Friday Funnies: ‘Cause It’s Time For A Little Music

I think it was one of those weeks that work to kick off a great Mother’s Day weekend:  Car Trouble Tuesday, Winless Wednesday Lotto, last Saturday threat of arrest. Yeah, this  > < close, but no cuffs after all. This Saturday will likely look slightly less dramatic. I say as I now scramble to find a piece of tree to knock on immediately.  Ah, it wasn’t that dramatic really. I was just exercising my right to protest the risks of permanently destroying the water around Vancouver with bitumen. All in a day’s work …

This brings us to Friday and you know what that means! I’m in the mood to hum …

We can all start with a full group guilty plea…

Oh sure, despite the obvious threat, no one offered to arrest this guy though

Summer PSA intermission

C’mon, sing it with me… Wo-oah…

This one’s for the Millennials. Whatcha gonna do with all that junk. All that junk inside your trunk

A moment of silence, please. Nah, just kiddin’ …  And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye …Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die ….This’ll be the day that I die….

Small dogs. …Amirite?  Arrest it!

….Na na na na na na na na na na naaaaaaaaaaa…. Oh nooooo…….

This is why summer PSAs are necessary

Well, you knew we had to address the elephant in the room eventually…

Mm hmm. Yep.

And now, at least two of those tunes will stick with you for the rest of the day. Have a fab weekend, and a Happy Mother’s Day – in solidarity  … or solitary. Up to you, really.

RL

Advertisements
Posted in Humor, Life, Lighter Side, Uncategorized | Tagged | 9 Comments

Getting Arrested? Piece of Cake; The 2nd Dino Age Is Over – Part 2

In Part 1, I shared my unintended practise run in taking ‘bold action’, as it’s called when one is willing to step in and interfere with business as usual. I’m referring to the Kinder Morgan (KM) case to build a bitumen pipe through Burnaby Mountain.

The plethora of issues surrounding that are really only now becoming more widely-known. Some include highly unusual, if not illegal government proceedings; significant spill dangers for the inlets surrounding Vancouver; the lack of emergency plan and no way for an entire university, an elementary school, and several neighbourhoods on that mountain to escape in the event of a fire or explosive emergency.

These buildings and neighbourhoods are all situated within meters to blocks from the current 60 yr. old oil tanks and potentially new ones that would hold the highly toxic bitumen mixture. The economic story is yet another picture that’s been distorted in the name of “national interests”. As, Sue Andrews noted, “For the addition of 2,500 temp jobs mostly to foreign workers, 90 permanent jobs and $50M a year in taxes. Pathetic. One TV series brings in $60M a year”. Also for the record, Alberta made more money from liquor and gambling over the last 2 years than selling 3 million barrels of bitumen per day.

refinery fire wisconsin

April 27, 2018, Fire rages after explosion at Canadian-owned oil refinery in Wisconsin https://globalnews.ca/video/4171316/fire-rages-after-explosion-at-canadian-owned-oil-refinery-in-wisconsin

Next is the issue of getting arrested for protesting unjust decisions or actions. In protection of Kinder Morgan interests, politicians, some media (who have thrown-out all pretense of non-biased reporting) and employees of the Fraser Institute writing op-eds have been working overtime to inject the fear of action by inferring that exercising our right to protest is akin to terrorism.

They have loudly and widely reported that the process is now ‘criminal’ without explaining what civil and criminal disobedience means. They have resorted to referring to the: accountants, writers, grandmothers, high school cooks, students, truck drivers, fishermen/women, teachers, etc. as, ‘eco-terrorists’.

They choose these words purposefully, the smoke and mirrors of swaying public opinion. They trot out recent polls that say ‘most British Columbians support the pipeline’, while ignoring that their simplistic polls asking ‘for or against’ does not take into account that many of those who are for it initially, have a change of heart when they get more information.

