GGRW – Assignment 3.7

Write a blog that hyper-links your research on the characters in GGRW. Be sure to make use of  Jane Flicks’ GGRW reading notes on your reading list.

I have selected pages 136 – 143 from Green Grass, Running Water (GGRW).

Eli Stand Alone

The beginning of this chapter involves Eli Stand Alone imagining that he could see the “cracks  were developing near the base of the dam, Stress fractures, they call them, common enough in any dam, but troublesome nonetheless, especially given the relatively young age of the concrete” (King 136).  Firstly, Eli Stand Alone refers to Elijah Harper, born at Red Sucker Lake First Nation in Northern Manitoba. Elijah was removed from his family and placed in the residential school system. Upon his return to his community as an adult, “he resolved to enact change for First Nations and at 29 years old, was elected as Chief of Red Sucker Lake First Nation” (Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples n.p).  Elijah Harper stood alone against the Meech Accord  and won (Schoolworkhelper n.p). This work won him the Stanley Knowles Humanitarian Award, the same that was presented to Nelson Mandela of South Africa (Nation Media n.p).

Eli Stand Alone resisted the dam that would flood his mothers home alone. However, King alludes to more than just standing alone against the corporations for the rights of the Blackfoot, he alludes to the dam not being of the best quality, which was demonstrated by Eli imagining that he could see the cracks forming on the dam, and that the “slumping” that had been discovered was even more of a concern. For Eli, it is about protecting the treaty rights. Elijah Harper was the only member who voted “against a debate that did not allow full consultation with the First Nations and that recognized only the English and the French as founding nations” (Flick 150).


Clifford Sifton

The character, Clifford Sifton, who works for the lawyers and corporations wanting the dam, it was demonstrated that these concerns are resented by the rest of non-Indigenous Albertans. This is achieved through the dialogue between Sifton and Eli. For example,

"Treaty rights, Cliff"
"Almost as bad as French rights. Damn sure wish the government would give me some of that."
"Government didn't give us anything, Cliff. We paid for them. Paid for them two or three times."
"And so because the government felt generous back in the last ice age, and made promises it never intended to keep, I have to come by every morning and ask the same stupid question" (King 138)

Clifford Sifton refers to Sir Clifford Sifton (1861-1929) who aggressively promoted the settlement of the West and was a champion of the settlers who displaced the Native population. In addition, Sir Clifford Sifton was deaf throughout his life (Flick 150). The dialogue at the beginning of the chapter mimics this as Sifton doesn’t seem to be hearing Eli discuss the approaching storm. However, the above quoted dialogue also demonstrates two aspects of his character. One, that Cliff is resentful towards the ongoing resistance and continues to deny the treaty rights. And two, that he believes in the rhetoric within Canada relating to treaty rights. When Sifton comments about the promises being made “in the last ice age,” it alludes to the idea that those promises were made a long time ago and shouldn’t be held up any longer. His comments are about reinforcing the notion that the suffering happened many generations ago, and shouldn’t be applied to current generations because times have changed.

The idea that Indigenous Peoples were only affected many generations ago was also referred to again when Sifton said, “Who’d of guessed that there would still be Indians kicking around in the twentieth century.” As well as the comment, “Besides, you guys aren’t real Indians anyway. I mean, you drive cars, watch television, go to hockey games. Look at you. You’re a university professor.”  These comments are juxtaposed between the colonization ideology and the reality of what life is like for modern-day First Nations.

Sifton continues to refer to how Eli, Latisha and Lionel are not traditionalists but of course, even back in the day, non-Indigenous people didn’t watch TV, drive cars or have jobs as university professors as of course, in the nineteenth century, they didn’t exist, for either Indigenous or non-Indigenous peoples. As King eloquently demonstrates through these two characters, it is ridiculous to expect any person living in North America today that they would not access these technologies. Sifton continues to try to downplay the importance of Eli’s family home while just as Sir Clifford Sifton likely did back at the turn of the century, the investors needs were more important. The home was no longer a home but rather a “pile of logs in the middle of a spillway” (King 142).

There were a few other characters in this chapter, Orville, Leroy and a man from Michigan which I won’t go into however, the interspersed story of the Sun Dance which involved ceremonies, play, dancing, and horseback riding, likely was used by King to illustrate that the story of Eli didn’t happen “in the last ice age.” It happened in today’s generation. First Nations continue to participate in their own cultural practices which continue to be drastically different from the non-Indigenous, despite still utilizing modern-day technologies such as cars and televisions.

