Saturday, December 31, 2005

Bedouin Soundclash Concert

#26 on my list was to go to a concert at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Some of the gang and I (is that grammatically correct?) went to see Bedouin Soundclash on the 28th of December. It was the final show of the their most recent tour.

The last time I was at the Commodore was when I was 16 for an Ice-T concert. DJ Evil E let me, a buddy and a few other kids who were hanging around back, in through the backdoor for $20 each. It was pretty damn cool and I remember talking about it for weeks, especially catching a peek of Darlene as she stepped out of the limo. Some of you might remember her from the covers of the Rhyme Pays or Power albums.

Anyway, the concert was a blast even though I pulled my (as José likes to call it) Ninja routine at the end of the night, because that is just the way I am. The Commodore is a great venue for musical acts. I would much prefer to go there over any other acoustically challenged sports arena anyday, not to mention the cool bouncy floor.

Even though this date is some what historically arbitrary, Happy New Year and all that jazz...see you in 2006. Hasta la victoria siempré!

Monday, December 26, 2005

spreading the word

Not THEE word, just the word. #90 on my list is to give away 10 books to friends and family. Thankfully with Christmas, Chanukuh and Festivus here, I have plenty of opportunity to fulfill this one. Here is a sample of the propaganda I was spreading this holiday season:

1. Kashus received Snowy Bear and Friends
2. José received Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
3. Fish received Wasáse
4. Chips received A Million Little Pieces
5. 'Rica received 100 Years of Solitude
6. T-Bags received Wasáse
7. Či'a'Is received Soccer In Sun and Shadow
8. AW received The Mother Tongue
9. Lil Moy received Wasáse
10. Lyana received Soul Sword: The Way and Mind of a Zen Warrior
11. Old Man received The Autobiography of Malcolm X
12. Margo received The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
13. Roots received No One Writes To The Colonel
14. Em received Open Veins of Latin America
15. DP received Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World
16. Lil M received Animal Farm
17. Succha received Wasáse
18. Muggins received On Literature

name this old school dance

Friday, December 23, 2005

while I was gone...

As I mentioned in a previous e-mail I abstained from internet access for a whole week! Some of you know of my slightly obsessive nature about certain things some of the time (haha) and well I needed a break. If any of you are contemplating unplugging from the Matrix, I highly recommend it. I spent most of the time in Vancouver and a couple days in Victoria. I did not have my wheels either so I walked and rode public transit. When combined with my iPod and some thoughtful and uplifting tunes I was doing alright :D

I travelled with my sister and Kashus over to Vancouver in the morning. We dropped my sister off at Park Royal and lil man and I cruised around the north shore. While I drove and listened to Kanye tunes, he napped. When he woke up we headed to the mall and Kashus and I did our best to beat the adoring women off with a rattle. Man, is he a babe-magnet or what? People just seem to like the look of a man holding a baby.

This morning the 3 of us went to visit Glenys, a homeopathic healer of sorts. I'm not sure exactly but she is incredibly nice and one of those people that automatically puts you at ease. My sister sees her regularly and my mom and sis convince me to see her once or twice a year. It turns out I have been eating too much artificial sweetners - from chewing gum and diet yogurt evidently. My mom, sis and lil K head back to the island and I am left to walk the earth. Did I mention the weather was gorgeous?

Thursday night I hang out with Lyana. She's a smart, beautiful Carrier woman who I was honoured to have my first Guinness with. She's in between exams and papers and I am well, off work for a couple weeks and in desperate need of some good company and intelligent conversation. Lyana is truly a revolutionary woman with a great heart and inspirational passion. Watch out world! (Oh, and we got our very own picture too!)

I dare to venture into the mall to do some holiday shopping. I don't even think I'm going to comment on the insanity. As far as I know everyone except my padawan is celebrating in some form this year and can relate. I meet Leela Gilday for some sushi and sake at Kishu on Main and Broadway. I met her for the first time earlier in the year at a concert she was a part of that Aztlan Underground was headlining. The Goin' Coastal crew also interviewed her last month. She does the Dene nation proud with with her soulful and angelic voice.

I managed to catch Leela during the brief calm before the storm it seems. She's in Alberta now and on her way to to record her latest album. She gave me some insight as to the content of the new cd but I will not spill the beans. Her current album is one of my favourites - especially during my lonely times. Leela's a beautiful person with a depth of experience and I look forward to our friendship and comraderie.

Today I vegetated and then hung out with the fancy Indians...haha, just kidding but we did hang out at a fancy place. My friend, Patricia and her friends, Glenda and Shirlana organized a lil x-mas soiree at Section (3) in Yaletown. I won't even tell you what my portion of the bill was. It would make you ill, but I had fun. Patricia is a good friend of the family and like sister to me. Here are some pictures:

...and on sunday I rested...sorta.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

my first tattoo

Pictures do not lie. For some reason I look younger in this picture; maybe cause I've been dropping pounds, or maybe it's because that guy is stabbing me with a needle...haha. Yes, friends and foes: Dubya got ink today. I've always thought about it and like a lot of other things I have thought about in the last couple years (go back to school, leave my old job, learn to ride a motorcycle) I am getting better at just doing it.

