Friday Funnies: ‘Cause … 2018, Sigh

So, 2.5 weeks into 2018.  I don’t even have to say anything about the new year landscape, do I? This is why I figure I’ll just do a nice, little detour to distraction today. Like, distract me hard! You with me?

Yeah, let’s escape like crazy in this mad weaving of 10 mostly stolen memes & wisdom. Yes, I do – I live on the edge like that…

thrills

I know Canada peeps know this rite of passage… and it didn’t kill ya either.

Canada’s getting all kinds of coooll in 2018

So glad that resolutions thing is out of the way!

See, if you work real hard and just apply yourself…

When you commit to your “spirit animal”, but it doesn’t want you.

26239457_10211073937312587_8830446752676027136_n

………….…Prunes only love you when they’re dryin’…………..(Feetwould Mak)

No one. We met the President today.

We now pause for this quick PSA…

Growth chart

Going to track my debt-load in the exact same way

Tipping a feather to the cuzzins…

I’ll go ahead and take that last word, Alex…

My wisdom wins

 

Thanks for dropping by. Grab yourself a big plate of the most distracted weekend ever.

RL

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Posted in Humor, Laughs, Life, Lighter Side, Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

We Didn’t Become Who We Were Supposed To Be

There’s a call-out right now from the Province of Alberta to Indigenous people who were apprehended by Child Family Services (CFS) during the “60’s Scoop” specified as: “a period of time when an unknown number of Indigenous children were taken from their parents and communities by child intervention services and placed with mostly non-Indigenous families.” The time period is the 1950’s to the early 1990s, but let’s be clear, this counts to even today.

I answered the call and submitted replies to four questions on the online form for those unable to attend six meetings set in Alberta from January 1 to March 1, 2018.

They want to hear, (anonymously if preferred) how you & yours were impacted by your removal; what a meaningful [official] apology looks like; how you feel about apologies; and what you hope will come out of an [official] apology.

Who knows what differences will come from this; there’s been so little change in decades of official government reports on the consequences of colonialism. We’ve yet to see appreciable differences in Child Family Services across Canada, nor in any other Indigenous issue of equity.

I know the opportunity to get on record may not change much, but I fervently hope those of us who get to hear each other’s stories will feel enough understanding to fill a bit of that hole in our hearts. I hope that our combined voices will keep rising until no one can conveniently ignore us again.

I’m sharing part of my replies to Alberta and the Canadian Government as a part of those hopes.  I don’t expect my answers will be much different from others, but this is the point. Our stories began and end in the same ways…

My family lost everything in connection to our relatives. We lost who we were supposed to be. We lost any Cree or Michif language we had, we lost contact with all our relations, we lost our sense of selves & in some cases, permanently.

Because we were six kids in my family, we lost contact with each other when we were split into different homes. In the long run, we irretrievably lost our relationships to each other.

In one round of apprehension, five of us were put together in one home, but it was to be a brief arrangement. One day I was told I would be moving within days and over a 24 hour period, I was made to choose which single sister I could take with me. All four of them stared at me and begged me to choose them. I tell people it was then I knew what it felt like to feel your soul crack. I was twelve yrs old.

Abuses were common in some of those homes. It ranged from the psychological, i.e.  being told our mother was a drunken Indian whore or some variation to physical hitting. We were also warned, without explanation, that it was likely we’d never see our own mother again.

There was not a single time in all those years that anyone thought to ask us how we were feeling. There was no one who would explain what was happening or why. We were picked up and forced into the back of a car and simply driven away with the explanation that it was time to go away for a while. Not even the good homes, where the people were decent and lovely, thought to ask.  No one, it seems was aware of the need, never mind the how, to rout and heal the damages of apprehension & abuses already ingrained.

I ran away from my last foster home when I was 14 yrs. I ran to my mother who was even less prepared for me than before. She’d been broken down to survival level so many times by then, she’d retreated into full-blown alcoholism.