Works Cited

Flick, Jane. “Reading Notes for Thomas King’s Green Grass Running Water.Canadian Literature 161-162. (1999). Web.

King, Thomas. Green Grass Running Water. Toronto: Harper Collins, 1993. Print.

http://www.ictinc.ca/blog/elijah-harper-the-man-with-a-feather-who-changed-the-course-of-history

Green Grass, Running Water Character Anaylsis
http://www.nationmedia.ca/elijahharper/bio.html

Narrative Decolonization – Assignment #3.5

Identify and discuss two of King’s “acts of narrative decolonization.”Please read the following quote to assist you with your answer.The lives of King’s characters are entangled in and informed by both the colonial legacy in the Americas and the narratives that enact and enable colonial domination. King begins to extricate his characters’ lives from the domination of the invader’s discourses by weaving their stories into both Native American oral traditions and into revisions of some of the most damaging narratives of domination and conquest: European American origin stories and national myths, canonical literary texts, and popular culture texts such as John Wayne films. These revisions are acts of narrative decolonization. James Cox. “All This Water Imagery Must Mean Something.” Canadian Literature 161-162 (1999). Web April 04/2013.

King challenges the colonial legacy and the narratives that enact and enable colonial domination throughout the novel, Green Grass, Running Water (1993).  This is achieved by describing “acts of narrative decolonization” according to Cox (2013). However, from my own observations before even reading the blog questions or the article by James Cox, I would have described it in much the same way, as a way of using particular experiences, symbols and storytelling to deconstruct the narration of the colonial story, aka the one of European American origin stories and mythology.

It is difficult to choose only two acts out of the many but I feel that the two that moved me most included the experiences that Lionel had from early childhood as well as Eli Standing Alone. The first “act of narrative decolonization” is when Lionel wanted to get his tonsils out but ended up being flown to Toronto and forever being labelled as a person with a heart condition, and secondly, when he attended Wounded Knee and had a misunderstanding with the authority related to possession of a weapon (59-62). These were both “acts of narrative decolonization” as it challenges the rhetoric surrounding ideas about how the system is believed to be unbiased, culturally-universal and that the court system treats all citizens equally regardless of ethnicity, sex, age or socioeconomic status.  It is apparent that if it did, Lionel wouldn’t have had this experience in the first place. In addition, the trouble with getting mixed up with another patient also indicates how this child, even though a child, has already become invisible and not carefully listened to by the medical services due to culturally-insensitive services.

Lionel felt completely helpless in both situations, and essentially because of who he was, he was helpless. As King describes, a child can tell the difference between knowing trouble with the throat versus problems with a heart. Yet, nobody stopped to say, why is this child saying this? Should I perhaps listen to what they are saying? It was discarded as being invalid, inconsequential and as that of well, “a child.” King uses narrative decolonization by redirecting the problem not to Lionel but to the colonizers, making erroneous assumptions despite Lionel appearing to be a relatively good guy.  Not listening when they should have been. As was said various times throughout the story, “listen, pay attention, forget that, listen up!”

The second act of narrative decolonization was the ongoing situation with the dam and the desire of Eli who was fighting the dam. This is going on today with the pipeline that is to be throughout North America. It seems that this is an ongoing colonization practice that hasn’t stopped as despite claims of ties to the land, the corporations feel they have more of a right to the land and the resources than the Indigenous peoples all in the prospect of profit. It was made pretty obvious the effects this has on people living on these lands, such as Eli wanting to save his childhood home and consistently challenging the status quo in relation to Western-European culture such as using what resources are desired, regardless of who may be using them or how they may be valued.

Works Cited

Cox, James. “All This Water Imagery Must Mean Something.” Canadian Literature 161-162 (1999). Web.

King, Thomas. Green Grass Running Water. Toronto: Harper Collins, 1993. Print.

 

The Indian Act of 1876 and White Civility

When I was researching The Indian Act of 1876, I was hoping to read through the original, yet I could not find it. However, what I came across ended up being a little more disturbing than anticipated because it was the Indian Act of 1985 which is in effect today. I learned a lot about the Indian Act of 1876 a couple years ago in an anthropology course and it was gone over several times in various courses through my degree yet for some reason I no longer thought of it as being currently enforced. I am not sure why this didn’t click before as I have been on several reservations, one in Fort McMurray (where my British Father taught English in 1965 when he immigrated here), one south of Edmonton (Hobbema) and under Lions’ Gate Bridge (Squamish Nation).  I came across this blog post, The Ugly Face of the Squamish Nation  which I will return to in a bit along with the story of my father.