I walked in to Primal Urge Tattoos (250-720-3883) in Port Alberni today, warmly greeted by Kim (the assistant who makes good cookies) and later Richard (the tattoo artist). I had my gisbutwada/kaa'kaa'win (killer whale/orca) design done by my sister's husband, Gordon Dick and a couple hundred bucks burning a hole in my pocket. It was my first tattoo and yes it does hurt, but I kept a brave face, only wincing a couple of times. I say my first because I am strongly thinking about getting a Ganhada (raven) design as well. I decided to go with the gisbutwada first because that is my mom's clan and therefore my clan from the Tsimshian people. I will always be gisbutwada.

I can now scratch another item (# 19) off my list. Voila:

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

H2 Salute!

Check this site out: then read my recent anti-oil and gas rant here.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Another one bites the dust

Ha ha, that title sounds worse than it is. I mean I have crossed another item, specifically, #98 (Mentor a bona fide protégé) off my list. Old Man Rivers (Dustin) and I talked about it and not one for formalities but basically we agreed to maintain the relationship we have now - plotting the revolution, and me providing sage, timely advice from time to time. I have to say it is an honour to know Dustin as a friend and companero. He is wise beyond his years and I know that I will learn much from him as well.

I have assured Dustin that I take the role of mentor seriously and intend to continue our friendship with trust and respect. Next, I will try and secure an arrangement with Risky Business before Shrubbery woos him to the dark side...haha. I've already started with some recommended readings: Peace, Power and Righteousness, The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, The Wretched of the Earth and Wasase: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom.

Six down, ninety-five to go, and 969 days to do it all. :D As I mentioned previously, I have made an appointment to get some ink on the 20th of December and I also bought some tickets for the Bedouin Soundclash concert on the 28th of December in Vancouver.

And now, work beckons.

The Force Was Not With Me

Not last night. The force guffawed at my cool shades. My fortunes ebbed and flowed till about 2:30am but alas, another padwan learner was victorious. Lil Moy took me for $30. Nope, no W-mojo last night. These truly are mundane days. I promise to be get political again soon though.

Actually, I do have a bit of a funny story to tell. I'm not gonna name names, but lets just say I work for this community that happens to be negotiating with the governments. I am not a negotiator, but I observe these negotiations and offer advice from time to time in the background. I guess I have developed a bit of a reputation as a radical or even dare I say it, a militant. Funny eh? CSIS calls me one of the more "level-headed ones" and my own people think I'm nuts.

So all seriousness aside, one of the other observers comes in a couple of days ago and asks me, not too discreetly, "Did you get the grenade launchers?" I'm assuming he means in negotiations, as I have been known to joke about negotiating a Defence chapter that includes a couple of those trusty Sea Kings or maybe even an ex-British submarine. I laugh and reply with a straight-face, "Actually, you really only need a .50 calibre rifle..." and I'm thinking: a. I know way too much about ordnance (even using such a word, geez) and; b. Some people, especially spooky types, really don't get this kind of humour.

Let's just hope they remember that; a. I AM one of the level-headed ones; b. Contrary to popular opinion, I DO appreciate sarcastic humour from time to time and c. We're all peaceniks now.

It's getting I go for my sunday morning hike. I'm not scared of Sasquatches anymore. w

Saturday, December 10, 2005

0 for 2 today but...

I have not yet been defeated. I have only begun to fight...haha. I attempted to cross off two items on my list but failed...for now. First, I tried to complete #22 (ride my moto over 200km/hour) but could only get it up to 189 today. The problem was not being able to find a stretch of road long and straight enough. I have another place in mind, but for today I had to be satisfied with doing 130km/hour in the corners. Did I mention it was a little chilly today? It was alright. It was nice to get out. Never underestimate the liberating feeling of riding a twisty road at high speeds, no matter the temperature.

Next, I attempted to complete #19 (get a tattoo). With my Gisbutwada design in hand (courtesy of renowned west coast artist, Gordon Dick) I headed into Primal Urge Tattoos in Port Alberni only to discover I needed to make an appointment :I Sigh....ah well. I made an appointment for the 20th. It should take about an hour and a half the guy said. As you can probably tell, I was feeling a little WTF today, perfect attitude to have trying to accomplish some of the things on my list. I have 970 days to go. I have completed 5 goals. I soldier on.

Tonight: Poker. I bought some cool new sunglasses. Wish me luck.

A Foggy Saturday Morning

9:24am. I haven't even looked outside but I am guessing it is foggy. Given that it is Port Alberni in December there is a good chance. As I dozed in and out of consciousness this morning, I don't recall what I was dreaming so I can't tell you whether I was having good dreams, bad dreams, sweet dreams, or weird dreams. I do however, remember the moment of realization that I was back in the conscious world and the weight and ache set in. You know that feeling? You wish you could drift back to sleep but it doesn't come. You open your eyes, heave your legs over the side of the bed and sigh.

In case you have not already guessed, your pal Dubya is sad, heart broken. :( I will spare you the details, but alas I am bummed and the world does not make sense and I give a half-hearted smile at people I don't know but have a pretty hard time hiding it from those I do know. I have not cried yet, but that will come. Right now, my tide flows between pain and numbness. I will spare you the details of my woes as well, lest I bum you out too. I had to say something though. A couple years ago I made some sort of commitment to the truth and it has brought me here.

A million clichés run through my head. I bet you are thinking of a few of them right now.

Often, time seems like an enemy. Right now it seems like a friend who is running late.

