Friday, July 19, 2019

Registering Your Indian Baby

A friend of mine got pregnant from some Indian guy from Sandy Bay First Nation. She didn't register him as the father when it came to the birth registration. The Province of Manitoba controls the registration of children. This is significant as all other forms of Identification as you grow up are based on the provincial birth records; Health identification, drivers license, school registration, social insurance number, and for First Nations registration (Indian Status).  For my friend the registration decision impacts her grandchildren.  It impacts the passing on of Indian Status.

It is quite something where who you are and who you belong to is tied to Provincial birth records which has to be used so Federal recognition and conditions can be applied.

I wonder why Indian Women are not fighting this? This is not on the radar of the First Nation political groups.

Why is it, a lessor government is dictating who can and cannot be in your Nation? Not only does it take away from your Nation having say in your heritage, it takes away the power from the Mother of the child. In order for the Mom to have her child categorized as the "proper Indian" if they decide not register the Father. Complicating the future of decision making by the Mother. Some Mother's are the sole care givers of the child. Having a Father named only complicates their decision making ability: travel, schooling.

So it should be a big concern for Mom's out there. Ask your Leader why is this not an issue.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

You Were Raised White

My parents were extremely proud of being Anishinaabe, Indian. They were born and raised in their community of Sagkeeng. My Dad was angry towards White people, especially the British, which he called Limey's. My Mom never showed a dislike to anyone.  She was cool like that, even tempered but not afraid. She did have issues with Anishinaabek who didn't share her pride of being Indian. She never said it about anyone in particular but called people who "wanted to be White, Apples." There were several groups of families who wanted to raise their kids white or have them marry out to white folk. The Reserve community knows who those people were. I guess it was part of the times, life was cruel to Indian people. If you could get out of the cruel world, so I guess you really can't blame them for trying to dine on white.

I grew up with no doubt about who we were. My parents, my aunties and uncles and cousins were all Indians. It was the way it was and no denying it. There were those who said they were French. They wanted out so bad. It's funny now because lot of them have become Indians again. Their kids and grandkids are big Indians now, regardless of being "raised white."

It is a good thing. A great thing actually. Our people are coming home. The effects of being raised white are being challenged. Many youth who grew up white are looking at "de-colonization" and what it means. It is a hard thing trying to damper the "whiteness" in our character and attitudes. The effects of whiteness are huge. Whiteness is colour coded world. The language of Whiteness is a hard one to escape. It is in the cartoons meant for children. It is the songs and poems of the mainstream. It is in the Weddings and in baptisms. It is in the colour of emotions.  It is in the treatment of our family.  Being raised white is an exercise of erasing one's heritage.

So how do we face the person who has been raised white? Do we mock them? Do we accept them as they are? Do we try and change them, educate them? Do we laugh at their white accents?

We have no control over how we were raised. We are either so fortunate to have a strong family and heritage connection or we are unfortunate. We do have control (some) over our attitudes going on in life. We even have some control over how we raise our own children. So if we want to continue with the legacy of whiteness (in attitudes and behaviours and even values) we can do that. Or we can be like many and embrace the heritage. It is a challenge that is for sure. We have to become aware of where whiteness has influence. Whiteness is everywhere; in how Ethnic people are looked at. How white views the Indian, the Black person, the Brown person and the world.  It is a greedy view. A view of the individual over being part of everything living.

It may seem common sense that some attitudes are universal and it's not a white thing. Would you wear Red at your wedding? Would you baptize your daughter in a black dress? If not why not? It's the colour thing, right? We have certain attitudes on colour and where do we get those attitudes. It can't be just Billy Idol wanting a White Wedding, can it (as catchy as it is)? Or the Rolling Stones wanting to Paint it Black (I look inside my self and see my heart is black)?

The challenge of opting out of being raised white is largely an attitude adjustment and awareness. The awareness that being an Indian person means you are just as good and not lesser than anyone white. The message of white is right is deeply entrenched in the world. So it is not an easy struggle. So when we meet the Indian trying hard not to be white, embrace them, cheer them on. Let them cross the Red Line, and not be Yellow.

As I have heard many a time, "Indigenous, coolest people on the damn planet."

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"I Greased That Gook", Tales of Sturgis

Our travels in life bring us some different experiences. Sometimes we meet some great fun folk and sometimes we meet a few weird ones.

In 1990 I had the opportunity to ride motorcycle from Manitoba to South Dakota. I tagged along with my Cousin Larry and his good buddy John. They were both older than I am and they drove the required Harley Davidsons. I rode a V65 Magna Honda. A nice bike but no Electric Glide or Softail. This was the 50th anniversary of the Sturgis Bike Rally and it was a big deal.  The ride there was filled with some interesting events. When we got to the United States border they would not let my cousin in. So he told us to go ahead and he would catch and meet us somewhere. We agreed to wait for him in Bismark North Dakota. Sure enough he made it there. It was odd they wouldn't let him in but he did have a record but still he was invoking the Jay Treaty. Jay Treaty is suppose ensure free passage through the United States from Canada for Indians. Problem with traveling, your plans could be upset by some power-mad individual.

