canadians can no longer distinguish between actual freedom and manufactured freedom .
Instead they label this concept as 'special rights' or 'race-based' rights.
Some of my very own denounce their place in treaty. Their minds, like the land, have been colonized by settler thinking. They want the respect of the 'white man' so badly that they would turn their backs on their history, their ancestors, and their own. They begin to believe that they are better than their ancestors. They believe they know better than their past teachings. They begin to believe that if they only act settler then they would be treated as settler. They believe assimilation is freedom. They forget that all the things done for us in the past were done for a reason. We are not trying to be more special than anyone. We do not have "special rights", we have adapted the rights we have always had throughout time. We have always been here and we will remain. The treaties have given both First Nations and settlers so much. We need to respect treaties as beneficial for everyone instead of useless and shameful. Maybe then we will not overlook what the treaties are truly about, which is the land, water, air, animals, & plants.
I am glad not all canadians are like this and this is my way to grapple with the conversations i sometimes find myself in or witness...canadians, who deny our arguments, want us to piece our arguments together for them like we’re scientists. They want to physically see racism, they want to be able to touch stereotyping, and they want to be able to buy generalizations. They will sit there taking out race from racism, spirituality from nature, and freedom from living. They will also dismiss ways of understanding such as lived experiences, traditional stories, and personal accounts. Once they’ve reduced you enough to debate you with only what they understand, once the arena is set up for only them, then you can make clear concise points in a language they can comprehend. If your argument does not fit within their boundaries of expertise then it is nothing more than miserable petty disgusting psycho babble. Because what is institutionalized & systematic racism without racism? Yet they can say anything they want to us. I say - Show me proof you are not a racist, show me you do not hold stereotypical beliefs, show me you’re not hostile towards us. Show me with your action that you actually care about the people you are discussing, otherwise you are simply attacking us. That is how I feel and I am not saying I am against facts & statistics either. If most Canadians are not standing up for scientists in this country with regard to science then what makes us believe they would listen to First Nations on First Nations issues.
Sometimes people will mistake my journey as hateful, unhappy, and disrespectful. They feel that I do not appreciate the country around me. Some might feel that I have racist ideologies against a specific race. Or if I share news stories that are not cheerful and happy that somehow I am depressed. Some people believe it is victimization by merely talking about race, injustice, and world events. Some people will be "decolonization? your doing it wrong!" Sometimes this comes from innocent misunderstanding; sometimes it is a way for people to ignore the issues, or to deflect away from themselves. It is very interesting to watch the tactics people will use to deny the truth of the world around them. I understand that people want to just live their life, be happy, and enjoy every single moment. They cannot fathom that I choose a different path to obtain those very things. I choose to see the bad in society through love. I do not pity myself so what would I want with yours? It is my traditions and culture that keep me grounded. It is the love of my people, all people, that I wish them justice. It is not up to me to tell you how to think or behave but it is up to me to stand up for what I believe in.
The canadian pathology of denial in regards to First Nations voices & issues is a reality. Here is a short list of some of the labels or names I have been called throughout my life to deflect from taking responsibility or looking inward. They are used when your bubble is bursting: "racist toward white people, hateful, think everyone is racist, negative, judgmental, irrational, self-righteous, annoying, ranting, believe everyone hates me, looking for a fight, unhappy, against this country, don't fully enjoy life, making things up, sucky attitude, playing victim, running in circles, over-reacting, over sensitive, indignant, disrespectful, agitator, overly dramatic, angry, spiteful, terrorist, rogue, complainer, whiner, hypocrite, embellishing, reaching, no one cares, get over it, and the ever popular 'get a job' (even if you have one)" and on and on and on.
constantly blaming First Nations for playing the victim card makes you look like the dealer.
How do we move things with love, with our traditions, with our teachings? How do these things create positive change that is reflective of who we are as peoples? Are we doing Creator's work or are we doing our own work? Do we move others onto our path or do we push them aside? Things I am pondering.
