What is and isn’t ours…

We’ve learned that we gain ownership over things and many of those things do belong to us and there are things that don’t. We don’t own everything we come across and just because we have it, that doesn’t necessarily mean, it is ours. You’re told to take care of many possessions that you are given growing up, such as clothes, toys, books, computers, cellphones, and most importantly yourself. You get it, there are a lot of things that we get and we are given responsibility when we are given these things. This responsibility matures along with us. The more responsible we are, the longer our possessions last. This is the same thing that is applied to everyday life. If we make responsible decisions we see the difference it has over our workplaces, life, environment, home, etc. Take for example instead of eating junk food, we purchase vegetables and fruits, this choice is better for our bodies and health. This can also be applied to recycling as opposed to garbage disposal. The choices we make are responsible for many things that we some times ignore or aren’t aware of. We are responsible for the land, the trees, the animals, and the water. We don’t own them, we borrow them and give them back. This is the power of decisions and responsibility and understanding what we own. The things that we do own are things that have been gifted to us through our birth into this world. Like, our bodies, mind, soul, and heart.

The idea of purchasing and owning land is a colonial thinking. When people are fighting for ownership of land, are they fighting for it because they want it back for mother-earth? Or are they fighting for it because they want to use it for their own benefit? Or are they fighting for it because of traditional reasons? When we fight for land, we must fight to have it preserved and nurtured and loved. Not for things as trivial as Mining, Deforestation, Oil, and other industrial projects. The lands that we possess through way of purchase or treaty should be used for ceremony, burial, preservation, and gardening. These are things that are beneficial to our people and the land.

I realize a lot of people don’t have this same way of thinking. They say that certain land belongs to them and their family only, but if we are to move from that kind of thinking we will be able to reconnect with the earth, our ancestors, and traditional teachings. We will be able to see what matters the most, the land. The land is always gonna be there, but the trees, the grass, the animals, won’t, they will eventually disappear and what good is land that has no life? Just as it is hard to live without knowledge, love, and happiness. When we start living without the care of possessing something or wanting to own something, we will have the ability to easily let go of ownership. We don’t own the land, we belong to the land, like a child belongs to a mother. When we are young, our mother takes care of us, and when our other grows old, we take care of our mother. This is the same thing with the land. We must return the things that we borrowed, such as the air we breath, the water that is inside of us, even our very bodies, all of these must be given back to the land, so that it can heal and give new life again.

I am still learning to let go and how I can help others do so too. We don’t let go of the land, but we let go of saying it belongs to us, we let go of colonial thinking and let go of profiting. The land doesn’t belong to anyone. There may be governments and corporations that say they own the land, but who did they buy it from? From the people who were there first. The people that were there first didn’t know that they were giving away their mother, their survival, their home, and their traditions. They knew they were benefiting, because they were taught that they owned it and that because they own it, they can give it away. We mustn’t give away what isn’t ours, as we are taught this is stealing, and stealing doesn’t do any good for anyone. If there is ever a time when all the land is gone and destroyed, we already know why, because colonialism.

You can share your home, your thoughts, your food, your knowledge. You can share the land, but you cannot sell it, buy it, or own it.

-EB

Our Language: Cree

I wanted to talk about how I’ve lost my “native tongue” and many things over the time. I never got to speak a lot of it, heard it a lot, but never got to speak and have a full conversation. Me and my siblings all have been around the tongue of our people, the Cree. And we were never taught. We wanted to learn, but my mother refused and said to ask our Grandfather, but because my grandfather went through residential schooling, he learned that his language was evil and to not speak or teach it. He was also reluctant to teach us as well. So, because of all of this, I and my siblings never got to learn and never got to speak the words our people have been speaking for a long time. I know as a social person in life, I am quite towards my people, because they don’t want to move and try to help themselves. They don’t know the power we have and the things that we are capable of. That is why I am made this blog, so I can share my thoughts and feelings, and how I had overcome many obstacles in my life, through childhood almost to adulthood. I know people like to tell me, people heal at different paces, people keep healing until the day they are dead, but we can’t let our wounds control us. I am still yet to find a teacher, so I can learn my language and hope to pass it on to my children (If I am to have any) and my nephews and nieces. I want to help my language heal and flourish once again among my generation and the area I live in. The language that I write in, is the language I was taught and the one I know best. If I was able to write in my language, I would.

