Suffering The Consequences!

“There is no reset button in life. You can’t take anything back, and you can’t undo anything. All of your actions have consequences, and the things you say and do today will have a lasting impact on the rest of your life. You have to understand that, and you have to be aware of it while making your decisions.” – Unknown

Do you think the consequences are always such a bad thing and we will ‘suffer’ with them?
Or can the aftermath of a choice be enlightening periodically?

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I Am An Indigenous Woman

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Do you know an indigenous female? Is she your friend? Your relative? I hope I am your friend, because WE ALL as a people need to let this PC Government know that, the estimated 1,200 aboriginal women who are unaccounted for or have been murdered, have the right to rest in peace or be found, no matter race, colour or religion. Indigenous women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, they account for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women. Whether you are indigenous or not, your voice needs to be heard and we need, all of Canada, to stand by the sides of their indigenous peoples!!!

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/02/26/ottawa-ignoring-ways-to-r_n_6762050.html

Canada’s Native Tragedy Of The Commons

~White Buffalo Calf Woman talked with the women of the village that they might remember their great importance and role in the life of the tribe, for it was the women who sustained the tribe…she also talked to the children, reminding them that they were the future of the tribe and must prepare themselves in a good and sacred way…the Sacred Pipe was entrusted to them, however, the trust was not for them alone, but for …all the People…~ ~~American Indian Prophecies~
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This tragedy started behind closed doors of every home on the Cul de Sac. And it will continue to spin out of control with a sour long term result because of a few individuals acting independently serving their own self interest. Yet at the end of the day they will be the only one losing the game they play. It’s been a tug of war for so long, the lack of understanding when it comes to the history of condemnation of the native peoples. There is a constant phrase in the air, “Get over it – it is done. We are not responsible for what our fore-fathers did back in the day.” That is correct, but today is not yesterday and the colors of the forefathers shine bright in the family tree, when comments such as below are made and are heard by the native young, trying to live in a new world, that is still thinking like the old world.

“These damn Native kids, they’re always getting stuff for free. They don’t care about anything. Just like all the other Natives.”

It is time for non-natives to speak out against such racism in the world today if there is to be any peace in the neighbourhoods for their children and grandchildren. Don’t let history repeat it self. What is not taught in the history books in your children’s school, should be taught at home. Stop leaving your child’s moral education up to some one else. Enlighten them first on the tragedy, when it began, how it keeps an ebb and flow. It will always have an ebb and flow but it is about making the flowing back of your teachings, knowledge, as they return into the ocean of life.

In Canada alone, of the three Aboriginal groups, First Nations 851,560 has the largest population, followed by Métis 451,795, and Inuits 59,445. Yes our numbers are great and for this country we can make a difference in the future of our children. Teaching them to stand up and for each other as individuals when it comes to their different heritage and culture, to them as a group of people, no matter their race.

The peace of our children’s world will have to be pledged by the mother’s of all children from the 4 points of this country, Canada, the village. It is time, time to teach, time to learn and time to embrace all that we are and all that we can be with pride and the only sacrifice made will be ignorance.

moccasin1

Spring Changes!

SNOWY IMPRESSIONS

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It never fails and I don’t question it, but I always get my answers. The answers are not written anywhere to my questions and I never know where or when I will find my them. But I am so sure that my questions are heard and always answered, that I can and will raise my hand over my heart and in my Mother’s memory say, that God comes through each and every time. I was one of those people that would cry in my pillow and ask why? Why? Why?!. Now I just pray giving thanks for what I have, who I have in my life and ask for healing with what ever ails me, whether it be physical, mental or spiritual. Once I learnt how to shake off the past, pull away from people who live a life of drama or anger, once I learnt that being alone does…

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Anti-First Nations Racism

Teach our children well…..

Anti-First Nations racism in a Manitoulin Island high school
by Scott Neigh

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Last Thursday, when Nekiiyaa Noakes heard what came out of the mouth of one of the people who works at her school, she decided she couldn’t keep quiet about it.

Noakes is a young Anishnaabe woman and a Grade 11 student at Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS). Manitoulin Island sits in Lake Huron and it is home to somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 people, almost 40% of whom are First Nations. There are six Anishnaabe reserve communities on the island, and only the largest of those has its own high school — youth from from all of the other communities on the island, reserve and not, go to MSS.

Noakes was sitting in the school’s main office. She figures no-one noticed she was there. A teacher came in and asked for a new homework agenda for a student — an Anishnaabe student. Staff in the office told the teacher that the student couldn’t have one, because he had already lost several, and the teacher then left.

According to Noakes, one of the school employees then turned to another one and said, “These damn Native kids, they’re always getting stuff for free. They don’t care about anything. Just like all the other Natives.”

