Sunday, October 28, 2012

Travel people travel.

My Dad is very forgetful these days. We were driving back to the house the other night from a movie. He keeps asking me the same questions and I get kind of tired of it, so I said to him, "Dad you ask me the same things over and over.".  He said, "I forget, guess I'll get senile, I'm scared".  Hard for him. His young brother Uncle Georgie Boy is in a care facility that has locks for people with Alzheimers. George does not recognize anyone anymore, I am pretty sure. My Dad does not want to go see him anymore. The last time, George didn't seem to understand what was being said when my Dad talked with him. So maybe Dad doesn't want to see what is happening to him as well. I don't know.

Taking my Dad around the City with me and we have been running into people he knows from another time and other Reserves. We ran into one of his old friends from up north, Rodney Spence. We also ran into a guy from the Island Lake region that my Dad is friends with, Marcel Flett. My Dad said he meet those guys when he used to travel with Manitoba Indian Brotherhood (MIB). MIB was the Aboriginal Political voice called the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood back  in the 1970's. Dad worked for Dave Courchene Sr. the President of the MIB in those days. That is one thing Dad said, "when you travel, you meet people, it is good to meet people". I like that.

This August or September I met these two women from Brazil. They were asking directions on a street in Winnipeg and I told them where to go. I invited them to our home and said "come to our house, my wife will cook for you".  I told my wife I met two women and invited them home for her to cook for them. She said "okay".  Of course, I did.  My wife is so god damn cool, she didn't even bat and eye. "Sure, I'll cook for your Brazilian Women".  

We have had them to our home; Martha, Ana and the baby Olivia. She is almost one year old and as cute as can be. They are here visiting while Martha does her Phd classes at the University of Manitoba. Ana is the mom of Martha. This Saturday we went to their apartment for dinner. It was fun. Martha had a few friends over as well. A fellow student named Connor. He is from Colorado and is doing his Masters and will be heading to Kenya for 8 months this Christmas. He is a young good looking athletic guy.  Very friendly, handsome and he wears sandals.  He has done all the wilderness stuff: white water rafting down the Colorado for 18 days, climb rocks, is a skier, you name it, a real marvel. Another couple were at the dinner as well. Ryan is from Manitoba. He grew up around the Riding Mountain area, but did some traveling. His wife is from Peru. Her name is Alexandra and their son is Santiago. A beautiful two year old wavy haired handsome boy. Ryan met his wife in Peru while he was doing a stint as a student over there. Ryan and Alexandra mostly speak Spanish to Santiago.  Alexandra is one of those Latino women, that has good skin colour and is very friendly and pretty. They have been together for over eight years. Ryan is a professional that works with a northern Indian Band.

I am always in awe of people who travel or have lived some where else. It is like a whole new experience visiting with them. You want to absorb what they have experienced. I get real noisy and ask a million questions. Heck I must be real annoying to sit and talk with. I must act like a Shamagonish, a cop. "Where you from, when did you get here, what do you, how did you meet, where do  you live?" Thankfully everyone is polite and didn't tell me to shaddap (shut up). 

I feel bad for people that are not going to experience travel. Or even meet people that have traveled. I like that me. I like to meet people from all over. So talk to people, strangers on the street. You never know where you will end up. Like my Dad says, "it's good to meet people".

I am so glad that we got to meet some new people. Even if I may never go to the places where they are from, I at least met someone from a land far away.

Home is good don't get me wrong, but let's open up our worlds too.

Today I was driving down the highway, I saw this young man get off a bus and he had a big back-pack, so I turned around on the highway because I knew he was a hitchhiker. In the city it is hard to get a ride and I knew he would have a bit of a walk to get out of the city and be on the Trans Canada highway. So he was happy that I gave him a little ride out of the city. His Name is Gabriel and his going home to Quebec. He is coming from British Columbia.  Hope you have a safe trip Gabriel.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If you were Chief...

If you were Chief what would you do? Differently?

by Steve Julian on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 1:46pm ·

There is a lot of debate over on the Sagkeeng Fort Alexander facebook page on the goings on of the community. I see some people campaigning and some openly calling for a new Chief and Council. I wonder if you did have the helm what would you try and do to change things. Or do things need to be changed?