It is what it is. All kinds of days are bound to make their way here. Fear not, fellow rebels, brighter days for W are out there somewhere.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Mood Music

Tunes I was signing to this morning:
1. "Loser" - Beck
2. "Ave Maria"- Franz Shubert
3. "Ashes" - Ben Harper
4. "Moonlight Sonata" - Beethoven (more like hummed to this one)
5. "Rage" - Leela Gilday
6. "#1 Crush" - Garbage
7. "Hit Em Up" - 2Pac
8. "Don't Speak" - No Doubt
9. "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" - Hank Williams, Sr.
10. "Another Lonely Day" - Ben Harper
11. "Killing Me Softly" - Fugees
12. "It Makes No Difference Now" - Ray Charles
13. "Save The Last Dance For Me" - Harry Connick, Jr.
14. "Time Of Your Life" - Greenday

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Spiffy W

No, I haven't made it on the infamous "spiffy ndn" list yet, but I still have a couple of years to prove my worthiness. This picture was taken earlier today just after I returned from a job interview. I clean up pretty good eh? I think I did well in the interview but as the day progressed, I thought more and more about the brilliant and witty things I could have said. Not a good habit I know, but alas I was pensive this afternoon. I'm pretty cool with it now. I did the best I could at the time. I'll let you know if I was victorious.

Speaking of spiffy ndns, check this out (3rd down from the top). It is none other than the Big T himself, recipient of the 2006 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for education. If you've heard the interview I did with him for Goin' Coastal you'll also know that he has referred to these love-ins as the National (or Natural) Aboriginal Assimilation Awards.

I can only think the selection panel is giggling about this one. I have not heard from T what he will do. Some of you also know that one of my 101 goals in 1001 days is to be nominated and turn one down...I'm not sure if I will have impressed the Aboriginals enough by then, certainly not in education yet (that'll take another 15 years or so), and I don't think I qualify as a youth anymore. I think they need a "Warrior of the Year Award" (not that I am implying that I would win, I just think it would be cool).

Well my fine feathered friends...until next time. W

Monday, December 05, 2005

What a Week

I am tired again just thinking about it. I went over to Vancouver last Tuesday, attended the First Nations Summit Meeting, co-facilitated the BOLT youth planning session, dined with many a friend and family member, had coffee at Lugz on Main, toasted a 30th birthday, attended Taiaiake's Wasase talk at UBC (see picture), danced with a stranger, bought a digital camera, played poker (and lost), listened to some blues with some VIPs, read most of Galeano's Upside Down, passed a breathalizer test (as a designated driver), interviewed Gloria Larocque, and slept on the ferry-ride home. A lot happened. I'm still processing some of it. I'll be writing more about my adventures and thoughts soon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Aboriginal Angel Doll Project

Check out a new posting about the Aboriginal Angel Doll Project and its creator, Gloria at:

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fight The Power

I popped into my sister's place tonight for dinner (Moose ribs :d) and baby Kashus struck another "fight the power" pose. You gotta love this kid. I mean you gotta love him anyway, but you know what I mean. I wonder if he's protesting all the cutesy pooh-bear outfits...haha. What'cha gonna do he's a baby.

Friday, November 25, 2005

74th NBBC Convention

This week I was at the 74th Annual Native Brotherhood of BC Convention in Wei Wai Kum territory (Campbell River). It's hard to describe the proceedings without sounding terribly disparaging, but I think it is indicative not only of the state of Indigenous fishing but our politics overall. This picture is actually from a NBBC meeting my father was at 25 years ago. He was an organizer and later Executive Director for the Brotherhood.

My mom used to call that jacket, my Dad's "Les Nessman jacket" although I think she meant Herb Tarlek, both of WKRP fame. A lot has changed in the last 25 years. The Nuu-chah-nulth fishing fleet had more than 200 active boats and today I think there are about 15. Our neighbouring nations have experienced the same devastation. Once a strong seafaring people among the richest in the world, Indigenous nations on the coast have been relegated to the trash heap of social and economic poverty.

At this point I could go off in a multiple number of directions analyzing colonial relations but I want to focus the manner in which Indigenous people resist and organize. My father speaks fondly of those years when the Brotherhood was a powerful organization, even after it handed over the land question issues to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs in 1969, and focussed on fishing issues. One of the things that made it effective as a representative of Indigenous fishermen was the fact that it was completely member-funded and free of the shackles of government funding.

The fact that we ignore the co-optive effect of government funding today is more than disturbing. I have a simple formula: If your Indigenous movement is effective or shows hope, the goverment will not fund it. If your intiative is ineffective, the government will more than gladly fund it. This should make sense. It need not be more complicated than that.

Back to today. Less fishermen = less dues. Too many non-Indigenous consultants and advisors and talk of increased government funding = an impotent and co-opted organization no longer capable of truly representing the interests of Indigenous people. In true W-fashion, I have not lost hope, however. Not yet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Harmony and Happiness

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony." - Mahatma Gandhi

Click here for more.

Monday, November 21, 2005

What's It All For Dubya?

This question is posed to me every once in awhile and depending on my mood, my response varies from a shrug to some profound declaration of assurance. Even though I am not in the best place right now (mentally or emotionally) I will make an effort to identify what I believe it's all for.

Our path is not only fraught with challenges but constant and serious doubts of our sanity. When almost everyone is going a certain way, even if they are only milling about (I just like saying that), and you are headed in another direction that many do not understand, you are bound to ask, "what's it all for?" I believe the clues to the answer are revealed in the question.

Pondering the effectiveness of what we do (hinting at its futility) denies any inherent goodness of our actions regardless of consequence. I will attempt to avoid any unecessary cliches here. This is not an excuse to continue with truly ineffective actions. Rather we might recognize that some things we must do because they are righteous and must be done no matter the enormous pressure to do otherwise.

