Dear World, OK, look, I am one person. I will not even attempt to say that I have all the answers. But I do believe that actions speak louder than words. Words however are the foundation for action. Therefore, the clearer we are about what is being said, the easier a time we will have taking action and the more effective that action will be. On Saturday, March 28, 1998 the Calgary Herald published a “Statement of Reconciliation: Learning from the Past”. It was written by the Honourable Jane Stewart P.C (Progressive Conservative) M.P (Member of Parliament) and the Honourable Ralph Goodale P.C, M.P on behalf of the Canadian Government. The main focus was to deal with the legacies of the past affecting Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. The letter itself is specific in its text regarding the process of reconciliation and renewal of relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. First of all however, the statement is written in English that most people would need university experience to understand. I was asked once why Native people have an accent. “Well”, I said, “maybe it’s because English is not their first language”. Someone raised on a reservation speaking Sioux or Blackfoot is obviously not likely to have a good command of English. Hence the accent. Just as the same as I have absolutely zero knowledge of any Native languages, including my own. That’s right, I am an Aboriginal myself and I don’t know one syllable of Cree, my own mother tongue. Did you find that interesting? I was adopted by a set of loving parents, white folk, very middle class, and all academic scholars. I grew up in the suburbs, went to public schools, and had a generally average childhood. My parents were always a very open with me in regards to my adoption and biological heritage. I was never actually exposed to my culture, until I was moved into a group home. Nekinan, an aboriginal group home in Calgary was my first experience with my “own kind”. I fell in love with the vibrant culture and even pursued traditional dance as a hobby. I can say with the strongest conviction that the First Nations are beautiful people, truly gifted with the strength and virtues only possible by generations and generations of life and love of oneself, one another, and ones environment. I consider myself uniquely blessed.
As in everything, there are good and bad and I have lived both and so have you. Beat this one: I’m homeless. I meet a lot of Natives. Every day, because I live in a city with a reservation on all four borders. Four different bands. Three treaties. And of course, social turmoil prevalent in all. It’s obviously most disturbing, given my position. My position? What does that mean? Really? It means I stand here, in the rain, head hung, and staring deep into this “Statement of Reconciliation”. Do I dare accept this? This Jane Stewart, of The Overground. For sure dude, why not? Sounds like she might just be my type. Well, except for the politics, of course. For me, objectivity is a personal power tool. Not a weapon. To remain healthy I must remain in constant fluidity, like water. Thus, I am invincible. For her, candidness is the name of the game. And it’s a game. I play it everyday. I play for keeps, I win.
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