Thoughts…

I am always thinking of what to share and how to share. I try not to filter myself, but I also don’t want to be vulgar and aggressive when sharing my opinion and thoughts. There is a time for everything and there is also no time to waste. I am trying to be productive and always wanting to share my thoughts on certain subjects; such as, indigenous culture, healing, progress, northern life, and community. My opinion may not be the same as others, but it’s my opinion and what I believe in at the present time. Opinions change, just as the wind blows, different things effect that. I don’t want to cater to the opinion of others and I certainly don’t want my blog to be a place of hate. I know that I mention a lot of returning to where we were, but really, I am saying is that we adapt to the modern culture and make our traditions live through this process. Because, there is no way that we can go back to the way it was. It is impossible. There are governments, laws, policies, and regulations always in place that prevent the “old ways” ever coming back. There is of course preservation and maintenance of knowledge that has been passed down. People have been passing the history of our people and the history of the north through words and not really writing it. We can preserve ourselves by writing the stories and the traditions on paper and make it live forever.

I’ve read articles of different nations that have adapted to the modern world have flourished. They own businesses and protect lands and make jobs for their people. This is the kind of adaptation I would like to see for all of us in the north. Not just Northern Manitoba but all over the country. If we were to do the things that the other nations are doing, we too can reap into the life of the wealthy and still be helping our people and the land and the history of our ancestors. We don’t have to industrialize the lands, the food, ourselves, we just have to find better economical marketing. Like tourism, camping, workshops, art, music, and teaching respect of the land and animals.

I believe we can make a difference in our nation and help our people become healthier, stronger, and more resilient than ever before. We can show how resilient we really are and how much we are able to adapt and make this world of ours a better place for people of any nation and any color. Our hearts are in the right place, but we have to change the thinking that has been instilled into many of our friends, family and country. We also have to be careful when doing this change, because not many will agree. it’s not a matter of disagreeing and agreeing, it’s a matter of making a future for those whose life will be affected from our decisions and how they are going to live their lives with our changes and choices.

This of course is my opinion on this subject…

-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.  There 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

Self belief: Strength and Power

My family are all religious and go to church and all that stuff. Me on the other hand, I am not religious and don’t really know if I will ever be, but I love and respect my family for what they believe in. I haven’t been able to really believe in a god or a supreme being; I was a little kid and my mother and father were always fighting and sometimes I would get caught in between the yelling and swearing. That I would get hit. I remember, every time that I got hit, I would pray to god and ask him to help me. Allow me to get away from this home and these people, because they were hurting me. I never got a response or nothing changed for me. So, I stopped praying and started to do things on my own. I didn’t ask for help and tried my best to learn everything on my own. I know my family would credit God for the person that I am today, but it wasn’t God that gave me strength, it was the friends and people that I met each day that made me who I am and my own willpower. I earned everything that I have today. God didn’t give me my job, I did. God didn’t make me smarter, I did. God couldn’t help me when I needed it the most, then he doesn’t get credit for my achievements. When someone asks me if I believe in God or have any religious belief, I tell them that I believe in myself, that is where all my power comes from, self belief. You can keep praying all that you want, I will not judge you, but believing in yourself has so much more power than any prayer.

During my school days, I was constantly bullied for my poor apparel, being tall, my given names, my smile, anything that they could tease me about, they teased and teased. When you are teased about your smile, do you really want to smile again? I know that I didn’t wan to. These are the kinds of things that slowly destroy a person, not a lot of people understand that, especially those that have never been on the opposite side of bullying. I stopped smiling for a long while. I worked harder when it came to improving myself. I got tired of not being as good as some of the people that would play sports. I got tired of being a walking target. I began to excel at things that I wanted to, not what people wanted, I kept drawing, I kept writing (even though it was poorly written), I kept trying to beat everyone at sports, I kept trying until I eventually got better at everything I did. My self esteem grew and so did my maturity and my mind. I eventually dropped out of school and tried looking for work, whenever I was given a job, I always gave it my all, never less than 100%. I built a pretty decent resume and kept looking for more work and eventually landed a job at the store I work at now today. Because of all my hard work, I was able to get a permanent job and was able to better improve myself. I have worked at this store for 5 years always giving it 100%. Always.