Her life as a single mother escaping from abuse with her babies had been turned into a hell of oppressive orders and judgement by and from the government ostensibly ‘helping’ her. They had a lot of orders for how she was to conduct herself, but not how to protect herself.  She was to blame if her abusive ex-husband found her.  She was to blame if the kitchen sink had dishes in it when a social worker dropped by and claimed neglect. She was to blame for not holding it all together while enduring such enormous psychological threat every minute of her life.  Any infraction would cost her the custody of her children and then did.

My mother managed to turn her life around with a strength of herculean effort and success and decades later she still doesn’t have the family relationships she dreams of, craves and aches for. She doesn’t seem to fully understand that her family brokenness is beyond even her own apologies to fix.

Meaningful apologies? We’ve seen apology after apology for the barbaric practices toward the Indigenous for years, but there is at most a small shuffle in government procedures, mainly re-naming current processes.

Meaningful is the government instituting the recommendations made by Indigenous people. It means replacing “foster care” with more in-home family restoration/counselling services.  Fund those programs directly within communities to restore in-home family & relationship skills, cultural understandings and history. Restore what is being stolen for 150 yrs so far. We see the billions spent on the CFS industry across Canada. We know how much can be replaced back into our communities – where it has always belonged.

I hope all the families who’ve been so torn apart and hurt, so damaged – will find a place to earn some peace.  I hope the reparations of a genuine apology and its processes will provide all the means necessary to get to that place of peace. I hope that we all get something that allows us to pass on good health: mentally, emotionally, and physically to our families for now and all the coming generations.

I hope Canada will finally learn of its every dirty detail of governance hidden under the red and white sleeves of pride and keep teaching about all the wrongs of it.

Never do these things again to Indigenous families, or any families.

That is what a meaningful apology looks like.

RL

Sixties Scoop apology engagement. For survivors of the Sixties Scoop to inform a meaningful apology from the government.  Be forewarned, once you submit your thoughts, you will not be able to enter the site again for any amendments.
ps://www.alberta.ca/sixties-scoop-apology-engagement.aspx  – online submissions
RE: Alberta 60s Scoop class action lawsuit, by Koskie Minsky LLP | Barristers & Solicitors or others. This lawsuit applies only to Status FirstNations  & Inuit .
Non-Status First Nations &  Metis can offer their story for the apology
Posted in Canada, Indigenous, Indigenous Peoples, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

North Pole, South Pole, Same Dream

25488750_10155756117266542_924814548_n (2)
Christmas wish lists filed
Reverse climate changes now
Santa needs a home

RL

Haiku
Photo: Stanley Park, Christmas Lights Display 2017
Posted in Haiku, Micro-Poetry, micropoetry, photo, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Phoenix Seeks

One was too saintly, the other mystifyingly, overly wanton
but, the muse that had once stood in front of him,
caused him the great distress of having to choose between them.
He couldn’t have loathed her more for that.
She was the appointed trajectory change, The Annointed,
ready to absorb all pain,
swallowing every shot of poison he threw on her.
His game changer.
She’d fulfilled her divine role, took it all, and then she cried & cursed, screamed & writhed until her strength of purpose coiled it all up and she hurled it to the Universe-
trusting its claim to render the collection into harmless stardust.
And then she burned him….
She left him
She left…
The deepest of profane-worthy infractions: the disease of desertion, the unholy crime of abandonment. That’s why he set his world on fire…
She left.
Him.
If he’d really wanted the Saint, he’d have got ordained and lived on his knees. He’d have played at prayerful loving until he could run for privacy to vomit out the inevitable gut-full of banal-blended depression.
If he’d really wanted Devil Baby, he’d have dug into the part of ratbag with a heart of gold for much longer than 190 days of tortuous – love to love & hate you, Baby.
He hungers for the one who wasn’t a saint, but had an army of them for back-up…. that one just near enough to demons to be inspired without getting sucked into their seediness.
He’d forgot the bargain to hold muses indefinitely; ignored it entirely.
Unsuitable for the narrative of his design, and yet…
He poured gasoline all over his world to regain that searing desire and relief that only she’d ever drawn from him.
He imagined himself a Phoenix, but he’ll never leave the flames. He will never know the cooling of the ashes as they heal and repair. He will never rise anew.
He burns… forever,
but not nearly so much as for
more of her.

