Capitalism and Colonialism are one in the same

I’ve had conversations with white people, who for the 1st time found out about residential schools. And there was utter shock and disbelief. Imagine going through your entire life only knowing one way doing something, and then been told it was all a lie. Human nature follows predictable patterns, much like the stages of grief (Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression….etc), but the outcome is often different for each individual. I have met people who even upon reading newspaper articles from established papers who still stoutly disagreed that such actions happen, and even if they did “they weren’t that bad” or that “the gov’t and church” weren’t the evil ones it was “evil people who did the bad things.” And I’ve seen others who upon learning this, felt so utterly disgusted by the gov’t they felt compelled to protest or renounce their religion.

Much like these two examples when you tell them that capitalism/colonialism/imperialism is bad there are predictable stages that people go through. There are those who deny it, and then say “well that communism for china or Russia really worked out for them didn’t it.” These people are synonymous with the person who couldn’t believe that the gov’t and/or the church isn’t in the best interest of the people. They will go through great lengths of defending capitalism by pointing to all its greatest triumphs like vaccines/electricity/internet/space travel/health care, etc., and then use this as the better alternative to China/Russia or whatever. They fail to understand that China and Russia also recognized that capitalism (which is also a form of colonialism, and revolted against it), and that imperialist countries have fought in wars every single year since the 50’s trying to destabilize anti-capitalist countries (and have largely succeeded). China and Russia are no longer communist countries, but the media force feeds us that they are, so that they can be used as a reason why capitalism is so much better.

Capitalism is a form of colonialism, so in essence when you uphold capitalism, you are undeniably upholding colonialism

 

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CNE rumblings

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Grassy Narrows Water Walk 2012

 

I see many of my friends and comrades expressing their disdain to the CNE (Canadian National Expo) this year, as the CNE has locked out the union IATSE.  Without getting too heavy into the details, from what I understand, is that IATSE has been primary union and workers for a few decades, and a few months ago at the bargaining table, rather than negotiating a new contract, Toronto and the CNE locked out the union and its workers.

While I support union rights of workers on principle, that does not mean that I support each and every union flatly.  I believe in unions simply because they prevent workers from getting the shaft end of the stick by employers.  They mostly pay a decent living wage, with benefits and these are things that I can rally behind.

But, as a decolonizing Anishinabek- unions much like their origins whether in Canada or USA are derived from colonialist concepts by this I mean that they are “alien” or “foreign” to Traditional and/or Decolonizing Anishinabek/Haudenosaunee peoples.  [Somewhere in the background I can hear Tom Keefer arguing how the Haudenosaunee is/were an “egalitarian society” thus making them “communists” and that Union rights of workers were initiated by “communists” and thus we (Indigenous people) have and obligation to support union workers.]

I used to be involved in many “activist” circles, and there were a few Unions that really showed some solidarity to Indigenous folks.  I know the organization I used to be a part of (ACTION) was supported by CUPE 3903,  and one time I showed up to a march at Queens Park and dozens of Ironworkers showed up.  So I turned to one of them and said “Who are you here with?”

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Grassy Narrow Water Walk 2012

Someone answered “The Ironworkers.  We support all kinds of Indigenous events, as we have many Haudenosaunee workers in our union.”  Later I went to another Indigenous workshop that was held at the Ironworkers hall, as they had also funded the event too.

In turn I learned to practice some principles of the Anishinabek teachings like the 4th Fire Prophecy, and treated these unions as “Faces of Brotherhood/Sisterhood”.  And have even gone to some of their protests or rallies.

But that still doesn’t negate the fact that as Anishinabek/Haudenosaunee, we live in colonized territories, live under colonist rules, and are forced to live a colonial life.  Whether someone is a part of a union or not, has no real bearing on me, unless they can substantiate meaningful contributions back into the Indigenous communities they operate in.

At the time of this post I have reached out to IATSE to see if they contribute to Indigenous peoples in substantial ways or not.  Until I get a reply that can verify an affirmative, don’t be surprised if you see me at the ex with some out-of-town relatives.

