Monday, July 14, 2014

Can we get some oral pleasure?

Taking my grandson to pre-school was a treat for me this year.  He is so happy and excited to go. Along the way you meet other parents and grandparents also taking their "joys" to the school. This one particular grandmother always caught my eye. The reason she did was because of her "look".  It was't what you expect of a grandmother. This one had the surly "snake eye" look to her and a wicked scowl of a frown. No one could possibly draw pleasure from her, I would think.

I was watching television and a movie trailer came on, in one of the scenes was Kiera Knightly. Now there is a smile that provides you with a pleasureable feeling. If you haven't seen the movie "Love Actually" run out right now and rent it. You will see Kiera Knightly in all her glorious heart melting persona.

Isn't that the way?  A frown or scowl (if they are indeed two separate things) can take away from a feeling of pleasure. Don't you think?

Oral pleasure is a planet thing. It transcends the boundaries of geography and physical limitations. What we see as beauty or ugliness can be transformed simply by a smile. Wild isn't it?  No amount of preconcieved biasis or prejudice can disrupt the beauty of oral pleasure.

You will of course happen to come upon those that desist and are not open to oral pleasure. Pay them no mind. Just keep on with the pursuit of oral pleasure; the smile. I have a neighbour that is like the grandmother I mentioned, (the one with the scowl) he never smiles or acknowledges the gestures of a head nod or a smile. Oh well, that is the way it goes. All sorts of people inhabit this planet we call Earth. Some like the smile and some, well they are not the pleasureable ones. So don't be shy and give ahead  nod and top it off with a smile when you meet new people and old acquaintances.

So continue to seek out oral pleasure and don't forget to provide it to others yourself.

I think this world would be a nicer place if we could all get some oral pleasure.

Oh yeah, there are ways to get oral pleasure. Of course there is the laugh, the joke, the compliment, the whistle and of course the song.

The song brings so much pleasure. No one can aruge with that. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

SPRUCE WOODS SUNDANCE "Fighting the Suicide Spirit" JUNE 12-15, 2014

 Sharing about the Sundance that is coming up in the next little while. Sundance is considered the Ceremony of all Ceremonies.  You sacrifice for all others in this Ceremony.

These posting are from Facebook: 

"This group is dedicated to the many different members, friends and supporters of the Spruce Woods Sundance Family (hosted by David and Sherryl Blacksmith and passed to us by Grandpa Joe Esquash).
Our Sundance always occurs within the second weekend of June.
This is to keep members aprised of Sundance meetings, other ceremonies and maybe answer some questions for new dancers and the curious."

Buffalo Dancer that is at the Sundance. Comes in and takes on the Suicide Spirit.

The Sundance in Spruce Woods Manitoba on June 12 2014 , Our Ancestors that was once was almost lost in this man David Blacksmith brought it back to Eeyouch all across the land called Canada , people all across are going to gather in this Sundance to help all the people who took their lives because all the different reason they faced , there's all kinda of spirits on this Earth , and on this Sundance we will do some damage on the suicide spirit , this was years in the making , people from around here are going to attend and show David our gratitude for what he did to the people who walk on The Red Path, me personally I told myself I was going when I first heard David talk about it last year but the past and half it was tough financially and the bus looks like it won't work out.but I think I'll still fast that weekend and pray for all the lost souls who took their lives , before I walked on this path , I felt I had a strong stance on being clean and making my life with no blaming or hating anybody , but this path gave me more strength and understanding of life and why I acted they way I closing I thank David and his whole family and of course my father Ernie Herodier and the others who has helped me on this path, especially Bobby Neacappo."

I have been getting massages from Indian ppl from all ever ,parents,teachers ,workers ,and it's bout suicide are young ppl ,lots n lots of suicides mostly in northern communities ,this is so sad n it makes me angry to hear all the stories that young ppl r doing this,I know why this is happening ,I know whats needs to be done .families ripped apart in dealing with suicide coss there is so much pain that comes with it ,i see so much of it n hear so much of it in the last 8 years or so that it fallowed me into my dreams ,ppl do care ,ppl work hard ,ppl pray to fight it and it won't go away . It needs to come out in the open ,talked bout by Indian ppl themselves coss no one is coming to help us .i had ppl tell me not to bring it out in the open becos it has lots n lots of shame ,the incest ,the abuse in every level ,name calling ,lateral valiance ,neglect,all of these things affect a child growing up ,a child needs love ,to hear good things everyday n to see good things ,a child needs touch ,a child needs parents that will raise it ,I'm working to help fix this n help in anyway I can ,thank you so much .ekosi"

Spruce woods this year ,to free n fight the suicide spirit of r ppl ,the Crees the Ojibway's ,the Dakotas and many other nations from all over ,we stand together ,we dance together ,we pray together ,we cry to God together ,we will respect each other ,we do this to show God that we love life n that we r willing to work together ,so brothers and sisters stand with us . Aho midakoyasay