I've come to realize that some canadians do not want to get it...they will refuse to understand what it is like to be a First Nations person in canada...they will believe the myths and rumours...they will go out of their way to deny facts and evidence...they will feed off their own and others emotional responses to race...they will turn every argument around and deflect everything...they will try to silence our voices...they will reject our human emotions...they will force their understanding on the subject in order to bury our own...they will derail conversations...It makes me angry...It makes me sick to my stomach...and it makes me sad...i walk around with the ideas & experiences of racism, oppression, colonialism, displacement, stereotyping, generalization, fear, loss, and on and on....If they don't feel all that, then I have to begin to wonder if they ever truly purely freely feel the opposite of all that?
'I don't speak out against injustice because I hate you, I speak out against injustice because I love you'
Canadians excuse: 'When we say anything against First Nations we are labelled racists' They need to ask themselves: How was my tone? How did I act in the situation? Was I condescending? Was I finger pointing? Was I talking down? Did I say things in an ignorant manner? Did I come across as privileged in my thinking? Why would First Nations believe everyone is racist? Why do I think I know better? Do I truly understand the situations?...If you want to come to the table of our politics, then you can come to the table of our poverty, our addictions, our water crisis, our health crisis, our fight over treaty, our cultural survival, our history. Come to the table to learn and not a reason to scapegoat us to make yourself feel better....about canadian politics, genocide, residential school legacy, colonialism, actual racism, stereotyping, turning a blind eye, your responsibility, government taxes, the list goes on. It's okay to just sit down and listen sometimes. It does not make you inferior.
The KKK had a visible sheet of privilege around them. White sheets hid their identity in order for them to show that white privilege. They were like monsters trying to instill fear into the hearts and minds of people. Today, those white sheets are no longer needed. White privilege is one of the many barriers we face in this country. It is hidden in our educational systems, governmental systems, institutional systems, policy making, history books, and even in the everyday habits of ordinary people. It is there lurking around the corners of our streets. I see it because I have to acknowledge its presence. I see it because it is like a monster in waiting. A monster that is more than capable of knocking me down at any given moment. A monster that can dictate everything I think, say, feel, and do. Yet when I describe this monster to the people who hold the leash, they refuse to see it. They blame me for falling onto the floor. They blame me for the others there with me. They blame me for making up excuses. When the coast is clear I dust myself off, put my feelings in the back of my mind, and brush it off with a ‘they must be having a bad day”. My pride a little bit less shiny and my dignity a bit dwindled. I go home to smudge and pray. My culture replenishes what the monster tried to take away.
You know what I try NOT to do! I try not to go into the Black community, Jewish community, Muslim community, etc. and try to tell them what's wrong with them. Their political problems, cultural issues, dirty laundry, is theirs to deal with. I can certainly support them and stand in solidarity with them. But I don't think I know better than them about who they are, so I don't try to tell them how to be. I don't hold their mistakes in their face and try to turn the tables on them when they defend themselves. I don't come kicking their door down, telling them to do this this & this, and then just leave. I don't go around telling them 'oh those things are only important to you and I don't care because it doesn't directly impact me'. I know better. People love the excuse: 'Everyone gets so easily offended now-a-days. I should just be able to say whatever the hell I want.' I get that you feel censored but it is not just you. However I am mature enough to understand that words can hurt people. Being able to say whatever the hell we want means we can let go of the responsibility of our own words, deflect our ignorance onto people, leave them to deal with it, and walk away feeling better about ourselves. I don't want to be that asshole, especially when it comes to minorities. People can turn around and say I do that with white people or canadians. To me, they hold all of the power, they hold all of the cards, and they hold all of the privilege. So to me their bruised egos is nothing compared to their oppressive actions or inactions. Ally ship - look it up!
As a First Nations man, it has always been the women in my life that can calm me down, reach my logic, and reason with my ego. They love me even in my anger and contradiction. I then feel like I'm in a safe enough place to release the anger, hurt, wrongs, mistakes, and loses in my life. They guide me to find my own resolve. They redirect me back to that sense of love, compassion, empathy, & balance, I try so hard to obtain. I am thankful.