Submitted by Intertribal Christian Communications
We have often been told that Intertribal Christian Communications is Canada’s best kept secret. In spite of the fact we’ve been around since 1979 and our literature and resources go to every province and territory, many people still have never heard of us or may have heard about us but never actually read any of our publications.
Sandra (not her real name) was just such a person. For over three decades our flagship publication INDIAN LIFE newspaper has been sent to her community in northern Ontario and she has often seen it at the band office or at the friendship centre.
One day recently, we received a call from Sandra to let us know how much she enjoyed reading INDIAN LIFE. “I have known about this newspaper for a long time and have seen it when it arrives at our band office but I never actually picked it up and read it until just this week.”
Sandra went on to describe the impact some of the articles made and that she wanted to subscribe not only for herself but also for her friends. Of course, this is music to our ears and has been what has kept us going for almost 37 years.
Our world is filled with so much bad news and when we consider how the media covers our Indigenous communities, there is very little positive news.
Our founders’ vision was to present ‘good news’ about what’s happening across Native North America (INDIAN LIFE is distributed in the United States as well). It was their mission to see our newspaper placed in every Indigenous home in North America. While we are still a long way from accomplishing our goal, we still aim to present positive news and encouraging articles which bring hope, healing, and honour to our First Nations and Metis and Inuit.
INDIAN LIFE has undergone quite a transformation since our beginnings. As a publication, we went from a newspaper to a magazine and back to a newspaper. We went from just hard copies mailed to thousands across the continent to now the printed copies still mailed out by “snail mail” and our Online Edition as well as our Facebook page.
We’re all well aware of how the world of literature and communications are changing and INDIAN LIFE is adapting and changing to reach as many people as possible.
When our founders were thinking of placing a publication in every Native home across North America, they were thinking of an actual copy of our newspaper arriving in everyone’s mailbox. 21st Century electronics has changed all that. Now, it is possible for a virtual copy of our INDIAN LIFE to arrive on subscribers’ smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs. Who would have known back in 1979, that this would be possible for little or no cost? Wow, we didn’t even use computers back then!
One of those who may have never heard of INDIAN LIFE had it not been for the electronic “transformation” is a young up-and-coming musician, Skyler Roulette. Born and raised in Germany by a First Nations father and German mother who met in Manitoba, Skyler was introduced to INDIAN LIFE on the Sandy Bay First Nation.
Skyler didn’t have a great life growing up. His father was an alcoholic and quite abusive to his mom and him. It got so bad his mom finally took Skyler and his siblings and left but the abuse didn’t stop. There were boyfriends coming and going and they were also abusive to Skyler and his family.
His dad died at a young age and not too long after, his mom passed on. Skyler was placed in an orphanage for five years until family members back on the Sandy Bay First Nation worked with German authorities to allow him to come to Canada and back to Sandy Bay.
It was there that Skyler met one of our columnists, Becky Kew, who runs a youth centre on the reserve. One of the first activities they did was distribute our newspaper throughout the reserve. Through the pages of INDIAN LIFE, Skyler was introduced to Jesus and His life-changing message.
“I kept hearing about the good news of Jesus over and over again and I thought to myself, ‘it would be nice to get saved but I didn’t know how and I ended up telling myself naaaahhh, I can still walk the Jesus Road when I’m like 70 or 80 years old.’ I said that because I wasn’t ready to give up my other lifestyle—dating girl after girl and drinking, recording music and cursing. I called it my Monday to Saturday lifestyle. It got worse and worse but I kept getting better and better in hiding the spiritual emptiness in my life. So I kept going to church.”
Skyler wondered about how he could have peace and joy in his life. “It was just so hard to understand that I could receive peace in my life so easily. After what I had been through growing up in Germany and for a short time in Canada, peace was really what I needed.
I kept asking myself: “What do I have to do to be able to go to heaven when I die and receive eternal peace? Do I gotta go to church more? Learn some of those verses in my Bible or maybe record a song about it? “I just couldn’t figure it out for days, weeks and months.”
Then tragedy struck the Sandy Bay First Nation. His friend died in a New Year’s Eve fire one year ago. After some time grieving the loss of his friend, Skyler decided it was time to accept the abundant life Jesus offers.
Our editor, Jim Uttley, interviewed Skyler recently where he shared his amazing story. Soon his life story will be published in INDIAN LIFE. His transformative message can also be heard through his music on iTunes. He’s just released a new album in collaboration with Grammy-nominated artist Fresh IE.
This charity has been certified by the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Charities that display our Seal of Accountability demonstrate ongoing compliance with high standards of financial and organizational integrity. To find out more about this charity or other Certified charities, visit giveconfidently.ca.