Only 28 days before Sundance at spruce woods ,to fight the suicide spirit is something that's on my mind n soul daily , I dream of this evil spirit n tells me that he will never die or quit n that I'm wasting time ,lol heck with him or it I'm fighting ,I will do everything in my power to do this ,I'm almost ready ,I educated myself on suicide in last 17 years or so ,it has always bothered me n broke my heart ,7 year old boy asked me to help him from this place ,him n others r holding on to each other until we can go get them out ,so please help me to do this task that I was given ,lots of young ppl r ready n traditional,both men n women that have lost loved one through suicide ,as a spiritual man this is what I'm told to help them ,I wish I can tell you more bout it but only in person .love ,prayer ,family ,tears ,buffalo ,horse ,pipe ,smudge ,Sundance tree ,cloth ,etc r my weapons ho ya and you .

To deal with suicide on a day to day basis ,80% is sexual abuse n incest ,can't live with the shame n the hurt . Stay strong ,pray ,talk to some one ,seek help ,don't turn to drugs n booze it will get worse ,ceremonies ,sweats ,Sundance etc r one way of healing ur self ,I understand you ,some loves you . Ekosani

Sun dance family just to let you know , we have so many young ppl dancing this year at spruce woods , to fight the suicide spirit n to free the trapped souls in the darkness of wrong death , through love , prayer , tears , pierce , drag , sing n dance like r ancestress before us , I'm not sure the exact number of dancers now but we r the best of within us , only you can do this , I need you , I'm not afraid , I'm ready , let's do this

Been thinking of the 2014 sundance in fighting the suicide spirit , youth is what we need , the north is what I need , strong youth leaders is wat we need , these r some of the strong youth , if u know of any strong leaders that r youth please share . Isca, Kevin , Chabeeb , ivona, Tyra n many more , we need to meet soon

It was an awesome weekend at the farm with the ceremony and Sundance meeting ,would like to thank the workers and the participation ,Joe Joe Morales,Secoya,Steven Moon,Sylvia McAdam ,Gordie,Madelyn ,Art n his family ,Leslie Spillett n the girls ,the singers ,I'm so thankful for all the help of all helpers ,spruce woods Sundance family your r the best ,my son never stops working ,my girls r awesome daddy's girls ,I'm very happy at the commitment from every one ,we can do this and we can work together . I love you all....Ekosani

Pipestone Sundance Chief, & SpruceWoods Sundance Chief

Tansi ;to all dancers and members of spruce woods Sundance family ,what beautiful morning to tell you all my plans for the future .first thank you for all the hard work that you do ,my bros n sisters and of corse my family ,this was by far the best yet n the most difficult to do ,I did my best to do the dream I was given by kisaymunto ,if we didn't kill the suicide spirit we sure gave him a nose bleed ,the team of women that fund raised you make things better n easier to do this ,thank you.the builders of the lodge particularly George Muswaggon u the best ,I really don't know how to thank you for what u do for us and of corse ur team ,the singers Roger ,Ernie ,Tim ,jon and the Dakota boys ,fire keepers awesome,the boss cut man Cecil u the man ,the boys that helped me before the dance n after I thank you,I feel good for what we've done n very proud .so the fund raisers will continue to get ready for next year ,we will Sundance meeting in January .lots of dancers missed n a lot more that promised to come did not come I don't take this lightly coss ur not lie ing to me but God I need to talk with you before Sundance season is over ,you still have a chance to fulfil ur commitment .every thing n every one that had a problem with things n other ppl comes to me ,issues with each other n bad thoughts etc ,how can you think n feel these in the house of God ,you should not be mad or get back at someone at the site or front of something so beautiful ,last night I had a dream bout the spirit world welcoming 538 souls of the suicides ,they were very happy n will help from the other side ,they ask me to stand in front of cloth n other stuff n they gave me things lol lots of things ,they were very very happy ,I send love to all 129 dancers that started n 109 finished u be awesome ,it's written in the stars n on stone .thank you healers Curtis Mckay n others for your help ,you saved me so much work I say aho to you my wife the strongest woman I ever known n the most loving n sexy lol ,she my rock in all this .my children r the most understanding to my dreams n support ,my son in law Wyatt is the best yet ,I just don't like when he calls me old man lol ,I'm so happy that nothing n no one can take this away from me ,I do my very best to give every one time n attention n to make every one feel welcome ,but you get that many Indians in one place some one or something will go rong ,I'm sorry for that I respect all of yous ,ppl need to more love n respect for each other . I will be Sundance chief forever n once I'm gone my son n grandsons will take over ,I love you all very so much ,I can't help but to cry while I'm writing this post ,Ekosani

Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Don't be Phoney. People don't like that kind a shit"

My deceased cousin Ernest was a good man. He was funny without trying to be. We were at this Gathering and Ernest got up to speak to the people. Lot of Traditional Native people were in the audience. He spoke of Teachings, but started off with "Don't be Phoney, People don't like that kind a shit". He was like that, not politically correct or muted.  He made a good point though. We need to be a little more real in our lives. Many people say they live by the Seven Teachings (love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, truth, wisdom). That is a good thing. It is a great thing if that is practiced in their everyday behaviour.  In some circles that is not always the case. We see some hard people that dress themselves up in Spiritual rhetoric but fall short when it comes to actions with other folk. I guess Ernest didn't really like those kind of characters. I bet some people are coming to your mind, eh? 

It's a bit hard not to feel like a phoney sometimes. I mean, we are fragile creatures, prone to make mistakes. We are emotional and act out in ways that don't make sense or are not right or not good. Sometimes we do things and say things that are just plain wrong. Man, I have made so many mistakes in my life. Been afraid so many times. Been really angry so many times. And have acted in ugly ways so many times. So now, today, how can I act like a good person? How can I make statements about practicing kindness when some of my own actions were horrible?  Isn't that the act of a phoney?

I think there is some redemption in most of us. I guess some things you just can be redeemed from. If you are trying in earnest to make right the wrongs, perhaps you can speak without being phoney?  I don't know me.

Growing up I seen lot of violence, seen alcohol abuse, been part of abuse, violence, criminal activity, have been dishonest. Have my actions of late erased my wrong doings?  Am I redeemed?  Of course not. I wiill never be free of guilt, regret and remorse. All I can do is try to make a real attempt at being a better person. I will never get to be a good person, but hopefully become a reasonable facsimile of a good person.

I think that is what my Cousin Ernest was saying, when he said, "don't be phoney balloney".  Try to be true to what you are saying and doing. That is what I believe he was saying. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Native Beadwork: Artistic Creativity, Beauty and Tradition. A piece of Tradition worth seeking.

When I was a teenager we used to go to some Native events in other Reserves. It was fun.  There would be dancing, live music, Jigging, Pow-wow, baseball games and food.  I have fond memories of those times. The constant that I remember at these
Common style in the 1970's Very Nice.
events were the craft tables. People would have their wares for sale. Most of it was bead work. Necklaces, and all sorts of beading adornments. Lot of different styles and they were stunning.

The time is takes and the work that goes into the making of the Beaded necklace is evident in the work. 

Great Design. 
 As kids we never tired of seeing such beautiful design and necklaces.  The other popular beaded item was the belt,  the watch band and of course the head band. It think the Hippies made them popular in the 60's and 70's.  I don't believe there are worn much these days. All though they sure look good on the hat bands and beaded brims of hats.

The style and type of beadwork being done varies throughout North America. There are the geometric styles of the southern peoples, the floral designs of the woodlands and northern peoples. The different and various ways that beading is being used; form the necklace to the track shoe.  All creative and beautiful.
If you want to see masterful beadwork just go to a Pow-wow. Unreal the skill that is displayed at those events.

When the rise of Native political groups in Canada started to become more active, the Leaders of the day, tended to wear beadwork (and of course Turquoise). The most common things were the medallion necklace, the bolo necktie, the watchband or wrist bands and sometimes the belt. That style sort of disappeared in the 1980's. But you know see it making a comeback. I think it started with the youth.

Lot of youth started sporting the beaded medallion.  Of course the style of medallion wasn't your typical 1970's Thunderbird, it was different. You see some youth wearing logos of designer apparel, like the Nike Logo or Channel and Dolce Gabbana.  Many people are beading up a storm of professional sports teams.

Some of the type of beadwork is quite sophisticated and intricate. While others are very stylized or simple. In any case the work that goes into the beadwork is skillful.

One of the things that is starting to develop is the introduction of "not authentic" beadwork.  Your key chains, ear rings, and lanyards have started to become a mainstay in some of the Native crafts and art stores. This is of course reflected in the price. Many many Native items have been appropriated over the years; moccasins and mukluks being the best known items.  You can get moccasins made by anyone or of any kind of design. ("Note: Non-Native American Made But Hand Made" is a note on some ads)

In the United States there is a law or custom to label items as Native made, if it is fact Native made.  I don't believe that is the case in Canada. However, what bothers me (and I imagine the artisans) is the effect of cheap replicas coming into what is already a "niche" market.  I mean there are no "hippies" around to wear these beaded necklace?  The only people I see wearing this works of art are Native people. The market is small.  The work is hard and is done by a group of dedicated people. So the time and effort put into these beauties must be reflected in the cost. You would think?  But as my cousin says, "people are cheap".