On the trip we met a few people. At this one stop for a quick rest, there were a lot of Bikers stopped as well. There was this old Ford truck and it was pulling a trailer with a couple of bikes on it. One of the bikes was an old wrecked looking Honda Gold Wing. The other bike was an old looking Sportster. Both bikes, the trailer, the truck looked in ragged out shape. An old guy was driving the truck. He came over and started talking to us. "Where you from?" We told him we were from Canada. He says "I tried to go Canada this one time and didn't get let in."  Me I am a nosey guy so I asked him, "How come?"  He says with an American accent "I shot this here Neegar this one time."  Oh.
So we kind of walked away from there. We had a lot to say after we were not near this crazy old redneck hill billy. So it was really the first time meeting an honest to god hillbilly. It was everything you expect a hillbilly to be.

We met this other guy on our way to the bike rally. He was this balding bald lanky tall white guy driving a Harley. We had his company on our ride for a while, until John chased him away. John didn't get a good feeling from this guy. I thought the guy was a bullshitter but entertaining. He told us he was a Vietnam veteran. I asked him if he ever got shot or shot someone. He said "he got shot through the foot."  I asked him how and he said he was laying down in the shooter position. What did you do I asked him. He said, "I turned around and greased that gook."  So we didn't have him along with us for any longer. John didn't like him and told him to beat it. John is this Polish fellow who didn't like that kind of talk. John is a spitting image of Yanni.

We finally made it in to the town of Sturgis South Dakota. It was hot and we were tired. The streets were filled with bikes and Bikers. We pulled into this parking lot which was full of Bikes and people. We laid down on the ground by the bikes to get a bit of rest. A big tall long haired Biker came up to us and said were are you staying. We said we just got there and didn't know. He was at least 6 foot 6 and mean looking. He told us we can stay in the back yard of a house he was staying at. We accepted and said thanks. He got into John's face and said "you don't steal do you?' No was all we could say and he said "well you are not going to steal from me."  So it was an interesting welcome to the rally. We were so lucky to get a good back yard to camp in as camping area is premium at Sturgis.

The bike rally, it is like you would expect, people everywhere, with Bikers wearing their vests; Bandidos, Hells Angels, Blue Knights, Fifth Chapter, Ex-Wino's etc. Lot of people with many different stories. Thing is they didn't around bullying or anything. Walking was a task and if you met some big dudes, they didn't shove you and shared the street.  One biker mom yelled at us as we walked passed her sales booth. Her little boy was asking us to buy something and we didn't hear him. So that upset her. We said sorry, spoke to him for a bit and left.

The thing about traveling is the not only the beautiful sites you see but the people you meet. You may meet some good interesting people and forget about them. It is the unhinged or weird that sticks in your mind.

I try to be memorable. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Go Back Home - Settler

Had a conversation with my wife a while back. She commented on how people must be comfortable to know there are whole countries with people like them. A country where they can go back to and just fit right in. Like Russia, China, England, Poland, France, India, South Africa, Israel, Saudi Arabia for example.  Well it's not like that for Indigenous folk. Our countries are infested with other people who have a country to go back. Doesn't matter if they have lived here all their lives, they still have a home country. Do you realize how amazing this is?

For Indigenous folk they don't have this luxury. In Canada, and in the United States, we have Reserves, Reservations. In Canada, that equates to zero point two percent of the Land (0.2%). Not a whole lot of Nation to go back to. Imagine that eh?

There is this Tagish guy I know.  He was one of those Indian's who were adopted out to a White Family. He went back home, found his relatives and was active in the community, Carcross First Nation. He is one of those very smart, educated Indians. We had a visit when he came on business to Winnipeg. As with all things Indians, we talked about the issues we face in Canada. He said something which I found interesting and just wrong. He said he understood the wish of Indians to get back their land but it's just a dream. He said it in a way that what Indians wish and believe is not really true, that is empty rhetoric. I let it slide as he is smarter and younger than me. Still I know he was and is wrong. It can happen and why should this not be the goal? Why can't settlers go back home?

There are many examples of Indigenous people and original inhabitants who are getting their world back from colonizers and settlers. In our lifetime we have witnessed the return of Hong Kong, South Africa, Ukraine, Latvia (and many other Countries), Rhodesia and so on. Colonizer's have left.   So why not the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Canada?  The British rule left Indian in 1947 after years of rule and attack. After all the Colonizers have a home country. They can always go back home. In some cases Countries have been divided into autonomous communities

Canada does not have a real claim to the Country. The whole foundation of their existence is based on a lie.  In this case no amount of lying is going to make it the truth, Canada is living a lie.  Canada is a colonial beast.  As far as beast go, Canada is young and it has been done where the beast had to flee.

