Working on the Champion for Life™ and focusing on Native Indigenous languages right now.
This project has really opened up my eyes in many ways.
Does this say READ in Ojibwe?
Well it can say read or reading.
Oh ok. Well this is how I have it in syllabics.
Is this right?
Not really sure, but come back tomorrow and speak to the resource manager.
Hmmm. Ok. Are you native?
Yes my mother is.
Oh I see…but you look like a Caucasian.
Well my dad was from PEI.
Oh British background?
But you don’t identify yourself that way.
No. Why would I? Not after what they all did. When you get into the history of what this country has done against the natives, there is nothing to be proud of.
But they have apologized?
If it takes you over 300 years to apologize, that isn’t an apology. We’re powerless. It’s the rule of law. If you say anything against the government, you’re finished. There is nothing you can do.
But you can tell your story.
I was talking to this native who was Cree and he converted to Islam.
Well yeah, I told him to tell his story. People need to know about indigenous culture. Even the word “Indian” is wrong to say. He told me how is elders were traumatized sexually and physically. Residence schools, forced conversions to Christianity…and they make Islam look bad.
Well you need to understand. These people are only here for the last few hundred years. We have been here for thousands of years. We do things differently.
Yeah but someone is killing you, you gotta step up to them somehow.
It’s like the Palestinians…same idea. Their land has been stolen.
Yeah exactly, stop settling on their land.
So it’s not just about a religion, it’s about taking something from another person.
About telling your story, if it’s done right, you can create awareness about an issue. It could lead to policy change.
[It just seemed to me that the Natives are so beat down, they have been de-humanized. ]
True. If you knew the stories, you would be enraged.
Well it’s that whole Cowboy Indian mentality.
Even the way History is written. The Indian was the bad guy because he used to “raid” the settlers. Even that word, “raid” and how it’s used, tells of the Indian being the bad guy, the savage, and the settler being the good guy.
Exactly, you’re right. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they never consulted us. It’s whatever they want to do, not what we would like to do.
[I think he was referring to this from Wikipedia:
The distinction came about during the negotiations of the Charter. Section 25’s content did not appear in the first version of the Charter, in October 1980, but the original version of what later became section 26 did say that the existence of Aboriginal rights could not be denied. This sparked dramatic protests among Aboriginals, who viewed the proposed constitutional amendments as an insufficient protection of their rights. This persisted until some of their leaders, the National Indian Brotherhood, the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, and the Native Council of Canada (now the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples), were appeased by the addition of sections 25 and 35 to the Constitution Act, 1982. ]
Well it was good meeting you and thank you for thinking about us.
Of course, Khadijah goes to School has to have an indigenous feel in it as well.
Well take this, this is how are Elders have taught us to think and live life. It’s called the Sever Grandfather teachings. 1. Nibwaakaawin (Wisdom) in addition: Gikendaasowin (Intelligence) 2. Zaagi’idiwin (Love) 3. Minaadendamowin (Respect) 4. Aakode’ewin (Bravery) 5. Fwayakwaadiziwin (Honesty) 6. Dabaadendiziwin (Humility) 7. Debwewin (Truth)