Remember That Thing Called, ‘The Canadian Way’? Yeah, Not So Much

When it comes to the past, the quotation, “History is written by the victors” is supposed to be the bottom-line. But the truth is, history is more often true only until it’s uncovered. Unfortunately, such revelations induce intense reactions. Especially toward people who now have a magnified voice to speak about their place in that history. We’ve seen plenty of this recently with Indigenous perspectives brought to light far more widely in Canada.

When I was a little girl, I remember how proud I’d feel when tested on Canadian history. I’d swell with pride the most at knowing who our heroes were.

Robyn, who was our first Prime Minister? “John A. MacDonald, ma’am”!

And what did he do for Canada? “He built the railroad, ma’am and he built our great nation”.  Good girl. Oh yes, a proud little brown girl in braids staunchly saluting the man and country.

Then my world shifted, with a decidedly brutish thud. I’d be well into adulthood when I learned who J.A. MacDonald the man, really was and what this first Prime Minister of Canada did to my grandparents for 6 generations and counting.

John A. MacDonald – venerated on Canadian money, statues and plaques across the country was a depraved, racist drunk who did his level Prime Ministerial best to wipe out my grandparents, my heritage, my culture, my status of equal standing even within the Indigenous community, and my God-given inheritance rights of our lands and resources.

That’s some ‘uncovered history’ and I suppose I went through stages of grief following – full disbelief at the absolute betrayal – by MacDonald, my teachers, the entire country’s standings. Although, I have yet to truly get past that anger stage. Not because I haven’t yet processed the often requested, “taking into account the mentalities of those days”, but because most of his policies are still being enforced to this day, by the more than willing.

The number of inequities and prejudices still leveled at the Indigenous in Canada are documented daily – news stories, opinion pieces, every social media platform, and via self-appointed trustees of the Canadian taxpayer, (who completely ignore that the Indigenous majority pay taxes – & that irony).

So, Indigenous history aside for the moment, it’s not very surprising to see what happens when more truth-hammers come down onto mythic Canadians of account. I understand that sense of shock, even for the side that hasn’t suffered the injustices their heroes perpetrated.

Canada maple leaf flowers

What is surprising, given the monumental (no pun intended) work to promote it is, the lack of that famous ‘Canadian fairness/niceness’. Because not only is there justified, understandable shock, the amount of immediate outright denial and shutdown is stunningly disappointing.

Too often, every excuse to pardon the atrocities and buff the edges of inhumanity are trotted out. Regardless of credible citation provided, every rationalization possible is provoked. Case closed. Nothing to see here, folks.  Oh and, “We’re not racists”!

Although, also often ignored are the denials especially loudly voiced if the research is supplied or written by an Indigenous person. That right there is proof of merely ‘biased opinion’. Only the ‘white science/history’ need speak to history, thank you very much.

When I received that J.A. MacDonald reality check, the ground shifted and my world changed forever. I learned that not only what I’d been taught was a lie – especially the parts that said my ancestors and I were from an empty, useless abyss, but I was to see how much the world around me was still promoting that abysmal record of inaccuracy.

It’s scary as hell and ugly. It’s frustrating and infuriating, but like most pasts of bad behavior – it can be changed for the better. However, it can’t be changed, cured or healed, nor grow into something genuinely good for all, until it is really seen.

It’s time to own up to the fact that Canadian atrocities are real, no matter how poorly that reflects on Canadians. The reflection can’t be clean until we get clear. We can’t hide our heads in the sand and allow professional or neighbourhood deflectors to speak for us anymore.

We can’t be called decent until we behave with decency. We can’t let fears of losing face for not being good people over-ride actually acting in decency. When we know better, we do better. Well, right now we know enough. Take responsibility for the price of the benefits still received from that history.

Opportunities present daily, requiring little effort. It’s as simple as reading the Truth and Reconciliation Report and its 94 calls to action. Act on the ones you can.

Addressing history isn’t about changing it. Homages to Canadian atrocities belong in museums from where we can learn. Let’s place pride in seeing, cleaning and dressing the wounds. Place pride in those who build honourably and for those who overcome atrocities. In honesty; why shouldn’t that be the ‘Canadian way’? Honestly.

