This guy NAILS online bullying.
Ran into one of the loveliest men I know, Eugene. Eugene’s wife Jeanette was recently visiting their home country Congo and I have never felt like a bigger shit than when I asked how her visit went and he emotionally told me of the slaughter happening in the East Congo that is being financed by major corporations for the vast mineral deposits that are used (pointing at my son’s Nintendo) for portable electronics(my iPhone weighing a million pounds in my pocket at this point.) 48 women this hour will be raped in the conflict he tells me, every hour. 8 million dead, he says in his soft & deep voice with the French accent.
He explained the ties of the conflict in the Congo to the Rwandan genocide, ties that I knew nothing about. 8 million people and no one is outraged he says Egypt, Libya all over the news Congo, nothing he says with a heavy yet rightfully outraged voice. What do you say to that… how do I sit with products in my pocket that my friend is directly tying to another’s person’s rape and/or murder? People he knows..people in his family. How do I look at my gentle giant of a friend and say…. anything. Watch Blood in the Mobile he tells me, google it and watch. So this is what I will do, maybe you will too?
I would run into my gentle giant of a friend the next day and told him how deeply his words impacted me and how I had posted it on my Facebook and the conversations it started. He told me to google Unwatchable.cc so I did. Hope you will join me in watching this as well.
I wasn’t able to watch the films on the site but some poking around on Youtube I was able to watch them.
I was out side the Missing & Murdered inquiry today at the corner of Granville & Georgia.
I was there as people started drumming, smudging creating a sacred space.
The more I dive both feet in, the depth of spirituality and connectedness to mother earth that is the root of Aboriginal people’s worldview & faith the more I realize I have none. Connectedness to the land I mean, to the cycles of nature, roots that go down to the core of the earth.
My Dad is not from this country, my mother is 2nd(maybe3rd) generation Canadian and my Grandmother had deep respect for Aboriginal peoples & culture and I remember her teaching it to us, but I don’t recall my parents telling me stories that connected me to something bigger, about a lineage that went as far back as the original stories told by wise elders. Granted I think my Dad didn’t want to talk about his history, I don’t think it was something he wanted to revisit.
But I feel… rootless.
I have a faith, I am a Christ follower but it does not teach me the cycles of the fish & game, the ways to render bear fat and turn it into a salve for eczema. How to let the land provide and treat it with the reverence she deserves.
Yes, earth is a she. Mother Nature.
Women have high esteem in Aboriginal cultures, we are the life givers.
In Christianity, I know we are not held in the reverence we deserve. Some teach we are to be subservient of men, as if God made me less than a man. I am pretty positive he didn’t, Jesus showed a radical new way of treating women. Somehow that got lost in the teachings.
The places & lands I am honoured to go, the ceremonies I partake in, the Grandmothers who teach me their wisdom, in some ways teach me in some ways how hollow we have made God.
As if God is somehow only wrapped up in consumerism, consumption, misogyny, racism (that’s what it’s called when you partake in a genocide, like the church did with aboriginal peoples) judgement, and making sure everyone knows their sins as if the church it’s self has none. Let’s face it when people think of the church they think of people who do a lot of finger pointing to outsiders, but never inward at themselves. That said, I do see God in a lot of things the church does, I do, my friends do, my community does but unfortunately those tend to not be the things the church is known for by those outside of the church.
I love my God. I know Jesus is a part of my every heartbeat.
But my aboriginal friends have taught me something deeper, something I need to pass onto my son who is Nak’azdl from the Carrier Nation in Northern BC, in fact all my children. A connection to the land that values it. He (we) needs to be connected to this land and ways of living on it that have been passed down from his grandmother from her grandmother from her grandmother since time immemorial.
It is an amazing and powerful feeling to be around peoples who talk of stories about ravens, fish, berries and traditions handed down for as long back as history can be traced.
