Sunday, July 31, 2016

In the Neighbourhood.

Well I wrote about being the Reserve and living there - Sagkeeng so its a good to talk about the Winnipeg neighbourhood. I have lived in different parts of the City and have made some good neighbors.  Like in the North End of the city when we lived there. We moved to the suburbs and made some friends there as well. Now we live in the south end of the city and are meeting new people. Our street is quite diverse. What's weird is that  I know this. There is a Women couple who just recently married who live down  the street. There is a number of mixed-race couples; Blacks and Whites, German and Native, and a number of different ethnic make up, just on this little street. 

We are pretty fortunate about our home because we really don't have any arseholes living close to us. At least I haven't noticed. There are a couple of people who I am not going to be friendly with and that's cool. Some old guy always yelling at the kids but he's old and crazy.  And some old teacher, she lives alone and votes for the Right political party. So I don't converse with her.

My new neighbours, well relatively new, are Iranian. And they are Muslim to boot.  We like them. They are friendly and hospitable. Plus I am one of those really nosy people who ask lots of intrusive questions. Questions which border on being rude.

If I have offended them, they don't show it.
They are both educated and currently in the final stages of getting their doctorates.  Wow that is so cool.
The guy (I'll use an alias) "Ali" is quite interesting. He will take the time to learn something new by researching on the internet on how to fix something, like changing the timing belt of a car, or changing the values on a car. Once he has researched he then tackles the project. I have watched him fix major mechanical problems on his car. He fixed mechanical issues on his car and then went on to do some body work, fixing a rust issue, and to the painting the car. Recently he decided to re-shingle the roof of his house. Turns out it there are a number of things the could be done to increase the life of the roof. Ali researched what materials to use and how to shingle. I watched the process.

For me labour is an interesting phenomenon. People either like it or do it grudgingly. I am in the camp of its fun to do it, but if its a chore, well heck with that noise.

So the good thing about meeting new people is the chance to get them to hear about your heritage and the misconceptions there are out there.  The thing about meeting new people of different backgrounds is that we see them as a picture of ALL their people.  So if that's the case I try my best to be cool nice friendly to people. I want them to know "hey an Indian was kind to them".

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Time to Say Goodbye

Woke up in a sad mood this morning. Came out of the room and looked at the picture of my Son and it hit me. It makes me mad at him that he chose to end his life.

So what do we have now?  Memories?  Bits and pieces of a life we love?

A marker?  A shrine?

Life should mean more than a memory for a certain few. Sometimes it means nothing.
I see images of lives lost over in the Old Countries and wonder about their lives. Who will mourn?

Me I mourn here in our little world everyday.  But the world is big and there are many, many who are mourning.
Don's Grass Outfit beaded by our Cousins. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

3 Chiefs Walk Into A Bar

Three Chiefs walk into a bar;  one is a Wrecker, the other is a Maintenance worker and the last Chief is a Builder.

Its suppose to be a metaphor or simile or parable but not quite sure what it is. Its a story that represents Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Assembly of First Nations and the National Native Women's Association.

The first Chief , who just happens to be grand, says  "I am going to tear down this bar! It is killing our people. We are handcuffed to the chairs. We need to smash it to pieces. The bar owners are feeding on our misery. Look at them with their bar rags, serving poison to our people. I don't even drink." One of the patrons in the bar asks, "What will take its place?" The first Chief who is grand says "I don't know. I am going to wreck it. Not sure what comes next."

Wreck It Ralph
The second Chief, who is even grander says "I think this bar is okay. There could be some little bit of cleaning here and there but everyone gets served sooner or later. It always is creating some jobs. Just look at all those Indians cleaning up those tables over there. Look at those guys they are cleaning some of the urinals. So you see, this bar has its good points too. I do agree there is poison here but look its kind of comfortable here, everyone knows your name. I know the  Owners of the bar and they are not too bad. They let us have some of the peanuts from the bar and we can even stand by the bar once in a while."  A patron asks if there is going to be a better menu or  some increases in pay for the urinal cleaners.  The second Chief who is grander than all says "We'll see, I'll put in a good word with the owners."
Handy Manny

The third Chief who comes in towing a few kids and is presidential says "I am going to rebuild this bar and make it something different, something new, something where we are not scrubbing the urinals, where there is actually something  to build from. Something where our people can be the ones who are reaping the benefits for the kids here. I want to build something. Building of course means we have to clean up what is here; change it, re-focus the goals of the bar. Maybe even make it something different from just a bar. We do want our people to have work but we all so want them to have say in where the work is."  The patrons cheer, "when do you start?"  The third Chief who is quite presidential says "Oh let me see. I don't think the owners have seen me yet."

Bob the Builder

I don't drink and many of our people don't. Yet at some point we are sitting in the bar.

