Pathetic and Dense; You HAVE To Be an Indian

There comes those moments when you sit back and assess why you do what you do.  I’ve done this recently in response to the reactions on my posts and comments about Indigenous Peoples based issues.

I originally started writing to throw out my views on general life events.  I worked around what I might write and I settled on the concept that my son would know his mother as a multi-dimensional being.  For the day that he realizes I am an actual person, I want him to know what I stood for outside of “dinner’s ready and is your homework done”?  I want him to know what I learned about the entire human experience.

I wanted to fill in as much of his background for him, in order to spare him and other children in our family, any moment of the emptiness I felt while growing up. There was little knowledge of my family history beyond the shame of what we experienced and what was said to define us.  A number of those experiences were based in the fact that I was born an Indigenous person.

I’ve written about some of my childhood and what it was like to grow up facing some of the ugliness of people who had no desire to hide their disdain for Indigenous anything.  I was called names that I knew were about disparagement of my culture before I had any idea about the concept of racism.  I was only about four or five years old when I first recall being called some of those names:  savage, squaw, filthy redskin, whatever it was, I knew enough to know it wasn’t good.

That was far from the last time I’d be called those sorts of names and treated with equal disdain.  Those overt efforts to denigrate me didn’t end until I was in my teens.  It was most likely the fact that public awareness was growing around the concepts of political awareness and correctness.

It would be three decades before the same kind of voices and sneers would come at me again.  I suppose I could count my last posted column to be the first instance of the return events – which caused a loss of some followers of my blog and my Twitter account. The most recent occasion was this past weekend.   I wasn’t called a savage, dirty redskin or a filthy Indian this time; they went for my intelligence and mental stability levels before they finished off with a reference to my ancestry.

This foray back into the dark happened while I was engaged in an online conversation.  It was within the comments of a national newspaper about the current call for an inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women.  The comments began mostly as denials for any need for inquiry, because the recently published RCMP report seemed to have all the answers already, despite the many calls showing the disproportionate numbers of Aboriginal women as victims overall.

The reasons for denying an inquiry have been solidly reported already, so I won’t repeat them, but it didn’t take long for the conversation to move from that topic to how it was about time for First Nations to take control of their own lives, to get over the past, and to get off the backs of taxpayers.

In defense, I began in earnest to answer the questions and reply to the statements of derision as quickly as they were being posted.  With each question, I would get another question or asked about something completely unrelated – the old, deflect to another point to avoid having to admit first point trumped – tactic.

With every answer I gave came the demand for proof, and when I provided reference links to support my statements, I was hit with personal aspersions.  Four people at various points each let me know that I was unaware of what planet I lived on, that I was “dense”,  “dumb”, “pathetic”, a “nutter”, and finally in  summation:  “You HAVE to be an Indian”.

National Post  Missing Women Sept 18 2014-3aNow, I don’t have a problem with being “an Indian”, even the sort that man was insinuating; I don’t deny my moments of mental densities, but I survived the years four, ten, twelve and the three plus decades with heart and soul intact.

While, I mostly repelled the sting of those arrows, they did make me question whether or not I was subjecting myself and possibly my son to potential harm down the road. Was I going to lose more people within my friendship and supporter circles?

I am prepared for any lack of interest or opposition to my views, but I can still be surprised by who those contradictions may come from.  It is painful to find out that people you thought gave a damn about you actually didn’t.  It is saddening to learn that people you counted on didn’t really have a backbone of their own, let alone your back, and that even people you admired can walk away with each step feeling like a slap to the face.

Here’s the thing about that stronger constitution I now own – it takes a lot less time to get over the hurt of crossing paths with those sorts of people.  Now I realize I am losing nothing except future moments of wasted time.  Whatever our purpose was to that point, it was served and now, time to move on, God bless.

I wrote a while ago that this was my tap dance, and part of the song is my ancestry.  The fact that my ancestry happens to be tied to very real and important issues for my country matters.

I will continue to write of human experiences, of my own triumphs and failures; I will write about what I find humorous, and I will continue to write about affairs Indigenous.

In fact, my next post is going to be about the answers I gave that caused those biting heads to explode in that online discussion. The part about how taxpayers do not support First Nations people and in fact, why taxpayers should be saying a hell of a lot of thanks instead.

I hope you’ll stay tuned.


43 thoughts on “Pathetic and Dense; You HAVE To Be an Indian

  1. Hey Robyn! I see you’ve met a few of the assholes that make up our citizenry. It can be chilling. I have found since early on that the readers of the Post are way right leaning and include a lot of idiots that inhabit that end of the bell curve. I haven’t read that rag since not long after its inception. It can be used as a tool when scandal and deception are desired, but beyond that they are much like Fox in the US. And I do believe that was the model that Black was emulating when he started that publication. It sells newspapers. Although the Globe is also somewhat conservative, at least its readers are more open to civilized discussion.

