Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Followers: Miigwetch. Thank Yous

I'm gonna get a cocktail
I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl
Cause this old man is going to town.
As good as my witness
Forgive everybody whoever did me wrong

Hey good folk, can you find a happier tune?  I send this to you with the intention to get your arse swinging in your chair, getting you to stand up and dance like the video.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Suicide Spirit Thrives On The Wounded

A friend of mine actively fights the Suicide Spirit. He says the Suicide Spirit hangs around talking with the aim for you to kill yourself.  My friend is a Healer and a Sundance Chief. He brings in the Buffalo Dancers to combat the Suicide Spirit. I really hope he has saved people from the Suicide Spirit. For our people the Suicide Spirit really has been eating.

For me and my wife the Suicide Spirit has hurt us. This summer will be 15 years. Fifteen years since my Boy was found hanging in the closet of his Mom's closet. The thing is I kind of know it was coming. I once even thought of embracing the Suicide Spirit to take my son. How selfish and awful is that for a Dad to think that, even for a second? You see the beauty of youth is to be anything but caught in misery. My son was just caught in misery. He said to me, "I can't do it Dad." I remember how ugly it was. Everything in our place was gone to the addiction.  Addiction had control over our lives. Everything went to the greedy appetite of Addiction. The Addiction is just a monstrous creature with no regard, no compassion, no pity, no redemption, no end to its hunger for everything you are. This is what had my Son, my beautiful sensitive caring kind boy. My son was being eaten away by a vicious creature and I could not do anything to help him. Giving him money, a bed, a roof, an ear did not help him. Raising my voice, sweetening my voice, pleading with my voice did not help him. The addiction creature had him in its claws and fangs, it was tearing away at his Spirit. He was helpless, I was helpless. Running from the creature did not help. The creature followed him and where the creature went the Suicide Spirit was lurking. It is looking for a wound. I think it sees the wound as an opening to get its fangs, its claws and its voice inside of you. The opening it needs to get into you to start feasting, to start tearing at you, to get you to hear it, to get you to feel it, to embrace it and finally to get you to give into to it, the Suicide Spirit.

The Suicide Spirit thrives on the wounded.

Fighting off the Suicide Spirit is something; you can take it to the Suicide Spirit with prayer, with Ceremony, with family, with friends, with children and with strangers. For me I was saved from the claws of the Suicide Spirit by friends, family and children. Just my friend taking time to check on me, to sit visit and to talk, made me second guess the Suicide Spirit as I once sat in the closet with a string around my neck. A strong wife with such compassion and patience kept me and keeps me from opening my wounds to the Suicide Spirit. My beautiful Grandkids keep me from tearing the wound wide open. How can I embrace the Suicide Spirit when all this good medicine is with me. The Suicide Spirit won't quit easily; it thrives on wounds. We get wounded many times in our lives.

You know someone wounded? Can you help heal the wound? Try and keep trying. You are the good medicine the wounded needs.

"Just come on home
Come on home
No you don't have to
Be alone
Just come on home"

Friday, February 7, 2020

More Indian Than You

The impact of colonial genocide has wrecked havoc on Indigenous People's the world over. In Canada and the US, we are still living with the aftermath of colonial actor's trying to erase us from the Earth. One of the biggest remnants of attempted genocide is the damage on our Identity. We are still tending to and mending the damage. It has resulted in politics of who belongs and who doesn't. The fun of identity politics plays out daily and we can take part in the more Indian than you game on today's social media. The thing with Identity game it is played with the winner making you feel less of an Indian than you are. So the game is based on stepping on your neck, kicking your groin, pulling your hair, burning your car tires and who can insult the best without it seeming disrespectful.