I did run for public office a couple of times without success. The message for me is loud and clear, so I do acquiesce to the wishes of the community. Still I wouldn't mind to hear from other people as to what ideas they do hold. I also still want to share my ideas and thoughts about our community.

Last election there was one candidate talking about the rule of "big families". I felt that this was a wrong approach. A divisive attack from a person that is suppose to lead the community. My thinking is that the elected leader must unite the community not divide it.

Another person felt the need to attack the other opponents rather than talk about what their focus was for the community. I think with that type of thinking it just adds to the discontent that plagues our community.

I maintain that our communities ills do not fall on any one Council, but it is a accumulative effect of years of colonial oppression. We are just immersed in that decay that we don't know anything else. But there is hope for sure.

I think the role of the Chief and Council must be seen as our rule. Chief and Council must be thought of as the Voice of our community. As it is, people do not live like that. For example if the Chief and Council decided that for the good of the community that we needed to suspend the hunt for moose, would people listen? Of course not. People would say it is my Treaty Right and I am going to exercise that Right. Isn't that right? Right now the community uses the Chief and Council as a management team, not a Leader and voice for the community. The role of the Chief and Council must be seen as our government, but clearly it is not. People will go to our Council for the most mundane of things. "I lost my Welfare cheque or someone stole it and I need to get some pampers for my kids". "I need gas money to get to the city". If the Council doesn't give out money then people get  downright angry and hostile, swearing at the secretaries at the Band office. Is that anyway to treat the Leader of your community? It is about respecting the role. Remember the role that C & C have. I may disagree with the politics, the management and the conduct of C & C but I still remember what they represent. That is one thing the C & C must also remember, it is their role to listen to the people and speak for the people. Remember you can't give every single person a Yes.

That is what people don't want is to hear No. But it is the reality of the situation. The Band is limited in what it can do. So the C & C have to be stingy with the resources and not just use them to gain favour with certain segment of the population. But it happens. That has been the situation for a long time. How do we change that situation?

I think telling is the way. Tell everyone what is going on at the Band office. If someone is coming for money, let the people know. If you have to give money let the people know. That money is on behalf of all the community. Not for certain segments.

I know people are people and you are going to like and not like certain people. So your decisions are going to reflect that. I know my brother is not liked by the Band and so he is treated in that manner. It is not policy it is personal. That is not the way to govern.  But that is the nature of people. So trying to over come that is a look in the mirror approach.

The community should start to think about the community as a whole. Right now that is not the case. We are so divided in all aspects: family lines, religious lines, geography lines (north south shore, on reserve off reserve), ideological lines, and historical views. Some people have a skewed version of history and want two separate reserves. That is a shame, they don't know their own history and want to become big fish in a little pond. Have we not learned anything? No we have not, we are more divided than ever. So how can one C & C change this? It is a community think. Our community is filled with a bunch of individuals that only want what is best (or perceived best) for themselves. The main complaint of C & C is not about community but what I didn't get from C & C.  And that is not hyperbole but fact.  For some individuals Sagkeeng ends at the train track in town and at Cat Fish Creek. People that have to move to Winnipeg are not members of Sagkeeng. Again, division. Where are these people going to live? What jobs? They are forced to move. But hey if you want to throw away your community members, well that says something, doesn't it.

That is what it comes down to: community needs to start thinking about the whole community. The C & C must also think about the whole community. Make decisions based on that ideal.

When I see your x on the ballot box I would like to see, what you are thinking about the community. Not just empty rhetoric; "Oh I can work with anyone". Please that old line has been used forever. And people saying "oh you would make such a great leader". Why, because they can jump up and down? Nope, leadership will need to challenge the status quo. No more empty speaking. Get the community to understand that it is in crisis and the only way to get out of the crisis is people start to end the division.

The community is moving and not for the better, we need people who are going to steer for the whole community. The leader must come in with a strong set of ideals for the whole community.

Let us see an open financial disclosure. Open housing choices. Open lines of contact. Not just information to those that are in the "immediate circle".

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dear Sagkeeng, let's talk.

