Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When the Moose Barks.

My Dad used to work on the winter road around the 1980's. The winter road is exactly that: it is a road only used in the winter. It is made through the swamp, river and swamps in the winter to get to isolated communities in Manitoba. Much of the northern east side of Manitoba is isolated. You can only get there by air, or winter road (some places have rail line or a boat ferry across the lake). There is a television show called Ice Road Truckers. This is where the winter road is. It has been getting harder to make the road and the road use is getting shorter because of early melting (you know the dreaded climate change, which by the way Canada's PM doesn't buy into).

He told us of the time a Moose barked at him on the road. This of course was a bad sign. He told us of the story of the Moose and what took place that day. Anyway I won't bother you with superstition. Ha, just kiddin', I love that kind of stuff and believe in the Teachings. There are warnings that the Spirits and the Animal world will give you. The Moose barking is one of those warnings. Just as the Owl is a messenger that death will occur. The Moose will bring a forewarning of doom or dire consequences.

The reason I was thinking about the Moose Barks, is I have tenatively choosen the title of a book, should I ever write one, and it will be When the Moose Barks. Alternatively I was thinking of changing this blog title or starting a new blog (and abandoning this one) to When the Moose Barks.  I kind of feel that the blog has not attracted an active following. Maybe time to rethink or renew or rehash or restart things?  What do you think?

In any case I was thinking that the only thing I do have some control over is what I do with time.  I can continue to flounder at attempting different things, like making walking sticks or rattles or even writing.

For those of you that read the blog I am grateful for your time. Time is something that is finite for us. So coming here and spending some time with me, well I like that and I am thanking you.

So if a Moose Barks at you, take heed, try to make amends if that is what is needed and treat those around you in a good and kind way. I think that is what it was telling my Dad. My Dad he was a good guy, not the best in the world, or the worst, but just a good guy who made mistakes and tried to fix them.

I never heard a Moose bark, but I did hear a Deer Bark and it scared the hell out of me.



Want to hear how a Moose sounds when it calls? click Moose

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nine years since that Fucking Suicide assaulted our Lives.

August 25, 2005 is when my Boy was found hanging in his Mom's closet.  Nine fucking years since we got the call. Nine years since our world became face to face with the ugliness of Suicide.  It was a blur, the phone calls, the fast drive from one place to another to see our boy. Nine years, since we stood in the hallway of the apartment while the police officer told us to wait until the medical examiner was done. Nine years since the medical examiner came out of the apartment and told us, that we had to prepared. Nine years since she told us that it was not pretty, that his tongue was sticking out of his mouth and we can now go see him.  Nine years since we entered to see our Boy in a  body bag with his head exposed so we can see him. Nine Fucking years since the smell of death greeted us as we entered.  Nine years since we saw him dead. Nine years since I rubbed his head, felt his hair.  Nine years since I lost my Boy. Nine years since that Fucking Suicide Assaulted our Lives.

It may seem like a long time for people to understand that we should be over the grief by now. Suicide doesn't let you move. Maybe the grieving changes in how it is displayed but its there. It is lurking inside you. Just waiting to assault you. Waiting for a trigger. Waiting for your guard to be down. While you are out at a movie having fun and then it decides to hit you. Bam!  A young couple are sharing a moment and you think, that could be my Boy. He should be enjoying the everyday moments of life. He should not have had to kill himself. That is what happens. You don't chose to be sad hurt lonely.  It just comes out of the back of your mind, from your broken Spirit, your heart.  That is what happens. So please forgive me if I sound like a broken record, same old story, same of violin playing that sad song. The grief of Suicide has never left. It is now part of your being. It is who you are: the Dad who let his Son kill himself. The Dad who could not be there when his Son needed him most. That it has been nine fucking years and we can't forget and as long as we breathe we will never know the joy of a Boy living a Good Life. It hits you when you are watching the news. Some children dying in another foreign land. Some Boy, young man gets shot and killed. Some girl is murdered and dumped like trash. It seems that Suicide laughs at you. It says see how ugly it is out there? You sit here and pity yourself over one Fucking act?  You are such a pifyful fuck!  That is what suicide does. It lurks forever in your life. It surfaces just when you think you can laugh without guilt once again. It shows up at your kids birthdays. Your grandchildren fun days. Suicide just hangs around, waiting for its chance to slap you hard across the face. You see a photo of a good memory and suicide tries to sully that memory, tries hard to ruin it.