Noakes was shocked. “I was going to say something, but then they noticed I was sitting there. They just asked me what I wanted and stuff,” and the moment passed.

Later, she told the school’s principal what she had heard, and in response, she said the principal “just said that she was going to talk to [the employee]. That’s all she said.” Noakes did not feel reassured by the interaction with the principal, and said, “I felt like she wasn’t really going to do much about it.”

Not Alone

Noakes reports that while it was unusual to hear something so blatant from school staff, hearing anti-Native racism is not unusual in the school environment. “There is a lot of racism that goes on,” she asserted, mostly from other students.

When Noakes spoke out on Facebook later that day about what she had witnessed, one of the many people to respond in support was D’Joni Roy, whose daughter spent a year as a student at MSS several years ago. Roy said her daughter’s experiences at the school were also pervaded by racism. She was careful to emphasize that being with non-Indigenous students was nothing new for her daughter, who had “always been in an integrated school,” yet through the course of that year, her daughter kept getting “sadder and sadder.”

“For a year,” Roy reported, “our dinner conversations were all about helping her deal with what she was subjected to at that school, or what she saw other people being subjected to: [Being] spat on. Being told not to use the washroom because white people were in there, or hearing white students say, ‘Oh my god, don’t use that washroom, there’s a “squaw” in there.’ Like, you know what I mean, who even talks like that any more?” She also noted there were instances of non-Indigenous students openly mocking Indigenous cultural practices that happened at the school, like round dances.

As well, Roy said she could recall one instance when her daughter talked about a teacher who pointed to her and a few other students from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. According to what Roy’s daughter told her, “He said to them their parents chose to send them to MSS because of all the STDs and teen pregnancy and dropout rates in Wikwemikong. And he went on further to say that all the STDs and AIDS were coming from Wikwemikong.”

Roy said she tried to address the racism her daughter was experiencing by taking it up with school officials but their consistent response was “dismissing my concerns.” She said, “I just never got anywhere with it.” Partly for that reason, and partly because of having to deal with unrelated family issues, after awhile she stopped pursuing it. The next year, she enrolled her daughter in the high school at Wikwemikong, which she was able to do because her daughter is a member of that community, and “it was a big, big change in my teenager.”

Before, “when she was at MSS she was losing credits, she was miserable. She didn’t even want to go,” but now, “she’s a happy kid. She’s almost got perfect attendance…. She’s got all her credits. And she’s got good grades.”

Policy & Practices

The Rainbow District School Board, under whose jurisdiction MSS falls, has no shortage of policies that relate to racism and to the experiences of Indigenous students (e.g. 1, 2, 3). These policies do things like commit the Board to creating an “environment that promotes human rights and equity of opportunity, free from discrimination and harassment” and recognize that it is “the Board’s responsibility to provide a protected learning environment that is supportive of the dignity, self-esteem, and fair treatment of everyone taking part in district activities.” The policies also recognize “a commitment to equity and inclusion” that is specifically targeted towards “First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students,” and elaborates a framework for what that should look like.

When asked how schools are expected to implement these polices, how that implementation is evaluated, and how the Board enacts professional develompent for staff based on them, the Board’s Senior Advisor of Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning Nicole Charette pointed towards numerous measures. These varied from educational material directed at students (such as information cards sent to each school dealing with the importance of respectful language) and staff (such as “professional learning sessions focused on the policy framework for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education as well as Equity and Inclusion”); to opportunities for parental input like advisory committees and surveys; to governance tools like “work plan[s]”, “measurable goals,” and “staff to oversee, support, and monitor implementation.”

At the level of MSS itself, the principal of the school did not respond to a request for comment on their implentation of anti-racism and cultural awareness measures. An inspection of the school’s website reveals a number of potentially relevant policies, including a Code of Conduct, Student Guidelines, and a Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, the latter two of which explicitly name racism as an issue of concern, though only in passing and without exploring specific measures to address it.

And yet there appears to be a significant disconnect between the sentiments expressed and commitments adopted at the rareified heights of policy documents and governance processes, and the actual experiences on the ground of at least some Indigenous students. The exact nature of this disconnect is unclear.

Roy talked about a number of things at MSS during her daughter’s time there that sounded likely to have been enacted in response to such policies — a lounge for First Nations students, a First Nations guidance councillor, language classes, and so on — but in each instance talked about problems with what was done and how, which meant that however good these measures might sound on paper, in practice they were doing much less than was needed (and in some cases were doing nothing at all) to support students like her daughter. In particular, she called for a school-level policy dealing specifically with racism, for mandatory cultural awareness training, and for changes in hiring policies.