Many are under the impression this pipeline is about getting gas for their own cars or fuel for their homes. When they realize that pipeline has nothing to do with that nor providing ‘huge economic opportunity’, plus our having to pay KM major subsidies, they change their vote. (See the recent poll on the 574,000 BC citizens willing to be arrested).

So, what does this process of action and arrest really look like? It’s all a fairly simple event, really. On this typical day, we began by meeting on the field where the base camp is situated. We received instructions on the rules & what the process looks like. The rules for engagement: say or do nothing to KM employees or the police, stay peaceful, be sober, discard anything that could be construed as a weapon, even a nail file.

We then walked a short distance to the KM gate where some of us chose to sit in front of it, knowing the KM employees would call the police. Arresting officers came out, read the injunction out loud, then warned us of imminent arrest if we didn’t leave. They gave us 10 minutes to think about it.

We used that 10 minutes to stand up and voice our thoughts to the supporters and media that surrounded us, then 2 of us chose to walk away and take our arresting action another day. The other 2 were escorted down a short trail to the side of the KM gate to a temporary outdoor office cordoned off by police tape. Their personal contact details were taken and they received a notice to appear in court on specified date. Then they re-joined us. That process took approximately 15 minutes.

From that point, you can expect to be supported in court by legal advisors to various groups involved in these actions and general supporters. It’s then you will learn if the outcome includes charges dropped or stayed, or a $500 fine and/or 25 hours of community service. Help is available for those unable to pay the potential fine.

Donations are welcomed at Terminal City Legal Collective  or the Raven Trust Fund.

We all need to be aware Canada is a corporation. We are its shareholders and we have a right to speak out when the executive screw up. I raise my hands to all who have warriored up on behalf of their family members now and those to come.

RL

 

Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The 2nd Dino Age Is Over – Part 1

I went to Burnaby Mountain on May 5th with the intention to support efforts and possibly even get arrested in protest of Kinder Morgan’s plan to build a new pipeline. However, by the end of this day, what I’d received instead was an unexpected teaching on respect and humility. This teaching centred on awareness that our actions are rarely about only ourselves.

The call to come out asked for us to take, or support those taking, ‘bold action’. Bold action is taking a spot in front of Kinder Morgan’s gates to halt movement in or out of their yard – a simple disruption of business. Kinder Morgan sought to halt these disruptions by requesting an injunction to keep all non-employees or contacts away from their gates and fences by 5 meters. If you disobey that injunction order you’ll be arrested for civil disobedience – recently revised to criminal disobedience. It’s not as ominous as that sounds.

The difference between civil & criminal disobedience is that civil means Kinder Morgan is essentially suing us for disobeying their injunction. It was a process too expensive for Kinder Morgan, so Canada acquiesced to pressure and moved it to ‘criminal disobedience’. This means the cases will be heard by the Crown as opposed to ‘Kinder Morgan’ in a civil case.

Don’t misunderstand, this is a serious step and there’s no guarantee how an eventual judge will deal with your case, but the fears of criminal record for life that will inhibit your ability to cross borders, volunteer, get a job, or a place to live is a very unlikely outcome. Several people told their stories of being arrested up to 10 times in various events and life carries on quite normally. Although we learned today, if you’re arrested 3 times in regards to this injunction, they’ll escalate your court date and you could even face jail time.

What you can expect as an arrested protector is a court appearance to plead guilty or not and make your statement about why you were on the protection lines.  The likely outcomes are at most, a $500 fine and/or 25 hours of community service. Support and help is available for those unable to pay the potential fine.

I know what my community envisions when an Indigenous person is arrested. They know it’s rarely the gentle handling we see other people get when they’re arrested. They know we are typically held longer and the appearance of lumps and bruising after being released is common. Despite this and after the education, I joined the willing to be arrested. I mentioned this to a friend sitting with me and his hesitant reaction surprised me. As he began to explain, my phone rang. It was my mother. She asked what I was up to; I told her where I was and that my arrest was imminent.

I’d thoughtlessly made my mother panic. I’d forgotten to let her know what I’d planned and learned about the process. I simply blurted out my intentions.  Her reply to me was simple. “Not today, Robyn. Today is not your day”.

I was taken aback at the finality in her tone, but I’d heard the fear under the certainty of her statement. I wasn’t in the place to take the time to explain and I knew then I had to do that for her and other family members in the right way, before I took that next step. I chose to step away, but not without affirming to all that I’d be back.

This isn’t about ruining lives, mine or anyone else’s. This isn’t about ruining oil industry livelihoods or their employee’s ability to feed families – stopping this extraneous pipeline is not going to stop the industry. We’re evolving. It’s just simply time to move onto avenues already available to take the place of oil and oil products. We need to remember industry has always been a process of evolving, especially when we learn a process is failing us.

We know enough now to do better. We can be just as, if not more, successful with those sustainable and healthier alternatives. We didn’t all switch from unleaded gasoline on a lark nor in a day.

The oil industry served us spectacularly, but we keep learning of its equally destructive powers and effects and they’ve been overlooked for too long. There’s no time left to ignore that. The damage to entire communities, to waterways, to land bases all over the planet must be seen for what it is.

I know what my great-grandfather meant for us all, when he signed treaty. I know it didn’t look like what Kinder Morgan is proposing, nor the “Eagle Spirit” pipeline, nor the Site C Dam. Our grandfathers stood up then for us and now, it’s our turn to do the same for their grandchildren. They meant for us all to live in success, but not at the cost of the very riches that provide that.

This isn’t an us or them scenario; we’re in this together whether we actively participate or not on any side. We will all succeed at maintaining our bounties or we all lose by ruining our own life-sustaining gifts. It’s really about the same lesson of respect I received; in the end, like our grandfathers on all sides then, our actions and intentions will affect all. It is our choice however, in what we choose to serve now.

RL

Part Two:  Getting Arrested? Piece of Cake; The 2nd Dino Age Is Over

If you want to support those taking bold action, please donate to:  Terminal City Legal Collective  or the Raven Trust Fund

Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Blackbird Fly…

A few weeks ago I made a bit of a startling discovery.  Along with that, I realized I’d also entered a murderous circle, a plethora of new friends, and an opportunity to crow a little about it, if you will…

… The story of how I met my latest gang and a renewed sense of awe for their amazing wits began about 8 Wednesdays ago.  I shared a snack with a few crows that were hanging around the parking lot after work. All was a few minutes of cool amusement and then I went on my way.  I didn’t see them again until the following week, another Wednesday. So, I again shared my snack.

The third Wednesday I came out to a whole row of them on the power lines above me, waiting. That made me laugh, but alas, I had no snacks. I couldn’t believe they learned in only 2 sessions which day of the week I’d likely have snacks and about the fact that they knew which day of the week it was!

The next Wednesday, they were there again. Not the day before nor after. Of course I came duly prepared. In the weeks since, they’ve changed up the timing a little. As the days get warmer, it seems as though they’ve decided it’s better to come by for a cooler morning treat, so they’re waiting as I arrive now. Not one to be seen during my departure in the hot afternoon. Now, about that fact they know what time I arrive!

I guess I could say they’ve trained me as efficiently as my dog has. Absolutely nothing bird-brained about these amazing educators. They definitely pay me back for the for sustenance devotion with regular rounds of laughs at their antics and their propensity to show off how they easily outwit other birds.

I don’t know how long this fine-feathered courtship will last, but for now they’ve definitely changed the drift of  ‘hump day’.

Well, as they say, it’s all about the little things…

This fella is the ring leader. He seems to be in charge of summoning the troops and declaring when it’s safe enough to pick through my offerings. He also seemed to be in the mood for this photo shoot. He posed this way and that as he watched for me to toss treats and coos of praise for this grand handsomeness.

Time to make like the birds and flock off. Enjoy your weekend.