Tonight we will have our children over to hold a meal for our Boy. We won't talk about that day nine fucking years ago. We will enjoy the meal. We will converse with our Grandkids. We will act like suicide is not lurking and trolling around our home. We will keep a dish for our Boy. That is what we do. We tackle suicide by keeping our Boy alive in our home. We talk about how good our Boy is. We laugh at how beautiful of a Spirit he had when he was just a child. That is what we do.

Maybe tomorrow we will go visit the site where his body rests. We will take a few pictures to let us know we have not forgotten him and that we still and always will Love him. That he is in our Lives everyday. We don't forget him.

For us we don't see Donovan as the twenty year old young man, we see him as our Boy. That way he was when he was just a boy. When he was 7 years old blowing out the candles on his birthday cake. The way he was when he was riding his bike and running away from his older brother. The generousity he had to others and the kindness he showed. That is who our Boy is. Not just another young Native suicide.

We don't talk about him to solicite sorry or good wishes of condolences/sympathy  from anyone. It is quite embarssing really to get them. We know people mean well and that's nice. But We talk about him for us. To keep him alive. He lives with us. He lives around our home. In how we conduct ourselves. We talk about him because we can. There are people who are newly hurt that the grief is so fresh that they are numb. Those are the ones that need your comfort and your very good heart right now.

So keep your own children close to your hearts. It can't happen to us, is a cruel cliche. It can happen to anyone. That fucking suicide lurks around. Keep him away from your home. Once he enters, he is there forever and he is ugly.  Suicide attaches to the Living and its horrible.

So we battle Suicide everyday and we do that by always Loving our Boy. 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What will a national inquiry on Murdered & Missing fiind?

Tina Fontaine was pulled from the Winnipeg Red River the other day. She was found inside a bag. Tossed away like garbage.  A beautiful baby at age 15.  The irony of the find was that police and people were looking for another person that drowned in the River. That man was the homeless hero, Faron Hall. Faron saved two people on different occasions from drowning.  So he was involved in the finding of another person.

Last night there was a Walk to bring attention to the Murdered and Missing women and the homeless in Canada.  Many people from all walks of life joined in the Walk.  The Winnipeg police took part in the Walk.  Not just as a police force tasked with traffic control but with the Walk itself. Police members taking part in the Walk for awareness. I think many of them must take ownership of the loss of life as well. You know, finding the bodies of murdered Women or speaking to the families on the tragedies.  Can you imagine dealing with all that anguish?  So I do suspect it gets deeply personal for them as well. 

It should be deeply personal for everyone.  These are your Mom's, Sisters, Daughters, Aunties, and a member of the community.  Its not an "Aboriginal Issue".  It is a people issue. Women, Girls are being taken and killed.  This should not be happening. We condemn the injustices done to Women all over the World, as we should, but we allow our own to be taken?

Many Aboriginal Leaders and non-Aboriginal are calling for a National Inquiry to examine the phenomenon of Murdered and Missing Women. People are asking Why?  Are there more Picktons out there? With the Pickton murders, the Province relented and carried out an inquiry.  This inquiry was marred with problems.  It seemed to seek absolution of law enforcement rather than look at the causes of the problem, and the systemic flaws in justice.The government put limitations in place that did not do the inquiry commission any real value. The Families' of Women who went missing in this case did not feel part of the process and rightly so. If a National Inquiry is to take place, it must not make the same mistakes as the British Columbia government.

When calls were started to be heard of a National Inquiry for Murdered and Missing Women, I was one that did not really understand.  As the voices grew I became skeptical that an Inquiry would even accomplish anything.  We have seen so many Reports, inquires and Commissions that have not yielded tangible results. Federal and provincial governments will do what they can to pacify the masses without doing any real work or changes.  Time has changed my way of thinking.  The many voices have been passionate and persuasive.  My reluctance was not about caring for the Women but more about my lack of trust in the governments.  For me, much of the interests of government lies in the status quo and the increased scrutiny of the public while decreasing business accountability and oversight.  So that was my way of thinking.  But I do believe that the collective of community voice can do some good.  Collective voice might be able to sway the bullies and the ideological political parties that are cemented in place.  Perhaps the collective voice can sway the collective "NO" that is the stance of Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his minions. 

