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Literary life: Lynn Calf Robe’s “Really Good” Magazine

Posted By PowWows.com April 3rd, 2014 Last Updated on: April 3rd, 2014

Interview by Dr. Dawn Karima, Contributing Editor

Lynn Calf Robe is a pioneering presence in publishing. A proud member of the Siksika Nation, the founder of Iksokapi Magazine is venturing into new territory with an online magazine “created for Indigenous women by Indigenous women”. With a name derived from a tribal word that means “really good”, this new magazine tackles relationships, fashion, culture and business from a Native perspective.

Q) I love writing for Powwows.com and one of the biggest reasons is that I get to visit with so many of our fantastic Native people who are doing intriguing things! What matters to you these days?

A) My family is my main priority – I am a mother to Ariel, an amazingly awesome 6 year old girl who keeps me on my toes and is my inspiration. She is my most influential teacher in life and reminds me everyday not to take things so seriously. I share my life with an equally amazing partner named Randy; my best friend, lover, favorite travel partner and biggest supporter next my mom and daughter. I have a large extended family who I am also very close to and credit for always being my biggest inspiration and supporters.

Q) What is your Native heritage? Tell us some of the things that mean the most to you about being Native and a member of your Tribe?

A) I am a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation, a First Nation community affiliated with the Blackfoot Confederacy, Treaty 7. I also have a great great cree granny on my moms side and a grandpa on my dad's side who was raised in Rocky Boy.

I LOVE being native. Was born and raised in a very proud Siksika family. I was raised with the Siksika culture and language by my mom, grandparents and extended family. I realize now that we were blessed to have been raised this way because as I got older, I met so many other natives who were not raised the same way and struggled with identity issues.

Lynn Calf Robe

Lynn Calf Robe

Q)Powwows are an important part of life for our audience. Do you ever attend or participate in powwows? What do you think makes a powwow a good one? What are some of your favorite powwows!

A) Yes, grew up in a family of dancers, singers and outfit makers. I was initiated into the powwow circuit at a young age, danced a bit as a kid but was not as dedicated as other family members. By the time I was a teenager I was doing my rounds around the arbour at the local powwows in treaty 7 and now as adult I am a spectator and powwow mom in training. I have a 6 year daughter who was initiated to dance at 1 years old and is getting more interested in dancing as she gets older. I do look forward to hitting the powwow trail hard when she is ready.

I also work for my grandparents who own a teepee at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, The Calgary Stampede Indian Village. Every year in July since the inception of the Indian Village, my family has been apart of sharing our culture with the world. I along with other family members help with preparations that go into making this happen. Come check it out if you have never been. Its a fun, family tradition..the most fun you can have with your moccasins on.

A good powwow is not complete without the dancers, singers, drummers, and Indian tacos…oh right friends and family too.I don’t think I have a favorite because I enjoy them all. I have always heard about how awesome Crow Fair and Gathering of Nations is, those are two powwows that I am definitely looking forward to.

Q) When we look at the magazines out there today, it seems as if very few of them truly focus on Native Americans. How did you decide to create a magazine that makes us the focal point?

A) For that reason exactly, there is very little focus on Native Americans especially a positive one. I was a kid and teenager way before the internet so television and magazines was how we got our information. Influenced by my family especially my older siblings who loved their magazines; my brother Shawn and his wrestling magazines my sister Fran and her endless supply of Teenbeat, and Bop magazines. My mom is a fan of all celebrity gossip rags including Star Magazine.

I eventually started buying my own which included; Sassy, Rolling Stone, Hit Parader and Cosmopolitan to name a few. I realized then as a teenager growing up in Siksika that there was no publications about us so it was during this time I had decided that one day I was going to make one, a cool one. As I got older I gained experience as a writer, photographer and managing editor.

These experiences, combined with meeting many exceptional indigenous women from around the world are all part of inspiring Iksokapi Magazine including my best girlfriends; Holly Solway, Sue Solway, Candice Good Eagle, Jennifer Russell, April Running Rabbit, and Germain Wells. (SHOUT OUT)

Q) What can we expect from a typical issue? What do you think are some of the most important ideas and insights that your magazine promotes?

A)Iksokapi Magazine features a regular Iksokapi Profile showcasing inspirational Indigenous women in North America. This lifestyle magazine also features a variety of topics which covers a broad range including events, individuals and programs in; Arts & Culture, Business & Politics, Education & Employment, Health & Wellness, Kids &Parenting, Sports& Recreation, Sex & Relationships and much more. There is something in it for everyone. I have also set aside a section for the families of the Missing &Murdered Women from our communities to share information about loved ones.

