Thursday, December 7, 2023

"They who shall not be Named"

 Been watching news a bit too much these days. Carnage is happening everywhere and everywhere day. A relatively young Indian guy murdered four people and injured another ( I should put allegedly somewhere in here because you never know if he will be proven guilty). So this is a localized carnage and it feels awful to hear about it.  In the wider world, we are seeing, hearing and reading about Children, Women, Elders, Men getting killed.  These daily killings are happening over in the Holy Land.  It is also awful to read, hear about, even though it is far beyond our Reserve border. The voices being heard, being shared are those of the powerful. As in many cases, the voices of the poor, the weak are not being heard. The voices of the powerful are being amplified, are being told with a sympathizing tone, are being told with a familiarity for their lives. People of the power are being introduced as to the suffering which has befallen on them, through no fault of their own. The language being used to describe events of the powerful is either sympathetic, favorable and in some cases neutral. The language used to describe events and actions of the poor, the weak is far from neutral. They are spoken, written about in unfavorable terms, as being a criminal terrorist, and the reason for the carnage.

It is a story of Old, of sacrifice, of vengeance, for rationalizing, brutality, killing and scorched Earth. It is one party doing something wrong to another party and that party answers in return. Not everyone accepts the dominant narrative of a David versus Goliath situation; where the Good and Just are defending themselves from inhuman beasts. The United States has promised full support in both thoughts, political influence, finances and weaponry. While the bombardments go on, the Global village is asking for a cease fire. However, the voices for cease fire are being attacked. The people who dare to "Say the Name of those who shall not be Named" are being silenced. Teachers are being fired for daring to say the Name. Politicians are being censored for daring to say the Name. Some politicians are being fired for daring to say the Name. Celebrities are being cancelled for daring to say the Name. Journalists who dare to say the Name are being fired. The Big Money Governments are against anyone daring to speak the Name. 

It is a scary situation for anyone reacting to the carnage with a sad or broken heart for what happened to the weak and powerless. If you dare to say the name of "They who shall not be Named (the people) you could be hurt by the forces of the powerful. It is the facts of the day, dare to say their Name and you will not only be labeled, be centered out, but you will have to face the consequences. The Globe will live by the warning, "They shall not be Named." If you dare to say out loud the Name, you will be judged a supporter of terrorism.  You don't want the The People to have a home, a land, a country, a freedom, in fact you are part of the Antisemitism which is perpetuated all over the Globe. You may also be calling for the genocide of The People. There is no doubt The People, who are not Named, are being discriminated against by an ugly section of the globe. Of course they, The People need to combat hate which comes their way. Everyone should be able to voice against a needless hatred towards them. However, the folks, who are in fact saying their Name, are not (I suspect) part of those who hate The People, simply for being who they are. I think folks who are daring to voice the Name, are seeking a stop to brutality. They are seeking to have lives spared. They are not denying The People the right to live, the right to a homeland, the right to exist. They are voicing to say, "Hey! We see the lives being lost and it is time to stop." 

Say what you will about The People, they are a people who deserve to live in peace, deserve to have respect and be citizens of the Globe, just as everyone does. The thing here, when daring to say their Name, it is not to deny their rights for life. It is about a body of government sycophants, government greed, government tyrants inflicting harm, individuals corrupting the voices of "they who shall not be named." The corruption of the voice has resulted in pain, unmeasurable pain for many

Can we ever not name those who are causing harm. 

Monday, October 9, 2023

Let Me Introduce Myself, Again

 Aniin Neechie,

Steve here. It's been 12 years since the Ojibwe Confessions blog started. I never thought it would go this long. I stopped blogging a few months during my reign of terror. I often wonder what will be my swan song, the dying bird, the decaying flesh, carrion remains with only bones left to be picked over by the scavengers, the Ka-Ga-Gay. It is quite amazing the Blog has been active this long. It should have been killed off with a shot gun long ago. How many times can you tell the same story over and over again. So what should be the last post. 