RL

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/saintly/

Posted in Life, Poetry, Prose, Uncategorized, Writing Challenges | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Clean Houses & Terror

Last week I had the honour (& brief stomach churning fear) of hosting IndigenousXca on Twitter. As the forum notes: it’s a rotating Twitter account presented by a different Indigenous Host each week. Their hosts have included actors, activists, authors, academics, politicians, teachers, doctors, students, and one Pipisiw – me.

This forum was started in Australia in 2012 and in Canada in 2014 as a platform for Indigenous people to share their knowledge, opinions and experiences with a wide audience which is now a following of several thousand.

As I was getting my feet wet with a few opening tweets, one of the administrators posted a point about clean houses. What about ‘em?  Well, let me share my tweets on how a clean house affected my family. No hyperbole, no “other mitigating circumstances”. …

I saw @apihtawikosisan (Chelsea Vowel) post about fears for Indigenous people around a clean house. What that means, as she pointed out, is a clean enough house. As in clean enough to not have your kids taken away. Her post tightened my belly…

It took me back to those moments when I was a child & the air all around us got thick & tightened, while my mother would fly around the house with sweat falling off her face from a mix of the physical labour of madly cleaning & terror.

Even as little kids, my sisters & I would instinctively jump to help because we knew this kind of cleaning meant a social worker was coming. We didn’t even know what the consequences of not having “a clean house” really meant, but we knew what it felt like. Breathing was hard.

The government had a power over my mother that terrified her, until it broke her & then we learned “or else” meant we were going to be taken away.

My mother had already lived enough in terror, my father was a broken man & he alone put her through enough by then. She got away from him and what she needed was help – not constant judgement, especially for pittances that kept her on another tight leash.

I remember she was often told she was not to drink. She was not to have any contact with my dad, no men at all, they said, & she needed to keep a clean house. Or else.

Today, I wonder what might have been had any of us been offered a place for our fears then. If my mom had been offered support for coping and maybe even a pat on the back for having got her 6 babies away from an abusive situation by herself.

Maybe supportive, restorative measures weren’t well understood back then, but they are now. All this money poured into employment for provinces in the guise of social work. All the training for foster parents and adoption processes…

All the money given to municipalities in support of those foster parents & restoring municipalities, like the re-opening of schools in New Brunswick because the loads of Indigenous foster kids revived their town to that degree.

copy missing family

Why isn’t this money used for family restorative healing in our communities instead? I feel I answered my own question with my question, because Canada uses the Indigenous not only for land & resources, but constant make-work industries that still terrify mothers (& fathers) to this day.

I hadn’t thought about these particular experiences for years and my visceral reaction to reading Chelsea’s words was very unexpected. What’s still infuriating is that these Indigenous truths are still happening to many families even as I type these words. The stories are noted on Twitter, social media and news media daily.

Yes, it’s all real, and most Canadians remain blissfully unaware of such threats. They can’t even begin to fathom that the dishes sitting in their sink and the dirt on their floor could be enough cause to lose their babies, and in some cases, for good.

The effects of life under constant judgement and threat has numerous consequences; the falls into addictions, the escalating abuses in homes, the needs for mental healthcare and on and on and on.

A messy house still terrifies my 75 yr. old aunt. She became OCD about it to this day. My 75 yr. old mom has learned to relax about it – a little, finally.  Me?  Years of counseling to work out those terrors and I’m now a certified horrible housekeeper… and I don’t give a damn. Of course, my child is now 16; we are reasonably safe.