Yet, we came here.. I mean that as a communal we, anyone not First Nations. We partake in racism and marginalization everyday without even realizing it, our laws are set up to keep us from recognizing it. Trust me our history books don’t teach it, remember they were written by the colonizers. Social policy keeps the line divided between “us” & “them” one must seek out the issue to see it, it is so well hidden and kept from view. I think this pic captures what many in society think
You can also see the pic on my Facebook page in case it’s not clear enough.
As I have sat in court last week listening to the horrors or residential school and why grandmothers & mothers mistrust the RCMP & police. They mistrust because as the Indian Agents invaded their homelands and stole their little children, throwing them into cattle cars to be taken to residential schools where the aim was to “kill the indian in the child” the RCMP were instructed by the Indian Agents to hit hands hard enough to break, so the women, mothers, grandmothers, aunties would let go and stop climbing up the sides of the car desperate to get their children back.
Sit with that.
It happened in Canada.
In our lifetime.
The last residential school closed in when?
Do you know?
When do you think?
The 70’s? 80’s?60″s?
The last residential school, White Calf Collegiate, was closed in 1996.
Yup. 17 years ago.
This is not ancient history, this is recent history
As a Christian I do not try to defend the Church, defending it to someone who’s culture, family, essence, land and much more was stolen seems trite. As a faith rooted person I must sit with the hate deservingly aimed at the church, yes the church does some great stuff however it does not negate our responsibility for what happened. I cannot be uncomfortable with it. I must acknowledge it and own it, even though it was not me personally.
I noticed the division based on skin color years ago. When I was in group homes with aboriginal youth, I could see how I was treated different.I knew when my dark skinned sisters were being hassled by the police I could step in and what I said carried a different weight because of my white skin, I knew then I always had to step in whenever I could.
I could see it when my friends kids were apprehended, but I was given many opportunities to keep mine and I did, I never lost custody of any of my children.
I knew as I met my friends aunties, cousins and elders from their homelands that they were a part of something I wanted. I could feel deep in my bones. Something bigger, something connected. When I was welcomed into everywhere my friends went and I was the only one with blue eyes, I knew I was being invited into something sacred.
As a caucasian appearing person I must sit with my “whiteness” and the privilege it gives me.
Most of all what I must do is to thank my sisters, the elders, the men who have tolerated my ignorant questions, rooted in a real desire to learn.
I must uphold what they teach me. I have to take it to places I get into and tell what they have told me.
I have to be accountable to my beautiful sisters with chocolate eyes, and deep connected souls and hair as black as a ravens’s feathers.
I have a pair of small moccasins that were given to me as a present when I presented in Quesnel, and I can sit for hours and smell the smokey smell that is worked into the hide as it cures and that smell to me, is what the universe smells like. To breathe it in, that smokey smell reminds me of the trees, the grass, the earth. The earth that provides all we need, that we also seem to be hell bent on killing.
I know though that the people who Turtle Island (Canada) rightfully belongs to have much to teach us, show us and we need to listen, need to learn. I do get scared somedays, if Turtle Island was turned over to it’s rightful owners would they kick us all out?! I couldn’t blame them, could you?
My sisters assure me that is not what they are asking, what the rightful owners of Turtle Island are asking is we respect them and the land, that their ways be valued and upheld, that we finally STOP seeing aboriginal-ness as a problem and start seeing it for what it is, the solution.
PS… here is a story I think is a necessary read
I should explain my neighbourhood. I live in close proximity to the largest social housing project in the city, full of the beautiful people. We also have 2 other social housing buildings within a 7 block radius. We have an “inner-city” school full of passionate, smart, committed teachers who deal with some kids that come to school daily burdened with issues much bigger than what 1 + 1 equals, that must be dealt with before one can learn. We do have desperate women who turn to street level prostitution that wander our streets,some mom’s from our neighbourhood who go out once income assistance checks have been stretched as thinly as they can, but the problem is with the arrogant men who ask ALL of us if we are working making our neighbourhood unsafe, and the pimps who bring other women here to exploit them.
Let me be clear, I NEED shoddy housing to be able to afford to stay in my neighbourhood… let’s be truthful. I need shoddy housing anywhere to be able to live as well as eat and pay the bills.
