The Air Between Us

Good Helper Woman:

This is what our families are going through day after day.

Originally posted on A Halfbreed's Reasoning:

The air between us is thick; it’s palpable and heavy as the news anchor relays the story of how a fifteen year old Nish girl drowned in the Red River.  Our pho sits untouched on the table, congealing, as we both watch the TV and refuse to look at each other.  She drowned in the river my people fought for, was abused in the city my blood comes from, and murdered by this country we are supposed to call home.  I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I feel like you’re watching me for my reaction out of the corner of your eye.

 Is this what Indigenous intimacy feels like?  Bone crushing sadness felt between two friends when we learn of one of our relation’s murders?  

I can still feel you watching me out of the corner of your eye, I don’t know what you’re waiting for.  I’m struggling…

View original 378 more words

What really happened @ The Daily Show.

This article came from my twitter feed, and was too good not to share. I take no credit for this.

Please enjoy the read.

http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/GreenRoom/archives/2014/09/26/ill-fucking-cut-you-behind-the-scenes-of-the-1491s-segment-on-the-daily-show

Rant. Don’t want your opinion either. It’s my rant.

Be forewarned, I am very serious about not wanting “your” opinion on my rant. I don’t care what you think of my rant. It is my rant. And it has been stewing inside of me for too long.

Awhile ago, I had a conversation with a cousin. This said cousin is a born again Christian. This said cousin doesn’t believe that my being a first nations woman practicing my first nations traditions is right. She thinks it is the work of the devil. That being said, she also thinks that I should and I quote “Get your status so that you can get an education and do something with your life!”. It’s not okay for me to attend the sweat lodge, it is not okay for me to smudge with sweetgrass and sage, but get your status and milk the system for all it’s worth. That attitude is the exact reason I have never gotten my status to begin with. I don’t need the government assigning me a number saying I am an indian…now go forth and get those benefits! There are no benefits! The lies that your government has put out there for so long regarding all the “bells and whistles” that come with getting “status” is just such a load of shit. I have heard this argument my whole life.

“You should get your status.”

“Your a fool for not getting your status.”

“Look at the tax breaks you would have!”

All these lies that are put out by the government, and thrown in my face almost daily can get to be too much. Why is okay to you all that I have to have a status card??? Why do I have to have a status card? Do you carry a status card??? No. You don’t.

Why don’t you have a status card? Oh….because you are a landed immigrant. Your grandparents came to Canada from other countries, and you were born here.

But because my relatives were already here before your grandparents got here….I have to have a status card.

I am what is known as a stolen indian. I was stolen from my birth mother and given to the government. The government then adopted me out to an irish woman and an indian man that worked in the government.

So what that means is that in order for me to “get my status” I would need to find out about my birth family, which I did, and find out if I am registered with the band, which I am.  Then I have to “apply” to the band for my status, and if they “approve” I get to have a identity card that states I am a first nations woman. Whoopie!

Here is the problem. Let’s pretend I get that said identity card that states I am status. Then society has an open door policy on ripping me apart for “all the benefits that those native get that isn’t fair!” Which I hear about on a daily basis anyway.

And then imaginary money will fall from the sky and all my dreams will come true. In your world that is what seems to be the disney answer.

In reality though….as a status indian everything must be approved by the band. Medical has a cap of 1,500.00 monies per year, which is lower than regular medical care that the province gives to the non status peoples. If I need new glasses, the band has to approve that. If I want to go to school, the band has to approve that.  Are you getting the idea yet?

And as for this “housing” that is free…again…I would have to actually LIVE ON THE RESERVE, and the band would have to approve that.

Because this is how your government set it all up. Here indians, we will give you a spot to live on, but you have to do it this way. Our way. And if you don’t like that way, then you don’t have to do it our way.

So by choice I live my life as a common person. Without status. By choice. Because I don’t want the government telling me what I can and can’t do. Even through a band office.

And as for my choice about practicing my traditional ways, I seem to be doing just fine thank you.

Please stop imposing “YOUR” idea of what I am “SUPPOSE” to be doing.

