Saturday, October 17, 2015

Vote but stop shitting in the water

I think people should vote if the want to and I hope they use their best judgement. It is hard to decide who to vote for in an election that comes around once every four  years. You cast one ballot and then you are stuck with that government for four years. Apparently, democracy is something that can only be done on the same schedule as the Olympics or the World Cup.

It looked like it was going to be Trudeaumania all over again and The Hair Guy was riding a wave to sure victory. His final week commercial clipped from his triumphant speech before the largest crowd of the campaign had just the right amount of fascist undertones to make him look darn near presidential.

Then days before the vote, news breaks that The Hair Guy's right hand man is sending around a  "How to get access to the Hair Guy's New Government" cheat sheet. The back room politics of access and corruption that drove the Liberals into the ground are still creeping around.

The sponsorship scandal and the insult heaped upon Quebec as being a corrupt province is what unraveled Liberal support in that province and ushered in the current regime. There is no mania if Quebec isn't dancing.

It wasn't supposed to go this way. If Jack were alive. It would be game over. It would have been a coronation. The Orange Crush would have been the new thing. Quebec and the Youth vote and the Native vote and the New Canadian vote would have crushed the Old Stock Canadians.

It would have been Real Change and instead we got Beard Guy who is no only the smartest guy in the room he's also the creepiest. He could not deliver that message of Hope that Jack delivered with so much conviction and so much humanity. But just because someone has zero charisma doesn't mean they can't be Prime Minister.

Case in point.

What is it with Damien? In his final commercial he is lit by the studio lights to look as white as humanly possible with pink skin tones and bright blue eyes while speaking blissfully from within his bleached out world.

It is shocking that he is even in this race after the corruption and scandal and crimes that plagued his government. Conservatives are supposed to follow the rules and manage money.

Conservatives support the Military. These Conservatives have treated our Veterans shamefully and yet we are at War. Conservatives are into hunting and fishing. They have removed the majority of protections for our rivers, lakes and streams.

They mismanaged the economy and watched the oil industry flounder and left Canadians put of work in that sector on their own. They sold out the last of the Canadian auto sector in the Trans Pacific Partnership. It's not about jobs.

Yet they might win this thing.

Is it really the race issue that is going to give Damien four more years? He knows the deep, dark, racist, misogynist Canadian spirit that exists in the Old Stock Canadians and that it is more widespread than most would like to admit. He knows we aren't all Martin Short and John Candy. He knows this is the heart of his base so he stirs up the shit and clouds the water.

Meanwhile we are getting ready to dump 8 billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Laurence River. We have the technology to pump out this sewage and treat it before putting it back into the river; but we are acting like a third world country when it comes to having fresh water. No one wants to spend the money to take care of our shit so the best response is the cheapest one dump it into the river.

This is happening in Montreal. You know it gets worse from there with raw sewage being dumped all across the country. That is not the worst of it, we are planning to bury nuclear waste under the Great Lakes.

We are shitting in pool. We are pissing in the garden and poisoning the well. These are bad times and the vote cannot be your only act to save this country.

Where you shit matters as much as where you vote.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Refugees matter more than Native People

It's not like we didn't know. It is not like we are the special ones who are suddenly being ignored. We are used to being disrespected. But it's not like we don't complain or we don't stand up for ourselves. It is just that no one in this country gives a shit. Especially during a federal election. No one is getting elected in Canada by standing up for Native people.

When you are Native you can watch the national media debate the idea of two-tier citizenship without any irony at all and it will drive you mad. They will rage about how a convicted terrorist doesn't deserve to be treated as a second class Canadian as though Native people haven't been treated like that for over 200 years.

The truth is Canada would never bring in refugees and put them on a northern Canadian First Nation that doesn't have drinkable water and force them to live in a home that is unsuitable for winter.

They wouldn't allow their children to be stolen away and put into government care.

They wouldn't feed them drugs and have them lining up for methadone.

They wouldn't put them in remote territories and charge them three times for milk what they pay for Coke.

They will defend the right for women to wear the Niqab while our women are being hunted on the streets.

As a Metis Citizen with rights entrenched in the Constitution, I do not have Dental Care, Pharmaceutical care or Optical Care. I am writing this with a toothache and wearing glasses I found at Value village. It is hard for me stomach giving those privliges to people just arriving to this country.

It is hard for us to say anything. This is not how we are. We should be screaming this reality from the rooftops but we don't. We give it all.

Yet, I know that people come to Canada and they judge us. They look at our brothers and sisters on the street and they think. "Look at those lazy Indians, we came here with nothing and we made it. What is wrong with them."

They don't get that this country was made for them not for us.