The major aspect of the Act that stuck out to me related to Indian women who married non-Indian men. I remember learning this in an Anthropology of Gender class.  We had a guest speaker, a lawyer, Aboriginal, a Woman. She spoke about how at first there had been peace but things really changed when this act was introduced. She told stories about how women lost their status but the really problematic change was that they lost their names which had profound effects as many followed maternal lines, not paternal as it became with the introduction of the Indian Act of 1876. When Indian women married non-Indian, the women lost all of their rights as an Indian. Benefits, the right to family property, and the right to be buried with the ancestors. Essentially, they became “civilized,” as Coleman puts it in relation to White Civility.

The women than became “white” and became assimilated to a new world. The children of these marriages would marry other people of European decent, they would have no choice as all ties are cut when the Indian woman married a non-Indian man. I am white, my mother is darker, my grandmother even more so. I never saw a photo of my great-grandmother, it never existed but I suspect she was even darker. Each of these women married a non-Indian and there is now no need to assimilate me as it was done over generations and through genetic manipulation which was the goal of colonization.

Even today, the wording of the act still includes:

Indian Register

  • 5 (1)  There shall be maintained in the Department an Indian Register in which shall be recorded the name of every person who is entitled to be registered as an Indian under this Act.

This is the current terminology and it reminded me of what Trump is suggesting with keeping a registry of all Muslims in the United States. It is very unfortunate that this system still exists as it was established as form of control such as requiring permission slips to leave the reservation. The act prohibited alcohol consumption. The list of ways in which it controlled is endless.

So the above mentioned blog post discusses how the Squamish Nation Reservation is ugly and why can’t they just improve the area given how much money they have. Well, regardless of if they have money or not, money does not heal the destruction of your way of life. Some argue that was generations ago but it wasn’t. Residential schools were in operation during my lifetime. Unfortunately I believe that our society has a tendency to downplay the effect of trauma on people’s lives. Money doesn’t solve intergenerational trauma.

Regarding my British father was teaching English in 1965 in Alberta. He came here to escape a painful divorce. He arrived in Fort MacMurray and taught on a reservation in a one room school. He loved his students and they loved him. He had them draw and tell him their stories, it was English after all. But after about five years, he was fired. His methods were not English enough. They weren’t appropriate for teaching English. You can’t have your students drawing and having fun. He moved to Edmonton and was unable to find a job as a teacher in the Public School board, this was 1971. He instead married my mother, a student in University. He entered law school in 1975 and to this day works predominantly for Aboriginal women. He takes child welfare cases to help fight the systemic abuse that occurs.

I feel like sometimes we forget that even though the stories of “Canada” come from a perspective of colonization, not all people who were European supported to this view. My father exposed me to a world that most “white” people never get a chance to see (in all of its glory and suffering) and I am grateful because without it I would have zero connection to my ancestors dating back over 10,000 years in Canada.

I hope these stories provided support that Coleman’s argument isn’t just an argument, it is real. I am proof. I realize I went way over words allowed but I had to get it all out. If you got through it all, thank you! I guess in a way this is my creation story.  My only wish is that I knew my great-grandmother’s maiden name, or her mother’s name. My grandmother already had a Scottish last name. Now I have a very British last name, Fish. It is traced back to the 1500s. I have traced my grandfather’s line back to the 1500s in Prussia (Mennonite). Yet, my grandmother’s line is gone. All I know is that my maternal line is from Northern Manitoba.

I apologize for using “Indian” but it was difficult to escape. I would prefer First Nations or Aboriginal.

Colleen

Works Cited

Government of Canada http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/i-5/  Accessed October 28, 2016.

Bob Joseph (blog) http://www.ictinc.ca/blog/21-things-you-may-not-have-known-about-the-indian-act-

Leslie, John http://www.revparl.ca/english/issue.asp?art=255&param=83

The Notion of ‘Authenticity’: An Insult? Post 2.6

“To raise the question of ‘authenticity’ is to challenge not only the narrative but also the ‘truth’ behind Salish ways of knowing” (Carlson 59). Explain why this is so according to Carlson, and explain why it is important to recognize this point.