I am not an advocate for false modesty or martyrdom out of some other emotional need or weakness, but action that abides by certain principles. While our practices continue to evolve, I believe that good principles stand the test of time and must be passed on from one generation to the next.

One of the key Nuu-chah-nulth principles is: "Hish'uuk'ish Tsa'walk." Everything is one. Everything is connected.

Full understanding of this principle can guide our actions, with a mindful awareness of the consequences of those actions. All around us, we can see the consequences of not minding this principle: overfishing, overlogging, fish farms, oil and gas perpetuation. The list goes on and on. We allow, and in some cases actively participate in, unsustainable and greedy economic activity, often with immediate negative consequences and more devasating consequences to come.

In times like these, the world needs people like you, people who care and are willing to do something. We need to remind our brothers and sisters that they are not apart from "nature" but a part of it. We need to remember. It is our responsibility.

Most of us have children or grandchildren or nieces and nephews or will someday. I agree that our actions must be for them and those who will follow them but why not now? We can make this a better place now. Think. Say. Do. Now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Power to the (lil) Peeps

My lil nephew, Kashus is almost three months old and already he is beginning to show the influence of his uncle (not to mention his warrior father and his mother's passion for justice). While not minimizing my own responsibilities, he truly embodies HOPE.
Viva baby power!

Friday, November 11, 2005

West Coast Walking

The new enemy has revealed itself...wet leaves. Fallen leaves and west coast rain equals W looking either like the Karate Kid (doing his signature move) or some ski jumper upon landing. I managed to emerge from the Log Train Trails unscathed today but last week I fell on my ass. It's funny how even in the middle of a rain forest with no one around you still catch your self jumping up and looking around to see if anyone was there to witness your momentary lapse of normally cat-like gracefulness.

Dubya's Road to Sveltedom update: I'm still hiking and walking (making sure I swing my arms lots if on the side of a road to detract would-be hitchhiker picker-uppers). I get out 4-6 times a week and am eating better these days. Although I have yet to completely de-colonize my diet, last week my pops and I did have qwaa'ak'mis (herring eggs) :D I could go for some dry meat right about now. Got some?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

sad w

iih'mis tiich'mis

Life is Precious. It was raining cats and dogs as I drove into work this morning. There were a lot of puddles on the highway and I was hydro-planing* here and there. I was cruising along at about 110km down the Island Highway when a muu'ich (deer) walks out in front of my car. I had just enough time to recollect that there was no one coming up behind me in the left lane and steer to the left, just enough to miss the muu'ich but not enough to lose control. We (I had a passenger) missed him by inches. Whew. Just thinking about it again squirts a little adrenaline back into my system.

Today is my Friday :D I get a four day weekend which I am looking forward to, not for anything in particular, just the rest. I'll do some reading, writing, hiking, singing, drumming and maybe even a lil booty shaking.

I'll let you know if I think of anything profound or mundane. W.

*P.S. I do not recommend Falken tires. About 30,000km ago I went into the tire store and asked for 4 comparable (they did not have the same brand) tires to the 2 I had on. Believe me they were not the same. Even though I only had two Hankook Radial H714's before, they did not slip or hydroplane. My Falken's do plenty of both in this west coast weather.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Wednesday Morning Fog

'Morning troops. I often feel groggy Wednesday mornings, primarily because Tuesdays are long days - ending with Goin' Coastal and the long drive home (Port Alberni). Last night was the first night of a formatting experiment: Fish from 6-7, Succha from 7-8 and me from 8-9. Any of you tune in? Any thoughts, feedback, suggestions?

At about 8:20 we interviewed Leela Gilday (pictured above). I heard her for the first time and picked up her CD, "Spirit World, Solid Wood," at the UBC longhouse about this time last year. Along with having a beautiful singing voice and busy music career she shared some of her thoughts of opposition to the looming Mackenzie Valley Pipeline running through Denendeh. If you are in Vancity today you can check her out at Cafe Montmartre (4362 Main Street) with Paula Toledo and Jason Burnstick at 8pm (no cover).

If you dug my musical selection last night, here is a playlist from the hour of Dubya:

(not in exact order - but close)

1. Rebel Without A Pause by Public Enemy
2. Bang Bang by Ohene
3. Shaolin Worldwide by Wu-Tang Clan
4. George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People by The Legendary K.O.
5. Heavy by El Vuh
6. Since You Left Me by Leela Gilday
7. Fortunate Son by Wyclef Jean
8. Voices by Wicked Minds (feat. Kid Frost)
9. Unstoppable by KRS-One and Chuck D.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Living Lies

This blog is of the inconclusive, rambling variety. It was inspired by a line in a book I recently read and a conversation with a fine, young Hesquiaht mom (E.R.) who also happens to be my cousin. In The Book of Tells, author Peter Collett states that little lies lubricate our social interactions. E.R. recounted an interaction where a grocery store clerk asked her how her day was and she responded with something like, "Terrible. I'm having the worst day ever." The clerk was speechless and looked at her like she was nuts. The correct answer would have been something like, "great" or "fine" or "pretty good, glad its Friday..." E.R.'s moment of honesty actually violated an unspoken social contract: Small talk is meant to be polite but not honest. The clerk was not really interested in how she was doing and the frank response made her uncomfortable.