Black Dog 
"I grew up in the bush, fishing and hunting." The Bush Indian is more Indian than you for sure. How can you argue with the Indian who knows how to gut and skin a Deer? Those Bush Indians can moose call, can goose call and they don't need a Dar-Rae Can to do it. Dar-Rae Moose call was an ingenious moose call made by a couple of Indians and it sold well. Geography is always a good slag on the grew-up-city-concrete Indian.
"My braids are long and black." The Braided Indian is as cool as the Black dog, the Cane Corso in Game of Thrones. Show me a cooler dog. This dog ate up the notorious monster, Ramsey. So this is not your average Rez Dog. Mind you the Rez Dog is hardy. Rez Dog is so hardy you can run it over and it will get up and still go lay around under your door steps. So the Long Black Braided Indian has you under their thumb. The Long Black Braided Indian can really up their game when they use leather wraps on their hair. Add some beaded earrings and holy brown gravy; "Whew, look at you all brown gravy looking."
"Grew up poor." The poor Indian makes their mark on the world by showing you they didn't have it easy. They are more Indian by way of their economic status. The poorer the more they suffered. The more they suffered, the more Indian than you they are. You can't argue with the suffering victim. The colonial stench is still strong on these Indians.
"I come from the Rez." You city Indians just don't have the real Indian experience. You never had to carry water up the bank, cut through the ice for water, poop in the bush because you were scared to use the outhouse. The outhouse the scariest commode in the world because a rat could run up your bum hole. City Indian, you never had to watch tv with only an antenna. You never had to have a barrel for the water, or wait for the waterman to bring water. Or you never had to use a slop-pail and get that pail ring on your arse. Especially when your slop-pail is one of those old metal 5 gallon buckets. You get the rust stain on your bum.
"I am brown." You won't get followed around in the store. You won't get turned down for an apartment because of your colour. You won't get called Savage. You won't be looked at accusingly by white people on the bus. The cops will not stop you for being brown.
Indian Woman 
You don't know what it is like being Indian. You are white compared to us Brownies.  The Brown Indian really can use their colour very well to be more Indian. The Brown Indian can use their look (as good as the cop who is skilled with the baton) on their fair skinned relatives. No cousin love for them.  You won't go missing or murdered. Brown Indian kind of don't like you.
"I dance Powwow." The Indian Dancer and the Indian Singer are more Indian than you as they have connection to past practices. Everyone who dances and sings powwow is cooler than the Indian who just watches. You are nothing more than a tourist at the Indian Powwow. You have no clue to how Indians are in the Circle. Heck the Powwow Indian might even be a Traditional Indian. When you don't have the look, you are discounted. You will never win the Indian Princess over, or the Indian Warrior. You will never get to be Head Dancer or Flag-bearer. And if you are everyone knows your Brown cousin got you in.
"I am Traditional." Lot of Indian folk out there spreading good love for fellow Traditional Indians but maybe not so much for the light skinned Indian. The other Indians are not "authentic" as the Traditional Indian. Even the fair skinned Indian who can speak Anishinaabemowin is not cool enough for the Traditional Indian. You can't be fair and taken seriously as a Traditional Indian. The Brown Skins will mock you to other Indians; "Oh just a whiteguy/whitegirl."
More Indian than you has become a battle cry among Indigenous folk. Anywhere were the colonialist have step foot on Land not their own, the aftermath is felt. The need to be more than you, has caught on like a fire on the dry prairie grass. Contests go on endlessly on who should belong and who should call themselves an Indigenous person, in our country, an Indian.

More Indian than you could be a heck of Powwow song.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Was It Wrong?

Throughout life we are going to take part in activities, actions, decisions and choices which we may have been right about or wrong. As time passes, we look back and question, "was it wrong?"