Not sure if there is any point to continue with the Blog. There are many respectable voices out there already in the Indian sphere. There is Indian Country Today (ICT), Native Report, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Windspeaker, Native New Online, and a host of Native media outlets. So really what does this Blog have which could be read worthy. 

I think it's time. But I enjoy it. Even if it's not proper English grammar. There is some pride in doing it so long. I have been contacted by a few readers, not too many, but enough to boast my ego and gratitude. The audience is small as I can see by the number of views over the years. The remarks are seldom but I still appreciate them. Whenever I come to the site, I look at the comment section first. Then I look at the number of views. Today, I had exactly one view. Not a whole lot I admit but it was not zero. 

It's funny because the best topics come to me just when I am in the dark of the bedroom, my head is on the pillow (I have to lay on my left side with my arms over a couple of pillows because of the pain in my shoulders and the deviated septum in my left nostril) and I am just about to slip off into the quiet part of my brain before the snoring sounds. The bad thing is, I don't seem to remember those creative master pieces the next morning. Oh, can you imagine the great works of writing which are lost in the night air, the universe. All the story possibilities grabbed by the Stars and the Dancing Northern Lights-Aurora Borealis. Man, it sucks doesn't it. 

So is this the dying swan, the Crow Duck splashing, the Great White Pelican wasting away from Newcastle Disease Virus-NDV, or the dead skunk on the side of road being repeatedly run (rund is how it sounds) over by SUV's (in old days it would be a Station Wagon) going to the Beer Store, or country cabin. You never know. Me, I think I will try hold out a bit longer. 

I really shouldn't be disappointed at the audience or lack thereof, because not sure of what was expected to begin with. After a few years I did have hope some other Neechies would become interested, but it did not materialize. The Neechie audience has a host of reliable, respected places to listen to, to read and I'm just a regular Neechie. But still it has been fun, well most of the time. So if I continue to write it is mainly due to the one reader, the one who takes the time to respond, to forward and maybe they are entertained. 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Wrong Way of Thinking: Search for Missing Indigenous Women.

There our Indigenous Women buried in a land fill in Winnipeg Manitoba. They were killed and put in the big blue dumpsters. The big blue dumpsters are emptied into big garbage trucks. The garbage trucks drive up the big blue bins, lower the hydraulic forks and position them into the slots of the big blue The contents of the big blue bins are compacted under great pressure from hydraulic squeezers, moveable walls to make room for more contents of big blue bins. The garbage trucks then take the full hoppers and go to the local land fill and empty the contents. Big Caterpillar machines like a Compactor move the contents by flattening them and covering them with mud, earth. 

There are known to be four Indigenous Women currently buried (if you can call it buried) under a mountain of compacted trash, rotting produce, mud and earth. The current government body in the Province have made it an election issue. They have polled the voters and see their base of voters, old white people and rural voters, are against searching for the Indigenous Women's remains. I guess it is part of their value system. They are not citing the costs, but instead are saying it is a health hazard to dig around the land fill. Despite the analysis of various experts which proclaim it can be and has been done safely in other cases. For me, I think this, it has nothing to do with safety but it is part the costs, but mostly the lack of will. For this governmental political party they have no empathy, no regard, no care for the family, the community of First Nations.  For them it is a given, the Indigenous population is not worthy of their voice, their thoughts, their will.  I feel this is a wrong way of thinking. I will never understand people who begrudge others, hold others in distain, and have contempt just because those are not like them. What a way to live. In my mind, there are so many who have a skewed, ugly and wrong way of thinking. The way of thinking is not political, it is a societal thing; "we don't like them", essentially they (white society and conservative don't like us). 