RL

 

Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Life, Opinion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Tempered

19145868_10158854303085367_2963596329683661272_n

Narcissus banished
Comforting reality
New sweet nothings real

Overwhelmingly cherished
All storms tempered by love’s grace

languid

And, I win.

Fabulicious street art, thanks to the wonderful walking & eye spying work of Randall Willis of CreatedByRCW and So, What’s Your Story  Randall’s photo posts are amazing views of art, wildlife and human wildlife… He has gifted me another batch of creativity challenge and for that, I’m thrilled to have the privilege of immersing in poetic thought for most of the summer. Hopefully.

RL

Haiku/Tanka

 

Posted in Gratitude, Haiku, healing, Life, love, Micro Poetry, micropoetry, Photos, Poetry, Tanka, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

YEAH, TAKING A PERSONAL DAY

So, another major milestone crossed in this life story. As of this very day, I survived and even thrived in another year where the current scenery doesn’t match up to what the old dreams were…

I don’t know if that’s good or bad anymore. I’ve weaved around enough moments to know a story may only look like it’s ended. There are so many corners we can never expect. The best things ever, turn out to be the biggest nightmares, or some of our biggest un-packaged fears are really the sweetest blessings.

If we’re lucky enough, in every year we’ll have people to hold us up while we endure and to share the biggest laughs when we’re soaring.

I am grateful beyond these pitiful words to know I have an amazing child who already takes a stand for what’s right – a sage soul in his beautiful, young mind and body. My parents – my rock, my comfort. (Happy Labour Day, Mom). Auntie Maureen & my friends, well really my sisters and brothers, are my holders and laugh with-ers. I thank them all for their love, wisdom and presence. And presents.

For circumstances that are normally unusual (hopefully), other people may stand out for us. And so it was for me again this year and for that, I am more than grateful to some special souls. I can’t reveal the private details in this missive, but they do deserve public acknowledgement. While they aren’t a part of my nearest circles, their impact was as big as any, and in some ways, pretty likely to have been bigger. So, to –

Kim, Rebekah, Rachel, Bruce, Sandy, Louise – Thank you for sharing your amazing level of knowledge and strengths that have emboldened my courage to speak out in truths. I deeply, deeply appreciate your friendship.

Ned and Beth T. – Thanks for your sheer decency. That’s my personal 5-star rating. Thank you for helping me to understand and accept what I could change or not; especially in seeing what wasn’t within my control, and would never be.

To J, N, C & G – I respect your wishes for anonymity and I thank you, most of all, for listening to me, believing me and in me, for the vindication and trusting me with your own stories along with the parts of ‘our story’. You turned unimaginable madness into dawning awareness that got me through so much. If only more people were as strong, as kick-ass fierce and generous as you in covering another woman’s back.

To the eyes in the sky – thank you for taking me into your hearts too. Thank you for playing such a critical role in righting my sight and spirit… I would never know how to repay you, but then again, I know you don’t need me to. You are serious hero material. I hope someday the people in your world get to see why they should be so proud of you.

And then, there’s you… who, without any payoff or coercion whatsoever, stop by anyway to read what’s going on in my world. Thank you, so much for your time, for your kindnesses, for your likes/comments/emails, for your own tales and your humor. You’ve added so much to my world. … … …

…<cue the music>…

…and thus she trails off singing to herself… happy birthday to me, happy birthday tooOOoo me….

RL

 

Posted in Gratitude, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged | 27 Comments

ICYMI: That Time I Was a Goat Herder

What a month, eh? So much padded wall-level induced activity all around, I know I feel like a bumper car in a maddening institution. Except every bounce-back is a welcome push to a new direction, destination be damned. Speaking of new directions, last year I thought I’d give that a whirl – at least in theory. I decided I would change my outlook and profession toward something more collective, so to speak. That’s right – goat herding.

So, OK, I wasn’t really a goat herder. At least not in the literal sense. It was just a little fun I had with Linkedin.  If you don’t know what Linkedin is, well apparently, neither do a lot of the people who actually use it.

How do I know that? Well, because once in a while I like to test the efficacy of certain operating procedures in my world. This time I wondered about the notifications effectiveness on Linkedin, so I made a couple of changes to my profile.  I changed my name to Shelley Miller and I ramped up my rather average marketing title to ‘Goat Herder’.  I also changed my location to Montana for good measure and then I kept that profile up for two weeks.

