Friday, January 31, 2014

Elite Indians versus Grass Root Indians.

There is a lot of talk and an on going tit for tat on the internet (Facebook) regarding the war between the Indian Elite and the Indian Grassroots.  In a couple of my earlier posts I touched on the subject of the Indian Elite.  Of course I did one post tongue in cheek in a way to make light of the complex issue of identity.

Now you have the Indians  accusing each other of not doing right. The fight has turned into a fight of the have's and the have not's. There are  people like the  Honourable Justice Murry Sinclair, the current Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (for Indian Residential Schools) taking on Ogichidaa Jo Seenie of Roseau River First Nation. A classic picture of the well do to do and the day by day Indians.

In an earlier post I spoke on the University of Winnipeg speaking engagement of Mr. Phil Fontaine, former Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief. I have to say that it has caused quite an out pour of opinions and emotions regarding the cancellation of the event or disruption (which every you prefer to call it). Even the president of the University, Mr. Lloyd Axworthy, (former Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada) came out swinging against the people like Jo Seenie (the protesters).

Jo Seenie is a self professed Keeper of Mother Earth and an Ogichidaa. Ogichidaa is a peace keeper/warrior for the people. Jo Seenie has be very active most of her life following a path to protect the Land and stand with the people, Anishinaabeg. Jo Seenie is not well to do in terms of wealth.  She does have a very supportive group of Women (and men) that share the same ideals as she does. They are determined to have Indian people respected and heard. Jo Seenie has some strong Grassroots friends: Chickadee Richard, Shannon Buck, Judy Da Silva, Cheryl James and others.

It is easy to be upset when things don't go according to plan. No one really likes controversy or confrontation. With Justice Sinclair it is understandable for him to be upset and to attack (be it in a passive aggressive style of using the Traditional Teaching to slap someone) the protesters (as they are called, as it was an act of protest). After all Fontaine is one of Sinclair's contemporaries. They are both successful Indian people that have made a good life in the main stream society. Both have been accused of being a Apple. Apple is a derogatory term used to chastise Indians that "seem" to be less Indian than other Indians. White on the inside and red on the outside. A very nasty remark to any Aboriginal person. So the attack on Mr. Fontaine could be an attack (in the eyes) on all successful main stream Indians. The other thing is it natural to take up for your friend. That is what friends do. It is not a bad thing at all.

The thing is (as in many fights) the root of the issue takes a backward step. In this case it is not about the issue any more. It is about the characters involved. It has become a fight of individuals. The so called Grassroots taking on the Elites.  The Elites (all though they may not call themselves by that term) battling back against the protesters. What does that accomplish? 

And there is the further divide now. We have well meaning well to do Indians being attacked? Why because they are doing well in their circles? The not as well off Indians starting to feel superior to the well to do's simply because they don't have as much wealth as they do? It becomes a game of identity bashing. You know?  Like we are more Indian because we are right here on the ground while you are right there in the clouds! I don't think it is constructive or accomplishes much when we divide ourselves even more than we are.

It gets to the point as to how can we gain an edge in this society when we battle within ourselves?  A stronger front if we stick to the issue/problem. I know that is pollyanna way to thinking but there is some truth there.

I'm like all of you there, I see myself in a group. I want to belong. We all do. It gets to that we can be very judgmental of others if they don't fit in our "group", or what we perceive is our group. We may think that someone is not as good or is as not as kind or is not one of us because of their situation.  Give you an example. Mr Bill Wilson  is a very well known and outspoken First Nations man. He can never be thought of as an Apple.  He has made a career for being a strong Indian man who fights for Native issues.Mr. Wilson has been successful. He is an Indian. Could it be said that his children are not as Indian as him. After all they are the children of a "real" Indian, regardless of his financial or political status? His children presumably grew up different than he did, most likely in a well to do household? Are they less in tune with the Earth, the People?  I don't know?  See, that is what happens when we put more labels on ourselves. We can see the daughters of Mr. Wilson as privileged. Not really understanding the way it is for most of the Indian population in Canada. Being poor, being marginalized and so on.

However, at the same time we know that we can lose touch with our environment, our families if we stray to far. In our Reserve we have a couple that have won fifty million bucks. Can you imagine?  If it were me I would probably be in a far warmer climate. Not these people, they still are in the Reserve, go figure that one out? 

I am happy for people that make in this world, after all we have so much that don't. I am also grateful for the people with their feet on the ground. The warriors, the protesters, the workers, the Helpers, the Mom and Dads. Our Indian society has many different kinds of people. Even some of the wealthy can be Ogichidaa. Even the one with humble means can have a strong voice.



So go ahead people argue and take up for your friend, that is what friends are suppose to do, but try to keep the issue in the front of the fight. We only get side tracked by putting our cousins down. 

P.S. 