We all have some ways of thinking which may be wrong. I have thoughts that are plain wrong, but still think that way, no matter if I know it is wrong.  So I guess it is the same with people who are not in favor of searching for the Remains. I was not overly surprised but sadden to see that only 60% of Indigenous people who were asked about the search, supported the search. So 40% of our own people did not agree with looking for the Women, in the garbage dump, aka the Land Fill. Now that is really wrong thinking. Do they not realize the significance of Women? How important Women are in our communities, our families and in the whole World? It goes beyond the question, "what if it was your mom, your sister, your daughter, your auntie, your cousin." It is a way of life, the importance we place on all living beings and the importance of the Life Givers. These 40% Indians are lost. They have become thinkers of dollars. They are putting dollars as important, even more important than the Lives of Beings, of Women. They see the Tree as a potential for dollars, the water as potential for dollars, the minerals only as what they can bring in dollars. Such a sad way and wrong way to think. I bet they think men, the male is more important than the female, the Women

Let's use this moose illustration put out by the Manitoba Department of Sustainable Development and the Nisichawayashik Cree Nation. It shows the importance of the cow moose and the bull moose. It demonstrates the long term affect of killing the female. Of course I'm not comparing the Indigenous Woman to the Cow Moose. It is a value illustration on Life Carrying Beings. 

To put it in Cultural Context of Indigenous thinking consider this: 

"A friend of mine from Hazelton British Columbia (home of the Gitxsan) told me about their Clan systems and how they are still very strong in their Bands (called Tribes in the U.S. and called communities elsewhere) over there. The Women carry the Clans. So they are very important in keeping their Cultural ancestry.  Over in the BC area the Indians there have a system in their governance, their Clans of using the Feast Hall (Give-Away system), you may know it as the Potlatch. If there is something horrible that happens, the Feast Hall would be the place to address the issue. Take for example if someone runs over a young girl while intoxicated-drunk.  Well how can there ever be peace with for the person and how can they make amends? You can never ever bring a life back or replace her life. In the Gitxsan the repercussions are even far reaching than immediate family and extended family (in the Native community our families are huge, not only by biological but by extended, not by blood). So the young girl was a carrier of Clan members. She is not able to carry Clan member because her life was taken.  How can you make up for that as well?  So the man can try the Feast Hall or the Potlatch, to try make some kind of peace and amends. The family of the Girl and the Clan do not have to accept his Potlatch attempts. And that is their choice ( I would most likely never accept apology but who knows). So the family may never ever accept the acts by the person, but the person may try every year to provide the Potlatch for the community and family."

The story from Ardythe of Hazelton shows us Indigenous thinking is significantly different from the wrong thinking of those who don't support the Landfill Search. They have a wrong way of thinking.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

"She Had Limited Value"

 "Yeah, just write a cheque, hahahaha. Eleven thousand dollars, she was twenty-six anyway, she had limited value." This is what a police officer, Daniel Auderer, said to his colleague over the phone about a Woman being killed at a crosswalk by a cop doing 75 miles an hour in a 25 mile an hour zone. He is now defending his words by saying it was out of context, and he was making fun of the way a lawyer would portray what took place. 

Holy fork in a butchered wild boar of a twist. It is the way it is, we can not trust what we hear, what we see and what touch. There is always going to be the ugly which is painted into an abstract, impressionist version of what it is (what is the rule of ending with a stranded preposition). We see the ugly but the colouring provides us with a new, or skewed or creative picture of the situation. In this case the cop is really attempted to be Pablo Picasso and paint a version we can accept as being true, even if it is warped. 

I know a guy, actually a few guys, who lied all the time. They said "never admit, no matter what." This is exactly the culture of police. They do such horrible shit, it oozes from their breaths. In Vancouver, British Columbia the cops denied being told there was serial killer hunting Women. They painted a story of lies to cover up their bias, their racism, their laziness, their incompetence. It took years to finally catch a killer who was known. An inquiry to their mistakes was called to see what happened and why. The police hired a multitude of lawyers as paint coveralls. The inquiry was an exercise in police excuses, reasons and a game of hide and seek. Regardless of their denials, the Inquiry exposed them for what they are, racist lazy incompetents who have no care. In other words they are scumbags, arseholes. 

Seattle laughing cop   --        Jaahnavi Kandula 23

North American society has a real police problem. There are many psychopaths wearing badges and carrying guns. They have little or no empathy, are deceitful, aggressive and don't give a fuck about anyone. 

