final draft DS

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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final draft DS

Postby serdog » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:13 pm

It is February 12, 2010 and I am about to dance in front of a billion people, representing my nation to the world, along with 300 other youth. After 2 weeks of preparing to welcome the Olympics to Canada, we truly felt like family and I cannot help but cry. To help you understand my emotional state I need to go back over a 100 years.

In 1898, when the Klondike Gold Rush hit our homeland, we went from being an isolated people to being at the centre of a thriving metropolis of 40,000. When became clear that our Han culture would be lost in the tidal wave of newcomers, our Hanke (Chief) Isaac travelled to Tanacross, Alaska with our songs, drums and Ganhank (sacred dancing stick) for safekeeping because he foresaw that without this action, the voice of our people though song would be lost forever and we would never get it back.

In the early 1990’s with the finalization of our self-government agreement, we began to reclaim our voice. I remember first hearing the sounds of the drums and singers’ voices, and being filled with a clear image of who I was, and that is what the Han songs are about - a celebration of who we are; they tell of the landscape, the people with whom we interacted, and our interconnections. When I graduated and moved to my home community to work, I felt spiritually uplifted as the songs centred me, and I joyfully celebrated who I am. I was honoured when asked by my elders to undertake the role of a ganhank dancer to help revive this portion of the dance ceremony and lead our dances, as it allows me to share our culture.

I was delighted when I was selected to be one of 300 first nations youth from across Canada to participate in the Vancouver 2010 opening ceremonies. During the preparation for the event my eyes were opened to the great diversity of Aboriginal cultures of North America represented; from the deep sounds of a Nisga'a paddle song to the high cries of Powwow singers and hip hop, it all spoke to who we are as Aboriginal people. I was also able to draw on our core values, our ability to embrace computers and automobiles yet still allow the land and the animals to speak to us. I understood our commonality in the ways we learn from all cultures to make our people strong. On the night of the ceremonies, I found myself crying. I acknowledged my responsibility to my people to ‘represent’, and, beyond that, a responsibility to the family who had saved our songs; I was scared, but I raised my voice strong for the world to hear our songs and the stories in the songs of who we are and our interconnectedness. The energy of that moment will always empower me.

Please rip it apart

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Re: final draft DS

Postby marcellus » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:52 pm

Hi, I feel your story hits all the right notes. There's just a couple of copy errors you should correct.

Line 1: comma after "2010"
Line 2: comma after "family"; delete "a" in "over a 100 years"
Line 3: insert "it" in "When became clear"
Line 5: change "though" to "through" song; or maybe change the wording to be slightly less akward to "memories of our people's songs would be lost..."; comma in "forever, and we would never never..."
Line 6: comma after 1990's
Line 7: run on sentence and slightly akward wording. "who I was. That is the purpose of Han songs: to celebrate our heritage, tell of our landscape, our interactions with other peoples, and our connections with each other."
Line 8: better wording: "I felt spiritually uplifted by the songs, which allowed me to joyfully celebrate who I am"
Line 9: "I was honoured when my elders asked me to lead dances in the role of ganhank dancer in order to revive a portion of the dance ceremony. This role allows me to share our culture."
Line 12: comma after "event"; delete "of" or "represented" (pick one) and start a new sentence. "From the deep sounds..."
Line 13: change "it all" to "the songs" ("it all" is slightly too casual).
Line 14: change people to "peoples"
Line 15: improve wording to "I acknowledged my responsibility to represent my people". I think you can take the quotes off 'represent'. Period after "songs" and start a new sentence. "...saved our songs. I was scared..."
Line 16: wording is ungrammatical. Better to say "but I raised my voice for the the world to hear our songs and the stories in them about who we are." I would leave out the "interconnectedness" because Im not sure thats a word or that its formal English. It could be spoken English that people use and everyone knows, but not a formal word to be used in this essay. Remember, that many admissions officers like to reject people over syntax/grammatical mistakes. If you make these corrections, then you will avoid that fate.

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Re: final draft DS

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:18 pm

"I was delighted to be selected as one of...". First line of the fouth paragraph.

Last line: "The energy of that moment lives in my soul."

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Re: final draft DS

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:04 pm

because of all the shifts in time, it's disjointed. the history bit isn't necessary. given the required length of most diversity statements, i wouldn't spend much time on something that can be found in a book. focus on you. i'm interested in your aboriginal heritage beyond the Olympics. not to say the Olympics bit needs to go (it doesn't) i just want to know who this "I" is, beyond the pronoun and vague inclusion within the "isolated people."

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Re: final draft DS

Postby serdog » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:37 am

Mahsi all. I personalized it more but decided to leave the history in as I feel that its an imporant part of my Identity when I talk about our songs

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