Saturday, January 25, 2020

Was It Wrong?

Throughout life we are going to take part in activities, actions, decisions and choices which we may have been right about or wrong. As time passes, we look back and question, "was it wrong?"

I was home when the house phone rang. My kids were sleeping and the wife was away. So I answered a frantic call from a sister. A group of thugs barged into her home and fought one her sons. I jumped in my car and went right over. When I got to the house, the door was open and the cops were inside questioning my sister. The police were being aggressive and accusing her about what took place. I got upset with the cops and told them, there are kids here and you are acting like that? I took the second oldest son and we went out. The son knew the group who came to the house and who assaulted the older brother. My nephew took me to where the group hung out. A party was going on a number of people were outside the row of houses. I went there and said, "Where is Roots?" A young man said "Who the fuck wants to know?"  I pulled out my gun and said "I do."  From there a scramble took place, with some screaming and running off. The man who answered me was now frantically trying to open the front door but the people who ran inside locked the door. So he was pulling on the door and it wouldn't open. It was a funny scene. People ran all over, so I chased and trapped one at the side of the street. Got him to go on his knees, asked his name. He had a beer bottle in his hand and started to use the name of my nephew, that is when I fired. I didn't hit him, just scared him.

Was it wrong?

We pulled up the house, me and my cousin. The person who lived in this house was a predator. He lured young boys with cigarettes and such. We stood outside the home in the dark and waited. I had the knife in my hand and I waited, we waited. We decide to go sit in the car for a bit. We came back just as the person's car drove off, we missed our opportunity that night. I had no doubt what was to come.

Was it wrong?

There was this fellow who asked my Dad for a favour. I told the fellow, "my Dad likes you, so don't rip him off." My dad was a generous man. He did the favour. He drove an hour out of town to purchase some Manomin for a fellow. He paid for the rice and delivered to the city which is one hundred kilometers away from the Reserve. Dad received a cheque from the fellow for the cost of the rice, not including the gas and time my Dad had spent. My Dad would not have expected it anyway. A couple of weeks later my Dad told me if I saw the fellow, the cheque had bounced. So I drove to the city, went to the restaurant the fellow was operating. I took out my knife and "poked" him in the leg. The fellow cried and claimed it was the Bank which made the error. The fellow's wife also said it was the Bank which made the mistake. They decided to give cash to me in order to give to my Dad.

Was it wrong?

A young man had owed my friends (and me) quite a considerable amount of money. He also sold his ownership of a business back to us which we jointly owned. However, he would not sign off on the paperwork despite the agreement and outstanding debt. So it was not fair. A lot of money had gone missing from the business and he was in the middle of the missing money. So I spoke to his business partner and close friend. His friend asked me to handle the situation and get him to sign off on the business. So a couple of my friends and I met him the young man on a road. The young man had gotten pepper sprayed and had an iron bar to his legs and back. It was a message he now understood. I met him after a period of time and he cried saying he "just wants to go home."

Was it wrong?

This fellow, a very charismatic, charming smart guy had been robbing us blind. He was bold and had no care in the world or any regret or remorse about it. I had brought a behemoth of an Indian guy down to the Reserve to have a word with this fellow. I asked him to come for a ride with me and the fellow happily jumped into the car with me. The behemoth jumped in the back sit after the fellow was in, I guess the fellow didn't see him. So we went for a ride. The fellow keep asking, "wwwhaaa-where are we going?" We didn't have any real idea in mind, so we took him to the Reserve garbage dump. He got out of the car and then we started asking him, "where's the money?" He denied taking and robbing anyone. He was not very pleased, his crying was tiring for us to hear. We asked him to get on the ground, as he lay with face on the dirt, he imagined a gun to his head. Just then a truck came down the dusty road to the garbage dump. We got him to stand up. "Just teasing" we said and we took him back to the restaurant and dropped him off.

Was it wrong?

It was not very late in the evening I was driving to visit my daughter at the other end of the city. My niece called, my sister-in-law called, my nephew called. My nephew was way up North working at the Mine. My niece had been fought in front of her baby. My sister-in-law had been kicked out of her house and it was being used as a drug den for Meth heads. The sister-in-law was being threatened by a couple of guys now occupying her house. I kept getting numerous calls for help. I couldn't say no to the requests. I decide to drive out to the Reserve from the City that night. I asked again if I should intervene and was told to go and help. I arrived about an hour and a half later. I got a nephew to go with me to the house due to number of people that were suppose to be in the house, five meth heads. I could not open the door, I told my nephew to pull open the door and it opened, the next door was bolted shut. I told my nephew to bust it open, he kicked it open. As I entered the house, I was greeted with profanity, yelling, screaming at me. I let go with an iron bar. I entered the next room to be greeted by a huge young man. There was a knife on the table, so it went from there. The result, two people had cracked their ankles or legs, not sure. Others were told to get out. The two were told to get out, they crawled out. The house was a drug den and in a shambles. The next couple of days the sister-in-law was able to move back in.