When asked if she has ever experienced teachers or school administrators directly addressing the issue of racism with students at MSS, Noakes said, “Not really.”

Impacts

According to a recent report by the Chiefs of Ontario (the coordinating body for First Nation communities in the province), “While residential schools may have closed, the education in most provincial schools replicates the same content” (50). The report discusses pervasive problems with very core aspects of how schooling for Indigenous peoples in Ontario is implented, with “federal and provincial governments who continue to use education as forced assimilation” (51).

A 2013 report by the advocacy group People for Education identified that not only do provincial schools in Ontario not create the right environment for Indigenous students to succeed, noting a persistent “achievement gap” compared to non-Indigenous students, but that the education system keeps non-Indigenous people ignorant of their history and present-day reality: “There is a widespread knowledge gap in most teachers’ and students’ understanding of the history of Aboriginal peoples, the impact of colonialism, and the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians” (3, emphasis in original).

Within that context, experiences of direct racism from peers and from people who work in the system is only one part of a much larger problem. Nonetheless, Murray Maracle, Education Director of the Anishinabek Nation (which brings together 39 First Nations in Ontario, including those on Manitoulin Island) said, “Racism is a pretty deep affliction. It can really have an effect on a person.”

Maracle linked racist behaviours by ordinary Canadians to the examples of disrepct for Indigenous peoples set by governments and the media, which “perpetuate and promote the problem.” An important impact that such direct racism in the school system can have is that Anishnaabe students “might get dismayed with the school system,” making it harder for them to learn while they are there and more likely that they will decide they have no choice but to leave school.

Noakes wasn’t really sure what could be done about the direct racism she sees at MSS. She has no immediate plans to pursue this incident further in an institutional way — the next step, if she were to decide to take it, would be to raise the complaint with the Superintendent for her school. Nonetheless, she wants to see change. At the very least, she hopes they can “make it so there isn’t teachers talking like that.”

She was very clear that “it has a very big impact on … students” to face direct racism at school, whether from staff or from other students, and something must be done. “When we hear that stuff, it’s just an offset for the day. … Racism isn’t needed in an educational environment filled with Aboriginal students. It’s just degrading and insulting.”

Scott Neigh is a writer, activist, and media producer based in Sudbury, Ontario. He is the host of Talking Radical Radio, the author of two books of Canadian history told through the stories of activists, and a blogger.

Hands On

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You know the saying, “spirituality is a way of life, not a religion”. To simplify that for most and what I learnt myself is.. my living a spiritual life is continuous of experiences, I have nothing written down anywhere on how to live a spiritual life. As where with regards to religion, all churches follow a bible, the written words of men/apostles. I experience spirituality daily, with my own actions, my words and my feelings. I am not following any know how to book. That does not mean I don’t believe in the bible, it just means for me, I am a hands on type of person and I have to see it, feel it to believe it.

A Young Woman In An Old World

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You can not live to be a 53 year old woman and not have gained experience over those years, about all the trials and tribulations on the path to being a woman. I think the toughest years for a young lady are from 12 years old to 29. I know it was for me and it was even harder because I became pregnant at the age of 16 and became a mother at the old age of 17. To look at the 17 year olds now and myself back then, I wonder if my mentality was the same, I can’t say for any great certainty it was. But I did know I had to take care of the child I brought into the world, that the baby in front of me, her needs came first. Then I raised 2 daughters and seen all the stages they went through. But those trials and tribulations don’t end at 29 years old, they are fewer yet bigger and we learn how to deal with them.

I try to give the best advice I can, as a mother of 2 young women, a friend of many young women and each young lady is different, at different stages. So the best thing I want to suggest today is begin to write things down.. Your hopes and dreams, your pains and heartaches and hopefully over time, your hopes and dreams shine brighter than the pains and heartaches.

Write things down with an agenda, to make a difference in your life even before there is any great event that may make you sad or leave you wondering why it has happened. A lot of the times there is and won’t be any explanation why things happen. We won’t always understand why people do things, but learning to cope in a world of misunderstanding will benefit you on the worst of days.

Write about where your faith lies and how it gets you through your days. Write about what you love in nature, what you love about yourself. Always write at least one thing a day that you love about yourself! Write about what you have done good in the past week, even the smallest thing, that can mean so much to another person. Write your own prayer and add to it monthly. Write about who you have or can forgive, even if you don’t say it out loud to them, learn to say, “I forgive you” and most importantly, learn to forgive yourself!

Once you begin writing, you will see how it becomes a great outlet in your life, how you begin to feel at peace with yourself and content with where you are in your life. Because it is all about this exact moment and you!

And for heavens sake and all those around you.. Smile!!.. You just may be surprised how many lives you can touch with such a simple gesture.