I think it is safe to say that I am more open and honest with my feelings and thoughts than I was before and yes, this has a tendancy to make people uncomfortable. I even lost a job and disqualified myself from many others I'm sure. We hold up concepts like truth, justice, freedom and happiness as ideals but is that all they are? Are we not meant to actually strive for them with all the force we can muster or are they just meant to hang on our wall like dusty paintings of a better time in the past or future? Like I said, these thoughts are inconclusive in my large west coast head right now so ironically I have no firm pronouncements or edicts.

Imagine if no one could lie, ever. Imagine if all our thoughts and feelings were on display for all others to see. Some would be mortified. Some would never leave their homes. Others would be in their glory. The notion of compromise enters the picture and the question then is, to what degree and about what do we censor and compromise? I believe that our societies and cultures are a culmination of these unspoken contracts that develop and change over time. Some push the envelop and what was crazy 20 years ago is old hat now.

The notion of order also enters the picture. Order seems to make sense. It smoothes out those rough edges but it also teeters close to control and represssion. This then often leads to rebellion and defiance - attractive to some. Che Guevara, perhaps the most renouned socialist, anti-imperialist icon of the century was notoriously uncompromising. It's one of the traits that made him so inspiring and fearsome at the same time. He was a brutal comandante and in a nutshell, it also led to his demise in Bolivia.

Does "the movement" need iconic figures, incorruptable symbols? Many a freedom fighter has sacrificed his or her life and happiness and family for their movement. Must we all? The revolutionary life has many appeals at enormous costs. It seems on some paths, the price of freedom is your freedom.

Where is my place? Where is yours?


Monday, November 07, 2005

Something Different This Week...

This Tuesday night we are going to try something a little different on Goin' Coastal: Your Indigenous Revolutionary Radio." DJ KrazyFish is going to be manning the wheels of steel from 6-7pm, DJ SuperChow from 7-8pm and yours truly from 8-9pm. Each of us will prepare our own unique playlists and news items. To be clear, this is not forshadowing any looming solo-efforts and we will continue to support each other and dialogue like we always do, but you will get a glimpse of our different styles and approaches.

You can send requests to or call in during the show at 250-740-1017. In and around Nanaimo tune in to 101.7 on your FM dial and listen online at (Remember there is limited [25] space availability online so tune-in early)



West Coast Warriors - Where Are They Now?

photo courtesy of Shrubs in the big smoke

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Most Revolutionary Thing You Can Do

The other day I was having a chat with Old Man Rivers and we were discussing the overwhelming weight of decolonization and what a young Indigenous person can do. Where does one start? For those of you that have given this some thought you will know what I mean when I say "overwhelming." The magnitude of injustice realized in a very personal way for Indigenous people all over creates an immediate and impatient desire for change. This immediacy can be heard in much of the revolutionary rhetoric of our fellow radicals and dissidents.

During our discussion I realized that Old Man is actually HALF my age! (I went to college with his father) I think it is unblievably cool that he is thinking these things at his age. I was out of place when I was 16 as well. I looked around at my peers and could not understand why they cared about so little or cared about such inane things (clothes, cars, sports). While I wanted to change the world, I had no where near the Indigenous consciousness he has now.

A couple of things occured to me while we were chatting. I don't see him as a kid, but more as a peer. And although I do have some experiences I can share and some mentorship I can offer, we have deep and mutually inspiring discussions. I know this because it is always during such discussions (I've had countless with Lana, Chinuuks, Taiaiake and others) that I come up with my best ideas and realizations. While I don't fully understand it yet and will need to think and discuss the issue more this is what came to mind: The Most Revolutionary Thing We Can Do is to find revolutionary mates and raise revolutionary families.

The change we seek will not be as revolutionary or immediate as we want. The change we want will take generations. Consider hundreds of years of planning. This exercise can be a humbling experience as we realize that our lives and roles in the change may be relatively small, yet no less important. Recognizing our roles is critical to understanding the big picture and our ability to maximize our efforts in the present. This is where I believe we must overcome Frantz Fanon's observation that "each generation, out of relative obscurity, must find its mission, fulfill it or betray it."

It is that obscurity that we must overcome. We must connect the generations, hence the revolutionary mate and radical rugrats. Imagine the power and legacy of raising socially conscious, strong, intelligent, cultural children.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

'morning coffee...the day after the revolution I did not always drink coffee but now that I wake up at 5:45am to drive an hour and a half to work I seem to be drinking more. In the past I have made negative references to large multi-national coffee chains. For the record, I do my best to support local coffee shops who use organic/fair trade/ethical coffee. I am not always successful, but I have managed to avoid Starbucks for over 2 years - ever since the Haidabucks affair.

Last night on the radio show was kinda weird. As Fish said, "morale was low." I think I bummed some people out in the beginning as we talked about fish farms. Later on I started to get more energized talking about the "gathering of young Indigenous minds" movement, then Fish started looking DJ SuperChow was in good spirits as always.

Some nights, no one calls in and we tend to forget that people are actually out there listening to our radical pontificating, and we get silly. I have been informed however, that silly makes for good radio. Last night we had quite a few callers, "Harpo the pink Indian" from Salt Spring, the sisters from Cihuatl Tonali from L.A., Jimmy Nations from the Big Smoke (and soon to be, DaVinci's Inquest fame), the American-accented fish farm proponent, the guy who called after the fish farm guy, and a couple others.

Well, I'm feeling relatively alert now and a little hungry. My mom always leaves granola bars and other assorted healthy snacks in my glove box and I still have the pear that Chips donated. Time to gather.