    There’s both bad news and good news in your experiences, believe it or not. (Have you ever seen Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”? At the end, Brian is nailed to the cross and is one of a line of thieves and dissidents hanging along the main thoroughfare. And he is singing: “Always look on the bright side of life” and then he finishes it with “Life’s a piece of shit when your really look at it.” This is like that.) You see Robyn, you can present your views in lower circulation speciality publications for the First Nations and this is good, but it is preaching to the choir. All readers will listen and agree – perhaps arguing small points of detail. Like putting your boat on a small calm pond, it will be pleasant and danger free, but it will not get you far. If you want to make a difference, want to really go places, you have to put your boat into the ocean – and if that doesn’t kill you , you can go long distances and come out stronger and more knowledgeable. If it doesn’t kill you.

    And the Post is like the ocean. You will get broad exposure, some of it to idiots, but the type,of exposure that will take your views into peoples’ dining rooms and discussed over supper. Don’t be discouraged, many readers who agree with you will not comment. They do not yet see themsleves as a part of the problem, but they are: if for no other reason than their failure to publically support you and First Nation causes.

    Anyway, I am sure that this will be painful but I am equally sure that it will reach many more people and make more positive change. Just keep in mind that you’re really not making a big differnece unless you are stirring up opposition (and disagreement). That’s the positive side. Keep smiling! 😉

    I look forward with eagerness to reading your future posts Robyn – keep up the good work and don’t let the idiots get you down. They are not the majority.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have no idea how much you inspire me. It is amazing how often you set my thoughts down a line of strengthened resolve and lighten the moment for me at the same time. What a rare gift for keeping the big picture in the views you share, and I am so appreciative that you continue to share that with me. You have a way with words, Paul, and a way with souls. Thank you, friend.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. There will be trolls. Some are downright nasty, but that is the nature of trolls. Fortunately, in the light of day they turn to stone. Still, in the dark they can be intimidating. Unfortunately, on-line they can hide in the shadows.

    I imagine there are more of us who appreciate you than there are of them. Hope so, anyway. They are so good at getting one to doubt oneself……

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It boggles my mind that all life no matter the heritage is not lifted up and protected physically and emotionally. This hatred manifests itself in ignorance, and it’s voices like yours that provide credible answers to ignorance. Perhaps you will reach one and change his/her perspective and in turn change a generation. Believe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my gosh, your message reached right to my heart. Thank you for that. I hope with every day and every chat we all have, that we will decrease the moments anyone of us has that reduces our value in any way. Yes, I will, believe.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Its simple people. Agree or disagree – to attack someone personally because their views are different than yours is cruel. Last I heard, this is a free country and as such we are entitled to our own opinions. Discussions that Robyn brings up are good for “healthy” debate – contribute in a respectful fashion – there’s no reason to get mean. I can’t honestly say I agree with everything my friend writes about but I appreciate and more importantly “respect” her views and it gives me pause for thought – try to look at things placing yourself in someone else’s shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, my friend, thank you for speaking on my behalf and respectfulness in general. That means a lot, especially because we don’t necessarily agree about everything. Now maybe, we’ll be able to agree on a coffee date? Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry to hear about the horrible comments- it sounds like you are definitely striking a chord, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but no one deserves that kind of response. I often wonder why everyone can’t engage in useful discourse without going into insults and other comments that have no bearing on subjects at hand. I can understand the need to withdraw and heal from that kind of barrage. Simultaneously, I’m glad you are not going to let that stop you from leaving your son a beautiful written legacy or us with more of your insights and stories. I’m sure it didn’t feel great to lose followers because of what you’d written (that is a fear of mine too) but I also think this is a sign that you are making waves. Someone told me once that when not everyone agrees w/ you and you even start to piss them off you are doing something right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been saying for a long time that the real story to any story is in the comments. I know a lot of people say, if you don’t want the story ruined for you, keep away from the comments, but regardless, they are a good barometer for some issues.

