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. 

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

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...