Hasta la victoria siempre


Monday, October 31, 2005

Welcome to the Trough

A good friend of mine has been known to say, "I can be bought, it's just that no one has met my price yet." I'm still not sure if he means no one will ever meet his price or he's just being honest. Either way, he makes me laugh. What doesn't make me laugh is the thought of government-funded youth organizing.

The reason I bring it up is because of the debate that ensued after a chief at the recent BC-AFN assembly in Kamloops spontaneously moved a motion to take $1 million from the $100 million and give it to the youth. There was a lot of excitement and debate - very emotional and suspiciously indicative of some guilt and then someone suggested $2 million! In the end, saner heads, or mean-youth-hatin' heads, (depending on your perspective) prevailed and they decided to first develop an overall plan and terms of reference before carving up the loot.

I'm not so concerned about the debate. You already know that I am very skeptical of this trojan horse. What I did find interesting and disconcerting was the online debate by the young people after the fact. Almost all of the young people (I'm 32 by the way) were coming from a place of exclusion and criticism of their greedy older political elders. While I can appreciate this perspective, what struck me most about the dialogue was a strong sense of "when do we get ours?" Sound familiar?

I guess it should not come as a surprise. The parents have cut their teeth in an environment of government-funded (faux) aboriginal dissent. Why should the kids be any different? But kids are supposed to be different. They are supposed to rebel. No? I'm all for finding resources for all of our people, old and young alike and I agree that most young people are left out but damn, what I foresee now is a line-up at the trough.

In my research and experience, I have found that government-funded dissent has never been meaningful or effective for Indigenous people. It has only acted as a means of co-optation and pressure-release. It seems like a no-brainer, but maybe only to a somewhat alienated "radical" like me. Perhaps I had a naive and romantic view of "youth."

I know that compromise is preached by many an astute and reasonable person, but I believe that all of us, young and old need to "check" ourselves. What are we prepared to compromise? How long-term is our vision? Are we really thinking, planning and acting with generations in mind? I know it sounds crazy in today's capitalist dogma, consumer culture, but if we are to remain true to our Indigenous principles and values, we must really change the way we organize and live. The road to Indigenous emancipation is not paved with INAC loonies.

If even ONE person agrees with me, gimme some Tell me I am not insane. Post a comment.


Only when the last tree has died
and the last river been poisoned
and the last fish been caught
will we realise we cannot eat money

-Cree saying

Brother, can you spare a 'hundred million?

Click here for Lana's perspective on the matter.

Oh how "far" we have come...

"Now that we are poor, we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights..."
-Sitting Bull (1831-1890)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Feelin' Five Again

I rode my motorcycle to work the past two days (from Port Alberni to Chemainus - about 120km). Wouldn't you know the temperature would begin to drop. Even though I wore my winter riding gear yesterday, I did not really warm up till about noon. I checked an online wind-chill calculator for motorcyclists and according to my speed (about 100km) and the air temperature (about 3 degrees celsius) my wind-chilled temperature was about -13!

So today I wore jeans, waterproof heavy-duty riding boots, my Ballistic pants, long-sleeved shirt, fleece hoodie, Ballistic jacket, my winter riding gloves and nomex balaclava. My arms stuck out a bit and people could hear me coming down the hallway at the office - zip, zip, zip.

Even though I only worked two days this week, thank god today is my Friday! The office I work at is normally open Monday - Thursday. It's been a long couple of weeks, travelling and working lots of overtime (which is why I took Monday and Tuesday off). Most of the time I really like my job, but some parts are downright mind-numbing and spirit-sucking - ah the life of a brown bureaucrat. (P.S. I feel for ya sista!)

So if you are huddled away in some cubicle and could use a laugh or two click here. Just replace my nickname with yours and keep clicking the Sloganize button and let the giggling begin!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Apologies to Listeners From Afar

I received two e-mails from listeners outside the Nanaimo area that were unable to connect to the webcast ( of Goin' Coastal Tuesday night. It's happened in the past and I always thought the server was down or some other technical difficulty befell our lil webcast, but DJ SuperChow informs me that this is not the case. Apparently, we only have enough bandwidth for about 25 online listeners. So while this sucks for those of you unable to tune in, I thought at least I know we have 25+ online Unless we are successful in lobbying for more space, the only remedy I can suggest for our loyal listeners from around the world is to tune in early and secure your spot. Heck you may even have to listen to a lil Tuna Fish Tuesday (the preceding show).

In any case, I will keep you updated on any changes. Oh, and if we do have any online listeners from around the Nanaimo area, we ask that you please tune in on your radio (101.7 FM) if you can to make space for your fellow revolutionary listeners.

Kleco, kleco,

sub-deputy-dj dubya

Revolutionary Tuesday

I wonder what Gil Scott Heron would think about the revolution being webcast? (Reminds me: The impact of the internet specifically on social organizing and education would make an interesting topic of discussion/writing). Anyway, the reason for this little post of course is Goin' Coastal: Your Indigenous Revolutionary Radio - tonight from 6-9pm on 101.7fm, Radio Malaspina or you can listen online at if you are outside the Nanaimo area.

We've got lots of news, most of it grim but important and of course some cool tunes. Maybe Jimmy Nations will call in and talk about his burgeoning TV career. KrazyFish just reminded me that Cihuatl Tonali would be calling in about 7pm.

