The Diagnosis

"The diagnosis was a beginning. It was also an ending." - Sheena Koops

By Sheena Koops   It started with squirrels at the end of his bed, and sometimes he would make Mom get up and see what those tall people in the corner were doing. He saw horses in a field and riders wearing tall hats with stovepipe points; he saw all this through the walls of his own home and through the houses along the streets. Not long before he passed he said, “Why is the little girl crying?” referring to the empty chair at the round kitchen table of their new home in Fort Qu’Appelle.   Dad had neuropathy, a…

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Q&A Featuring Sheena Koops

Feature Photo for "Q&A Featuring Sheena Koops" Sister Triangle Article

Forward by Victoria Utman Full disclosure: When we set up this interview, I was frustrated. Tonight’s guest is our Talent Scout, my mother, Sheena Koops and it took three phone calls to hammer this out. If you know Sheena, you know that she is a game changer, move maker, and earth shaker. I often describe her to people that don’t know her as a “high power woman” and with that comes her God-given energy for justice, education, and advocacy. Yes, sometimes it’s challenging to get a hold of her, I never know what kind of adventure she’s on, but when…

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My Uncle’s Passing

Prodigal Son Coming Home Road - Sister Triangle Article

By Sheena Koops I remember Christmas, must have been 1987. My Uncle Jelsing and Auntie Sheena, their three boys, and a tag-along-friend-of-the-family came to the farm for Christmas. The young man, like a brother to my cousins, was Michael Koops from Victoria, BC. This young guy, my cousin, and I walked over the prairie into the Souris Valley, sometimes knee deep in snow, pretending we were on a quest. We watched movies; we sang carols, we played games: my cousins and this tall, dark and handsome friend-of-the-family. In August of 1989, I married that guy. Three daughters later, my Uncle and Auntie consider our girls their granddaughters, because they…

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Forgotten Words

by Sheena Koops I am singing “As Long as the Grass Grows: A Treaty Song from Saskatchewan” at the front of a wooden-pewed, domed assembly hall on a Sunday morning in Regina, Saskatchewan, Treaty Four Territory. I have sung the first verse: They are living documents, First Peoples’ and the Crowns’ Building blocks of Canada, to which we are bound Sacred agreements, the Pipe and the Pen Brother to Brother, Peace Good Order to Men I am singing the chorus a second time, and I begin to feel anxious. I can’t remember the beginning line to the next verse. I…

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Lines in the Sand

Sheena Koops Imagine. You have made a mistake. Maybe you’ve made this mistake over and over, but this time, you’ve been caught. You are being escorted into a public space, a circle of those who hold the most power and the most respect in your community. They are listening to an outsider, a newcomer, and you recognize this guy. He’s the one making a buzz from coffee row to the hair salon. Many people don’t know what to make of him. Some really get what he’s serving up. Others think he’s the devil himself. Well, here you are. Tossed into…

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To Be Okay in My Heart

Sheena Koops My hands are in the hot, soapy water; I can smell the orange fragrant bubbles, but my forehead is like a clenched fist and I swish each glass as fast as I can. I remember attending a mindfulness meeting and the facilitator said that washing dishes can be done mindfully. I breathe deeply, slowly into my belly. My tight temples relax. One more breathe in and I see that the bubbles are white and beautiful. One more breathe, seeking peace, but I just can’t slow my hands down, and pretty soon I’m thinking about the turkey soup I…

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