Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Weird Sayings From the Reserve

Language Warning.

If you are squeamish, have a tight arsehole, drink tea with your pinky finger pointed up in the air, don't have stinky farts (pooget), use a bidet rather than good old toilet paper, and are just offended by anything, then this is not a good page for you. I suggest skipping this page and thank you for stopping by. If you don't scare or can look at a maggot ravaged carcass then by all means come in.

Some people have their own way of saying things. Lot of these sayings, we have no idea what in the heck is the message. I am trying to remember some of them. I share a few of them here. Perhaps you know the intent of the saying. Some I will just put up with no context so it may be hard to decipher.

"You've been through the hole, eh Shoelace?"

This was a favorite saying of an older cousin in the 1970's while he was partying.

"Fucker John, your money's gone."

Not sure if it was "fuck her" or fucker.

"Fuck them and their little red wagon."

This one is my friend who told me this one. It was his friend who coined this one.

"You dirty cunt lapper."

My cousin was mad at his younger brother and said this to him. This was when we were about 14 to 15 years old. My Auntie asked my cousin, "what is a cunt lapper?" Some of the phrases used may not be specific to our Reserve. I imagine this one is used all over but can't really say if I have heard it anywhere else.

"You got bad thoughts Chi-gaa?"

Not really sure of the last word. I am mispronouncing it for sure. It could be "tii-gaa" or something different. It is what the French priest used to say to the older boys. He was before my time and mostly for the older people in the reserve, those who went to the boarding school in the late 30's 40's and 50's. The Priest now long gone was an infamous predator of young boys in the school. I guess he would say that to the boys and he "washed" their genitals. So the older guys would tease each other with the saying.

"Ween-jeeg" and "Paa-chack".  Two sayings in the Reserve. One is to say when someone is stinky, like pee smelling stinky. The other is when someone is a jerk or a help themselves type of person. It can be a good jerk or a jerk kind of jerk.

Paugan and frog.

These words are euphemisms for vagina. Like, "wash your dirty old frog".  Or Ah-ki-to-paugan. 
The word paugan is a bastardized word. I can only speculate but its actual meaning is Pipe. The Pipe in Indian world is made of the feminine and masculine. So it may have been bastardized because of the Christian affect in our community. As I think it was only in our community where the word was used in this manner. Just like the word for Creator was changed to mean the Devil. Like "michim-imato" instead of Chi-Manito which is Grand Spirit.

Ploode or Plude.

"You old ploode face". "Wash your stinking ploode".  Ploode is specific to our reserve to mean the penis. Not sure of where, when or how it came to be used.

There were/are many sayings specific to the community.

A very good saying is Neechie. Neechie is not specific to our community but its part of the Ojibwe/Cree lexicon. It is used in place of Indian but is a shorten version of the word of friend. "Hey Neechie".  "Hey there are some Neechies over there." 

Be nice to hear some of the sayings specific to your growing up and to your community.

  Riel Benn Artist

Monday, May 14, 2018

Benefit of Doubt? No, Not For Some.

If your neighbor Stanley says to you, "Hey there was a rat on  your front step last night", you would no doubt believe him. Same thing with your co-worker Betty who says "I went for a three mile jog last night". There is no reason not to believe them in these common-place incidents. Why would you? 

Even with the not so common events, you might believe others.  Like if Tom Hanks said, he "saw an unidentified flying object, a UFO", he might be believed. Most likely he would be believed. If Denzel Washington said he "was kidnapped but escaped unharmed" you would believe him. He of course is Denzel. 

There are some we believe and there are some we immediately doubt, don't believe. For instance Annabellas Sciorra says she was raped by Harvey Weinstein. Would anyone believe her?  What about if your neighbour said "The Dingo ate the baby?" 

Why are we quick to believe some and not others? Is it from experience or perception? 

The benefit of doubt is very important. In today's society the benefit of doubt could actually save your life. The benefit of doubt is not awarded to everyone. Black people, People of Color and Women are generally not the first to be believed. It is a reality which has harsh consequences. 

Can you imagine how difficult it must be for a Woman to come forward when she has been assaulted?  With the benefit of doubt is hardly ever give to them? Or how about an Indigenous person filing a complaint about the police officer who has kicked them in the stomach? The Black person who has been punched by a police officer?

