Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Time for NOT Understanding is Done

                                                                 photo from the Telegraph by: Getty
Time for NOT Understanding is Done

Time for NOT Understanding is Done
This reflection started mid-December after the Connecticut shootings in America where 20 children and 6 adults were killed by a young man.  This reflection started when I heard myself say  “I really don’t understand.”  I kept hearing this same sentiment from friends,  strangers in the streets,  radio announcers and call in programs. I even heard these words from Buddhist nun and spiritual mentor, Ani Pema Chodron .
Not sure what shook me out of my disbelief, out of my not understanding perhaps it was the image of a friend‘s 10 year old child pointing his plastic gun directly at her facebook friends from her profile picture; perhaps it was the interview I watched with film maker Quentin Tarantino who directs and produces violent films under the disguise of art and who blasted his interviewer recently for suggesting violence in films perpetuates violence in society;   perhaps it was the beginnings of the ‘Idle No More’ movement  and  the reminder of a violence that has/is killing generations of people in many different ways, a history that many of us to do not want to take responsibility for; perhaps it was the electric blue hard candy ring my four year old friend was sucking with such pleasure and happiness;  perhaps it was news of the burnt down garment factory in Bangladesh  where 112  workers were killed and where Wallmart purchases their clothes;   perhaps it was a close relative of mine who blamed the Middle East for violence world-wide; perhaps it was the rapper who said she believed it is the parents responsibility to censor what their kids listen to;  perhaps it was the man on cbc call in program who lost his job due to his disability and felt deep frustration at a system that preached free health care for all;   perhaps it was the news of a young man from our community who is in jail for theft and the unforgiving reaction of some of his friends and community; perhaps it was the recent news of Obama’s ‘Kill List’ resulting in bombs being dropped and children  being killed in the name of freedom and democracy;  perhaps it was the word ‘crazy’ I began to hear over and over, thrown around carelessly to describe people who displayed emotions, behaviours, attitudes that did not conform to mainstream;   perhaps it was witnessing the boy down the road crying and being slapped for acting like a girl. 
Perhaps the time is now to understand we all have the potential to do violence, support violence, misunderstand violence, promote, ignore and laugh at violence. And many of us do so under the disguise of freedom of speech, or constitutional rights, or under the belief that we live in an ideal world where all kids have parents who will guide them through the violence with critical minds and open hearts.
Perhaps the time is now to begin understanding that we live in a ‘connect the dot’ world where everything effects everything, where all acts of violence exist within a context;  a context that begins in the centre of all of us and reaches far and wide.      
Perhaps it is not until we realize that much of what we label incomprehensible is comprehensible and that the time for not understanding is done and the time for understanding is now.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

in solidarity


Sadie, Cathy, Thomas, Rose and me
in solidarity!

Dear Friend, Sister, Mi'kmaq Elder/Healer shared with me her reflections last night. Reflections she said that were rattling around in her head related to Idle No More! i said rattle no more can i share them! and she said do as i wish! and my wish is to share them in solidarity with "Idle No More"!
Gving Thanks and Praise for you Cathy Gerrior. One love.

Natives, First Nations, Aboriginals, Metis, Inuits, Indians. 
We are called a lot of names.  What images come to mind when you hear these words? Savages, heathens, wagon burners, or maybe scalpers?  Perhaps the images invoked now are of drunken, high, or pitiful bums and freeloaders who inconvenience you with their protests and blockades?  Maybe it's the uncomfortable emotions that arise as you hear us always speaking of the Residential Schools or our Treaty Rights.  Maybe it's the righteous anger that simmer beneath as you are reminded that we don't pay taxes, nor seemingly work towards gainful employment, or when you hear on the news about those chiefs who make huge salaries while their community continues to live in extreme poverty. 

i wonder if anyone ever really thinks about from where and from whom these images and negative feelings have been generated?  Or to what motive or gain is behind the creation of these images.  i often wonder about these things when people feel they have the right to accost me and demand answers or to inflict their privileged and narrow views on me.  i wonder too what they are so afraid of.

These images are not who or what we are.  We are a proud people who know through many centuries of teachings that the Earth is our Mother, the Sky is our Father, the Moon is our Grandmother, and the Sun is our Grandfather.  We know that all life, from the smallest grains of sand to the Eagles that fly high above us, to those that dwell under the earth as well as in the rivers and oceans, they are our Sisters and Brothers.  We know that we are neither more, nor less important than they.  And we know that it has always been, and always will be our responsibility to be caretakers of this land and its many life sources.

We know that for generations we have been lied to, cheated, slaughtered, illegally forced from our lands and  onto reservations, survived attempted genocides, had our children stolen from us and violated, were marginalized and kept in poverty.  And all the while, we were the ones who were villianized and called the savages. Why?  Simply put, they wanted our land and resources. They turned us into the bad guys in the eyes of their own people in order to distract from their own actions and to legitimize their theft and other atrocities.

But that is not what this is about.

This is about our present and future.  This is about our people standing up, not only for ourselves, but for our children and generations of our grandchildren.  We stand up for our Mother the Earth and All who dwell on her.  We do not seek the land that you live on, or your homes.  We are asking only to be treated respectfully. To be given the right to have a say about our own lands.  To have our Treaties honored - Treaties that were created and agreed to by both of our Ancestors. 

i have heard many say that they have done nothing to us personally, so why do they have to be bothered by this.  That may be true.  It was indeed your ancestors and not you personally who did these things.  i say to you now that you have benefitted from your Ancestors actions and you continue to benefit from them.  We still do not.   To those people i ask, What have you personally done for us to undo the harms and to share in the benefits? 

The time for change is here.  We are standing up now for what is right and fair, for both our People and  for our Mother the Earth.  Thanks to you all who stand together with us at this time.  Let us be "Idle No More" and may we all have a brighter today and tomorrow, with all of us benefitting in this land and all of working to protect it.  Tahoe.

All my Relations.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No one is healed until everyone is healed

Kids and facilitators from peace camp, Halifax, NS. 2010

"No one is healed until everyone is healed"  Chogyam Trungpa Ripoche

Alice Walker once wrote that until we start caring for children other than our own than none of our children will be safe.  And so I wonder,contemplate,reflect …

How do we care for the children and youth of this world who don’t have access to the same privileges/opportunities that many of us have and take for granted ? How do we care for children and youth who do not have safe positive spaces (that many of us have) to explore discover and exercise their inherent goodness?  How do we care for children and youths who, based on race, religion, sexual orientation, class, physical, emotional and mental needs are part of oppressive, unjust, inequitable violent systems and structures that keep them from finding and blooming into their full potential? How do we care for children and youths who don’t fit the so called norm, norms that restrict bold and courageous children and youth, who if embraced, affirmed, accepted, respected could teach us ‘normal’ people how to stretch ourselves more fully into creative non ‘normal’ people?  How do we care for children and youth who choose violent paths out of frustration, anger, habitual patterns that continue to cycle?  How do we care for children and youth who lack mentors, positive role models to guide them through a steady diet of violence that ranges from multinational prepackaged food (poison), to the endless stream of violent tv, movies, music, video games, and internet? How do we care for children and youth when there are ‘power over’ people who believe violence in popular culture is fantasy not reality and therefor does not affect the youth in the violent choices they make just as the gun advocates believe there is no co relation between accessibility to guns and the violence happening in the streets, schools, movie theatres, shopping malls?
The time is now to reflect and act on the many questions affecting our youth today so that all our children worldwide can find spaces to heal, transform, blossom into the inherent strong, good, worthy beings they are and have a right to be.