I was home when the house phone rang. My kids were sleeping and the wife was away. So I answered a frantic call from a sister. A group of thugs barged into her home and fought one her sons. I jumped in my car and went right over. When I got to the house, the door was open and the cops were inside questioning my sister. The police were being aggressive and accusing her about what took place. I got upset with the cops and told them, there are kids here and you are acting like that? I took the second oldest son and we went out. The son knew the group who came to the house and who assaulted the older brother. My nephew took me to where the group hung out. A party was going on a number of people were outside the row of houses. I went there and said, "Where is Roots?" A young man said "Who the fuck wants to know?"  I pulled out my gun and said "I do."  From there a scramble took place, with some screaming and running off. The man who answered me was now frantically trying to open the front door but the people who ran inside locked the door. So he was pulling on the door and it wouldn't open. It was a funny scene. People ran all over, so I chased and trapped one at the side of the street. Got him to go on his knees, asked his name. He had a beer bottle in his hand and started to use the name of my nephew, that is when I fired. I didn't hit him, just scared him.

Was it wrong?

We pulled up the house, me and my cousin. The person who lived in this house was a predator. He lured young boys with cigarettes and such. We stood outside the home in the dark and waited. I had the knife in my hand and I waited, we waited. We decide to go sit in the car for a bit. We came back just as the person's car drove off, we missed our opportunity that night. I had no doubt what was to come.

Was it wrong?

There was this fellow who asked my Dad for a favour. I told the fellow, "my Dad likes you, so don't rip him off." My dad was a generous man. He did the favour. He drove an hour out of town to purchase some Manomin for a fellow. He paid for the rice and delivered to the city which is one hundred kilometers away from the Reserve. Dad received a cheque from the fellow for the cost of the rice, not including the gas and time my Dad had spent. My Dad would not have expected it anyway. A couple of weeks later my Dad told me if I saw the fellow, the cheque had bounced. So I drove to the city, went to the restaurant the fellow was operating. I took out my knife and "poked" him in the leg. The fellow cried and claimed it was the Bank which made the error. The fellow's wife also said it was the Bank which made the mistake. They decided to give cash to me in order to give to my Dad.

Was it wrong?

A young man had owed my friends (and me) quite a considerable amount of money. He also sold his ownership of a business back to us which we jointly owned. However, he would not sign off on the paperwork despite the agreement and outstanding debt. So it was not fair. A lot of money had gone missing from the business and he was in the middle of the missing money. So I spoke to his business partner and close friend. His friend asked me to handle the situation and get him to sign off on the business. So a couple of my friends and I met him the young man on a road. The young man had gotten pepper sprayed and had an iron bar to his legs and back. It was a message he now understood. I met him after a period of time and he cried saying he "just wants to go home."

Was it wrong?

This fellow, a very charismatic, charming smart guy had been robbing us blind. He was bold and had no care in the world or any regret or remorse about it. I had brought a behemoth of an Indian guy down to the Reserve to have a word with this fellow. I asked him to come for a ride with me and the fellow happily jumped into the car with me. The behemoth jumped in the back sit after the fellow was in, I guess the fellow didn't see him. So we went for a ride. The fellow keep asking, "wwwhaaa-where are we going?" We didn't have any real idea in mind, so we took him to the Reserve garbage dump. He got out of the car and then we started asking him, "where's the money?" He denied taking and robbing anyone. He was not very pleased, his crying was tiring for us to hear. We asked him to get on the ground, as he lay with face on the dirt, he imagined a gun to his head. Just then a truck came down the dusty road to the garbage dump. We got him to stand up. "Just teasing" we said and we took him back to the restaurant and dropped him off.

Was it wrong?

It was not very late in the evening I was driving to visit my daughter at the other end of the city. My niece called, my sister-in-law called, my nephew called. My nephew was way up North working at the Mine. My niece had been fought in front of her baby. My sister-in-law had been kicked out of her house and it was being used as a drug den for Meth heads. The sister-in-law was being threatened by a couple of guys now occupying her house. I kept getting numerous calls for help. I couldn't say no to the requests. I decide to drive out to the Reserve from the City that night. I asked again if I should intervene and was told to go and help. I arrived about an hour and a half later. I got a nephew to go with me to the house due to number of people that were suppose to be in the house, five meth heads. I could not open the door, I told my nephew to pull open the door and it opened, the next door was bolted shut. I told my nephew to bust it open, he kicked it open. As I entered the house, I was greeted with profanity, yelling, screaming at me. I let go with an iron bar. I entered the next room to be greeted by a huge young man. There was a knife on the table, so it went from there. The result, two people had cracked their ankles or legs, not sure. Others were told to get out. The two were told to get out, they crawled out. The house was a drug den and in a shambles. The next couple of days the sister-in-law was able to move back in.