I think Harper regime is afraid of what the inquiry will expose. 

Harper has turned Canada into an equivalent of a 1960's southern U.S. State.  Where there are no checks and balances for business. Where the everyday person is at the mercy of the justice system and big business. With no compassion for citizens, environment,  and the people; poor people and Indian people.  They may be afraid to find out that the collective and cumulative efforts of governments policies of exclusion and oppression are major contributors to the problems. That many of the policies are hurtful rather than positive for people. That major change in a mindset is required. A mindset that mainstream is stuck in.  That the vulnerable are subjected to negative basis and judgement at every point of contact; from the hospital at birth to the last days of their lives.

Our people may find that our men (and some women) are exploiting our Women and Girls. Gangs will be looked at. Their false claims of brotherhood and security when in fact it is more about being predators and exerting power over their own people; negative power. That the answer lies not in the roots of Christianity but in becoming more aware of our identity. That it starts as babies. That many of the ills start with the concept of "original sin". The original sin of a woman corrupting man. That it is not the women who are corrupt but the ills are in society. That Women have to be recognized as the True life givers and not the rib bone of man.

That is what people are afraid to find out. That Women are not looked at as how they should be. That we must know their role as our futures.  That without Women we are no where.

Maybe an inquiry will make us see what we are abusing.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wasted and Wounded:



Music touches the Spirit.

I remember when I was young that my Dad loved music. Not sure when but he stopped listening to music as he got older. I don't remember when he stopped but I know it was long ago. Long before he got old.

This August 25 is coming up fast. It will be nine years since my Boy took his life. He made that choice. But I am not sure if it really was a choice. My friend tells me there is a Suicide Spirit that is affecting our youth and our people. That Spirit is strong and looks all over. My friend does battle with that Spirit in the way he knows how; with prayer and ceremony.

For me that Spirit is alwasy lurking around me. I feel it everynight. I feel it when I see the youth.  I am in constant turmoil over the Suicide of my son.  I wonder how my children feel and deal with it. My baby is now 18. She was nine.   My wife is one of those people that keeps everything inside. But it leaks out of her every once in awhile where she can't keep the saddness from pouring out. There is nothing really that I can do to ease her pain. Everyone is different. My son named his Son, Jackson Donovan Albert, and my daughther named her Girl, Aviree-Don and my niece name her boy Donovan as well. So my Boy Don lives on in his name sakes.

Me I can't get over the loss and the waste. The guilt, the anger, the loneliness. It's weird how we never think it could happen to us. Or that it shouldn't have happened to us. I mean who are we that it can't happen to us?

When I see all the hate towards us, Indians, I guess I can see in some ways how we can decide to take our own lives. I guess no one wants to be hated. We all want to be loved. Isn't that not too much to ask? People don't think words hurt. After all its just words: "we're all PC in this damn world, no one can say anything anymore".  If your whole world has been constantly attacked maybe just maybe you might understand the weight of adding one more word on it. Constant "you're savage, you're lazy, you're nothing, you're pagan, you're filthy, you're drunk, you're ugly, you're dead". Then maybe you can understand how that ONE more word might just be the one that is so damn heavy that you can't hold it anymore. I don't know but you think?

I listen to music a lot. My grandkids say I listen to old people music. What do they know, they are five and seven years old. Got to love them. I guess I escape into a little world where my Son is still here in the flesh with me with the music I listen to .


I sure miss my Mom and Dad. I talk to them and Don late at night when I can barely breathe.

Suicide is a beast for sure. We never expect it to hit us, but what do we know? We're only people. 

"When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb."

For me, the child is gone, the dream is gone....

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lorri, wife of Winnipeg Mayor Candidate Gord Steeves a Racist and you should be offended.



There is a race for Mayor in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. One of the candidates is former city Councilor Gord Steeves. His wife has now made the news by her posts on Facebook. Guess she doesn't like being bugged for money by panhandlers. I guess it made her so upset that she went on to a public sharing site and said her piece. Her views are quite harsh. This of course happened four years ago. Now that is public she has decided to apologize. 

