Friday Funnies; ‘Cause We Forgot We Still Even Humour!

HOLY, bustling blow-up busy months, Batman! There’s barely been time to find a funny, let alone share. So, can we agree it’s about bloodish meme time, even if it looks like we’re gonna to have to take whatever we can get?

Gotta say, I question the marketing strategy.

On the other hand, maybe it’s not ‘that’ bad…

Every mile is 420 in Canada now!

🎵 Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by…🎵

Who wore it best?

Irony… 🤓

Yeah…. I’m not gonna touch this one.

There are some truly majestic creatures in the world; these aren’t them…

When the Kylie Jenner lip kit goes wrong?

A rare glimpse of a Whatisit

Formal portrait…casual chapeau… little tongue action…it works, yeah?

This lion has seen some stuff…

Maybe I need to get out and see more stuff myself, but I might have to re-think all the get back to nature suggestions…

In the meantime, I hope to have a great weekend. Here’s hoping for you too!

RL

‘Alternative’ Metis Nation Alert; Frauds exposed from the west to the east

Updated October 26, 2018:  News reports on fraudulent ‘status’ cards and police investigations, and APTN interview with professor researching the ‘eastern Metis’ groups.

This is not new news, it has been reported in previous years, but it doesn’t seem to quell the ongoing efforts of those who would take advantage of a history not well known nor those who would reward them in the name of ‘reconciliation’ or any other feel-good motivation.

Although I’m aware of several well-known & award winning Canadians who have been exposed as having usurped Indigenous identity on which to build a career, i.e. Joseph Boyden, I’ve just learned of another, the Order of Canada and several other prestigious awards recipient, David Bouchard.

Bouchard, who claims Metis ancestry, was exposed for using the officially recognized Metis (Michif) Nation for his own background and gain, after it was discovered he didn’t meet the required ancestral lineage. He responded by creating ‘alternative metis’ groups, which appear to be based in some idea of a pan-Indigenous society. Let’s make it clear, Indigenous nations are nations as much as any other in the world.

Bouchard originally participated in the 2002 creation of the official BC Metis Nation arm of the recognized Metis Nation, but his application and involvement was rescinded when he failed the organization’s own requirement of meeting a current line of five direct generations to the prairie Michif people, history, culture, etc.

His ancestry was related to one Algonquin woman ancestor born in 1621. In 2008, he added to his lineage, a Chippewa grandfather and a grandmother from the middle-U.S. nation, the Osage,  circa 1800s. The details to these were provided in 2013 by a U.S. genealogist who declared Bouchard a Metis. Unfortunately that’s not how citizenship inclusion works. The research declared Bouchard as having mixed ancestry, but that research must then be taken to the Canadian situated and recognized Metis Nation for verification and then it is they who grant inclusion into the nation. It is understood that an updated application was not submitted to the Metis Nation.

Although Bouchard’s level of involvement in the 2011 creation of the alternative group, the “BC Metis Federation” is unclear, he went on to create his own alternative national group, the “Metis Federation of Canada” in 2013, renamed “Metis Nation of Canada” in 2019 with Karole Dumont-Beckett as first registrar and Sebastien Malette as “legal advisor”.  Neither of these groups require lineage linked to the Michif history.

One does not simply proclaim oneself to be Metis any more than one may proclaim to be Scottish or a Canadian. There are parameters to be met and a connection to any long-lost or Indigenous ancestor is not one of them. Nor does claiming ancestors prior to the ethnogenesis of the Metis Nation make anyone Metis. How is it people don’t recognize there were no Metis until then? They ignore the fact the Michif don’t call their own originating ancestors, Metis. They are recorded as they were, by their original nationhood, just as Canadians identify their ancestors by their originating nations.

The level to which these people have done damage to the reputation of the recognized Metis Nation and to the people who they sign onto their organizations with the same level of ancestral connections – which is to say non-existent to barely, has many in the Indigenous communities stating these kind of mis-representations could be considered  fraudulent.

They harm the recognized Indigenous peoples by mis-representing history, snatching opportunities in employment, awards, grants, scholarships and any other avenue meant to lend a hand up to the marginalized, and they mislead thousands of people into unwittingly believing they too belong to a community.

They go further though. They have members who seek out and harass anyone who speaks out about them by swarming on social media, contacting employers to claim all sort of reverse harassment, to threatening lawsuits.

