PenderBlog From The Pender Islands Of Canada

October 23, 2007

Interesting Islander Profile No. 1

Filed under: Arts and Entertainment,Views — Jocko @ 1:40 pm

If you happen to be strolling around the Driftwood center, drop in and have a chat with Gwen at Gwen’s Fine Art & Native Collectibles next to the realty office. Gwen has an interesting background which led her to start a Native art gallery on Pender.

In her words: “I lived in Las Vegas for eight years before returning to Pender in 2005. During that time I studied Lineage Traditional Tai Chi and Yoga. My teacher was a Chumash Indian from California. Through the practices of Tai Chi and Yoga I became immersed in the Native culture. I became a member of a large inter-tribal Sweat family. We attended sweat lodges three times weekly, along with vision quests on Mount Charleston, listening circles and other native traditions. I was adopted Indian style by an Ojibwa family, and became Candice Esquival’s adopted sister. It was throught Candices’s teaching that I became a jingle dress dancer at Pow Wows and other native gatherings. We also sang “behind the drum” with a Pow Wow drum group. To supplement my income in Las Vegas, I became partners with Running Deer (now 98 years young) and sold jewellery with him at Gun Shows and Native events.”

Gwen missed her family in Canada and returned to Pender to share a love of Native Indian Culture by opening the store.

“Today, all seems quiet and serene which is always what I loved about Pender Island. Mitakuye Oyas’in (all my relations) Thanks.”

Gwen can be reached at 629-6647 or visit Check out her store soon!


  1. Gwen has these thoughts from the December 2007 issue of Driftwood News:

    I am often asked about the “political correctness” of using the word “Indian” to describe Native people – To answer this, I would like to quote A. Paul Ortega who wrote: “What is an Indian?” They say he is a person who doesn’t work but gets a monthly check from the government. Others say he is a man who got a raw deal from the government. Therefore, he deserves what he can get from the government. Also others say he is a drunkard who will never amount to anything. So therefore the government should terminate him. Let him make his own way in the white man’s society.

    Myself, I do not see an Indian in the same light as any of these people. I see the Indian as a group of people, all different in their ways, but held together by a common bond called culture. I see the Indian as a group who fought courageously against overwhelming odds, and after giving in and signing peace treaties, lived to see each peace treaty broken one by one. I see the Indian as a individual who, when their country was in danger, went to the front voluntarily and gave their last full measure of devotion, not only in the Civil War, But World War 1, World War 2, Korean conflict, and Vietnam. I see the Indian as a group of people who are proud and rightfully so, because they possess the secrets of life the white man has never discovered. I see the Indian as a group of people because, even in their broken English, they will tell you how important it is to gain an education in this modern world. I see the Indian people when they crossed a cultural barrier into the dominant society, become the best in their chosen profession, whether it be law, medicine, politics, trader, athlete, or fighting for freedom.

    When I think of the Indian in this light, I think of the question: What is an Indian? My chest suddenly expands and I think: I am Indian.

    Comment by Jocko — February 4, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

  2. Gwen’s Quote For The Month (From the Driftwood News, May 2008)

    “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they’re capable of becoming” “Mitakuye Oyas’in” (all my relations) Thanks again for you support.

    Comment by Jocko — May 4, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

  3. Gwen’s Insight For The Month (From the Driftwood News, June 2008)

    “The way it is with me so far….”
    (by Hayden Stewart)
    I am contentedly DEPENDANT and gratefully SELF-SUFFICIENT.
    Trusting the UNISON I have with SPIRIT and all THINGS and all PEOPLE, I am comfortable UNATTACHED, Yet I have an EXPANDING DESIRE to BE wherever love is needed.
    I sense an UNHURRIED CONTINUUM and IMMEDIACY in the ETERNAL NOW. I am SEASONAL and this is the season.
    I am recklessly CAREFUL
    Impulsively DISCIPLINED
    dependably INCONSISTENT
    so far…

    Comment by Jocko — June 8, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

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