Late Friday afternoon, Lorrie Steeves issued the following statement:
“In 2010 while I was working downtown I was regularly harassed for money and often put in a position where I feared for my safety.  One day in particular 4 years ago was very bad and out of frustration I vented on my personal facebook page.  I feel terrible about these comments I am terribly sorry and apologize.  I do not clear my facebook posts or status updates with my husband.”
Earlier Friday afternoon, the mayoral candidate laid out his downtown safety strategy which would target inebriated homeless people. The plan includes beefing up cadets and police officers downtown in order to remove these drunk individuals from the sidewalks.

Gord Steeves made a statement that it was a "cheap shot" making his wife's post public.  I am not sure who he meant was taking the cheap shot?  I wonder how it can be a cheap shot. I guess you can understand his point of view afterall his wife is not running for office. I get that. However....   This is his wife we're talking about: The Mother of his children, his best friend (in most relationships), his confidante, his partner, his 'better-half', his moral compass, his second sober look, his good side, and his princess bride.  So you must consider how husband and wife influence and confide in each other. I think it would be rather in poor taste and very low if Steeves somehow tries to distance himself from his wife. Now that would be a man that I would never trust. I think your duty is to take care of your partner.  So we will see how Gord moves in the political arena on this one. But hey maybe he will gain a bigger following in the bigot's table?  That might work. Lot of closet (and open) racist bigots out there.

Part of Steeves strategy is get more police to get rid of the problem downtown. He didn't say it, but Gord (when referring to inebriated homeless people) must of meant the Indian problem. His choice of action would be to round them up and ship them out. That's what it is. Move those drunken Indians back to the Main Street. After all he must save his wife doesn't he?

I joked on Facebook that a conversation between this husband and wife would look something like this:

Gord and Lorri Steeves:

Lorri, "hey babe, I had an ugly day downtown today, damn drunken natives bumming off me, can you do something to make it stop? eh honey bunny?" 

Gord, "Sugar, I'm on that sum bitch"... "got your back, We will drive those bums out of downtown! Now give some of that white sugar, mmmmmmmm"

I am also wondering why Lorri Steeves statement is being called an apology?  I am not sure but isn't an apology where you say you are sorry for something and in so doing, promise not to do it again?  You know there is some type of remorse for the action. In this case I don't see that at all. What I see is a person that is sorry for getting caught, not for saying ugly repugnant racist things. She took the time to blame others for her action. She did not say I am sorry for the racist mean spirit words about those people. You got to ask yourself does this looks like one of those apologies that is not an apology.  Her comments were down right racist. No other way to describe them. Her blaming the remarks for being frustrated and out of fear is just more pure hate. She is not sorry. In fact I guarantee you that this will only fan the flames of hatred and bigotry that goes on in that home. It is those damn drunken Indians fault! She never once addressed the comments but rather her reason for the words.

As an Indian person this is really offensive to me. But it should be offensive to all people of good conscience. It is a reflection of the rot and maggot infestation of damaged morals and Spirit. There is no rationale for her public rants. When she did this she insulted my family: my siblings, my Mom, my Dad, my Granparents, my Aunties, my Uncles, my children, my wife, my friends, my ancestors, my Grandchildren,  my People. That is what she did.

I believe all Native people should take offense to her bigotry and hatred. Ignoring it is not the answer. Racism is a rodent, that lives in the filth of ugliness. It is a louse that feeds on the ignorant and the beasts of like minded vile monsters.

There have been some voices in the Indian community speaking out against the hatred displayed by Gord Steeve's wife Lorri.  Of course Lorri and Gord have a good number of supporters as well. The dung beatle loves its food.  I would like to see more public officials speak out against racism of this type. There is no shortage of people speaking out against racism when it is not directed at Natives.

Shelly Glover is the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. She is also a Winnipeger and a self-identified "proud Metis". She should be appalled at the language of Gord's wife Lorri. After all, Lorri labeled her family as drunken Natives.