We lose a lot of things in our life, either to death or just people walking out of our lives. There are many things that get lost and sometimes are found, but when a language is gone and isn’t shared traditionally, such as being spoken to, in it. Then the language eventually loses its influence over the people it has had over them for many years. Just like we lose a friend, we lose someone who had an influence over us, they made a difference in our life and affected it in someway. Appreciating the language we have is like appreciating someone for the things they’ve done for you, whether it is them teaching you or helping you get better from an injury. Wanting our language to be heard is wanting our voice to heard, we can only truly shout out the hurt in our tongue, because then the world knows we mean what we are saying. ┬áThere are a great deal of people who speak their language in my area, but many of those people deter themselves from teaching it. The oppression of residential schools has affected my grandparents, my parents, and even my generation. We lost our ability to share, the ability to truly care about our culture, the ability to practice and teach. All of these things can be reacquired if we start talking to each other and hearing the stories of our elders and parents, let our families know we care and start healing at home. Those are the first steps to recovery. Heal our families and then try to heal the people that need healing. Once we are all healed and happy again, we can celebrate by song, story telling, teaching the language and growing ourselves once again.

In my previous writing, I talk about our resilience, we are resilient, but resilience doesn’t mean it will happen in a day. The more people who are involved, the faster and faster our knowledge grows and our culture beings to return to its roots and our people begin to see our purpose. We are the first people, the people that roamed this land for thousands of years and we lived off of everything around us. We were the people that maintained and cared the land and people around us. We knew how to heal our wounds from hunting, we knew how to calm the children from fright with song, we knew how to say “thank you” for the food and water given to us, we knew how to survive, and still today, we know we can survive. We are still here, everyday is a challenge, a challenge to protect our language, our land, ourselves, our future. I know that if we continue to pursue the things that were promised, we will eventually be able to live like the rest of the world, but more harmonious and free.

My grandfather told me that the only thing we have left that belongs to the people is our Language. That is the one thing that the government, death, or anything can take away from us. “They” have the land, the water, the politics, the resources, and media, but they can’t take our language, it belongs to us. Our people created it and shared it and taught it. It’s the one thing that we have to keep with us, so we remember the people who fought for our rights as Indigenous people’s and fought for us to have land and fought for us to hunt and fish; Our language is our history and without, we are gone.

Ekosi

-EB

Remember, we are resilient…

When times have changed and conditions are still the same, we still manage to pull through the pain and struggle of living in those conditions and we continue to pursue a better tomorrow each time. We’ve all had difficult times growing up and still may be going through some of those challenges or all of them today. But with our abilities passed down unto us, we are able to walk through the flames of hate, push the mountains of ignorance, and wash away the blood of the past, we are resilient. We will make our home. Home, again.

My grandfather told me stories of his abilities as a hunter, fisherman, trapper and his survival skills in his youth until he was an adult. I got to know my grandfather in his final years. He was softly spoken and cared a lot about his family and grandchildren, he was ill with diabetes and was a residential school survivor and he was my hero. He may not have been well-known to the world, but he was well-known among the people that he worked with and grew up with. When I come across some of these people, whether they are old friends of my grandfather or relatives, they would tell me stories of his strength and his leadership. My grandfather may have great stories told about him, but under all of his greatness, he was still another man and man can’t win every battle. He struggled with alcohol and anger during his adulthood. These are the kinds of stories you don’t hear about him from other people, because other people never knew these things about him or didn’t want to tell you this.

