Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013 - the Year in Review

2013 is gone. Poof. Just like that. After all the big empty noise of 2012 what else could be expected. Poor old 2013, the millennium became a teenager and no one cared. It is the saddest birthday since John Hughes' Sixteen Candles. 2012 had long since sucked all the life out of the room. Since whenever. It was supposed to be the end of everything. And it wasn't.

13 came and went and there is little to mention beyond more of the same. Here are some of the more notable headlines.

            Patrick Brazeau breaks color barrier.

It has been difficult all these years watching the pigs at the trough fill themselves beyond capacity on the backs of Native Peoples and the Canadian Peoples. It seemed as though there was mass blindness among the populace to the open theft of the nation's coffers by those claiming public service. Yes, there are numerous and nauseating examples of Native people taking advantage on money intended for the under privileged. This year Patrick Brazeau broke through at the highest level and to a historically maximum capacity a with such an undeniable sense of entitlement. It was more than Canadian, it was practically Albertan.

It was a Jackie Robinson moment in the Bizzaro World that is Canadian politics. A Native man feasting without shame on the taxpayer trough who is judged in a trinity of swine that includes both a male and female from the fifth estate. Those held in the highest regard in the media elite, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Duffy. It was amusing in some sad way watching the media elite turn on their own.

                  Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Swallows Elsipogtog

As the year progressed, it seemed that the Idle No More movement was going to become nothing more than an armchair, click here do nothing fad. A Konyesque internet blip but only smaller and less ironic in it's failure. And then Elsipogtog happened and we had a real moment for the movement. A centre unto which to coalesce. It was starting to build and the issue brought in voices from all over, it was not just our issue.

The attack by the police on the blockade at Elsipogtog First Nation and resistance by primarily members of the Elsipogtog had created a situation reminiscent of the Oka Crisis at Kanehsatake
over 20 years ago. It had paralyzed the country and mesmerized the world for months and showed the true face behind the smiling Canadian veneer.

It seemed as though everything had lined up as it had during the Oka Crisis but this time there were non-Native people on the front lines and involvement internationally at a historic level. This would be the story that would define Canada in 2013.

Then this unbelievable Chris Farley like apparition emerged like a modern day digital Hindenburg to rise up and burst into an eternal flame and expansion over the entire Canadian landscape. Mayor Rob Ford swallowed up all the media and public attention in this country like a black hole feasting on stars like a morbidly obese kid from the 1970's eating a bowl of Alphabets.

It was such a cartoon like farce that one could picture a Simpsons type scene with a cabal of fat privileged white men gathered together. "We don't need this shit. We can't have soccer moms and Native People supporting the same issues. We can have the old ladies at Timmies listening guys wearing camouflage. Someone is going to have to take fall."

I know it's just paranoia.

News would come early in 2014 that Canada had prepared a national defense action plan in preparation for Native people rising up in response to Elsipogtog.

                                       The Canadian Holocaust

In the years since the Oka Crisis, the world has largely ignored the ongoing Canadian Holocaust with the ultimate goal of taking the Indian out of the Indian no matter what the United Nations said. The heart breaking news that Canada's academia had conducted starvation experiments of Native children in residential school created no public outcry. No one is demanding justice for this unspeakable horror. Satisfied silence descends.

I asked who is Canada's Mengele? Hoping that I could offend to acknowledgement but the response makes me wonder if it was less bluff than underplay.

               Idle No More - A leadership crisis for a leaderless movement

It has been just over a year and there is little doubt that the highs of 2012 that marked the Idle No More Movement have begun to fade away. Oh, the blush of new romance. The thrill is gone. Once you have it you never want it again. And on and on and on.

I have no idea what happened. I'm not an insider. What I can say in my small assessment of things is that the movement hit a roadblock and it does not know how to move forward. No organic direction emerged. There was I believe a misinterpretation of the value of social media. Clicking like is not a revolution.

What I have seen in my experience and the most painful lessons I have learned was that the people whom you place the highest value may least deserve it. Those that seek power are often those who should not have it. I do not know if this is the case but I do know that there are leaders or spokespeople who are out representing and getting paid. If that's the case it's best to name that person and have them take the responsibility and the blame that go along with the perks. I learned back in the day was that the system will get you in two ways. First they give you nothing and then you give you everything.

The acknowledgement of division becomes division. The denial of division becomes division. The connection is real or it is not. I can hate my brother but he is still my brother. I can deny my father but he is still my father. I can hate my sister but she is still my sister. I can deny my mother but she is still my mother. And on and on and on.

There has to be leadership. Someone must be accountable. The collective must know who their voice is given.

It's the challenge that is placed upon every movement at some point, the internet made it happen faster.

                      Raise your fist as Billy Jack rides into the Sunset

It's 1972, I am around eight years old and my father has rented both a projector and a film from I have no idea where. He pins a bed sheet onto the living room wall in and he plays the movie Billy Jack for our family and a handful of friends and family. It was the most powerful movie I had ever seen. The Native People are right and these racists are wrong and the HalfBreed Hero kicks ass with bare feet. After the film played to a packed house at the community centre the days in the school yard would be trying to repeat the immortal words and arguing over whether it was going to be a left foot kicking the right ear or the right foot kicking the left ear.

Tom Laughlin passed with little fanfare this year. Despite a creating both independent film and the blockbuster at the same time. He went outside the Hollywood system and made a film that told a truth no one wanted to hear and made more money than anyone thought possible.

                       Elijah Harper makes the final journey

Elijah Harper, one of the most important figures in modern day Canadian history, passed away on May 17, 2013. It was Harper who killed the Meech Lake Accord. All the machinations and heavy breathing by the Canadian elite to deny reality of the day were unable to change the facts upon the end of day. This one is done and done. There is no need to debate the fact. History is history. Elijah Harper stood up to the Canadian elite and denied their wishes. It was a beautiful thing. One of the great days.


There was this idea that the end was near, but now it feels unknown.
There are lessons in all of these things, change is beyond our control.