You can e-mail song requests to or call in and chit chat with the DJ's at 250-740-1017.

sub-deputy-dj dubya

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Enemies, Cops, Spooks and Poker

"O wise man, wash your hands of that friend who associates with your enemies." - Saadi (1184-1291)

Awhile back I sent a blog update notification through e-mail and I addressed it something like, "Friends, Family and Enemies." Several people were amused enough to reply and comment and one "friend" even offered to be a new enemy. I said she could be a rival instead. We would try and beat each other (not sure at what yet) but when push comes to shove we would help each other out. Enemies are meant to be vanquished and I will let you take as liberal or creative an interpretation of that as you want.

I got to thinking about enemies again recently and have wondered how real they are and how one must deal with them. Upon hearing the news that one of my cousins was trying to get into the RCMP I responded rather immediately and undiplomatically (Lana says I can be "quick and merciless") in the negative. I stated that Indigenous people here in Canada joining the national police force made about as much sense as a Palestinian joining the IDF. I told my uncle that I hope we (I and my cousin) don't end up on opposite sides of a barricade someday.

Another family member, could not fathom the slightest idea why I would think becoming a police officer was a bad thing. This difference in reaction goes to the heart of what is conceived of as Indigenous on the one hand and a Canadian Aboriginal on the other. Some people think it's great, honourable and certainly better than many of the other social pitfalls that our people often fall into. I think it's unconscionable. I think of Dudley George, J.J. Harper, Neil Stonechild, Starlight Tours among the other nameless and faceless Indigenous people to fall victim to the RCMP.

And I've been writing only about the beat cops. What about the super-sleuthy-spooks? Most people I find, don't even know that Canada has its very own spook organization. When I mention CSIS and the fact that I have been contacted by "researchers" twice they either ask what CSIS is or think its cool. The first time was shortly after I moved to Vancouver Island and the apparent reason for the visit was a (pretty tame) article I wrote for Redwire Magazine.

I admit I was pretty spooked (maybe that's how they earned their nickname) at the time. I mean how often does one get contacted by an organization with the responsibility to "investigate threats, analyze information and produce intelligence; it then reports to, and advises, the Government of Canada, so as to protect the country and its citizens. Key threats include terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, espionage, foreign interference and cyber-tampering affecting critical infrastructure"?

That was 4 years ago. The next time, a man calling himself Donald Curran showed up at the door of a condo I had owned, was renovating at the time and sold earlier this year. Like the first guy (for all I know it could have been the first guy again) he didn't seem to want all that much. He had called me in December 2004 and I brushed him off as I was in the process of getting toasted from my job at the NTC and too stressed out to worry about anything else. So 4 months later he just knocks on my door as I'm laying laminate flooring in Surrey.

Aside from the fact that only 3 people knew where I was at the time, and his access to surveillance (either my mobile phone or e-mail) was the only explanation for him knowing, I was not spooked, but oddly amused. Their reason for contacting me this time I assumed, was my recent departure from the West Coast Warrior Society (another tidbit of intel that was not widely known). I was amused because it became clear that a lot of what these guys do is observe body language. Not a lot of conversation or even discussion about anything terribly important needs to take place for them to begin gathering information about you. So I stood there with a slight grin because it seemed funny that I was watching him watch me watch him.

I have recently become a little more skilled at the art of observing body language. I just finished reading Peter Collett's Book of Tells. Not wanting to be a spy, but actually motivated by wanting to become a better poker player, I picked up the book from Curious Coho Books (buy local). It's an easy read and the author does a good job of breaking down all the different tells that people reveal, mostly unconsciously. What struck me most was the amount of information that is exchanged in a two-minute encounter that neither participant are too consciously aware of, that never the less significantly impacts the outcome.

So the morals of this story...don't be a cop (or a spy!); be nice to Indians; if you want to be a better poker player at your weekly game I recommend Collett's book; yes, I know this is just more fodder for the spooks and; if you are reading this CSIS is probably checking YOU out now! ;-)

Free Your Mind

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Week of Words in Words

Well, I'm home after 6 days on the road (over 800km) and believe me, MY bed and MY pillow feel nice. The first thing I did was drop my mom off and visit with my sister and brother (in-law). Baby Kashus was sleeping and apparently he had a bit of a restless day, so I did not want to disturb him. I'm gonna head over there again today and hopefully catch him awake. I'll have to remember to shave extra close because he, probably not unlike a lot of babies, doesn't like stubble.

I have just returned from 3 days in T'kumlups at the BC AFN Special Assembly and 2 days in North Vancouver at the Summit Chief Negotiators meeting. The main focus of discussion at both meetings was the The New Relationship and the $100,000,000.00 (looks more dramatic with all the zeros) that the BC government recently pledged toward its implementation.

While I'm still working out a more thorough analysis of all this recent hoopla, it is curious that the Premier has taken this on in a way that can only be described as a personal crusade. Another interesting point is that while the leadership council had been pushing this initiative from the start, all of them were them genuinely surprised by the $100,000,000.00 (they had originally suggested a budget of $60,000,000.00). Additionally, I will always advocate for promoting an Indigenous way of life and at the least "inherent rights" over "aboriginal rights" any day. Finally, I have not given up hope on achieving justice for our people and in order for that to occur I believe we need restitution before we even consider reconciliation.