Goater herder MONTANA

Do you know what kind of response I got to all these changes in my life? Nothing. Nada. Not even a blip on any social media radar. Is it me? Apparently I have to really, really up my game in business social media

Why not? Apparently I can be anything I want on Linkedin anyway. I’m seriously considering ‘Fire Hula Hooping Rocket Scientist’, tagline: “We light the fire under your landing pads”!

Maybe it’s better to leave plain marketing as is and turn to Memey Vice. Let’s face it, this post has gone to the dogs anyway and what the hell, let’s stick some goats in while we’re at it.

Reason has its moments… Guess which one works for Linkedin?

Well played sharon don't underestimate a woman dogDon’t ever underestimate a sheep or goat-herding woman, dog… Just sayin’.

Hold your horses, the goats are coming…

Image result for goat meme

OK… never mind…

… and I’ll just be on my way…

Even nature becomes one with nature.  It’s a thing.

OK, OK, I’m going, I’m going..

Who knew goats could be so baa-ad ass?

Oh man, that’s cold.  … Well, excuse me… at least I goat the last word…

Have an awesome weekend, all.  See ya when I see ya.

RL

 

Posted in Humor, Life, Lighter Side, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Killer Words 2

Mighty Pen2

The best weaponry
To slay thy enemies well
Ubiquitous BICs

RL

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/paragon/
#Haiku, #Micropoetry #powerofthewrittenword
Image craft by RL
Posted in Haiku, Life, Lighter Side, Micro Poetry, micropoetry, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing Challenges | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

MMIW/G… Tears of Sorrow, Frustration & Sometimes Hope

The ongoing frustrations regarding the $53 million MMIW/G national inquiry often result in the  impulse to throw up our hands in defeat. We won’t though, not ever, because we will never forget our lost; all literally coursing in our DNA. That’s the source of the strength that lifts our hands even higher for justice and equities. We also from time to time, get a glimpse that the painful work has opened another sliver of recognition that says, maybe this mountain has moved another millimeter. It doesn’t matter, where these slivers come from, this is enough to offer another breath of hope too.

The Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women/Girls (#MMIW/G) inquiry has been a dismal effort from the start. From the incredible decision to omit any police involvement, therefore no questioning of culpability already demonstrated by their history of ignoring or dismissing the concerns of family of the missing or murdered, to ignoring the several reports of direct police misconduct toward Indigenous women. Then onto the bad news of the inexplicable lack of coordination for how the inquiry would run to nearly non-existent communication with the families of the MMIW/G.

There are too many Indigenous families touched by this issue; mine included.  We have lost a cousin, 19 yr old Roberta Ferguson, missing for 28 years now without a hint of what happened to her. My mother has also inexplicably lost two good friends, also never found.

The work to get to this point has taken over 20 years. Twenty years of women bravely standing, shouting, and marching to every government service door possible to be heard. They, we, all deserve better than this. So, we raise our voices in media and in front of commissioners and to the inquiry heads, hoping that now is the time, we will matter. That now is the time we will matter enough to have systems genuinely and permanently altered to stop at least most of the behaviors and policies that leave us adrift, and for some of us, lost forever.

People ask, what can we do? Well, there are so many issues that need help, but at the least, for every issue, we can sign those petitions, we can write/email/tweet a simple note to PMs, MPs, legislators, and even the National Inquiry directly to say, we care about this and we want to see the work done. Donate to groups like Families of Sisters in Spirit, to assist in the battle for legal and media representation.

Don’t be shy, have a crack at the racist comments in every news story about the MMIW or Indigenous in general. Speak back, not to them necessarily, but to the publishers and editors who cater to whomever speaks loudest in their comments. Arm other readers with solid knowledge. Or find another way to demonstrate solidarity that helps all our hearts feel a little less isolated and unheard.

Like this group who did just that recently. A dance company called, Generation Dance Studio in Ft. MacMurray, AB. They brought their message to the public in a very moving way. They created a dance tribute to the MMIW/G. It’s very touching to see their effort to show they see us and they care.

I invite you to watch their performance added to their Facebook page linked here. Within these discouraging days, these hearts sought out ours, and it added to all the difference for another day…  Given the same ol’ recent events of the inquiry, we could use every lift we can get.