These things are happening all the time but the benefit of doubt is not given. Just the other day an off-duty police officer pulled out his gun, loaded it, and pointed at a Hispanic man who had just paid for candy. Even when the store clerk told the off-duty cop the candy was paid for, he still didn't believe, he asked "are you sure?" The default position is not to believe the Person of Color, the Black person or the Woman. 

Society has a default position of believing the police. So when people challenge the police they are not believed. The police get the benefit of doubt. That benefit of doubt is causing great harm in society. To challenge police benefit of doubt can also be dangerous. The Black person, marginalized person and the Woman is often seen as an aggressor, trouble-maker, or a liar.  

"Can I trust you guys?".
"We're the police. Of course you can trust us."

To give someone the benefit of the doubt is to default to the belief that their intentions are honest, and not assume malice when there is uncertainty or doubt surrounding the circumstances. Urban Dictionary. 

How can society give benefit of doubt to others?  What should the default position be?
Of course we can't believe everything and everyone. Still what is it which makes us discount certain segments of society so quickly or not even consider them at all? Lately you can't even sit in a Starbucks, ask for plastic fork in a Waffle House, have a nap in your College/University, touring a potential College, having your car cleaned, shoppping or even go out for a walk with not having benefit of doubt. 

Society's default position is to believe White people. Shocking I know.

So many instances in life that should be mundane, common-place. Funny how being something as mundane as having a nap, having a seat, walking or even reading a book is seen as trouble; so much trouble where you feel the need to call the police. It really is perplexing. What kind of world do you live in where you need to call the police over someone just being? 

In Saskatchewan an Indigenous boy was shot in the head and the man who shot him was not guilty of anything. The story was the bullet didn't fire until way after the trigger was pulled and the gun was accidentally pointed in the boys direction. The benefit of doubt went to the man who shot the youth directly in the head. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Erotic Dream or Night Terror

I am one of those people who can remember their dreams, vividly. It's funny because some of those dreams become part of my memory. I mean I know its a dream but I remember it like any event that happened in my life. Most of my dreams are just of regular events, like visiting or having an encounter with friends, relatives or even strangers. Many of my dreams include those who have been dead for a while now.  The dreams vary with good messages from the dead and some dreams that may be disturbing.

Growing up the in the 1960's and being part of the Indian Catholic Boarding school system, I had been instilled with the horrors of Hell and the Devil. Hard to unlearn something that has been drilled into you. So for much of my life growing up, the Devil was as real as the kitchen fridge. So when the Devil comes to you in a dream it is god-damn scary. 

The damn Devil when he comes into the dream he comes like a tricky snake. He comes but not dressed as himself, he uses disguises, and sometimes he is just damn sexy. As an old guy I don't really have very much erotic dreams or dreams of the devil. I still have them but not as a regular occurrence. Oh by the way young folk, nocturnal emissions seem to be regulated to you. Old folk don't go that far. So in my dreams, there were hints of erotica, like Stormy Daniels but in the end it was a demon, more like Donald Trump.

Growing up  in the Reserve we had one of those Canada Centennial project arenas.  A beautiful wooden beam barn style arena. The Federal Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chretien skated with the Fort Alexander Braves hockey team in that arena.
Old style barn arena 
In the arena there were dressings rooms in a basement area. It was spooky as all hell. It was dark, damp dingy and the lighting was not very bright. In my dream I was in the basement there. I looked up at the top of the stairs and there was this dark figure there. It had a long black robe on and some small red patterns on the robe. The person walked down the stairs. I ran I was scared. I ran into one of the dressing rooms and it was dark but you could still see. The figure came into the room and it turned out to be a woman. In my dream I went from being scared to excited. I was quickly becoming aroused. The Woman grabbed me and I thought it was going to involve sex. She grabbed me by the arm and the back of the neck and she started to spin me around.  I asked "where are we going?" She said "you're going ... to hell" as she spun me round and round. The word Hell seemed to be drawn out as I was spinning and starting to spiral to hell. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't break free. The Devil had me. I came to in my bed for a second trying to scream but couldn't and as quick as I felt that I was in my bed I was back in the dream, struggling, trying desperately to scream and grab at her. I finally woke up. Damn Devil had me in his grip and it was horrible.

