up the show on the main floor playing indie rock. As the audience thickened, the music progressed to Electronic/Hip-Hop from Mob Bounce and Snotty Nose Rez Kids (SNRK), both comprising singing duos with backing tracks.

Heebz The Earthchild and The Northwest Kid, who are based in Vancouver, have been in action, writing, recording and performing their nicely phrased Alter-Native Hip-Hop with Mob Bounce since 2004.

SNRK draw their musical experiences and name from their upbringing on the Haisla Nation Reserve in Kitimaat Village on the west coast of BC. Their lyrics venture passionately into the politics of indigenous life including current tensions around pipelines through their traditional territory. Their performance included Savages (supported by a third rapper), a song featured on their current album, The Average Savage. This was included in the Polaris Prize long list, one of Canada’s most prestigious music prizes. SNRK also pulled up on stage local Hip-Hop artists Priya and Bhagya Ramesh, who perform as Cartel Madras in Calgary.

Lido Pimienta, the Colombian-Canadian artist who won the Polaris Music Prize in 2017 closed out the evening with a vigorous act of Spanish-language music and theatre interspersed with vivid conversations with the audience about her experiences and perspectives on life. This included songs from her award-winning second album, La Papessa such as En Un Minuto, Fornicarte Es Un Arte and Quiero Jardines.

Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography for more images from the Sled Island perfomances of Lido Pimienta, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Mob Bounce and nêhiyawak.

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Graduating from quality education at Connect Charter School

Mr. Jason Avramenko, a Grade Nine teacher at Connect Charter School, addresses his students during their graduation ceremony in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on June 20, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Students ceremonially graduated from Connect Charter School last night. The 100 members of Grade Nine walked the stage at this school where “It’s never just an ordinary day.” One of their school friends was with them in spirit and we all thought of you, Natasha. The Grade 9 teachers, Mr. Patrick Tam, Ms. Jaime Groeller, Ms. Cynthia Nilsson, and Mr. Jason Avramenko addressed their soon-to-leave students with affection, funny stories and nice challenges to keep on learning. Mrs. Chomistek, School Superintendent, who has been a magnificent inspiration to the hearts and minds of this school, on one of her last official duties before retiring, recognized the huge variety of talents that are soon to move on from the school. Susan, you will be sadly missed.

As the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dave Robinson put it, “Connect’s dirty little secret” is true. There are fabulous, dedicated and enthusiastic teachers at this charter school in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and this is my shout out to you for your creativity, inspiration and educational direction to bring on these young talents and prepare them to be extraordinary, and sustainable, citizens of the world.

You made the school an inclusive place: a part of the community in our city, our country and the world. Everyone was an engaged and active partner-the caretaking and office staff, teachers and Principal, Dr. Phil Butterfield. You bought a fleet of bicycles, and used them to go on swimming trips and a journey all the way downtown via the cycle pathway network. You brought in long-boards to put a different spin on sports education. And a greenhouse was constructed and a gardening club formed to revitalize links with the soil and growing plants-something that has sadly withered away from the educational system at large. You put solar panels on the roof and a garden to commemorate Natasha Gould’s life is underway. Your highly organized field trips gave our young people real encounters with the natural and urban world, whether out at Benfield on Vancouver Island for marine biology, down on the streets of Calgary or under canvas in Kananaskis Country. In the classroom (just a couple of examples here), Mr. Avramenko inspired a closer and critical attention to current affairs of the world on a daily basis. Mr. Chang made more than sense of electricity; he made it exciting!

Grade Nine students, you have just three PATs left then it’s out and on (after a well-earned summer break), to your chosen high schools where you can apply your carefully honed learning skills to enjoy and manage more curricula adventures. Connect Charter School, thank you for providing quality education for our children over the past six years, something that we, as parents, voters and taxpayers should not take for granted (see below).

Photographs from graduation 2018

Please see this link to J. Ashley Nixon Photography for more images from the 2018 graduation ceremony at Connect Charter School.

Connecting with Quality Education in the World

The United Nations established a set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) in 2015 which frame the global agenda for sustainable development through to 2030. Quality Education (Goal 4) is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Connect Charter School have clearly exceeded that mission for its own students and, through continued active support for student teachers, pedagogic research and collaborations can support other efforts to achieve this goal in Canada and around the world. Progress on SDG 4 was last reported in 2017. Please take a few moments to see some of the ongoing challenges, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and for vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, indigenous people, refugee children and poor children in rural areas:

  • In 2014, about 2 in 3 children worldwide participated in pre-primary or primary education in the year prior to official entry age for primary school. However, in the least developed countries, the ratio was only 4 in 10.
  • Despite considerable gains in education enrolment over the past 15 years, worldwide, the adjusted net enrolment rates were 91 per cent for primary education, 84 per cent for lower secondary education and 63 per cent for upper secondary education in 2014. About 263 million children and youth were out of school, including 61 million children of primary school age. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia account for over 70 per cent of the global out-of school population in primary and secondary education.
  • Even though more children than ever are going to school, many do not acquire basic skills in reading and mathematics. Recent learning assessment studies show that in 9 of 24 sub-Saharan African countries and 6 of 15 Latin American countries with data, fewer than half of the students at the end of primary education had attained minimum proficiency levels in mathematics. In 6 of 24 sub-Saharan African countries with data, fewer than half of the students who finished their primary schooling had attained minimum proficiency levels in reading.
  • Equity issues constitute a major challenge in education according to a recent assessment. In all countries with data, children from the richest 20 per cent of households achieved greater proficiency in reading at the end of their primary and lower secondary education than children from the poorest 20 per cent of households. In most countries with data, urban children scored higher in reading than rural children.
  • The lack of trained teachers and the poor condition of schools in many parts of the world are jeopardizing prospects for quality education for all. Sub -Saharan Africa has a relatively low percentage of trained teachers in pre -primary, primary and secondary education (44 per cent, 74 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively). Moreover, the majority of schools in the region do not have access to electricity or potable water.
  • On the basis of data from 65 developing countries, the average percentage of schools with access to computers and the Internet for teaching purposes is above 60 per cent in both primary and secondary education. However, the share is less than 40 per cent in more than half of sub-Saharan countries with data.
  • Official development assistance (ODA) for scholarships amounted to $1 billion in 2015, a decrease from $1.2 billion in 2014. Australia, France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were the largest contributors.



Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Documentary photography, Education, Photography, Sustainable Development | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Prairie Wolf Pack go down to high flying RAF

Lance Corporal Sam Breeze, RAF Rugby Union holds off from a tackle by Riley Fahlman, Prairie Wolf Pack to score his team’s second try in their tour of Canada game at Calgary Rugby Union on June 15, 2018.
©J. Ashley Nixon

The Prairie Wolf Pack got in two early tries from Grant Cowell (Calgary Rams) and Ruairi O’Farrell (Calgary Canucks) and, despite a responding try by the Royal Air Force (RAF) winger SAC Ryan Crowley and two good penalty kicks from fly-half Sgt Andy Byrne, the home side looked to be taking off well from the turf of Calgary Rugby Park. With a third try from Riley Fahlman (Regina), the Pack went into the changing rooms at halftime with a score of 21-11; the RAF boys stayed on the pitch and regrouped.

The touring side, who are celebrating their centennial year this season as Inter-Service Champions, first had to absorb another Wolf Pack try, scored by winger Ian Shoults (Bow Valley RFC) after he made a long run in through the opponent’s defence.

But in the last thirty minutes, the RAF picked up the pace, began winning more possession in the lineout and ruck and took the lead scoring three tries by Cpl Dave Manning, Lance Cpl Sam Breeze, who got my player of the match award, and team captain, Cpl Toby Mann. The RAF team kept a tight formation in the last ten minutes, holding the line from a couple of late sorties by the Pack.

Final score: Prairie Wolf Pack 26-30 Royal Air Force Rugby Union

Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography to see or purchase other images from the game.

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Canucks pick up the points in Edmonton against Leprechaun Tigers

The hands of a Leprechaun Tigers player holds up the ball as Olly White, Calgary Canucks tries to score during their game at Ellerslie Rugby Park, Edmonton on June 9, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Ollie White thought he had the try in the bag but some leprechaun hands had other ideas and held the ball up. Just one moment of action from the Calgary Canucks (Divison 2) game against the Leprechaun Tigers at Ellerslie Rugby Park, which the visiting team won by a single try, 29-24. The Divison 1 game also went close but ended up in favour of the Canucks by a score of 26-19.

Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography to view or purchase images from these and other rugby games.

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Lewis Carmichael scores on his debut for Scotland against Canada

Lewis Carmichael scores on his debut for Scotland against Canada at the Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, Alberta on June 9, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

I don’t believe any survey was conducted at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta for the international rugby game last night but its fair to say-from the singing of Flower of Scotland, the tartan tones in the terraces, and the pipers playing-that a fair few of the 12,624 attending were shouting for Scotland. It probably helped them to gear up and win handsomely over Canada with a final score of 48-10.

Second-row forward Lewis Carmichael scored on his debut for Scotland in the last couple of minutes of play. The 23-year-old North Berwick native, who plays his club rugby with Edinburgh, took a pass from flanker Magnus Bradbury to stride in and score Scotland’s seventh try of the night.

Byron McGuigan, Ruaridh Jackson, George Turner (3) and Magnus Bradbury scored the other tries for Scotland. Adam Hastings and Jamie Ritchie put in their first performances for their country in this short summer tour of the Americas that also sees games in Houston, USA, and Resistencia, Argentina.

Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography for more photographs of Lewis Carmichael’s first international try and other action from the Canada versus Scotland game.


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High tea at the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse, Banff National Park

High tea ( 2,099m) at the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
© J. Ashley Nixon

I got out for a hike at Lake Louise, Banff National Park yesterday. The crowds around the hotel thinned out quickly, leaving just a few hikers up on the mountain trails.

Traversing across about fifteen snowpacks during a two-hour trek was rewarded with spectacular views of Victoria and Lefroy Glaciers, the surrounding peaks of the Canadian Rockies and a peek of the primroses pushing through the wet spring soil.

Primroses pushing through at the Plain of Six Glaciers, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada on June 5, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

And the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse, which only opened up a few days ago, on the first of June, provided a nice, refreshing cup of high, mint, tea at 2,099 m (6,888 feet).

View of Mount Aberdeen from the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
© J. Ashley Nixon


View of Victoria Glacier and Mount Lefroy from the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography for more images.

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Canucks score high over Druids

Action from Chad Spence, Calgary Canucks, and Strathcona Druids at Calgary Rugby Union on May 26, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

A double set of games at Calgary Rugby Union between Calgary Canucks and Strathcona Druids resulted in handsome wins for the home Divison 1 and Division 2 teams. In the first match, the Canucks ran in eight tries, including scores from Ruaraidh Smith, Trea Hande, Matt Smith, Chad Spence (2) and John Ogilvy, to win their game 46-0.

In the Divison 2 game, some of the Druids players must have had heavy legs given that several of them had already had a run out in the 1st XV game earlier in the afternoon. The Canucks won over the visitors by a score of 64-12.

Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography for more action from these and other rugby games.

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