Saturday, July 23

beyond anti-racism

hi readers and thinkers and humans

it's been a while
and i've been thinking lots
and i read this great book by Martin Prechtel
The disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun

and i read news articles about missing people and found bodies
of black men being shot by police, and police being shot by black men
and i've been picking berries and thinking about human relationship with land
and processing salmon and feeling my relationship with land
and gardening

and how we give race such importance
compared to the ways we conduct ourselves
in our relationship with life

isn't how we relate to Life, what is important,
rather than the skin we're born into
and these beautiful bodies entrusted to us through birth

Martin Prechtel writes
 (p. 120)
 The people I was raised with on the reservation were not my blood relatives, and yet my own background had a home alongside thousands of indigenous Pueblo people. I learned early on that conformation to a race or a particular ancestry did not make a person indigenous. Though there are tribes, bands and villages of Native people all over the world who are closer to their Indigenous Souls than the mounting masses of people who have no idea of what that means, it is not the racial ancestry of these Indigenous people that make them indigenous. This insistence on making Indigenousity and Race the same thing is a stigma of people who have recently lost or anciently forgotten their relationship with the ground they stand on. Like the original Indian reservations, this stigma is designed to keep the indegenousity of modern people hidden like a refugee deep inside the landscape of their own Earth Bodies, far from the epicenters of their everyday consciousness, thereby avoiding the discomfort of the nagging feeling of grief about that loss.
 This theme of belonging and notion that as humans we belonging to this larger thing called Life through our breath, creativity, defecation and digestion of the physical gods that surround us disguised as plants, animals, water, and minerals, reminds me of hearing scholar and traditional knowledge keeper Dan Longboat inviting a room full of non-native academics to live on this land as if it is there's, because the solution to the contemporary ecological and social stresses requires all of us to be part of the solutions.

The term indigenous is not an indigenous English word, but has a rather nice Latin ancestry whose parts Inde and genous anciently signify "inside" and "born," respectively. Over time it has come to mean similarly "native to place."
So, indigenousity must refer to a person, plant, animal or thing who "belongs" to a place, something that is at home.
What is almost always erroneously translated from Tzutujil Maya into English as the verb is [to be] corresponds more correctly to the word Ruqan meaning "carries" or Ruxin, "belongs to." 
Where as in English we might say, "That is how those people are," in Mayan we could only translate that sentence as Ruxin wa ja vinaq, which actually means, "It belongs to those people." When an American settler says, "this is my land, this land is mine," a Mayan would end up having to put it Javra uleu rugan cavinnaq joj, ruxin joj ja uleu, which comes out as "This soil carries my people, we belong to this land."
This phrase "This soil carries my people, we belong to this land" inspires me to continue engaging closely with the food, transportation, clothing, heat, etc... of my life - as through the active participation in meeting my, and my families, needs comes the opportunities to be sensitized and humbled by the larger Life that sustains this little life of mine - so that through my living I am a benefit to the beauty that is - and that you too become a warrior for beauty as expressed by this flowering jewel that is the earth - regardless of our race, let our actions represent our selves as expressions of Life. And in this way, through service to Life, we can transcend anti-racism by breathing life into what Martin Prechtel describes as our Indigenous Soul, that part of each of us that is hungry to be in love and grief with Life.



Friday, January 22

Dear caregiver (social worker)

Dear Aunty, Caregiver (social Worker)

Our children are a gift, parenting them is our sacred responsibility. They are our connection to our future and our past.

Our knowledge is ancient and we know the path our children must take. Humble yourself to the larger story you have become a part of. The answers and resources our children need stem from our past, present and all of our relations.

We are central to our children's culture, well-being, health and spirit. Nurturing their needs, expression of self, dreams and future.

We are resilient. We are parents. We are knowledge holders. We are courageous. We are aunties, uncles, grandmas, grandpas. We are children.

Hear our voices, receive our teachings and value our strength. Be respectful of our path. We are healing. We are teaching, we are emerging as survivors of genocide. Witness the resurgence of nations. Celebrate, honour, and behold our children.

- Written Jan 2016 with a group of Social Workers during Delegation Training with Indigenous Perspectives Society

Sunday, December 13

using film to shape thought

A friend recently put a poem to music as part of a fundraising album to support First Nation assertions of rights and title over their lands. I decided to put some simple video images to the words in order to submit it to our regional Skeena Wild Film Fest - in which hundreds of people watched it on the big screen - and was voted 3rd best short film.

I find this poem to inspire a pattern of thought that transcends the pro-capitalist growth-industry vs. enviro-sustainability dichotomy by inviting the listener/viewer to examine their own assumptions and biases - as evidenced by the material waste accrued by our lifestyles that witness our continued behavioral choices.

if this is all to wordy for you, watch the video for yourself.


