..and when the sun rises again tomorrow, we'll see how far we've come ...

..and when the sun rises again tomorrow, we'll see how far we've come ...

... just to remind myself why I'm doing this ...

Depending on our personalities, the world can be a crowded place or a very lonely one. For those who seek comfort in numbers, there is no shortage of hangers on, but for those who avoid that circus, keeping thier own counsel can leave them feeling quite alone and disengaged from the mad place we call home. Life is a trade off and most of us choose how we live it.

For me, I'd rather work things out as best I can, using my own thoughts and feelings to sort things out. Following the crowd has never been a temptation to me, but that has its price, one that I'm totally comfortable with every day I get to stand up and be the person I aspire to be. When I sometimes lose track of who that is, I come here to remember, to reconnect and to resume my quest.

These posts are a reflection of some of what matters to me and it's a privilege to have the opportunity to collect these thoughts as they form in my head, as they prepare the way for my life, as it evolves from one day to the next. They re-inspire me when things seem to be floating about, with no particular aim or purpose, and it does happen from time to time.

So, today I had these thoughts that I think are worth writing down for the future me to look back on when I need to ...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

and now, a first step in a better direction...

...just a quick note - today's schedule is likely to include an announcement by Chief Spence that her sideshow is being wound up (basically for a lack of originally stated results) and another announcement that Chief Atleo is returning to the helm of the native "trojan horse" after his brief hiatus.

It seems that Spence's self-victimization was somewhat successful in diverting well-deserved criticism for a stint of very suspicious financial management of federally supplied funds for her community. The people of Attawapiskat now need to ask HER for a proper accounting of those funds, to come to a decision on what they may want to do from here on. SHE has the answers and for now SHE has the power to make changes that her people have a right to expect. Spence should actually be the "poster-chief" for what has to change as far as native issues are concerned. SHE has to demonstrate ACCOUNTABILITY and re-purposed LEADERSHIP to begin the modernization of the native renaissance which the Idle-no-more movement seeks.

Unless this is the most important outcome of her efforts, nothing can ever change for the better, and for the native population as a whole.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

the natives are restless and without a plan, ...again

The following is my response to a post on the Cobourg Blog at http://cobourginternet.ca/wp/ 

"So far, it seems to me that the crux of this matter comes down to the belief among the vocal contingent of the native population, that they are indeed special. That belief stems from their contention that they are a distinct “nation”, perhaps within “another nation”, but still, distinct from it. As such, it is not surprising to note that they do not feel to be under the authority of that “other nation” or its laws for that matter. That may explain their disregard for what the other nation deems to hold as “peace, law and order” and consequently, it will be nigh impossible to enforce what the other nation considers to be basic law of its land.

In this context, it would seem close to impossible to achieve any resolution that satisfies “the other nation”, being the rest of Canada. If a solution is possible within the framework of beliefs of the “first nations” as they call themselves, it will mean a radical change in either their beliefs or the concept of the scope of privileges to which the “first nations” might have a legitimate (as far as the “other nation” is concerned) claim. It is quite apparent that failing any such compromises, there will be no resolutions possible, and the eventual outcomes may be the extremes of deliberate violent acts or once again the deferral of any further discussions to some time in the future, which has, up to now, been the imposed one. One thing is for sure – the native population is no more united or homogeneous in its purpose(s) than any other population of any identifiable political persuasion. That makes the task of achieving any sort of compromise truly impossible. With that prospect looming, deferral appears to be the only likely outcome and that would leave a very bitter taste in the minds of those who declare themselves the aggrieved." (end of response)

From where I find myself observing this political storm, it is pretty clear that the police have, at this time, little appetite for becoming involved in any direct confrontation with the natives who are spearheading this series of "actions". I also think that they are in dereliction of their duty to maintain order when it is in danger of imminent collapse. I think that collapse is imminent. I think that the natives who plan and deliver the series of actions we are experiencing, do so with the express intent of raising the stakes enough to bring about a confrontation. To do so would, in their minds, provide them with yet another perceived indignation and rejection of their plight for understanding and acceptance of their belief that they are apart from the rest of the country's population, which I do not accept as correct. Without a "crisis" to force some real-time reaction by the authority they mean to discredit, they have no hope of achieving anything that they are seeking at this point.

