Thursday, September 29, 2005

Losing Hope Is Freedom

2 days in Skwxwu7mesh territory
A gathering at Joe's house
All expenses paid
A room full of "aboriginal" politicos
and 1 born-again-Indian-friend Premier
Good words and $100 Million!
The big cheeses gush with praise
It's almost embarassing

The voice of dissent diminishes
One voice from Haida Gwaii
One voice from Cowichan
One voice from the Nuu-chah-nulth-aht
One voice from the other side of the Mountains

Years ago, I was perplexed
Then Bored
Then Frustrated
Then Angry
Today I lost hope
Today I am free

I finally understand
To lose hope is freedom
These men will not lead us
Government funded dissent
Today I lost all hope
And it did not make me sad
Today I am free

It will not begin in Vancouver
It will begin at home
In the words of our ancestors
It will begin on our shores
it will begin in our mountains
We are already free

Losing Hope Is Freedom

Another Way is Possible

Saturday, September 24, 2005

On My iPod These Days

In no particular order, these are some of the tunes I'm listening to:

1. Natural Enemy by Aztlan Underground

2. Self-Determination by Tha Masses

3. The Point of No Return by Immortal Technique

4. Gathering Of The Gods by Kalpulli

5. M.I.N.D. by El Vuh

6. Freedom by Leela Gilday

7. With My Own Two Hands by Ben Harper

8. Don't Take Your Guns To Town by Johnny Cash

9. Adoro by Chavela Vargas

10. Propaganda by Dead Prez

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Not Useful Anymore

Something just occured to me. I always wonder whether these occurances are profound and revolutionary or just obvious to everyone except me. You tell me. In conversing with a co-worker (in English) it occured to me that the reason our Indigenous languages are on the verge of extinction is because they are no longer useful.

As proud as we like to act about being Indigenous, we really are much more assimilated than we care to admit and well, speaking our languages is not that important. I believe that precisely because we have become so assimilated, we have in effect, de-prioritized the learning of our Indigenous languages. And despite a mild undercurrent of desire to hold on or regain some of what we have lost culturally, we will not act to save our languages until we change the way we live.

Our way of life determines what is most important to us. Our current daily lives are not conducive to learning Indigenous languages and culture. The answer: Change our current daily lives. Be Indigenous. It is that simple and hard at the same time.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tonight on Goin' Coastal

The Planets are aligned. The Gods are conspiring. Word around the campfire is that DJ CrazyFish can't make it in tonight and DJ SuperChow is going to be a bit late, so that leaves yours truly, deputy-DJ-for-a-night Dubya alone on the Wheels of Steel! I promise not to do any human beatboxing.

Tune in to 101.7 FM in Nanaimo or listen online at, every Tuesday from 6-9pm for Goin' Coastal: Your Indigeneous Revolutionary Radio.

Tonight, in and amongst the cool tunes we (I) will share some news about the "New Relationship" and the $100 million, the arrest of the tahltan elders, and missing and slain Indigenous women across Canada. We are also expecting some phone calls from Roots and Jimmy Nations.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Mercedes SUV: 2, Dubya's Moto: 0

I really felt like I deserved a liquid lunch today. Instead, I opted an "adult slurpee" (iced mocha frappe) and wireless internet at Serious Coffee on Douglas. OK, so I'm in town to do some shipping and banking and I start the morning at my new favourite Victoria breakfast joint: The Blue Fox. Just as the server is setting down my food, me and a few of the other patrons notice a Mercedes SUV backing into my motorcycle. He pushes is it against the kick stand and knocks it over. We all think he has noticed this as he starts to pull ahead. My expression shifts from jaw-dropped disbelief to horror as he slowly starts to back over it again! Well, about 3 or 4 of us all yell for him to stop to no avail, but what else are you gonna do?

I get out there, and by some grace of God he has noticed and has stopped backing up and he says to me, "It's really hard to see out of the back of that thing." I stand there dumbfounded, noticing that before he came along, it was clear for 50 feet in both directions. He helps me pick it up and we exchange information. There are some noticable scratches, the left mirror is knocked loose and the clutch lever is pushed out of place a bit, but otherwise it seems ok. I'm going to get it checked out by my mechanic anyway. A couple people inside offered me their phone numbers just in case it gets legally messy. The guy seemed genuinely concerned and responsible, but who knows these days?

To the Blue Fox's credit, breakfast was still good.

After picking up another copy of Tai's book to send to LL in Mexico, and adding it to her other carefully pre-packaged stuff I head down to the courier to send it down to La Paz. An hour later, I am an expert on shipping stuff internationally. There were about 30 different types of items in the care package and I had to itemize each one, estimate their value and note the country of manufacture. Oh, and I discovered the number of seemingly innocuous things that cannot be sent by air - bug spray, sun-screen spray, allergy pills among other things. I should say that the woman (who's name I did not get) who helped me was very nice and patient and guided me through it all. It may get there in time. Everyone send good vibes, rub your rabbit's feet and keep your fingers crossed.

