I went over the University of Winnipeg. I figured what the heck I will give the coordinator of their Aboriginal Governance Program my resume. I don't have much hope but as they say "hope is not a method" anyway. When I was there I took a look at the bulletin boards to see what is going on in the world of Academia. Turns out there are bullies everywhere. There was a posting for a seminar on bullying, to stop bullying.
The bullying thing sure makes me think. When I walked with Pungese on her support of Missing Women Memorial march, she talked about bullies. She said she was bullied a bit at school. I wasn't bullied that I can remember. She said people liked me, I was likable, and seemed fragile. Fragile? I suppose that's one way to describe it. I say I am sensitive. You know like "in tune with the Earth" and all that stuff. I'm sensitive in a real manly way, not Senseeteeve, like in a fragile way. You know not like Nathan Lane. But Pungese was right. There have been some real bullies in our Reserve. I imagine it's like that in small communities everywhere. I have friends in other Reserves and their community has their share of bullies as well.
I wonder now if the bullies of old ever think back to the hurt they caused? I wonder if they try to reconcile with what they did, or does it haunt them? The other side of the coin is do people ever let it go that they were bullied by these people? Do they (we) keep a harsh view of them through out our lives? Heavy duty questions for a light weight to ponder.
I believe that bullies are not really born but are made. In the Reserve there are limited resources. You can get part of the resources by working for it, you know with merit. You can be favoured into the resources, you know by having a good relationship (get it) with the ruling leadership. Finally you can bully your way into the resources, by being as unruly as you can, so finally your demands are met. I don't believe in the present system that you can reason your way into the resources of the Reserve. However, that is not an excuse for bullies. Tying to get a piece of the small pie is not a valid reason for bullying. Even if it is successful in getting you the head of the line. It's quite funny because Indians,(well most Indians) believe in Onjine or maazhi-bimaadizi; not to lead a bad life or things will come back on you;maazhi-ayi'iin wii-azhegiiwemagadoon agiji.
You know the old saying there is strength in numbers? Well in Reserves family units can be quite large. That is not including extended family, like cousins. In our family for example there were 11 children, with 9 still alive. That is not out of the ordinary, and it is not considered high. Having those big families can be helpful in guarding against bullies. In some cases it could work in favour of the bullies. I recognize different family names from other Reserves in Manitoba and you know they are part of the big families in those Reserves. Big families can also be beneficial in getting favour from the leadership as most likely the leaders are part of the family.
Growing up there were specific bullies in the community. There were the usually bullies you get in school. The ones that thrive on picking on the small or the weaker. There were also bullies that went out to bully the whole community. Beating up people if they felt wronged or wanted something. People that expect the community to give into their wishes. Many a time the community did give into their wants. The leaders of the community made sure they were looked after. When you think of bullies you automatically think of men, but women are also bullies. I know this one lady who beat up her uncle's wife. Beat her real bad at her place of work. I wonder if she ever apologized. Do you apologize for something as bad as beating up a person real bad. I know of this guy who is a big guy and he didn't care who he beat up. Bulling is a such common place in the world that it is accepted (to a point).
I see these people today and wonder if they ever feel regret for how they were. I don't believe they are. If you are rewarded for a certain behaviour what is the incentive to change; there is no incentive to change. Although we learn from our mistakes and we are expected to make mistakes when we are young, it still haunts us. I mean can we forget the hardship it caused on others. Should there be an attempt to make amends? I don't think we can be expected to make amends to every individual hurt, harmed by our actions, but maybe, just maybe we can make a difference by the way we carry ourselves today. I don't know, but at least it is a start. I look at the bullies and don't carry too much contempt for them, but at the same time I do wonder if there is room in their own hearts for guilt, remorse, regret, and contrition.
Today our bullies are coming in the form of the gangs. They are the pariah of the Native community. Yet despite being despised they are the ones that get an audience with the leadership. So what is the incentive to try and be a good person? Our own Spirits are what keeps us reminded to be that good person. At least I hope so.