      It’s funny, I thought I would lose people because I was maybe too insipid for them, not really one of those cool, edgy writers that seem to win legions of fans really quickly. That was a bad enough fear as it was. It never occurred to me that it could be because of a desire to want people to behave decently to one another. Well, there’s no doubt I pissed off quite a few people when I rocked their old thought world with the real world facts. I am proud of that, and to get their bites did give me a few heart skips, but when you are telling the truth, the power of it bounces you back to solid footing. Until a good friends comes along and says whoa, and you get a little wobbly again, and you say, did you just see that?
      Luckily, those are the rest stops before you get up and going again. Thanks so much, Diahann, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Like Melanie and many others here, I plan to stay tuned. I dig your fire too. Maybe I should stoke my own once in a while too. There are many things such as racial inequality that must be fought for, and maybe I need to learn that it’s okay to fight for things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Tony! Your comment really gave me a good smile for the day. Like I mentioned to Melanie, I didn’t even know I had fire, but if two cool people say so, well…

      I hadn’t really planned on speaking up on anything, to be honest. The events of the last year and a half feels more like I’ve been thrown into the pool with my ancestors telling me to get moving already. Apparently, all of those events that don’t kill you stuff, were prep for taking on this particular stand. Prior to this, I did various kinds of charity in general because it was good food for my soul. It was the beginning of getting out of myself, I guess you could say. I was able to meet so many honestly decent people who taught me a lot about how to be a better human.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Hi Robyn, I see one of your followers mentioned the analogy of the ocean. I’ve been thinking about that. I look at the Pacific Ocean every day of my life. When I’m not looking at it I can often hear it. It shapes everything here, the weather, the air, the plants, and the landscape, too. When I’ve looked at it until very recently I saw a barrier, that huge geographical fact which separates me from the rest of the world and often from the people I love. I’ve been afraid of it – the very force of it – on our beach rogue waves can and do drag away the unwary.

    And then a few weeks ago I attended a workshop. It was presented by an indigenous Samoan gentleman. He said that to Pacific Peoples the Ocean is not a barrier. In addition to being a great source of sustenance it is a means of travel and exploration. Using the Ocean his people were able to spread right across the Pacific. It is one of the greatest stories of exploration and migration in history. It brought me up short. I’ve started looking at the Ocean differently. I suppose I’m telling you about this because scary though that Ocean is, I agree with your follower when he said , “if you really want to go places you have to put the boat in to the Ocean.” But you know what, I think you’re already doing it. And you are not amongst the unwary. You’ve got all those years of experience to fill your sails and help you steer your craft. I hugely respect you for what you’re doing. I’m for one am not going anywhere. I’m looking forward to reading your next post – I suspect I’ll be applauding long and loudly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks again Jill, for your continuing support, inspiration, and interesting stories about your own world. I love that you got that perspective on the ocean, because to be honest, although I’ve always had a need to live by one, its power does frighten me. It seems like you and Paul have the same messages within those lovely stories. Thank you for taking the time to share that with me. That means a great deal to me.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. It’s a pity some feed on hatred & have no idea what it means to simply love humanity without chronically judging.
    I loved the wisdom the whole challenge has brought out of you when you write… ” it takes a lot less time to get over the hurt of crossing paths with those sorts of people. Now I realize I am losing nothing except future moments of wasted time. ”
    You are an amazing person, it transpires throughout your posts & that is the only thing you have to care about.
    There will always be someone out there to criticize, you can’t please the whole wide world but the main thing is that you know what you do is right & that’s is the only thing that truly matters because in the long run you are the one who can sleep peacefully at night with a clear conscious.
    Keep up the work you believe in & feel is right 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, you shared some words that I’m pretty sure every person on the planet wants to hear. From heart to heart, thank you so much for that, it means so much, and your encouragement spurs me on to keep trying to do right too. Cheers to you.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. OMG, Robyn, where do I begin? First of all, “Fedup40” is an ass clown and needs to f*ck off. (Sorry for getting obnoxious with my language on your blog.) Serious, people like that are a disgrace to his/her race. I’m so sorry that he/she treated you so poorly.

    Next, I am literally floored that you actually lost followers due to stating your mind regarding issues that affect so many people. I honestly can’t imagine why people would do that! I mean, I would unfollow someone if they suddenly announced that they were into torturing children, small animals and the elderly… NOT because they were sending the message that “Why can’t we all just get along?”

    I view what you write as educational because sometimes I honestly don’t know the “politically correct” verbiage and I might be guilty of being offensive just because I am ignorant in the classic sense and certainly not because I intend to be.

    As for the part about the “Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women” I guess I have been living under a rock, or in Florida which is basically the same thing, because I don’t really know what you’re talking about. I’l have to look it up to be able to comment, but I can probably guarantee that I will feel as you do.

    As for hearing the ugly names you were called in your childhood, I am beyond dumbfounded. I simply can’t imagine someone being so cruel and for what reason? That makes my heart sad to hear about such evil and I’m sorry you had to endure such hate. However, it speaks volumes for your own character that despite being the victim of such ugliness, you came out with such a beautiful heart and you still speak out with dignity. Cheers to you, my friend!

