Thursday, December 17, 2020

Gi doonjinaay - You Reap What You Sow.

 You know the answer to why we are in this shit-hole called a global crisis? It is because of this: "Do we need it? No. Do we want it? Yes." The whole bases of our existence has been because we need it. We need food, water, air, and yes, we need fire. The thing is we want so much more than we need. The unhinged desire to get stuff and more stuff. And when we get the stuff we want different stuff. We replace stuff we have with more stuff. The rapid decline of the Earth is not due to sustenance living but rather our pursuit of having more. It seems we are powerless to stop the devouring of the Earth. Who really is to blame for all this carnage? Well we can point at the Capitalists for sure. We can also look at the roles of the power systems, like religious institutions. We can say it's the corruption of governments. In the end we know it is the monster we know as Greed, individual greed. 

It will be always come down to the actions of individuals. 

As a 12 year old kid I stole cigarettes from my Mom and Dad. The cigarettes where the blue package called Rothmans. I gave out cigarettes to kids around our area. One of the younger kids, Earl Laforte (he is a good guy, he was just a kid, he would kick my arse if he saw his name) told my Mom. I was in the yard with some friends and my Dad came out and grabbed me. He dragged me around by the arm and whipped me with his belt. I could see my friends melt away into the ditch by the road. The whipping didn't bother me as much as the embarrassment of being hit in front of the other kids. I think a whipping is a private thing. My individual actions of stealing (and getting caught) got me the belt whipping. It is for sure what I deserved - you reap what you sow; a kid does wrong, they should be whipped and shamed. 

The thing with ugly actions of individuals is there are not enough whippings and not enough shame for our actions. 

We may know the kids who need a good whipping: the Oil Companies, the Financial Institutions, the Mining Industries, the Big Meat producers, the Big Forest companies, the mega-huge retail giants, and the corrupt government individuals who "suck on tit" for their own gain. Will it happen? Will the greedy financial institutions get a whipping? We have seen this does not happen. The opposite; the government gives them money if they want it and makes laws so the financial kids can operate without any fear of being whipped or being shamed. All of these big bad kids feel they reap what they sow. Only they feel they are being rewarded for their actions. They fly in their private jets, eat only at the most expensive restaurants, bed the most gorgeous folk, and wear clothes no one sane person would spend money on. They live life without shame, without fear of being whipped and shamed. Many of them are just faceless powerful greedy sock puppets. Many an individual wish they had the life of the rich greedy kids. Who wouldn't sell their old Auntie and Uncle off for a taste of the what the rich kids have; to have the freedom to go anywhere you want, to buy anything you want? To fulfil all our greedy thoughts? 

People admire the obscenely rich. People see the obscenely rich as having no worry, no problems and no fear of reprisal, no fear of the kid being whipped. It is true for the most part, we do see them as having the diplomatic immunity from the everyday struggles and pains. It is not true, they will reap what they sow. There is the notion of  Karma; where those who do something bad will have something bad happen to them. Society has corrupted and simplified the meaning of Karma by saying "those will get theirs" and believe it to be an empty cliche or saying. Karma has a deeper and more profound foundation: "This deeper understanding of Karma rests upon our essential identity as souls -- spiritual beings who are animated by a vital and divine force. As souls we are spiritually held accountable for what we create, promote, and allow in our lives. We are constantly in the process of accruing and/or balancing our karmic debts of responsibility for our creations. Karma is not physical, it is spiritual, and we carry Karma forward through time within a given lifetime or as some believe, from one lifetime until the next."  

Indigenous people believe similar concepts.  The Anishinaabe for example, have the Teachings of Gi Doonjinaay. Gi Doonjinaay is the belief and truth that if you do harm to another Living being, harm will also come to you. This is a fundamental belief when the Anishinaabe society was reliant on their environment, their eco-systems and their communal way of living. Elder's, Uncles, Aunts, parents would scold you if you were mean to animals. Animals were part of their well being and important for being able to survive and live. So if you upset the balance of life with selfish actions, you took the chance of being hurt in some divine interaction. Maybe you hurt your leg while you were out in the bush trapping or hunting. This hurt leg could be catastrophic; not only to you but to those who counted on you to provide food for sustaining them. The concept of Gi Doonjinaay was prominent in Anishinaabe living, you could not live being selfish greedy and mean spirited; your actions had consequences. You were called on your actions because your actions not only affected you but could affect others as well.

The ultra-wealthy may not believe in Karma, in Doonjinay, or accountability but let us be very clear, they are going to pay, they are reaping what they sow. The current state of the world is their comeuppance. Their actions of greed, of nothing needing it, but wanting it has doomed society. Like Gi Doonjinaay the actions not only affect them individually but affect others. The rich breathe the same air as Homeless Carl on the streets of New York City. The senseless pursuit of having more stuff has caught up with them. Sure many will die with enormous cheques in their shirt pockets as they lay stiff in the casket but the children and children's children will carry the weight of their actions. Their kids will be getting a whipping by the Earth for the endless plunder. The Earth is carrying out their punishment with fires, droughts, and storms. Insurance industry, a staple of the rich, are feeling the pain because of the Earth's fight against them. Even the rich are feeding on the rich. The greedy want more and in their lust for more, they get burned. The rich have money and they want more so they take the money and try to have it grow into more. Ironically their greed is preyed on by the greed of other rich folk, who swim in the corruption of financial institutions (can we say Bernie Madoff). The rich eat their own young and throw them in the sewers filled with rats. We see the faith of the ultra-greedy and it is burning in the hills of California. We expect the Earth will not die, but the animals who rely on the Earth will die and they will die because of one thing: Do we need it, no, but do we want it, absolutely. As the Elder's say, Gi Doonjinaay, you will be hurt if you hurt an animal. 

Right minded people get it, they know the whippings which come from bad actions. Why is it, the greedy individual, does not get it? 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Situation Critical

 Situation Critical oooo wooo oooo.  The ride in the car is a hit mix (hit miss?) thing when I don't have my Ipod hooked up to the car stereo. My honda still has a cassette deck so I bought one of those cassette inserts where it can hook up to an external source. I can hook up my Ipod and listen to the tunes I have selected. With no Ipod there is the CD option but it comes with a short supply of music, so it comes down to the local radio stations. Unless of course you have satellite radio which is not cheap. So the ride without Ipod for me is a hit miss situation. There could be a decent song like Under Pressure by Queen or even an ACDC oldie but it could something which damages your spirit and your brain. We have so much noise coming out of the radio, makes us want to go on a crashing spree. Not head-on of course but more like side slamming cars as you cruise around the city, as Anna plays on in the background - "Anna I still love you, but if he loves you more go with him woo ooo ooo." You try to change the tempo or mindset going on in your mash up brain by switching to a local university station and you hear Amy Goodman talking about 11 million record milestone of those infected with COVID in the United States. She talking about some of the States refusing to take measures to try curb the spread. South Dakota Governor not wanting to do anything to stop the spread regardless of a critical situation in her State. So as Amy Goodman continues to share bad news from around the world, I think oooo wooo oooo situation critical, this bad tune is blasting in my head, damn the damn play list of the radio stations. These boots are made for walking is now doing a full assault on my brain - "you've been messin' where you shouldn't 've been messin." Rotten radio station trying to get my brain to explode in a beautiful cascade of red mashed up fat and bone. So I change the station before situation turns critical. Local news is on and guess what? We hear Ninety thousand kids sexual assault lawsuits are launched against Boys Scotts of America. All those poor children in a critical situation. But in a twist of good news which may actually alter the tilt of the universe, a British man, an old white guy, jumped into the water and saved a young Chinese woman. The man, a British diplomat at despite his advantaged age (61) was able to save the student. "For a man of such advanced age to save another person from the water is such cold weather, regardless of his own safety, he is a hero and gentleman." This is good news but at the same time a slap to young men in their 60's.  I honestly did not know I was at an advanced age. I can see the man being Knighted somewhere in his short future. Accordingly at his advanced age, he may not have much time so his situation critical. 

We know damn too well we are in situation critical; Greta Thunberg told us, Autumn Peltier told us, Sarika Cullis-Suzuki told us, Severn Cullis-Suzuki told us, and countless others are telling us, Situation Critical. It is not just a slack song burning holes in our ear drums, needling into our cerebrum with the force of a hot pepper which we accidental breathed into our nostrils and it is scorching our brain through our nose passage. It is a critical time and we are out of options. There are those who will keep the radio tuned and ignore the situation, just keep their heads bobbing to a teeth grinding tune of dribble and marshmallow melting message: "can you hear the drums Fernando? I remember long ago another starry night like this in the firelight Fernando. You were humming to yourself and softly strumming your guitar. I could hear the distant drums."  We are Situation Critical. We keep the station on and ignore everything.  I can not continue with the same tunes on the same station. So I will plug in my Ipod and pick up the dog poop my dog dropped on the sidewalk. We don't want anyone stepping in dog poop. It could turn out to be situation critical. 

Just have to share this video of the Great Drum group Cozad. This is the kind of good feel tune which should be on your radio. This is spectacular. The gentleman in the purple shirt and cowboy hat is just situation awesome. We need more Situation Awesome and fight Situation Critical. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

We Need a Jerk in Our Life: The Pachak

 There are those who prey on the goodwill of others, and man that really bugs me, you know? You give them some hospitality, some kindness, some generosity, and they abuse it. The act of being a gracious host is lost on them. There is a word we use to describe this being, it is a "Pa-chak." A Pachak will come to your home ask to stay for a couple of days and then never ever try to leave. The Pachak will cut in front of you, in the check out line, the traffic jam, the movie theatre line and they will look in your fridge and not be satisfied with what is in there. The Pachak will go into your alcohol cupboard and pour himself a tall glass of the most expensive spirit you have and boldly say "Buddy you got the best bar in town." The Pachak will take your last smoke and not give you a puff. Will drink straight from the milk jug and leave it out on the counter. The Pachak will not flush the toilet after using it. The Pachak will borrow your car and break it. The Pachak will borrow your car and bring it back home with the car sucking fumes. The Pachak will borrow your car, drive off and come right back saying there is no gas in it. A Pachak can make you cringe but also make you laugh as well. It is the laughing Pachak we love and adore. The laughing teasing Pachak is needed everywhere. The happy Pachak will be there when they are needed for a chuckle and to lighten up the mood. The happy Pachak can be the butt of their own jokes. The happy Pachak is a joy albeit with a shoulder shrug and little cringe. The happy Pachak will make you laugh when you are in the midst of a big sobbing cry. The happy Pachak will make you smile and chuckle just before the dirt is tossed on your friend's coffin. As you lay in the fetal position because your partner has left you on your wedding day, the Pachak will say "well, never did like her/him/them anyway" and get you laughing. The happy Pachak will be there to slash tires of the guy who cheated on your cousin with the town mattress. The happy Pachak is also a town mattress. The Happy Pachak sees the world as a place to bring joy, even if it kills the other person. 

 It is the cringing selfish Pachak we want to bash over the head with a lead crystal vase. Then roll them up in a tarp, a heavy smelly greasy tarp, toss in the back of the truck bed, drive over to the nearest land fill and dump there, so the crows, the flies, the magpies and the rats can have a little taste. We endure the Pachak because we are cool like that. The rude Pachak seems to dominate in the world. We need the Pachak, the happy one, but we have to endure the rude Pachak. Think of the rude Pachak as the Chihuahua of the dog world: an annoying little yappy untrainable misery who is the baby of your annoying old cripple aunty with the wicked smokers hack, with an overwhelming odour of pee and cheap perfume - who is rich. You don't really like them but you know there could be some reward there so you bite your tongue until it bleeds and smile. 

-And if I ever lose my legs, I won't moan, and I won't beg. Yes If I ever lose my legs, Oh if I won't have to walk no more.
And If I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south. Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if I won't have to talk.

I have been both, the cringe worthy Pachak and the happy make you smile Pachak.  The very best Pachak example is not Homer Simpson but it is Alan in the movie Hangover. Now he is the "classic" Pachak, a one man wolf pack. 

Now who is your Pachak?  

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Let's Find Joy In Our Lives

 "May you live in interesting times" is a phrase usually uttered as a curse or put down. Regardless of the origin and meaning, society uses it to mean "fuck you and die" - basically. Well we are certainly living in interesting times: the rise of White Supremacy, the destruction of Middle Eastern lives, the rise of despots in many countries, the fish, the bees and bears are disappearing.  People went toad licking crazy over toilet paper for a period of time. The King of the Universe, Mr. trump still wants to boink his daughter; the rodent looking one and not the pie face one. It's weird eh?  To add to the interesting times we have a flu which likes to kill in many different ways. The bees are under pressure from assassin bees, called Murder Bees. Ellen Degeneres who closes hers TV Show with signature "Be Kind", turns out she is a creepy unkind arsehole. With all this madness going on we really need to find some joy before we go into full metal jacket melt down. It is quite weird because we used to worry about the Post Office worker going all Brenda Spencer on people, now it is the everyday White guy we should be wary of. The world is full of things, people and events which suck the joy right of living. 

In my community, Sagkeeng First Nation, the meth monster has taken hold and is living comfortably there. Young people to middle age adults are prey to the meth monster. Material goods of any kind are disappearing from the yards, the cars and the homes of Sagkeeng residents as well as the neighbour communities. The rise of thefts, increased assaults are due to the need of individuals to feed their meth monster. Other First Nations communities are not immune to the ferocious appetite of the meth monster.  Meth monster just eating away joy from First Nation communities and main stream community as well. The meth monster is just another ill in the Indigenous community to compound the joyless existence.  First Nations are continuously being bombarded with society's racism. In Nova Scotia for example, the fishing industry comprising of white men are physically attacking the Mi'kmaq community, burning their gear, and killing their fish stock. The Mi'kmaq make up a minuscule amount of the annual fishing harvest. Still it is too much for the white fishing industry. No joy being experienced there.  As an Indian, an Indigenous person, an Anishinabe, I am outraged, angry and feeling like going on a shooting spree of White people. However, I have White friends and don't feel it would be good for my soul if I were to go killing random White people. It may be satisfying but after the gun smoke and ringing in the ears have subsided, the dead bodies laying around at the legislative building may damper the whole event. I mean who wants to be standing around dead bodies? That wouldn't be joyful, I don't think, but I have never experienced a mass murdering killing before so what do I know. 

Can we bring joy into our lives without bringing misery into the lives of others? Getting back to having White friends, I think this is why there is so much hate and racism out there. White people should have more friends who are not White. Maybe then they won't be so inclined to carry hate for being White. As for bringing joy into our lives, there are a lot of ways we can think of without shitting down someones neck. My friend is in the hospital and has been there for more than five weeks. He is most likely my oldest living friend. I can remember us on the swing when we were about 8 years old at the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School. He was transferred to another boarding school when he was about 10. He is really sick and the way I deal with it, is to tease him relentlessly when I go visit. It brings joy, but sometimes it is too much for him and he tells me "don't be mean." So joy is not joy if it hurts someone. 

Of course there are the families, the kids, the spouses which bring us joy, but there are other things which can bring us joy as well. The sight of an old white guy walking into a pole as he is swearing at people protesting police brutality. Now that brings me joy; him not so much. The dog rolling around in the grass brings me some joy. The laughter of little kids, especially little Brown kids, they are so damn cute. Young couples enjoying themselves, this makes me happy. For me I think young people should be enjoying their youth, lot of time to become grumpy old buggers. A Nazi getting punched and knocked out brings me joy. A smile from a stranger will bring me joy. A good looking dog with a tail wagging and no growling brings me joy. The sight of Mr trump (small T on purpose) getting his hand slapped away from his woman brought me laughter as well as him walking up the Air Force One with toilet paper on his shoe. Not sure if laughter, happiness and joy are the same thing? The sight of an Eagle flying around brings me joy. The smell of sage and juniper brings me some joy. Having a good bowel movement with no remnants hanging around the anus is always joyful. Having a good cup of Earl Grey tea, reading a book on the deck when it is warm, sunny and you have tunes going, brings joy. 

Of course the scale of joy is all different. Still any amount of joy is good for us. There are so much things in the world which are putting us in distress, bringing us hurt, uncertainty and grief so let us find some joy in our lives. The search for joy should be interesting. I will keep my eyes open for some joy and hope you do as well. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

We Love Music Don't We

 When I was a kid, my parents had one of those big cabinet stereos. My Dad had a collection of albums which consisted of Jimmy Rogers, Hank Williams, Charlie Rich, Charley Pride, Johnny Cash and others. The collection wasn't huge. But if records weren't playing on the weekend, there was the radio, AM radio. Music was part of the home. My Dad could play the guitar but I never seen one in our home and only saw him playing one time at his  cousin's house.  He did have Mouth Harps in the home that we fooled around with as kids. It was strange the music stopped playing at my parents home but I am not sure exactly when or why. When I say the music stopped, it was they stopped playing records. The radio still had its place in the house but just as background noise in the kitchen. 

When my kids were small there was music playing in our home as well.  The stereo was always on and a cd or a tape cassette was on. It is funny, we never learned to play an instrument in our home. Noozhis is starting to fool around with a guitar now.  I am hopeful my grandson will take a liking to the guitar and continue to play and learn. I have two guitars in the house. I have never learned to play. I love music but I guess I am too lazy to learn how to play, so I am content with singing along to songs in the off key. I wonder why it is, not everyone can sing? I mean everyone can try sing but to actually sing with a good melody, why that is not the case? 

As a young kid, the Drum was not heard around the community. The Residential School, the Church and the government laws ensured the Drum disappeared from Indigenous life. Our community had almost lost their connection to their ancestral ways. There were some Elder's and families which still followed the Traditional Ways, but it was quietly done. The Church ruled the community and their music did not include the Drum. This has changed in our Reserve, the Drum has even entered the Church. I wonder what my deceased Granny would think of that? Lot of Old People embraced the Teachings of the Church and saw Traditional Teachings of the Anishinabe as "Witch Craft, Bad Medicine." The Drum has come back to our community, the larger Indigenous community and people are loving the music.  Still the old country gospel is still fondly listened to by the Indian community. A small town radio station in Manitoba  (Portage CFRY) has a Sunday two hour segment of song dedications, much of the request are for gospel songs. The majority of requests are from the surrounding Indigenous communities. 

Music, all types of music can touch our emotions. I think this is why we love music. For Indigenous people the Drum reminds them of the Heartbeat. Can you see it? Look at how far modern medicine has come today. The practice is to have a new born baby lay on the bare chest of their mother. This is the Heartbeat of the Nation. 

Can you see it? The love of music, the hearing of a Heartbeat is good medicine, even now used by modern medicine experts. 

We sure love music, don't we? We sure like to share music as well. We want others to experience the same joy, the same memory, the same sorrow we have with a song.  When I listen to music it almost always brings up some feeling, some memory and it takes me some where. Enjoy your music. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Trolling For A Fight?

I have to admit I do like the debate, the civilized debate. A good discussion of point, counter point and a mutual respect of opinions. Ah, who I am kidding, I sometimes like to be a no-damn good troll. Of course not on a professional level, or even a good troll, but more like a wood tick type. The kind of troll who tries to make jokes but the jokes don't land well.  Either the jokes and teasing I try are lame, easy to dismiss, ignored or misunderstood. So the reaction to my jokes or teases is not always what I expect. Some people will actually get upset at my point. I have to admit when it comes to trolling, I am no good at it. I imagine a troll is like a wolverine. A wolverine is the subject of many fables about its savagery, its tenaciousness, its brutality and its strength. This is how I see the troll, I am non of that. I will engage but I will think about the interaction over and over and over. It sometimes plays in my head and makes my head feel soft like marshmallow (marshmello). So why do I do it? Why do troll for a fight?

It is just who I am I guess. I am that fella who will ask you a whole bunch of questions in a row. I will also say something which upsets you. Like I met this guy one time who was a casual acquaintance of someone I kind of knew. As we were sitting in a coffee shop, I looked at him, he was pretty good looking Indian guy with long hair (not Indian from India, but Canada and US's favourite image Indian), and I says, "are you a good person?" He looked at me and before he answered I said, "I want to make sure you are a good guy before I put effort into getting to know you." Anyways, that's me. 

A few years ago, maybe three or four, I commented on this young Native guy's social media page and I called him a gangster. I was teasing. I think I commented on a picture of his with another Native guy. I guess it may not have sit well with him. There are quite a few Native gangs where we live, so I imagine being labeled a gangster is not a good thing. I again commented on a social media page of his friend, there was picture of three young Natives in a car. I throw in some comment about watching out for the cops because a gangster in there. Little did I know I had pushed a dull screwdriver into a festering puss boil and popped it. The comments from the Native guy and his friend came quick and came angry. I countered but not with an all apology but with some soft lobs of explanation. The guy didn't seem to be having any of it. He said I most have a sad life and rather don't like my life. The friend of the guy, a young Native activist, was equally upset. She was rather strong in her support of the Native fellow. We bantered back and forth with me trying to weasel out of the jam without admitting I did anything really wrong. In the end I caved and apologized for my wrong doing. She took the moment to tell me to learn from what I did and go forward in life. This really bugged the shit out of me, a young Woman who had no clue as to my experience, my knowledge and my intent with the posts. So I pouted about this for a long while. That is why I am not a good troll. A Wolverine would just attack, go for the kill and piss on the remains so no other creature of the forest could feast on the spoils. This savagery is only that of the mighty wolverine, the master troll. Something I am not. 

It has been a few years and I still think of this trolling for a fight. I know it was with no ill intent but it caused a bit of a fracas. If I was a wolverine I would responded not with lame lobs of a soft marshmallow but with a ferocious savagery filled with venom and poison. I would have mauled them and left only a bloody carcass. Left only is the insalubrious mutilated warm bodies of a couple of pompous young Indians.  But I didn't maul them. Instead I am forced to use the passive aggressive almost cowardly story like this blog story. You see I am a teaser and a bad one. I was speaking at my Dad's funeral and thanked the staff for his care while in the Old Folk's Home. I went on to say "everyone worked so hard at the Home, even the fat ones." There is a notion (not held by me, which is why I mentioned them) that over weight people have a difficult time working steady. 

What I am trying to say is, I didn't attack the fellow on purpose. Throughout my life, gangster has been used by me on many people, even the one year old daughter of my neighbours. I called my deceased friend gangster many times over the years. He was a well respected Traditional Teacher and friend to many. To my kids, when ever we saw other kids riding bikes, I would say "gangsters." It was running gag that I still do with my adult children and now my grandchildren. Anyone who is wearing dark sunglasses I will say "gangster."  I say more outrageous things than gangster and even at inappropriate times. When my Mom was laying in the hospital bed having her stomach drained from fluid as her cancer was quickly killing her, the community Priest can to visit. I called him into my Mom's room and told him "my Mom wants you to do that holy roller stuff" as I made a cross gesture in the air. I even told him "I'm good me, Me and God are like that" as I crossed my fingers. The Priest said "I'll ask him." So he just rode with jokes. So it is my nature to just say things, and much of the time (not all) it is without malice. Perhaps sometimes it is a little mean spirited to slam and I should expect the reaction to be not pleasant. I guess the "super Indian, the more Indian than you," has always been my aunties heal (or some Greek story like that). My point is I say outrageous things that are many times more harsh than calling some entitled Indian a gangster.  

I think I am still upset over these two (bastards, the one, their Granny wanted out of Rez by marrying White, and the other one wouldn't know a jeet from a kit-ten). The over the top reaction and the pious, better Indian than you attitude still rubs me raw. Which actually means they own me. They most likely don't even remember the exchange. It is like the mosquito who bit you on the nose three years ago, gone. I have to get over it. It is something I have a hard time doing, letting something go. I was ripped off a number of times and it still festers, like a diabetic sore which won't heal, has turned to gangrene and is now at the bone. This is not good. The rot will only get deeper. I suppose the best way to avoid the festering, the seething, of deep feelings which turn into a cancer must be avoided in the first place. Funny because I have exchanges with racists, rednecks on the internet and it never bothers me at the time or later, weird. I have to stop being me, stop teasing if I can not handle over the top cry baby super Indians questioning my life (am I still pouting?).  There you have it, no more trolling for a fight.  But if an opening happens to arise for a pun, a poke, or a story, a tease well I am not sure what will happen.  I might have to get into another "debate" which the end result will be me pouting for years, again. 

Then again I could go with the standard come back, "F you and the arse you road on." 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Brain Battle

 On my walk this morning I saw a dime on the street. I don't usually walk in the morning but I had to because dropped off my daughter's car for windshield repair. I had to be back home to pick up my Noozhis for lunch from school. The school wants kids to go home for lunch rather than stay. I guess it's the spread of disease scare, makes sense. So I left the repair shop which is 5.5 kilometers away from our house. I put on my Beasts white headphones and turned on my Ipod Touch. These were gifts to me by my baby girl. The baby I gave my wife a very hard time over when she got pregnant. The baby who came into the world and just owned me from her very first breath. So the walk was on and the morning just gorgeous, the Sun bright and me with no sunglasses, having to squint for most of the five point five K walk.  

My Ipod has about 1500 songs and counting. 

 In the mix of course is a lot of old timing music, like the Stones, Pink Floyd, Cranberries, Lovett, Prine, Commodores, and of course Hank. I do have a host of pop songs as well. When I was in the middle of the street, Dido was playing, don't ask me how it got in there, but there it was - "my tea's gone cold, I wondering why I got out of be at all..." There I was strolling and grooving with my head trying to comprehend the story of Dido's Thank you, when there it was. A crack and a little bit of whole in the asphalt. The dime seemed to just fit perfectly in the broken road. I was in mid-step when it came to me, I will pick up the dime. There it was waiting just for me. The problem was I was in the middle of the street, with cars lined up to go. I didn't know if time was on my side. The seconds in this situation are crucial. Do I stop, bend down and pick up the dime and perhaps be caught in the green light of traffic? Would I be that person, the one who feels like they own the road and have no regard for the next person. Perhaps the person is in a critical situation where they are on the way to the hospital, their Grandma on ventilation machine with only a few breathes left in this world. Her family trying to rush, to rush safely to her bedside. Would they make it in time? Or would they be judged the rotten neglectful family who let their dear Grandma die with no one to hold her hand as she tries to say her last words, "where are you?" I didn't stop, but my brain kept saying to me, "what is wrong with you, why didn't you pick up the dime? Are you so rich you can't use a dime? You too proud to pick up the dime?" 

I still had about a kilometer left to get to my house. All the time I was walking the Ipod was playing the brain was hammering me with a barrage of doubt and scorn. "You too rich to pick up a dime. The Universe will show you. You will be broke and just wishing for that dime." 

I got to house and immediately sat down on the gold velvet couch.  My feet resting on the grey round hand woven wool ivory pouf ottoman from Wayfair. My eyes need to rest from all the squinting from the Sun beating in my face. My soul felt like it was throat punched. Felt like I was one of those damn nazi's who get punched for being jerks. The image of the dime was fresh in my mind. How could I not stop and pick it up? Will it be picked up in the future? Would anyone notice it? Will I "rue the day" I was too proud to stop, bend down and pick up the dime?  

My brain seems to have won this battle but I will be back. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Doomed, We are So Doomed

 The world is fucked. No if's but's or maybe's about it. The world is going to be like a dog, it will shake and shake to get rid of its fleas. Despite what the climate is showing; flooding, devastating heat waves, enormous fires, droughts, glacier melting, murder bees, the attitudes of people, governments and especially rich folk just don't give a fuck. The average person is putting their plastic pop bottles into their collective Blue Boxes, with no real affect on the whole world turning into a garbage pit. Man, we are doomed. 

Not only is the world trash because of the Rich folk, corrupt governments and the "resource" sector, but the hate filled Savage is taking over the world. People are just garbage. Not all of course, There are streams full of good people. The problem with Good People is that they are good. They don't think or act like the Savage. So what happens, of course the Savage is going to be on top. The Good Person is going to bend over and take it all the while saying, "Let's talk about this." The nature of the Good Person is to be reasonable. The reasonable part of the world is compassionate, cooperative, mindful, mostly polite, and naive. The Savage part of the world is loud, uncompromising, begrudging, selfish, angry, greedy and blind. They are dooming us. 

There are some people who are not willing to bend over anymore. They are trying to stand up to the bully, the selfish and the hate filled population. They are fighting a losing battle, we are so doomed. The Rich, the Ugly have it all. And the Ugly ones who still have nothing, they still hate. These folks are donkey whipped stupid. They really think the Rich will pee on them when they are on fire. The Savage, the ugly have one thing in common, they begrudge others. Simple as that. There is no share the wealth, no do on to others as you would wish to be treated, no loss of appetite. It is gorge at the trough until they have to purge their guts just to eat some more. They are so consumed with only me, they would rather kill this world just to get more and more. What does a person who has everything want? They want more. It is even more ridiculous a whole bunch of people want them to have more. They want the Rich to have more but not their neighbour. This is so fucked up way to be. Sure the Good Folk will say "well that's good for them they earned it", when speaking of the Rich. The Good Folk will say "Oh we don't agree so we can go and vote for change." How rich is that (pun not intended but apropos)? The voting game is so rigged, and we are doomed. Even when the Good People's choice gets in, their choice just bends over and takes it as well. I laugh and cringe at the same time when the first Black President of the United States, bent over to have a beer with a racist cop. Now that is some bend over and take it to the ball bending over shit (too much?). With Good People willing to compromise, to be reasonable, to try talk about it, we are doomed. 

The time for compromise has long past. The time for being reasonable has long past. The time for slapping the other cheek is here. The Rich, the corrupt governments, the resource ghouls, the hate filled donkey whipped haters have to be challenged. Have to be challenged hard. The Ugly are so begrudging to others, they would sink their own boat if a child from Syria was on the boat with them. Heck there are loads of disgusting acts being committed by the Ugly right now: Kids in cages, ICE police, illegal hysterectomies, profit jails, Cops killing civilians, Rise of White Supremacists, an election of a rapist to Office of President, Billionaires, anti-immigration, denial of proper health services, murder of journalists, reality shows, and those Stupid fucking industry pop singing groups and singers. We are dooming ourselves with the Rich, the Governments and the powerful leading the way. 

So reasonable people, what next. For me, think I will make a cup of Earl Grey tea, hot and black while listening to Disturb sing the Sounds of Silence. I am not going to be doomed without at least having a moment for myself. 

"Fools, " said I, "You do not know
Silence, like a cancer, grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells, of silence

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Child & Family Did Me Alright

 Child & Family Services(CFS) in Manitoba and Canada in general does not have a good reputation. Without diving head first into the a rock hiding beneath the water surface, CFS has not been acting in a good way towards Indigenous families in Canada. A small but fierce Gitxan Warrior named Cindy Blackstock battled for fairness and really wounded the giant CFS-Canada. Canada did some bad stuff to Blackstock.  She was speaking for the Indian kids across Canada and the government didn't like that, because they knew they were being cruel: ripping new born babies out of the arms of Moms at the hospital bed with the Cops as the big scary henchmen. Underfunding the services for Indigenous agencies. Quick to seize kids without benefit of doubt to parents and families. CFS follows provincial laws and each is different. The agencies follow the regulations which many see as a determent to the health of the family and child. 

You will find the general feeling towards CFS is not a good one. It is like finding a wood tick on your baby. You are surprised, shocked, and even angry because your baby is only one and half years old and how in the heck did she get a bug that thrives mostly in the bush. I bet it was the neighbours dog who passed it on to her, that little annoying Pekingese pug faced noisy mongrel. So people feel like that towards CFS; an annoying yappy mongrel who has no business bothering their kids. Does CFS deserve such a reputation? In some cases, yes. The issues stem from strict adherence to the regulations. Many of the regulations are at odds with the reality of a home life. The single room guideline is one example. Many homes in the community, the reserve, and the poorer areas of a City do not have the room. The children share rooms in some cases. There are many situations and regulations where things just don't fit; legislative, structural and systemic. There is also the individual bias which occurs when people have no real clue as to the life style, the synergism in a family. The result is an industry which is bullish, heavy-handed and operating with blinders on, and of course hands-tied because of regulation and legislation, the law. 

The Front-Line worker and management take the most criticism of CFS operations. There is no doubt there are issues within the Child Family industry, especially when it comes to Indigenous relationships. The CFS system is filled with Indigenous children. The Indigenous community suffers much and our kids need to be protected. Still the system needs to have more compassion and understanding of the family dynamics, the history context and the current family situation. Lot of factors to consider when you literally are dealing with lives. No one wants a child to die because of an ugly home situation or a monstrous foster parent situation. There are very kind, very conscientious, very thoughtful and accommodating workers in the system as well. I know some of them. 

My Mom was not a fan of CFS getting involved in family affairs in the Reserve. But she was of the generation where families stepped up and looked after the children. Many a Kookum (Granny), an Auntie took on the role of raising a child which needed a home. There is still this practice but the CFS system didn't really work with the Indigenous community in this manner. There are some changes now to recognize the extended family connections in the Indigenous community. Still a lot of work has to be done; you know the legislation thing. Getting back to Mom, she was a Granny, a Kookum and she had no issue with looking after her Grandchildren, Noozhisag. 

Child and Family did alright by me. Our oldest daughter had issues. The rotten monster addiction grabbed her and didn't let go. Lot of worry, lot of fear, lot of anxiety, lot of anger in our lives when the monster enters your home. No need to tell you how ugly drugs are, they spread harm, they steal happiness and joy,  they ruin lives and they kill. My daughter got pregnant and was still using drugs. We hoped a child would bring joy, stability into her life. Wishful thinking on our part. It was difficult for our daughter trying to fight the addiction monster. Things came to a crisis after one month of the birth, we took the baby. We had no intention of being our Granbaby's parents. We thought our oldest girl would be able to combat the monster after realizing her loss. Didn't happen. Our daughter tried but the monster of addiction is a difficult beast to defeat. Addiction doesn't care if you are a good person or not. 

In the past the Grandchild, the nephew, niece, cousin would just become part of the family. Today the laws make it more difficult. We went for a Traditional Anishinaabe adoption of our grandchild. We have witnesses and a group of Elders and relatives conduct the Adoption Ceremony. Our oldest girl was at the ceremony because it was not an adversarial process, but rather inclusive event. It was our intent and our hope this Indigenous adoption would be recognized by the community and the larger world. We found out there is no recognition of Ancestral Indigenous practices. 

There has to be paper. Paper to prove you are the guardian, the parent of the child. Without paper you are not recognized as the parent. You cannot make medical decisions for the child without paper. You can not register for school. Can not put them on your health insurance and so on. Paper is the rule of the land. The thing is paper costs money. Many people just do not have money to buy paper. So in order to get paper, there is the choice of having CFS involved. This process to get paper by way of CFS is very intrusive. for us it has to be done. The financial burden of hiring a professional to complete a home assessment is costly. Even with CFS involvement it costs money to get paper, like guardian papers or adoption papers. 

For us, CFS did us right. They recommended and provide the professional to do the background check, the assessment of us. I contacted the Adoption regulators and they recommended a lawyer needed for the court process in order to get our papers. With the good work of the CFS recommended assessment worker and the good work of the lawyer, we were successful in getting the Paper for our grandchild. The lawyer was reasonable priced and a very compassionate and kind. This makes the process less intimidating and scary. We didn't want to get CFS involved but we did not know the system.  It was not a choice we wanted but we made it. Lucky for us, the Director of the agency in our Reserve is a great guy and my cousin. Although the Director took a hands-off approach with our CFS file, just knowing him made it easier for us to involve CFS and it turned out good for us. 

Our grandchild should have been able to just become part of our family because that is how it has always been done in our community.  Traditional Adoption Ceremony should be recognized, but the current law doesn't allow for this. In the community Children are family and family looks after them. This is what Child Family should really be, family looking after family. 

Adoption Ceremony 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Comment (*)itches comment!

It's quiet... too quiet.  

You know what I like, the Horn Section. The Lyle Lovett Big Band and others.  

But we are not here for that. We want noise and lots of it!

To scream at the top of our necks. To screech so loud no one can ignore it. 

The World is being grabbed by the pussy. The World is being made to bend over and take it quick, dry and smelly. The ugly, the hate filled, the selfish are being loud and in your face. We need to counter this by being louder. No time for being quiet, for being on the fence, for turning the other cheek, no time for condoms, no time for being reasonable. 

It's quiet ... too fucking quiet. 

Leave your loud voice in the comment section. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

The Privilege of Naivety

 The film Into The Wild is the story of Christopher McCandless. He chucks it all away, literally, and goes to live in the wilds, the bush, all by his self. He starves and dies, September 6 1992. 

They make a movie about him and he is famous. Eddie Vedder does the soundtrack and nails it with the song Hard Sun. There are those who praise his stand against conformity and society, while others think he was a stupid young man. For me I really didn't think much of it. There are so many things to think about rather than one random guy going to live in the bush and dying. Still there was a comment I came across on social media, where this Indigenous Woman said it was a white privilege thing. I know I am quite quick to white bash with the best of them, but I had to really thing about this one. I mean you have to agree white folk are nuttier than 'Grandma aged Cher wearing black dress tong while grinding her blonde haired son', but in this case I didn't jump right in on the white devil thing.  Still I sat on a dead log and tapped on my head; think think think; "I am rumbly in my tumbly, time for something sweet, I am short fat and proud of that..."

There is a reality television show called Alone; people are put into the bush and expected to survive for a number of days. The 7th season has people living in the north for 100 days hoping to win a million bucks. The participants can take 10 things with them. It shows even with supplies, the life is difficult and it is difficult to last the 100 days. When they first start off, they are just full of piss and vinegar, bragging about how good they are with a bow and arrow, making a fire and all sort of bush skills. The Show shows us how naive and fragile people are. It is not easy to be naive.  Even with their survival kits the bush goers end calling for the show to get them "the hell out of this death trap." So it is no surprise some green (green is a metaphor for inexperienced person and not actually the Hulk) young man starved himself to death in a bush bus. 

I think there is a privilege to thinking you can do what you want at anytime. It may or may not be a white thing, but if history has thought us anything, White people really think they are the centre of the universe and can do what they want. I mean come on, thinking it is only you and you alone is a privilege if not just naive. Did this young guy think about what he was doing? Did he realize he can't just order the Wild to bend to his will? We are not a universe of self. Thinking and acting this way is wrong, it's selfish. The consequences of his actions are not in isolation. He might have had family, had friends affective by his actions. The people who found him and how they reconcile with finding a rotting corpse out in the wilds in an abandoned bus. Yes privilege has its privileges. You can encroach on out people's land, lives without consideration of others. 

I am not sure if we can say his actions are because of White privilege, but we can lean that way a little for sure. We are seeing White people doing this kind of privileged shit all over the world: sailing the seas alone-ending up costing lot of cash while they have to be rescued, doing a walk to the North Pole, flying to space and jumping out of the space ship, swimming sea channels just to get to the other side, pretending to be Black or Indigenous while they promote bigotry of White people and of course the calling the cops on anyone else who are just being not white.  So it seems White folk are only considerate of themselves with no thought of anyone or anything else. You have to wonder why? There could be countless reasons, but I do think lot of it has to do with privilege, just plain privilege. Now that we have the internet we can find just about any kind of crazy lunatic privileged stuff people are doing. 

“Anybody can be an explorer if they want to be. You can be an astronaut if you want. Figure out what you want to do, and then go do it.”

Helen Thayer

Helen Thayer walks up to the North Pole with her dog Charlie in 1998 because she was good like that.  Other people are just trying to live rather than expecting to walk into the bush because they can be anything they want to be. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

How Do You Do It?

 How do you carry on? How do you accept the regret? How do you keep sane? How do you reconcile with it? How do you keep going? How in the fuck do you do it?

The questions could be for anything in your life, right? All of us have that thing, that thing which could have or should have crippled us: a husband cheats on us - a boss cheats us - a friend betrays us - a bad choice hurts us - a loved one dies - a child takes their own life. The thing is countless and all of it is bad enough to stop us, where we give up hope. Give up hope for ever being able to smile, to laugh and to enjoy life. 

The 22 of August is the real date. The real date where my Son made the decision to stop living. To escape from his hurt. To take his own life. To tie a string around his neck and to attach it to the rod in the closet. To end his life by slowly choking out his life by hanging himself. The real date is August 22, 2005 because we got him on the 24th of August in the late afternoon. He was staying with his Mom and his younger sister in an apartment off Jefferson Avenue in Winnipeg. His Mom had gotten upset with him as he had sold his sister's cd player. She got mad and left the apartment and went spent a few days in the Reserve. She told him to move out. This happened on the weekend. I had just seen him that Thursday. I bought him a couple of pairs of shoes; sneakers and casual shoes. That night we went to the discount movie theatre on McPhillips Street. We went to see a late movie, the Revenge of the Sith. As I drove my Son back to his Mom's that night I looked at him as he sat in the passenger seat. How I loved my Boy. I gave him $35 and dropped him off. That would be the last time I ever saw him. I don't remember if I said I love you. 

The day we found him, I was at the Concordia Hospital visiting my brother-in-law. He was suppose to be dying of lung cancer. He lived for a period after been released from hospital. When we got into the car after leaving the hospital, we noticed that we missed calls on our cell phone. The phone rang and my daughter said to get to her Mom's right away. We hurried. I felt it. The phone rang again, it was my oldest sister and she said "Don's dead." I swore at her and said it's not true. I hung up and we drove as quick as we could across the City. When we got to the apartment, my brother Don was there, my Cousin Frank, his wife Chantal, my daughter Jess,  her Mom, my Son's Aunt Susan and Uncle Dan. Our daughter Chloe (she was 9)and our niece Meagan were with us, so Chantal took them to her place. Me and my wife Suz, stood at the door where a cop had blocked the door to the apartment. The medical examiner came out. She spoke to us about going in to see our Boy. She said "not to be alarmed because he had been dead for some time and his tongue was black." 

We went in and the first thing to meet us was the smell of the dead. Our boy was placed on the couch in a black body bag. His head was sticking out. I remember rubbing his head; he had a short hair cut. I miss him so much it hurts. It burns in the back of my eyeballs when I sit and remember him. You see my boy was a good guy. Generous and liked to tease and laugh. He got caught and taken by the drug, Crack. When I was in therapy the Psychologist used to ask me why I don't blame the drugs for his death as I blamed myself. I thought this was weird. Of course the drugs were part of the death but it was my failure which killed my Boy. I know it. No debate on that. 

That evening, after our Boy was carted off in a body bag, I took Chloe to the movies. We had promised her that day and didn't want to disappoint her. She went with her cousin. She really didn't seem to know what was happening about her brother. We went to Cineplex on McGillivray. The movie was Kicking and Screaming with Will Ferrell. I couldn't sit in the movie with the girls. I stood in the hallway just outside of doors. My cousin Peter Swampy was taking his family to the movies. He was living up North in the Pas Reserve so it must have been a visiting trip for them. He says "How you doing?"  You know how it goes just a greeting when you see one of your relatives. So I told him about my Son dying. He put his family into the movie section and he came and spent the next hour and half visiting with me. I remember his kindness and compassion. He is my cousin. 

So I know many folk who have lost children. I see them. They seemingly look normal. Just like me I guess. I pretend every single day. I tease, I laugh, I move around. Inside I am dying. I am crying. I am wanting to stop. To just die already. Of course there are days when I am not moping around and crying. There are in fact many days when I actually enjoy the day, the living. I have grandkids, other children a very strong supportive loving wife and friends. It does not seem to be enough. There is a hole in my life, in my being. I wonder how the other people are managing? How do they do it? 

The pain is almost too much to bear sometimes. The nights are the worst. I sit and try to remember his voice. I wish and wish. You ever wish so much you really want it to be? Not the wishing to win the lottery wishing but the going back in time or being able to reach them wishing. 

So how do they do it? How do they keep living, keep taking care of their loved ones, keep taking care of themselves? When it happens to us, we feel we are the only one to be in pain. Yes there are many more in pain and many more in worse situation but when it is us, it is so personal. We feel we are the only one in pain. It may not be right but it is the way it is. 

Don, Jess, Mike, Dad
Good Night My Boy I will you get you in my dreams.   

Donovan, Jessica, Michael, Dad in 1987 Sagkeeng First Nation. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Spin the Narrative

Being on social media I have come to realize a few things: People are weird, People are naive, People are mean, People will lie, and People are stupid. When I first started on social sites I had no clue to those things. I went on a discussion board called Indianz. This is an Indigenous news site. The discussion forum was active and I registered. My handle was Kijeet (which is one way to say Your Arse in Ojibwe). On the discussion board I was quite naive and willing to try and share a few thoughts. I actually thought these people on here were known to each other and I was an interloper. Still I hung in there, putting my feet where others were walking. Very quickly I got burned, got trashed, got jarred (an old term when we are put in our spot). It took me a long time to realize people are mean, people are weird, people are naive and people are stupid. I think I now get it. On social media anything (well almost anything) can get you into a fight (in the online world).  

There is this semi-famous Indian guy who came out on twitter stating he was basically a douche bag, an arse and an abuser. So naturally there were many comments regarding his disclosure. Much of the commentary was encouraging to keep up with healing;  Some Guy - "All the power and healing to you..." While one was not so accepting; Some Woman - "He probably doesn't need anymore power, that is part of the problem here-he abused it when he had it." So I jumped in with; Me - "Let's jump on him then." Of course me I am a practicing jerk. It was exactly what it was, a shot across the chops. Some Woman did come back with, "funny how accountability looks like "let's jump him then" to you. Why so defensive, hmm?"  Anyways it made think about how the narrative can change quickly. For me, I responded - "With your hmm are you implying something? I think the guy fessed up about being an abusive jerk. Sometimes we should just acknowledge and say "Oh" but I guess the default on some is to throw another log on the fire. Holy Rock Hudson. :D" It is my own fault for engaging, I just don't know when to shut up. The Some Woman responded with a couple of posts, which are now deleted. Nothing bad actually; she did say she was implying something with her hmm (implying I am an abuser) and her last tweet was telling me to  stop messaging her and for me to stop defending the  abusive semi-famous Indian guy (my description, she named him).  This story we had is a very tame exchange in terms of fights happening online. The thing is all or most have to do with the direction of where the fight goes; it could be down right mean and ugly.  In some cases we will just lie to fit what we think is going to win (the last word) our fight. People want to control the story, the narrative, even it means throwing mud, blaming, shaming and twisting. 

This fighting online is dangerous. There are people who will take the digital word literally. Tongue in cheek does no translate in black on white type. So if someone says you are defending a predator, people will believe it. The online community is very active and bat eating crazy. We witness politicians, billionaires, celebrities all posting their views online. Some of those views are weird, some are naive, some are mean and some are just lies.  With much of what is happening in the Western world, the Old world, Global South, Global North or what ever you want to call it, there are going to be lot of stories out there. Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Missing Murdered Indigenous Women MMIW, QAnon ("keep red pilling"), Non-binary, and Penis enhancement are examples of stories being told.  There are smart folk out there who have studied the story teller and the naive watcher; they call this Cognitive Bias (basically we are stupid thinkers).  The smart people tell you to research but then again they say you will look for things which confirm your belief in the first place. I know, right (make sense of the logic in that)? So your research search will just confirm what you are thinking anyways, so why the heck waste time with research? Smart people confuse things.  So spin that narrative, it doesn't matter anyway. People will believe what they want. Indians are bad, Blacks are bad, Gays are bad, Police protect lives, Billionaires care for you, Fanta pop is good for you and Jesus Herman Christ is a handsome white man with no gay tendencies. Controlling the narrative has been known to work and it's based on manipulation. A prime example is the narrative of "America is the greatest country in the world" regardless of Its school shootings, mass incarcerations, criminal politicians, and erosion of human rights.  Among the tools the US has in controlling the narrative is Hollywood. According to Hollywood, Jesus carried a Military rifle, most likely the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. Not only is Jesus a Marine, but God is an American Hillbilly. Now that is one great story. 

Actually the real story we are not even made in God's image, the real image of God is the Elephant. Yes the Indians have it right. The Elephant has the qualities of a god. They are not trying to control the narrative, not trying to shame, guilt others or manipulate them. Humans are the worst. I should know I happen to be human. However, one of the great things about his human is that I am Anishinaabe, a member of a select group of higher level species of the human. We know the narrative being sold by the world about the "Neehie" is wrong and ugly. So there you have it, we shall spin the narrative to correct this gross injustice. Spin by just telling the truth about how mighty, how great, how beautiful, how generous, how ingenious, how handsome, how strong and how humble we are as a people. 

I am tired of the hurt, the anger, the brutality, the lack of compassion, the destruction and the narrative being told. So let's Spin the Narrative. We need to spread stories. We need to tell our own stories, with our own voices. There are some great story tellers out there. We need to seek them out and to support their voices, their stories, their narratives. We need to hear the good fabricator (story teller, bullshitter, fibber, liar).  

Monday, July 20, 2020

Longer Boats are Coming to Get Us

"Mary dropped her pants by the sand and let a Parsons come and take her hand. But the soul of nobody knows, where the parsons goes."
- -
I want to just cry. The pain of tears get stuck in the back of my eyes. The years are gone.  I take some music for my memories and there is pain, longing, hurt and regret. This is what death will do to us. Funny because death is meant for us all. 
- -
"Cause when I'm dead and lowered low in my grave, that's gonna be the only thing that's left of me. And if I make it to the waterside, will I even find me a boat or so?"  
- - 
Rage hits the head like a battering ram. The anger is not meant for me. It is meant for me. How can I suffer without making other's suffer as well. There is a pain in me that should exist but it shouldn't cause pain to others. 
- -
"Will you make us laugh, will you make us cry? Will you tell us when to live, will you tell us when to die? I know we've come a long way, we're changing day to day, but tell me, where do the children play?"
- -
There is no way to fix the past. There is no I should have done this or didn't do that. The past is stuck in our head, in our heart and we carry it. To wish is to burden the heart. The heart can't be fixed. I cry but the tears get stuck in my eyes and the only thing is a pain behind the eyes and it burns. 
- - 
"All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside, it's hard, but it's harder to ignore it. If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them you know not me. Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away, I know I have to go."
- -
It is 15 years since my boy was killed, hanging himself by string in a bedroom closet at the his mother's apartment. A beautiful soul, troubled with pain. It is a pain I should have been able to ease. The pain he couldn't stand and it took him. Now I sit here wanting to take away my own pain.
- - 
"Well sometimes you have to moan when nothing seems to suit you. But never the less you know, you're locked towards the future." 
- -
My dear Mom also died from cancer 15 years ago. I was blessed to know such a good person. It is my heart break that I did not do more for her when she was alive. Now I can only wish and wishing just crushes the heart because there is no chance to fix things
- -
"Trouble, Oh trouble set me free. I have seen your face and it's too much too much for me. Trouble, oh trouble can't you see, you're eating my heart away and there's nothing much left of me."
- -
There is always the pretense of living like there is no pain. There is laughing teasing and getting up in the morning. A smile and lots of laughs. When no one is looking you bow your head and know you are false. The regret, the loss, the longing, the anger, the rage, the crying is just growling deep in you stomach. 
- -
"I listen to my words but they fall far below. I let my music take me where my heart wants to go. I swam upon the Devil's lake, but never, never, never, I'll never make the same mistake." 
- - 
Lot of my rage has been with me throughout my whole life. Pain has been there for such a long time. Uncertainty, fear and selfishness was something I carry. Now the pain is different. It's not the pain of being through hardship, it is a pain of ultimate loss. Loss of a child, of your baby is a loss that can't be healed. Time is not a healer. 
- - 
"Look up at the mountain I have to climb. Oh yeah, to reach there. Lord my body has been a good friend but I won't need it when I reach the end."
- -
People always say "I would give anything for more time with my loved one." I can't say that. Sure I would love to sit with my Mom in her kitchen, sharing a cup of tea with her and looking out at the river, just talking about everyday things. How I miss her. But I can not give up anything for the chance to sit with Mom. I have a beautiful loving wife. I can't imagine the pain of not having her in my life. So I know giving up anything is just an empty boast. 
- -
"I'm looking for a hard headed woman, one who will make me do my best. And if I find my hard headed woman, I know the rest of my life will be blessed yes, yes, yes. 
- -
I want to step off this planet. But when I do, what will my wife feel? What will my children think? My grandkids? Is the selfish me, who can't keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep walking? I feel so heavy in my head and my heart. But the selfish part and the nosey part of me wants to keep seeing what is in store. But it is so hard. I go to bed every night with the question of when should I go? I think of my Boy, my Dad, my Brother, my Nephews, my Cousins, Uncles, Aunties, and wonder where they are now? Will I be able to find them when I am dead? 
- -
"My childhood days bring back sad reflections of happy days so long ago. My boyhood friends and my own relations have all passed on like the melting snow."
"Oh but I am sick now and my days are numbered, come all ye young men and lay me down."

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Indians Laughing At Indians

A Wake is a funny place. Well not so funny for the grieved but for visitors. My friend and his wife were at the Wake of their niece. The Wake was in the city of Winnipeg so my friends drove up from the Reserve. They had forgotten to pick up their daughter when they left the Reserve so she had her husband drive her into the City for the Wake. She had made it to the Wake and was sitting around with the family. The nephew, it was his wife's service came to visit with the Reserve family. My friend asked him who the lady was standing at the door. The lady wore a black suit outfit and was standing stoically by one of the entrances. The nephew looked over and said, "Oh her? She is the undertaker don't mind her." My friend's daughter said "The undertaker? I thought it was your wife's sister. When I came in, I hugged her, kissed her  and hugged her for a long time. I said how sorry I was for her loss. How she lost a good member of the family and to keep strong. The lady never said a word." My friend and the wife laughed at their girl; hugging and consoling a stranger of the family. That is what is suppose to happen at a Wake, someone is laughed at.

The same could be said about just going about your business in the community. My in-laws were telling me when they use to live up north in a Cree Reserve. They could still remember a few Cree words, like Awas (Awus). It is funny the word they remember means to get away, like when someone tells you to get away from them, Awas!  My In-laws were remembering about this couple who were from the community. The couple were opposites. He was a very large round fellow and she was severally thin. The people called them 10. I laughed really hard and thought this was classic Reserve humour. Can you vision the ten? 

- -   - -

Sorry will come back to this when I can recall the stories. Sometimes the headspace needs to connect. These are the stories from friends. I have heard many many good stories from lots of folk and I want to share them. It's just my head has been filled with dread these last few months. 

My grand girl is 7 and has a poor image of herself. With isolation and no activity she has gained some weight. She was image aware before the shut down and was trying to eat healthy. Now she does eat relatively healthy but with no movement. It is my fault for not getting her out of the room and active. We stay in all the time. I purchased a new bathing suit today and gave it to her. She cried and said she think's I am wasting money. I was so sad for her because she won't wear t-shirts and wears sweaters even with the heat. So I am going to try and get her to walk, me and her. Starting today. 

I read the news and it is dreadful out there. Society is showing how ugly it is. Compassion is hard to find. I waste so much time on social media's Facebook, but I like to share pictures and comment on stories. It is like maybe some day I will change things but I know that is naive and impossible.  So while I want to share laughs and do laugh with my wife, in my inside I am dreading society and life. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

I'm Native American, Bitch!

A young Native Woman was accosted by a racist White Woman in a gas station in Arizona. The encounter was filmed and spread on the internet. Since then many have seen the encounter between a White Woman and an Indigenous Woman. 
I feel bad for the Indigenous woman because a lot of unwanted attention. At the same time lot of people Native and non-Native are kind of smiling at what took place. Me I laughed a lot and I watched the video a lot. It is funny, glorious, meaningful, surprising and gratifying all the same. You have this person, well established, dressed to kill, wearing the dark shades, looking down on Brown folks, using her authority over others, not expecting to be challenged. She makes up lies about the person filming as he is commenting on the situation. She approaches the man filming with her lies of him swearing and then goes to refocus her attack on the Brown Woman. The problem was the established person took it a little too far and grabbed the Brown Woman. The Brown Woman slapped the established person in the face, SMACK! The established Woman, other wise known as the Establishment, cried out in shock and horror, "oh my god, oh my god." She (Establishment) invoked her higher power in this time of crisis. Surprisingly Establishment's higher power didn't appear to smite the little Brown Woman for the transgression (the fresh slap to the face). 
You know what is amazing, the Brown Woman's slap is the slap heard around the world. She stood up to the Establishment and literally said, "Don't put your hands on me...Bitch." 
The little Brown Woman is representative of the Brown and Black world. No more letting the Establishment put their hands on them (or their racist verbal attacks).  From now on don't be putting your greasy mitts on Women of Colour, Black and Brown. 

There was a Punch a Nazi movement, which has lead to a slap a White Racist movement. 
And as the beautiful Brown Woman has said, "Black Lives Matter Bitch." 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Forget About It, It Was Long Time Ago

"Lighten up people" is what a coffee shop owner said to people who are upset with his use of Nazi meme. He used the meme to compare the COVID-19 restrictions on social distancing. The owner was upset people were defying the social distance practice and call. His post had a picture of Hitler with the caption: "To those turning in your neighbours and businesses, you did the Reich thing." People were upset on how the Nazi regime is now used to compared in today's environment. The coffee shop owner felt everyone was over reacting so he said to "lighten up." I am sure the Jewish population said "Okay, we will lighten up." Actually everyone should be offended by his glib attitude to a horror.  He does not understand the negative response by the public over his Facebook post.

If an event has no bearing or effect on us, we tend to down play it, even ignore it. We may never have experienced the horror, the terror of Nazi Germany, Ethnic Cleansing, Rwanda Genocide, Slavery, Displacement, North American Native Genocide and persecution and so we can be forgiven if it's not in our minds. The problem is not with our ignorance of the events, but of our attitude towards those who have experienced the events. If I am not aware of some horror I should at least defer to those who know. We are willing to do that. We are quick to say "long time ago, forget about it." The responses may vary but the message is the same, "it means nothing to me." Now this is a sad way to live. Where is the empathy, the understanding? How would we feel if something terrible happened to us and the public didn't care?

White Supremacist John Wayne
There are a lot of things I have no clue about but the least I can do is not dismiss the feelings of others. I can't imagine the horror of my Grandparents being thrown in masses ovens. I can't imagine the terror of being chained inside of a boat and taken to a different world only to be tortured into submission. To be chained to an anchor weight and heft off the boat in the ocean. I have not experienced those horrors. Still I won't diminish the anguish over those events felt by some just because I don't care. We should care. The "forget about it" dismissal over a tragic event is selfish, no other way to describe it.

In Canada and the United States the Indigenous people went through ugly times. The general public doesn't care. They are only aware of the John Wayne portrayal of the Indian Wars, the Hollywood experience. The heroic cowboy dishing out all sorts of Western Justice on those raping-white-women savages. But hey, it was long time ago so lighten up. It's not like John Wayne killed any real Indians, did he? It's true John Wayne was never a cowboy hero, he was just an actor. So there would be no reason to name an airport complete with bigger than life bronze statue of him in the airport, would there? It's not like John Wayne said anything bad or racist. And even if he did, forget about it and lighten up, he's dead and gone anyway. "I believe in white supremacy" "I don't feel guilty about the fact 5 or 10 generations ago these people were Slaves."  Forget about it people, it's not like in the statue he is standing on an Indian or hanging a Slave.  Side story I told a cousin of mine that I went to L.A. and there is a John Wayne airport. "There is a big bronze of the Duke complete with him in a cowboy hat, six gun in his hand and his cowboy on the head of a dead Indian laying on the ground." My cousin, "Really?"  I says "Yeah, he is a big hero in the U.S. for killing all those Indians." My cousin, "Holy, that guy was mean wasn't he?" (Imagine Thomas Builds-a-Fire voice)

I think John Wayne and a huge portion of the white population in North America have this way of thinking: "It was long time ago, forget about it." In reality many things have not been long ago and actually are happening right now. Black People, Native People, Women, Gay People are being hurt, are being harassed and are being killed.  The examples are too numerous to list. So no, we should not be forgetting anything. We should be not lowering our voices about the atrocities which are taking place. We should be shouting, marching, writing letters, boycotting, and burning things. Kindness, generosity, patience, reasoning is not working. The ugly, specifically the racist public is deaf to the soft voice, the reasonable and the conciliatory approach. They, the ugly ones shut out every voice which is not in agreement with their own way of seeing things. The ugly times are here. We must do what we can to ensure it stops. One of the ways is to make sure it is not denied, the ugly is in fact now, not long time ago and no we can't forget. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

I Don't Own You

I was telling my wife to make sure to use Bleach (as a kid didn't know it was bleach just called it Javex) on my socks and underwear. She said "I won't since you're doing the fucking washing." This was a few years ago. Since then I stopped buying white socks and underwear. Actually laundry duty is not assigned to either one of us, we just do it when the pile is blocking the basement stairs. If the laundry can't be moved out of the way of the stairs well someone has to do it, right? I mean at my age tripping over socks or slipping on semi-damp underwear can be tragic; broken hip, broken arm, an eye pops out.  Truth the wife does the majority of laundry as I just wear same underwear for longer periods of time, but I do the dishes and sweep the floors. The laundry and coloured underwear remind me of when I was such an ignorant insecure selfish man, a jerk. You know one of those guys who thinks they are the boss and use anger hostility jealousy to try control the home. The type of guy who left his underwear on the bathroom floor and wonder what his Dad's underwear is doing there? Well let me tell, I wish I would have listened long ago to a smart strong woman, Mom. It was those damn television shows I blame. Moms always in the kitchen cooking and letting Madge soak their hands in dish soap. This is a distorted version of how a home works, isn't it?

The reason we are talking about dirty laundry (literally and figuratively) is the lock down of the world. Seems there is a rise in domestic abuse. I guess insecure jerks are beating the life out of children and wives. At this point some guy sticks out his chest and huffs, "what the shit, men get beaten too." Yeah, just take a seat Todd and let's deal with majority here okay? The world is taking a big dirty dump and folks are bat shit eating crazy over it. White men and white women are mad they can not go to the hair salon. White men just like an excuse to carry military assault rifles to a public gathering. People are wanting to sacrifice the old, the poor as long as it is not them. People are capable of singing My Baby Loves Loving while the drone strikes on a Muslim country full of kids; there is no crazy pill we will not take. So while the World puts human beings on a time out, some jerks are not willing to Netflix and Chill  (Yo, she wanna Netflix and chill but i wanna get rich and bill). The humans are waving guns, spreading germs and beating women. Old God is Great, the Bible  mentality and thinking of Women as the pack-horse-mule has never disappeared. Men continue to behave and act like Women are property.  This is arse-crunch ugly because these same people are using the argument "liberty, freedom", or in other words "you don't own me." Men (lot of white gun tootin' beer bellied scraggly bearded assholes) are puffing out their chests, stuffing socks in their groins and whining about not going to be able to golf all the while expecting their shit pee stained white underwear to be washed wth bleach (Not me, fuck those white underwear stains, I only wear blue, black or grey underwear). Who do they expect to scrape off the crunch stains?

Do the Laundry I said. 
Why is it we think we own someone? Why are we constantly wanting to lock them down and control them? Could it be we are so cock-munching stupid we can't see how it is part of our sick society? The stool stained underwear is a reflection of our society; dirty raunchy crunchy vile stench and we still think it is fine. We sing along to popular tunes  and ignore our world of shit stained damp underwear and unbleached laundry.

"If you love someone enough you will follow where ever they go. That's how I got to Memphis."  Because you think you own her. Our society is filled with subtle reminders that we think we own her - them. Don't believe me? Listen to Kentucky Rain song by Elvis Hips Don't Lie Presley. In the song story, she runs away but he stalks her. Like many norms in society, we are keenly unaware of how we see things. The Cold Kentucky rain is a beautiful love song and the poor guy is going to get his girl back. Never-mind she is running away from broken teeth, cracked ribs and a house full of shitty shorts. We normalize the ugly and the ugly is we think we own everything (everyone).

So turn around look at the white arse and know this, he don't own shit.

Oh back to my wife. She is not mine even though I say my wife. I tried that, being an owner, worse damn thing I could have done in my life. Now I hope to know better. Oh and my wife never uses the F-word, I kind of embellished that one at the beginning of the story. She says "Oh shit" but never the F-word. 

Crazy Chester followed me and he caught me in the fog
He said, I will fix your rack, if you'll take Jack, my dog
I said, wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man
He said, that's okay, boy, won't you feed him when you can

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