National Aboriginal Day: My Thoughts on Canadian Indigenous People’s and the European Colonizers: Past, Present, Future – By Kelsey Darnay

As a part of my Indigenous Peoples course my final exam was an essay outlining the relationship between Canadian Indigenous People’s and the European colonizers, including the past, present, future. As today is National Aboriginal Day, I thought it would be important to share my thoughts on how I see the relationship between two from an Indigenous perspective. There is a lot of work to be done in the present and the future to heal and move forward to a better relationship.

Canadian Indigenous People’s and the European Colonizers: Past, Present, Future

Past:
After the European “discovery” of North America and the ‘Indians’, their goal was to benefit and profit from the land’s resources. Trading was already a developed network amongst different Indigenous bands in North America and trading naturally developed between the European explorers and the Indigenous bands that they encountered (Payne, 2004). By the 1600’s trade between the Indigenous and the French became ritualized because of the demand of beaver fur that was fueling the economy of New France (Payne, 2004). These trades benefited both parties, although the French did not want to rely on the Indigenous people for trade and therefore wanted to settle within Quebec and become self-sufficient.
Continue reading “National Aboriginal Day: My Thoughts on Canadian Indigenous People’s and the European Colonizers: Past, Present, Future – By Kelsey Darnay”

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How to talk about social justice by Jamie Lupia

With the rise of internet activism, you find a lot of people who are incredibly book smart. Sometimes they talk about street or social problems and fall into repeating some of the power relations activists try so hard to break apart. I wanted to take a second to voice what may just be my opinion — but what I really stand by — and explain about how to speak about social justice.

In order to be an activist, it is pretty much crucial to let go of your ego. Having went to Brock University, I have been surrounded by the academic world for 4 years straight. Though it is where I got a lot of my “knowledge”, I found the most important lessons were outside the class room. They were writing for The Brock Press and interviewing real people. They were talking to people about experiences. They were in the friends I made, the struggles I saw, the struggles I had, and the lives around me. For example, I could read all about Indigenous solidarity and the biodiversity offsetting going on in Niagara. But it was not until I really attended the meetings, rallies, heard from the Native residents myself, and actually took time to look at my surroundings and privileges that I felt I could truly educate others. Or another example, I read so many pieces on the Ontario welfare reform. Statistics and paragraphs and political references. But what shook me was the accounts of the actual single mothers on welfare. This is not something I had to read or dig for. This was not difficult or wordy or tricky to understand. This was real people’s lives. Scholarly sources and books only fostered a little bit of the understanding. The rest was reality.

This being said, the first way to talk about social justice is with accessible language. Continue reading “How to talk about social justice by Jamie Lupia”

A post about Canadian Treaties by Kelsey

I realize I am a bit late in writing this because Treaties Recognition Week was the first week of November, but the ignorance I found in my ANTH*3670 Indigenous People’s discussion thread has pushed me to share my response on a larger platform. I wanted to share to Storyteller because I feel that people who read these submissions want to learn through other individual’s experiences. Myself, being of Indigenous background, have had to deal with classmates who do not understand Canadian’s history with its Indigenous population. This can sometimes be very frustrating to me, but I also realize the oppressed history of the Residential School System legacy is to blame. For this exact reason, this is why I believe education is extremely important.

Teacher Discussion Question: Are We Really Treaty People?

Student Answer:
We Are Not The Product Of Treaties.
I would argue that the average Canadian is not the product of treaties so much as we are the natural conquerors. Indigenous people are the ones who abide by the limits treaties place. The average Canadian does not concern themselves with any particular treaty and if all treaties where suddenly destroyed it would not effect the life of the average Canadian but it would cause a crisis in the indigenous community in Canada. Treaties have been more of a way for Europeans to legitimize their conquering to new lands and the negotiate a system in which the indigenous peoples are essentially bought out so that they do not have to be conquered by force. Is this system the equal, no, but should it be, no. Indigenous peoples and Europeans where not at an equal balance of power historically or presently and it is only right that the more powerful decide the system of institution that will govern the lands. The treatment of indigenous peoples is not meant to be equal it is meant to be fair and many of the treaties have proven to be fair and those that where done through unfair means are resolved through the court system of the Canadian government, the dominant power, which is willing to accept its mistakes of unfair treatment if they have been fairly proven.

My Response:
Continue reading “A post about Canadian Treaties by Kelsey”

Social justice and religion – where and how do they connect? By Jamie Lupia

I grew up skeptical about religion because I have seen the harm it has done when encountered from a judgmental lens. I have seen the hate it spreads and the people it oppresses. I’ve seen anti-abortion protests on the streets of Toronto, shameful Christian signs about how the gays will go to Hell. I’ve seen it all. I was raised in a Roman Catholic household, and in return, placed in a Catholic school in which I was not proud to go to. Last year when I began a journey with my partner Caleb, who is a devoted and passionate Christian, I really took it upon myself to open up Christianity and to reflect about what identifying as Christian entails and if it was something I could be proud of. The only way to do this was to fully educate myself on the religion itself. I just wanted to share some of my thoughts in hopes to allow people to see that yes, there are people from all religions that hate and do harm — but that it should not reflect on the religion, but rather displaced as an improper reading of spirituality. With all religions being equal and incredibly close in morals, I will use the bible specifically to discuss this connection due to access and knowledge, as well as personal connection.