RL

 

Posted in Life, Lighter Side, Storytelling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Capturing Spring, an Ode to Grace

It’s a beautiful thing, watching our yards convert and conform to the winding of the world.  I think this is the real new year in motion. It inspires my hopes for personal growth in a good way, in as much as the grace found in the beauty of these Spring markers…

Springalings

Sweetly bells appeal
No blue states of mind remain
Smiles swell, bud to bud

RL

Spring Siren

P4037637.JPG

Hints of lush promise
Purity tinged seduction
Daffodil’s disguise

RL

Beautiful Dreamer

Beauty softly speaks
Within Magnolia dreams
Gentle folds embrace

RL

Posted in Haiku, Life, Micro Poetry, Photos, Poetry, Spring, three line poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

She Sings Me Peace

So this sweet little miss visited me the other day…

Subtle little friends
Warming the gloomiest days
Love’s slyest bounties

Haiku

She sang me his blues
One flying monkey, fallen
Washed out on new shores

Vindication realized
The music of peace fills me

Haiku/Tanka

RL

 

 

Posted in Haiku, Life, micropoetry, photo, Poetry, Tanka, three line poetry | Tagged , | 11 Comments

What is Metis Again?

Updated 3/30/18: Correction to stated white supremacy group location is in Quebec contesting Innu land claims and the inclusion of status First Nations born to white women.

There’s unfortunate long-held misunderstanding of what being “Metis” means. That confusion has only grown messier in the last few years by increased numbers of various groups looking for recognized Metis identity, if not as entirely new nations altogether.

The misperceptions have lead to outright strife throughout communities, acted out in mild contentious chats to vicious trolling attacks on social media to threatening job losses and lawsuits.

Canada didn’t help this confusion when it formally recognized the western Metis Nation without clearly spelling out that following the steps to ‘self-identification as Metis’ also requires proving that you’re related to this nation. In other words, your relations must be of the known Metis ancestral names on record from within this western Metis community. Thus, I could not put my Cree or other mixed relations on my Metis application.

Canada’s not clearly stating that serves to inspire some to claim their Indigeneity by choosing to be Metis, likely in the mistaken belief it’s less daunting than having to provide records for their original First Nations families.

People of no Indigenous ancestry have also been re-inventing their heritage in order to apply themselves, unchecked & un-vetted, to positions meant for the Indigenous in work & arts opportunities, education grants, and governance. Several of these interlopers have been uncovered within the last decade.

From there, groups work by literally re-writing history to usurp harvesting rights from First Nations and to demand retailers provide them rights that even the recognized Metis Nation don’t have – tax free gas & merchandise. Copies of meeting minutes from the “Eastern Metis”, detailed concern mainly for those ‘goodies’ and did not address a single issue plaguing the Indigenous in Canada today.

These groups are prolific, overwhelmingly white, many racist-based including three that merged and changed their name from the “Association for White Rights” to the “Eastern Metis”. They claim well over 20,000 members in Quebec & contest Innu land claims.  In Nova Scotia the self-identified Metis are fighting to claim the harvesting rights of the Mi’kmaw. The Mi’kmaw vehemently oppose those claims because they state there was never historical Metis settlements in Nova Scotia.

Currently most people, even some indigenous people, believe ‘Metis” simply means a mix of any Indigenous with non-Indigenous ancestry – generally something European. While the word ‘metis’ is French for mixed, this is not what is meant when it comes to defining the formally recognized Metis Nation.

This nation was formed in the 1600s, early 1700s by marriages between a relatively small group of well-documented Indigenous women, generally from the Cree & Anishinaabe nations and their generally French, Scottish, or British men. Their following generations went onto marry other members of this Metis grouping or their original First Nation tribes. It was not the simple work of dividing each generation by another half with white people.

That ancestry is currently known as mixed or “non-status First Nations” people, known as part whichever original nation(s). There are also mixed ‘Status” First Nation too, though. Many of these cases are from families where a First Nations man married a white woman and full status was granted to she and their children. Not so for Indigenous women, who lost all status for herself and her children if she had children with a white man.