So what will happen to the laughing cop, he has already made up an excuse. If he is disciplined by the upper-cop-bosses, the guy will have his police mafia take up for him. Him and all his little cop buddies are going to paint a new fiction, where he comes out of it like a victim, maybe a hero for his fellow dicks. 

At the end of the day, there can be no redemption for this piece of decaying flesh. He is really an indication of how truly ugly the police are. So fuck him and anyone else who wears the badge and gun. Power mad psychos. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

What's In It For Me

Nozhis sanding cane
Can sent to NZ
I started making Diamond Willow about 8 years ago. I didn't know what the heck I was doing or what Diamond Willow looked like. It was a learning process. So now I find some pretty interesting looking sticks. Some have a lot of character in them. All I do is cut them, sand and stain them. Wish I had carving talent but nope, it is not there. Some of them have actually turned out quite nice. I kind of get proud of them. It makes feel good to make them. I have Noozhis help me with the sticks, either sanding, painting, adding some mementos and staining them. We gave out every stick we even made. Didn't make them for money. 
This weekend, I went and traded six walking sticks at Global Connections. Global Connections is one of those gift shops where goods are from "Global South" countries. Not to be mistaken with the Fair Trade stores. I thought they were, but find they are not. Anyways, I had twelve sticks and thought, "maybe I'll trade them for some stuff for my grandkids." So I contacted the owner of the store and went to show him the sticks. He didn't even really look at the sticks. Offered me $120 store credit. I took $140 store credit. So my grandkids can go get some items like rock jewelry and what ever. The owner's sticks are nice, made in China. Mine are filled with imperfections, bark still on in some places and cracks on the wood. So it was a fair trade. 

I didn't feel good after I left the store. Not that he treated me wrong, but I didn't get the same feeling I get when I give the sticks away. I admit, I bask in the gratitude of gift giving. It makes me feel good. The fact I made someone happy makes me feel damn good. Like, I changed the world good. Trading the sticks, all I got was regret. It was nothing but a monetary exchange. The fellow didn't see any joy in the sticks. So will not be selling or trading sticks again. There was an absence of joy. 
What's in it for me? Do we think like that? I don't know if it is a conscious thought for people. Me, I like stuff and that is for sure. I also like to give stuff. My in-laws are people like that, they are generous. My Dad, my brother Pancho, they always gave away stuff. If they did sell something, it was always at a low cost for the buyer. I remember I got a hat for my Dad on one of my travels. It was a P-cap (baseball style caps) with some beading on it. It was pretty nice. My Dad gave it to this guy in no time. I was upset but it was how my Dad was. Sure, like anyone he appreciated getting a gift but giving was just something he did. My sisters are like that as well (not all of them). My Mom would get upset with my brother Pancho because he would do the same thing as my Dad. Mom and Dad would give him something and then it was later given away or sold at a ridiculous low price. 

 It's the joy we bring and get by giving, that is what is in for me. 
Are we basically purchasing good feelings and good blessings. Is it a bad thing? I don't know. I do know not everyone appreciates a gift or a low cost for some things. There was this semi-famous Indigenous comic who didn't appreciate the cost of bead work goods.  The comic ordered some beadwork from a Woman. Apparently, there was an exchange of words between the two people about the beadwork. The comic blasted the Beader on social media, as the Beader had asked for a bit more cash for the items. The Beader realized the comic had no appreciation for the work. The comic stood firm on what the original cost was agreed to.  If there was any joy in the transaction it disappeared into resentments on both sides. 

What is in it for me?  It is about Joy. If there is no joy, then heck with it.  

Monday, September 4, 2023

I Like To Keep Stuff

 The only thing I enjoy more than drinking Earl Grey Tea, black and hot, is breathing air. Okay that's a little bit of a stretch but tea is a daily thing for me. So a tea pot is significant in my life. Or is it tea which is significant? 

