Thursday, June 22, 2017

Revenge or Avenge?

Avenge is a verb. To avenge is to punish a wrongdoing with the intent of seeing justice done. Revenge can be used as a noun or a verb. It is more personal, less concerned with justice and more about retaliation by inflicting harm.

"An Ojibwe community was battling with another group of Indians. The battle was not without people getting hurt and sometimes killed. In this one battle the brother of one of the Ojibwe warriors was killed by one man in the other group of Indians. The brother was sad and hurt by what happened to his brother. As it was his intent to avenge the death of his brother, he went into the groups camp and sought to challenge the man who killed his brother. The challenge was accepted. The two warriors started to battle each other. The Ojibwe Warrior had finally got the man down and was getting on top of him. The man then spit in the face of the Ojibwe Warrior. The Ojibwe Warrior stopped, got off of the man and walked out of the community. He did not strike the man who had killed his brother." This is the Ogichidaa.

There is so much ugly happening all over the world. In the Native world we are hurting and we have anger. A young woman is killed and just a couple days later a young man is killed. We are hurting and we are angry.  There is an Inquiry as to what has and is happening to Indigenous Woman in Canada and why are they going missing and being killed.  The Inquiry in its current state is not looking too promising for getting answers. People are sad hurt and angry.

The Governor General of Canada, the person who is suppose to represent the Crown just called the Indigenous people of Canada immigrants. Then he apologized by calling Indigenous property; "Our Indigenous people are not immigrants."  That is so funny. Because of how clueless this guy is.

The list of things indigenous people have endured and are faced with, is long. Just ask any Indian and they will tell you. There are the deeds done against them individually and there are things done broadly across our larger community.

So what do we do with all this hurt?  With the anger building up? In the US  the anger is played out by violence to those who they don't feel fit with their thinking and lives. The amount of racist attacks has just increased and become more visible by the White population. In Canada attacks of racism by Whites have become more visible as well.

That is not the way our people are going. They still don't get into the act of violence and revenge. Regardless of how much they feel it is their right.

So not sure if we can ever see the difference between avenging our ancestors and getting revenge?

Many of the feelings are very personal to us. We are emotionally invested in our families, friends, community and our heritage. So of course there is strong feelings to what happens to us.

I still carry much resentment and anger towards people who I think hurt my Son when he was alive. I used to think of how to get revenge on them. I would cause them so much pain if I should follow through on my thoughts. It didn't happen of course. Not that I didn't have the anger or the wherewithal to go on with it (after all anyone can be mean and inflict hurt). Its a battle in my heart: I want to be kind but yet know I have the ability to be mean. So its a battle.

There are many of us fighting a battle between revenge with those who wronged, and there are those who are avenging what has been done to us. I like those that are taking the anger out of their actions and doing things because it is the right thing to do.

I battle to hold the violence in my being at bay. I know everyone of us is capable of violence. It takes restraint to hold off violence. 

The guilt, the regret of doing violence never leaves us once we have done it. 

Do you know what the Ogichidaa (Ojibwe Warrior) story reminds us of and illustrates? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sundancers Be Happy, Be Proud

Well it's the summer and with that come the Thunderbirds, the Ceremonies. The Sundance Ceremony is one of sacrifice.
Pictures taken after Ceremony competed
Pledging Before Sundance Ceremony

Complete Ceremony 
It is quite a thing making a commitment. You make a pledge to sacrifice for others. We dance for life; the good life - Mino Pimatisiwin.

So for all those who make the commitment to the Creator to try and live a good life, I think you should be happy and you should be proud.

I know from  experience life can be anything but kind. We can feel defeated, angry and hurt. Still it is amazing our people will still try to be good, to think of others.

I am so grateful for those who work at sharing their life of following a good path.
The feelings that come with being surrounded by positive thoughts is fantastic. Once the Dance is complete the amount of smiling faces, the hugging and the appreciative gestures to each other makes you wish it would spread all over.

There are those who wish to share their joy on social media and there are those who berate them for speaking about the experience.

I feel bad for those who try and mute the enthusiasm of the Dancer. You see it at many levels. For some arcane reason we are not allowed to share our activities with the Creator. Strange. There can be every form of notification and sharing of main stream belief systems but when it comes to Indigenous Traditions we are to be quiet or hide it? Doesn't make sense. Even some of our Teachers say not to share it?

Lot of shared happiness.

I think a lot of our misguided thoughts regarding the sharing of Ceremony, Traditional Indigenous Ceremony, and it may come from forced norms. The governments made Ceremony of Indigenous people illegal. What you going to do? You hide it. You pretend it doesn't exist. You can't share it without fear of repercussions. There is also the message made popular by media - film industry. We are so backwards that recording ourselves will steal our soul. The popular image in movies where they say we are afraid to have our pictures taken. The message being we are not sophisticated enough to understand a representation - like a picture. Yet Indigenous people have been recording events for ever with many different forms.

I think our people should be proud of their deeds, their accomplishments and share it with the world.

There is so much ugly happening in the world so why can't we share some good?

Share your pride. Share your dreams. Share who you are. Indigenous and great.

We need to love who we are more.

For too long the message has been not a good one. Now people are more open about the good life. I applaud you the strong proud Indigenous.

Knowledge Keeper and Knowledge Giver

There are many beautiful things in the world. Of those beautiful things are youth. How beautiful everything and everyone is when they are yo...