Sunday, April 27, 2008


Another one bites the dust - that is off of my list. Along with a few companeras y companeros, I ran the Times-Colonist 10km Run this morning. Of course, I didn't train as much as I had intended, but I'm glad I finished it. Johnny was the speediest of the bunch coming in at 48:33, and brother that he is, he ran back to the 9km mark to run with me for my last 1km. Great job Team Indigelicious.

Had a good (hearty) brunch, and now I believe it's nap time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

made it...

For those of you who stop by here from time to time, you'll have no doubt noticed that I usually try to include an appropriate image with each blog I write. For those of you who are my friends and family members (and yes, maybe even you enemies), you will also know that I've just recently completed all the requirements for my bachelor's degree. I was thinking it would be appropriate to include one of those motivational poster images here, you know the ones that say "Achievement" or "Teamwork" or "Accomplishment" accompanied with a striking image of a mountaintop, or an eagle soaring, or a rowing team on some placid lake at dawn. But then, I came across these "anti-motivational" posters and I couldn't resist. It reminds of that saying about the light at the end of the tunnel, and hoping it's not an oncoming train. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not always this cynical, but I do appreciate a little irony, paradox, and self-deprecating humour from time to time.

So yeah, I'm done. I wrote my last exam on Monday and I feel pretty good about it. At first, I was not sure what to think, and as I exited the building where I had written my last exam, I almost instinctively put in my iPod headphones, in that antisocial way modern students do, but I stopped myself. I thought, is there a song that will do this moment justice? Can I find that right tune that will add to the soundtrack of my life? In truth, my iPod is really the wee-est of the bunch, the iShuffle, and it has no screen or clickwheel to locate the perfect song. Instead, I closed my eyes, soaked in the warm sunrays, and smiled.

What next? Some rest, some time with friends and family, a summer job hopefully, and then back to the grindstone. Grad School begins in September and this adventure continues. Yes, I am a little masochistic. I am grateful to everyone in my life for their encouragement and support. It has truly been a group effort. Kleco, kleco, and a few Gila Kesla's, Meegwetch's and Huy'ch'qa's too.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

almost done...

...stick a fork in me. By Monday at noon, I will have completed all my requirements for a bachelor of arts degree in political science at the University of Victoria. This most recent chapter in my life began here and, 20 months, 82 blogs (including a scant 7 on kumtux), 19 courses, more than 50 text books, a gajillion peer-reviewed journal articles, copious amounts of coffee, jarred fish, Mr. Noodles, much love from friends and family, some new friends, some new memories, some mundane and some not-so-mundane adventures, blood, sweat, and tears, and I am almost done. I have one final exam to go, for ENGL 429A. This final exam is for the only course that I may get less than a B in. :o I know. Apparently, English Literature is another language, and my indigenous revolutionary/social science brain just doesn't get it sometimes. Ah well, aaniikwaa. Humility has its upside. Well, I'm gonna do as Joe says, and finish strong...back to James, Stein, Wharton, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemmingway and Hurston...Damn modernist American expatriate writers (all except Hurston, although I think she did leave the South).

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

time for a change, time to grow up

Family, friends, loved ones, enemies no more. In two weeks I'll have completed my requirements for my bachelor of arts degree in political science. It's been an interesting journey, one that began in 1991 at Capilano College, with stopovers in student union, urban and old school and radical Indian politics, Cornwall, Ottawa, Toronto, Surrey, Port Alberni, Ladysmith and finally here in Victoria. I've learned a lot and met a lot of cool people.

I've met a lot of passionate people in the "movement" and developed a stronger sense of my own indigenous identity. I even had a brief stint as a member of the now-defunct West Coast Warrior Society. I've even taken a few peeps under my wing, dispensing red pills, promising only the truth, never mind the years of frustration, anger and further disillusionment. I've invaded your ears with indigenous revolutionary rhetoric from the radio waves of CHLY in Nanaimo along with the rest of the Goin' Coastal crew. And of course, I've utilized this space to weBLOG my insightful, pretentious ramblings about the indigenous revolution for nearly 3 years now.

Well, all good things come to an end. At the conclusion of this rite of passage, my graduation now assured, I'm reminded of that verse from Corinthians that they often read at weddings about setting aside childish things.

Last term, in the course of some research for a paper on indigenous participation in Canadian electoral and party politics, I came into contact with some really amazing people. They were young, positive, and motivated indigenous people - that also happened to be members of the Liberal Party of Canada. At first, I was a little stand-offish and even maybe a little mean. I insinuated that they had somehow abandoned their indigeneity by participating in the colonial master's game. I was convinced that they had fooled themselves into thinking that they could actually do something from the inside.

Well, to their credit, they were kind and patient and over the course of our discussions I began to see things in a new way, in a way that I had never fully appreciated before. Sure, I had worked for the Tribal Council and been exposed to indigenous-state politics, but I never really believed in it, until now. This one woman in particular floored me with some key revelations: "I would rather be inside making decisions for our people than outside protesting" and the real kicker, "It's easier to change the minds of your friends than your enemies."

I could not believe it. The cat had my tongue. I didn't know what to say. How could I dispute these obvious truths? Needless to say, the idea needed time to marinate in my thoughts and feelings for several months before I could make sense of it. I mean, messing with this idea of progressive and positive thinking was all the stuff I learned from Tai, Vine, and others, but I believe now is the time for me to change directions. It would be a lie to say that I am actually renouncing all those things I wrote and said. I think they had their place - like the Corinthians passage reminds us but what are our options, realistically? I mean really?

So, I take this opportunity to announce to you now, that I have accepted a special appointment as "Indigenous Advisor" to the Minister of Indian Affairs, Chuck Strahl. I've talked to Chuck a few times and he actually likes my ideas and thinks I have a lot to contribute from a slightly different perspective. I'm really encouraged.

Upon graduation in April, I will be travelling to Ottawa to take up my post and see if I can really make a difference from within. I believe I can.

Oh yeah, and one more thing...