Was it wrong?
Now This is a Knife 

Fictional persons disclaimer: The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed here are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Little Big Man Meet Michelle Kenidi as Tina Keeper

North of 60 was a big time Canadian show in the 1990's. You got to see this group of Indian people in their community. North of 60 had all the checkmarks of a good tv: beautiful hero, the nemesis, wide range of interesting characters and drama. The show had a great following and it ran for six seasons. It was a show where Indigenous folk where the main characters. Like many I watched it and liked seeing Indians on tv. For me though, the constant drama was a downer, but drama and conflict makes good tv. I saw cool Neechies on the show for sure and it was a great show. But I didn't see many of my cousins, the crazy ones, the Kooshqwaycon (crazy one) there. I didn't see the Indian who would burn your outside toilet down. I didn't see the Indian who would walk around outside in the winter with only a BlueJean jacket on, unbuckled. I didn't see Old Billy running around with only his underwear on while being chased by the wife wielding a willow stick as the kids looked from the picture window.  I didn't see me, who walked into the Chiefs office and took the big Indian art painting off the wall and walk out, only to be met at the door by the Chief, only to say "just teasing ya." I guess it was not made to include that type of Indian. The thing for me which was kind of bothersome was the "traditional" looking Neechies were kind of the bad folk, the villains. Except for Jimmy Herman who was a bit of both. He didn't have to act cool, he could just be in the screen shot and big cool. Jimmy Herman in another life could have been the Indian who put an arrow through the eye of General George Armstrong Custer (Custer was shot in his head and in his heartless chest).

As a kid I saw tv shows and movies with Indians as side characters or the bad guys, also known as the Savage. I got excited to see Neechies on tv. Heck I didn't even know when it was a white guy dyed brown for the role. Michael Zenon played Joe Two Rivers on The Forest Rangers. The Forest Rangers was TV show in the early 1960's filmed in Canada. I really thought this guy was Indian, even when he was speaking Anishinaabemowin to Makwa. He sounded funny when spoke it and some words didn't make sense. I guess Indians didn't have many roles in TV or the movies. There were a few movies that did have bonafide Neehies (abbreviated Anishinaabe word for friend). Jeremiah Johnson, Little Big Man, A Man Called Horse, Solider Blue were shows with a Native slant but some of them didn't have a big Native cast. Solider Blue had a few Mexican actors for the more important Indian scenes. The Indians in Jeremiah Johnson didn't have much dialog but they sure were strikingly gorgeous, even when Robert Redford was killing them. Of course the main Indian was Mexican. I think Little Big Man was my favourite movie of the bunch. All the movies of course have the Whiteman as the hero, but who would watch an Indian killing White folk? Little Big Man was a movie which made us laugh. I don't know who wrote the lines for Chief Dan George, but Chief Dan George made the lines his. Little Big Man showed us Indians were real folk and the Whiteman could never be trusted, even when you adopt them; remind me about Old Injun Joe Boyden again?

Finding out Indians in the movies were not Indians was like eating rotten cheese. You only notice it is rotten after it is almost done and now you feel yourself throwing up. I remember reading about Joe Two Rivers being a Ukrainian. I felt robbed. Robbed like when someone emptied my bank account and I started screaming around in the bank saying "I'm being robbed." Bank folk just looked like they saw Big Foot among the trees as I tried to come to grips with the robbery. Even in North of 60 there was an Indian who had a role in there who may not have be Indian. Classic Hollywood move there.