My grandfather’s name is Wellington Moose. He is the reason I work hard and do my best and don’t abuse my gifts. During his final years of living, I really got to know him. I would be at home to nurse him and to talk with him and to travel with him if he needed to go places for medical reasons. I was there for him. He told me about his dad, his mom, his childhood, about the schools, about how he was feeling. My grandmother passed years before, and he was moving around from home to home, because none of his children wanted to keep him, they wanted to put him into a home. My mother said no, to that decision and brought him into our home. Because, my mother let my grandfather stay with us, he died in a loving home and I hope happy. Wellington Moose is a name that a lot of older people in his home town of South Indian Lake (O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation) know well. Even some of the younger generation knew of who he was, because he had a small home business and sold all kinds of goods. Wellington Moose is a sign of resilience and a sign of how time heals us and allows us to become better and stronger people. His ability to overcome all of his challenges in life and his ability to forgive are some of the qualities that I have since acquired and am thankful for.

The power of my grandfather was both physical and mental and emotional. I have only ever seen him cry once and that was during my grandmother’s funeral. He overcame his past, he grandfathered many grandchildren many of which he got to meet, he lived till he was 84 years old, he forgave himself and many other people, he finally healed, he showed his resilience and the ability of our people! My grandfather is one of the many examples of great and wonderful people that we are. We will overcome all of our challenges and make everyday a day that we learned and forgave!

-EB

 

Forgiveness: How to get there

As we learn about ourselves and learn about others, we notice the changes in our mind and in our bodies. Things don’t stay the same; eating habits, sleep patterns, social involvement, environment, and everything in life as we see it. It all changes. The way we felt about someone 5 years ago probably changed and we no longer feel the same way about them. We no longer have that bond and trust as before. These are the many types of changes we will notice. People could have been mean, hurtful, evil, and a lot of other terrible things to us. At that time, we hated them and disliked them, but as we matured and grown, we either feel the same way or we forgave them.

As a kid and through my teen years, I was bullied and picked on for almost anything. I would just stay still and someone would find a reason to pick on me. I did something as simple as talk to someone, they would pick on me. I wasn’t able to do anything, because people always wanted to prove they were bigger and stronger. I would go home and cry and get mad, because, I didn’t know what to do. My mother would calm me and down and tell me, that I am the stronger person for not hurting them and they are just making me stronger by picking on me. I never understood my mother when she said that they were making me stronger. I always felt weak and useless, because there was nothing I could do but let them bully me. I would ask them why and they would never give me a reason and just continue to hurt me and call me names. Finally one day I wasn’t able to take it anymore and snapped. I was really angry and grabbed one of the bullies and threw them. I didn’t hurt them, but they got to witness how strong I can be and that they’ve made me reach the limit. After that incident, I was suspended from school for a week and my mom went to explain the situation and what’s been going on for some time now. After that moment, I had no more bullies. No one ever picked on me. I was left alone and was able to finally make friends and enjoy my time in school and anywhere else.

I never believed my mother when she said I was becoming stronger. I do now. I was not getting stronger physically, but emotional and mentally. My bullies and tormentors given me the power to forgive and become stronger and a bigger heart. I thank them for making me a stronger person and forgive them for all the hurt they’ve caused me. I forgive them for calling me down and belittling me. I forgive them for everything. Because, without them, I wouldn’t be able to forgive as I do today.

We take all the hurt that’s been given to us and let it out and not with anger nor sadness, but with happiness, we are happy that we are stronger, we are happy that we are alive, we are happy to have friends, we are happy we have family, and we are happy to have found forgiveness. We forgive those that hurt us, because deep down somewhere they are hurting as well. We forgive them because we understand the pain. This is how we learn to forgive the pains inflicted on us whether it be bullies, parents, strangers, nature, brother, sister, it doesn’t matter, we just have to forgive them and let them heal, so we too can heal. Forgiving is strength and strength is needed to heal.

“Just as we forgive those that lie to us, we should forgive those that caused pain to us whether it is inflicted physically or emotionally.”

-EAB

Believing: What is the spirit?

Everyone has their own conception of what the spirit is, whether it is taken religiously, scientifically, psychologically, etc. The idea of the spirit is that it is part of the body that with inevitably leave the body, when the body has reached a point of decay. Well, the spirit is also apart of the essence of being able to believe in yourself and push yourself to achieve the goals that you have aimed for.

