Monday, August 13, 2012

Respect is a dying word, but it will not die with me

What happened to caring for our families first?
When did our red road get covered in blacktop?
Why are we raising children to be spoiled kids into their 30s and 40s?
Who are the people that decided this world we have now, is the one we should have?
How do we start making changes?

Respect, seven little letters that turn our warriors to whiny children and our women to weak willed wimps.
We seem to have traded our backbones and spirit, for shiny new pieces of strings, just like the crows flying to shiny objects to make their nests more desirable.
How did 'things' become more desirable than traits?

We need to go back to respecting ourselves, our family and our paths.
And while it brings me sorrow to say, just because someone is old, does not make them an elder.  We are recovering from a hundred plus years of broken spirits.  We may not always be able to go have the Elders we need to guide our way, which just makes it ever so much more important that every day we ensure our steps lead us to goodness and honour, instead of to easy and shiny.

Respect who you are, discover who you wish to be and every day start working towards that goal.
I will respect myself, my family, and my duty. Will you?
Respect is a dying word, a dying life choice, but it will not die with me.  I will live with respect, honour and courage, and hopefully share that type of life with others who will choose to walk the good road. It might not be an easy path, it will probably be an incredible difficult uphill battle some days, but isn't the view on top of the mountain always worth it?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

This Is My Voice

By Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long

This is my voice, there are many like it, but this one is mine.
and it’s a fine line when you’re trying to define the finer points of politics
politics being a latin word
“poli” meaning many
“tics” meaning blood sucking butt lumps
you see too many live in countries where it’s bullets instead of ballots
where gavels fall like mallets when held in the hands of those whose judgments
can be bought as easily as children can be taught to covet
and the only ones willing to speak up are forced to live so far beneath the radar
that the underground is considered above it

this is for the Ho Ci Min’s and the Michael Collins.
for the Marquis de Sades and the muted gods.
This is my voice, there are many like it, but this one is mine.


we’re not always right, but we’ve got the right to be wrong.
we’re not always free, so this is just a short story long.

this is my voice, there are many like it, but this one is mine.
and this time it’s for the sons and daughters
who watch their mothers and fathers drown in shallow waters while
panning for the “American dream” in the polluted creek called the mainstream.
This is for the homeless people sleeping on steam vents,
making makeshift tents out of cardboard and old trash,
trying to catch 40 winks in between the crash of car wrecks
risking their necks by surviving another day so that they can starve
so that famine can carve their body into a corpse before their heart stops beating
so that men in a boardroom meeting
can make it harder for them to get welfare, health care,
it’s no wonder some of them pawn off their own wheelchair
and every time I walk ‘em by, I can’t help but feel at fault,
that maybe I didn’t search myself hard enough
for the control alt “s” so that I could save the world.

Or at least this little girl curled up into a ball
I’ve spent most of my life throwing compassion back like a fish that’s too small.
Gotta cash in my reality checks. drop her some spare fantasies
cause I’ve got three separate degrees from different universities,
but the most valuable thing I ever learned
was to believe people when they say “Please.”

This is my voice, there are many like it, but this one is mine.


We’re not always right, but we’ve got the right to be wrong.
We’re not always free, so this is just a short story long

You ever been real, been reamed out, picked on, put down, ever been ever been rowdy at the sound when your own heart breaks, not to take the time, to take the time. listen.
ever been seen and not heard, you ever blurred the lines for those who tried to find some way to define what you are, as if you were far from them, at least at the heart of them its more than a part of them.
you ever been told you’re too young or too old, and there’s always that line when you’re willing to walk by, and you gotta receive and then beat the deadlines. so don’t try to define us cause this time we’ re fine. so don’t try to define us cause this time we’re fine. so don’t try to define us cause this time we’ re fine. We’re pissed and we’re loud and now you know why.


We’re not always right, but we’ve got the right to be wrong.
We’re not always free, so this is just a short story long

Don’t tell me there are no heroes. This is for them, the women and the men.
For Helen Keller who against all odds found a voice.
For the choice Veronica Guerin made.
For Martin Luther King who stayed just long enough to share a dream with us.
This is for that day on the bus for sister Rosa Parks.
This for the Joan of Arcs who believe even in the face of sparks becoming flame.
The political game that Louis Riel refused to play.
This is for the day the Dalai Lama finally goes home.
For Dr. Jeffrey Wigand who alone stared down big tobacco.
For Nelson Mandela who continues to go the extra mile.
This is for the trial that finally found a man guilty of shooting Medger Evers dead.
This is for everything Malcolm X said,
remembered by athletes who left the Olympics double-fisted.
For Arthur Miller, blacklisted for calling a witch hunt what it was.
For Galileo locked up because he said the earth was round.

For the Two Live crew who found the sound that got them banned in the USA.
And imagine if we could still hear John Lennon play.
This is for the someone who stood up today and said, “No!”.
For Edward R. Murrow who shut down McCarthy.
For Salmon Rushdie, Mahatma Ghandi,
You, me, this city, this country.
We will always have a choice.
When you stand up to be counted.

Tell the world, “This is my voice, There are many like it, but this one is mine

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Half Breeds = Twice the work?

As a thirty something woman I am finding I now have the confidence to feel comfortable embracing both the native, and non-native side of my heritage. I find both backgrounds showcase the best of me. The Scottish and Native sides are amazing, vibrant, strong cultures and by extension people.

I am comfortable entering a boardroom and negotiating with a bunch of suits, and I am comfortable pulling out my button blanket and dancing in the big house.

This did not happen over night, and I have had to face much discrimination from both sides. Growing up I was to white looking to fit in on the Rez, and in school I was informed that being 'slow' was what happens when your native. Of course the fact I wasn't slow and a good student did nothing to dispel this 'slow native' image teachers and administrators saw.

As a parent, I want to protect my daughter from what I went through, but I also want her to have the strength of character to fight the stupid people out there. If I could somehow give her the confidence I have now, without the troubles I would be happy.

I feel some days that I am still raising myself, so I worry about how skilled I am at raising her.

When I was at university, I was taken out of my classes I signed up for an put into "library skills", "English for non-English speaker" etc. I have an IQ of 136, and was on the honour roll in public school. When I went to get this 'oversight' fixed, the registrar clerk very sweetly, and with great sympathy, patted my arm and said "It's not your fault hon, your whole race is slow".
As a teenager this was shocking, and horrific to face. I think about how I would react to someone saying this to my daughter, and I wonder if I should start a savings account to be able to post my own bail.

I wonder how we raise our children to be stronger then ourselves, and still protect or train them to deal with the horrors?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Parental Ponderings

So a lot of my time lately has been spent on trying to raise my daughter, thinking about raising my daughter, worrying about raising my daughter.
I am lucky enough to have a beautiful, intelligent, amazing young woman whom I love so much, and am daily thankful for the opportunity to help raise her.
But, have you ever stopped to wonder how its going. There is so much we need to teach our kids, so they can make smart choices, make their beds, make their lives, and we have to give them tools.
Tonight though, I was wondering, when do we teach them to jump? That sometimes its okay to make the stupid choice, to follow that boy to Europe, or spend all your money on a painting or trip instead of on your bills. Yes, we have to teach them the responsibility. But there is so much more then that.
I want my daughter to not be afraid of the world, I want her to embrace it, and see it all, taste life.
Its amazing how much becoming a parent changes you. I have a good life, I want her to have a great life.

Monday, March 22, 2010

State of emergency declared in 10 First Nations in Manitoba

With winter wanning across the country, Manitoba's northren Indigenous population is calling for help.

Winter roads that include driving across frozen lakes have be shut down much earlier this year. These winter roads provide drivable access to otherwise cut off reservations. Large semi-trucks bring in the years worth of supply during the short months the roads are open. Fuel, water, food are all now in short and rapidly diminishing supply.

The government is trying to coordinate air drops of supplies to these ten reserves, but will it be enough?

With global warming becoming more evident each year, how do we work to prevent this from happening next year?

visit for more information about this situtation

BC Government Indigenous Internships for Youth

Below is a notice I received for the 2010/2011 Indigenous Internships with the BC Government. I firmly believe the best way to fight government is to learn how it works from within. Find the pieces that need to be fixed, and fix them. A nine month job within the BC government would enable people to see how government works. Most people in the government are there to do good, but sometimes they need to be shaken up a little.
I think an influx of Indigenous youth would be a great thing to see in the BC provincial Government.

BC’s Public Service’s

Aboriginal Youth Internship Program


Our Intern Job Posting is now up for the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program, 2010/11 program year. Deadline to apply is Friday, May 14, 2010.

The Aboriginal Youth Internship program offers an innovative, 12 month paid internship program ($1,564.13 Bi-weekly) that is culturally responsive and supported. Successful candidates will work for 9 months in a government Ministry followed by 3 months in a selected Aboriginal organization. Program starts September 07, 2010 and runs to August 26, 2011.