RL

Posted in First Nations, History, Indigenous, Indigenous Peoples, Life, Native Americans, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Minute Misery; Haiku

Forlorn longing sighs
Spring’s promises to Summer
Pivot toward dark

Weak, last ditch appeals to Sun
Spring promised; prolong our youth

RL

Haiku/Tanka

Inspiration & Photo credit: Autumn Alps by Le Drake Noir

 

Posted in Coping, Haiku, Micro Poetry, micropoetry, photo, Photos, Poetry, three line poetry | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Deep Thoughts; Worldly Vulnerability

To my friend,

Yes, I know so far 2017 or maybe more like the last decade, has been like a 24 hour rock polisher churning non-stop while stapled to your right temple. Amirite? As if the regular tests of our heart, soul and mettle weren’t already a deep enough line in the sand. Now there’s this load of heavy, huge, ponderous issues topping up our cortisol cups.  Every day blasts us with another dose of how insane our ‘new societal norm’s are becoming, because… Well, mostly because we’re all letting them, but mostly because for now, we don’t know how not to… They expose our vulnerabilities – which of course, drags our discomforts harder over the burning concerns.

panic gif

There is a shake-up going on and we can see it’s world-wide and despite all this unease, I can’t help feeling that underneath it all there is a cleansing abounding. A good one. A shift for the majority, where we see once again, that we’re being moved to something deeper and more meaningful at another level specific to each of us. That there’s more to our purpose than surviving, and even as we know that, perhaps especially more beyond even ‘prospering’.

panic 2

It feels like an intelligent energy that’s being heard and felt by greater numbers that compels us closer to the realization that all is truly connected. We get all caught up in our individual mindsets, but neither are they all that individual in the end. Not in any way we look at it. Whatever we pour forth from our minds is going to affect the person next to us and beyond….old news. But now, new times, renewed remembrances. The time is now to activate what we already know.

panic 3

The other day I woke from a dream where I heard, “Every call for water will eventually get heard”. Seriously, I don’t know what that means, but I felt within it optimism. I think it suggests it’s OK to grasp onto whatever centres us best while we weather the new climatic revolutions and evolutions, whatever they will be. But, act too. Wherever and whenever you are in the presence of that opportunity that shows up. Grab it, if needed learn the ins and outs of it later. It’s in front of you for a reason.

Steady as she goes, my friend(s) and I expect you to prop me up when I slip in the wavery too. Please. In the meantime…

Walmart need anything

RL

 

 

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Orange Shirt Day, A Call to Honour Truth


“I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone… Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill”.
-Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs, Canada

That statement meets the criteria for committing genocide.  Creating Indian Residential Schools was one step in that overall effort begun with the Indian Act of 1876. The Indian Act is still in force today.

Canada is in the early stages of learning about its dark history, including Residential Schools, often noted as  ‘Canada’s 100+ year old dirty secret’. One of the efforts to reveal and heal from horrific secrets is the newly annual Orange Shirt Day.

Orange Shirt Day, held on September 30, is an Every Child Matters awareness campaign created in respect of and to honor all children taken from Indigenous families and forced to attend Residential Schools in Canada and the U.S. between 1879 and 1996. The children suffered the terror of being taken from their families without any understanding of what was happening, to enduring devastating abuses and death.

In my family, we had five children enter a Residential School in Northern Alberta, Grouard. Three of them never came home. I don’t know what my great-grandmother was ever told of the details of their deaths, it was never anything ever talked about; standard behavior for nearly all these families. Very little to nothing around those schools was ever discussed.

What I do know is, the consequences of the trauma of that pain, along with the ensuing efforts to move my family into locations more convenient for government plans, took its toll on my family. They call it ‘inter-generational trauma’ now. All the brokenness that came out of those years and all the efforts to recover from them included too many years of addiction issues, homelessness, and the continuing loss of children to the foster care system. My family was included in that too.

As one of those many, I’d like others to know there are places for help now. Places that understand us and speak our languages – maybe not our nation’s language, but how we see things. I found mine with the Indian Residential Survivor’s Society (http://irsss.ca/). Contact them, if you need help or you want to help someone. They know the wounds to our hearts and they understand.