 

Impact.

wowThis was on twitter today, and it said above the top of the picture:

Did your school have a graveyard?

#ResidentialSchools did.

So I took this picture and posted onto my facebook page letting everyone know that I don’t have to “get over it”.

 

‎’As Indians we are told to forget and move on, “what happened in the past is history”. But when we look at 9/11, we are told to never forget. I guess if Residential Schools and Colonization involved more bombs and less sexual violence, small pox and cultural genocide; we too would have the right to say “Never Forget.”
—  Ivo-lution Haggerty

 

This was written by a girl named Summer on Tumblr. Again, this had a big impact on me and I thought it went well with the picture.

Just Let It Go Already

Let’s talk about your

Taxpayer’s money wasted

On the greedy savages

That need to learn to just

“Let it go”.

Let’s talk about your

Overwhelming need to maintain your

White privilege,

So strong,

That you would have the nerve

To tell my grandmother to just

“Get over”

The hand of the priest

That slithered up her leg

When she was too young to even

Comprehend that type of evil.

To tell the children,

Who grew up too soon,

That they were no cleaner

Than the dirt underneath the fingernails

Of your blood-stained hands.

And to tell these children,

Who grew up too fast,

 To “just let go” of

The attempted destruction of

What were only children,

Born without warning,

Into a world that would teach them that

They were wrong

In the eyes of a god

That they had never known.

Tell me to

“Just let go”

Of the fact that

I will never speak the language of my ancestors

Because for centuries

They were told to 

“Just let it go”.

Let’s talk about what we need to 

“Just let go”.

She said What?!

IMG-20140731-02182

Thrift store shopping is something that is my fun time. Get away from life and have a walk through another time. Looking at things old and older just make me smile.

With my arms filled up with books, and other “crap you don’t need” as my pappa says, I get into line to purchase my “crap”.

{As I look around my room…he may have a point. Shhhh…don’t let him know that though!}

There is an older lady speaking to one of the workers. The worker is trying to put merchandise out on the shelf, while this lady is very busy bothering her. And by old I am talking only around 62ish, so not that old, just old enough to know better.

And here is how the situation went…

Old Lady: “Those glasses are too expensive! I know that for a fact, I am very price savvy.”

Worker: “Um hum, thank you for sharing.”

Old Lady: “Are you going to change the prices on those glasses? I told you they are too expensive!”

Worker: “Not right now I’m not ma’am.”

Old Lady: “But I told you that those are too expensive!”

Worker: “Yes ma’am, in the store these are very expensive, and here this is the discounted price. Which is quite resonable.”

Old Lady: “But those are too expensive! I already told you that! Why aren’t you changing the price?”

Worker: Silence.

Old Lady: “Why are you being so rude to me? I said, why are you so rude young lady? You are so rude! Why are you so rude?”

Worker: Silence

ME: turns around, looks directly at old lady and I say to her “YOU are being rude ma’am, not her. You are being rude. That young lady is just doing her job and is not in charge of pricing. She is in charge of putting merchandise onto the shelf. Please stop being rude to her.”

Old Lady: Wha..? Listen here sweetheart…”

ME: “Please don’t be condescending toward me. You are the one being rude. Please stop being belligerent to that young lady and talk to management if you have problem, not her.”

Old Lady: “Oh, well, you are JUST SO SURREY!”

Management then comes over, and gently takes old lady away. The other customers around me who have watched this entire situation in quiet are now thanking me for standing up to her.

One lady was laughing so hard and patted my shoulder saying: “Wow! I never heard that expression before!”

And we laughed and laughed.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with Surrey, BC.

Second of all crazy old lady…we are IN Surrey, so what does that mean? You are not insulting me, you are merely showing your true colours, and when confronted with your own bad behavior resort to the childish name calling.

Morale of the story:

Please when you are shopping and have a problem with the prices no matter what store you are in…

Understand that the person who is helping you is NOT the cause of YOUR miserable attitude. YOU are. These people work very hard and get paid very little and put up with SO much crap from “customers”. Show some respect toward your fellow human.

Or someone like me is going to come along and confront you on that said behavior.

