Believe What You Like But Know What You Must

People are free to be consumed with contemplating their existence, their origins, the origins of the universe, supreme beings, controllers of destiny or anything else. But solving "the Great Mystery" is neither a requirement of being Ohnkwe Ohnwe nor does it provide a path to righteousness. I maintain that spirituality does not require faith or the leaps that faith requires but rather awareness. If it helps to believe that "God has a plan" and we just must have faith that "He" knows what "He" is doing, then walk that path. My interest is in taking the mystery out of life by pointing to the obvious that is ignored everyday in the midst of fanatical ideology and the sometimes not too subtle influences of promoting beliefs over knowledge. I have said it before: “beliefs are what you are told, knowledge is what you experience”. I support a culture that prepares us to receive knowledge and to live a life with purpose. I am certainly not suggesting there is only one way to do that.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

British Columbia Olympics to Face Civil Disruptions by Survivors of Canadian Indian Residential schools

International Media Advisory

Government Given Deadline for Return of Bodies

Vancouver - The group representing survivors of Indian residential schools on Canada's west coast announced today that it will hold civil disobedience actions and disruptions during the February 2010 Olympics near Vancouver if the Canadian government and mainline churches have not announced a timetable for the repatriation of the remains of the thousands of children who died in these schools.
The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD), which held high-profile protests and occupations of churches in Vancouver and Toronto during 2007 and 2008 and compelled the Canadian government to issue an apology for the residential schools in July, 2008, has given Canada and the Roman Catholic, Anglican and United Church of Canada until February 15, 2010 to announce when and how they will return for a proper burial the remains of Indian children who died under their care.
As part of this deadline, the FRD has also demanded that the government and churches make public the names of those responsible for the deaths of these children, and indicate by what judicial mechanism the guilty or the responsible institutions will face trial.
Nearly half of the 150,000 children who attended Canadian Indian residential schools died as a result of conditions in the schools. (Globe and Mail, April 24, 2007) In April, 2008, the FRD released to the media and police a list of twenty eight mass graves near former Indian residential schools where many of the children are alleged to be buried.
"We will halt church and government operations during the Olympics if that's what it takes to get the bodies of our relatives back" said Carol Martin, a Nishga native woman and FRD spokesperson.
"The world has to know that our people are still dying from the genocide Canada and the churches inflicted on us. We've waited long enough for justice."
For more information contact the FRD at: or 250-753-3345 (Canada)
And see the website:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Year, Our New Future

A new year and a new decade. It would be worn out to suggest that we are entering unprecedented times; we are always entering unprecedented times. We have gone in and out of periods of self destruction and have faced the threats from the outside as well. We have struggled to survive as people and as a people.
This is where we are now.
Our battle is much more about our survival as a distinct people than it is about struggling to stay alive. Alcohol and drugs will continue to take its toll, as will the degradation of our families but for the most part we have to accept these as our problems and take the steps to correct them. These issues, as wide spread as they may seem, still only impact a small minority of our people. Most of us will survive our childhood and most of us will survive our partying years. It may take a few tries for some of us but eventually we do settle into some semblance of a family.
My concern is more for our communities, our culture and our Native society as a whole. This is what defines us as a people and this is what is still under siege from the outside. As our people have looked to improve life in our communities and our nations, they have all too often looked to the outside for a path to follow. We sent our best and brightest out to become lawyers, accountants and planners. We adopted regulatory systems, including courts and law enforcement from the outside. We partnered with their financiers and their politicians. We hired their lawyers, their managers, their developers and all the crooks and carpet baggers amongst them. So now the threat is fairly well planted within our communities. Make no mistake about it, it is still an outside threat, but our politicians and "educated" are as much a part of the assimilation and watering down of our identity as those that would "kill the Indian, save the man".
We live in a world that sucks everything out of the Earth and puts very little back. This is done by creating a world order based on consumerism. Create a need and you create the needy. We have to decide whether we want to continue down the path of assimilation and consumerism.
Many will sing the praises of Indian gaming and many of us have seen much financial success. But defining success will be part of the challenge. Sustainability, renewable resources and culture based economy are not just discussion topics. They must become a part of meaningful economic development and personal development. We can insulate ourselves from outside economic forces if we become self sufficient in a sustainable manner. Our future depends on reflecting to our past as we move to the future. The next decade will tell us volumes about our long term existence. Happy New Year and Happy New Decade. Let's keep our Seventh Generation in mind as we go into the future.