In my dream I was walking on the shoreline, and there was a woman there with her child. The child was in the water. The woman started screaming. There was a boat on the shore. I jumped in a rowed out into the water with the waves getting higher. I got the little girl into the boat and brought her safely to shore.  The woman came to me and to thank me. I was feeling pretty good about myself. The woman hugged me in a very tight embrace. I was getting excited as she was hugging me tighter. It was going to be sex; erotic stuff. The hug became tighter and tighter and I couldn't breathe. She started to turn into a snake and I knew it was the Devil. I was being choked to death. I tried to fight, to scream but it seemed like nothing could escape from my throat. I don't remember how I got out.

I tell you the Devil is a snake. He comes to you in a dream and disguises himself as a sexy woman. You welcome the embrace, the opportunity to fornicate. To indulge in coitus.

Now that I am older I still have dreams, or terror night mares, but I always fight and want to win in those fight.  A few times I have woken myself up when my hand, my fist hits the wall. The devil does not come disguised as woman anymore.

For some reason I no longer fear the Devil. I lost fear of a number of things. The fear of dogs. The fear of being hurt. The fear of dying. Quite frankly there are days I long for death. I think it has to do with my Son dying from suicide. You kind of lose a lot of things after something like loss to suicide.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Enjoy a Night of Arts in Winnipeg.

This home-body decided to go out and enjoy a night of the Arts in Winnipeg. First stop was an (painting and other media) art show, followed by an evening of music in the West End of Winnipeg. Normally if I do go out for an evening of entertainment it is usually at the opera (just kidding). Actually I do like Classical music. I always thought as a kid it was too snotty for me but if it were not for Bugs Bunny I would never had experienced The Barber of Seville. If not for the movie Excalibur I would have missed on O Fortuna, Carl Orff. Anyway, cartoons and movies have expanded my taste in the arts.

Cre8ery Gallery and Studio had an art exhibition tonight. There were a few artists having their work on display. It was a very good night of meeting the Artists and discussing their works.

Michael Joyal - Would You Even Remember show was fantastic.

Artist Statement
My red hood was torn; I'm never coming back
Michael’s work focuses on reinterpreting characters from mythology and fairy tales. Self-taught as a watercolour painter, Michael explores roles of feminine power, turning victim into victor. Worlds of wonder and mystery evoke feelings of strength, anger, melancholy and joy. Villains are vanquished, and creatures are empowered in large, vibrant watercolour landscapes.  

Jordan Miller is the owner of Cre8ery Gallery in Winnipeg. She is of course an artist and lover of the arts. Her partner Dave Swiecicki is a photographer and musician. 
Dan Hawksworth,  Susan Birdwise, Holly Nelson Elena El were a few of the artists on hand to meet and greet the public. Elena El is having an solo exhibit May 24. 
Dave S
The art show was my first stop for the evening. From the art show I went on to a music show at the West End Cultural Centre Bill Bourne was having a show.  I had never heard of him before, (I live in a cave it seems). The man was awesome. A man his stopping foot and a guitar and a banjo. 

The thing I found great was the opportunity (however briefly) to meet new people. That is what is great about the arts, people are there to enjoy themselves. That good energy is easy to feed off.

I met quite a few people.

German Women
A trio of German Women. Lydia and her friend had just met Frederike as well. Frederike is traveling Canada via Greyhound bus.


Elena El

Jordan Miller
I love art and appreciate those who also love the arts. 
You know what is cool?  Art is everywhere and there are so many different types of artists. The other cool thing, artists are willing to answer my stupid and annoying questions. 
The opening music act at the West End was a local singer Madeline Roger.  Artists put the groove into groovy. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Meth: Tackling the Monster

The CBC held an open forum in Osborne Village to speak on the Meth situation in Winnipeg. The Talk included front line people from Main Street Project in Winnipeg, the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Parents of Meth addicted, a Meth Addict, the Chief of Police, various agencies, concerned and scared folks. At the event I noticed about five Indians. I always look for other Neechies. I know Meth is in our community and it is killing us. So it makes me sad, angry the Indigenous community did not show up to the forum.

Listening to the people speak about Meth and their views, involvement and their concerns, it is clear, Meth is a monster: a real live monster which will eventually kill. It devours everyone. We see it has no boundaries. The image you think of when you hear "Meth-head" can no longer be limited to the "dreads of society". Meth has become the nightmare for all folks. No one knows what to do about Meth users. The outlook is grim. The chance of getting free from Meth is around 17%.

It is clear from listening to the people in the forum that Meth is a monster: there are no treatment options available, the addict is not capable of making sound decisions, forced treatment is needed, fast entrance is needed, thinking beyond political motives needs to happen, empathy is needed.