I think what the Grassroots people have done is necessary. Like I said in my early post, it is not about the individual it is much larger than that. It is about the long term future of our relatives, our children and their children. Nothing can get much bigger than that or nothing can get much more personal. 


Not sure how to label the protesters without using labels?  So I used the label grassroots. :)  Wild eh? 



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Protesting of the Messenger: EX-Grand Chief Phil Fontaine and TransCanada Pipeline.

http://warriorpublications.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/former-afn-chief-phil-fontaine-hired-by-transcanada-pipeline-ltd/

Phil Fontaine, former AFN chief, has also worked for the Royal Bank of Canada, then one of the biggest investors in Tar Sands.
Phil Fontaine, former AFN chief, has also worked for the Royal Bank of Canada, then one of the biggest investors in Tar Sands.
On its 4,000-kilometre path across the country, TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East’s pipeline would traverse the traditional territory of 180 different aboriginal communities, each of whom must be consulted and have their concerns accommodated as part of the company’s effort at winning project approval.
The Energy East plan is to bring 1.1 million barrels per day of western crude to eastern Canadian refineries and export terminals; it has been touted by politicians and its proponents as a nation-building exercise, and by industry as providing access to new markets for landlocked crude.
But native leaders want to ensure that they see some benefits from the $12-billion project and they could present a challenging obstacle to its completion if they feel excluded. On Tuesday, First Nations leaders gathering in Gatineau, Que., will launch an effort to devise their own national energy strategy.

 _________________________

 “We are disappointed and disgusted that he would actually work for the enemy, TransCanada, in terms of protecting the land and the waters and the future of our unborn. We are Anishnabe people of this land. We need to voice for her, for mother Earth.” Jo Seenie

____________________________

There is no doubt some people are angry. Some people are angry at the Women and men that held up banners, sang Traditional songs and interrupted Phil Fontaine's speaking engagement. Others are angry at Mr. Fontaine for his new job and responsibilities as an Aboriginal Spokesperson for TransCanada Pipeline.

There is a debate, actually it is more of a shouting match among Indian people about the University of Winnipeg speaking engagement. There are people angry that Phil did not get to speak and was shown disrespect. They say that the interrupters are protestors and they were there to create a disturbance.

The "protesters" say they are trying to protect the Earth from a monster, that monster being TransCanada pipeline.   They are thinking of the long haul, the big picture, i.e. The survival of the Earth. So their fight takes precedence over the feelings of one person. 

I think we need people to be loud. We need people on the outside with the goal of cease and desist. Stopping big companies from hurting Indian lands.  We have many people on the inside as well. Asking questions and trying to persuade the Big companies and government from with in the ranks. We also need people to be on the inside, to quietly but strongly  looking out for the people by offering advice to the decision makers. Two different approaches to working for the people.

Which is more effective?  I don't know.

I do know who gets more negative media. I do know that outsiders are always on the outside and that will not change.

Many people are upset that it was Phil that was challenged. They are upset because it "was" Phil! Phil that made many strong stands against government and Big business when he was leader of the Indians across Canada. So how dare people challenge him? Disrespect him?

I can see that being a bad thing, disrupting a well respected Leader, which is Phil. Many Aboliginal People see him as a sell out.

I don't agree that he has changed colours overnight as some state. No your values never change. Phil loves his people. He has worked his entire career for the betterment  for Indians. He worked on the outside of the government as a Leader of the Assembly of First Nations. His approach to how he worked is questioned and has been for years. "To cozy with government" was a slogan used by other Indians who wanted to be Grand Chief.   So his style was different from others, more conciliatory than confrontational. However, I do think attitudes change. Maybe Phil feels that working with the "enemy" is the way to get concesations for the people?  I don't know but maybe that is his logic. So that would mean his value of love for the people has not changed but rather the approach of who to fight for his people has changed. In other words his attitude of working on the outside to working on the inside has changed. So you can say that he is still for the betterment of Indian people even though he is working for the cannibal company, TransCanada Pipeline. Maybe he is trying to get TransCanada to not cannibalize the Indians? The way he sees how to do that is by being a voice inside?

 I think that Jo Seenie is true to the cause of saving the Earth for the next generations of people. I know Jo loves her people. Her values are consistent with many Indians; love of the people and the Creator. Her attitude towards the companies are not shared by government. She would sacrifice the short term gain of jobs for the long term gain of life.  A safe and good life for the people. Her attitude is that you must break the system because the system doesn't work for the people. Her way is to bring attention to the cannibal nature of Big business. The way to do that is to be seen and hear. How do you get seen and heard? You put yourself in a place that you can be seen and heard. In many cases it may cause some disruption. People will not like it. But for her the bigger picture is not for her to be liked but for her to be heard. And people are going to hear her.

Being heard may look like disrespect but if you look harder, than you will see it is not disrespect but it is commitment. Commitment to a set of values. That set of values is a deep profound love of the people. That means, lending a voice for the people.

So look hard when we see "protesters". They just have your best interest at heart.



Angry Protesters Force First Nations Leader Off... by tvnportal


Friday, January 17, 2014

It never gets easy. Suicide Survivor

Today my Boy would have had his 29th birthday.  This August will be 9 years that he has been gone because of his suicide.

There is public service commercial on television right now, that shows teenagers slamming doors and being, well, teenagers. The caption reads as a distressed mother is walking into a teenager bedroom.; "think living with a teenager is hard?  Living without one is harder".  It is a message about teenage suicide. I think lots about this when it is aired. Parents, and siblings, should not have to endure such pain. It is immense. I don't think I could accurately describe what it is like. In any case it is bad.

Its quite funny the things that set you off. I mean, get you down and sad in an instant. Listening to a tune, or seeing some young people holding hands, laughing. Knowing you will never see your loved one enjoying that. Its pretty damn hard.

I know it gets old, holding on to grief, and airing it out, publicly. I guess.

I got this book called Indian Joe Blow, written by Adam Beaches' uncle, Chris. I got it, but haven't read it. I remember when the suicide happened, good people gave me books to read on grief. I tried, but didn't have the desire to read them. In any case, I do read, and read lots. I am currently reading George Chuvalo: A Fighter's Life.   It has mixed reviews. In any case, it was a good read. I like him.

We met him, George Chuvalo. I wonder if speaking about the suicide loss helps people?  I like to think it does.

I get really really angry when I hear of a suicide. My anger gets directed at public officials. Not sure they can help really. It bugs me that they take some media time off of a suicide. I don't anyone cares.

I think people only care about something when it happens or affects them.  Don't you think?

I mean, really?

Why would you care about the amount of suicides that happen in the Indian community? Why should you?

We think of it as a sad thing, for the moment when we hear of a suicide. And then?


Friday, January 10, 2014

Indian couple give $600,000 to charity.

Kirby and Marie Fontaine (from right) give Dream Factory's Grace Thomson a cheque for $100,016.

Kirby and Marie Fontaine (from right) give Dream Factory's Grace Thomson a cheque for $100,016.
SANTA Claus isn't the only one making a list and checking it twice.
For the second year in a row, lottery winners Kirby and Marie Fontaine gave to those who need it most.
But this year they doubled their donations.
The Fontaines won a $50-million Lotto Max jackpot in 2009.
Last December, the Fontaines gave $50,000 apiece to numerous charities in Winnipeg. On Monday, they doubled that sum to $100,000 apiece for Siloam Mission, the Christmas Cheer Board, Rossbrook House, Winnipeg Harvest, the Dream Factory and Children's Hospital Foundation. Their donations total $600,000.
Elizabeth Creed, communications director at Siloam Mission, said the Fontaines walked in and presented them with the cheque.
jesse.marks@freepress.mb.ca

Now that is what you call awesome!!!

Each of these charities is for sure worthy of the donation and more.

It is a great to see the good feelings that these two Indians have generated in the community.

The Siloam Mission is located close to the North End of the city of Winnipeg. They provide food and shelter to many homeless (as well as clothing). The Christmas Cheer Board provide hampers to families in December. Rossbrook House is a place for young people to come and hang out for safety and other positive activities. Winnipeg Harvest provides food for anyone who needs it. Dream Factory provides wishes to children that are really sick.

The Fontaines provided cash to organizations that help many people and many of those people can be Aboriginal.

I would like for other wealthy people to help to this lesser known entity:  Thunderbird House. Like the other organizations Thunderbird House does some good work. Perhaps not in the scope that these wonderful agencies provide but still a cause has to start somewhere.

So let the world know about Thunderbird House. I am sure they would appreciate your help.