The world is filled with areas where the colonizer, the settler should let it go. Canada, New Zealand, United States and Australia are no exception. Settler go home.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Do We Talk About It, or Not Talk About It?

"Do we talk about it, or do we not talk about it?" We can, but we have do it with a bit of nonsense.

 I am disgusted with the way of the world right now. There is such an ugly hate filth stench in the air. The stench is the rise of the Right Wing ideology. It is a rise of selfish wants and actions. The humanity of the Earth is dying. Everyone seems to be standing on the throats of others just for their own ideas. It is and over powering feeling of dread and helplessness. It seems the only answer is to combat the ugly with ugly; violence with violence.  It is not a very promising outlook.  So what in the heck do we do? Are the protests, the petitions, the voting, the campaigning having an affect on the direction of the world? Or is the world doomed because of selfish, ignorant, hate filled arseholes?

If you look, you will see people are scared, frustrated and getting angry at what is happening in the world. For god sakes and milkshakes when you have good guy and science icon, Bill Nye saying "Mother Fuckers" on television, it tells you the Earth has shifted.  There are those like Bill Nye who are looking around and saying "holy shit in Walmart, the world is rotting and we have to do something." So you are not alone as you sit in your underwear (the comfortable ones) watching TV. We see Meghan McCain crying about Mexican's putting her dad in a steel cage at the border, and you spit tea through your nostrils and eye socket.  Take comfort there are many others spitting liquid out their collective orifice's. The World is not dead yet.

Where is the heck is Lola? She would take names and kick arse. I want WereWolves of London to come and eat some of those politicians, those Billionaires and the white suited Evangelists. The problem with the World is the Rich greedy trash bags are in power. They are supported by the politicians, the Churches, the stupid and cows (not sheep as some people use sheep as surrogate mates).

In our Reserve the Old People would say to us when there was a problem; Manoo. I think the Beatles stole this saying and made a song out of it, Let It Be. We are past the point of Manoo or letting it be. Look to the animal beings to see what is happening. Magpies are eating on road kill and they start with the arsehole and get to the shit quicker. Society is filled with Magpies. Those are the Rich, the Politician "licking the corporate hand" (as Lionel Ironstand used to say), and the all those stupid cows. The stupid cows can't even recognize it's their bums getting rimmed. The Rich have shit all over their lips and love it, all the while screaming for more, more.

The answer to the rotting carcass? The rotting carcass in this picture is?
the poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace, you can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace, hate your next-door-neighbour, but don't forget to say grace,

You Know what is really weird, we live in a world where we have law makers, constantly making laws. What do those laws do? They restrict your freedom. Every year new laws are made. Each year the laws restrict your Rights and Freedoms ever more. Doesn't matter which political party or what kind of government is in power, it results in more restrictions. When a repressive power comes in and makes laws, the next power which comes in tries to undo some of the restrictions but never really does. So there is always two steps towards restrictions and one taken back. So what happens Rights and Freedoms are always in a deficit.

We think we are free and yell around about the freedoms, when actually we are controlled. We don't talk about it. Instead we hold our hands over our hearts while a tune plays at the sports game. The game where they pay super money to have them entertain you. You don't realize it's all part of the Rich man's power. We don't talk about it. Instead we see a homeless person, throw junk food at them and yell "get a job, you lazy bum." Not realizing this is part of the Rich man's power.

You really know what you don't talk about? Seeing someone getting theirs. Like the powers to be getting all buggered up, sodomized. That would be cool to see. Just like the TV show were the Prime Minister of England has to bugger a pig, live on TV. If he didn't the Queen's daughter would be killed. You would want to see that wouldn't you? Except it would the President of the States buggering his own daughter and he was getting buggered by Alex Jones, or some other racist nut ball. But we won't talk about that.

"There's no shame being poor, but it's no great honour either."

Monday, July 1, 2019

Circle Of Life Thunderbird House, Slowly Dying

Circle of Life ThunderBird House was a beacon of light in the City of Winnipeg's North End. The North End of the City had become the poverty community.  The ThunderBird House has become a victim of poverty: no money, no future, short future.

The woes of the ThunderBird House are many. A couple of neighbours don't do any favours to the House. The Manitoba Metis Federation is a neighbour of the ThunderBird House but have no interest in supporting. The Salvation Army has a residential long term treatment program as a neighbour. Another neighbour is the Main Street Project which is a temporary holding place for those who are impaired from alcohol or drugs. Many of the people who frequent the green space ( and concrete) are homeless, poor, suffer mental illness and are addicts. The TBH does not discriminate and welcomes everyone, everyone. Reality of society; people are uncomfortable with the Homeless, the desperate, and the ill. Society would rather have them stay invisible and not on the grounds of the TBH where they can be seen. TBH services everyone regardless but in doing this, it alienates others.

