Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Champ Is Here

I wasn't always known as Dubya. Once upon a time I was known as "The Champ." Even though I was a mediocre soccer player, my Dad was always a fixture on the sidelines cheering as me and my teammates buzzed around the ball like a swarm of bees. Over the years I have also been known as Cliffy, Jiggs, Jiggsbert, Junior, J.R. and Reddog, but there is a new Champ in town. I became an uncle for the first time, last Thursday, August 25th just before 10 pm when my sister gave birth to Kashus Cedar. Two days after he was born I overheard my Dad say he was going to see the Champ. I smiled as I had realized that I was no longer the Champ and that it was indeed time to pass the torch. I have happily relinquished one title in favour of another: Nuhyiiksuu (Uncle).

I have been thinking about the importance and role of family in the resurgence of our Indigenous communities for some time but I think I needed the recent addition of Kashus to our family to provide more clarity. All of a sudden I have another very compelling reason to take care of myself; physically, mentally, culturally and spiritually. Kashus will grow up in the world we leave behind, and more specifically with the opportunities and challenges we leave for him as a family and community. I am not a parent yet myself but being a new uncle brings me another step closer to appreciating the extent of my responsibilities as an Indigenous man.

I held Kashus in my arms when he was about 11 hours old. He's so tiny and having never held such a young baby before I handled him with a mixture of fear, gentleness and wonder. The day after he was born I went to the hospital to visit along with my paternal grandmother. When my sister, brother-in-law and baby returned home on Monday, great-grandpa Allan came to visit. Seeing both great-grandparents hold my new nephew was truly a moving experience. I began to appreciate the importance of a strong connection between the generations and I realized that the revolution we seek will take much longer than anticipated. I was not discouraged by this realization, instead I was encouraged by the fact that we will go on, each of us playing our small part in the revitalization of our selves, families, houses and nations.

I still have a lot more thinking to do and family to raise but I know that in fulfilling my responsibility as a leader in my community, my work starts at home, building a healthy home and remaining connected to the generations past, present and future.

Viva la revolucion! Viva Kashus!


At 4:13 PM, Blogger islandscribe said...

You big softie. Nice posting. Keep it up Bullhead (you neglected to list that as a nickname!)
In Solidarity

At 1:08 PM, Blogger JEM abroad said...

Ca te va bien ! Il te donne envie ? Il est si beau ! Il a beaucoup plus de cheveaux que Milla. Le bonheur !

I too find that even though you don't know whether to bring a whole 'nother person into this world of GW Bushes and assholes akin, where capitalism prevails and the poor take on more and more loans to live up to the "dubois'," it is perhaps this new person who is going to make the system fall (or at least, start a crack in the foundations) - you have to take the chance on life and believe.

Indeed your idea of family in the continuance of a story, a person's history, and life itself becomes so apparant when you look into the eyes of a newborn. Without the baby having yet been "socialised" there is a genetic past and future which is so strong and links us to both.

Congrats! J


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