The Metis Nation is an established nation with history of verifiable detail for centuries. For example, as a member of this nation, I could only state on my application my “Metis” – my Michif ancestry, not my Cree, Haudenosaunee, or any other Indigenous nation to which I’m related.

The details of these organizations are publicly available, as are the officially recognized Metis Nation on their own and the Government of Canada’s websites, yet award, grant or bursary organizations, employers, and especially the Canadian media have not thought to act on determining who is officially recognized, as they hand out opportunities meant for the Indigenous. The unfortunate result are long waiting lists for recognized nation members often held back for years, if not entirely rejected.

There is no pan-Indigenous society or ‘nation’ that one with any hint of Indigenous ancestry can run to for representation. Any who claim this are frauds. If one feels they belong to an Indigenous nation, then seek out the particular nation you believe you’re connected to.

For those who falsely claim Indigeneity, you are doing so at the cost of opportunity for my child, myself or  my relations, although I suspect you already know that. I can only say – shame on you. May you face the price for impinging on the last bastion of our sovereignty – our identity.

A visual on who may qualify as a Metis Nation citizen

BC Metis Nation order to rescind membership: David Bouchard MNBC membership application rescinded

November 2018 Metis National Council & Manitoba Metis Nation release statements in protection of Metis Nation sovereignty and definition.

Soul Tuning Jealousies

singer silhoette 3

🎶 While all my angst gently weeps… 🎶

I must surely have been a singer

in a former life

Feeling so deeply, too deeply, too deeply

the depths of all notes

as they resonate

through my now abject humanity

The voices that surround and draw the listening to their knees

send me reeling into the realm of exquisite pain,

as they transform me with the intensity of their perfection

Imprisoned by aural beauty; bathed in utter envy

by artistry that can only come from the centre of grace

All denied me by the angels

who repeatedly escort

new melodic bliss and torment

through me

My hesitant mewling fills space between infinite wishes & sighs

to join them, if only with the least of their mellifluous gifts…

I will the next life to free me to sing elegance

or leave me to turn into mere star dust

RL

(Only a little hyperbolic. A very little… )

The Mysterious Activist, *insert eyeroll here*

My previous post inspired a few good laughs about what stepping up for a cause is about. “Activists”. Who are these odd people on the news being called some version of ‘Post-Modern Social Marxists” or some such non-existent epithet? Community (not Communist) activism is neither Marxist nor some mysterious hippy, trippy march into an abyss of prison sentences.

Practising compassion over comfort doesn’t require giving up our freedom and worldly goods in solidarity. Thus it really doesn’t need hard thought on whether or not we want to perform an act of decency. It does require us to take a few steps now and then out of our regular ruts – which incidentally, doesn’t hurt. It’s always been a pretty good idea to round out our little worlds for the sake of our own sanity and growth.

2018-07-04 12.39.37

Yeah, nah, the average activist is not required to hang from a bridge, or from anything, actually. (Greenpeace TransMountain protest at the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge, July 4, 2018)

Back to the point – if you’re someone who marched into your school Principal’s office to demand a particular activity or homeroom class for your child, you’ve graduated in Activism 101 right there. Same if you ever requested a pay raise or demanded your rightful discount while shopping.

If you’ve ever organized a play, a school fundraising event, a lunch or dinner, you know how to organize a group to paint up some signs and meet at the corners of wherever to make your case public for an hour. Let’s maybe call this – Activism 201. Still, we can see there’s really nothing untenable about this level either. There’s always the option of just following organizers in a march.

When you see stories or social media posts about an issue that you KNOW is based in inequity that rocks your decency barometer, do something before that evil little voice in the back of our mind starts its insidious claims that we’re too small, poor, uninformed or detached to make a difference anyway. It lies, and that’s what those who would take advantage of people are counting on. It’s not really apathy that they’re depending on, it’s our fear.

They make issues seem too big to be managed, on purpose. They make “the machine” look impenetrable, but just like the phony wizard of Oz, “the machine” is the same mousy wanna-dos hiding behind the drapes. They’re simply just another group of us – the same people we stood up to in schools, at work, or while shopping.

So, why am I telling you this? Because the steps we took in those situations are exactly what is required to move these mythical giant mountains of issue. These mountains are merely the piles of lies that say the inequities right in front of our eyes “take time” to undo or repair. We’re shown time and time again government is not too poor nor too big and that there are alternatives to almost every option leadership attempts to sell us.

The only thing that takes those mountains down is a push from those at the bottom – us. Our most simple efforts can get that hill all shaky and rolling in no time.  A phone call, letters, emails, tweets, whatever form we’d take to demand our kid gets the homeroom we want, or the raise we know we deserve, is what we do.

These are the actions to take when a community or national issue makes us pause because we know it’s not right. We direct our requests to our local leaders (mayors, Chiefs, MP, MLAs) with a c.c. to their boss – especially if that’s the Prime Minister – and the media, to really drive the message home. It’s that simple. It’s that effective. It’s that easy to create a better circumstance for ourselves, a neighbor, a community, or the entire country for that matter.

Yes, we may have to repeat those actions a few times, but when we see those issues, something so unfair, that it makes us stop and our heartbeat catch, don’t waste that call to your soul.  We’re hearing it because we’re more than worthy and capable of doing something about it. We do it because we prefer to live in decency and really, that is the core, the only point, of activism.

See? No mysterious forces at work here, it’s just me and you acting on our right to speak up. Welcome aboard!

 I hope.

RL

What’s Under a Fight to Do Right?

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.

RL

Indigenous Prayers – Poetic Haikus In Motion

Youth dancer – Jingle  Dress dancer, Nekwakwas,  Squamish Nation PowWow, July 2018

Softly she enters
The prayers of her music
Ancestral healing

RL

——————————————–

Youth dancer – Fancy Dancer,  Skweltapis Megmagalus Ned      Squamish Nation PowWow, July 2018

A bold soul dances
Rejuvenating spirits
The grandfathers smile

RL

——————————————–


Traditional Dancer, Denise Ann John, & fave Nova Scotia sis, August 2018

Ethereal calm
Calling to the grandmothers
Replenishing gifts

RL

——————————————–

bert dancing 2

Traditional Dancer, Bert One-Breath Milberg, & fave big bro, Nova Scotia, August 2018

A Warrior’s heart
Gifted reverent power
A shelter of strengths

RL

——————————————–

For non-Indigenous friends, a little info note about powwows…  A powwow is a social event where we sing and dance in honour of our ancestors; to pray to, for & with them and Creator, and to enjoy the good humour, kindnesses and company of our relations.  The day’s highlight are the competitive dances that enthrall with their colours, intricate detailed regalia, and the sheer physical power put into the dancing. Then there are various food vendors that’ll test your capacity to eat heartily.

All are invited to share in these events to not only enjoy the day’s events, but also to support Indigenous artisans and craft makers, who provide beautiful, genuine Indigenous work in all sort of art genres for sale.

You won’t have to wonder about the protocols, i.e. how one may participate in the dancing or when you may take photos, or when to stand for a prayer, etc. All powwows have an MC that announces or directs these points as they arise.  A quick tip: the standard invitation for anyone to join the dancing begins with the call: “Inter-tribal dance”.

Hiy hiy and congratulations to all for a really wonderful 2018 Powwow season.

RL

Friday Funnies; ‘Cause I’m Smokin’ Hot

Yeah, so BC is on fire. Again. 10 years of this oppressive heat & ash-filled lungs trend and of course, Canada decides it’s a perfect excuse to build a highly toxic, combustible pipeline through the path of the most fire vulnerable areas possible. No joke. The federal government has actually stated and paid to advertise that, ‘by throwing more carbon into the air, we will reduce our carbon footprint’. Can we possibly be more cutting-edge? 🙄

But I digress. Where was I? Right, so from trying to breathe through the latest ‘new normal’, in what is predicted to be a continuing trend of awful new normals for our summer air quality, to blinking non-stop at the political machinations over the entire of North America, a little escapism is more than in order. Yeah?

I make no apologies for my reliance on the sacred, the medicinal, the gucci-est high five to your face memes. Let us proceed. It’s always good to introduce yourself, so let me start with that…

Meet, Canuck.  Vancouver’s City Ambassador. He beat out Michael J. Fox. Not kidding. Like attracts like; we occasionally double date.

Who doesn’t enjoy a good drive-thru?

It’s true, what they say about sand, it DOES get everywhere

Not, hilarious funny, it’s good, but I just love a good appliance sale

If only I had a dime for all the times…😏

Musical Interlude
A couple for the oldies… (Click on the pic, if you’re a serious newb)

Who’s singing now?

Moving along…

Truth in advertising

See? BC fires. I’m tellin’ ya.

I like to conclude by tying a demo to my opening salvos. I think this sums it all up nicely.

Have a terrific final August, 2018 weekend. Stay hydrated.

RL