Deborah Ironstand grew up in the small town of Grandview, Manitoba, on the Valley River Indian Reserve, and in Winnipeg, where she found her first love of her life, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Deborah is passionate about Jesus and allowing Him into her daily life. She works in her own community in Southern Ontario and is passionate about sharing the love of God and hope in Jesus with others where there is opportunity.
Deborah believes the Lord God does call each one by name and has great plans and purpose for lives, as she is discovering in her own life. Her goal in writing is to share how faithful God is to His words, as she has discovered in this life. Deborah is excited to be able to tell the truth of how God is in business each new day with His own people, as she is discovering.
With a call on her heart from God to share His love and hope in Him with others,
Deborah has discovered this can only be done through God’s gift of writing.
First Nations writer Deborah Ironstand joins me today to share some thoughts on writing and other topics.
Welcome, Deborah! Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m excited to chat with you.
I understand you lived with your grandparents when you were growing up on the reserve in Manitoba now called Tootinawaziibeeng First Nations. What is your happiest memory of your time there?
The happiest memory of my time on the Indian reserve was when my grandfather, in his traditional Aboriginal way, would play his Indian drum and sing loudly at a feast in our home or at sun dances on our reserve .Those were the times I would dance as a small girl to the rhythm of Aboriginal drums and singing and believed God was there with us. Those were very happy spiritual times.
Were there any particularly challenging times you would like to tell us about?
Yes, one particular challenging time was the racism the Aboriginal children endured during schooldays in town near the reserve. As Aboriginals on the reserve, we were bused into town to go to school, only to encounter name-calling. Even physical fights between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginal children happened in the hallway or during recesses. I recall hearing other students exclaiming,” The principal had the strap out!” (Those were the schooldays when you walked into a school every morning and sang “O Canada” and prayed The Lord’s Prayer.)
Are there one or two stereotypes about living on a reserve that non-Aboriginals may have that you would like to dispel?
I would like to dispel the myths that non-Aboriginals may have about living on a reserve are Aboriginals can’t manage their money and Aboriginals have a lame history.
You discovered the peace of God’s presence when attending church as a child. How did your family feel about this? Did they share your faith in Jesus?
My family felt it was valuable that I had a faith in the Lord God. I was always encouraged to believe in God. My family shared my faith in Jesus as it was them that introduced me to the Lord’s Prayer. I was encouraged to pray it daily before bedtime. The Lord’s Prayer was our family’s daily prayer.
Over the years, who and what played a role in strengthening your faith?
I’ve had a relationship with the Lord God, which is still growing. It was His Word that played a role in strengthening my faith in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ—and the gift of His Holy spirit within me. God’s grace was very real to me in the good and bad times. He allowed friends in my life and for a season.
When did you first begin to write? What topics do you primarily write about?
I first began to write when I was 16 years old in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I discovered I was a writer when an English teacher gave me an A for a story I had written while living on the reserve.
I primarily like to write about how the Lord God kept His eye upon me and drew me closer to Himselt to have a relationship with Him. He was my first love.
Is there one underlying message you want to share with readers through all of your writing? If so, what is it?
Yes, the one underlying message I want to share with readers through all of my writing is this: The Lord God in His love has been faithful to me and carried me throughout my life from the moment I met Him. And it’s my heart desire to bring glory to Him by telling readers He is alive today and true to His Word!
How do you feel about the government’s efforts to bring reconciliation between the First Nations Peoples and the non-Aboriginals?
Our Canadian government has made an effort to bring reconciliation between the First Nations peoples and non-Aboriginals, and I feel it was a positive start. It brought things out into the open, which was good. I believe the Lord God knows that First Nations peoples were the first ones in Canada. And the Lord has a plan and a purpose for them, to give them a future and a hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Christians, the Lord has given us the ministry of reconciliation. How can those of us from different cultural backgrounds work together to bring about reconciliation?
As Christians, we have been freely given the ministry of reconciliation. I think people of different cultural backgrounds can work together to bring reconciliation by first of all allowing the Lord God to reveal Himself to their hearts and not getting offended by His Holy Spirit when He gently convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
What one thought would you like to leave with non-Aboriginal readers?
The Lord God is a loving Lord. He isn’t going to forget First Nations peoples. He didn’t forget His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross or in the grave. He raised Him up! God has only good thoughts and plans for First Nations peoples as He does for non-Aboriginal people of different cultures.
And Aboriginal readers?
The thought I’d like to leave with Aboriginal readers is this: The Lord God is love and nothing is hidden from Him. Isaiah 57:15 says, “I dwell in the high and holy place with him who has a contrite and humble spirit. To revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
God wants Aboriginal First Nations peoples to soar in His love and forgiveness. It is possible to forgive.
Check out Deborah’s writing in Northern Writers Volume 5, available from Goldrock Press.