As explained by Carlson in Orality about Literacy: The ‘Black and White’ of Salish History, authenticity is considered differently than in the academic world where an individual who fabricates evidence, or is careless, loses their credibility and therefore, their academic standing (Carlson 57). It is significantly different for the Salish people as ‘authenticity’ refers to being “reliable sources of historical information” as well as what may happen if the information is conveyed less reliably. Unlike the white man who can easily deceive, if the story is altered, fabricated or inaccurate, for a Salish storyteller, this is not only going to ruin his reputation and his future as a storyteller but it may potentially hurt those who are listening.

As discussed previously by Lutz, the ‘contact zone’ involved attempting to communicate through song, dance, and symbolism which was connected to spiritual performance on the part of both parties, just different narratives. For the Salish people, they view the world through spirits, specifically, the spirits of their ancestors. If one were to deceive, it is not just a risk to themselves, but those around them, including ancestral spirits. The spirits will punish as it is their belief that the spirits are able to “cause ‘bad things’ to happen” (Carlson 59). If one is telling a story about the distant past, or “any story that involves deceased people, it is regarded as of interest to ancestors in the spirit world” (Carlson 58).  The ancestral spirits are very cognizant of “honour, integrity, and accuracy” (Carlson 59).

It is therefore important to consider when addressing Aboriginal people that the significance and implications of questions related to “authenticity” may “challenge not only the narrative but also the ‘truth’ behind Salish ways of knowing” (Carlson 59). If one is to consider how one feels when they are lying, if they are caught or not, most would admit that their is some level of guilt and I hope that this applies cross-culturally but that I can’t confirm. However, this article appears to indicate that there are similar words used depending on if one is being deceptive or not.  Granted this study is comprised of a relatively small cultural sample.

As explained by Carlson, the story becomes “sacrosanct” (59).  I was watching the news recently and the story about Dorothy’s Shoes in which $300,000 is being provided by the Smithsonian to preserve the shoes which are degrading due to humidity and light. They are attempting to raise more money to build a special containment unit that will protect the shoes from degrading further. Are these shoes really so valuable as to spend over $300,000 to maintain them? I find it rather unfathomable that someone believes it is, yet the European culture is now dominated by capitalism rather than spirituality and alternate realms. This capitalism leads to identifying with movies, celebrities and the shoes they wore rather than the land North Americans, aka European decedents stole to produce, distribute and consume the products of consumerism.

Work Cited

Carlson, Keith Thor. “Orality and Literacy: The ‘Black and White’ of Salish      History.” Orality & Literacy: Reflections Across Disciplines,  edited by Carlson, Kristina Fagna, & Natalia Khamemko-Frieson, U of Toronto Publishing, 2011, 43-72.

“Coast Salish.” First Nations: Land Rights and Environmentalism in British Columbia,  www.firstnations.de/development/coast_salish.htm. Accessed 18 October 2016.

Nuckols, Ben. “No-brainer: $300K Campaign to Rescue Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers.” ctv.com,  www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/no-brainer-300k-campaign-to-rescue-dorothy-s-ruby-slippers-1.3119647. Accessed 19 October 2016.

Perez-Rosas, Veronica and Rada Mihalcea. “Cross-Cultural Deception Detection.” Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, 2014, pp. 440-445, aclweb.org/anthology/P14-2072. Accessed 19 October 2016.

When the past is hard to separate from the present. #2.4

We began this unit by discussing assumptions and differences that we carry into our class. In “First Contact as Spiritual Performance,” Lutz makes an assumption about his readers (Lutz, “First Contact” 32). He asks us to begin with the assumption that comprehending the performances of the Indigenous participants is “one of the most obvious difficulties.” He explains that this is so because “one must of necessity enter a world that is distant in time and alien in culture, attempting to perceive indigenous performance through their eyes as well as those of the Europeans.” Here, Lutz is assuming either that his readers belong to the European tradition, or he is assuming that it is more difficult for a European to understand Indigenous performances – than the other way around. What do you make of this reading? Am I being fair when I point to this assumption? If so, is Lutz being fair when he makes this assumption?

It happened long ago when I was told “never assume, it makes an ass out of you and me,” yet, that lesson has stuck with me to this day. Another quote that stuck with me was Deepak Chopra, “People do the best they can with the awareness that they have.” I do believe this quote to my core, however, sometimes that awareness is based on erroneous information and unaware the information is erroneous. It has happened throughout time. We make assumptions all the time. For example, the DDT experiment that is still resulting in horrendous consequences. Another example is the use of asbestos.

