Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Aboriginal Angel Doll Project

Check out a new posting about the Aboriginal Angel Doll Project and its creator, Gloria at: http://kumtux.blogspot.com

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 goincoastal@chly.ca 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 www.chly.ca (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

Mmm...coffee. 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 sluggish...lol. 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