Are we punishing people for being poor?

The way our federal and provincial justice system is faulty. We are imprisoning people for unpaid fines, which is incredibly unfair as most of the time these are people who can’t make the payment. In other words, we are punishing people for being poor.

The policy has also meant the disproportionate imprisonment of Aboriginal people since many living in native reservations live under the line of poverty.

If you think this isn’t an important issue because it will never happen to you or anyone you know, think again. No one is safe from poverty and once you are, it’s very difficult to dig your way out.

This is so messed up. The justice system needs to be revised to make sure that we are not unnecessarily punishing people for being poor. This is shameful truth about our justice system.

Why is Sir John A. Macdonald still an official commemorative day in Canada?

January 11th is Sir Jonh A. Macdonald Day in Canada. I’m wondering why is Sir John A.  Macdonald still an official commemorative day in Canada? He was removed on our $5 bills after all.

Yes, he was the 1st prime minister of Canada. It was an important moment in our country’s history and yes, we should teach children about him and what happened during that period. What I dislike is the planning of activities to celebrate this man. We should be learning about him, but celebrating a man who created a policy to starve first nation people to death.

The statue of Sir John A. Macdonald has been vandalized several times since November 2017 amid calls for the statue to come down as part of a fight against racism and colonialism.

I’m not saying we should erase the 1st prime minister of Canada from history. On the contrary, a Nation must realize its failures and bare witness to the truth or history will and has repeated itself. What I’m saying is that we should show him for the man he really was and not celebrate him as a hero.

What it means to be Métis in Canada

Our Culture

Sweet grass is one of the four plants considered as sacred to First Nations, Inuit and Métis. It is known for its sweet scent, which intensifies when it rains or burns. It is found across North America and Northern Europe below the Arctic Circle.

When a culture appropriates the creation of a food or a tradition of another, that’s where we talk about cultural appropriation

Our History

Did you know that the Métis flag dates as far back as 1815? It is among the oldest flags originating in Canada. Its unique infinity symbol represents both the Métis culture’s permanency and the union of two cultures. The blue background represent French Métis and the red background represents English Métis.

Our Identity

Did you know that we are the only race who need to prove who we are, that all other races merely check mark a box and all is good?

The following quote also applies to any other races.

“You want to tell me I’m not Latino enough? Why don’t you stop speaking and look in the mirror and speak to yourself because you’re telling me something that you actually probably feel about yourself.” – Gina Rodriguez

Our Struggle

Many First Nations, Inuit and Métis women live in poverty. This includes food insecurity, lack of reliable health care, low wages, and social exclusions.

 

Thanksgiving isn’t what you think it is

Thanksgiving isn’t what you think it is — so why does the country keep forgetting?

This text doesn’t come from a place of anger or to place blame on anyone. It comes from a place of knowledge, understanding and a refusal to be erased from history. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the real history behind Thanksgiving. It was a brutal genocide that took place and each Native American that’s here today is a survivor of that attempted genocide. Never before in human history has a continent’s population been so thoroughly decimated. More people should know about the awful bounty system that paid settlers to kill Native Americans.

This idea of pilgrims and Native Americans coming together and sharing a positive meal is whitewashing at its finest. Genocide can’t be celebrated and mocked by a fairytale feast that never took place. Unfortunately, most of the literature taught in schools is written by white male authors.

“If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.” – Schulz (Charlie Brown)

Saying this, I have no qualms about family gatherings. I enjoy a hearty meal as much as the next. Thanking a moment to share a meal with friends and family and reflect on all that we have to be thankful is a positive thing. It just can’t come at the cost of erasure.

Most people don’t remember and many simply don’t care that pilgrim appropriated land, that Abraham Lincoln coin this holiday for patriotism during the Civil War and that this American president ordered the largest mass execution of Dakota people in United States history. The same story is repeated all over North America.

I don’t know why it’s so difficult to have our history heard and acknowledge. Accepting and learning from our failures is the only way to achieve our stated goals of equality and justice for all. It’s not about pointing a guilty finger at anyone. It’s about making sure that an entire nation isn’t forgotten and pushed aside.

It’s about taking a moment to acknowledge that Thanksgiving is a day of mourning for many Native Americans. It’s a day of sadness. For our people, this was a terrible time and we have every right to express how we feel about it.

Thanksgiving also reinforces the idea that Native Americans are in the past and we aren’t here anymore. The reality is that Native Americans are thriving, many are still speaking their language. We are practising our culture.

Obviously, most people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving for its true meaning. Most see it as a day about family and having a nice dinner. Most people don’t even think about the history or give a hoot. It’s great to be surrounded by family, to come together and spend real time.

You can’t change history, no matter how hard you try. The whitewashing of our textbooks doesn’t change the reality of what really happened and the reality is attempted genocide. Our history has been changed and destroyed so much that it is now time to learn some more of the truth. That is not asking too much!