Thunderbird House is a multi-use facility located in the City of Winnipeg’s Point Douglas District. It has over 8,000 square feet of conference room space. There is access to a Ceremony grounds for Sweat Lodge Teachings. Thunderbird House is a high valued resource for the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population. Servicing the community for Spiritual guidance and support, Thunderbird House is exemplary.  Financial stability has eluded Thunderbird House. As a non-government funded not for profit charitable organization of Religious entity status, it would seem that financial support would be forthcoming by the public. Thunderbird House has not had success in attracting financial aid. It may due to many factors, one being that marketability has been lacking. Thunderbird House is searching for ways to overcome their financial weakness.
The one common thread that all Creatures have is their sense of Identity. Identity is extremely important as to who we are and how we function. We also know that we do not live in isolation. Thunderbird House has an identity that is based on inclusion, pride, humility, history and opportunity. Thunderbird House and the greater population are about to embark on a journey of inclusion and opportunity.
Thunderbird House is more than an iconic landmark facility in the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is more than a symbol of Aboriginal heritage and enduring Spirit. It is a home; a home that includes everyone. Just like the four quadrants of the Earth, and the four entrance ways at Thunderbird House, there are more ways to enter into the lives of others. Thunderbird House is seeking others to enter their Home and enter into their journey.
Thunderbird House is unique in that it is more than a facility for Spiritual guidance of Aboriginal people. It is a portal to a common goal; Good Life – Mino Pimatiziwin. Thunderbird House and its supporters have the opportunity to enrich lives. The enrichment of life has a compound effect for the betterment of the larger community.
In order to accomplish the common goal, Thunderbird House needs Champions. Thunderbird House needs Champions to support the ideals of Good Life, healthy living, financial stability and unwavering commitment.
Thunderbird House is a majestic building, designed by noted Architect Douglas Cardinal. It is a haven of support and guidance for the non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal community. Providing spiritual guidance, community inclusion, and building community capacity by supporting individuals.  Thunderbird House can only live if it receives help. Building networks, and financial partnerships will provide Thunderbird House with the means to continue to capacity build in the community. Individuals that recognize their potential achieve greater success and practice higher citizenship behavior.
The Aboriginal population needs support. Thunderbird House, along with its colleagues and Helpers are going to provide that support. The Aboriginal population is in a crisis. That crisis is manifested in the market of public services accessed voluntarily and involuntarily by the Aboriginal population.  That access is not ideal for Aboriginal people in some cases. Where can the change begin to stop the over participation by Aboriginal people in the unemployment line, the correctional facility, the child care agency, the welfare line, the health clinics, and the morgue?
It can stop with you, with us.  The identity crisis of the Aboriginal population is a major hurdle to overcome. By instilling knowledge of history, of Spiritual beliefs, of pride, of perseverance and of discipline, the Aboriginal population will prosper. Having a good picture of oneself is one step, an important step, in becoming a stronger individual. Knowing that you are part of a larger community that sees itself in a good and positive manner, is the foundation to a healthier self. Having a strong sense of identity is key in stopping recidivism in the corrections. It helps with being a better parent, business member, a trust worthy colleague, a person you can count on, and a productive member of our society.
Financial supporting Thunderbird House is a plus for the community. The benefits will out way the costs.
There are no “magic bullets” to address all the issues currently faced by the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population. Having a support mechanism such as the people involved with Thunderbird House is a good start. With your help it will be an on-going mechanism of support.


Monday, January 6, 2014

It's time to bulldoze the reserves and cut all the parasites off.

"It's time to bulldoze the reserves and cut all the parasites off." Anonymous.

Just got this posted on my blog. It was on the Not For Free Loading Indians post.

Doesn't upset me at all actually. I have gotten a few posts that can be categorized as ignorant. That is the thing isn't it? Many people are truly ignorant of the facts, the history and the situation that Indian people are living through. There are many good people out there that don't understand the realities of a situation. And those people, you can have a engaging discourse with. Of course there are some people that are just angry or just full of hate. No amount of education or reasoning will be beneficial to these people.

So the Reserves and the Indians.  The truth of the matter is a binding deal was made. A deal was made with the Indians by various other Nations.  The deals were oral and written. Remarkably the oral portion of the "negotiations" never made it into the deal, despite the fact historical letters/documentations speak of the oral negotiations. So what is left is a written draft deal made prior to negotiations as the document of a binding agreement. So be it. However, the thing is, even that deal is not honoured. Many people believe that it is old and doesn't exist anymore.  Funny logic. Anyway, the deal is (there were many deals but lets generalize) this: you can hang out here and even enjoy some of the land, BUT Indians have use of the land, no resources are part of the deal except for maybe a small piece of the top soil. So the Indians are to be paid rent, in the form of gifts, Rights for in perpetuity, and the new comers get to hang out. Simple.

It is quite simple really. You rent a home, you pay or you leave. If not you are simply a squatter. A person illegally living on someone else property. Get it?

Anyway, the bulldoze the Reserve thing. Cut off the parasite thing. What a mindset, don' t you think?

I mean really, why think like that?  I bet these are the same types that want to deport everyone that is not from a White European country.

I would feel bad for these kind of people. You know the type who are inbreed, uncultured, stupid stupid, racist, homophobic fools. They can't help it. They are what they are, no amount of reasoning or enlightenment is going to help them. So I can't feel bad for them. Just feel nothing for them. They don't deserve our energy.
Had to say stupid twice. You know how it is.
Sorry for the post, intended to debate the topic, but ah, what the heck, just didn't think it was of any use.

Just for your information: bulldozing an Aboriginal community did in fact occur in Manitoba Canada. Fox Lake First Nation up in northern Manitoba.

Here is the story link: http://www.cecmanitoba.ca/resource/hearings/39/KHLP-045%20FLCN%20History%20October%2029%202013.pdf