Hiy hiy,

RL

https://www.facebook.com/generationdance/videos/760718694087565/

For those unaware, a red dress represents a missing or murdered Indigenous woman.

 

Posted in First Nations, Indigenous, Indigenous Peoples, Life, Missing & Murdered Women, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Big Troubles and a Fence – Reprised

Getting bullied feels like you’re alone in the middle of a cavernous field surrounded by an electric fence charged by your fear, the callousness of bullies and the apathy of bystanders. I remember this from when I was nine years old. I’ll always remember because no one forgets their encounters with bullies, ever.

playground 1For whatever reason, in grade four I caught the eye of our school bully. His name was Shane and although we were in the same grade, he was almost a head taller than me. I suppose it’s not surprising that a bully might have sought me out; I was one of the smallest in our class. I’m sure he felt confident of my vulnerability.

Shane would look for opportunities to push me around and because he was so much bigger than me, it didn’t take much of a push from him to knock me down. He would generally follow that up with slapping me and threatening worse after school. There weren’t many options for me after school, it was either run like hell for home, try to hide behind people as they were walking, or just take the beating while trying to fend off too much damage. Teachers weren’t much involved outside of class in those days and my parents were otherwise occupied with the drama of their own lives.

One Saturday I was heading over to a friend’s a few blocks from home. I had a temporary shortcut because a house between my street and hers had been torn down and I could cut through the now open yard. The only impediment was a fence in the back that I could climb over at the alley.

I started to walk across the yard, but suddenly a shadow caught my eye. Shane stepped out from behind some building debris that I’d just walked by. His face was sheer glee at having me cornered and alone. My mind took in the entire scenario in about eleven seconds. I knew exactly what was in store.

My heart dropped as I watched him slowly stepping toward me with the promise of pure menace. Within those eleven seconds, I figured my only options to get away were to run back past him or run for the fence. As my panic escalated with his every step toward me, it felt like I couldn’t move my feet anyway. I knew I’d reached the point of no return.

He got closer and as he raised his hand, instinct took over. I closed my eyes and I ran toward him. Hard. His head being higher than mine was providence; it turned out it was the perfect height for my hands to reach his face, which I blindly pummeled with my fists. Hard and fast.

I heard a cry. I opened my eyes and saw that Shane had stepped back from me. He was holding his nose and just staring at me. Then he took his hands down and looked at them. They were covered in blood. He couldn’t see it, but so was his face as the bleeding from his nose dripped steadily down his chin. We stared at each other equally stunned.

Then he brought his hands back up to his nose and started crying. I took this as my cue to head for the fence. At the same time I started to move, so did he, but the opposite way.

My body was unbeaten that day, but the adrenaline continued to beat in my heart.  I didn’t bother running to the fence, but I’m pretty sure I scaled it like a parkour athlete.  I was safe and I would remain safe.  Shane never bothered to come near me again.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that was a life changing event.  It wasn’t just that I was able to defend myself, no matter the miracle was unplanned. It was because it was the first time I was consciously aware that I did something I had no idea I could.

Unfortunately it wasn’t the last time I would encounter bullies in my life, but sometimes, when I do come up on the short end of the stick in those meetings, I remember that sweet, sweet time I kicked ass. Like a boss.

RL

Posted in Bullying, Confidence, Life, Storytelling, Surviving Life, Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Friday Funnies – ‘Cause, I Had to Put ‘Something’ Together

I didn’t get a ha-ha in for March or April? Wow, time flies in these box loads of crazy that’s passing for life lately. Kinda makes a girl feel like throwing in the towel on societal issues, humanity issues and all ‘Home & Garden’ issues really. I know I’m not the only one dealing with the feeling of falling behind or down and dammit, with nary a drop of liquor involved.

So the very least we could do (literally) is, sit back on someone else’s funny bone and catch a breather. (Don’t go there, Randall).  Therefore, in deference to our victory over low bars; in indulging the least we can do, let’s look and learn from some commiseration of our uh, win.

Not even kidding. Every Jehovah’s Witness or girl scout offers to call the police every time they come to my door

Clearly, Frank is on top of the yard work. Suck it, Bob.

Need more glue on the yellow line…

That’s some top notch ‘screw it’, right there…

I’m not sure I’d even count the bracelet as one of the three… just sayin’

Some things are best left unsaid… (by me, I’d love to hear what you’d say!)

