Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Poor Man Shames Us All

"Even the milk from our own animals does not belong to us. We must give to those who need it, for a poor man shames us all" -- An Elder of the Gabra, a pastoral tribe of nomads in Kenya

My Mom used to always talk to me about all things in life. She was pretty funny and pretty wise, way beyond her schooling (grade 3 Indian Residential school). She even told my wife, my wife mind you, that she was not 'stuck'. "Woman are not stuck anymore, they can leave." My wife laughed at me, my Mom telling her that was not stuck with me. Well, my Mom knew that I did not have the best temperament. I have come to learn that she was right, my Wife is indeed not stuck. My Mom also talked about other things, like how people get crazy over money. My Mom could not understand how money became so sacred for some people. Mom was telling me how crazy it looked when at Bingo, this woman kissed a Fifty dollar bill before buying break open tickets. Guess it was kind of an offering, who knows.

All of us like material goods, even so much so that we envy the people who have the toys. We brag about what we have. Reminds me of the story my friend told me. His Mom and her friends were talking about their kids as Moms do. This Mom talked about her son and how he was doing and that he had a "four by four". Four by Four is a four wheel drive truck.  This other older woman could not have been beat. So she said that is good and my son has a "five by five".  She didn't know what a four by four was. My friend's mom just bite her tongue and smiled. We are proud of what we get.

I know money is the blood of our cultures these days. We live in a market driven economy, society. We have left a sustenance society ages ago. But now we have a way of living that does not have a balance. It is all for the acquisition of money. Lately it has been shown that way of living is not without consequence. The richest people are being put in jail for taking money from others. It doesn't matter though, it is just aspects of our lives these days.

Generousity has been a part of our life as well. I have this saying, "it's easy to give a dollar when you have a hundred, but give a dollar when you have a dollar". There is the pretense of generousity and the pureness of generousity. You see in the streets and you see it in the lives of the rich and poor. The act of giving is a good thing. The reason we give is another thing. Do we give for the way we are preceived? Do we give because it is the right thing to do? Or do we give because it is for us, we make ourselves feel good by giving? All I know is that it is nice to receive a gift. A gift with no expectations of reciprocity. But that is not true. We always expect something when we give. We expect people to appreciate it. We expect them perhaps to return the favour to someone else. We expect them to gain some pleasure from our gift. We expect someone to see us as generous.

There is this guy in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. His name is Faron Hall.

I knew him as a kid. He spent time in our Reserve and lived across the highway from me. He is a street person in Winnipeg. He made the news this summer for his unselfish acts of heroism. He saved a drowning person.
He did it not once but twice. At two separte times, two separte incidents. He was drinking with friends on the shores of the Red River in the City of Winnipeg. When he saved these people. The Red River is fast and dangerous. It is not that uncommon to find bodies in the Red River. Faron, very reluctantly accepted the gratitude of a city. The city wanted to change him. Dress him in fine clothes, give him a place to live. The Mayor even invited him to a baseball game. (It was quite funny, Faron half-snapped giving the Mayor a hug on the news, the Mayor trying hard not to squirm) This winter Faron was the subject of a columist in the Winnipeg Free Press. It seems Faron got beaten up outside a Mainstreet bar. He was told he was "acting better than others and he was going to be shown, that he was no better". Faron did not seek the attention. He just did what he thought anyone would.

Yes, it is true, "A Poor Man Shames Us All".

Sad News People:

Today Faron Hall was pulled out of the river in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg's 'homeless hero' Faron Hall found dead in Red River

‘Homeless hero’ Faron Hall’s body recovered from same river he saved boy from in 2009

CBC News Posted: Aug 18, 2014 6:09 PM CT Last Updated: Aug 18, 2014 6:43 PM CT
Faron Hall is shown in this 2011 photo. His body was recovered from the Red River this weekend, according to family.
Faron Hall is shown in this 2011 photo. His body was recovered from the Red River this weekend, according to family.
Family members have identified the man pulled from the Red River on Sunday as Faron Hall, a homeless man known for rescuing a teen from the same river in 2009.
According to police, a man’s body was recovered from the river Sunday evening, just hours after police discovered the body of a 15-year-old girl who had been killed.
Faron Hall is shown here in 2009 when he was honoured by the Royal Lifesaving Society. He used the occasion to donate $1,000 to the Main Street Project, a Winnipeg homeless shelter. ((CBC))
Police had been searching for the man’s body since Friday, when a swimmer was seen in distress in the Red River. An off-duty police officer jumped in and tried to rescue him but was unable to.
Police have not confirmed the man whose body was recovered Sunday was Hall’s, but family members say it was Hall.
Winnipeg police do not believe the death is suspicious or that foul play was involved.
Hall had been released from jail on an assault charge not long before he was seen in distress in the river.
Hall's family said he had just lost his father and was having a hard time dealing with it.
Hall was well known in Winnipeg for rescuing a teen from the Red River in 2009. He had jumped into the icy river in May 2009. He was later awarded the mayor's medal of valour by Sam Katz for his bravery.
He would make a second rescue several months later when two friends were drinking and ended up in the river. He was able to save one, but the other died.
For his efforts, he received two commendations from the Royal Lifesaving Society. That day, he donated $1,000 to Main Street Project, a Winnipeg homeless shelter, from a national fund for the homeless set up in his name.
In 2010, Hall was badly beaten in a government-owned apartment block in Winnipeg on Christmas Eve. He said the people who attacked him recognized him from the media attention he had received.
Two people were later arrested in the case, and Hall became an advocate for the city's homeless, who he said had a lack of support when trying to overcome addictions.
Most recently, Hall was jailed for five months on a charge of assault with a weapon.
In April, Hall apologized for his actions in court and admitted he struggled with alcohol.
Hall told the court he was dealing with depression that followed the death of his friend in the September 2009 rescue attempt.


  1. bohzo

    I love your blog! A poor man shames us all is a great story. Thank You!


    Well Faron is in the news again. This time he was beaten up in his home. That guy.

  3. Thank you for sharing the story behind the tragic news of Faron Hall's drowning. I live in Toronto except for the summers when I am very lucky to be here near Kenora. Believe me, a news item about the death of a homeless First Nations person is a rarity in the Star or the Globe and Mail. Most people "Down East" don't give Native peoples a second thought and know very little, if anything, about them. If it wasn't for my Native facebook friend in Winnipeg I would be one of those typical people. When I live here I am grateful for all the news concerning First Nations peoples.

  4. I remember the mayor over there are one time said there were no homeless people there. Thanks for reading and take care.

  5. awesome steve I love your writings truth be told...... in sisterhood always jwc.


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