Dear Sagkeeng,

"You're talking like a white man". Ever hear that statement? Lot of people use it when they are upset and want to stop you from saying something. I always wondered what "thinking like, or talking like a white man" was. I believe the answer lies in the actions from those words. Wait, let me explain. Generally speaking Sagkeeng is thinking like a white man. That is, we have adopted the white mans' credo of accumulation. Not cutting up that way of thinking but it is not the Indian way.  Did you every hear an Indian talk about their "net worth". Or how their "portfolio" was doing?  Most likely not. You see back in the day, according to the government, it was a great sin to give things away. That was the whole credo of Indian society: sharing, to give to others in and out of the community. The Indian society had the notion of the whole. That meant sharing with everyone. So a Give Away was part of their being. The government saw this acts of sharing strange. They also felt many other Indian ways were alien to them. So the government did many things to change the Indian.

 As for Today, when was the last time you went out and did something for someone else (other than immediate family members)? Have you went out and cut wood or purchased wood for someone in the community that needs it? Have you killed an animal, gotten fish and given to someone other than family?  It is that simple. Indian thinking and Indian ways are about sharing; about the whole. Europe is interested in the individual. European  Laws reflect the individual claim. So the Laws were enacted to stop Give Aways of the Indian way in the 1800's. These laws were an assault on the symbol of all that is Native. It was one of the tools Canada did to try and kill the Indian. And for the most part it worked in some areas. So today we don't think like that, we don't think of the Share.  It is a shame. We are concerned about our net worth, what ever that means. We are concerned more with what we can get as opposed to what the community needs.

Sagkeeng is in a deep hole of trouble. Just like most Reserves in Canada. We are becoming a cesspool of despair, dysfunction, greed, anger, jealousy, hurt, abuse, and undisciplined behaviour.  Before you jump up and down and say "who the fuck are you to say that, you fucking crook", let me explain. I know Sagkeeng has some great attributes and I do love my community. However, Sagkeeng is part of a picture that is being painted right now. That painting is being changed as generations come and go. We have been in the midst of change for some time. From when the time that the main travel route was the water ways, to the introduction of the produced goods (can goods like Klik etc.), the abandoning of sustenance lifestyle (not hunting trapping to live), the invasion of Christianity (assault on way of life), the Trading posts (dependency of produced goods-products), the flu epidemics (disease in the 1800s changed landscape of Indian people), the Treaties, the Indian Act, the Residential School experience and the introduction of the Chief and Council system (to name of few changes).  Our people, our community has endured all that. You can't expect us not to be affected negatively.

There are facebook pages dedicated to Sagkeeng and Fort Alexander. Fort Alexander was the Indian Affairs name for Sagkeeng.  If you go to these sites, you can see that there are a lot of strong comments and opinions. Not every one will agree to the point that threats are made. Some people have blinders on. They feel that all is fine and that if you criticize the community you are nothing but an arsehole. Others engage in juvenile immature behaviour and postings akin to the school playground heckles of nyah nyah nyah.  The posters do highlight that Sagkeeng could use some help. It can be downright nasty on those sites. An anger comes out from people that is downright visceral. A reflection of what bubbles beneath the being of the Sagkeeng community. Understandable, considering the history of Aboriginal people. Thing is not everyone has a grasp of the history of Aboriginal people, our people included. So how can we change the picture? How can we affect the changes that are happening all around us? When we don't understand where we came from and what is happening to us?

One of the things I think Sagkeeng really has, is a concern. We are concerned about our community and that is a great thing. How can we use that concern to guide us? I think one of the big things we do lack is discipline. We are undisciplined in everything we do and don't do.  It is reflected in our children and our community. We can start at home. We can start with how we conduct ourselves. We can try to exercise our compassion to the community. Discipline our kids. They need that. Not negatively but constructively. We need them to be in school on time, to listen to the Teacher, to the adult. How can they respect other adults when we don't show that respect ourselves. It is just too damn easy to cut each other up. It is not enough to verbalize our respect for others but to actualize it. We need to start with the foundation of being a community, to share. To be good for the community. To think of what the community needs, not what I need.