The North of 60 gave voices and faces to Indians. They were the good guys and the bad guys. They had lives outside of getting killed by Jeremiah Johnson. The have lives outside of being betrayed by Little Big Man. They have lives outside of being shot to death by US Solider's Blue, the dreaded Cavalry.  They have lives outside of hanging a White man called Horse to the Sundance Tree (even though it was really cool. The Drumbeat at the beginning of the Tree Hookup scene was kind of weird but hey it made for a good movie). In any case lot of White Folk painted up as Indians in those Classic Hollywood movies.  With North of 60, the Hero was a tall brown fine looking Indian Woman. and she was really an Indian and not a fine looking Asian Woman.  Now that is what you call authentic stuff.
Tina Keeper and "That Guy" who is no
Wind In His Hair. 

I still enjoy the movies with Indians in them but I will not totally believe it is an Indian until I see their Sundance scars or the Treaty Card in their purse or wallet. Been fooled before and it is not a good feeling. "There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas that says, Fool me once, shame on - shame on you, you fool me - you can't get fooled again."

From Hong Kong, Sunshine - Little Big Man  

Friday, December 20, 2019

When The World Stopped Turning

Where were you when the World stopped turning? American country singer Allan Jackson wrote the song in response to the Twin Towers being struck, September 11, 2001. I have to say I do not like this song. I know, how could I not like a song with such heartfelt sentiment; heartfelt sentiment for those who were killed on the 9/11 day? It deals with the shock, the tragedy, the heart break and clinging to God for comfort. There is no doubt the 9/11 was a tragic and horrible event, 3,500 people were killed and two masses buildings were obliterated.

For me this is a song, which is truly political, shares the narrow vision of the U.S. (and Western World). It is the arrogance of it all. The song Where were you when the World stopped turning, discounts every other Nation, every other incident of Horror out there. There is much to loath in the words of the song. The ignorance on full display; not knowing the difference between Iraq and Iran.

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you
The diff'rence in Iraq and Iran

But I know Jesus and I talk to God 

There is a complete disregard for all the worldly beliefs by Nations other than Christians. This demonstrates that no one even sees or imagines other people existing outside of the U.S. and it is disturbing.  The Middle East (as it is lumped together by media) has a wide range of People, history, variety of beliefs and governance systems. Yet it is packaged as a single unit of Desert Dwellers (derogatory term for Muslims, Arabs). There is no value placed on the lives of others. What is a child worth? The US before 9/11 and after 9/11, killed hundreds and thousands of lives. Many of those lives were mother's and children. It is alright though, after all it is the Middle East, Desert Dwellers, Muslims, Arabs, isn't it?

The song with its seemingly heartfelt sentiment is a very divisive statement. It is a statement of intolerance and hate, disguised as comfort and memoriam. We totally ignore the plight faced by the people of the Iran, Iraq region. Lost in the Middle East narrative by the U.S. is the foreign interference for access by oil greedy countries. There is no song being sung about the numerous people killed by U.S. and their allies, post 9/11 ("at least 480,000 people have been directly killed by violence over the course of the these conflicts, more than 244,00 of them civilians"). The U.S. used the 9/11 tragedy for direct control over oil. They ignored the true culprits of the attacks.

It is indeed horrible about the 2,977 lives lost in the planes and the buildings when the attack occurred. There is a lot of horror in the world.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Punishment By Naming The Faceless

I remember the Oka "Crisis" of 1990. Many of us Indian folk would not be in Quebec for the attacks by the Military on Mohawks over Land. The Town of Oka wanted to build a golf course on Mohawk land. The treatment of the Indians by the Military and by the public was and is shameful.  One of the things which is forever etched in my mind, my memory is the photos of white men, white women throwing rocks at Indian Women, Indian Elders and Indian kids as they drove across a bridge.
There was a whole town of folk throwing rocks at Indian people. The cops stood by and watched. I can still see this white guy, in pink shorts a 70's style mustache and mullet throwing rocks with a happy look on his face. Who the guy is I have no clue. I wonder if his family knows what he did? Where they proud, ashamed or didn't really think about it? I wonder if he carries any shame for his despicable crime?

