Sunday, February 10, 2019

CAN WE TALK?




MR. DERANGER TRAPPER HUNTER DENE


Unless you have been basking in the sun on a beach on some isolated island and not following the American news cycle you are likely left out of a very important national conversation. 

February 2019 is proving to be a challenging month for US elected officials, in light of documentation and photos that revealed that some decades ago a number of high-ranking elected officials in Virginia posed with blackface, and another presidential candidate claimed American Indian heritage on an American Bar legal form.    

These elected officials are scrambling to hire high profile PR firms to contest these negative stories. The outrage is palpable.  Has this behaviour suddenly become unacceptable? Or is it simply political grandstanding?  Did it come to light purposefully or as a political stunt to shame and hurt the opposition? Or have standards just changed since the 1980s?  Which begs the question: has the public finally lowered its tolerance for racism and, if there was not an upcoming presidential election, would that outrage still exist?

Cultural appropriation, in my opinion, has never been accepted by the Indigenous population in Canada. First Nations have vehemently fought against this type of racism in the public arena, and in the courts. From the Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Indians, the fans’ pretending to Tomahawk the opposition at baseball stadiums, sexy ‘Indian Princess’ and ‘Indian Chief’ costumes being sold at Halloween, fashion models wearing ‘Indian’ headdresses, we have seen endless examples of racism.  This racism is sometimes shrouded under the veil that they are attempts to honour Indians.  But indigenous activists have stood up against it.   

Racism should always be called out for what it is.  In Canada, we have begun a conversation around truth and reconciliation.  When Canada created residential schools it was a blatant attempt to remove all traces of Indigenous culture that left in its midst a horrific legacy by attempting to assimilate first Nations.  In an attempt to rectify this shameful legacy, which some have correctly described as cultural genocide, the government of Canada created the process of truth and reconciliation.  The Prime Minister of Canada publicly apologized for the mistreatment of first Nations in residential schools.   However, his apology fell flat as racist policies embodied in the Indian Act continue to exist.

The incidents in the United States has started a conversation around racism that needs to be continued, not just for elected officials, but among regular individuals, and academics, grassroots people, and professionals.    

Racism is systemic and weaved into the fabric of both the US and Canada, and there is simply no denying it. Most students in the Canadian school system have not been taught the real history of Canadian First Nations. It is only through individual research that one will uncover the real Canadian Indian history.

What are your thoughts on this particular subject? Do you think that First Nations should forget the past? The injustices were deep and cruel. Living under a colonization created much of the problems that exist today. 

Fortunately, the Canadian government's goal to wipe out all traces of indigenous culture, spirituality and governance, failed. 

Where do we go from here? Colonization exists and we are fundamentally caught in a cycle that began when we were colonized. In order to go forward we must accept our history and create a new way forward one that unshackles us from colonization. If we continue to ignore the fact that we have been colonized it makes it more difficult to carve out a new stronger reality of self-governance.       

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 REFLECTIONS





traditional Nisgá foods



As each year approaches the year end, it has been my practice to reflect on the year that has passed. 

2018 has been both challenging and rewarding for me.  The beginning of the year is mostly a blur because I spent huge part of it in hospital following surgery and a stroke. What that experience has taught me is the value of slowing down, taking notice of each moment and being completely present.  It provided me with an opportunity to look at life from a different perspective.  AND as a result I started investigating, reading and listening to podcasts on neurology and executive functioning of the brain and how it connects with other areas of our body. I marvel at our biology and how our body is designed to survive. Our nervous system, our digestive system, our cardiovascular system; they all totally fascinate me.

I found that my experience (including the loss of certain functions I had always taken for granted) lead me to want to be in control of my health and, to do that, I decided to expand my knowledge and to begin learning new things on a subject I knew very little about. Namely, the brain, and more generally health. I viewed this as an exciting opportunity. There have been many times in the past few months that I have begun a sentence by saying, “I have been listening to this podcast”…, or, recently “a book I am reading stated that”…

This learning has also changed some of my core beliefs, such as that you can get the required protein eating an exclusively plant-based diet. The more I researched it, the more evidence I uncovered that this is not entirely correct. Evidence suggests that getting the required protein you must consume so much more than greens. I am sure vegans do not want to hear this. However, each person must do what they believe is right for them, and what is right for them at a given time. I am also a firm believer in neuroplasticity; that the more you learn the more open to learning you become.  

After over 20 years of being a vegetarian I have returned to eating meat, wild meat that is. Interestingly, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.

Some positive effects I noticed early on, is that I sleep more soundly, and have more energy and - best of all - I wake up refreshed. Minor aches and pains disappeared. My memory improved, I can't say if it is related to eating meat or not, because I have been doing other things to improve my memory as well. A couple of months after being discharged from the hospital I noticed that I had some residual foggy brain periods, although in the last several weeks I feel that too has dissipated. I believe my left side neglect has also improved, which was confirmed by my physician.   

Studies have showed that a huge part of having quality life is to engage with others, we are after all social beings, to that end, I have created a community online using the Facebook platform. The thinking behind that for me was that I found social network platforms were superficial at best and lacking in satisfying the need for meaningful connections to others.