I understand why many want to identify as Metis because of the western Metis Nation recognition, but wanting it and being it is not the same thing. I do however, strongly believe verifiable non-status First Nations fully deserve the sorely lacking recognition and representation.

I’m not entering into the role of declaring who is or isn’t Indigenous. That’s not my fight. My personal expectation is that any individual or group looking for formal Indigenous  recognition have to meet the standards of nationhood that the western Metis Nation did: a distinct language, unique & established customs and traditions. If there are other Metis groups throughout Canada meeting the standards, by all means pursue it, but without denigrating the western Metis Nation for having achieved it. Your fight is with Canada.

I’m very aware of the difficulties some of us have in finding our roots, however most indigenous families were well-documented by Canada for its own nefarious purposes. It’s not as easy to ‘cheat’ one’s way through Indigenous ancestry as one might think. To those who try, I can only say – shame. Shame on you for stealing the only thing any one person undeniably has a right to – their inherent identity.

If one is only seeking status in the hopes of attaining the mythical understandings of Indigenous rights, I’ve little sympathy for that. If you haven’t lived a day as an average Indigenous person in Canada, you are far removed from rights still being ferociously fought for, even as they are actively being reduced in Canada.

For those genuinely feeling the call of their Indigenous grandmothers in their hearts, do seek the home fires of your true nations. Honest peace and celebration is found within the real teachings of our culture(s). Programs dedicated to these efforts prove that.

We all want to resolve the issue, but despite how some want to define Metis, there is more to it than simply throwing any and every nation into the mix.

RL

Self- made Métis: Tens of thousands of Canadians have begun calling themselves Métis, Darryl Leroux finds, and now they’re trying to get the courts to agree.

 

Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Life, Metis, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Friday Funnies: ‘Cause 5 Years of Blogging Bliss on Saturday

Hey, my 20 or so readers – can you believe I’ve been at this for 5 years already?! (Still?) Technically, the anniversary is tomorrow, March 17th, but Friday funnies…

I think this is supposed to be one of those milestones that beg for a little reflection with the gratitude for still playing in this sandbox. It’s true that I have come through a long meandering road to narrow the ‘topic tabs’ of my preferences. My original journal notes on life became the need to speak out for decency & fairness. To work in the best of hopes to elevate life for the marginalized & abused. Of course, even that isn’t much of a stretch when, as an Indigenous person, you’re speaking for one’s own relations for the most part.

I’ve also received an incredibly intense education over these years as I delved into the meat of the issues for the Indigenous. I believe many of you have shared those eye-opening lessons and I thank you, so very much, for your support and encouragement in that especially.

I’ve also learned you also don’t mind when I veer off into my other passions of sanity controls – poetry and eye-rolling humour. Without a doubt, I’m grateful to my following for your awesome prop-ups overall. So there, 5 years along, time to head into some lightness of being…

Solid medical opinion

2018… amirite?

Wait’ll they see her sidle up to them wearing a shark fin. Smile!

This completes the PSA obligation

Seems like this would be an end of the week job…like the end of a very long week – fortified with a lotta gin.

Oh, you know more than a few of us own these pants!

Let the birds speak their causes… you can always eat them after.

Ha ha, made you look…

 

Nostalgia hit… Just let it carry you back to Grade 1….

When you have teddy bear separation anxiety. It’s a thing! Or, it could be…

Much like my dignity after stooping to this level for my 5th Anniversary post…

Have a fab weekend, I predict a lot of green in various futures. Cheers – and thank you, again!

RL

Posted in anniversary, Blogging, Humor, Life, Lighter Side, Uncategorized | Tagged | 27 Comments

Because He Was Brown

Like most Indigenous paying attention to Canada’s recent handling of two murder cases – 22 yr. old Colten Boushie, shot while he was asleep in the front seat of a vehicle and Tina Fontaine, 15 yr. old, 72 lbs, killed and thrown into a river – I held both expectations of hope for justice and resignation that the likelihood was slim.