Salvation Army 
TBH Yard 
MMF Operations 
TBH Rotting 

The Copper Roof of the TBH is falling from the building. Panels fall and disappear? The bathrooms need repair. The organization structure has almost collapsed: a non-functioning Board of Directors. An Elders Council which quit or washed out. Numerous bills to be paid and a growing list of monies owed with little chance of repayment. No funding and no where to go for funding. Rental capacity limited, and the realization rentals alone cannot sustain the operation of the ThunderBird.

The TBH has structural limitations and limited options:
- non-desirable area for the main stream public.
- limited parking.
- "sketchy" neighbours.
- financial issues.
- age crumble.
- limited space.
- debt.
- no money.

The ThunderBird is an amazing House. It has the love of people in the community but this love has not transpired into cold hard cash, and we know cash is king. The people rely on the House for their needs. Cousins have had their Funeral Services there. Traditional Adoptions have taken place there. Wiping Away the Tears Ceremonies have taken place there. Missing and Murdered Missing Indigenous Women have been remembered there. Many important events, milestones and announcements have come from there. The people who have been involved with the TBH have all had good intentions and are working with kindness. It is just not enough. Sadly the TBH has to face the reality of how long can it hang on? How long before the doors are closed? How long before the beauty, the intent of the House is forgotten and is killed off?

The TBH is ailing and with sickness there is the possibility of death. ThunderBird should be revered in Winnipeg but it is not. Instead it is ridiculed, abandoned. The City of Winnipeg leadership, their Aboriginal section (liaison and Advisory group) have not been active with TBH. The area Councillor is new so no expectations with her. A local talk radio station attacked TBH for the lack of upkeep. The station compared the grounds of the Legislative Building to TBH. Quite a comparison when the operating budget of the Legislative grounds would likely fund the operation of the TBH. The mindset in Winnipeg and Manitoba is the Indians are no good. So anything associated with them is no good. This attitude needs to change if TBH is going to have a chance to live.

TBH could be writing to the Province, to local Indigenous groups, (even MMF, futile as that may be), the City, and the Feds for support. To look at avenues as to what could be done to make it sustainable. Perhaps a finance person could be seconded to come and try to help out?

Garbage Piling Up 
The House is a great place for the people and can be so much more. The City, the Province do not recognize its positive role for the whole community.

So much could be done here:
 - ample green space for Teaching camp outs
- Teaching Lodge Ceremonies in/out of the House
- Elders Gatherings
- Community networking
- Drop In
- conferences
- Funeral Services
- Baby Ceremonies - Walking Out/Naming

Time for the TBH "Board" to look at options. Rather than stay in a decaying Raptor as the rodents move about.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

There's Cool and then There's Indian Cool.

Like many cool events and sayings there is loss in the translation. It is an oral thing. Cool doesn't translate well as a printed word.  It's about the mannerisms and the context of being there.
Still it is worthwhile to try share the groovy of Neechies.

Oh warning, sometimes cool is vulgar, well Indian cool anyways.

Indian: "Eh Boy." 

Indian Women are spectacular. Their mannerisms and their love of life. They put the ice in the cube for sure.

Indian Women flirting: "Mmmmm, look at you. All brown and gravy looking."

Married Indian guy talking about a girlfriend. "I'm not looking for anything serious." Because he's married.

Movie Star quotes -
Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Hey Victor! I'm sorry 'bout your dad.
Victor Joseph: How'd you hear about it?
Thomas Builds-the-Fire: I heard it on the wind. I heard it from the birds. I felt it in the Sunlight. And your Mom was just in here cryin'.

Indian Man flirting: "Your eyes are like Molasses in the sky."

Indian guy who used shelters in Ontario:  "The shelters are good, lots of fucking and sucking and letting the good times roll."

You know Ron Jeremy? Indian guy sitting in kitchen with his male friends and trying to impress them:  To his wife, "Hey! Get me a beer before I give you the Nine."  Wife says "I've had nine before and that's not nine."

Indian guy having wild unconstrained sex with Indian Woman in rear position and he slips into "other entrance":  Woman yells "Kaawiin Imah".  (Not here-there)

Indian (everywhere): Points with Lips.

Indian: "No, I'm only 1/8 white."

Indian (Anishinaabe): "I like that dog me." "I'm Ojibwe me." "I have a girlfriend me."

Indian: "It's a good day to be Indigenous."

Wes Studi (and every Indigenous person): "We have a responsibility to Mother Earth to protect her as much as possible."