We all had dreams growing up, we all had some idea of what we wanted to do, when we became adults. There are a lot of people who have never been given this opportunity because of the oppression of their living area, the surrounding influences and the lack of educational knowledge. This oppressed people don’t know that they are oppressed. They have the ability to do whatever they want, but it’s the spirit that is weak, because they weren’t taught conviction and discipline. The body is able, but with a spirit that is weak, the body is unable to operate as commanded.

Take for example: Your Ankle is sprained. This means you will not be able to walk properly. Why? Because the tendon is damaged to a point where even if you were to stand on your foot, the pressure being placed is more than enough to cause pain to you. For your ankle, the tendon is its spirit. It is damaged and weak, but if you treat it and help it, it will heal and will allow you to walk again.

If you keep damaging your spirit, you will be unable to do anything, you will allow yourself to become weak and will eventually fall victim to toxic desires, such as: Drugs, Alcohol, Fighting, Hate, Etc. With a strong spirit you will be able to overcome these obstacles. The spirit allows us to heal, forgive, and become stronger in every aspect as a person.

The people who are oppressed aren’t necessarily oppressed by a different race, but themselves. They keep trying to blame others for what is going on. Yes, so many years ago, these things happened, but we can’t continue to blame others for our own well-being, our own welfare, our own health. These are things we have control over. We can’t keep seeking compensation, the thing that we compensated from all of this is, that we can become strong and we will continue to strive. We have to build our spirit and treat it, don’t poison it, don’t hurt it, but love it and help it heal.

“When we all grow older, we will realize that true happiness is not money, land, race, color, but love and truthfulness.”

-EAB

Changes: What they mean

A lot of people don’t understand what change is, or what type of change is being made, because they blinded by the fact that they get paid to sign a contract. In the end they are going to lose more than they would ever imagine. Take all the treaties for example. Our ancestors signed these treaties to help the future of us all, but they didn’t know the negative impact these treaties would have on their people, they believed that they were going to help us. We can’t blame them for the good that they had in their hearts, for the damage that resulted from it.

An enormous amounts of native americans are on welfare, diabetic, sick, and letting the very thing that destroyed our culture control them. There are those that still have some of the old teachings, but don’t teach for the sake of passing this knowledge on, they teach to seek benefit and payment. They don’t know how crucial it is for our people to regain this knowledge and grow up with it.

When an animal disappears from this world, it is called extinct, that’s what’s happening to our language and traditional teachings they are going extinct, just like animals today. If we really do have pride in who we are as people and as natives of this country, we will do what’s best for all of us, not just the people we like. We are being disconnected from our feelings for mother earth and for our culture with the corruption that continuously eats at our leaders and young ones. If we really a people that believes that there is a greater being that made this land, for us to give and take, then we must do so. Because, all we ever do is take, we never give. If we really passionate about the traditions that have been passed on for many generations, we will pass them on without asking for something in return.

The reason we hunt is because we need food to feed our loved ones and strengthen our bond with nature.

Let’s teach our young ones and ourselves that we don’t need to always take, we need to give.

-EAB

Reasons we want…

Time has passed since the atrocity that is the residential schools. But people today still suffer from memories of what happened during that time. There are individuals that managed to hide and stay out of attending these schools. The ones that had to attend these schools, suffer from emotional stress, dependency on drugs & alcohol, physical and mental disabilities.

At some point in time a man decided that money would help mend the wounds that are on the backs and faces of these people that attend these schools. Money can’t bring back a childhood or a friend that has died from being brutally beaten. Money can’t teach us our language from our people. Money is the reason we’ve become so lost and dependant on drugs, alcohol, and many other addictions. Money is the reason we hate and lie. Money causes families to fall apart.

If we took a second and looked at ourselves, and realize the potential we have in our hands and in our body. We can heal, we can help each other, we just have to get up and try. When we look at the children of today they don’t know the history that is our people, they don’t know the importance of tradition, they will probably never know, that’s if we don’t rid ourselves of this wanting and needing of money. If we were to abolish the crave we have to possess money, we may be able to abolish the addictions that control the lives of many of our people. All it takes is one step, this one step can mean the world to many.

Let’s stop asking for money and let’s start teaching our people about; our people and our traditions.

-EAB