Canada’s record of injustice for the Indigenous speaks for itself in a long line of documented reports. Then, in this era of “Truth & Reconciliation”, Canada lived up to its ability to crush that hope & affirm our worst expectations. Both murderers were fully acquitted, helped by incredible systemic failures and incredulous inept investigation and court service.

We were further leveled with the announcement on March 7th, that the expected call for an appeal in Colten’s case was flatly rejected. The Saskatchewan Attorney General sat in front of news cameras and gave his clipped announcement that their legal system worked as intended; they could find no wrong with the way their system was employed and then he bolted from the table. This was despite weeks of lawyers across Canada detailing the reasons why there was a miscarriage of justice that merited an appeal.

My heart aches for Colten’s mother, for Tina’s family. There’s no level of sympathy I can offer that will do justice to what they deserve. My head aches for all their loved ones struggling to grasp all the realities those verdicts delivered to them.

I can’t work my way through the pain in my heart when I go over in my mind the last week of Tina’s life and the last senseless moments of Colten’s, and that their families will live with this forever.

I struggle with them & I empathize, but even in that I know I’m two layers insulated from their pain. I’m devastated and ashamed in the knowledge that I can take relief too, even within these hideous, tragic events. My fears of losing my boy are eased from their reality because of one huge fact and that is, he looks white.

It’s horrifying to know that this is an actual life-saving truth in Canada. I won’t have to worry about some racist reflex that’ll see my boy shot in the back of the head; then abandoned while the killer sits in his kitchen having a coffee, just waiting for clean-up on aisle: driveway, as did Colten’s murderer.

I can feel this fury, but I won’t have to absorb the darts shot directly into the heart that only their babies have heard on the inside. I won’t have to feel the cuts of gleeful cretins rejoicing in the system that allows one of their own to get away with murder.

…because the victim lacked regard as a valued human being – because he was brown.

I can cry deeply in empathy, but I won’t have the agony of knowing my son would still be with me if only he wasn’t brown, or brown & drinking, or brown & screwing up in the same way white boys have for centuries…

I’ve always worried about my child’s safety. I’ll always pray for his journey to be in ease and peace, but I get to know, in this insidious, despicable way, that the only reason he’ll be that much safer is because his draw in the DNA colour lottery came out white.

I can’t change a thing for Colten’s mom. But I will stand with her, and with every brown mother that has had to feel the pain of that senseless, useless, unnecessary terror that is real for her babies, and used as an excuse for execution by white people.

I will remind any & all the (former) Prime Minister Paul Martins who phone me to lecture that Canadians are not racist, that they’re being willfully blind. I will never stop letting white people know this is their work to undo. I will never stop fighting for justice & defying inequities. And neither will my son. Neither should you.

Heather is one of the finest people one could ever hope to meet. She doesn’t deserve this fear. None of us do.

RL

Posted in Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Life, Racism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

I Looked For You

 

 

I wondered and waited for you…

I wondered who would show up, I wondered who would stand.

I wondered if my words or calls for help would bring you to us. I worried my anguished voice would just fall flat.

I looked for you; I searched through the faces to see if there was someone, that one unexpected person to stand with me because they see and despise the injustices too.

I looked for someone to say, I heard you.

I looked for you to hold my hand while I cried about our babies being shot or strangled, then tossed away like litter.

I willed you to come to my side while we spoke about the broken promises and horrors that are inflicted on all my relations because we refuse to die off for the convenience of Canadian business moguls.

I silently begged you to show up for every possible reason I could think of, but mostly… mostly because you wanted to stand for and do, what’s right.

I waited for you to come to me to say you are part of our community and we are part of yours.

I watched for you to speak up and say, this isn’t my Canada. We will change a country that would treat anyone this way because we cannot, we will not, call a country that treats people like this, good enough.

I watched and waited and wondered about you.

…I looked for you…

RL

Posted in Canada, Education, First Nations, Indigenous, Indigenous Peoples, Life, Pain, Poetry, Prose, Racism, White Allies | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments