Monday, February 26, 2018

Creator, Are You Listening?

Throughout my life I have talked to God many times. When I was young and going to the boarding school (Fort Alexander Indian Residential School) I really didn't know how to talk to God. I was thought prayers like the Hail Mary and the Our Father prayers. At the time I didn't understand the message. I tried to do the prayers, but only when told to do them.  When I was given Penance after Confession and I was told to recite the prayers a number of times to repent for my sins. Even then I didn't use them. I would just guess as to how long the prayers would take as I was kneeling. So night time prayers or morning prayers was something I never did. I guess I did the prayer only at public prayers. I can't say when I actually started to talk to God in earnest. I don't remember the first time or what was said. Its not like God actually took part in the conversation. There was no "yo-hoo", like the Old men in the Reserve  would say when they were listening to each other. Unlike others who say God answered them, it never happened to me. Can you imagine, if you were answered?

Most likely the times I must have spoken to the Creator was when I was in trouble or troubled. Its funny I didn't take the time to speak with God when I was in a good place. I remember as a kid being so mad, so mad that I threw out into the yard my Mom and Dads crucifix which hung over the front door. The statue of Jesus was a gift at their wedding. I broke the arm of the Jesus. Can't remember what I was upset for at the time. I just remember it because of how bad and guilty I felt for breaking Mom and Dad's crucifix.

I remembered talking to the Creator when my boy was found dead by hanging himself. I laid on the floor crying "no no no no" over and over again. Trying to make it not true. Hoping praying, asking God to make it not true, to change it. I didn't hear anything. Only the sound of my voice throughout the room. It doesn't matter anymore if I talk to the Creator. There is no answer regardless.

Today's media makes it much easier to communicate with the World and to listen to the World. Right now there are many people trying to speak with God. Funny thing is there doesn't seem to be any one in the room. Maybe the Creator is on holidays. You might think that with all the developments in technology, someone out there would have built a device which could establish a link with God. They discovered the God Particle for god's sake. So technology and science should have some "new" way beside prayer to communicate with god right? Maybe it will come one day but not today. Today we still have to rely on whether we decide God is listening, somehow.

I am not that far with throwing the Creator by the wayside, but still if I do talk to anyone I will choose to talk to my Boy, my Mom and a few others. I will say a thank you to whoever might be listening for the good in my life, like my family, my grandkids.

So there is the thing of trying to live a Traditional life if the Creator is not actively in it? I know right? I think this, I am no Christian but I still believe in some of the tenets which make Christianity attractive. Like the Golden Rule of treating others how you want to be treated. For me the Traditions are important part of my life. Its a  link to our heritage and to our Ancestors. The Teachings give us a good way to live. I embrace those Teachings the pursuit of learning from everyone.

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. Steve Weinberg

If I do speak again with the Creator, I will be saying, "what the fuck?"





Friday, February 23, 2018

Justice System Works Well, but Not for All.



Tina Fontaine, a young 15 year old Ojibwe Child found dead, wrapped up and thrown in the Red River.

Jackie Traverse 

In one recorded conversation on July 17, 2015, Cormier said: "15-year-old girl f--k. I drew the line, and that's why she got killed. She got killed, I'll make you a bet. She got killed because we found out, I found out she was 15 years old."



Cormier was recorded telling a woman that he would make a bet that Tina was killed because he had had sex with her and then “I found out she was 15 years old.” In another recording, Cormier was heard arguing with a woman and saying that there was a little girl in a “grave someplace screaming at the top of her lungs for me to finish the job. And guess what? I finished the job.”
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The Justice system in Canada works the way it should work. Trouble is the system is not designed to keep out the structural bias held by people. The many reports looking at disparity in the justice system clearly show a bias. So what gives? 
Today and yesterday(s) there have been marginalized groups (why do we label them as marginalized: GBLT, Black, Indigenous, Brown Immigrants?) who have stood up and said "Hey! What the heck? We are getting killed here."  
Yet the system endures. I have no clue on how to change the system. It has been designed by non-Brown communities but yet is the standard of how we measure justice in the world. 
There is the notion (or sales pitch) that Justice is colour blind. That maybe so, but everyone in the system is not. We have many, many instances and examples of the various segments (people) doing harm to People of Colour (I use this label but include GLBT and other so called misfits and marginalized folk here). From the police officer interviewing a victim of crime or the stop and frisk because they are not White, to  the brutalizing of kids. The manner in which the police address an investigation rests on who is making the complaint or on who is the victim. The Justice system is ripe full of rotten fruit. The results: lot of harm to the community.  Murderer goes free, innocents jailed, stereotyping, rudeness and assaults on innocents, and a myriad of wrongs. In Toronto a serial killer has finally been caught but the severity of his actions will never be really known. The Gay community in Toronto had brought up the missing men for a long time before the police took a serious look. The same pattern in British Columbia with both the Pickton murders and the Highway of Tears. Police were alerted but for some reason the cries went unanswered. 
I have no clue as to what can be done, but you must? How do you address the inherent bias, racism, sexism in the hearts of people? And a system that protects a certain class and race in society?

We see the Justice system in fact works for certain groups. Not for all. 


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Time To Make Things Personal


I wonder when we decide that something matters to us? There is so much going on in the world where we should be concerned. I mean David Suzuki is flying around telling us the Earth is dying. Shouldn't we heed his call? North Korea and the United States are playing "I Dare ya" and "No, I double dog Dare you". The folks living in the Desert countries are being killed like mosquitoes on a hot night by the fire. People are leaving Wars only to be met with hate and scorn. The Oil Rich men are planting oil pipelines in everyone's gardens and in their back yard pools and creeks. The US is busy trying to make it a White nation by arresting and kicking Brown people out of the country. The police force are also getting trigger happy. The police battle cry of "stop resisting" is their code for other offices to join in the fray of beating people of colour. The US continues to fool the public with the use of the Military. They use the old adage of "fighting for your freedom" while sending in the Military for corporate wants and gains. The war veteran comes back to isolation and life of suffering. The suicide of a Veteran has become common. White Supremacists are given the go ahead speech from the President of the United States and the other European countries. Much going on in the world that is truly ugly. So when do we take an interest in what goes on in the world? Do we need it be us or be in our homes for things to matter?

Cancer has been a constant in our little Indian community. I know many who have died from Cancer in our Reserve. Still it was something that was in front of me but I didn't really have an interest in Cancer until it became personal. A number of my Aunties got cancer and died. Some friends and acquaintances got the cancer and they too died. My brother-in-laws had cancer as well and died. My Mom got cancer and died. My Dad got cancer and died. So what now? Is it beyond my ability to fight cancer?

Suicide is in the national news when a celebrity dies by suicide. In Canada it is actually not that uncommon to see suicide make the news. Its the amount of suicides which make it news worthy. Small Indigenous communities have high rates of youth suicide. Its shocking and a reality of being an Indian child. When does the suicide issue become of interest to us?

The amount of weather related disasters are in the news on a regular basis.  Still the powers to be are racing to see who can add fire to the fuel the fastest. The Boreal Forest, the Amazon Forest, Nepal's Forest, are being killed quicker than you can put together an IKEA dresser. IKEA has even gone as so far as to steal forests. Stealing forests?  Do we care that forests are disappearing? Or is the a wooden park in the neighbourhood suitable for our needs?

Wait, I have to stop right here. I was going to finish off with the Earth being personal to us and how we care but right now I just can't. I have been hoping to try and write some good things going on in the Indian community and by extension the world. But I can't. Tonight they let a guy who shot and killed an Indian boy go free.

Gerald Stanley a white farmer in rural Saskatchewan shot Colten Boushie in the head. Didn't matter what Colten did, the fact is Stanley killed him. The good people of Saskatchewan, an all White Jury of his peers said "its okay you can go home" (basically). Colten's mom and his relatives are in shock. I think all of Indian Country is shocked.

Its personal. Colten is your child, my child, my nephews, my cousins, my nieces. So what does that say when you can kill an Indian? Oh wait as long as you are White.

It is personal.