Kevin Chief, The MLA for Point Douglas, Minister responsible for relations with the City of Winnipeg,
Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities is an Aboriginal person, aka Native.   He is also the Minister responsible for relations with the City of Winnipeg. Now how is that going to be for this Native dealing with the husband of a racist bigot?  I sure would think he would be front and centre denouncing such hatred of his people?  

Eric Robinson, Deputy Premier, Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, Minister charged with administration of Community Economic Development Fund Act. Minister responsible for Sport, Aboriginal Educationi and East Side Road Authority is also a First Nations, aka Aboriginal aka Native aka Indian. Eric is very well known and connected in the Native community. It is important that he take a public stand against the type of bigotry that has been thrown at his family, his children, his wife, his parents, His grand child to be, his ancestors. 
I know its not fair to put all this pressure on them but they are public figures and when they speak the media listens. They all know that hatred exists against Indian people, after all they face it everyday in Winnipeg. So it is important that they let the racists know that is not okay to put down our people. It is not okay to label all of us as: damned drunks, welfare bums, pan handlers, harrasers of honest people, that we don't have jobs, that it is  alright to disrespect us. 

As for Gord's comments that it is a "Cheap Shot" airing out his wife's bigotry,  cheap shot this... your wife is


horrible.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Premier Greg Selinger you are the enemy of First Nations.



Greg Selinger is the Premier of Manitoba.  He is the leader of the ruling left party, the NDP. Leftest political parties are generally (but not always) friendlier to the "regular people".  In Manitoba's case the NDP was a friend of labour, which is a good thing as labour stimulates the economy.  Sometimes they are friendlier to the environment.  I think this government has done some decent policies for people. At the same time First Nations are not considered regular people. We are the pariah of the main stream public.  We accept that. We know the main stream public would rather we disappear.  Unfortunately for them and the Selinger, we are not going anywhere. This is our area and we are here to stay. Being Premier, makes Selinger the face of the government and so if the Manitoba government is battling with First Nations, that means Selinger is the one we will call the enemy. He may be a good guy and a decent human being, but he holds the office and title.  Sorry.


There are of course those out there that say we get everything. Oh how we wish that were true. If that were true the Gross Domestic Product would be linked to our population and communities.  You know, Treaties, unceded land and all that.  But that is not happening and we are not very happy about that. That of course is another story. We are talking about the Provinces and how they illegally have control of land through the Natural Resources Transfer Act.  Gives them some awful big control over First Nation's lands. And the Province is not shy to throw the big control around.

First Nations are suppose to be Nations and if I am correct a province is not a nation.  So why is a province exerting control over a nation?   Weird I know.  At every turn the province, this regular people friendly province is sticking to the Indian. Forest management licences given to resource extraction companies all over Manitoba.  Gaming and licencing laws that infringe on First Nations sovereignity.  Policing activities that don't coincide with community philosphy. Pitting one community against another.  Strategic legislation aimed at undermining Treaty obligations between Nations. Even going as so far as flooding out First Nations communities off their land.  The irony is that there is no available land because the province controls all of the outside lands that are not Reserves, Army lands or Federal parks.  So those flooded Reserves have to go to the province for Land? Isn't that a kick in the head?

The one constant of the province is that it will fight with all its resources to keep the First Nation from benefiting from Treaty promises made.  Manitoba will and has taken intervenor status when another jurisdiction or province is battling a First Nation.  The intervenor status of the province is to ensure that a First Nation does not gain a foot hold in trying to make government honour a Treaty obligation. Taxation is a big affair for provinces. They do not want First Nations to be able to benefit from that legal benefit for First Nations.  The province is even going so far as to restrict trade between First Nations. Something that has been done since "time immemorial".  Greg Selinger has his police forces attack a First Nations on several occasions because it is engaged with trade with another Firs Nation.  Now that is an attack on all First Nations sovereign rule.

 Selinger can't be always be seen as attacking the First Nations so he does hand out some gifts to some Native groups like the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg.  A quasi-Native group that claims to represent Indians. Of course everyone in Native country and the provincial government know that is not a true claim. The province also gives money to the Metis People of Manitoba. I guess they want to appease them due to Winnipeg and the southern muncipalities are situated  mostly on stolen Metis script.  So keep the Metis off their back with some bit of cash. Enough to have them run a few programs and pacify some of the louder voices.