My Teapot 
 This teapot was given to me years ago. My wife says it was a gift from my friend Sean. In any case I have used it for years. The teapot served me well. I would drink a pot of tea before noon, and drink two more pots by days end. I would not drink tea too late in the evening. Maybe by six in the afternoon, I would have my last cup for the day. Although there are occasions where I do have late night tea. Last week my grandkids were visiting with me and we were at the table. I picked up the teapot to pour myself a cup and didn't you know it, I dropped it on the table and it bounced onto the floor. The handle broke off. I was devastated. Still, it's only a teapot. Teapots are everywhere, just need to go to a thrift shop or one of those big box stores, like moldy-old-Wallies, aka Walton family billionaire (Walmart) shop.  So why does it bother me, that the teapot is broken. I still have it and am still considering what to do with it. Should I get the handle welded back on? I mean, I have a very nice new one, a metal one as well. It was a gift from my sister-in-law. I have used it sparingly so far. So why even keep the old pot. I was thinking I could hang it outside as a bird house. 

Why do we decide to keep stuff? We collect, we buy stuff, we hoard stuff and we cherish some stuff. It's just stuff, right? 

Some things we do cherish for sure. I have a rock in my Medicine Bundle. The rock is about the size of a baseball. It is black and white and elongated. Nothing extraordinary in it is a rock, picked up from the river banks of the Squamish area in British Columbia. The rock was picked up by my six year old daughter and given to me. What could I do, just toss it? No it means something, now. So somethings have meaning and we keep them. Somethings still have meaning and we get rid of it, go figure, eh? We lived in a nice house, the first house we purchased. We sold it after a few years. We have gone through many vehicles in our lives. I really like knives but I have given so many knives away as well. So there is no real pattern or rationale to what we keep and what we can discard.  We have given away plenty of Native art works, beaded items, carved items, walking sticks, clothes, and a few vehicles (not new of course but still good). I have literally taken off my coat and given it away. Haven't done the shoes off my feet, but know some people have done that. I have given shoes away as well numerous times and purchased shoes for folks.

It may sound like I'm just boasting about being generous, maybe I am a bit, but it's more about what we as a people are forgetting. As Indigenous folk we did not really acquire a lot of stuff. Colonialism, private ownership and capitalism sure did a good trick on us. Look at the way Settlers came here and just claimed everything, took everything and still want everything. It's was the best trick settlers - colonialists did to the world; to get people to be greedy and think it was alright. Oh, before I go on about keeping stuff and my tea pot, let me tell you about Cardinal Sin. No, not that sin; pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth. It's the other sin, tea in a coffee pot. It is when someone uses a pot, kettle that has been used for coffee in the past and now uses it for tea. I can't stand this. What is worse, a lot of restaurants, Caterers make this horrible mistake. It is unforgiveable to a tea drinker. Can you taste it right now, the bitter taste of coffee mixed with the beauty of tea. Coffee, black of course, is no doubt a delight, but you don't mix sugar with potassium chloride. You just don't, unless you want things to explode. Mixing a coffee used vessel to carry tea is a sinking boat. Get off it right now. 

Getting back to keeping stuff. A neighbor of my daughters died a while back. She used to see him hanging his laundry outside. He kept to himself,  was old, his house was decrepit, his yard was disheveled, he hoarded things. Some of his habits were predicable and he would always take his clothes in after the day. My daughter phoned me one day and said she noticed he hadn't been taking his clothes in, she hadn't seen outside and his light was left on. She phoned non-emergency to ask for a wellness check on him. Fire department came, and went. Said "no answer at the door and they can't go in." Well it went on for a time, a couple of weeks and my daughter phoned again. One day the city came and was cleaning his yard and mowing the grass. They were asked if anything happened to the old man. They couldn't comment on him, but said "don't expect to be seeing him soon." Don't hoard stuff, you can't take it with you, or maybe you can? I know people who provide gifts to people when they die and it's for their journey. Who knows if we can take things when we go, not literally but maybe in some kind of symbolic or metaphysical way. 