For everyone else, I’d ask, please be willing to listen… take the time to ‘hear’. The history of those schools and the consequences, was fully examined by the 2015 Truth & Reconciliation Commission. It provided 94 calls to action to enact true restorative healing for our families and yours.

It would move Canada along in a far more productive and genuine way if we all took up those calls to action together. Not all can be performed by an individual, but many can. After that, collectively, we can demand the full implementation in all the required areas.

I hope you’ll join us in adding truth to Canada’s world reputation and in creating a reality based in genuine honour for all our children and their future. Every one of them matter, every single one.

RL

My son scoping out the tremendous support in his school, 9/29/2017

 

Posted in Education, First Nations, Indigenous, Indigenous Peoples, Life, Life & Death, Native Americans, Native History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Another One Bites The Dust

Mad Hatter

Poor girl didn’t heed
Cries of the already drowned
Smothered; false kisses

Warnings lost in hard pursuits
T’was never hard to know you

………………………………

Mad-hatters shape shift
He becomes every dream
Magical threading

Weaving so under your skin
Never releasing his prey

………………………………

Permanently etched
Tied more closely than chained links
Oh, the tricks, those ploys

The spell forever changing
The whirls of madness now reign

RL

Haiku / Tanka
Street Art by @shalakattack
Photo provided by createdbyrcw.com

The Queen of Hearts said to the wee thing:

“How hard it can be for lost hearts to get it. The moment is passed and yet, some refuse to buzz-off even after their true colors have been brought to light and rejected. Such strange senses of ownership, but then new/old conquests refuse to believe hypnotic methods could fool them, no matter how much is offered in foresight. The trance in full effect – ‘he knows me like no other’…. They all do, dear. That’s their job. They stare and stare and stare at you until you give it all”.

“I wonder if we’re so different after all…perhaps that’s why they simply cannot say goodbye after, like a varicella-zoster, content to hide in the shadows forevermore”…

Posted in Haiku, Life, love, micropoetry, Pain, Poetry, Tanka, three line poetry | Tagged , | 4 Comments

WANING TREASURES: Colour

The diminishing days of summer begin to tug at my only-just-now-relaxing heartstrings. I’m not ready to give up the heat, the light, the energy of the extra sunlight; not where we live anyway.

We live in a rain-forest and not the kind that, in winter, envelopes the area in near bathwater-warm mists.  Oh no, ours is that infamous, sopping, bitterly chill ya to cellular level till you cry kind of dampness. That cheery fun matched only by the varying depths of blanketing grey masses that blot out said light of grace.

So, is it any wonder I choose to claw back the impending doom and seek out the remnants of brilliance and shine? To hang onto the trailing sweet scents of fresh leaves and grasses and florals? To seek even more comfort in the flowing lightness of shimmery breezes (and really cute apparel)?

All of which serves to ease even the biggest workload into a sense of partial vacation. Maybe it’s closer to the idea of just vacant, but still… if it works for escapism purposes…

Soon enough, the world’s turn will darken patio libations and I will have no choice but to submit to the inevitable. Grey. Slate, Dove, Ash, Charcoal. Grey. Well, at least that is, until we get to the mixed and even, garish jewel tones of Christmas. Oh my… Can’t wait!

In the meantime, some of my micro-tributes to summer colour:

DAISY CLAIMS
Daisies

Momma’s favourites
White blooms speaking innocence
Thus mine are yellow 😄

Haiku
BC coast, July 2017

 

HIDDEN TREASURES

Secrets of the heart
A mere two souls know my fave
Primary option

Haiku
Photo, Peggys Cove, NS

 

JAUNE SEDUCTIONS

Sunny, bright, happy
Deep, warm, inviting caress
Golden embraces

A bed of warm intellect
The real couleur de l’amour

Haiku / Tanka
Photo, Northwest Cove, NS

RL

Posted in Haiku, Life, Lighter Side, micropoetry, Photos, Poetry, Tanka, three line poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments