DION STOUT, Madeleine

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Chers diplômés et distingués invités,
Let me begin by acknowledging the Algonquin peoples of this territory.

Chers diplômés,

Aujourd’hui, nous sommes appelés à être témoins de ce grand moment de la collation des grades.

Merci pour cet honneur.

Education is the road to success when it gets poured into you. And the road to success is educated when it pours out of you.

Therefore, your scholastic achievements are both inspirational and influential.   

This venerable institution, the University of Ottawa, directed you onto the road to success, and dedicated professors set the pace for your journey.

Devoted parents, partners, progeny and peers filled in the abysses of the real unknowns for you, from start to finish.

Chers diplômés, le cri étant ma langue maternelle, c’est vers lui que je me tourne pour exprimer mes principaux messages.  

 Manifest wisdom in words and actions.

Kēpē has a double meaning because it means “lie down fast” or “act fast.” How kēpē is internalized depends on your situation, relationships and knowledge.

 My cousin Margie and I used to lie down in jest when my trilingual Auntie Liz called out kēpēk as she ordered us to do the dishes.

Margie jouait de la guitare et elle chantait comme un ange; elle me chantait souvent de belles sérénades en traversant la grande route qui séparait nos maisons et nos vies.

Connect all things and relate to everyone

My friends and I laughed hilariously over a birthday card I received once because it said I had “an IQ two points above a plant.”  I only saw my memory lapse when my seven year old daughter said “But mom, that puts plants down.”
Cikema, we have to confirm what we cannot reasonably doubt.

Donate to the gift paradigm.  
Ochikiskisi “far back memory” renews this ethos.
Ochikiskisi also spurs original instructions. For example, “give aways” –pakitinekēwina- must always trump “take aways”- otinkēmakana.  

One summer, my grandfather Solomon Youngchief charted the sun’s rays where they first hit our humble kitchen wall, using the screen door I’d watched him build, as his gauge. Je n’ai jamais oublié ses leçons et sa grande capacité d’analyse.  

The sun rises in the east/sakaststehnok; is full in the south/apetoahkesknok, sets in the west/pahkisinohk and is a homing force in the north/kewethtinok.

Make room for new vistas.  

Space, misi-tawow, invites the entirety of one’s self. Place, misiwē, involves the totality of one’s environment.  

When I told my 2 ½ year old granddaughter, Miyawata that my mother had died due to old age and had now gone to heaven, she asked if I would die too.

After I told her I would, she spontaneously said “Well, I’m getting older and older. Let’s die together, kokum.”   To which she quickly added, “Winnipeg is a good place to die.”

Dans sa petite tête, Miyawata voyait la mort comme un espace et le ciel comme un endroit. Winnipeg, her hometown, was where she would do all fun things with kokum anyway.   

Know tradition as more modern than modern is
My mother stopped at Ncik’s tent on a particularly hot and stifling prairie day.
Ncik was in her eighties and she was blind. Hey hey nōsisim, tapwe mistahi kitatamihin ēpē-pītikwēyin ekwa ētahkiýawēpaýtaman oma pakwānikamikoos.
 “Hey hey my grandchild, I am so very grateful you have crossed my threshold to let the refreshingly cool breeze into this little tent.”
Little tents, big tents, knowers, knowing, and the known - voilà des idées qui ont toutes leur importance.

Dance the Grand Entry with forward and unforgettable steps.   

 As Ncik cleaned her moccasins, she said to my mother ōtē nīkan mistahi kanimhitonanawi maka mena mistahe kamēstinahnahwi.

“In time to come, dancing will be everyone’s vocation, even as death claims leave no one behind.”

En d’autres mots, we have to live our lives in spite of the constraints.  Death, pōni-waskawewin, is to stop moving while dance, nīmihitowin is to move rhythmically.

Chers diplômés,

Hier, divers cours ont aidé à façonner votre intellect. Today widens the possibilities for carving your contributions into the annals of time.  Demain, vous récolterez les fruits des efforts que vous faites en cours de route.  

Hai hai. Merci. Thank you.

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