Again, I cannot ignore the fact that it is a beautiful day and I am riding my (slightly more scratched) motorcycle while others sit in their cubicles and attend pre-planning meetings getting ready for the big meeting. A message to all you drivers of big azz SUV's, please HELP us two-wheelers keep the shiney side up, rubber side down!


Images of Beer Bongs, Streaking and Big Days at Home Depot

I'm back in Mituuni, sitting in Roots' living room listening to "Self-Determination" by Tha Masses and happily accessing the internet for free, likely because some hapless (or generous) consumer did not add a password when they installed their new wireless router. I rode my bike down after we hosted a reinvigorated (we kinda took the summer off) Nuu-chah-nulth tsiik'tsiik'a dinner at my pop's place. It was nice to see Chips (Fish was too tired), Pawa, Hish-Miik and family, Richard, my Mom, Sis and Kashus. Last Fall Pawa, Hish-Miik and I approached my Dad (Wickaninnish) about learning our Nuu-chah-nulth language and while it might be hard to wrap our brains and tongues around it, we are learning.

I like Mituuni. I have a lot of friends down here and in case you don't already know, I will be taking my partially-educated butt back to school next year. I have re-registered at the University of Victoria to finish my BA in Political Science. I get to keep the same student number, which begins with a 93 to give you an idea of the last time I was here. People were still doing the Macarena back then! I wonder what it will be like hanging out with all the 20 year olds in third year? I have images of Rodney Dangerfield and Will Farrell streaking through my head.

Yesterday I, along with 754 other motorcycles participated in the Port Alberni Toy Run. It was the first time I ever rode in it and it is hard to describe the feeling of idling amongst hundreds of Harleys just before they fire the cannon to signal the start of the ride beginning at Little Qualicum Falls. My buddy Chii-a-is just grinned and said it sounded like "rolling thunder." It was pretty damn cool to ride with that many bikes around Cameron Lake and through Cathederal Grove, and then get it up to about 130 up Argyle. When you grin in a full face helmet, all it does is make your cheeks look really

Keep the shiney side up, rubber side down.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Radical Naivety and the Red Pill

I had a good conversation with my friend, Lahalawutsa'at the other day. As a fellow "red pill" her and I took the time to talk about the experiences of disillusionment and the idea of knowing and subsequently the impossibility of "unknowing." It's like once you get unplugged from the Matrix, you can't get plugged back in, no matter how superficially attractive it seems.

I'm going to be careful here because of course by the very nature of the gap of "understanding" and difference in world view between red pills and blue pills there can be the awful tendancy to seem arrogant or holy-er than thou, and believe me, I detest that sanctimonius attitude more than anyone. All possibility for misunderstanding aside, one cannot deny the difference in consciousness and the very lonely feeling that comes with that.

Anyway, back to the conversation. We wondered aloud, as I ate some Japanese stir-fry at the Park Royal mall in North Vancouver, the actual phenomenon of awakening - does something just "click" and if so what is it? Is it depth of understanding - like if people just hear enough, or know enough, or listen to the right teachings will they then be transformed into revolutionarios? And once transformed, unless they are socio or psychopathic, are they then incapable of going back to a regular life? We both supposed that they could fake it, but would ultimately be mentally and emotionally tortured and depressed. At least that is how we think we would feel...cause there seems to be a lot of money in selling out but damn, we wouldn't be able to look in the mirror.

If the red pill, blue pill references are not making any sense, I recommend you go rent The Matrix (the first one). No one is perfect and I will be the first to admit humanity, but I believe we should strive to be better human beings (and some of us, better Indigenous men and women). The exact nature of "better" is always open for discussion and that is the way it should be - till next time my friends and adversaries...


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My Friends Still Shop at Wal-Mart :I

A couple months ago I wrote an article that appeared in Ha-shilth-sa about the evils of the Wal-Mart empire and why, especially as Indigenous people, we needed to think about the effects that our decisions as consumers have on the ongoing exploitation of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. I don't think I expected everyone to stop shopping there (it should be noted that some never did or had already decided not to) but I did hope to get people thinking and I believe that I did accomplish that. So while several of my friends and family members report (confess) that they still shop there, they do tell me they feel guilty about

I don't believe that guilt is an effective tool, however. It certainly has not worked on the majority of non-Indigenous people here in North America. I believe that instead we need to inform and inspire. Judgement can be an ugly thing and while I have increasingly strong views and convictions, I don't want to be a stick in the mud either. I don't have the answers just yet, but I will let you know as soon as I do. Perhaps the best way is to live a good, principled, Indigenous life (and occasionally use cute puppy pictures to at least convince the sentimental, nice dog-lovers!)


Note: you can also find the original, "Why Wal-Mart Is Bad For You" here

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Getting Ready for NEXT Bathing Suit Season

Well now that the West Coast Warrior Society has disbanded (more info here) I've decided that being up around 250 lbs. plus is no longer As I've stated in a previous blog, being a new nuhyiiksuu (uncle) brings with it a new perspective on how I take care of myself. So, friends, family and foes alike, Dubya is on a mission: become a lean, mean (non-violent) fighting machine.