Yesterday, I stepped out of the meeting briefly with an apparent groggy-soul-sapped-look on my face. I ended up chatting with one of the guys helping with the catering. As I wiped my eyes and yawned he said, "We have a saying in the south. My grandma used to say, 'If you talk more than 15 minutes, you're lying,'" and further advice on meetings, "Agenda? We don't need no stinking agenda. We just need to do what needs to get done." I think those were the briefest and best words I heard all day.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Race and Imperialism

I know many of you will think that common notions of "race" are antequated or perhaps more precisely, false. That being said, most of you will know what I am talking about. I have nothing against white people specifically because they are white (I have many white friends myself - lol - sorry, could not resist) and I don't automatically agree with all "Indigenous, Aboriginal, First Nations, Native or Indian" people. My primary concern at this time is the values and principles of Imperialism. Without getting too technical (I'll leave that for Kumtux), the primary values I am opposed to are greed, individualism, and mono-theism among others.

All across the world, and defintely here at home, we can see examples of Imperialism trascending race. We see Indigenous people becoming Aboriginal people. We see the abandonment of community, connection, respect and acceptance in favour of Imperialistic ways, in the name of reality and practicality. Most Indian Act Chiefs lament being historically "left out" and are striving for "their place at the table and a bigger piece of the pie." It is my belief that this is where the struggle for aboriginal rights and equality has led us. This struggle, epitomized by legislative and legal reform may have been well-intentioned and even necessary (creating space for people like me to be able express my rebelious opinions), has now outlived its usefulness.

My final thought for today (well this entry anyway) is that I agree that the first step toward justice will require that Indigenous people shed their Aboriginalist (colonial) ways and then our non-Indigenous neighbours must also shed their colonial ways. At first I thought, "wow, as if it was not hard enough already" but one can see the logic if our goal is a truly peaceful and just society. While not advocating for communism as a model for Indigenous liberation, one can see how difficult it has been for Cuba to live as an isolated nation under constant attack from the United States. It might sound cheesy, but really we do have to find a way to "all get along." A Utopian goal perhaps, and one only conceived of in the long, long term. As for now me must have contention.

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Indigenous Eyes?

Consistent with my recent predicament of "thinking too much" just like when I was a hapless teen, I have been thinking about this idea of colonial influence and the process of de-colonization. Perhaps my self-doubt is just bubbling to the surface lately, and you are coming along for the ride, but I have been thinking a lot about how I "see" the world and what exactly is the nature of authentically Indigenous. Now I know there are moments when everything feels right or strong and mostly these are moments immersed in culture and language, but the thinking Indian's world can be a lot more murky.

One of the things that I've recently allowed (owning my to mess me up is the book, Rebel Sell by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter (maamulth'nii professors from back east). I have not finished it, but basically, it is a critique of Counterculture as a movement. I have never subscribed to counterculture as a movement (not sure if anyone has to the extent the authors assert), but I have certainly worn my share of Che Guevara t-shirts. Their primary argument is that counterculture (such as Adbusters etc.) actually encourages consumerism and is counter-productive, and they seem to make a compelling case but I think they utilize a few too many straw-man arguments, assuming that all leftist people do is look cool....hmm.

This was messing me up a bit because so many of our Indigenous radicals embrace counterculture-esque approaches, but what I am now thinking, "is that all some people are?" The question that inevitably arrises amongst people who genuinely care is, "what do we do now?" Then a friend said, "They are white people, writing for white people." I admit, I was suprised how quickly that made me feel better. And then I began to wonder to what degree am I seeing the world with Indigenous eyes and to what degree am I hampered by colonial sunglasses, even unwittingly and the wheels started turning

Perhaps even rebels need vacations...what a can 'o worms that opens up!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Colonialism and Tryptophan

I've just returned from a turkey dinner at my sister's place. My mom came over for the weekend and we had dinner today because tomorrow my family has its weekly language dinner/lesson and Monday my mom has to head back to Vancouver. I guess it was a "thanksgiving" dinner in so far as we ate turkey and mashed potatos and my mom's famous stuffing and gravy (although I was able to intervene at the grocery store to skip the brussell sprouts :p). I see a lot of MSN nicknames include "thanks for nothing" and thanks-taking etc." While I agree that Indigenous people have no place celebrating colonial holidays, its hard to argue when the whole family wants to get together, enjoy each other's company and consume some seratonin-inducing bird.

I do not recall (this seems to happen often) the exact quote from Gandhi but it goes something like this: "we must learn to distinguish between the fundamental challenges of colonialism and the minor irritances." Of course we could debate endlessly on that which we feel is important, and worthy of our finite efforts and that which is merely an irritance and not worthy of our precious time but I think the little guy has a point.

I believe that one positive thing we can do is take these opportunities to gather with our families and not only enjoy our time together but share stories and teachings and make it ours. I think in many ways, we already have. For those of you that still will have nothing to do with this weekend's activities check out this song, Pilgrimz by Shysti from his CD Border Music. Another example of reclaiming a holiday is coming up next week: October 12th is no longer Columbus Day in Venezuela but now the Day of Indigenous Resistance.

Whew! I'm still stuffed, and feeling a little sleepy :I

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

On My Mind Today...

When does mitigating damage or "making the best of a bad situation" do more harm than good?

Has every government-funded program (for Indigenous people) failed or at the best, been only marginally successful?

Awareness and acknowledgment of reality does not necessarily imply acceptance of it.

Many of history's inspirational leaders have this in common: They were all unrealistic, by other people's standards, fiercely uncompromising and many of them were assasinated - King, Malcolm X, Gandhi, Che. Exceptions? Mandela.

Is "semi-sovereign" the same as "half-full?"

I appear to have chosen a pretty lonely road so far. As my mom once said, "Not many people agree with you."