You know the ills of the community are not to fall on the shoulders of one particular Leader(s). It is a compounded affect of years of pressure. Pressure to change into a material culture. Pressure to want the next best thing. We can blame all our woes on poor governance, corrupt officials, but in the end we need to be that action.  Our leaders must understand what their role is in a community. They must understand the underpinnings of how the role of leadership has been corrupted by years of control by colonial thinking - white man thinking; You know, control and power. Reserves, even though technically had Chiefs and Councils, were in fact fun by the Minister of Indian Affairs through Indian Agents. And that is a fact. However, the reigns of the Indian Agent are no longer there, but we still behave like the people have no control. Any way...

You know questioning our leaders is a good thing. They need to hear the people. But not just for our wants and needs, but for the whole community. I don't want to go to the Chief and ask for a house, a loan, a new door. I want to go to the Chief and talk with him/her about the direction of the community. How can we get people to rally around the community. It can be done. Just look at those young boys (Sagkeeng's Finest) that won the Canada's Got Talent television show.  It was that Aboriginal community in Canada that helped those boys. The Aboriginal community rallied around and made things happen.  I need our community leaders to ask themselves, "am I here for the benefit of all"? To ask themselves, "am I able to help the community, do I have the skill sets to make a difference"? "Can I truly listen to the people"? "Do I have the guts to face the tough questions and can I make the right decisions"? I think that is a hard thing to look yourself in the face and see what you are and what you are doing.

I don't see change happening in the community for the good. We are trapped in a mindset of white thinking. We want what we want for us and only us. Many will give lip service for the "good of the community". But is only lip service. Ever single elected official wants to do good, but they are incapable. So they just get engulfed in the system. Pacify the whiners, criers and complainers. Give them a soother and they will be happy. Happens to every single leader we get. Of course we have had exceptions. Late Dave Courchene Sr. was one of those few who thought of the community first. Not as many since then. My Dad says Late John Thompson was one of those few leaders that looked after the whole community as well. Some leaders have tried but they too are over run with the white mindset of the Sagkeeng community. Too bad. It is not really their fault, they are just too ill equipped to deal with the onslaught of greed, pettiness and jealousy of a whole community. The Councils have good hearts and the people take advantage of that. So it is not solely the Chief and Council that have failed but rather it is the nature of the community and the push for selfish gain.

You know what Sagkeeng is much more than that, much more than greed, pettiness and jealousy.  My Mom used say that Sagkeeng has some of the most generous people you will ever meet. Sadly, you meet those people only when a death occurs. We should be those people every single day.

Sorry Sagkeeng for saying bad things to and about you.

Actually I was quite reserved (:d) in my voice.