I do think Lutz made an assumption in that most of his readers would be predominantly European. Is he being fair? That I do not know. However, what I do believe is that we are all prone to our assumptions and it doesn’t matter which ethnicity you identify with, “it is the consciousness of the past used for present purposes” (Lutz 7). For the present purposes, these stories are to educate those with European decent about the assumptions made on the European side more than the Indigenous as they certainly resulted in much more harm.

Fig. 1. A class in penmanship at the Red Deer Indian School, Red Deer, Alta. 1914-19.  (Wade 2013)

It is now up to the Europeans to learn of the cultures that they colonized, or at the very least see the Indigenous as a people who were colonized and are without their culture due to it being ripped away from them. The exploration into the supernatural within both stories, European and Indigenous, was very important as the religious connotations have been downplayed by the European commentator today but it wouldn’t have been back then. This is important in my view as when one considers the supernatural in both stories, it becomes more about learning to see through the eyes of someone who lived during that time, Indigenous and European. Both were infused with the supernatural, spiritual and realms beyond the human.

I noticed this many years ago as I found that Indigenous stories were looked down upon while the European stories were accepted as fact, which Lutz mentions. I often wondered why this was the case as to myself, both of the creation stories seemed to be difficult to understand. I do believe in the story of evolution which of course is part of the European story that began during the 18th Century however, I also do believe in something beyond that story. I feel that there are many things that science and evolution cannot explain. Therefore, in my view, it is presumptuous to believe in some things while not exploring other options.  My questioning of science began when I saw a ghost. I can’t explain it to this day but I know what I saw. It was beyond the realm of European understanding. I am okay with that.

Works Cited

Critical Thinking Community. “Distinguishing Between Inferences and Assumptions.” criticalthinking.org, www.criticalthinking.org/pages/critical-thinking-distinguishing-between-inferences-and-assumptions/484. Accessed 10 October 2016.

Lutz, John Sutton. “First Contact as a Spiritual Performance: Encounters on the North American West Coast.” Myth and Memory: Rethinking Stories of Indigenous-European Contact. Edited by John Lutz, University of British Colubia P, 2007, 30-45.

— “Myth Understandings: First Contact, Over and Over Again.” Myth and Memory: Rethinking Stories of Indigeous-European Contact. Edited by John Lutz, University of British Columbia Publisher, 2007, 1-15.

Pesticide Action Network. “The DDT Story.” panna.org, www.panna.org/resources/ddt-story. Accessed 10 October 2016.

Ward, Kevin James. “To Break Residential Schools’ Dark Legacy, Understand Why.” thetyee.ca, thetyee.ca/Opinion/2013/09/18/Break-Residential-Schools-Dark-Legacy-Understand-Why/. Accessed 9 October 12016.

 

Many assumptions and values are the same but details differ greatly! – Ass #2.3

After reading various stories about ‘home,’ I found it rather interesting that for the most part, people’s assumptions and values were similar however, the details of the stories differed greatly.

Several assumptions related to home included the notion that it was an idea that changes and evolves. Some assumptions mentioned included the idea that ‘home’ is more than just being a physical location. It involves emotions, language, security, and a repeated value was that there are friends and family nearby that support and love unconditionally.  One assumption I found throughout that wasn’t necessarily labelled but was present was the idea of searching for ‘home’ and that regardless where one is physically, as long as loved ones are nearby, one may feel safe and secure and thus feel at ‘home.’

There were some unique assumptions and values however that differed greatly from my own and others. One individual mentioned being close to home through art and music.  I found this to be different as rather than ‘home’ being a location or place, it is an activity.  Another individual spoke about feeling homesick while being on vacation. The idea of emotions being tied to ‘home’ came up several times including being happy, confident and loved, however, being homesick was only mentioned once out of the student’s blogs that I read. I was somewhat surprised by the absence of people mentioning homesick and then I wondered why I never mentioned it as I have experienced a number of times such as when I was living in California for six months. I wondered if this was common so I ‘googled’ it and sure enough I found many articles written on the subject such as one discussing how to tell if you are homesick.

The major difference was the fact that every story was different. The details of each story were drastically different ranging from discussing how they immigrated to Canada while others discussed living in one place for almost all of their life. Another difference was the pursuit of reality as mentioned by one individual and although I certainly do engage in this pursuit, I have never thought of it in terms of how it would be connected to ‘home.’