(I am sorry for the anger and mean spirit in this post. I believe that as a country we must be helpful to those who are seeking refuge in a country so blessed as Canada. I have also seen hardship that is documented Third World conditions and there is no refuge.)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Weesaykayjak and the Rainbow Smile

I had been in camp for two days when the girls asked if I wanted to see their Little People house. Absolutely, I replied. We walk up the path and by the sweatlodge and into the bush following the trail where fasters make their camps. I point out the small fire pits to the girls and tell them that I had fasted in this place a few years ago.

I am reminded about my experience with the Little People when I was fasting. I had a small red flashlight with the Metis infinity sign on it. It was taken from my camp and I knew it was Little People. I had planned to put out small offerings of candy before I started fasting and then I forgot. On the last night my flashlight disappeared.

Two months later when I returned to the Culture Camp I found my flashlight placed upon my pillow.

Not far from where I had fasted the girls and some of the boys had made a teepee about 3 feet tall and covered it with clumps of moss. Inside they had place three to four inch birch stumps and on each of those they had placed mushrooms caps. It was really cool and quite beautiful.

On the walk back to camp I told them my Little People story and there were expressions of fear or concern. I said, I have never seen Little People, although I know that children and Elders see them and that one should consider it an honor to see such a spirit.

As we were walking back I realized that my other visitors had not been seen. The Whiskeyjacks which had kept me company throughout my fast were nowhere to be found. This thought bothered me as much as the thought of seeing Little People bothered some of the girls.

It was Bobby Brightnose who told me that the Whiskeyjack was the first representative of the animal world to greet the human beings when they came into the forest. The Whiskeyjack will always be the first to come around when you are cutting wood or if you are cleaning a moose or once you have set up camp. He is the one that likes the human beings the most.

Later that afternoon as we were readying the sweatlodge I mentioned to Andrew Jacobson that I had not seen a Whiskeyjack. “That’s right,” he said. “Now that you mention it.” He thought that perhaps the bird had a 7-year cycle like other creatures and that this was the point in the Whiskeyjack’s cycle when their  numbers are small.

As I stood doorman to the lodge I could hear Andrew offering prayers and Herbert Sanderson from Moose Lake was singing the songs. It was the fourth and final door and I was thinking about how Andrew was concerned about his fishing prospects over the next few weeks before the fall season closed and how there was no pickerel this year.

It came to my mind that perhaps the Whiskeyjack was not happy with the human beings and that we weren’t taking care of the water and the forest like we should. As this thought came to mind I heard a “peep beep peep” and looked up to see a Whiskeyjack fly across the northern sky. Then immediately a hawk flew right above and I lifted my head to follow it. Directly above there was a partial rainbow. It looked like a rainbow smile in the sky.

Behind the rainbow there was a wispy Cirrus cloud that looked on one end like a herd of deer and on another end like a school of fish.

The next day the Whiskeyjacks were back at camp.

I told my mother this story and she said, “Don’t call him Whiskeyjack that is the White man’s word. He is called Weesaykayjak.”

Monday, September 14, 2015

I don't want your Medicine Chest. Keep your Magic Beans. I want my Land.

I hope to die one day. I am not sure if that will be possible.

These are things that are said by teenagers. Punk rockers and 1 per centers. I am saying this as a 50 year old who is currently on no medication.

My goal is not to take medicine that is manufactured and I don't want any more parts cut out of me and then one day I hope to die.

This is not a joke. But I fear that it is.

No one has to right to keep me from dying. I am not sure if that will be possible. I know it is possible today to keep someone breathing and acting as though they have life long beyond that individual expresses that right. Your only hope of defining your own existence must be defined by law. You can make the necessary choices today.

But I plan on living a long time. Once that time comes. I don't know if I will have the freedom to die. I don't believe that choices made today will equal the choices I make in the future long after I am dead or whatever society defines as death.

If you think that is a joke you are a fool.

I have been adamant for years that I would not be offering any of my parts before I was out of here and I am pleased that at this point none of my children or loved ones require any of my particular parts.

Now that I am 50 I am sure that my parts may not be the best choice. But I can't say that for sure. Considering the fact that the majority of people seem to trading their humanity for pills. Not too many boys are going to be racing me to the top of the hill.

It is always easier to take your life as long as it doesn't take anyone else. I don't think my parts are that awesome. I have abused my self. I am sure. But I have always accepted that responsibility.

I have taken that responsibility with the knowledge that only myself will be harmed by myself. Sadly, I don't believe that will always be my responsibility. I fear that one day, before I am gone, that freedom will be taken away from me.

I fantasize that I will either drop dead or have the notion and head out into the bush or ice flow and deal with what no one wants to deal with.

I know that makes me weird. I don't care.

I am Metis Nation. I have seen first hand how the Medicine chest offered in treaty has turned First Nations into junkies.

I don't know the future. But I know. I don't want that.