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”

World Water Day importance by Jamie Lupia

We cannot celebrate world water day and talk about how important the water we have access to is, without acknowledging who the water belongs to. Despite being a sought after commodity today, sold in tiny plastic bottles and pouring over kids at your nearest water park, water is and will always be especially precious to a specific group of people. Indigenous communities, especially the Native presence in Canada, has an incredible ownership over water and rights to be consulted about what is done with that water. These rights have been being ignored for all “150 years” of our country’s “birth”. When people are fighting against pipelines and other water pollutants — they are fighting in solidarity against the theft of Indigenous land and resources; against people who think they can take what is not theirs. I know in my Niagara region specifically, there is an incredible outreach from the Indigenous community against organizations that put a high economic value on water. This being said, water is not only an Indigenous issue — when there is a water crisis, it is an everyone issue. If you aren’t mad, you aren’t in the know. For example, Canadian government has for a long time approved a pipeline from western USA to Montreal, all along the watershed. This pipeline transports tar and oil. The catch is that it has 14,000 chances of leakage. They have fixed (I think) 2,000 potential spots. That still leaves tons of possibilities of pollution, not to mention that a lot of these possible pollution leakage spots are going through reserves or residential areas. Not to mention again that 20% of the entire world’s fresh water supplies comes from the Ontario lakes. What does this mean? The government, for economic purposes, is ignoring that they are at high risk of polluting 20% of the world’s fresh water supplies. Indigenous rights, Indigenous resources, but everyone’s problem. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, and I genuinely want people to talk about these issues and events. And if you don’t know why World Water Day is so important, you need to start waking up and joining the conversation. Please make yourself aware about how important water is, where it comes from, and who it belongs to. Water is not renewable.

“If I Weren’t Afraid” by Amanda Froment

“So please ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go out and do it”
– Sheryl Sandberg

I was scrolling through twitter once when I saw the quote above in my newsfeed. I sat there for a second listing all the things in my head, and then I grabbed my laptop and starting writing this.

If I were not afraid, I would be travelling the world solo right now. I would have at least five different stamps on my passport from countries that I have always wanted to visit, and I would have a phone full of pictures from all sorts of adventures.

If I were not afraid, I would buy a car – like I have wanted to do for the past year and a half – and take off on a road trip to California, another travel dream of mine.

If I were not afraid, I would leave the current program I am in and start journaling (specifically travel – has anyone noticed a theme?).

If I were not afraid, I would write lyrics and post covers of original songs. I would stop second-guessing every word I write and go for it.

But I am afraid. I am afraid of getting lost, losing myself, losing people, spending all my money and having nothing left, not receiving approval. I am unsure of myself and the decisions I make. I am always asking for advice, for people to choose an option for me because I cannot fully trust that the decision I make will truly be satisfying.

If I were not afraid, I would be living the life that I constantly see on social media; instead of retweeting or favouriting or liking. Maybe it’s my time to start doing it.

So, now it’s your turn. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

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”

Jobim Novak’s Lyrics about Gun Violence

The other day someone died outside of my school
The event had me spinning, man I felt like a fool
Cuz I remembered how I used to glorify using tools
A rebel without a cause, hittin’ blunts playing pool
The truth, is he bled where I usually hang
I was lucky to not have been there to be hearing them bangs
Doin my thang blessed, I was safe in my class
Til I hears someone say that they heard 15 blasts
I couldn’t believe it, it was just like a dream
I was lucky that I wasn’t outside with my team
The dudes lit him up, then jumped in a truck
I thanked god for saving us, praisin our luck
But the guy lay there, bloody and bruised
His soul went out, like it was a blown out fuse
It’s fucked that it happened so close to home
To the place where I learn, to the streets that I roam

I remember the day, when I heard Grimmie died
That shit broke my heart, man I’m not gonna lie
So young, so precious, wit a voice as a gift
liked to put on her songs cuz they gave me a lift
She was my age, born in the same year as me
I still think all the time, of what she could be
But she’s gone, and I can’t really turn back the clocks
Can’t knock away the gun that they all tried to block
The shit makes me wonder, about my own fate
Like if I might getting taken by somebody’s hate
Fans can be nuts, this has happened before
Like what happened to John Lennon, back in the days of yore
I often wonder, if musics the life I’m gon’ lead
If the stage is for me, or just for me to leave
I like to believe, peeps are inherently good
But those thoughts lay in the shadow, cloaked by my hood