Deth - Artist Jackie Traverse
The treatment programs are not suitable for Meth addiction. The programs have long waiting lists and admission requirements are barriers for addicts. The detox programs are difficult to get in and have short stay, 10 days. The hospital can't handle the intact of meth addictions. The police don't know where to take people high on Meth. So how to overcome these structural issues for Meth addiction? Family and front line addictions workers are calling for long term intervention. Families are crying out for help but have no real place to go. A group of Women have started a support group for parents of Meth addicts. It is newly formed and they hope to continue.

We need to use the existing resources to meet the crisis and it is a crisis. People are dying. Families are so afraid they would choose jail for their loved rather than have them free, just to get away from Meth.

Main Street Project is seeking to have a safe injection site and the provincial government has so far been afraid to help. While the government and its agencies continue to ignore the monster of Meth, people will continue to die. Parents will continue to seek help.

Native Addictions Council of Manitoba (Pritchard House) has a treatment program  and they have room for Meth users. The need for speedy access to treatment is needed everywhere. Treatment centers with spare room can be supportive of families, hospital, police and paramedics.

Its not a popular thought but I would gladly see forced entrance into the Military for young people. I think it would save lives. The development of discipline, routine and exercise could go a long way in helping prevent Meth use.
James Favel: Bear Clan Patrol 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

If We All Act Like Mosque Shooter Alexandre Bissonnette

"I had to do something": Mosque shooter said he acted to prevent terrorism.

Reading the various media reports on the shooter and murderer Alexandre Bissonnette, you see a story emerging of a "troubled" young man. Dealing with anxiety for a long period of time. This is what caused him to get an assault rifle, stalk out a place of worship, enter, shoot 48 times at people who were praying, walk over to those laying injured and shot them point blank in the head to ensure they were dead. That is something. No malice just worried and wanting to prevent a tragedy in the future. How can we blame this guy? He is a savior and prevented mass killing.

At least this seems to be the narrative being played out. Quite the contrast between this crime and the crime that occurred in Ottawa 2014. Muslim shooter Michael Zehalf-Bibeau went and killed a solider and tried to kill others in Parliament. The media was quick to label it terror and gave us details of a brutal and violent attack.  Of course no one can defend the actions which took place. Obviously it was ugly, and it was a murderous attack. The terrorist killed a solider in cold blood as reported by CNN.  It just seems strange the descriptions of the shooters in the two murders are so different?

I do think Bissonnette's "reasoning" is quite interesting. He stopped future terrorism from happening by taking action now (at least that is his claim). I saw a movie like that with Tom Cruise and the actions called "pre-crime". It is not that far a stretch to think this is happening. We know the pre-crime thoughts are out there in government intelligence. You hear about it all the time with "pre-emptive" strikes or first strike scenarios discussed by various military and political pundits. The weird thinking also made me think about the "go back in time" exercises people play all the time. Like would you go back in time and kill Hitler? Would you stop someone before they commit the crimes they did?

Just in our lifetime we have witnessed and are witnessing so much horror. We have leader in Russia who locks up his political opponents, bombs an apartment block to start military action, uses radiation to poison political foes and makes journalists disappear. We watched (only a little) the genocide taking place in Rwanda. In 100 days more than 800,000 Tutsi were killed by Hutu's. Serbia took part in "ethnic cleansing" (a nice sounding term which describes genocide) against the Bosnian's. Now in my grand-children's life time we witnessed the "Arab Spring" (western media term) of a complex series of events in the Middle East. As we watch on television and internet news feeds, we are seeing children being poisoned with different lethal gas attacks. Bashar al-Assad the President of Syria has denied the use of chemical weapons on Syrian citizens ( I don't say "his People"). These few examples make us think what could have been done if there was a pre-crime action? Could pre-crime action even really exist? With the benefit of history we see who the criminals are. We now know President George Bush and Vice-president Dick Cheney committed war crimes. I wonder how history will see the current President, Mr. Trump? Will someone think about pre-crime action today?

The absurdity of pre-crime action is exactly that, absurd. The actions of Bissonnette were criminal and an act of terrorism. The notion of him being nothing more than a "troubled, suicidal depressed man" is typical of a main stream media marketing and sales pitch. If the sales pitch continues you might actual have more pre-crime individuals out there trying the same excuse for their killing sprees.