The first stigma I had about devoted Christians was that they were all homophobic, and that if I were to outwardly identify as Christian, that I’d be seen as harmful and hateful. Supporting human rights — by default outwardly and passionately supporting LGBTQ+ rights, I was scared to what I’d find out about what the bible says about this. What did I find out? Continue reading “Social justice and religion – where and how do they connect? By Jamie Lupia”

“Rejecting Masculinity And Finding Peace While Radical & Transgender” by Stefani O

i was 17 years old like may of 2012 and i remember crying. i said i didn’t want to be transgender to my high school friends. but i wanted to be transgender more than anything. and i do. what i didn’t want was abuse. hate. violence. to be afraid. but i came out. and i came out and lost friends. and i came out when i was 17. still a baby. still healing from abuse. still resorting to extremely unhealthy coping mechanisms. i was 17.

i came out.
and i expressed myself however i could.
cheap dresses.
random makeup my friends gave me.
i knew the end result i wanted for myself was “woman”.
its 4 years later. and i think my gender presentation is only getting better,
closer to the actual style and look i want.
ive been on hrt happily since august.
my bodies changing, the way i want it to change

and im not going to let them take this away from me.
i’ve already been hit.
and i’m going to be hit again.
and i’m going to cry, and be scared, and feel powerless.

and i’ll go home. and i’ll still hurt. i’ll still ache. and they’ll feel victory over attacking a nameless queer.

and i’m still not going to let them take this away from me. because i’m stronger than them.

proud to be a faggot, fairy boy, girly girl, queer baby, effeminate freak – proud to be anything but a hypermasculine cis man.

trump is scary. men are scary. i might get hurt for being me. thats cool. its not nice but its not something i’m going to let break me. i was already at my breaking point. now all that comes next is recovery. endless, constant healing.

glow up, motherfucker.

stefani

Response to the Recent News from Trisha

I wanted to first and foremost say that whatever fear and anxiety you feel from this election is real and valid. The results are frightening for many and no one is 100% sure what will come from the new presidency. And while it may look like a very dark time, I don’t want anyone to get trapped in hopelessness. Now, more than ever, we need brave people who will fight for their rights and recognition in this world. 

The indigenous people of North America have taught me that even when there are so many policies, law, and violent measures in place to destroy you, you can rise above. Indigenous people were the first targets of the colonialism that North America is built upon, and they have proved that regardless of the measures to destroy them, they are here and their population is growing far faster than any other group in Canada. Through this, they’ve kept loving and giving their care to people and the earth regardless of the horrors they’ve been put up against. Those are the people to look up to rights now. The people who have been targeted, yet still seem to have enough hope, passion, and love to keep moving forward.

The people who have been told they aren’t worthy are the ones who will be the strongest and pull us out of this. We’ve already seen this in action, BLM groups have been fighting for justice, LGBTQ+ groups will not be silenced, islamophobia is being challenged, and feminist groups are pushing for equity. We need to fuel these groups by supporting them while ignoring the hate that is being spewed. Bring awareness to these groups, and help them fight. If you are outraged with this news, channel it into movement. We want those with privilege to use your privileges to create that change. Unity is what we need. Help others and ultimately everyone will benefit.

We want to raise your voice.

Please use our platform to speak out against these issues that you are passionate about. Please use our platform to facilitate change.
We want to get your message out. 

Keep your focus. Keep fighting. We can do this.

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Anti-Poor Bashing by Jamie Lupia

“That lady is on welfare yet she has a Gucci purse.” “They are cheating the system.” “Why don’t they just get a job?” “I hate that my tax dollars go towards that.” These comments exist in one of the largest areas of discrimination in North American — poor bashing. Poor bashing is simply belittling, discriminating against, stereotyping, isolating, and segregating low-income communities and people struggling with poverty or homelessness for no reason aside from personal hate. This is a growing problem with our capitalist society. Inspired by a lecture I had today at Brock University, I think it’s important to look at why people are poor.

Poverty exists in every corner of the world — vast differences. But what people don’t consider quintessential “poverty” is the poor in their metropolitan cities or little name hometowns. Something truly needs to be changed about poor bashing. The poor suffer enough without all the nasty comments and hate. First, I think it is important to notice the difference between unemployment and underemployment. Both are awful. Unemployment is when people can’t get jobs, or don’t get jobs because of political or economic states. With the competition now-a-days, jobs are extremely hard to get. I think we can all agree with that. On the other hand, underemployment is more so receiving less than you’d realistically like. This can mean having a BA Honours and working for minimum wage for over qualification purposes, or having a job but not having enough hours. The list is endless. These are just two reasons why people are poor.

Continue reading “Anti-Poor Bashing by Jamie Lupia”