The O.P.P. Commissioner has publicly stated that they are doing their job, the one of "keeping the peace and maintaining order". Few would see it that way, given the disorder that the native actions produce. While presently the "peace" may be tenuous at best, it is unlikely to remain as such for much longer. Keeping or maintaining is far less difficult than "restoring" it, and that's what the O.P.P. will face if they don't soon engage the the activism that is hell-bent on disrupting the normal course of daily lives and business. One has to ask the question "What would the O.P.P. do if any similarly charged group of people organized under some banner of political, social, economic or even religious nature were to engage in tactics that mirrored the native actions?" In my opinion, they would move quickly to warn them of the illegal nature of their activities and likely in short order arrest transgressors if they persisted. While that's an opinion, it's guided by evidence of their reactions in the past. This kind of duality of response, if it is in fact so, does more to inflame the situation than defuse it.

Judging by the events over the past two months, and the ambivalence and confusion that characterizes the native actions up to now, it is pretty safe to say that no one has any clear idea of where this is going or where it will come to a rest, until the next round of course. There can be no solution to an undefined problem, and that's what we have at this point. Chief Spence is looking for some sort of escape from her situation, one that does not brand her as a failure in the eyes of her supporters. I don't think that her supporters are all of the same mind on this so it's hard for her to achieve a resolution that will satisfy all of them to the extent that she does not look like that failure to some of them. It doesn't help her at all that the more information we get about her own circumstances vs those of her community, the more her culpability seems to expand and thus damage her own reputation. That reduces the chance for a strategic withdrawal as every week passes. Unfortunately, in the end, Attawapiskat will suffer more than she will, something that has not been of a great concern for her so far.

It's all well and good that we can have our individual opinions on matters such as this, but what about our ideas for achieving solutions?

My thoughts are pretty straight forward, and some might say naive. When the path becomes so convoluted, start over. The world was a far different place when the current arrangements were established. One of the cornerstones of these arrangements was the native right to conduct their lives according to their past ways, their prevailing "way of life" as they had been taught for many generations. To that end, reservations were set aside to allow this to be so without outside pressures and influences. It also meant "hands off" to the rest of the world around them. Cultures are based on uniqueness of beliefs and behaviours and will always clash if an attempt is made to cohabit the same spaces. A "way of life" needs room and buffers to flourish. Over time, there has been much interweaving of cultures here in North America and any attempt to restore a way of life to its past identity has been and will be an ultimate failure. Like it or not, things change, and ways of life change with time. The native mantra is about their past "way of life" and to me, that's at best, a memory and for some, a bad one at that. They have adopted, while living "the dream", too many of the changes that time has wrought on the world we inhabit together. They may not officially embrace or even want to accept that reality but it is just that, the reality they now live. Cadilac escalades have nothing to do with their cherished "way of life", and neither do fishing boats with 120 HP motors that run on gasoline, ore rifles that shoot the white man's ammunition. If spirituality is the theme, that has also changed for the rest of the world. Witness the strife in some parts of the world today, and so much of it is centred on "beliefs" and the clash of conflicting ones, which they all do, they all conflict. Look at the violence that is the main tool of those wishing to hold back the changes that inevitably will prevail. As change steadily and endlessly moves over the world, resistance to it becomes ever more violent yet achieves no more success than it ever has achieved. All this to say that the "way of life" mantra is ultimately a futile and destructive one. As long as efforts are directed to attempts at sustaining it there can be no viable progress in raising the standard of living by the native population or trying to do it with them or even for them (by providing endless financial support).

BUT, I think the present "activism", while it seems genuine in its origin within the general native population, is using that individual commitment by people who want to make things better, is essentially being used as a tool by the select few who have their eye on a much more lucrative prize, natural resources and the vast fortunes they promise. The funny thing is, all those riches really don't have a lot of significance in the effort to maintaining the ideals that underscore the "way of life" they want to sustain. Those riches will only enhance those aspects of their lives that are the product of the changes they scorn yet quietly adopt. I repeat, this is ultimately about wealth, financial wealth, and not about a "way of life". In the absence of honesty about that, nothing will be achieved in the efforts of the people to protect their culture from inevitable and unstoppable changes. So, in my opinion, the successful solutions, yes, there needs to be several, for the prevailing realities will be achieved by being honest about the issues and prioritizing them by their significance to the native culture, which must first come to grips with and embrace the world as it is today. The successful solutions will also prepare for the world to come, both out here and within the native environment, whatever they perceive that to be as time marches on. I won't indulge in proposing solutions until I'm fully aware of the true and honest objective, which I do not accept as being on the table here, yet. That has to be the first achievement on the way to a set of solutions that work today, and have the capacity to be updated as the future demands it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

a monumental milestone in our life...

I am a Grandfather!

our sweetheart is "Betty", and one of the most wonderful things to come along in this great life. To anyone without grandchildren, it's probably no big deal BUT when that changes, a bell rings and another whole part of you wakes up to welcome such a fantastic addition to the family. The feelings that come with it are so unique and beyond common description.

It is truly a miracle of many facets. Amazing!