 

The mask of smiles

If I cried here tomorrow
What exactly would you see?
Would you see a pitiful shadow of a man
Fed the pain he ate from his own hand

If I cried here tomorrow
What exactly would you say?
Would you tell me to man the fuck up
And bury that shit away?

Maybe I hide inside, twisted balls of lies
Wanton hurt, ripping apart my sides
But still I try to find the will to survive
Even though the will to live has died.

Would you still remember me
For all my yesterdays
And for the sins I’ve made
Or would you recuse me from
The debts that I have
Since more than repaid

If I died here tomorrow
Would anything ever change
Or would things remain  the same
Would you find someone else to blame

I dont know will happen from this point on
Maybe the joy that has been evading me
Will tell me to move on
Maybe tomorrow I’ll awake
Forever free in the land of dawn

Keep moving on
Keep moving on

Wake up!

(Circa 2007)
Wake up!

Your eyes are open

But they still don’t see!

Mutilated corpses
Amass the graves
Where malicious maidens
Have slewn the many

The songs have
Given away to the ravens
And the sun now
Gives way to the moon

The end doth cometh soon

Mother!  Mother!
Where are the roses
That were promised?

Father! Father!
Where are the joys
That never came,
But are surely missed?

End me now,

And forever remove
yourself from the
interminable wrath
of heartache

death does not end me
only the lack of love

upon loves end,
there are no stars,
no life of any kind

Wake Up!

Stolen Children, Forgotten Elders, Residential School Survivors

(Circa 2012-2013)

I am an urban Indian, some of the time, well at least half of the time. I am a major participant in Oshkimaadziig camp, but in order to pay my bills, and seek out the teachers that I need, I have to travel through urban centres.
I’ve lived in and out of Toronto half of my life. I’ve lived on the skids, I’ve lived in shelters, on friends couches, and roomed with friends and family. I spend a lot of my time wandering the streets, mostly alone, with my headphones on, listening to music and thinking.
Lately I’ve been thinking about our people. Native people that is. I’ve been thinking about my own personal struggle, and as tragic as it has been, it pales in comparison to what our ancestors had to go through. Our ancestors suffered full out massacres, disease, starvation, the “Trail of tears”, and of course the Residential Schools.
But wait, some of our people who went to residential schools are very much alive today. They are our neighbors, they are our cuzzins, uncles, aunties, grandparents etc. Some of them if not all of them have had unimaginable things done to them. Rape, violence, abuse, humiliation, things so fracken terrible, it troubles me to even go into to those dark places. But they did, and they are still alive.
Some of these people are violent, angry people who in turn, have done some very disturbing things to other generations. They too may have raped, tortured, and abused their own families and loved ones. (I too am a victim of sexual assault). But why on earth would they have done such a thing? BECAUSE it was what they were taught, by those raping priests and nuns.
I saw a quote from Jay Mason commented on a picture of young native gangsters that was floating around, and he said “But they are still our kids”. After I saw that comment, it opened up my eyes to what I was blind to before. I criticize everyone for their faults without knowing their story first. (I’m listening to the Elders and am working at correcting this way).