What you would rather wear?  Something that is not authentic; or something rich in Tradition?  Or something that is produced in some place that has no connection to the history of the symbols or the meanings behind the work?  Would you be willing to purchase the authentic because it is worth it or would you rather purchase a pretense of the art?  I guess the old adage  is true, "you get what you pay for".

I am very glad that there are still many artists and families out there that are keeping up with Native art and craft (for me its all art). It is too bad that some don't see or recognize the value in their work. They would rather buy something that is a "reasonable facsimile" of the real deal.  Me, I like the history and Tradition tied to the item.

I think the Powwow people are keeping the Tradition strong.  It will be a shame when their regalia is imitated in wage poor countries. I was over visiting my cousin today and they were showing me the new beadwork that their son has for his Dance outfit. Just stunning.  He is hoping to wear his new Beadwork at the Painted Hand Powwow. 

So to all of you that are interested in the real deal, head out to a powwow or ask one of your Indian friends, they will steer you to a Native seller of "authentic" Indian made items.

And remember don't be cheap. The art is worth it.

If you want mass produced, go to Walmart, Target lot of adornments with no Tradition or connection.
Woman's Crown, You won't find that at Walmart. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

We are Givers or Takers

I went to the washroom the other night. I was surprised. I came out and said to my wife, "I don't remember eating corn?".  She said "that was me".  "Oh, okay" I said.  She looked at me and started laughing.  I am very dumb.  What does this have to do with Givers and Takers?  Absolutely nothing. (If I have to explain the little story, you are in my group)

I was at a Feast the other day. A good feed for us that went. It was a Feast to honour those who completed a Treatment program for drug alcohol abuse. After the Feast I sat around and visited. People started to clean up. They started to re-arrange the chairs and started to take down the tables. I got up and started to help a little bit. We finished putting the tables away and putting chairs back to where they were supposed to be for workshops.  The ladies who were doing most of the work laughed together and were talking. They said "where did all the men go?"  "They ate and left".  They were speaking about some of the male staff and male members of the program. All of them seemed to melt off with the crowd.

That is something isn't it?  The ladies laughed about it, but it did highlight the way things go sometimes. You have to be smart and take off before you are the only one left to do the work. 

Actually, it is about Givers and Takers. There are those of us that take things for granted. We go and accept all sorts of kindness, generousity, rewards, perks, food, Ceremony Blessings and don't think about reciprocity. In other words Giving back.  We are glad to Take what is out there. We go to the Sweat Lodge and don't even bother to bring a small offering or Tobacco. We let the volunteers take our kids to hockey games. We take it all in.

Sometimes as takers we even get upset with the Givers. We say things like "how come its always them coaching the kids?"  Why don't they get some else to sit on the Board?  We resent those damn people who are always volunteering or are always willing to speak or give a hand.  That is the weird way we take things.

I like Givers. They make a lot us have easier times. They are always willing to chop wood, go and pick Grandfathers for the Sweat Ceremony. Stay up at the Sacred Fires for Wake services.  They are the ones that will show up and bring food to your service or Gathering. They will come sing at your event, Wake or Ceremony. Man those Givers can't seem to stop giving.  They will stay and help clean up after an event. They will take their own trash of the tables and go put them in the garbage bins or cans. Us takers even leave our half full cups of cold coffee on the table for someone else to pick up. 

I was speaking with my brother the other day about organizational culture. He is trying to change the culture in his work place. He wants people to be conscientious about their place of work and what they are doing. We talked about "how when you work for people you are working for the Creator".  We talked about being a good citizen in the work place and what that entails. You know the type of person who will do what is not expected of him. Like the person who will pick up a dirty cup someone left in the board room. Or the person who will help another co-worker with out expectation of recognition. Those are the types of things that make a good work place, when people become more of a Giver than a Taker.  You know the type only there to exchange labour service for purely financial reward or recognition. 

I guess you know which category you may be on. But you know what?  Being a Giver can be in all of us. Not just Giving for those that are close to us and when we are being watched, but Giving even when no one will know we are Giving.  Isn't that cool? 

There are many Givers in our community. The many that take the time to come to the Wake services (no matter whose Wake) and sing for the families (Gospel and Traditional). There are the Fire Keepers like Radford Courchene who volunteers unselfishly to watch the Fire at your Service Wake. I really appreciate those people and I know our community (Sagkeeng) is a better place because of those Givers. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Dad: Henry: 1930 - 2103

Dad was 80 here in this video. He was forgetting by this time in his life.

I miss him.  We miss him.

Spirit Road Funeral:  Natasha.
Dad left and had a Traditional Burial.
Dad resting.  Nice Moccasins for his trip. Given to him by his son in law Smiley
Dad and his visit with Auntie Therience.