Sagkeeng First Nation Community.
An open Discussion

How is our community? Can we say it’s good, it’s fine?
In some ways it is fine, it is good. In some ways, it does have challenges.  The thing to ask about our community starts with these 3 simple questions: Where are we, where do we want to be, and How do we get there?   Each of these questions lends to more questions and actions.  I don’t have any more knowledge than the next person but like you I have an opinion and questions.  So let’s start this discussion.
Private land: I hear people speaking up about the privatizing of Reserve land. They have their reasons for the move. Sadly this type of thinking leaves no options for the children, grandchildren, great children and so on. If the land is sold off where does it leave those yet to be born?  No land for them and this is fundamentally wrong.  It’s wrong for a whole lot of reasons. The big fallacy is we will have access to cash re: mortgage and leveraging of land for cash borrow.  How are our financial management right now? How are FN’s doing who don’t live in the city now?  Also the notion of collective Rights?  Do we know what it means? 
Communication:  Sagkeeng should develop a communication strategy. Band meetings are not effective means of communication. Far too many self-interest are high jacking the opportunity to hear what is going on in the community.  Not to say we should abandon Band meetings. We could supplement the communication to add more information.  Staff of the Band should be active in providing information.  Perhaps news bulletins. Facebook is not really a viable option. Sure there are couple of councillors on facebook but the information is superficial and of no real value. It’s okay to vent and say you’re doing all this work, but information should be concrete.  It’s about substance versus style and superficiality.  As Councillors you may have the best intentions and be really active but it should be conveyed to the public.  If you are too busy or not sure of what to do, you have staff to work with.  You have to ask yourself what do the directors of each department do? They are all under the auspices of the Chief and Council whether they believe so or not. In addition the CEO should be active in the communication strategy.  There could be an active use of the local radio station for local initiatives and a news letter for broader actions. In any case it is the lack of communication which gives a lack of transparency to the Band Council.  Maybe each councillor could have their own activity reports for community members off and on Reserve.  The lack of information leads to negative gossip out there.
Education: There has to be a real change in the education administration and implement new challenges to the old rule of system. The lack of discipline in the hallways, in the classrooms and in the yards is evident. Having teachers smoking cigarettes with students in front of the buildings?  No regard for the roles of Teachers. The lack of participation from parents is disheartening. Teachers going through motions of teaching. Administration not thinking creatively or supporting teachers and programs. It trickles down to the students. Blindly following old programs and teaching curriculum.  Is there a measurement of how many make it from k to 12? What is the ratio of high school students going directly into post secondary and succeeding?  What are the measures taken to assist them in transitions? What are steps to maintain and increase language retention?  How is the school system reviewed? What is working and what is not working in the system?
Housing: What can be done to increase the life of a house? What new innovations are out there than can be looked at? Sustainable housing?  What of private ownership of houses? There needs to be a mind-shift in how home ownership is viewed. People say “my house” but don’t want to take on the up keep of owing a house. The first thing you see (or saw) entering the community is a house with paint on it saying “need new house – mold”.  Let us think about that and what message does it send or foster? We have a mind-set of “give me”. This is a very selfish mentality in the community. At a Winnipeg meeting one of the “Elders” just complained of not getting a house. No ideas of how the community can function in bigger terms it was just me, me. That is a sign of a sick community. Many of the people will say it’s my Treaty right to get a house.  Really?  So how can we make the dollars transferred to the community stretch for housing?  How can we get people to care for the homes provided to them? It is a bold move but social housing for many to be cut out. New housing strategy to be made.  Its community money and should be community property. So if you are abusing community property you should be removed and given to someone who will look after it. Instead we have people who burn down a house in the hope of getting a “burn out” home. We have people who have signed up for CMHC homes and stop paying. The burden of “their home” is now the burden of the community. The people who have done this and are doing this should be made public. We should get people to mortgage to the Band for homes. If you get a Band home the person should be made to pay for it. Simple. You will see homes being kept and the lives of the home being extended.  A housing strategy to determine how housing is selected, repaired etc.
Departments: There should be more accountability with the various departments. They should be active participants in communication strategy with the Band. Let the people know what they are doing in the community. How they are working together. Not trying to be Queens and Kings of their little islands/domains.  The combined resources would capture efficiencies which will have a multiplying effect in services provided.
Complacency:  The problems with the community is its state of inertia. People especially the workforce is comfortable in its mediocracy. It takes work, real effort to create change. So people are afraid of change because they are either comfortable just riding the pine or benefit from the status quo. They don’t want change as it may mean looking at their incompetence or having to make an effort at their jobs. How does that change?  A workforce that never changes?  Never gets reviewed or evaluated? Is never measured for performance or outcomes?  How can you know you are doing a good job, a bad job, if you never ever know the outputs and deliverables. This is true for every department in the community.
Chief & Council: The key to providing leadership is to act and behave as leaders. This is not the same as management. Managing the poverty of the community is not leadership. We have to really look at what governance entails.  Is there a role for C & C in resource management? We are killing all the moose in the area and are letting the province do the heavy lifting when it comes to conservation. We have no idea of what FML and other mineral licenses are out there in our Traditional territory.  We want to engage in giving monies to people and call it “discretionary funds”; hero funds it’s also known as. What benefit does this have on the community. First question we should ask; how does this benefit the community and the community’s future?  As individuals in the role we look at the actions and behaviour. We can’t imagine the toll the constant pressure takes on you and your families. A thankless job as everyone seems to be only interested in their own interests. However it’s not limited to the community members but the council itself. Let’s look at the gossip out there. This is where a communication strategy would help eliminate some of the gossip. For starters Johnish Courchene. It is known he has sued the Band when he was out of office. He took his loss badly and was vocal in putting down the Band. The court action was part of the Sagkeeng Alliance to stop a second vote on the Hydro Accord. Now it seems there is a conflict of interest where the funds of the hydro trust are to be used to pay off the legal debt of the individuals who hired a law firm to sue the Band. It means these individuals went on their own and sued our Band. Now they want our Band to pay for their decision. If this in fact true, there has to be something seriously wrong here. How can you represent the people, sue them and then use their money to pay for your decisions?  The other gossip is the bedding and food bank stuff. Many a rumour out there, but the note of contention is why do we have an elected official picking up beds and other items?  Sure that is a nice gesture and good for the community, should it not be an employee to do those errands? The other council member Mark Courchene is seen as just being an angry individual with only interests in his personal business. It is said he made a loan to his brother for 15 grand. Not sure if that is true. But that is the nature of gossip. And if it is true, there is a conflict or at least the impression of one. Not begrudging the loan, it seems to have been common practice with previous councils, the only thing is we need to be have transparency. So if loans are given at least make it public, rather than let the rumour mill spin it out of control. The other issue is just common respect for other elected officials and the public. Name calling is beneath an elected official.  Councillor Marilyn Courchene is very active in the community. However her strength is also part of her weakness.  Her emotional outbursts are entertaining but the messages get lost when that happens. She is seen as hostile to various departments in the community. However she is also seen as committed to the community. So it could be a question of balance. Joe Daniels is seen as not being seen.  There are a few who say he doesn’t engage with members. I think a communication strategy would eliminate that perception. Joe really needs to let people know what he thinks and sees in the community. His strength is that he holds no grudge and will tell you straight on what he thinks.  Derrick Henderson is seen as weak. It is said he is afraid to commit and make a stand. He wants to be liked. Being liked is a good thing but can be harmful to a role in leadership. He needs to be more forceful in his stance with colleagues and the community. Being a peacemaker is a good trait but sitting on a fence is not good for anyone.
So that’s the scuttlebutt of gossip. A communication strategy will go a long way in slowing gossip. It won’t eliminate everything as the community has some deep rooted sickness in it. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bullying Cause of Suicide... Again... Amanda Todd