    Finally, while I LOVE your blog, you don’t need it to leave a legacy for your son. He’s got to know what an amazing Mama he has already. I love that you are so full of passion and that you are a voice for people that might not speak up for themselves. And despite your painful childhood, you have still managed to come out on top and be such a good Mama to your son. You have a beautiful soul and I’m positive your son knows that and has one as well. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rachel, your support and friendship is one of the reasons I am beyond grateful for getting into this kind of business. Outside of the fact that your comments are better posts than the majority of full blogs I come by, it’s the depth of thought of your sort that inspires me.

      Yes, it definitely sucks to lose followers, especially those who apparently loved my previous notes about compassion, understanding, and decency. I must have really hit too close to home for them, but like Paul noted too, a-holes are not much of a loss.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, Paul is right, but it still sucks. Unfortunately, being human and all, when it happens to me, I still let it rent space in my head. So many people are just mean. That’s why I value you and people like us who are kindhearted. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I am dancing around in my chair, so happy to have found your blog! You responded to a post on my friend Marcia Meara’s blog, and when I clicked over to learn about you (love the Blog Woman!!! heading, btw) I came upon this post. It truly rings bells with me. My mother and her twin brother were Quapaw – taken away from family by the police chief of the town and given to his wife to raise, because who was going to stop it? My friend, Furry Foot, was Canadian Native (one of the Cree nations, but it has been several years ago, I don’t remember exactly which tribe.) She was taken off the street of the rez by the church and given to a deacon as a sex object (she was maybe 18 months old at the time) because his wife was nutter than a fruit loop and the priest didn’t want him knocking her up and her possibly killing a “real human.”

    As far as the people who hate you for being Native, they are going to hate anyone who isn’t “them” sweetie – don’t let the losers, as Rachelcarrera said, ‘rent space in your head.’ Yes, I am white as shit because I took after my sperm donor, but I identify myself, in my heart, as Quapaw. Oh, and btw, even though the typical racial slur of “drunk indian” (yes, I did hear that, even though you would never guess my heritage from my pasty ass white skin and blue eyes unless you looked at my mother) the only drunk in that couple was the sperm donor, not the egg donor, and isn’t THAT a hoot? 😉
    I am totally thrilled to meet you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Leiah – what a pleasure to meet you. Holy cow, your words were a rush of emotion for me. You had me laughing, until I cried – for your mother and Furry Foot, and all the people I know who had similar fates. It’s these stories that need to be heard. It’s been a long and winding life for me so far, but I truly believe my grandmothers have been leading me for some years to this road. ( Incidentally, I was watching Theresa C. on TV when you wrote). I am from the Plains Cree.
      Well, Miss Leiah, if you are anything like our Marcia, I am in for a real treat of a new friend. Thank you so much, for stopping by, and for sharing your incredibly powerful stories. I look forward to getting to know you better.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Taxpayers DO NOT Pay For First Nations; First Nations ARE Taxpayers | Blog Woman!!! – Life Uncategorized

  12. People who can’t deal with facts in a civil fashion should be ignored. When people resort to insults and bullying, you’ve won. I know that doesn’t ease the pain or make the comments hurt less, but they can’t help it, they aren’t smart enough to engage in an intelligent conversation. Ignore them because you will never change their mind. The sad thing is how many people sit comfortably in that state,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I don’t often take up the cause of people who have been treated badly, but when I do, I prefer facts over insults, and I usually land on the side of the oppressed, insulted and ignored. I also don’t often add links in my comments but I think you might resonate with the post tacked onto the end. I add the link because I want people to know about this person. I’ll be a regular reader here, and don’t worry about spammy comments –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, for your visit and for your supportive remarks. It never ceases to amaze me that despite all we can find about other people now, with all this wondrous technology, that some prefer to cling to their ignorance.

      The quote by your driver that Jill used in her dad’s tribute, was so good, I had to see the page it came from. I wasn’t disappointed with what I found there – your post was very enjoyable too. I will absolutely bookmark your referred post and comment on the a little later. Again, thanks again, for visiting and speaking up.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Perhaps you lost some “followers” when you voiced your opinion on a clearly sensitive subject, but you also gained others who admire your courage to speak a truth, your dedication to share the unheard story, your desire to have an engaged conversation. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really appreciate your visit and comment. There are days when I can feel a little less courageous, but the desire to be a part of enlightening history has become much stronger. My motherly instincts drive me; I want every little face I see to have a better place, or at least a level playing field.

      Thank you for following, that means a lot, and I will look forward to seeing your work too.

      Liked by 2 people

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