Sometimes I’m asked why do I bother to work for Indigenous causes, or any cause really, when it seems the odds against achievement are so damned overwhelming or insurmountable? Someone asked, “Why are you bothering to waste precious time”? It’s a question I’m not sure I can fully answer because how do you describe a longing intensely emanating from your very core? How do you describe desire that overwhelms your own overawed senses and fatigue to work to make something right?
Why do we push on even when it feels like we’re only speaking into a complete void of apathy & disinterest or even in the face of real, ruthless retaliation? I suppose sometimes it does seem futile and somewhat Don Quixote-ish. I know it certainly feels like that from time to time. Maybe it’s more simple than we can know. In some way in our lives, something was triggered by an act of inequity, a brutality, and/or a fear.
I’m not sure when the force was set in me to eventually strive to become an agent for action. Maybe it took a culmination of events to instill a sense that attaining justice was about more than writing letters to the Editor. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just that real change usually requires that step and a dozen more to make a dent in an issue.
What kind of events does it take to wake a burgeoning fire for equity? My experiences started early within family abuses based in the consequences of inter-generational traumas inflicted by colonialism. They were enforced in incidents like the group of men who – for a laugh – sicced a dog on 7 yr. old me to, “get that little redskin” and who enjoyed the moment their dog gripped onto my ankle; or the neighbor screaming, “get out of here, you dirty little Indian” as she chased me down the street when I was 10; or being cheated out of the fruits of my labor as an adult &/or having false accusations leveled at me.
I suffered through much of that pain on my own, until I could learn how and where to turn for help. I didn’t get help all the time, but when I did, it was searingly potent & it was that, I believe, that triggered the move from thinking I could be a difference to working on it.
How could I possibly stay silent in the face of inequities to which I can speak, when the people who I hold in the highest esteem today, are those who stood with me and for me, when I couldn’t? How could I possibly dishonor their teachings, their strengths of conviction, & their compassion? How could I possibly ignore the work they took on to show me how important it is to take a stand for what’s right, so I could stand for myself? How could I keep all that conviction I learned and earned for only myself?
These lessons didn’t come easily, there was a lot of hard work with many, many doubts, and certainly, I don’t win at everything. But my heroes showed me what strength of character is and in its most defining word, their power. They helped bring me to my own esteem and value. Although I’m not professionally trained in many aspects of what I do, my passion & willingness to learn is the biggest driver of change – for the good, preferably. So it is for all of us.
One of my efforts entails seeking real sovereign recognition and benefits for Indigenous communities. For that to happen, Canada has to step back and re-create its foundation in the honor it already earnestly claims. Technically, legally, there is no Canada without this relationship. The time is now for Canadians to put their money where their heart is and state with us, as the truest powers that be, that the partnership with Indigenous peoples precedes the enrichment of only some people and/or corporate interests. The inherent rights of the Indigenous greatly bolster the effort to serve the whole.
One crucial aspect my heroes provided was taking the mystery out of those intimidating forces called – “the Government”, or “the Principal”, or “corporate executives”. They’re no one other than our own neighbors who may have had a few more lucky breaks. Outside of those suffering from psycho/sociopathy, they have the same issues, fears, needs and flaws as the rest of us. And just like the rest of us, they sometimes need to be shown when their work could be better or is just plain destructive.
There’s only one group of people capable of that. That would be me – and you. Anything we can lend to this cause or any other to do life better is valuable, & I guarantee, so is everything we get back for that. It all begins and ends within ourselves; where there is decency, lies the fire.
You got to fight for what you believe in.
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Dear Blog Woman!!!
Thank you for teaching me about your fight for equity. I welcome the open hand extended in this very human and courageous post. I have some thoughts about this invitation from your post:
“One of my efforts entails seeking real sovereign recognition and benefits for Indigenous communities.”
“For that to happen, Canada has to step back and re-create its foundation in the honor it already earnestly claims.”
“The time is now for Canadians to put their money where their heart is and state with us, as the truest powers that be, that the partnership with Indigenous peoples precedes the enrichment of only some people and/or corporate interests.” “The inherent rights of the Indigenous greatly bolster the effort to serve the whole.”
 I support your efforts to seek sovereign recognition and benefits for Indigenous communities. It is the right thing to do. It is what the United Nations has called for.
I agree Canada has to re-create it’s foundation. The founding BNA act, amounted to a colonial transfer of Indigenous people and territory, from the British Empire to white immigrants, who had settled on the land that was to be named Canada.
 I really appreciate it, that after hundreds of years of settler theft, you and other Indigenous people still offer partnership. I accept your observation here without reservation.
The government of 35 million Canadians – by force of racist settler law – is restricting 2 million Indigenous people onto reserve lands that amount to a total of .02 % of their original territories. Indigenous people representing 5% of this lands population**, have been assigned to only .02 % of Canada’s land base. That is why they have been impoverished for so long.
Meanwhile 99.98 % of Canada’s land base has been available to Canadian settlers, and in particular available to corporations that have been able to exploit the resources from of all those lands.
(** Canada’s total population today is 37 million. As the fastest growing population in Canada today, the Indigenous population has probably reached 2 million, or just over 5% of the total population. >In 2016 the Indigenous population was 1,673,785 or 4.9%.<)
 What a wonderful offer of partnership to settlers, from you. As the waters rise and the planet burns, I have a lot to learn from the original people of this land about how to get along with this land and about much more. I agree as well, that inherent rights "greatly bolster the effort to serve the whole." They have proven to be a strong shield for the Orcas with the courts – for one example.
The Kinder-Morgan appeals court decision was followed by much overheated editorializing, ignorant and racist social media interactions and political grandstanding and fear mongering.
By reading your post, I have just dipped a cup into a deep pool of crystal clear water, for a cool refreshing drink of common sense. And an offer of partnership. Wonderful.
Thank you for the invitation, Blog Woman!!!.
I am happy to accept.
I know it is my task to ensure that I am not alone.
Thank you, koffer, for thoroughly understanding my comments and even applying part of the very examples I had in mind as I wrote in those general terms. I appreciate that you took the time to read and understand my thoughts to that level. I also appreciate that you are taking up the challenge. I wish you, of course, every success in our endeavours.
You are very, welcome.
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Lovely tribute to all of you … but so sad you are forced to ‘fight’ for equity still in this time and age!
If you think you are too small to make a difference just spend a night in the room with a mosquito 🙂
Keep being that mosquito and you make a difference every time even if you can’t see it 🙂
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Thank you, very much, my friend – that’s a pretty apt reminder. I think we do tend to feel very, very small in that big picture.
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we do but we must all keep chipping away, it makes an impact even if we can’t see it 🙂
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Wow, my kindred sister, I am so sorry for how cruelly this world has treated you! And I guess what I don’t get is “why”. I literally cannot father such hatred, and most especially for an innocent child — ANY child. What appalling sickness those adults possessed! But you, my lovely kindred spirit, were chosen to be the voice of equality, and you are making a difference so that others who have no voice may never have to endure such things. That, in my opinion, makes you a hero! ❤ I love you now, and I wish I knew the 7-year old you so I could take you by the hand and we could play together and escape the big, mean bigots who deserve only the worst life has to offer them. ❤ xoxo
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You brought out some tearing up, but from the high level of your compassion. I could feel your heart from way over here. So much love for you, kindred. xoxox
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