I figured that if I wanted a deeper connection then I would have to create one to accommodate my own desire and that of others who are also searching for a deeper connection. I thought of my many friends who are critical thinkers, innovators, thought provokers, who would enjoy being engaged on an intellectual level. After identifying 40 such people I created “We Belong” and currently we have 103 members.  There is a broad selection of professionals in this group, from lawyers, general physicians, MDs, authors, engineers, Buddhist monks, practicing meditators, former First Nation Chiefs, University professors, philosophers, First Nation Elders, film producers, scientists, students, life coaches, artists, counselors, nurses, occupational therapists and dentists.

It has only been a couple of months since I started this community of forward-thinking people. Progress has been slow in that members are still figuring out how to behave, and how to engage one another. However, I am encouraged because I am noticing more and more that our members are opening up more and trusting each other.

At one time a couple of weeks back, I thought of reducing the group down to the 20 or so members thinking it might encourage more conversations, but then I decided that it would be better to allow the process to evolve on its own. 

I am really excited for the possibility to have a community of engaged people who will be game changers in a major way.  The possibilities for this group are unlimited. My long-term vision for the community is to collectively produce ideas and outcomes to improve society as a whole.  Think big! Some of you, I know personally have already had breakthroughs and have made a difference in  communities and the world: I just need you to open up and share it with the rest of us.

On a personal note, we are a family who has taken the step to reduce our environmental footprint by joining the electric car movement.  This is exciting because I no longer feel guilty getting from point A to B, and that feels good. Hubby has blog about it here. http://teslaguy.blogspot.com/2018/12/joining-tesla-movement.html  

What prompted you to join We Belong? How will you make a difference to our conversation? Everyone in this group has strength in a specific area. Identify your strengths.  Here I will start:

1.     My “Super Power” is being intuitive and able to teach others to quiet their mind and meditate.
2.     I am able to recognize others’ uniqueness and to encourage them to reveal their best self.
3.     I am able to communicate in a way that makes you really feel I am listening to you.             



Saturday, November 17, 2018

My lemon tree - started from a tiny seed!  
I am thrilled that my lemon tree plant, which I started from a seed from an organic lemon I bought at the grocery store, is doing well and producing fruit.

It reminds me that we can start things that are tiny and with the proper care it will grow and produce  fruit.  Next thing you know, there is a grove of lemon trees!

A week ago,  I created a virtual community.  First,  thank you for accepting my invitation to join this community.   The fact that you have said YES,  tells me I made the right choice.  The idea  for this community came to me after listening to a podcast on social  connectedness.   We have an innate desire to be connected to other humans.  Do you ever feel lonely within  a group of people?   Do you ever feel that your contribution does not matter?  For some time I have been feeling disconnected on social media platforms.   I really didn't feel a connection with people who were my "friends" and I decided to change that,  and in order to do that,  it was clear I had to change myself first.   I had to be more open and engage other like-minded people.  I  considered the friends I had and chose specific individuals who I felt had the characteristics and personality to grow my community.   I then carefully considered the first group of people to invite.   Each person in the first group in my mind is a game changer and has a unique ability to show up in life for others. 

I  knew it would be a challenge, and I do like a challenge.   The challenge is that people have long established ways of behaving on social media.  Some people don't like change; however for this new community to be different and engage its members on an authentic  level people must want it to be involved not just passive observers.    This is an exciting experiment.

Like my lemon plant, it was started by a single seed, and the fact that you have accepted my invitation to be part of this community tells me that you do want a new experience, an engaging experience, a deeper understanding of the members in this community.  Where this will lead I am not sure.  Where I hope it will lead is a satisfaction that you matter to a community and that your input is valued.   You may not know this  but you are in the company among some pretty awesome people.   I trust them implicitly.   They are of the highest integrity and authenticity and come from many different  backgrounds and interest.   If I was shipwrecked and landed on an island I would want them there with me to build a new community.

WE BELONG! 

The first thing I did was to create this online virtual community.   I wrote a note explaining my intention for the community, including what I hoped and expected from the people I invited into the community

1.  Introduce yourself to the community.

2.  If you invite others to join the community, really think about who they are.  Do they have the  characteristics and personality to add to the community?   Will they be active participants?  Introduce them like you would in "real life" to your friends. Let them know why you think they would be good community members. 

3.  Be an active participant  in discussions.

4.  Commit to the group, and give it the time to develop into a healthy community. The more you give, the more you will get out of it.  The more satisfaction you will feel, and the more connected you will feel.   I also gave a promise of what they could expect from me.

5.  Be yourself, be authentic.

6.  Have fun! 

My observation a week into this experiment is that I am going to have to give it some time because old habits are difficult to change.  On Facebook we are used to watching posts go by as we live our busy lives.

It is also a lot to expect of people to open up themselves to a group of strangers, even if they have been connected by someone they all know.  Community member are still in the observation stage. But I am encouraged because the calibre of people in the community is there.  And some good content has been posted.  I will give people time to observe and  get comfortable and to see if this is a community they would be proud to be part of.   


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