One of the smart things that Selinger does is that he has his own Indian. Cool stuff. He can parade around his Indian when things get heated in the First Nations.  He even gives his Indian some power. Not too much power but enough to have the impression that Indians are valued in his eyes.  The thing is, his Indian gets to do the grunge work. His guy is a real Indian. He is recognized and respected in the Indian community. He is also talented, articulate and does not make many errors in the political public eye. So he is valuable for points.  Selinger will give him the smallest protfolio with the smallest budget. Funny thing is many of the issue that First Nations deal with are in the protfolio of the bigger areas, like health, education, gaming, taxation, land, roads, hydro, child and family and justice.  Yet his man is not ever going to have one of those protfolios.  That is where Selinger wants him to be.  If there is a crisis in any of the big Ministry's bring out the guy to calm things down.  Selinger does him a disservice. Its quite despicable really.  Disrepectful to him and to the Nations.  He is not a token but Seligner and the rest of the NDP team treat him as such. The man can't win in his situation. He can only do with what he has or try to broker some deals for the communities with the other Ministers.  So Selinger is a master.  He looks like he is engaging the First Nations by having one of their own in the mix. Really Selinger is just like most regular main stream folk -  not evil people -  he just doesn't really value the opinion of the Indian.  Which makes him a non supporter of First Nations.

There are some agenicies that Selinger could help out with in Manitoba but he won't.  Instead he counts on distractions and ignores the situation of First Nations. You know Manitoba has a very good size Indian population.  Many of those Indians are now residing in towns and cities.  For many Manitobans the urban Indian is a plight on the system. They tax the resources of the city. Raise the poverty rate stats, increase the unemployment stats, increase the incarceration stats, waste the time of the health care workers, bother the police and make it not nice for the regular folk in town. 

Lucky thing there are many religious agencies out there to help with his Indian problem: The Youth For Chirst , United Church Halfway Homes, All Native Circle Conferences, Society of Indian Missions, Aberdeen Evangelical Mennonite Church, Kateri Parish, Indigenous Family Centre, Silom Mission, Salvation Army Booth Centre, Light House Mission , et al,   are all very good agencies that help Selinger and the Indian problem in Winnipeg. The thing is these good intentioned entities are part of the Indian problem.  Seligner and the government are just carrying the tried and true of policies past. Let the Christians deal with them. "If we can , we can provide some incentive, maybe tax breaks or some funds for these good hearted agencies". Maybe the government never actually said this, but the idea is still there.

If Selinger was not really an enemy of the First Nation he would see the value in his Indian. You see his Indian is a Tradionalists. The Traditionalist have been known to overcome the shackles of colonial breeding.  ( A little thick you think?)  Really Traditionalists really are doing good for Indians all over Canada and the U.S. Even Corrections Canada recognizes this (although they have yet to fully embrace it as a means for rehabilitation in Jails).  Selinger could do a lot of good if he would recognize this and help him and his Indian problem.  A number of non-Christian agencies - Native Addictions Council of Manitoba, Circle of Life Thunderbird House - are seeking his support for their programming. They will not get any support from Seligner.  It is because these entities are practicing Traditional Teachings for Natives.  This goes against the tried and true policies of supporting Christian agencies to deal with the Natives.

This is what I know, with Selinger Indians are going to have to battle for every Right that they gained in Treaty negotiations. The province is not a friend of First Nations or Natives in general.  With the NDP it will always be "Style over Substance" when dealing with Aboriginal issues.

Style versus Substance??? 
Problem is as Indians, when it comes to provincial governments, where do we go? 

A fool may be known by six things: anger, without cause; speech, without profit; change, without progress; inquiry, without object; putting trust in a stranger, and mistaking foes for friends

 the enemy of my enemy is my friend

Friday, August 1, 2014

Can you really reason with people and change their minds?



Been thinking about friends lately and of my self of course. I think lots these days. Mostly about regrets and mistakes. Boy I wish I could go back and correct the mistakes I have made. But that is unrealistic. Have you every wished so damn hard that you want it so bad that you would do anything to have it come true? I remember doing that the day my boy passed. Hard thing. I wish I could have been reasonable when given advice by others. Now I live with the consequences of being stubborn.

