Recent History – 1999
Aug. 2, 2000
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
A respected member of the Peace Country’s Metis community has compiled a collection of poems, worksheets, and charts with which she aims to make lives better.
Written by Rose-Marie McLeod, 53, Your Personal Life Journey, deals with the five aspects of a healthy life: social, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual, each with a distinctly Metis flavour.
“It’s a step-by-step way for native and Metis people to find healing, growth and maturity to a healthy, culturally acceptable fashion,” said McLeod. “And this book is not exclusively for aboriginal people. It offers everyone healing and growth and a culturally rich and healthy approach to life.”
Features include pages at the end for keeping a journal, and worksheets in which the reader is assigned such tasks as making a collage about sadness.
McLeod’s favourite section is a 24-hour circle. The reader is asked to account for how many hours are spent each day on different activities, be they sleeping, working, or playing video games.
“A lot of people don’t realize that they spend so much time on different things and not enough on what would make them healthy,” she said. “And on next page of I have what I would like it to be, so they can set a goal.”
McLeod, who grew up on the Paddle Prairie Metis colony in northern Alberta, has been a counsellor since 1972 and has lived in Dawson Creek since 1976.
Along with formal training through university courses, McLeod’s qualifications are also rooted in traditional Metis culture. She’s received eagle, owl, and hawk feathers to acknowledge achievements she had made in helping the Metis community.
And much like a group martial arts student will live with the master, an elder lived with McLeod, assessing her each and every move, 24 hours a day as part of earning those awards.
“A lot of times we can do some things for five hours, but can we do it for 24 hours the same way?,” she said.
The is a strong spiritual side to the book, but McLeod said she isn’t pushing religion. “But I do recommend that you develop some sort of spirituality,” she said.
McLeod can also attest personally to the approach she has set out. At one point, McLeod was in such bad shape that she needed two canes to walk around and consumed a steady dose of pills. But in two years she has lost 120 pounds and has discovered a new enthusiasm for life.
“I know it works and I know it’s good and I know people that have gone through it and it’s made a difference in their lives,” she said. “Even if they don’t use the tools now that are offered in this book for recovery or their lifestyle, it will be there when they need it.”
Between the worksheets and the journal, McLeod wanted to raise the book above a mere instruction manual. By making the reader an active participant, more will be learned. “A little bit of work, a little bit of play,” is how McLeod describes it.
For more information, call McLeod at 782-0956 or go to www.skynary.com/semps on the Internet.