 

 

Pow Wow Etiquette by Alysa Landry

*I found this on a website, and copied it so it is readable for all.*

Pow Wow Etiquette: 10 Rules to Follow in and Out of the Arena
Alysa Landry
3/29/14

Whether you’re a novice or veteran attending a pow wow, certain behaviors are expected while you’re on the grounds or in the arena. Although customs may vary from tribe to tribe—and even from year to year—some basic rules remain the same.

Some breaches of etiquette are simply considered disrespectful while others may result in the offender being removed from the arena. Here are some tips to make sure your behavior is appropriate and your visit is memorable.

Dress modestly.

It is not appropriate to wear hats, swimsuits, extremely short skirts or shorts or halter tops. Do not wear T-shirts or other items of clothing with profanity or inappropriate slogans.

If you plan to participate in dances that are open to the public, keep in mind that some tribes require women to wear a shawl or cover their shoulders.

Always listen to the master of ceremonies or announcer

“The MC will tell you when you can photograph [and] he will tell you when you can dance,” said Leonard Anthony, a Navajo gourd dancer and MC. “Usually visitors or outsiders can dance during the inter-tribal dance, but you need to listen for an announcement before you participate.”

Shelley TSivia …
PLEEEEASE…Listen to the Arena Director and/or MC when they say (over and over and…!!) “PARENTS, PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF THE ARENA”. Some of the fast and fancy dancers shouldn’t have to keep watching out for some kid in tshirt and shorts who wants to dance at that same time!

Stand up during the grand entry

Unless you are physically unable to stand, you are expected to show respect for the dancers and rise as they enter the arena. The seats nearest the dancing circle are reserved for singers, dancers and drummers.  If you’re a spectator, do not sit here.

“A first-time visitor looks for the best seats possible,” said Dennis Zotigh, cultural specialist at the National Museum of the American Indian. “The seats closest to the arena seem to be the best seats, but that’s because the dancers stand up and immediately begin dancing.”

Pow wow grounds should be considered sacred places

A blessing is performed ahead of time and your actions should show respect for this religious and sacred ceremony.
“It’s like going to a church,” Anthony said. “If you’re going to a pow wow, you need to honor where the dances came from, the traditions and story behind them.”
Refrain from negative thoughts or comments

The blessing that takes place beforehand sets the tone of the event and sanctifies the area, Zotigh said. Although the blessing is usually not open to the public, its spiritual nature should be taken seriously.
“Our elders have taught us not to dance or sing with negative karma,” he said. “That karma will expand and affect others.”

Do not bring alcohol, drugs or firearms to a pow wow

An exception is tobacco used for blessings or as gifts. Smoking is considered disrespectful, Zotigh said.

Follow protocol and common sense when it comes to taking photographs

Never shoot photos during prayers, gourd dances or flag songs, or when the Master of Ceremonies has prohibited it. Additional rules apply in specific circumstances, Zotigh said. For example, spectators should not take photos of dancers in regalia without first asking permission.

“This is especially true for professional photographers standing in the arena,” he said. “Often dancers are wearing something special or personally spiritual to them. A lot of dancers don’t like their beadwork photographed because someone can see that and copy the design.”

Another rule of thumb is to never shoot photos of a dancer being initiated or receiving a plume or feather. Doing so can disrupt the spiritual process, Anthony said. “There’s a prayer being said for that person and by taking pictures, you’re disrupting the connection,” he said.

Pow wows are colorful and high-energy events

Spectators should have fun but also keep in mind that participants are not simply entertainers. Especially during contest pow wows, dancers, singers and drummers may be performing for money.
“There are individuals who do this as a way of life,” Zotigh said. “They take it seriously because it’s their income.”

Finally, be flexible

The most important rule is to be willing to change your expectations and adapt to new situations.

“I think the main rule of every pow wow is that each one is different,” Zotigh said. “There is no standardization. Do as the host committee directs you to do. It may be against what you’ve been taught, but if you’re a visitor, do what they want.”

As younger participants join pow wows, some of the old rules are changing.

“The old rules are being redefined each year,” he said. “Things are changing, so be flexible with it.”