The story the media tells seems to always give benefit of doubt to the main stream society (dominant) while many times portraying People of Color as bad, wrong or evil. As it plays out we have young white man who was depressed and worrisome. The underlying current is that he was not evil. His intent was to save his parents from evil. In some other world his actions could almost be justified.

The narrative is all too familiar. We see People of Color as haven't done something to cause their anguish despite the facts. In Detroit a retired Fire-fighter attempted to kill a 14-year old boy, an African American boy, a Black boy. His wife went into a frenzy as the boy rang their door-bell seeking directions. The Fire-fighter is getting bail and saying the "full-story" has not been told. Two Black men were sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks waiting for a colleague when the staff called police on them. The staff apparently did not think two Black men could sit in a coffee house without causing some type of trouble. The police came and arrested the two for sitting in a coffee house. Police Chief said the arresting officers did not wrong. New York police shoot and kill a Black man for pointing a bathroom pipe. A man in the backyard of his Grandparents was shoot multiple times in the back. The list of wrongs doings seems endless.

Its like the attitude of Bissonnette is prevalent in society. Police are fearing for their lives. Fire-fighters are fearing for their lives. Baristas fear for their lives. In many cases the determining factor is the "victim" is White, while the so called aggressor is Black or a Brown person.

"It's not wrong, what I did. Like I told you, people have been saved, my family has been saved." Alexandre Bissonnette, killer of six people who were sitting and praying. 

Alexandre Bissonette regrets not killing more people. 
Bissonnette is a killer, a terrorist and a monster. Paint him as a tortured soul but there are many tortured souls out there and they are not carefully planning to go a killing spree. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

I Just Stood There. Did Nothing

I am the kind of person who will talk to anyone. I will also be willing to address an issue if I see it. Sometimes though I just stand there and do nothing.

A friend of mine from Alderville First Nation is a blues musician. He spent a number of years in Winnipeg, Manitoba and gained a following at the local venues. He came back for a visit in Winnipeg and was booked at a local place, Times Changed Night Club. I missed him and wanted to go visit and listen to him play. I went and listen to his set. It was getting kind of late and I didn't get to talk with him. So I stood near the entrance of the club. Not right by the door but closer to the windows. I noticed a group of Neechies, about five of them at the door. The club owner went to the door and told them no. So they just went on their way. I was looking at I knew right there the owner refused them entrance because they were Indian. I was going to go and say something right there but hesitated. The moment had passed and I looked over at the my friend playing on stage. I decide to leave. I wonder to this day about my actions. Or rather my lack of actions. Its not like I haven't spoken up in other instances. This time I just stood there and did nothing. Was I thinking that I didn't want to upset the situation or what was it? No it wasn't be afraid to say something. I just stood there and didn't do nothing. I wonder if the owner knows he was seen being a racist? I mean does he even know my friend is a Neechie? I mean my friend and I don't look Neechie. Maybe  the owner doesn't know the Blues player, who has stood on his stage many many times is  Neechie? If he knew would he have treated the Neechies who came to his door differently? The Neechies who came to his door could be easily identified as Indian. Was that it? Those would be patrons looked like they were from the Reserve.

In any case it still bothers me to this day. There should be no time when I should just stand there and do nothing. At least I hope there shouldn't be.

I saw this video today and it was at a Starbucks in Philadelphia.  Two Black men were waiting for their friend and didn't order anything. I have done at many restaurants, just sat around waiting before ordering. The staff called the police, the police came and arrested the men. There was no being loud, no altercation of any kind, no threat to the public; just two men waiting for a meeting. The man they were waiting, a White man came just as the two were arrested. His arrival didn't change anything. The police had made up their minds to arrest. A Black officer was also there. It looks like he was a non-factor, he was insignificant in the situation. The arresting officers just arrested them, and the police Chief said they didn't do anything wrong. The Black officer was like me, he just stood there and did nothing.

There is a lot of that going, a lot of just standing there and doing nothing.

There is also many, many folks out there who are not just standing there and doing nothing. They are standing up, speaking up, making a difference. There are a lot of places, a lot of doors being closed on people, a lot of people being treated badly, a lot of bad things going on. We need more people like that, willing to stand there and do something.

Syria, - Palestine, - President Trump, - Amazon Forest, - Puerto Rico, -  Sexual Abuse, - World.

I am glad there are people who are standing up and doing something.

Thank you.  Kitchi Miigwetch.