Amanda Todd took her life the other day. Bullying was too much for her. She pleaded for help. None came.

Heart Breaking. Madding. Shameless. Gut-wrenching.

What is the answer? Can we stop bullying? Can there be something good to come out of this horrible action? Should the people who bullied her be "outed".  What happens then? They become the pariah of their community?

Amanda Todd chronicled years of cyber-bullying in a video she posted in September. (YouTube)
A Vancouver-area teen who used YouTube to share her heart-wrenching story of being bullied online and beaten at school has killed herself, unleashing a torrent of social media condolences and soul-searching.
Amanda Todd was found dead in Coquitlam on Wednesday night, less than a month before her 16th birthday.
News of her torment and death are being shared on social media through Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, where #RIPAmanda is trending.

 This is not going to stop anytime soon. There are unthinking people out there. As people we make mistakes. This young girl said she made one. Why was that a reason to torment her endlessly? Those tormentors also made a mistake. Will there be any redemption for them?

I am so disheartened by the whole thing. That poor young girl. Her parents, her friends.

You go online to the videos of her and some of the comments are just sickening. Bullying her again.

Yes there are some mean people in the world. Some are just stupid. Doesn't make it right.

What can be done? Should the bullies be made an example of? In the end really what can be done? You don't want to end bullying by bullying the bullies, right?

A sad day.  

THE BEGINNING: On Sept. 7, 2012, 15-year-old Amanda Todd posted a video on YouTube documenting her battle with cyber-bullies, dating back to Grade 7. She said she wanted to help other young people.
LURED ONLINE: She was convinced by someone believed to be an online pedophile to flash him. The photo was later circulated to her relatives, friends and schoolmates.
FALLING INTO DEPRESSION: Amanda said the incident led to her being shunned at school, and left her feeling alone, depressed and suicidal.
ACTING OUT: In an attempt to deal with her feelings, Amanda said she turned to drugs and alcohol. She later started cutting herself. At the end of the video, she shows the scars on her arms.
CONFLICTS AT SCHOOL: Amanda switched schools, but the cyber-bully shared the images again. She was confronted by a group of teens at her new school and beaten up. She said she went home and drank bleach, while kids hounded her online.
FINAL ACT: On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Amanda took her own life. The RCMP said Friday it has launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to her death.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Telling Stories - Spreading Rumours

Let's face it, everyone loves a good story, even more so a good juicy rumour. I like to listen to such gossip and even spread it around a bit. Some stories are very good and some are just plain bad. But what the heck.