The last value that was mentioned that I figured was different from my own was having a ‘home-cooked meal.’ Although this used to be part of what I considered home when I was younger, it certainly isn’t now and I barely cook in my own kitchen. For the most part, I eat out or purchase ready-to-cook meals from the grocery store. I often feel very nostalgic when I think of my Sunday family dinners at my grandparent’s house but today, in many ways I try to avoid those memories as I have lost touch with most of the family I would have been surrounded by in those days. I am not sure why but I often think it is because I haven’t married and had children like all my cousins did. We have little in common. It has been years since I spoke to these people which is sad but yet I wonder what would we talk about. That certainly made me wonder what home is in relation to how each new generation keeps the spark of connection alive.

Works Cited

Chandler, Abigail. “14 Signs that you’re feeling homesick.” Metro UK, 13 Jun. 2015, metro.co.uk/2015/06/13/13-signs-that-youre-homesick-5237381/. Accessed 4 Oct. 2016.

What home is….for me. – Assignment 2.2

“It is the place we still haven’t found but are looking for. The place that give us a sense of our self, and of others. But figuring this place out turns out to be a problem for many of us.” (Chamberlin 87)

I think the reason why ‘home’ is so difficult to find is because home is something that evolves as you experience life. We are born in only one location no matter who we are despite where life might take us. That ties us to only one location throughout our lives in a way that no other location may occupy and for me that place would be Edmonton, Alberta. However, I have lived in three different countries for various amounts of time (6 months to 2 years) as well as moving around Canada trying to find that place called home. I have many fond memories of the experiences I had while residing in Edmonton, Calgary in Alberta as well as in Perth in Ontario. For the past 14 years, I have resided in Vancouver, BC and for a short time during that 14 years, I lived in Victoria, BC. These are just the locations of where our physical body is but it doesn’t really describe our home which is so much more personal than the city and country we reside in. Yet location influences how we may find our home.

I have lived in Edmonton (AB), Beaumont (AB), Calgary (AB), Perth (ON), London (UK), Santa Cruz (CA), and finally, Vancouver, BC. I lived in Edmonton for less than half my life and of course, didn’t have a choice in the matter. I left my parent’s home at 15 years old to live with my aunt and uncle due to abuse. Luckily for me this experience gave me the chance to see a home that was filled with love and respect. I did eventually return to my parent’s home because that was what it was, my home. I greatly appreciated the help my relatives had provided (potentially gave me a fighting chance for my life) but they still weren’t my parents and the room I was sleeping in still wasn’t mine.

Due to ongoing problems, I continued to try to move away from them as it couldn’t feel like home no matter how much I may have wanted it to as they were my parents. I moved to London, England as my father is from England so I am a British Citizen due to the rules of British citizenship. I lasted 6 months before I fell apart and had to return to Edmonton. Next, I tried Perth. I lived above the most famous horse in Canada, Big Ben, the only animal in the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. I worked travelling around Canada as a groom for Ian Miller, an Olympic Medalist and Gail Greenough who won World Champion many years ago. While I was young, I had a poster of her on my wall riding Mr. T, that was signed by her. It was a dream come true but eventually burnt out as during competitions, we worked 20 hour days and earned $400 a week. I returned to Edmonton again.

The real problem was that regardless of where I was physically located, I felt the same; depressed, unworthy, and a waste of space. It was like home had imploded and I didn’t know what to do. All I wanted was to find a place that felt safe, comfortable, and where I was surround by those that valued me. It isn’t a good way to live. As Chamberlin says, “place gives us a sense of our self, and of others” (87). My sense of self, and of others was distorted by my early family life. I always felt unsafe, uncomfortable and undervalued. It was furthered by becoming part of something that few people know about. It is difficult to disclose what this subculture is despite growing in popularity and acceptance including being in the mainstream media more frequently. Due to the location of my physical self being in Vancouver I have access to belonging that I haven’t experienced previously and thus, I feel at home. I love Vancouver!

Perhaps some of you will have figured out what this subculture might be. I am not sure but I am hoping that one day, I can be myself and live without feeling the need to sensor what I have to say as I am currently. In spite of my negative childhood, and subsequent near death, I have gained a place in the community I am looking for which doesn’t mean simply geographical such as being located in the West End of Vancouver, although this place influences if I feel at home or not. I don’t have to hide my lifestyle as much in this area. But I am very lucky as some countries continue to execute people like me.