I'm starting with walking and hiking and for the record I've walked or hiked (34 minutes at the shortest and two hours at the longest so far) for 7 days and on the 8th day I rested and I've started again by hiking for 60 minutes and walking for 40 minutes this week. A funny thing happened last week though as I went for a walk during the lunch (half) hour. The office I work in is situated on a road frequently travelled by friendly Indigenous folk, so as I ambled down the road, people kept pulling over to ask if I needed a ride somewhere. I'm sorry, did I not look like I was exercising? I've decided that I need to swing my arms more and look more serious about my walking, perhaps even don some shorts. Now, to be clear it's not like I was dawdling but I guess I wasn't doing my best hip-swaying-speed-walking champ impression either.

I've also decided to watch what I eat. The Atkins revolution be damned, I have opted not for no-carb but lower-carb and pouncing on every bit of seafood I come across. All joking aside, I agree with Dr. T. and Dr. Corntassel in that we Indigenous folks need to de-colonize more than our minds, but also our diets. Down with fry-bread power! You have been genetically programmed to kick ass on your traditional food, so brush those potato chip crumbs off your shirt and go catch a fish.

Your soon to be svelte dubya...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Chastized By A Fish

Good morning (afternoon) my fellow happy-malcontents. Burns Bog is on fire and the smoke is blowing all the way over to the island which made my moto-ride today a little eerie as the sun fought to shine through the brownish haze and I tried to breathe as shallowly as possible having no idea whether it was helping or not. I woke up very pensive this morning and I shall try to sort my thoughts out here without being too verbose.

By the way, I'm listening to a Cesaria Evora CD that I borrowed from my sister. So far so good. It took awhile to figure out what language she was singing in, but I have determined from a little research, it is a Creole-Portuguese mixture. It is very soulful and melancholy (which is good when you can't understand what she is saying but have a sense of what she is "feeling." I think if you like Chavela Vargas you will also like Cesaria Evora.

On last week's radio show to no fault of DJ Superchow I played a song by P. Diddy (Bad Boy's For Life) in honour of the fact that while the West Coast Warrior Society may have gone the way of the dodo, the individuals involved were still indeed committed Indigenous freedom fighters. Well all in good fun but the absentee DJ CrazyFish e-mailed me later to say that he was dissapointed in my choice of tunes and went on to point out P. Diddy's record of using sweatshops that employ mostly poor Indigenous folks for his clothing line. After my ego healed a bit (I don't like being chastized by anyone, human or fish), I had to agree.

Goin' Coastal is about the revolution, Indigenous empowerment, the underground, conscientious musical artists, social and political engagement and resurgence, NOT the corporate-consumerist-mocking bling-bling culture so often prevalent in the poorer neighbourhoods of America. In fact, P. Diddy epitomizes almost everything we are against - greedy, selfish, individual elitism feeding on the consumer-addicted poor. So, to our loyal fans, I apologize. Even though I may dig the sounds, we are about making conscious decisions, promoting a healthy (in all aspects) lifestyle and getting to the meaning behind the messages. Fish, thanks for the reminder brother.

I was going to talk about more but I figure that is enough for one post...although I will say I have been thinking about the appropriateness of various foreign religions in Indigenous communities. For now, I will eat some more "upsqwii" (dried salmon) and get back to work!


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Down in Mituuni way...

For those of you unfamiliar with the Nuu-chah-nulth language "Mituuni" is what we call Victoria, a bastion of colonialism if ever there was one. In 1994 I worked in England for a brief period of time and I ran into people who had been to Victoria, BC who unjokingly stated, "Victoria is more English than England!" It is also the traditional (I use this word hesitantly, because it implies historical and therefore often, "no more" - certainly a physical reality, albeit not completely surrendered for a few still-brave resisters) of the Songhees, Esquimalt and Saanich nations.

I have just finished brunch with the Big T at the Blue Fox, a hip breakfast joint with an ever present line-up that reminds me of Slickety Jim's Chat N' Chew in Vancouver. Despite the throngs of funky looking white folks in their vintage Value Village-esque attire, I'm convinced at least a part of the revolution will be plotted in such places. Where else is a de-colonizing Indian to go to get some healthy chow? I know, I know...down by the river with a spear or weir. In time.

So as I ate my Breakfast Salad (fruit, yogurt, granola) and silently wondered if I would break down next year and buy short pants, sandels and take up yoga, we talked about T's new book, Wasase. I have shared some initial thoughts on it on my other blog: but have since read about 50 more pages and I am having trouble puting in down. I believe it truly is a revolutionary book and timely as the numbers of free-thinking, rebellious young Indigenous peeps grows.

Well, my (non-starbucks) mocha frappe has run dry and it's a beautiful day out; time to get on my 599 and hit the open road. Tonight we are having a dinner for my Grandma Evelyn's Birthday - incidentally, she is a descendant of K'amiina, a fierce and prolific warrior who fought in the Ahousaht-Ohtsoos war - a story I will tell you about another time.