Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What Have You Done For Your People?

No one can say I never acted like an arse.  In fact it is the one thing I do well. Not at the professional level mind you but I have been guilty of teasing way too much. Teasing can be fun and it can be just mean as well. When it becomes too mean it is past being an arse and into the arsehole territory. Arse and Arsehole are two different animals. One is relying on the ironic, the facetious, factual, sardonic and the funny. The other is just preying on the weak, the vulnerable, the public, the past, and innuendo of someone's life.

I was looking at a recent tit for tat on social media. A Native politician is being slagged and he responded with "what have you done for your people?"  A classic comeback. He also said "say it to me in person."  Another classic comeback but this is kind of a Reserve comeback; meaning someone is going to get a bannock slap to the chomps.  Its funny because in the Reserve even people over 55 still say stuff like that; never mind we are at the "I shit myself age."

It got me thinking about the classic "what have you done for your people" line.  What have we, what have I done for our people?

It is a fair question but at the same time, who judges what you have done?

Is it public figures who get the accolades for their service and notoriety.  Is it really fair for the quiet reserved private individual?  After all they could be the "person behind the throne."  One the things which is implied with every what have you done is the "you are a nobody" label. If you are not in the spotlight doing the work for the people, then you are a nobody.  The implication is your voice is not as valid as theirs.

I saw on social media attributed to Judge Murray Sinclair. Now Sinclair is a well known and well liked public figure. His work has been phenomenal.  However the post is a bit interesting. It is about Traditional Teachers - Elders. He says many don't have the knowledge and they should identify their Teachers. There are some new-age or practicing Elders out there who are making things up as they go along. That is not a good thing. However not ever Elder has gotten her/his Teachings from a famous Elder - well know and well respected. Is a lesser known Teacher any less qualified?  In any case, we seem to be judging on the famous - how much someone is in the public eye.

I don't think that is really fair. Not everyone hosts a radio show. Not everyone is in politics. Not everyone is a book writer. Not everyone travels out of their home community. The point that if you are not a public figure equates to you being a nobody. That sucks.  I see and hear many public figures and quite frankly they might do with a little more private time.

Just because you have a public persona does elevate your value over the next person. We are all somebody.  A dad that acknowledges their children.  A mom who raises children alone with no spouse support. A Traditional Teacher who quietly works in the background helping at as many ceremonies as they can. The top manager who willing cuts wood for an unemployed Elder. The youth who is struggling at home but maintains a school attendance. The labourer who works to feed the family. All doing stuff for the people.

The thing about working for your people many times we blur the lines between working for our own interests and that of our people.

My friend works as a director in a health sector position. Working for the people; thing is it is all this person does. No other work for the people. So in a sense the work for the people is feeding them but outside of that, well its anyone's guess. So are we working for ourselves and the job of helping is a secondary thought or benefit? We can take credit for what we have done for our people when it is actually what have I done for me?

The other thing about being a public persona, you can't hide how you truly are indefinitely. Your attitudes and character will ultimately shine through. We can see some people are actually not good people as they pretend to be. Working for the people can be exposing yourself to the people.  Social media is a good indicator of your inner character and our inner character can be quite ugly.


  1. Teraann@hotmail.comMarch 21, 2017 at 11:59 PM

    Excellant song choice for the article. My inspirers were M&N Hall when I was going through my preteen maternity! (Not joking) But Marie helped me through my midlife crisis. Got me into everything she could imagine. Not a famous lady. But a dream to be reckoned with. She knows what was right with you the minute you walk up and she works with that.

  2. She is my cousin. A real good lady.