Good thing we have Wreck-it-Ralph, Handy Manny and Bob the Builder examining the bar.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Awareness Walk for Missing Murdered Indigenous Women

You don't know the names of these two young boys - Kendal Wood and Darnel Wood.  Kendal is now 15 years old and Darnel is 13. This is there third year of Walking on Trans Canada Highway from the Ontario border to the Saskatchewan border.
Kendal & Darnel Wood

Kendal and his younger brother are from the Island Lake Treaty 5 territory. The boys take part in a other awareness activities like: Children Fighting to Keep Girls Safe, Children's March for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and other Vigils held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

"We are showing that we kids can do work like this too. We think about it. There are kids who understand and don't want to stand back but what can they do? Wee are showing that we are First Nations youth can stand up and make this everyone's cause to take on" says Kendal Wood.

So check out Kendal and Darnel's Facebook page. If you wish more information contact:
Denny Wood 1-204-615-1575 or Kendal Wood

Just think these guys were 10 and 12 when they started their annual walk. What in the heck were we doing at that age?

Trans Canada Highway

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cops Hunt Blacks like they are Prey.

Buck Fever - is a phenomenon a hunter will experience. The hunter sees a prey and starts shooting aimless , excited with their adrenaline rising and they go into a frenzy. In many cases the shooter gets crazy. There is no regard to where he/she is shooting, no thought of consequence.

Last night  Philando Castile was shot for having a busted tail-light and for being Black.  A couple of days before that Anton Sterling   was killed for selling CD's and for being Black. In both cases the police were quick to fire their guns multiple times. 

It is a  common occurrence through the United States and it matters not if you are man or woman or even a child (Tamir Rice).   The police have really been active in killing Black people.  Do you wonder why?

Is it these Black people are criminals? Do they ask for it?  You may think yes or perhaps if they just listened to the police instructions, they would not have been shot. There is really something going on here and its not just police procedure.  It is a culture; a culture of fear anger and resentment.
Society does not see the Black person as a part of the community meaning they are not seen as people. This of course is true of what is thought of the Muslim and the Indian (Indigenous folk).  Blacks (and other  non-Whites) are not seen as part of the wider community - the White community.  So in many instances if they are not seen as part of the community - who are they? It is abundantly clear in the eyes of law enforcement (and the "community") Blacks (and other non-Whites) are prey. With the police (and community watch folk  - Trayvon Martin) the culture is that of a hunter - in many cases stalking prey or happening upon prey.  With hunting there is always the risk of getting excited, the blood pressure rising, the fear of the prey, the frenzied actions. That is Buck Fever and the police have it. They don't see Sally their neighbor or Bob the neighbor who will throw weekend barbecues; they see something else. They don't see the kid Tommy playing with toy in the park. The result is what you see - Blacks shot in the midst of  a frenzied zeal. 

With Mr Castile he was lucky in the sense that his girl friend Ms Reynolds had the bravery and calm to live stream her boyfriend dying next to her and her child. For her actions she was handcuffed, arrested and treated in a horrible manner. Reminds me of the situation with Ipperwash and the family of Dudley George. The police killed Mr George and treated the family in a horrible manner, stopping them from taking him to hospital and arrested them. Ms Reynolds was arrested and detained for what?  The police didn't see her as a person - just part of the equation - part of the hunt - part of the prey. 

So  what now?  Do the Black people and their supporters stand around and shout slogans and get soundbites in the media?  Where there is a culture in society to protect the hunter and to discount the prey? 

There is a culture of disconnect in the US with Blacks and in Canada with the Indigenous-Indian. The wider community does not see them as people- part of the community. Look at what happens in Canada where an Indian man is killed with passive actions (Brian Sinclair - left to die a slow painful death in hospital emergency). They didn't see him as a man. They "compassion fatigue" him to death.  In Canada Indians are the Savage, the shiftless drunken bum.  Not human. In Canada a young Indian was raped and killed. The justice system took and put her vagina as part of the evidence. Just think about it. She was brutally killed and mutilated, the justice system removed her vagina as evidence to be displayed in court. Would they do that a white person.  Not people. In the US the Black person is seen as the criminal, the Negro and not a person.  

The Celebrity Black is still  not seen as a person. They are seen as part of the show/game. As part of the entertainment for real people. 

Let me ask you this if a young White boy is playing with a toy gun in a playground, what do you see? You see a young child playing. So if you saw him as a child, a person  wouldn't you take more than two seconds, two seconds to check out the situation?  If you don't see a child you see what?  Prey? Criminal? Less than a person?  That is what happened with the young child Tamir Rice. And just let the sink in while you look at the shoot out in Texas with White Bikers. They sat around texting and visiting after the police arrived?  And you know why? Because even criminal groups like the Bikers (and white supremacy groups) are considered people first.  Not the Black person.  There are so many examples of this and if you don't see it? 

The main stream society, the average White person does not see a Black person as a person, a neighbour, and part of the community. Even the regular non-racist person will see the color first and not the person. Its deeply ingrained in the culture of western society. You really think slavery and colonial oppression was long ago? Those sentiments are not easily erased. 

And if you think there is no hunting fever - buck fever going on in the States - there is really something wrong with how you see the world.  

PS. I know the word "buck" has different meanings - both for the Black and for the Indian. 

* Since this original post  there have been  more suspect shootings of Black people by police and citizens

Knowledge Keeper and Knowledge Giver

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