I am haunted by my own ghosts. My own mistakes, my decisions, my choices and my actions. They come visit me every single night. It is a bugger I tell you. At night you don't want those thoughts coming in your head. But they seem to push their way through and its all you can do to stay sane.  

Speaking of being sane (or not sane) our Chief Donavan Fontaine ran for regional Chief in Manitoba. It is for the group called the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC)  and the leader is the Grand Chief. Current Grand Chief is Derek Nepinak. A relatively young man with a law degree. He has made a name for himself by being out spoken to the powers that be, namely provincial and federal governments.  Donavan has found himself in a three man race for the post. The other gentlemen is Shelden Kent of Little Black River First Nation.

In any case the race is over and Derek has remained as the Grand Chief.  Donavan ran into some serious opposition from members of his own community. At a forum hosted by AMC for the three candidates to speak, some members of the Sagkeeng community made it known that they did not support Donavan.  I was not there to witness so I can't give my account of what took place. In any case the forum was shut down.

For me I am not sure if the forum was the best place for the community to share its voice. But I don't know.
A lot of anger is going on for sure.  I am not sure of where that anger is coming from or for what issue. But it is getting loud in the community.  The loud or active anger to the Chief and to some degree the rest of Council seems to be shared by a growing number of people. Me, I like to discuss things and see if there can be reasonable approach to fixing a problem. I don't mind challenging the governance but don't like the personal attacks.  Not sure really if that is possible in our reserve. The anger is visceral when it comes to the political leadership in Sagkeeng. Foaming at the mouth visceral.  Just kidding. But it is scary in some cases.

You see I am not sure if people are truly open to reasonable debate.  I think issues that are close to home, or issues that have become personal become entrenched. There is no room for a "second look".  It becomes emotional. Once emotion takes over, no amount of reason can be applied or had. 

I watched a video that had some guy questioning the anti-Obama crowd in the U.S.  Seems that they hate Obama and his policies but are not sure what the policies are. It seems the issue is one of where they dont' like someone and that is that. They say its about the issues, but have no clue as to what the issues are. Despite being appraised of what is in certain Bills, they still have no chance of changing their minds.

Well that is the same thing in our community (I think).  People don't seem to like what the Chief and Council are doing. The Chief and Council negotiated a deal with the provincial hydro entity. The people chose not to accept the deal. Many siting that they are protecting the Earth and water way.  I guess that's kind of true, except that the hydro station is still there and will remain there. Not sure of how they are protecting the Earth?  For me the lenght of the deal (forty years) was an issue, but I didn't scrutinize the whole agreement-(man that thing is long) so I couldn't say for sure if it is good or bad for the community. 

I think there is a genuine hatred by some people. Not sure of what the issue, but I do know that the focal point is our Chief. I wonder if a new Chief was had, would the issues be resolved?  I kind of doubt it. You see many of our community ills are entrenched in the mindset of our people. We have divided our community into many different camps: on reserve, off reserve, north shore, south shore, Treaty one, Treaty three, Catholic, Anglocan, Traditionalist, Evangelical, haves and have nots and by family last names. Even those last names are divided by who was the Great Granparents. The divide is a good rallying cry for some that want to cause chaos. There are rallying cries of being disrespected and fighting for Aki (Mother Earth) but I kind of think other factors are in play. But really only the ones yelling know for sure. I think not all of the issues or anger towards the Chief are not community issues but individual ones. I mean for some people its their individual wants and needs that are not being met so they lash out. Use various rallying cries against the governance. But maybe I'm wrong. 

That's the thing isn't it? Everyone has an opinion. Everyone should be heard and listened to. But voicing your opinion with no regard for other opinions is not really right is it? If you can expect to be heard shouldn't you do the same?  I see many people in our community asking for calm.  They take the debates on to the internet sites like Facebook. The posts and replies quickly turn into a "this one and that one" argument. If you raise the issue of having debate you are accused of taking a side.

The side I take is one of civility. Or what can look like points and counter points. Not "you're disrespectful" for saying that. Although I think we all get a little carried away when we feel strongly about something. So I guess you really can't reason with any of us. 

I guess if you feel strongly about something, no one is going to change your mind. Just you. And why should you?