As my subculture is so highly stigmatized, being part of it can have devastating consequences for some in European countries however, they won’t get the death penalty. It varies by region but it is still considered criminal in the eyes of United Nations. This subculture is especially difficult to be connected to for particular ethnicities such as Black American and First Nations. Discrimination of any sort regardless of reason is harmful. It could be due to sex orientation, gender identity, skill set, age, ethnicity, education, clothing, language, religion, and any other difference that might exist between different groups of people that share a culture such as rituals, beliefs, traditions and more. It is the biggest threat to the safety of my home, being singled out and potentially thrown in jail. For myself, every day is like a safety dance with having to sensor what I say or how I try to say something.

Works Cited

“Ian Miller.” Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, http://www.sportshall.ca/stories.html?proID=405&catID=all, accessed 4 Oct. 2016.

Chamberlin, J. Edward. If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?  Vintage Canada, 2004.

“Artie (Glee) Safety Dance Flash Mob.” Youtube, uploaded by GuinanTheCat, 23 Sep. 2010. www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-9mbTufphY.

Atmo – Assignment 1.5

I have a great story to tell you. It began long ago before the world was full of hate and distrust. Well it was long before humans. Atmo who was an entity without mass had been growing tired of floating from universe to universe, planet to planet when it came across Earth. At this time there was only early life and so it decided it might as well see where this life goes, like he had done many times before.

After patiently waiting, humans evolved. However, Atmo hadn’t remained patient. Many years had passed and the entity had grown isolated, desolate, and resented the creatures for taking so long. Atmo had planned on providing the newly formed beings with love, forethought and compassion but it changed its mind after a couple hundred million years had gone by. Waiting.

As the first humans were beginning to develop and expand the population, Atmo made a visit late one evening. Atmo floated up the river to a small enclosure that housed the new creatures. It walked up the beach and gazed down upon their sleeping faces only to be reminded of the innocence that it had wanted from the beginning.

So now Atmo was torn about what to do with the creatures. He had planned on killing them and then moving onto the next planet but that had also grown tired for him. What would another planet get Atmo? Atmo was about to attempt something it had never done before with any other life forces.

Atmo decided not to kill this creature but instead to instill it with both love and hate, forethought and impulse, compassion and resentment. It created the good and the bad in all human beings because Atmo wanted to watch the creatures kill themselves. Atmo did sometimes laughed to itself and wondered if the creatures wished it would take the story back (King 10).

Storytelling is something I feel I do a lot in my day to day yet hadn’t really realized that when I asked a few friends and family to listen. Most were surprised by the content as it is totally different from the usual stories I tell. One commented that it was just weird and obviously fictional. I explained a bit about what the class was about and a few things fell into place in terms of what King and Chamberlin were discussing in terms of stories becoming part of our lives. I certainly felt very passionate towards Atmo and its desire to destroy the human creature while my listeners were not quite as caught up in the story, at least that is what it felt like.

However, I was just surprised that I came up with a story that made some sense related to how evil came about. I struggled with that. It took me some time to even consider what I might write about but then I just managed to sit down and wrote it in about 20 minutes. Once it began flowing, it became like a story that filled itself in and worked itself out. I barely had to put much thought into it however, I do admit, one listener did make the ending better with regards to wanting to watch the creatures kill themselves. This tells me that ideas for stories are always great when bounced off others.

Works Cited

King, Thomas. The Truth about Stories. New York : House of Anansi Press, 2011. Print.

 

 

 

 

Settlement and Conflict – Ass #1.3

Settlement (natural) versus Conflict (unnatural)

Assignment 1.3 (Blog post – Chamberlin – Question #4)

“The sad fact is that the history of settlement around the world is the history of displacing other people from their lands, of discounting their livelihoods and destroying their languages” (Chamberlin 78)

“The history of many of the world’s conflicts is a history of dismissing a different belief or different behaviour as unbelief or misbehaviour, and of discrediting those who believe or behave differently as infidels or savages.” (Chamberlin  78)

Above are two different ways of examining and understanding the history of settlement in Canada. The first way of understanding history “naturalizes” notions of settlement and civilization which was first proposed by Lewis Henry Morgan in, Ancient Society (1877). As described by Morgan, “The remote ancestors of the Aryan nations presumptively passed through an experience similar to that of existing barbarous and savage tribes” (6). For more of the original document, it is available here (digitally that is), the Introduction of Ancient Society by Morgan.

Internet Archive
Internet Archive

The different way of looking at this way of explaining history, not through settlement but rather through conflict, which is simultaneously occurring for many people. This way of understanding the history of Canada is to attempt to prevent the denial of the Indigenous people’s experiences, stories and voices. By considering that conflict between humans are often as a result of diverse cultural differences (beliefs, behaviours, ceremonies) rather than absolute hierarchical linear evolution from the ‘savage’ to the ‘civilized, it redefines “Them and Us”.

It brings all of us together by considering both sides of the story, the them and the us as part of an interrelated version of historical story. If one attempts to consider history through the exploration of different beliefs rather than in a way that reinforces the colonizers view of the settler versus others, it becomes difficult to see the ‘other’ as being the opposite of ‘us’. Instead one begins to view the pain and suffering of the ‘other’, of Them.

So when exploring history through conflict, the meaning of home becomes much more difficult to isolate. However, I think a recent clip by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah begins to sum up the different stories that arise if one views the oppressed individuals as human beings with a voice that should be heard.  Watch the clip from Hasan Minhaj from the Daily Show with Trevor Noah as well as watch some additional footage about the protest.

That clip is available here:

http://uproxx.com/tv/daily-show-pipeline-protest-north-dakota/

I felt this recent clip was relevant as little mainstream media attention is being paid to this story illustrating that the story is still considering the view of the settlers rather than the dislocated (homeless). If we were to consider this through the eyes of conflict rather than what is ‘natural’ perhaps mainstream media would be airing some of the personal stories that would likely be heard if one were to go there and talk to some of the occupiers (aka protestors) but really they are occupying their land with culture, stories, and voices in order to contest the future of the area. All they want to do is protect their home despite what the settlers hope they do which is approve the pipeline which if one looks carefully, it isn’t difficult to see the ongoing colonization (and forced spread of capitalism – oil isn’t shared by all) in the current situation in North Dakota. It is rather disturbing to myself, much like many of the historical stories Chamberlin mentioned in relation to being homesick, homeless and homelessness.

Works Cited

Chamberlin, J. Edward. If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?  Vintage Canada, 2004.

Morgan, Lewis Henry. “Ancient Society.” Internet Archive, archive.org/stream/ancientsociety035004mbp#page/n25/mode/2up. Accessed 17 September 2016.

Roberts, Andrew. “‘The Daily Show’ Lends a Hand to End the Native American Pipeline Protest in North Dakota.” uproxx.com. uproxx.com/tv/daily-show-pipeline-protest-north-dakota/. Accessed 18 September 2016.

Welcome to Colleen’s English 470 Blog – Brief Introduction

Welcome! My name is Colleen Fish and I am finishing up a BA with a major in Anthropology. I completed a BSc with a specialization in psychology many years ago, long before this online learning system was in existence. I am intrigued by the way in which we are having to do an online blog as it certainly has become a skill worth having in the 21st century. In addition, I am excited to begin to delve into the material for this course.

I am ashamed to admit that my knowledge related to specifically Canadian authors is limited except perhaps Douglas Coupland yet I haven’t read any of his novels. Unlike many of you, I am not an English Major and in fact, it is one of my weakest areas but I love to write. I do have an interest in First Nations and History in general due to my interest in Anthropology and my own personal ancestral background.

The course will focus on who’s stories we listen to, and those we do not along with the way in which stories are told in literature. In a past course I completed,  Anthropology of Media, the way in which the image of a ‘savage, or ‘ Indian’ (First Nation/Native American) is manipulated to create a particular story such as the ‘Indian’ being close to nature and/or less ‘civilized’ (whatever that means). This becomes so much more apparent in popular culture after developing a deeper appreciation for the way stories are told/not told such as with the movie Pocahontas.

screenshot-2016-09-10-17-04-51

My expectations for this course mainly revolve around learning more about what constitutes Canadian literature especially as it relates to historical contexts, First Nations, and colonialism. I am looking forward to reading Chamberlin and King as well as learning more about these two influential writers as well as the other writers to be covered during the course.

Turns out I do know a Canadian author, Kelley Armstrong. She wrote the series Bitten which is about Werewolves, specifically a female werewolf which isn’t supposed to exist. There was a TV series created but has been now discontinued, or rather finished.

The SYFY TV Series – http://www.syfy.com/bitten

The Bitten Book Series – http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/series/otherworld/

Citations

Armstrong, Kelley. Otherworld, http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/series/otherworld/Accessed 10 September 2016.

Disney Princess. “Dream Big Princess.” Found, Walt Disney Productions, 10 September 2016, princess.disney.com/pocahontas.

SYFY. Bitten, www.syfy.com/bitten. Accessed 10 September 2016.