Speaking of stories, today I found a wallet. I was taking Bruce Willis, our dog, out for a walk. By the tree on our front yard, there were scraps of paper all over the ground. I noticed a wallet. It was one of those fat wallets, the kind a woman would carry. The pieces of paper were bank statements from an ATM. I picked up the wallet and I saw it had ID in it. So I went over and put it by the door of our house. I kept on going for the walk with Bruce Willis. I phoned my wife to tell to get the wallet and check the ID, maybe we would try return it later. She phoned my back and told me that the address was close by and for me to walk it over. I went back to the house and took the wallet over the block of the address. On the way there, I found more ATM papers, some credit cards, ATM card and a sliver box. When I got to the house, there was no answer at the door. That damn Bruce Willis took a big crap right in front of the house. It was raining out and I was kind of peeved that the guy was not home. So I didn't pick up after Bruce Willis, I left his calling card right there, and it was a huge calling card, and smelly.

I told my wife what happened, the no answer and Bruce Willis leaving his stuff there. She asked me if I picked it up. I hesitated, but did tell her I left it there. She gave me heck and asked why would you do that? I guess I was kind of upset that I wouldn't get to see the guys face and see that I was a hero.  So I retaliated with an arsenal and left my wrath at this door. Poor guy victimized twice.

Or was he a victim? I told my wife that the guy probably got all juiced up drunk last night and kicked his wife out. So she just walked down the street flinging his cards and shit all over the place. And the reason he is not answering the door is that he is still hanging over and sleeping off the night of partying. My wife said, no he is probably at the Church as he had to take his Grandmother to the service. But that can't be as today is Monday. I still maintain it was a night of debauchery, drinks and mayhem.

I went back to the house later on and still no answer. So I figured I would give up on my being noisy to meet the guy and just went to the house next to his. I ran the door bell, and this middle age East Indian gentleman came to the door. He saw Bruce Willis and closed the door quickly. So I talked to him through the door. He agreed to take the wallet and said he would check the address. That is where I left it. I guess I would not get to hear what happened.

But Bruce Willis made me stop at house down the way from our home. It is the house where Winston lives. Winston is a 130 pound Olde English Bulldog and Mastiff mix. Winston is Bruce Willis' good buddy. They like to tussle. Anyway the owner, was telling me that someone rifled through her car last night. Didn't take anything as there was nothing to take. My daughter tells me that lot of kids like to go "car hopping". They check car doors to be open and just go through stuff. So maybe it wasn't a drunken rampage going on at the house down the block, but a case of car hopping. So from the business card of the lost wallet said the guy was an employee of an Alcoholism agency in the city. I guess he didn't slip of the old wagon and go nuts. Oh well, there goes my theory (story).

I understand that making up stories is a big business and is part of being who we are. Me, I am a big fan of fiction, stories, and not so much gossip. If it is natural to tell stories, why is gossip a different animal. It is frowned upon. You are not seen as good if you tell gossip and what the hell is the difference between stories and gossip anyway?

I hear gossip about our Reserve all the time and many of the stories are negative. Some are just wrong and some are juicy. Like it is said our Chief is going around telling people he is "a self made millionaire" and he has two mortgages in Winnipeg and one in Hollow Water. If that is true than good for him. Working and success is something we need more of. On the other hand people will jump up and down condemning him for his good fortune. The nature of gossip. Why can't gossip be good? I guess it is not gossip if its not positive. Maybe that is the difference between stories and gossip. Gossip is inherently bad while stories are fun and can be positive?

Speaking of gossip in Indian country...

oh, by the way, on my second trip to the house, I did scoop up the Bruce Willis calling card.

Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...