This isn’t the first time I’ve presented to a mostly first nations audience.

You’d think you’d get used to their reservation–pardon the pun (couldn’t resist!).

I think it’s because first nations kids are so trained to be respectful to elders that they’re downright afraid to laugh.

It’s kind of funny to see the laughs burst out of them and then get stifled.

The first group of the day was a large set of high school students, most of whom had read Wanting Mor.

Pardon me but it’s still such a thrill to think that kids way up here are reading my little novel.

Boy, it sure has traveled.

I also think that they might have been read the riot act and warned repeatedly to be polite to this stranger coming into the classroom. I can just hear the teachers, “Now, students. I DON’T want any incidents! She’s coming all the way from Toronto, and you WILL be polite!”

Only problem with that is I’m up there giving them my best material and they’re sitting there like a bunch of Russian diplomats.

Afterwards one of the adults that work with them said, “Oh you can tell if they’re engaged by the eyebrows. If the eyebrows go up–that’s good! Oh and if you see them wrinkle their nose–ooooh, that’s bad!”


Don’t think I noticed their eyebrows and their noses.

But let’s put it this way, during the whole hour and a half I had a room full of darkish eyes fixed on my every move, and not a word being said, no snickers, no whispers, just intense gazes and total silence.

And when I went past the end of the first period, and the librarian told them to stay seated they could just be late for their second period class, no problem, one blonde kid said, “Take all the time you want.”

And the librarian said that they’d sat attentitively for a VERY long time!

Then I did the middle schoolers. That was a bit more challenging because there was a camera hooked up to a remote location where another class was listening in on the presentation.

It was a bit disconcerting for me. I felt like my back was to the remote group. And it was hard turning back and forth trying to engage both sets of students, and ultimately I thought my primary loyalty lay with the ones who were present.

Same thing happened with the elementary presentation.

But it was so cute. I wore my printed kameez with the white and blue hibiscuses on it on a royal blue background, along with my royal blue shalwar and my multi-hued blue hijab and a couple of the little inupiak girls came by and told me how pretty I looked and one of them even touched my hijab and said, “I want one of those!”

It was really cute.

Tomorrow I’m doing two presentations at the library. Not sure if anyone will come as how it’s Easter weekend, but we’ll see.

So far so good.

Barrow’s just lovely. Haven’t seen any polar bears though.