Tuesday, November 17

storied food

stories become prayerswhen we eat the storied food

and know the garden that the beets are from
the hands that planted the seed and
those that saved the seed

and know the fish's stories of nets and hooks
the deer's fate and the tired hands that brought it home

...

it's only since industrialization
that we've become isolated and our prayers necessarily anonymized
to give thanks to those who've prepared this food is to forget those people

so let's define local in social and spiritual terms - of experience -
so that our prayers can be expressed as stories once more

as we know our food we become more able to know the land
and with that embodied knowledge we become more ready
for our own death, knowing that throughout our embodied life
we consume the land
and in death, the land consumes these bodies

Thursday, October 1

an opportunity for political action

Politics doesn't exist - it's not a thing - but rather a word that describes the decision making.
Who makes the decisions for whom.

Currently I live in an economically/ecologically unique place where salmon swim upriver every year in the millions to spawn, and the babies hatch and swim downstream in the hundreds of millions heading out to the ocean.

There are people who have lived at this place where the Skeena meets the Pacific ocean for 1000's of years. I have come to understand that there are hereditary names that chiefs carry that have been carried by many many people before them. These chiefs are ordinary people like you and me, who have jobs and families and live their lives, AND who have been born into large responsibilities to their people and the land.

If you feel frustrated by the hyper industrialization of the remaining wild places on the planet, this is a good way to support the people living their traditional responsibilities to the unique place called Lax U'u'la

There is a provincial and federal government driven to industrialize this place in the face of global climate change with the help of a very questionable malaysian company called petronas - It is fair to describe this as a violent politic, that those from away are making decisions that directly affect thousands here who live intimately with this place.

I have a friend taking people and supplies down. Please email transfer money straight to the family at (( lelu_island@hotmail.com )) to pass on. or donate via the online fundraising page Again, these are people who are taking time from their own paid work, using their own money to put gas in their boats and build structures on their traditional territories. Please consider setting a couple hours or a days wage and supporting these great folks. The sentiment again and again I hear is that 'we are doing this for us all, it's time to change the way we relate with the earth and each other'.

This LNG terminal and pipeline and fracking fields is just one symptom of a much larger problem. and this requires we work together to change the systems that put us at odds with the most sacred, the places that we live and that sustain us. We need to think bigger about how we can use less and live more

One of the best ways that you can help place based decisions made in hereditary systems - intact, but under tremendous pressures - is by helping people put gas in their boats and roofs on the cabins.

There is no politic if the salmon aren't swimming to the ocean as smolts and returning to spawn. I think it's all time for us to realize we all need to return to home and find the sacred in the places we live.

Thursday, November 13

daily questions

life has slowed enough that I enjoy my mornings
and as such
I've begun asking myself new questions

what would a good day look like today?

and my imagination wanders
into all the ways that I desire my day to be
and

what can I do to make today that way?

allows me the insight into
my locus of control
those things within my means
to create, just for today, the life
I have reason to live

Saturday, April 26

thoughts on resistance and human-ness

Resistance towards destructive industrial projects is most effective when considered an actualization of human responsibility. The story told by media (industrial society) splits resistance into racial groups of 'First Nations' and 'Settler peoples' that are usually described as 'Environmentalists' and 'Terrorists'.

But here we stand, together, in a Responsibility forgotten/suppressed by those designing and guiding projects adverse to human and ecological well being.

This Resistance to socially and ecologically disruptive projects that further concentrate wealth and power while degrading the places that we live in nuanced terms. Decentralized power is possible when diverse peoples work from their unique places (ie. the goal is not to 'become one/the same') creating poly-politic. That is, a politic suspended within and between a diversity of peoples organizing from a shared human responsibility to maintain the ecosystems that support our life, and to nurture this world to become better for those yet to come.

here is a short video showing what this can look like on the ground from Friday April 25th 2014
http://vimeo.com/92986130

It is my experience that neither Aboriginal or Settler communities share homogenous political views. Resistance transcends race and becomes the friction between (1) a worldview of profit motivated by greed and (2) a worldview of meaningful work, stewardship of place, and enjoyment of life.

A common argument seems to be 'well what about jobs? do you expect us to all live on welfare?'

I acknowledge that I experience privilege, however we're not stopping at resisting pipelines and mines. These individual projects are symptoms of the dominant political/financial systems that profit from human suffering and environmental degradation. The goal is not to return to a past, but to move from where we are towards systems that reward human and ecological well being. A society positioned to create thriving places.

The lifeline of the pipelines, from fracked aquifers, transportation, liquidification, and eventual consumption are symptomatic of a profit driven worldview at odds with the good life that people in this area know. My hope is that articulating the over arching project of cultural change - from profit at the expense of people and place to responsibility for people and place - we are better able to actualize the joy of being alive as we resist the archaic profit driven way of being at odds with our social and ecological communities.

In this one life that we have - let us live joy and responsibility. We have all been born into a human responsibility for this world we will leave to those yet unborn. May our resistance to the immediate industrial threats to place inoculate ourselves, our communities towards creating systems that support, maintain, and deepen the good life where we are able to live out our existence on the land in the best ways that we know.

there are many opportunities to come out on the land. It's beautiful out here!!
Here are links to background video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5x6k5yvq5k

and action camp
http://unistotencamp.com/

Contact me for details