I was walking by the Elders Center (By NCCT) and I remember an encounter that I had last year with a couple of people in there. The people who I talked to, had been through the residential school system, and they seemed perfectly functional, and then I heard them talk. What I heard was so vile, and hateful, that I just wanted out of there. I was too naive to sit there, and listen.
So as I was walking by there again, this time thinking about what our Uncle Jay Mason had said about “them still being our people”, it got me thinking about the loss, of an entire generation(s). And we continue to lose this generation, because we are too unforgiving. We only see the trauma that some of these survivors may have inflicted upon us.
But is that truly our teachings? No. In the past, there would have been some intervention of sorts, healing, reconciliation, recovery and forgiveness. But not today, we point fingers, and we accost them, and say mean things to them, like calling them “apples”. We oppress them, and whats fundamentally worse, we kick them to the curb and forget about them.
If we are truly adamant about healing, then we have to begin to heal ourselves, enough to allow the space for forgiveness. This may take a long time, and there are many many ceremonies, teachings and prayers that can help us along this way.
We can’t move forward, without forgiving the past.
I heard this teaching from a man named Raphael up in Grassy Narrows last year. He said “The Elders are lonely, you have forgoen them. Bring them out from where they are and make them important again.” Granted, many of these Residential school survivors aren’t Elders in the way we think of Elders. But they are still “our people” and they are still children of Creator. They serve as a very important teaching, of what never, ever to do to people, any people. And furthermore, they serve another teaching, that no maer what horrific things are done to you, you can survive!Because that is who we are, we are survivors!
We must now be forgivers.
The Oshkimaadziig people, mentioned in the 7th Fire Prophecy of the Anishinabek, talks about tracing our steps back to the Elders. To learn the teachings of our old ways, to “ensure the survival of humanity in the 8th fire”. Our Residential School Survivors may not be Elders, in the manner of which we envision them. But they are our people, and they are a reminder of an “old way” that should never be forgoen. If we are truly to survive, then we must learn from this, heal from this and be forgivers of this, or history will repeat itself, and we will have to learn this the hard way again.
Healing is a journey. It is a battle ground. It is hard, it is a struggle, and it is a hard work. And it can never be done on our own. Imagine what our survivors must feel like, as we cast them aside. If we are ever to survive the 7th fire, we must learn from our mistakes, and actually live our Grandfather Teachings.
I am just a young one. Still green between my ears in many regards, but these are some of the things I learned on my path. And I have had to learn the hard way.
(Many of you/us are still deeply traumatized by the things that have been inflicted upon us. And many of you/us will not see the full value of what I have said. That is okay, it takes time. Let me share one brief anecdote, I was in a horrible drinking altercation. Someone died, and I was involved. I spent time in jail. I hated myself, I tried killing myself several times but to no avail. I was made to suffer, and learn. It wasn’t until another person who was related to the person who died, forgave me. It was only then, that I was able to start my recovery, and truly begin my healing path. My own experience serves as a reminder, that forgiveness carries equal weight when trying to heal.

Harper is not the problem, he is the symptom of the problem

(Circa 2012-2013)

Harper isn’t the problem. He is a symptom of the problem. The problem is the very idea that that any democracy on Turtle Island, weather in so called Kkkanada Or Amerikkka can ever bring actual change.
No it won’t.
It doesn’t matter if you vote Liberal or NDP. The agenda remains the same. All of the these political parties enforce the rule of law and maintain the status quo. For Anishinabek/Haundenosaunee people’s, that has always meant the extinguishment of us completely. Full stop. This rule of law is created so that the rich and the powerful maintain their rich and powerfulness. It is based on class division, misogyny, white male privilege, racism, etc., etc., etc.
Now that hard economic times have come down, (not just to Native folks) but all people including “poor white people”, you would think Harper was the worst thing to ever happen in the free and democratic world known as Kkkanada. The truth of the maer is, is that none of the previous governments have ever instilled or upheld anything remotely resembling freedom or democracy.
Did any of the Liberal Government’s have any lasting change for us Natives? Was there ever an end to the Indian Act? Was there ever an end to murdered and missing women? Did any of them ever uphold the Geneva article of Genocide? The answer is no.
None of them will or ever will. Doing so would bring about the entire collapse of the genocidal empire they have built.
The fact that modern times have now effected everyone including poor white people should come as no surprise. Resources are drying up. The end of monopoly capitalism is nearing an end. There is a desperation among the rich to capitalize on the last remaining resources left.
The change that people should be looking for, is a change in they way we govern ourselves. And no, Native Self Government as set out by the oppressor nation won’t work. Its a neocolonial system meant to perpetuate our final assimilation.

The change people want and need, is right here. Its always been right here. But that change means a complete shift in the way things are done around here. That means we would have to collectively lose all of our material wealth, privileges and comforts. And for the majority of people including Native people, no one is really prepared to give that up.
Hell even I like to play video games and watch DVD movies. But if there was an opportunity to give all that up for a beer way, hell I’d do it in a heart beat.
Wait…aren’t I already involved with something like that?
This is my morning coffee thought.