Was it wrong?
Now This is a Knife 

Fictional persons disclaimer: The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed here are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Little Big Man Meet Michelle Kenidi as Tina Keeper

North of 60 was a big time Canadian show in the 1990's. You got to see this group of Indian people in their community. North of 60 had all the checkmarks of a good tv: beautiful hero, the nemesis, wide range of interesting characters and drama. The show had a great following and it ran for six seasons. It was a show where Indigenous folk where the main characters. Like many I watched it and liked seeing Indians on tv. For me though, the constant drama was a downer, but drama and conflict makes good tv. I saw cool Neechies on the show for sure and it was a great show. But I didn't see many of my cousins, the crazy ones, the Kooshqwaycon (crazy one) there. I didn't see the Indian who would burn your outside toilet down. I didn't see the Indian who would walk around outside in the winter with only a BlueJean jacket on, unbuckled. I didn't see Old Billy running around with only his underwear on while being chased by the wife wielding a willow stick as the kids looked from the picture window.  I didn't see me, who walked into the Chiefs office and took the big Indian art painting off the wall and walk out, only to be met at the door by the Chief, only to say "just teasing ya." I guess it was not made to include that type of Indian. The thing for me which was kind of bothersome was the "traditional" looking Neechies were kind of the bad folk, the villains. Except for Jimmy Herman who was a bit of both. He didn't have to act cool, he could just be in the screen shot and big cool. Jimmy Herman in another life could have been the Indian who put an arrow through the eye of General George Armstrong Custer (Custer was shot in his head and in his heartless chest).

As a kid I saw tv shows and movies with Indians as side characters or the bad guys, also known as the Savage. I got excited to see Neechies on tv. Heck I didn't even know when it was a white guy dyed brown for the role. Michael Zenon played Joe Two Rivers on The Forest Rangers. The Forest Rangers was TV show in the early 1960's filmed in Canada. I really thought this guy was Indian, even when he was speaking Anishinaabemowin to Makwa. He sounded funny when spoke it and some words didn't make sense. I guess Indians didn't have many roles in TV or the movies. There were a few movies that did have bonafide Neehies (abbreviated Anishinaabe word for friend). Jeremiah Johnson, Little Big Man, A Man Called Horse, Solider Blue were shows with a Native slant but some of them didn't have a big Native cast. Solider Blue had a few Mexican actors for the more important Indian scenes. The Indians in Jeremiah Johnson didn't have much dialog but they sure were strikingly gorgeous, even when Robert Redford was killing them. Of course the main Indian was Mexican. I think Little Big Man was my favourite movie of the bunch. All the movies of course have the Whiteman as the hero, but who would watch an Indian killing White folk? Little Big Man was a movie which made us laugh. I don't know who wrote the lines for Chief Dan George, but Chief Dan George made the lines his. Little Big Man showed us Indians were real folk and the Whiteman could never be trusted, even when you adopt them; remind me about Old Injun Joe Boyden again?

Finding out Indians in the movies were not Indians was like eating rotten cheese. You only notice it is rotten after it is almost done and now you feel yourself throwing up. I remember reading about Joe Two Rivers being a Ukrainian. I felt robbed. Robbed like when someone emptied my bank account and I started screaming around in the bank saying "I'm being robbed." Bank folk just looked like they saw Big Foot among the trees as I tried to come to grips with the robbery. Even in North of 60 there was an Indian who had a role in there who may not have be Indian. Classic Hollywood move there.

The North of 60 gave voices and faces to Indians. They were the good guys and the bad guys. They had lives outside of getting killed by Jeremiah Johnson. The have lives outside of being betrayed by Little Big Man. They have lives outside of being shot to death by US Solider's Blue, the dreaded Cavalry.  They have lives outside of hanging a White man called Horse to the Sundance Tree (even though it was really cool. The Drumbeat at the beginning of the Tree Hookup scene was kind of weird but hey it made for a good movie). In any case lot of White Folk painted up as Indians in those Classic Hollywood movies.  With North of 60, the Hero was a tall brown fine looking Indian Woman. and she was really an Indian and not a fine looking Asian Woman.  Now that is what you call authentic stuff.
Tina Keeper and "That Guy" who is no
Wind In His Hair. 

I still enjoy the movies with Indians in them but I will not totally believe it is an Indian until I see their Sundance scars or the Treaty Card in their purse or wallet. Been fooled before and it is not a good feeling. "There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas that says, Fool me once, shame on - shame on you, you fool me - you can't get fooled again."

From Hong Kong, Sunshine - Little Big Man  

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