Wednesday, January 11, 2006

2 months salary...

That is what a man is supposed to spend on a diamond engagement ring these days. Are you kidding me? I did have an ex girlfriend that was pretty serious about that too. Thankfully, we never got engaged and well, that I wasn't making that much at the time. I'm not making much now either, but still.

Someday, I hope to find a wife who: a. Is cool with a strictly Indigenous ceremony (breathing life and legitimacy back into our ways) and b. Would rather we spend that money on travelling (as contientiously as possible) and meeting other Indigenous people, learning and sharing experiences. Any wagers on my chances? Should I give up and prepare for a monastic life of crime-fighting?

I was inspired to share a few thoughts on this issue after having read the post of another blogger, Stacy and this Econ-Atrocity Bulletin on "Ten Reasons Why You Should Never Accept a Diamond Ring from Anyone, Under Any Circumstances, Even If They Really Want to Give You One." I scooped the picture from the IGOV wesbite, although I forgot exactly where.

I also discovered, not suprisingly, that Indigenous people here are getting in on the act of exploiting not only themselves, their lands but others around the world as well. I have not yet conducted exhaustive research but I encourage you to look into it for yourself and if you have questions or concerns here are some Nations who are getting in on the bling that you can contact:

Yellowknives Dene First Nation
Dogrib Treaty 11 Council (Tli Cho Government)
Lutsel K'e Dene Council
North Slave Métis Alliance


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Comandanta Ramona

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, January 6th 2006. - The woman who had the command of the taking of the city of San Cristobal on the 1st of
January 1994, died this morning 6th of January 2006.

The news of the death of Comandanta Ramona was broken at the Otra Campaa meeting in Tonal, Chiapas, where the Delegado Zero was participating. Since 1994 she was suffering from a terminal disease. In 1995, she had a kidney transplant operation and with that she stole another 10 years from death. This morning she awoke in a delicate state and she died when she was brought to San Cristobal (Trans note: the original spanish says she "ceased to exist", but of course it would be nonsense to put it like that in english)

Comandanta Ramona, a tiny indigenous woman, commanded the strategy of the taking of San Cristbal de Las Casas, Chiapas during the armed uprising of the 1st of January 1994. She was a woman who gave her life for the struggle of her people, and who despite her delicate state of health, was always present.

The last time she was seen in public was the 16th of September 2005, in the plenary meeting of the preparations for the "Other Campaign", in the Caracol of La Garrucha, Municipality F. Gomez.

In giving the news, Delegado Zero announced the suspension for 2 days of the programmed "Other Campaign" tour, and the return of the delegation to the Caracol of Oventic, in order to be present at the funeral of this great woman, Comandanta Ramona.

A poem by Zach De la Rocha about Comandanta Ramona:

"...but Ramona -
with eyes of Obsidion,
peering thru her blood and sweat drenched mask


changing direction with the swiftness of a bird
thru the shanties of the canyon

with every Coyote
every Insect
every phylum of Life -

urging her

Propelling her forward

the leaves and branches of the forest
part for miles
clearing her path

the voices and screams of the dead beneath her feet
echo beneath the deepest chasm of her soul
Hurling her toward the city

Surging thru her Veins
Pulsing thru her fingers
hurling her toward the city

she carresses her trigger
and the words of Magon fulfill her being

and with each shot she fires
she affirms her movement

Saying -




Monday, January 09, 2006

Why I Don't Vote 2.0

1. To cause to continue indefinitely; make perpetual, as in "perpetuate a myth."

It is not uncommon for non-Indigenous politicians to covet the Aboriginal vote. It is no longer uncommon for happy Aboriginals to encourage other Aboriginals to vote. Heck, they even have their own party now. I still maintain that voting in settler elections is not only a waste of a good Indigenous person's time, it serves only to perpetuate the corrupt myth of Canadian legitimacy on Indigenous lands. I still encounter my share blank faces when I make such statements. Let me take another crack at it and see if I can't win you over.

Many of you may have seen One Dead Indian on TV last week. Although I did not catch it (I even own the book which I have yet to read), a review did catch my eye. The review, titled, "Movie takes sides in deadly standoff" was written by Steve Tilley of the Ottawa Sun. For me, one line stood out amongst all others: "Based on Peter Edwards' book of the same name, One Dead Indian is firmly on the side of the Stoney Point Band members and it doesn't try to look at the larger ongoing issue of illegal land occupation by Native protesters."

Journalism 101: Writing about the locals
"First Nations" are happy, singing folk.
"Natives" are angry and often break the law.
"Aboriginals" get lots of money.
"Indians" only seem to appear in the National Post and Fraser Institute publications (Interestingly, the term now seems to offend Aboriginals and their friends but does not seem to perturb Indigenous people too much anymore)

As you may have guessed I take exception to Tilley's assertion that "illegal land occupation by Native protesters" is a larger ongoing issue that is somehow being ignored here. My contention is of course, that the larger ongoing issue is the illegal ongoing occupation of Indigenous lands by illegitimate settler governments, their citizens, police and military. Tilley of course is merely acting upon the myth that Canada is some bastion of freedom and justice void of any colonial past or present.

This view is so pervasive that most people don't even question it any more. Indigenous culture and language and institutions belong in the museum. Even our own people have come to accept this myth. In fact we perpetuate it by acknowledging, willing now it seems, through our actions of going to court, voting, running for colonial office and every other action that recognizes the Canadian government. We ignore our own institutions, our own Indigenous governance structures. I mean "we" in the collective sense. There are pockets of resistance and hope but they are sparse.

Many of us are taught that to not vote is an act of inaction, apathy, unproductive and negative. Many of us are taught that to criticize is wrong, to think critically is wrong, to question the general direction and wisdom of our current crop of Aboriginal leaders is wrong. To be clear, I have never advocated for or promoted senseless or malicious criticism. We seem to be taught that the only logical voice of change is the one currently being encouraged by the AFN and other similar institutions. I disagree.

I will take the time to encourage anyone to not participate in the settler elections that seem to drive our people crazy for 6 weeks and then leave us standing at the alter of good intentions, alone again. Not voting is an important first step. What you do with that energy is an even more important second step. Sit with your elders. Learn your language. Revive and adapt your own traditions, teachings and stories. Breathe life into your Indigenous ways and ignore the myths that serve only to keep our people down.

If you must vote, vote for Pedro.