Yeah,  maybe it’s time to turn it all over to the animals. We can always count on them to add the sweetness factor…

It might take a minute

And for a stand alone project:

That’s it for this week or until the whirlwinds of ‘are you kidding me’ politics, personal duties, and community expectations settle down – hahahaha… Just kidding, that never happens – and y’all know it. We’re in this sin wagon together…

Here’s to an easy weekend and if not, at least settle for yard work at Frank’s level.

RL

Posted in Humor, Life, Lighter Side, Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

Amusements

toying with kittens

Toying with kittens
Child’s play, like taking candy
Fear not wee scratches

Little ones playing at big
Amusements of life growing

RL

Haiku / Tanka
Writing challenge: Chuckle
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/chuckle/
Photo: Zawadi Mungu, lion dad at Oregon Zoo, Portland
Posted in Haiku, Micro Poetry, Poetry, Tanka, Writing Challenges | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

I Used My Intuition, Your Honour

Instinct photo

There is no way in hell anyone is going to worship you forever like you’re the only flawless, amazing, insightful and intelligent being ever. Forget all those Hollywood, Disneyland, comic book love stories, and all those earnest love songs too. Ain’t gonna happen. Not for long, not even sustainable as a nefarious ploy, and definitely not if you’re a member of the regular ol’ human race.

It took learning that with a shocked home-group coalition plus some world-wide reach out and touch me, to grow to a new level of human reality honesty.

There were two parts to my blindsided experience for review. Why didn’t I act when I sensed things were off? The clues were there, but there was also the very real intoxication of being treated like I was that amazing.

I’m not sure that’s the whole case, but I do know that when I did feel something was amiss, I decidedly dishonoured myself in favour of enjoying the worship and in honouring the effort to see the best in someone. We can’t go around being – too judgmental. God forbid, right? Wrong. I got that part wrong too.

Look, if any hint of overt darkness advances, I’m all set to say, cheers and goodbye. I don’t even need to feel the slightest brush of a demon feather across my aura to sense that. However, what if the dark approaches in the form of the absolutely, nicest person you’ve ever met, whose been treated unjustly, and needs a little support? Did your spidey senses just light up? Mine didn’t.

They did spark up from time to time a little further into the relatively short journey until, one day, for reasons I still don’t know, something deep within me rose to the surface and offered the friendship test of a lifetime. When that last red flag raised, I didn’t allow myself to ignore it and I blew out a full blast of WTH(?) dynamite.

That’s all it took. The façade of perfection was instantly erased; a whole new personality emerged from my understanding-beyond-human-capacity-adoring buddy. In the next 3 exchanges, I was dazed and demoted to lowest wretch at, “Sarah Palin on crack” level! Um, wow-for real? Which was immediately followed with all kinds of insane demands to maintain the friendship. I was honed enough by then to say, buh bye, but not enough to understand what the hell had happened during a literal overnight event.

After desperate work of trying to understand and reach peace, I’d reached out to some other friends who said, yeah, you’re not the first and you should talk with people who’ve already had direct experience with the same. That’s where the other countries came in; 2 Aussies, the American and the other Canadian. Amazing how far these weasels can reach. In short order they helped me see where I’d slipped, what I’d really been dealing with & how to get on in a solid upward positive march.  I’d been soundly introduced to the topic of a Cluster B personality who adores triangulation. This issue is so valuably covered in great and helpful detail with an internet search so I won’t go into all of that now. I will pray you avoid that hot mess.

I really want to emphasize my own slip here. I did have those red flags and I acknowledged them enough to have made my friend work even harder to talk me into some things. The thing is, I never did get entirely comfortable regardless. The point is, it doesn’t matter how it comes at you – if your soul, spirit, or gut, is saying this doesn’t feel right – then it’s not right. End of discussion. Real care or love may be a little messy and even a lot frustrating, but it doesn’t make you unsafe or feel unease or revulsion. Coercion is coercion in its belittling or heady adoration or needling begging form. Rejecting that is not being judgy.

Our instinct tells us many things, take a chance or step back, but what it never does is lie. Any situation where raised red flags need to be talked away, especially regularly, is a lousy one. In the face of fear or temptation, our instinct may be our only sound and safe judgment. Trust it.

RL

Posted in #MondayBlogs, Life, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 10 Comments