Saturday, April 30, 2011

When your heart breaks

This year is coming up on six years that my Son, Donovan took his life. I am still not happy. I am still not able to cope, still not able to "move on" as they say. Wonder what the heck?

I am messed up today, right this very second. Do you know why I blog? It is because I want my boy to stay alive. For me to be able to talk about him and not see the expressions in peoples faces. The "oh no" faces. I know others have it more difficult and there is much more pain out there than what I have. Still it is because I am a selfish bastard that I put it out there. I want my boy back. I want to try again and make it right. Make it better. Be a better Dad. Listen more. Not mold him into something that he was not. He was a sensitive boy. And I messed that up. Want to know what suicide is all about? Its horror. Its heartbreak. Its ugly. Its all over.

If I needed you
Would you come to me
Would you come to me
For to ease my pain
If you needed me
I would come to you
I would swim the seas
For to ease your pain

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Think you know Winnipeg? Where is this?

Some of these sites will be easy for you to place. Maybe a couple might be harder to guess. Have fun and good luck. I just went to a few places that you could walk around to. In the future I will go to more areas of the city.

Knox Church on Edmonton St across from Central Park

Old Manpower offices Edmonton & Ellice

From Ellice view the famous MB hydro building

RC Church on St Mary's Ave across from City Place

Church on Smith across from Library

Old Metropolitan

Inside of MTS Centre arena

Portage Ave. beside old Clarion Hotel

Mb Hydro Building inside.

door of the Ming court on Edmonton

Remand centre Winnipeg

301 York Ave. Forces Recruiting and IE office

Monday, April 25, 2011

Being nice is easier than you think

I was very impressed with the Trainor Family out of Victoria Beach, Manitoba. This guy didn't have to do this. He has put an open invitation for the people of the Reserve to be able to pick rocks at his quarry. Now this may not seem like a big thing, but think about it. He took that time to paint this onto his sign. It took conscious effort to let people know what he thinks. I am very glad that there are people that still have a generous heart.
Desi Trainor - Good man

It is the little things we do that make the world a better place. I know we are prone to make mistakes but the little good things we do can make all the difference to someone else. It is not that we are looking for recognition when we do kind things, like exercising our compassion, but it is nice to acknowledge it. I am happy that the Trainor family did that and made the Indians feel welcome. Good for them.

Oh yeah, Thank you.

Kitchi Meegwetch.

You know it is easy to get upset and think bad. Or want to do mean things to people. We know what we can do if people are rude to us. In the movie "The Unforgiven" with Clint Eastwood, he had some great lines: "All right, I'm coming out. Any man I see out there, I'm gonna shoot him. Any sumbitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only gonna kill him, but I'm gonna kill his wife, all his friends, and burn his damn house down." That's how we all feel at one time or another. We know that we can hurt those people that ask to be hurt, by doing the ugly things or saying the ugly things they do. But what does that do to our own inside, our own well-being, our own souls? We are better if we practice that little bit of kindness, even if it hurts us. So we could be like the Trainors, exercise some compassion.

Monday, April 18, 2011

"You don't know me, you only think you do."

I was reading about the suicide rate in republican areas and how the number of attempts is higher than in democratic areas (a U.S. article). Why is it that the Right (political term to describe a certain set of beliefs) seem to be harsh or hard people? My wife and I were talking about the election in Canada, over here. There are at least three political parties that have a goal to help the poorer people and look after the Earth. The other party is hard. Hard in their way they deal with the public and with themselves. They are in power and will mostly likely get in power again. The other three steal votes from each other, while this one party only has to contend with people who are hard like them, the Conservative Party.

I am not posting about politics, I want to explain how I feel right now. People know Indians, at least they think they know Indians. But really what does the public really know? We can get a picture or idea from what we see, what we read and what others tell us. Still we will never ever really know, unless we are in that box with them. Living with the rules (the way things are) they live with. Not necessarily the legislative rules, but the mindset, the norms of how we live. You only think we know them, but we really don't. The government and bureaucrats interact with them all the time and they don't know them. They measure them with the scales of main stream rules and norms. They don't know really what the "ways" are. Like a way of thinking 140 years ago, the 'mixed bloods' were not left out of Treaty because the People didn't want their grandkids left out of the community. Today there is a underlying view of contempt for the mixed bloods, even by others that have mixed bloods. So you live with that in your life, that little bit of resentment. It is just the norm. There are ways that you live that people don't know.

With me it is the same thing. I seem normal (whatever normal means) and function as well as can be under the circumstances. Is it I am fine? Nope. I am crushed inside. I am in a deep pit that I can see out of once in awhile. I feel dirt piled on me and I can't look myself in the eye.

I miss the company of my son, my boy. Sure it is going to be six years. Six years. Can't I get over it already. Why hang on to that pain? Strange. Why keep on pretending that I am okay?

I am a kind person. Or am I a monster that is just lurking to lash out on imagined (or real)wrongs that were done to me or my boy?

Yeah, you don't know me, you only think you do.

Me too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Praying at the Sweat with Cousins

My Cousin Barry and his wife Sharon came into town last week. Barry made a Little Boy drum for my cousin Ernest. Barry wanted Ernest to set up a Sweat for the weekend. So Ernest had his son-in-law David Blacksmith do a lodge up at this place.
We went out and met with family over there.
We had the chance to pray for my cousin Frankie & Chantal's daughter Chanel. She has been found to have cancer. She is two years old. It was a sad and happy occasion at the same time. We were happy to visit with cousins. Sad that our cousin and brother Frank is suffering.

We think of him often but what is there to say. We can't know the pain he is going through, the anxious moments. We can only hope and we can pray that there is healing for the baby girl.

It is nice to Sweat with family. You laugh, you tease, you talk and you pray.

My cousins Joe, Barry, Uncle Harold, Paul & Ernest
David & Donald

Al/Randy, Barry, Sharon, Ernest, Don.

Joe, Ernest, Harold, Paul

Steph, Yolanda
Joe, Harold, Paul, Don

Inside the Lodge building
Sharon, Ernest, Sheryl, David

Friday, April 8, 2011

Circle of Life Gathering: Addictions and Suicide

Life After Addictions and Suicide: A Circle of Life Gathering.
Honouring the Spirits of Our Loved Ones
ThunderBird House in Winnipeg, Manitoba will be the host site for a Gathering on May 10th and 11th, 2011. The Gathering is bringing together people from all walks of life. The goal of the Gathering is to look at ways to progress past the anguish of Addictions and Suicide.

Elder Tobasonakwut-Peter Kinew, Mr. George Chuvalo and Theo Fleury are slated as Speakers at the Gathering. In addition, Traditional Teachers/Oshkabawis Chickadee Richards, Sally McDonald, film maker Colleen Rajotte, Don Courchene, News Reporter Wab Kinew, Jeff Brightnose, Betty Laschuk, Ron McDonald are going to be involved either by Speaking, or as Helpers in the Healing Journey taking place at the Circle of Life Gathering.

This Gathering is a continuation of a Survivor of Suicide Gathering held in 2010. The focus of the 2010 Gathering was to bring suicide survivors together to start healing and continue a process of living again.

This year the Gathering will look at "finding your cause". Perhaps the way to keep living is to work at a cause. Whether that cause is fighting drug abuse, or bringing awareness to abuse, or following a Spiritual path. The cause no longer is a cause but it becomes part of your life. The cause becomes a healthy way of living.

George Chuvalo, former Canadian Heavy Weight Champion has never been knocked down in his life. However, the weight of addictions and suicide was almost too much for George to handle. Addictions and suicide ended up taking half of his family. George is a survivor of addictions and suicide loss. He was a fighter in the ring but now he fights outside of the ring. George has made it his life to Fight Against Drugs and to try save lives.
Theoren (Theo) Fleury the former Calgary Flame of the National Hockey League is a champion. He was a champion on the ice for the Flames and for Team Canada in the Olympics. Now Theo is a champion for the fight against abuse and addictions. Revealing his life story of abuse and drug abuse in his book, “Playing with Fire”. Theo has let the public know about how hard it was for him to cope. He is going on with his life and is choosing to help people. Theo once considered ending his own life. Only through what Theo says is a miracle, he is on a path to living a healthy way of life.
Peter Kinew is a Spiritual Elder well recognized in the Aboriginal community. A number of years ago, Suicide and addiction hit Peter. Peter walked away from an active political life as the leader of a regional Aboriginal organization. He met the tragedy of suicide and addictions with a choice to look for Healing. Peter makes it his life’s work to help those in need. He is known for his knowledge of Ojibway Teachings and Traditions. Peter says “we volunteer for this event because it is a way to reach people who are suffering, like we have”. The Life after Addictions and Suicide Gathering is an opportunity to continue the journey of healing. We welcome the public to this open event.
Comprehensive Community Initiative (CCI) spokesperson Brian Mcleod says, “We need more events that come from the immediate community, that is why we felt the need to support the Gathering and help with the costs of bringing in Mr. Chuvalo and Mr. Fleury”. “We know the work they are engaged in and realize that addictions and suicide have no boundaries”.
For further information contact: Chrissy Gauthier 204-940-4240, Thunderbird House 719 Main St. Winnipeg, Mb. or Steve Courchene 470-5207.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sagkeeng elections results

Donavan 725 Lyle 665 Derrick 436 Kirby 313 Johnish 294

Our people have made one change to the Council, my cousin Joe has not made it back in this year. The rest of the incumbents remain the same.

Now how does that make me feel? I did put my name in for Chief. I thought I went out and campaigned. It is now clear that I did not do a well enough job visiting and getting in touch with people. You have to be gracious in defeat. Even when it is crushing defeat. I am a bit confused in how I feel about another loss.

I do know that the community is not familiar with what I have to offer. It is disheartening but the people are comfortable at how things are going in the community. I still feel that things could be different. Different in a community cultural shift. From being individual thinking to more community broad based thinking. That is something I do hope will gain momentum in our community. A focus on more long-term community based mindset.

You know what? I do feel bad. Kind of sad and disappointed. There is an opportunity that you realize when you can be good for the community. Maybe it's for the best, but I am hurt. I live a life that is for Indians. I love my community. I don't get paid to pray or get paid to help people. I don't do stuff for recognition. I do it because it is the right thing to do. It's not like I don't have the skills.
I am friendly to people, help where I can and am just a nice person. That is hard to say in my state...depression. Lot of times I see myself in a whole different light. I honestly made an effort to let people see who I am. Not sure what to think.
I guess I am wrong and our Chief is doing right by the people. They chose him overwhelmingly. So we need to honor our Council and that is what I hope to do. Our community has made the choice.

Lot of mixed feelings. People didn't vote for Don. Here is a guy that ran major entities in the private and public sector. Is strong minded and can get things done. Yet people will elect candidates with no experience in governance? So that frustrates me. It's not the ability that gets you, I am not sure what it takes? Oh well, no use spending too much energy on second guessing a voting public.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life After Addictions and Suicide: A Circle of Life Gathering.

ThunderBird House in Winnipeg, Manitoba will be the host site for a Gathering. The Gathering is bringing together people from all walks of life. The goal of the Gathering is to look at ways to progress past the anguish of Addictions and Suicide.

Elder Tobasonakwut, Mr. George Chuvalo and Theo Fleury are slated as Speakers at the Gathering. In addition, Traditional Teachers/Oshkabawis Chickadee Richards, Sally McDonald will be sharing their experience and knowledge.
Marcel Guibouche, Don Courchene, Wab Kinew, Ron McDonald are going to be involved either by Speaking, or as Helpers in Ceremony that will be taking place.

The Gathering is a continuation of a Gathering held in 2010. The focus of that Gathering was to look at the Survivors of suicide loss. It was extremely tough but nurturing as well.

This year the Gathering will look at "finding your cause". Perhaps the way to keep living is to work at a cause. Whether that cause is fighting drug abuse. Perhaps your cause is to live a good life. This becomes not a cause but a way of life.

Using the Speakers experiences maybe, just maybe some of us can be inspired to keep living and stop existing. We can make a difference in our own life but also in someone else's life.

The Gathering will take place May 10, 11, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Will keep you posted as to how we are progressing with the Gathering. Additional Speakers and Helpers. We welcome helpers and support from everyone.

We need Helpers with the Sweat Lodge, food, fire wood, Grandfathers, advertising, clothe, tobacco, sage, cedar, gifts for Speakers, and a host of items that I can't think of at the moment.

Knowledge Keeper and Knowledge Giver

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