Thursday, November 14, 2019

On My Honour

My Mom told us a few times "be like this", as she held up her index finger, "and not like this" as she then bent it. She said my Mishoom, my Dad's Dad had told Mom and Dad this. It is not about being the crooked finger, as meaning not to be crooked, but rather be straight with your word. My Mishoom said, "your word has to mean something. In his day if you told someone, I will meet you in town it was not as quick and easy to get there, like it is today. So don't waste their time and not be there, be your word." Mom wanted us kids to be honourable, to mean what we say. Your name is a big thing and you have to act in a way to honour your word, your name.

Today we use the honour word and I'm not sure if we truly understand honour. For some reason whenever a person does a stupid thing, like dress in an Indian Headdress or do the "Tomahawk Chop", these people will say they are honouring the Indian. The secret is everyone knows it is pure nonsense. No one is honouring anyone. It is all about having fun at the expense of others.

Being a Granpa with very young grandkids, I am familiar with this saying "On my honour."  It was the Prince in Frozen who said it to the  Princess. I think I may use the phrase from now on; On My Honour. We practice Honour in different ways. There are the widely public honour events like the  Memorial Powwows, the Speech at Weddings, the Eulogy at a funeral, the Nomination of someone for office, and the presentation of awards. Honouring someone is not always in view of big audience, sometimes it is just you and the person.

We honour someone almost every single day. It can be as simple as the "nod."  Indians do this when they see or meet another Indian in a public setting. We nod at other Neechies when we pass by them on the street or at the mall. Same thing with people of other Nations, they see a person in Military uniform and give them a nod or a handshake. Some people may see police officer eating and decide to pay for their meal. Honouring someone can be as simple as just being courteous; like holding open the door for the next person to come in. You honour their presence with your good gesture. Many folk will honour their family with using a Namesake. I have Italian friends, Ojibwe friends, Cree friends  who have named their children after the Grandfather and the Grandmother, Uncle, Aunty and other family members.  Honouring someone is part of life. The sorry thing about honour is we may not recognize it. We can dishonour someone and dishonour our selves as easily as to honour someone. Honouring someone is honouring yourself.

For us, Indigenous folk we do believe in honour. It may seem we have lost our honouring ways but no it's still in our ways and our parents ways. We may be rough in some areas for sure but we do try. One of the ways we are showing honour is in how we address older folk as Auntie and Uncle. We also might be over board when it comes to the Honour Ceremonies and Honour Songs, which is a good thing. We are honouring our Ancestors by naming our Children with Traditional names. There is also the Naming Ceremony where people will seek a Spiritual Name for their child or themselves. The honour of giving a Spirit Name is given to an Elder. It is a two way street when Honour is involved. You honour the Elder by selecting them to name you or your child. The Elder should realize they have been honoured by you to think of them with such a significant act. They have become part of your or your child's experience. The name carried has now linked to the Elder. They should be aware of the enormity of this honour.

Honour is never really isolated. You carry it with you. I have had a difficult time writing about honour. Many times I have been dishonourable: violent, abusive, jealous, thoughtless, rude and not keeping my word. It is a constant on my mind and a source of regret. It can be the big things and also the not so big things which I think about. This spring I promised to make a copy of a Powwow CD and send it to a childhood friend living in another Reserve. The CD I was making a copy of was scratched and did not load fully into the computer. I didn't send the CD. It has been on my mind and I want to make good on my word. The honour of word is something we should all strive to keep. I have to make good on my word, to be Bushido (I don't know the Anishinaabe word) to have honour.  I want to be able to have a straight finger.

What are you doing to be able to say "On My Honour."

Friday, November 1, 2019

He Hits You, Dump Him.

Jealousy is not cute. Hollywood movies and sitcoms may portray the jealous boyfriend/girlfriend as being cute. "Ahhh you were jealous for me?"  My Mom used to scold about the "green monster." She was the recipient of some not so cute moments of jealousy so she had some experience. She used to warn us about how my Uncle was to our Aunty. No jealousy is not an indication that he loves you. It is a sign about how insecure we are as men so run away Women.

There are many little signs for you Women to watch out for. It starts very early on, when you are first becoming to know each other. He will say things like "I wish I knew you long ago." Why does he wish that? The experiences from your life make you who you are, so why would he want to negate that? Simple, he wants to be first, the first love, the first friend, he doesn't want you to have experienced relationship before you. He wants you all to himself. It will only become more and more pervasive as time goes on. He will say things like, "who you thinking of?" and "you still love him?".  In time it will become more harsher with him no liking how you do your makeup or have your hair styled. "Who you losing weight for?" It is crazy because the things which made you attractive to him are now his sense of dread. He doesn't like your friendly open mannerisms. He starts to hate it that you have friends. He will start with making remarks about your friends, saying "they are using you." The insecure man will be come angry, angry at you because he is jealous and doesn't feel good about himself. He will get mean, first with his words, "you were fucked before I fucked you." He will attack your house, break cups, punch walls and then he turns on you. He pushes you. He hits you. He chokes you. He puts you in the hospital. Finally he kills you.

It is easy to say, "Leave him." The fear of being alone, or the thought he will change, has people thinking there is light at the end of the tunnel. The man will be the man you want him to be, so you excuse his beahviour; "he didn't mean it, he was drunk, he is so kind when sober." Change is not an easy thing. Can an abusive man change? Maybe, there have been some who have. But not before there was much suffering by a Woman. In some cases the only reason a man is not beating you is because he is either in jail or he is dead.

A 3 year old boy was stabbed as he slept. He was stabbed in the neck and numerous times by a man who was abusive to the Mom. The boy suffered brain damage and was taken off life support. The story of what happened is one of abuse. The man had a restraining order and was not suppose to be in contact with the mother of the boy. He met up her a local bar, beat her and then he walked over to her home to stab the boy. The boy was not his son.

What I can only think is just how? How can anyone be so cruel?

What do we as a public do with our anger? How can we help the family? How can we do something tangible?  I say donate blood, take part in a rally, voice against domestic violence, call out men who are being abusive.

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

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