Believing in yourself doesn’t stop at finding a job, finishing school, becoming a writer, etc Believing in yourself grows as much as we do, whenever we do things that make us happy, we achieved this happiness on our own, we earned it. I know if I didn’t eventually believe in myself, I would end up like a lot of the people that I know and see everyday. They aren’t happy, they can crack a smile, but they aren’t happy. Because, they rely on a system that makes them dependent. If I ended up like that, I believe I wouldn’t be here today, because I had already went through enough, I wouldn’t want to be stuck for the rest of my life. Many people don’t know much about, other than what they hear. I work hard and always have since I was 15 years old, I wanted to make my own money, so I can own things that I know that I worked for. Not given to me. I wanted to in charge of my life. Because of this self belief, I could be happy living in the woods with the wildlife and nature, I could live on an island all lone and nothing would change me, I could live in the city, and I would still believe I could make it. No obstacle can hold me from my dreams, my passion, my happiness, my freedom, and from my love of everything around me.

It’s this self belief that has given me the strength and power that I always dreamed of ever since I was a kid. I always wanted to have the power to defend myself, the strength to say “no”, the power to carry any burden, and the strength to forgive. I learned so much from so many people, I thank them all for believing in me and allowing to become a better person everyday. There are so many people I wouldn’t be able to name them all. I know that they know that I am thankful for their love, education, caring, and belief in me. If it wasn’t for the people around me, I probably would’ve had a harder time to believe in myself, but here we are today. Happy.

Thank you for reading.

-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

Bravery: Overcoming fear

We are afraid of everything; dying, losing a loved one, being fired from a job, being homeless, the dark, the day, friendship, hardship, loneliness, and many other things that we individually fear.

There is no right way to overcome them, there is no wrong way either, but there is a way, there always is.

When we were young, we experienced our first fear to be of the dark or monsters, but we overcame those fears because we knew, that our parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, will always be around to protect us. We knew that they wouldn’t let anything happen to us, they would comfort us and sing songs to help us relax and not be afraid, because the boogeyman can’t hurt them. You would always wonder why when you were running on the sidewalk, climbing up a high place, or doing something you would consider ridiculous to even think of doing today, your mom or dad would tell you to stop it or be careful; you would always think that they don’t want you to have fun, but the real reason was, because we didn’t know that they feared the harm or death of us. The people who protect us from monsters and bad people have a fear and they do such a good job of hiding that fear, they’d make sure everyday that we lived, we lived knowing that they care and are afraid to lose us.

There are two kinds of fear, Permanent and Temporary. Permanent fears are fears that will always be inside of our hearts and sitting in the back of heads for all eternity. Temporary fears are fears that will eventually perish and disappear into non-existence.

Example of Permanent Fear: We will always fear knowing that one day we will die at any moment. This is something we are unable to stop, because it is going to happen regardless of what we do.

Example of Temporary Fear: We will sometimes fear  things in life like sky diving, failing a test, but these fears are temporary, because once we’ve given them a try we aren’t afraid of them any more. We’ve overcome this fear.

How we overcome fear is to see how we perceive the idea of it. When did I become afraid of this/that and why am I afraid of it? These two questions should always come to mind, they will help you find a solution to your particular fear(s). When you ask yourself this, you will take the time to slowly remove this idea and it will become clearer why it even came to exist. Taking these steps will assist you in your endeavor to be stronger than the fears that weigh on you.

When I was young I used to always be afraid of sleeping, so I would stay up late and watch television and wait until it was daylight then go to sleep. I was afraid because of the fear that that guy kills you in your sleep would come and kill me in my sleep. I shouldn’t have watch Nightmare on Elm Street, I had nightmares all the time and would be afraid that the man would eventually kill me in my dreams. I overcame this fear when I remembered why I was afraid, I was afraid because my sister told that he would get me if I didn’t listen to her, I would always not listen to her, and would not sleep at night; I finally made the choice to sleep and relax, that’s when my fear of this man faded, because I knew he wasn’t real and I didn’t have to listen to my sister. I eventually became a pro at sleeping, gained the ability to lucid dream making my nightmares nothing more than a story to be told.

Why fears become so powerful, is because like a bully, we enable them to be. If we take a breath and look at them in a different view, we can overcome them and forget that we were ever afraid to sleep, to have fun, to make friends, etc.

-EAB