There are so many incidents where anonymity emboldens hatred and ugliness. Large numbers can be used to hide in plain view. Standing in a crowd can be a cover for those who are ugly and willing to do harm. I wonder if they knew they would be identified if they would go ahead with their actions? Perhaps shining a spotlight on them, would stop them in their tracks? Just like when I am hunting Deer with a million candle watt power spotlight. The deer is just frozen and I take a kill shot right in the head. Of course I don't condone using a spotlight on Deer or anyone for that matter, I am just illustrating a point (analogy or allegory I don't know). The thing is exposing the ugly should or could be meaningful.

We are in an age of ugly; the world is in chaos with the rise of hate (Nazi's, White Supremacist, Saudi Arabia killings,  Rohingya being genocide by Myanmar,  Syria slaughter, Brazil burning its country, Russia expanding, China's jailing of Muslims, and the Burning of the Planet by greedy corporations). The question is what can we do about it?

There is not much we can do. There are so many people expressing the frustration at the chaos in the world. People will march, protest, engage in debate, make documentaries, donate money, write letters, vote in government elections, take their own lives and of course murder someone; all in an attempt to get change. With the action you would expect acknowledgement by the powers in control of the world to say your are heard. The opposite seems to be taking place. Jamal Khashoggi was a journalist who used his voice to point out the ugly. It got him killed; he was chopped up in an Embassy, an Embassy, can you imagine that? In other situations children are being slaughtered and the powers to be seem fine with it. Twenty 6-year old kids were shot and killed while sitting in school. The powers with the ability to change things, changed nothing. Children are still dying, voices are still being silenced and the Earth is still burning.

The thing is almost everyone is faceless. Even in their public lives they are anonymous. We can internet search for almost everyone but we need to know who we are searching for:  Darren Woods, Rex Tillerson, Michael Dolan, Mark Abers, Brad Corson, Rich Kruger, Borja Prado Eulate, Ulf Mark Schneider, Paul Bulcke, and many many more people. This tiny example of names are the public faceless killers of the Earth. We really don't know who they are. We don't really know the corporations they are championing. We don't really know how much damage they are doing.

So what if we name them? There is absolutely no consequence to seeing these names in a public forum. There could be or should be. The legacy left is one of destruction; all for the greedy pursuit of money and power. There should be a compiled list of all those Wiindigo, the corporations, the owners, the leaders and supporters which are greedily destroying the Earth. The legacy these Wiindigo leave should be carried on the shoulders of their families; the Sins of our Fathers. Shame is a hard emotion to carry. We are at the point in the world where the Planet killers have no care. Can they be shamed? Maybe erasing their public facelessness may be the way to get them to care?

Just the other day two men were on a plane saying all sorts of racist garbage to Inuit people on the same plane. The first news attention had these men's faces blurred out and not named. The story gained traction and the men faces were shown, they were banned from the airline, the company they worked for lost its contract with a major construction project, and the company they worked directly for fired them. There was a follow up article saying how sorry they were and about how their family was ashamed and they were worried about their futures (two old white men earning a living in Indigenous areas). The naming the faceless.

The families of these Wiindigo are not innocent. By way of association they should bear the cross (do you like how I linked the a couple of Biblical references so far) of their parents, after all they share in the spoils? They should carry the shame of the despicable crimes their parents have committed. Maybe have them do the Walk of Shame like in Game of Thrones. I might pay to see that.

I love my kids and my grandkids, so I hope I would think twice about the harm I cause them when I behave like a Wiindigo. We want the best for our kids. So why are the greedy corporations and their collective owners not caring for their kids?

Followers: Miigwetch. Thank Yous

I'm gonna get a cocktail I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl Cause this old man is going to town. As good as my witness Forgive ev...