As an Aboriginal Youth Intern, you will learn many aspects of public service and provincial government processes, participate in workshops/events across the province, develop your leadership and professional skills, develop strong research & cohort bonds, and create a path for your future career development. You will also have an opportunity to help build the New Relationship and make positive differences for Aboriginal people and communities across the province.

Some of the exciting areas you may be working in include: Ministry specific Aboriginal projects and work assignments; program development; policy analysis and development; youth engagement; Aboriginal community liaison; event and conference coordination; project management; communications; community needs assessment; framework and strategy development, etc. You will also learn about provincial government political, legislative, and budget processes. We have a variety of placements available in several Ministries across the province.

We're looking for youth who communicate well, have strong writing and research skills, embrace learning opportunities, enjoy new challenges and are engaged in their Aboriginal, youth or academic communities.

To apply for the program, you must be:

--Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis, Inuit)

--29 years of age or under as of September 7, 2010

--Residing in BC

You must also have:

--A minimum of grade 12 with some post-secondary education or equivalent work, life and education experience;

--Leadership aptitude or experience, either through work or volunteering; and

--Good knowledge of Aboriginal governments/organizations and the Aboriginal population that you represent (i.e. First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Métis Nation BC, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, others).


1. Go to our program website for an overview of the program:

2. Once you review, go to the job posting:

3. Click on the link that says: Apply for this job.

4. Fill in the online form.

5. Submit your resume and cover letter electronically. In your cover letter, state your three top Ministries of interest (list available on the site).

6. Submit your two Letter of Reference Forms (Fax to Amanda Horncastle at 250-387-0749)

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Friday, May 14, 2010.

If you have questions about the program, please contact me or Allison Beardsworth, Program Coordinator at 250-356-7949.

If you have questions about the applications process, please contact Amanda Horncastle, Program Administrator, at 250-387-0460. Please note Amanda is away until Friday, March 26.

I also want to encourage all eligible Aboriginal youth to apply. Each year is a new year, and we have more placements available across the province that will meet more youth's specific qualifications, interests, skill sets, and career choices!

Join our great crew for year 4!


Sasha Hobbs, MA, Program Lead, Aboriginal Youth Internship Program

The Learning Centre | Talent Management Division | BC Public Service Agency

Third Floor, 810 Blanshard St. | Victoria, BC | V8W 2H2 | Blackberry 604-765-3193

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fostering Native Children - Boardrooms & Big houses

I hope soon to be fostering children of native ancestory. Whether they are mixed blood like me, or full blooded, I look forward to the opportunity to help raise the next generation. Some friends asked of me what my goal was, what type of child I hope to raise. This is my reply:


If I have daughters I want them to be comfortable at the Potlatch and at the Ballet, I want them to be girly and strong, honouring and outspoken. If i have sons I want them to be strong, and know that it has nothing to do with muscles. I want them to be comfortable drumming their drums, and drumming their own paths. I want my kids no matter their sex to be happy being florists, firefighters, physicists, and everything in between.

I believe we as new parents have a different path then the parents that came before. We are the mixed blood kids, having mixed world kids and the generations before us were able to pick a world and live in it, but we need to be able to live, and each our kids to live, in all the worlds out there right now. Boardrooms & Big houses.

Boardrooms & Big houses these are the worlds we need to be strong in now. My kids, whomever they may be, I will teach you what I know, and I will be honoured to learn from you and with you, all we do not yet know.

We will dance when our laws command us to dance

“We want to know whether you have come to stop our dances and feasts, as the missionaries and agents who live among our neighbors try to do. We do not want to have anyone here who will interfere with our customs. We were told that a man-of-war would come if we should continue to do as our grandfathers and great-grandfathers have done. But we do not mind such words. Is this the white man’s land? We are told it is the Queen’s land, but no! It is mine.

Where was the Queen when our God gave this land to my grandfather and told him, “This will be thine?” My father owned the land and was a mighty Chief; now it is mine. And when your man-of-war comes, let him destroy our houses. Do you see yon trees? Do you see yon woods? We shall cut them down and build new houses and live as our fathers did.

We will dance when our laws command us to dance, and we will feast when our hearts desire to feast. Do we ask the white man, “Do as the Indian does?” It is a strict law that bids us dance. It is a strict law that bids us distribute our property among our friends and neighbors. It is a good law. Let the white man observe his law; we shall observe ours. And now, if you come to forbid us dance, be gone. If not, you will be welcome to us.

- O’wax̱a̱laga̱lis Chief of the Kwagu'ł “Fort Rupert Tribes”, to Franz Boas, October 7, 1886