Since our gentrification started, I have had this simmering panic that one month my landlord is going to say “I sold the house, here’s your 3 month notice”. That my friends is a shitty feeling. I can’t tell the kids I’m scared. I want to kiss my 35+ year old, old school, laminate flooring everyday that we are here. Everyday I don’t have to tell my kids, “we are moving so someone else who has more options than us, can choose to ignore what their actions are doing to others and they can move here” is a good day
I get it you have money, you have a “right” to take over wherever you want, but can you let me live here for 8 more years. Let my kids finish school? Let my autistic son live out the life he sees for himself and finds comfort in?
I mean, we wanted a new library & community center for well… ever. You build 3 or 4 apartment buildings, and voila we have both of them in no time. Then all of a sudden members of our community we have taken care of for ages have no where to go. Molly sat in the library ALL the time, but because a few of the new people complained they didn’t feel comfortable with her solo conversation she has for hours on end, and the enormous amounts of stuff she has with her, she is now only allowed in now for short periods of time.
I know I shouldn’t refer to the new neighbours as “them” but how do you discuss a collective group of people who are threatening mine & my kids security. Who have a particular way of doing things and because everyone knows they are the ones with money things happen, like Molly being displaced out of the library, or prostituted women not being able to use the new coffee shops washroom because they have not bought a drink. Well then, I’ll buy her a drink and you better damn well not come up with another excuse to deny her access to a bathroom!! A bathroom. What does that say about us when people can’t use a bathroom.
I also know I am not talking about millionaires here, most are “middle class” but actions are actions, attitudes are attitudes. Standards are standards. When the “newbies” move in then they want stores/coffee shops/ gyms/ etc that are a part of their everyday lives that maybe have not been a part of ours, and as those stores are created to cater to them we(me/my family/ friends/ the original neighbours) find ourselves surrounded by spaces we can’t access.
I want to be kind to everyone, but how do I be kind to a group of people who I know eventually will displace me & mine for their own want. Who edge me & mine out of spaces because we don’t fit the bill. Although the thing that irritates me the most is the judgments they heap everywhere, maybe not with words but suddenly we have houses with locked gates across their back car park. Have sign on the front lawn and window proudly displaying the high tech security systems in their homes.That look at my sweet and funny, moacha skinned, man sized, teenager in a way that makes me scared for him when he leaves my house. That creates an “us” & “them” feeling all in it’s self.
I am also reminded that this is Thanksgiving weekend, the colonizers holiday. when we celebrate the “original” gentrification. I know there is a push to have it be a weekend to give thanks, but at who’s expense are we giving thanks.I want to confront the holiday, not re-brand it so we ignore the core issue & talk about how great our lives are.I think it is important to address the reality of this weekend, not try to push the horror of it aside. I know the indigenous women I walk through life with, and learn from have no chance to not confront the horror on a regular/daily basis.Yes, I am thankful for more that I can articulate or express, but let’s not create a feel good holiday to ignore the true history of what our 3 -day weekend is celebrating,
I will never know what it was like to have my land invaded. To be killed, raped, and have my language striped of me, be forced to live on parcels of land doled out by those who have decimated your culture and traditions. My heart and solidarity goes out to indigenous people, my son’s people.
But I have the teeniest, tiniest glimpse of what it feels like to be in a constant state of living in the anxiety that one day you come home to that piece of paper that says, “You’re out”
I have to take one of my littles to school….we’ll walk down the alley with new houses we’ll never live in, walk by gates that were not there 3 years ago, and be glared at by the new neighbors who aren’t sure about tattoos & purple hair on a parent. I will smile and say “Good Morning” hoping that my politeness does not encourage more to move here.
All I want is to have a home. My home & I really. really like this home.
You must go RIGHT NOW to this post written for The F- Word Media Collective by law student Laura Johnston about the Bedford decision. It clarifies so much and shows all the false arguments built into the case.
GO. read. NOW!
So funny, SO wrong, funny won out. Have a look 😉