Q) What are some of the lessons from your Tribal heritage that keep you spiritually centered? How do those internal ideas appear in your magazine?

A)Making time for prayers on a daily basis, being grateful and giving back, especially to those in need. My motivation for creating Iksokapi was ultimately to give back to my community and support my fellow sisters in the Indigenous community.

Q) What are some of the obstacles you had to overcome in order to move forward with your magazine? How did you know that this was what you truly wanted to do?

A)Money, capacity and finding time in a hectic family/work/school schedule.

Instead of applying for government grants, I wanted the freedom to publish a broader scope of content without restrictions tied to funding so I used my own savings as well as donations including in-kind from friends and family to create Iksokapi Magazine. I also want to appeal to advertisers and sponsors and thought that creating the product to go with the proposal gives me greater advantage as opposed to approaching businesses with just a proposal and an idea. IKSOKAPI Magazine speaks for itself. I am currently in the process of completing the proposal which will then be used to draw in advertisers and sponsors. I want this to be a self sustaining publication for years to come.

I am familiar with all aspects of print as a managing editor, writer and photographer but online publications was new to me. I researched a long time and relied on past work experience and networks to help me gain capacity including web development, writers, photographers and designers. I initially wanted a print magazine, but the cost to print is high, definitely more than what I had to spend so I then started researching online publications. I eventually met David Barnes from Calgary thru Kijiji who gave me a great price that included design, technical support and WordPress training.

In addition to being Creator/Editor of Iksokapi Magazine – I am a mother first before anything else. I am also an instructor for Lethbridge College and a grad student working on my Masters of Education degree with the University of Saskatchewan. I also just recently accepted another contract to work for my home community; Siksika Board of Education so its safe to say I am SUPER BUSY. Keeping a balanced schedule is a challenge and requires so much patience, support and optimism. I think it really helps that I enjoy what I do, yes its a challenge but a good healthy one that keeps me moving forward and keeps me positive.

Q) How can we find, order, purchase your magazine?

Iksokapi Magazine is an online publication www.iksokapimagazine.com search that link on your phone, tablets or computers. It is updated monthly but can be viewed at any time for FREE, so add it to your favorites. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates.

Q) What do you think distinguishes your magazine from the other magazines in its category?

Iksokapi Magazine is the only online magazine created for Indigenous women, by Indigenous women in North America, so that alone makes us stand out. Iksokapi Magazine focuses on the positive and this too makes us stand out. I am not blind to the painful realities of our communities but I think if you want to know about that stuff you can read other publications, you want to know about the positive things happening, read IKSOKAPI Magazine.

Q) What do you think your magazine will teach its readers? What do you hope that they will discover about Native People and Culture?

The message is all about empowerment, education and information sharing. I want people to see modern indigenous women and communities as they are today. I want them to see the positive side of our lives because it seems that the negative perspectives only make the news and get talked about. I hope that people discover that as much as we share similarities we are also diverse, and that we are awesome!

Q) What do you wish we knew about you that we don't already know?

A) Fast facts I am a Virgo, I love music and have gone to many concerts including my favs: ACDC in Las Vegas and Madonna in Vancouver, I love travelling and LOVED New York City and Hawaii, I enjoy food, reading, did I mention food, meeting new people, and thanks to my crazy uncle Eddy – I love people who have a crazy sense of humour, if you can make me laugh – I automatically will fall in love with you. My most recent vacation was to Chicago in the October 2013 just to see the Chicago Blackhawks and stand up comedians; Cedric the Entertainer and Katt Williams. My goals include making Iksokapi Magazine self sustaining and to travel the world including Paris, Egypt and Brazil.

Q) Thanks for sharing with us!

A) Visit Iksokapimagazine.com!

 

Dr. Dawn Karima is the host of A CONVERSATION WITH DAWN KARIMA, a Native radio show that airs on TalktainmentRadio.com and its affiliates at http://talktainmentradio.com/shows/conversationwithdawnkarima.html


Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Literary life: Lynn Calf Robe's “Really Good” Magazine


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Lynn Calf Robe

Thank you for the nice comments Suzie, Daniel and mom. I love you mom, I appreciate your unconditional love and support <3 (Suzie; maybe related, hey cuzzzzin! lol )

Daniel wippert

Nice interview.

suzie Calf Robe

Great.Job…wonder.if.we are.related… my Grandparents are George and.Mary.Calf Robe.. wish you all.the.success on your Magazine. … A-ho

Roberta Olds

Wow, I would like to comment on Lynn s Calf Robe magazine. Its so awesome for my daughter to be recognize for all the hard work she does for her magazine! I am very proud of Lynn and will continue to encouraged her!!! Keep up the great work, my baby girl!!! Love your number fan, MOM

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