Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's not business, just personal

One of my favourite lines from one of my favourite "old school" bloggers went something like this: "When I was young, I kept a journal and I would have died if anyone read it. Now I blog and I fear no one will read it."

I feel the need to express myself but at the same time be vague: Enter the world of blogging. Emotional exhibitionist anonymity. Sort of.

So, I'm researching for a paper and came across some rebellious classics on my bookshelf (Fanon, Galeano, Magon) and I couldn't help but be brought back in time. It was not that long ago that I swallowed the red pill. They were exciting times. We had confusion, despair, hope, dysfunction, passion, but above all, for me at least, the feeling that "I am not alone, and I am not crazy." One cannot underestimate the power of solidarity in sustaining one's belief in the movement. Sure, it can lead to hasty alliances and errors in judgement, but it sure helps when you feel your weakest.

I don't know where this is going, maybe no where. All I know is that hope is important, and for some reason sanity seems to be too. I'll leave you with one of my favourite of Galeano's passages from his book, We Say No:

"We have come from different countries, and we are here, reunited under the generous shade of Pablo Neruda - to join the people of Chile, who say no.
We also say no.
We say no to the praise of money and of death. We say no to a system that assigns prices to people...
We say no to a system that neither feeds its people nor loves them, that condemns many to a hunger for food and many more to a hunger for the embrace...
We say no to the lie...
The colonial inheritance obliges the so-called Third World - populated by third-class people - to accept as its own the memory of the victors who conquered it and to take on the lies of others and use them as its own reality. They reward our obedience, punish our intelligence, and discourage our creative energy...
We say no to fear. No to fear of speaking, of doing, of being...
As it happens, we are saying no, and by saying no we are saying yes...
By saying no to the devastating empire of greed, whose centre lies in North America, we are saying yes to another possible America, which will be born of the most ancient of American traditions, the communitarian tradition that the Chilean Indians have defended desperately, defeat after defeat, during the last five centuries.
In saying no to a peace without dignity, we are saying yes to the sacred right of rebellion against injustice and its long history as long as the history of popular resistance on the long map of Chile. By saying no to the freedom of money, we are saying yes to the freedom of people: a mistreated and wounded freedom, a thousand times defeated as in Chile and, as in Chile, a thousand times arisen."

I miss our conversations...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

did you know?

So, I'm doing a paper on indigenous peoples' participation in Canadian party politics, and I'm trying to determine whether this has proven an effective strategy, specifically in comparison to the visions articulated by some of the old school leaders like George Manuel, Andy Paull, Philip Paul, James Gosnell, Gus Gottfriedson, and later Harold Cardinal and Vine Deloria, Jr. If you know anything about me and my politics you can guess where I'm headed with this.

Did you know that when Andy Paull from Sḵwxwú7mesh was the head of the Native American Indian Brotherhood in 1947 he rejected the idea of re-granting indigenous people in BC the right to vote "on the grounds that it would open the door to assimilation and loss of rights and privileges."1


On another somewhat less significant but nonetheless "grocery store line-up interesting note," did you know that Tina Keeper, the indigenous woman who played an RCMP constable on North of 60 was elected as a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party in Churchill, MB last year?

1. Tennant, Paul. Aboriginal Peoples and Politics. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press, 1990, p. 121.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nuu-chah-nulth United

So, I've been living with an ewok, Single Joe, for about a month and a half now (and no we don't have a bunk bed, we do have separate rooms). If you know ewoks, in addition to being cute, furry and friendly, they are also crazy about soccer, and Joe is no exception. Joe is a goalkeeper and I even noticed a "top goalie" trophy on his bookshelf from the glory days (2001).

I've been thinking about a return to the game of soccer for some time now. Would you believe that it has been about 16 years since I played competitively? Maybe is was Galeano who got me thinking about it again, in between scathing critiques of amnesia and neoliberalism with his Soccer in Sun and Shadow. Perhaps it was knowing that my buddy, Wiwchar of A Channel fame is still out there on the pitch, playing dirty at 40. It could just be the magnetic pull of "the simplest game" and the "passion of the people."

So, a few weeks ago I started talking about developing a Nuu-chah-nulth men's soccer team to start competing in next Spring's native soccer touranment circuit. I guess this is noteworthy, cause my good friend 'Cilla mentioned it casually amongst a gathering of Kwakwak'awakws (the previously referenced "ewoks"), and they all laughed and when it comes up again they still laugh. You see, in addition to being the only coastal people crazy enough to hunt for whales, the Nuu-chah-nulth are known for some pretty dominant play on the hardwood. We can hoop it up with the best of 'em but aside from a few hardcore players lately, our prowess on the pitch is unheard of.

Even though I too, laughed when I heard the retelling of the story, "my friend Cliff is thinking of starting a soccer team..." from that moment, I was committed. It will not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I'm already counting on the participation of Jose, Johnny and Darren, some training and coaching from Hazel, Carol-Anne, and Joe, support from Chiinuuks, A-in-chut, my pops and all the aunties and uncles.

In the spirit of sport, dignity and perseverance, I'll leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Mohandas K. Gandhi:

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."