I hope that there is a moment though to acknowledge that First Nation people are still there and that we are thriving. History has to be remembered so that it will not be repeated.

We shouldn’t forget the atrocities of the past. We can’t change it but we can remember and try to honour First Nation cultures.

 

Pocahontas wasn’t a Disney Princess

Pocahontas (1595 – 1617) – She was made famous by the Disney movie about her interactions with the early American settlers of Jamestown, Virginia. Her marriage, in 1614, to settler John Rolfe was the first interracial marriage in American history.

First of all, Pocahontas was a nickname which meant “playful one” or “ill-behaved child”. Her real name was Amonute.

She was a child when taken to England. There were no love stories with John Smith here. Once in England, Amonute was brainwashed. She has paraded around as an example of a civilized savage. It was one of the pre-cursor for forcing native children into residential schools where they were physically and mentally abused and even killed.

She was eventually given a choice to return home or stay. She obviously chose to stay as she had been thought to view her own people as dirty uneducated savages.

Who was Crazy Horse?

Crazy Horse (1840 – 1877) – He was a great Sioux warrior and a leader in the Great Sioux War of 1876.

Crazy Horse’s participation in several famous battles of the American Indian Wars on the northern Great Plains earned him great respect from both his enemies and his own people.

Crazy Horse ranks among the most notable and iconic of Native American warriors and was honored by the U.S. Postal Service in 1982 with a 13¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.

The  worst part is I don’t remember ever learning about Crazy Horse in my history classes. Might have to do with the fact that I grew up in Canada, but his story still should have been thought in class when learning about First Nation people. Do you agree?

Indigenous Peoples

August 9th is International Day for the World’s Indigenous People.

I am Métis. This means that I am mixed race.

Did you know that the Métis flag dates as far back as 1815? It is among the oldest flags originating in Canada. Its unique infinity symbol represents both the Métis culture’s permanency and the union of two cultures. The blue background represent French Métis and the red background represents English Métis.

Did you know that we are the only race who need to prove who we are, that all other races merely check mark a box and all is good?

The following quote also applies to any other races.

“You want to tell me I’m not Latino enough? Why don’t you stop speaking and look in the mirror and speak to yourself because you’re telling me something that you actually probably feel about yourself.” – Gina Rodriguez

Canada isn’t immune from hate. Hatred and attacks towards minorities are on the rise. It’s spreading and we need to remain vigilant.

First Nation People

Racism is real and alive in North America. Indigenous people (Native Americans, Métis and Inuits) are by far the least supported ethnic group in North America, we are are North American.

Everyone living here should understand that America has what it has because it stole land from indigenous people. Everyone else is on their turf, taking up their space. For Indigenous Americans, this is home, and the great majority is still trying to make us vanish. It is so difficult to have some recognition of the people who lived on this land before you?

It is Black, Native women and mixed race women who are most likely to be raped in their lifetimes in America. You cannot be an advocate against sexual violence without considering the impact of race.

Please don’t refer to things as your “spirit animal” if you’re not Native. There are other ways to express affinity with something.

Don’t make us be the  diversity individual in the work place to prove that you are diversified and do not have racist hiring practicing. Having one individual that is from another culture does not make your hiring practices less racist. This has happened to me early in my career and it sucks.

Don’t assume or guess people’s races. This is not a fun game for us. I’ve had people start speaking to me in Italian thinking that’s what my cultural background is. It’s not. Even if it was, I might be born here and never really learned Italian. I have a friend who was adopted as a child. So many assume that he speaks Mandarin, which is not the case.

The same goes for dismissing people’s cultural experiences and background, because they don’t have the right look. How can you throw her or his experiences, her or his feelings and her or his writing away because to you she do not look native enough? My daughter is blond and gray eyes. Both her parents are Métis. I had to have meeting with teachers who told her she was lying about her cultural background. I shouldn’t have to show up and explain that as for the people who think she is not native enough, well, I assure you that she went through the same experiences as her elders regardless of what her hair and facial features look like right now. My words shouldn’t have more weight than my daughters because I have the right look.

 

Louis Riel Day

Louis Riel is a passionate Métis leader. He was a mix of Cree, Ojibwa, Saulteaux, French Canadian, Scottish and English descent. I am Métis, a mix of Abenaki, Huron, Mi’kmaq, Irish, French and English descent. He dreamt of a civilised world that embraces all cultures. Many of us are still hoping and fighting for the same thing.

Louis Riel was an advocate of justice for the Métis people. He helped lay the framework for minority rights. He is regarded as a founder of Manitoba.

The government did everything to muzzle Louis Riel. He was charged with high treason for being a persistent advocate for the rights of his people.

The trial was moved from Winnipeg to Regina when the government discovered that a Manitoba jury could be half Métis. In other words, they made sure that the jury would not be composed of peers.

“He shall die though every dog in Quebec bark in his favour.” – John A. McDonald 1885, following execution of Louis Riel for treason.

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