You know who I think maybe on to something, it is those Minimalists. There are many benefits to those Minimalism living. I like stuff, so fuck those minimalists. If I can't have stuff, what is the point of giving it away. I like stuff and I enjoy giving it away. But maybe I can let some of those underwear I have, those ones with the weak elastics. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Garth Brooks, The Dance Video? John Wayne WTF?

 I was zipping through channels and there was a Video of Garth Brooks speaking about his song the Dance: "At the opening of the music video, Brooks explains that the song is written with a double meaning - both as a love song about the end of a passionate relationship, and a story of someone dying because of something he believes in, after a moment of gory." In the video there are images of Lane Frost, a Bull Rider killed by a Bull. Keith Whitley, killed by drinking too much booze. 1998 Space Challenger Crew who were blown to nothing but burnt and decaying flesh (They did search and found remains of bodies). Martin Luther King Jr. who was shot and killed by a J.E. Ray (but could have been President Hover and his gang, so they say). John F. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald (we don't know who got him to do it). Finally, we have John Wayne, notorious white supremacist and actor who killed a million Indians on film. These are the folks Garth Brooks had in his video to show his double meaning of the end of a love and dying for something you lived for. 

I can see it, I mean Martin Luther King Jr. was working hard at a cause of civil rights but was murdered. He did indeed die for what he believed in. Lane was a Bull Rider, his work, and he died at work. John F Kennedy killed for being top boss. NASA crew, died at their job as well, blown up. Keith, he is the lyrics of a country song, dying drunk. John Wayne smoked his way to death, getting ate up with Cancer. I guess you can say, that him too, John Wayne died following his dream, of a heavy smoker. For me, the people in the video all resonate except for John, Keith, and the seven NASA crew. I mean sure it was awful for the crew but really who knew them before that? Were they icons? I guess, but name them and see if we don't have to look them up. Keith was a booze hound, and how many booze hounds die because of the drink. I think if that's the measurement, we should have had a real icon up there, like Bon Scott. Even Lane Frost, but there was a movie made about him, called 8 Seconds. I didn't bother to see it. Maybe I should have but it didn't excite me or interest me. Sure I like to watch a good Bull Ride just as much as the next person but I would rather watch a Korean crime drama. Yes, in terms of dying for your passion, the Seven NASA Crew did it. They should be in the video, because we will look them up on Google. But John Wayne? This is a stretch that even those Stretch Armstrong dolls wouldn't live up to.

 Since it was Garth Brooks' video, he could do the heck what he wanted and put whoever he wanted into his video. But - if it were me, I would go another way. Sure MLK Jr. is a good choice, same with JFK, (perhaps the Seven) it would play well for a certain crowd; the old, the Woke (maybe), and some of the USA chanters. Me, I would put Pound Make, Big Bear. These guys are dead for sure. Maybe they didn't die in a hail of bullets, but when they were alive they stood for something. So they would be good to show case their image in the Dance video. Another person I would put in the video is Elder Peter O'Chiese. There are many who believe Elder O'Chiese was instrumental in Traditional Ceremony being brought back to many Indigenous communities and people. This is significant because the Traditional belief structure and Indigenous identity suffered greatly under the crushing weight of colonialism, religious dogma, and main stream hatred. There are many people who could be in the Dance video if it were mine; Pauline Johnson-Tekohinwake, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Kahentinetha Horn, Waneek Horn-Miller, Alanis Obomsawin, Tommy Prince, Graham Greene, but some of those folks are not dead. So there's that. 

And I don't think I would use the song the Dance. It is a nice song for sure, but there are many other better songs out there. So Long Marianne by Leonard Cohen fits pretty good for a love ending song. Now that I think about it, fuck Garth Brooks and his John Wayne. A better song would be Red Bull's Tearful Honour Song. Yeah, so let Garth have his Dance, I know who I would Dance with. How about you, who would be in your video of the Dance?  

"They who shall not be Named"

 Been watching news a bit too much these days. Carnage is happening everywhere and everywhere day. A relatively young Indian guy murdered f...