Spirituality is the Foundation Upon Which Decolonization Must Begin

From this article by Giibwanisi:

I was at this presentation the other week, and I listened to this doctor give his medical opinion on how to treat addicts and help them in their recovery. He went on to suggest different medications, treatment practices and even dancing around bureaucratic policies within the hospital he works at.

I sat there and reflected on how almost everyone I meet outside of ceremony, whether they are in activist, academic or revolutionary circles, tend to see spirituality as a passing thought or a footnote. I beg to differ. Spirituality is the foundation upon which any healing or decolonization must begin.

I can only draw on my own experience, but I have been to every recovery, self-help and therapy imaginable. I have been to AA, I have had thousands of hours of counselling sessions, I’ve been to church, I’ve been in psychiatric facilities, I’ve had outreach workers buy me meals, etc. I’ve done almost everything that western medicine and science can prescribe, and time after time I have failed. In AA, their perspective would be that “I didn’t work the steps to my best ability.”

That might be true, but I also didn’t see anything uniquely distinct or Anishinabek worked into the writings. There was a component that I could hang on to. AA worked with me for a while, but it eventually stopped working, just like all the psychiatric medications and counselling sessions that I had been to.

What I do give AA credit for is their recognition that there is absolute necessity for this “spiritual awakening.” Time and time again, my AA sponsors told me that if I ever wanted to get sober, I had to grasp the spiritual aspect to the AA recovery. But I’m a bit of an idiot, and if it isn’t directly spelled out most of the time, I have a hard time grasping it.

It wasn’t until I had met Elder Vern Harper at CAMH (Centre for Addictions and Mental Health) that I actually had someone spell it out for me. Only he didn’t use a chalk board or any literature. He did it with some Grandfather Teachings, sage, a smudge bowl, and some prayer. What he was able to do for me, with that little gesture, did more for me than all those other things that had failed me all those other times.

I don’t know how to explain spirituality to non-Anshinabek people. I don’t have those answers, as I have discovered that there isn’t a way to spell out spirituality for anyone. The seeker actually has to find it for themselves.

For me, as an Anishinabek man, it was the return to the Red Road. Once I retraced my steps here, and listened to what the Elders were telling me, I had a better grasp on what it was that I had been missing my entire life, a connection to my spiritual centre that had been severed. It was only when I began to mend that broken and severed part of me, that I began to feel like I was recovering from that “hopeless and helplessness” that AA talks about all the time.

In western medicine, they don’t teach spirituality in the universities of medicine, and unless the doctors come from some faith-based families or lineage (as my family doctor is Hindu), I tend to feel that it is mostly foreign to them. Science can’t describe it, or even prove it for that matter, so they have difficulty prescribing it, and using it as an effective treatment.

Colonization can be viewed as a carcinogenic sickness that has eviscerated our indigenous interconnections to all things, animate or inanimate, including our ceremonies, governing political systems, and everything that is our Anishinabek Mno Bimaadziwin (Good way of life). Therefore, the cure, or the path towards decolonization must be, the reconstruction of all of these things, which includes the Grandmother and Grandfather Teachings, and the Anishinabek holistic approach, where Two Legged Humans, can be put back together using not only the mental, physical, and emotional, but especially the spiritual.

The Anishinabek belief system holds that all things have a spirit, even our emotions, and the interconnectedness in which we relate to everything. There is a spiritual conceptualization to it all. Which is why, the path of decolonization or Biskaabiiyaang, must include the spiritual awakening and recognition.

Our spirituality is the key to our identity, our strength and our very survival. Why else would the colonizers outlaw them? They knew that if they could take that away from us, they could more easily defeat us. But we have persevered, and we will continue to persevere, lest we forget our spirituality.

I don’t know how to spell out spirituality for non-Native people. I don’t have the answers for you, nor should I be expected to find those answers either, but it probably isn’t the culturally appropriative ways of the New Ager hippie, “Rainbow Bridge Warrior of Peace” clans out there.

But where there is a will there is a way. I know many non-Native people who have been adopted into some our communities and societies. That shouldn’t be taken as permission that you are entitled to seek out a societal role with our Anishinabek Nations, but it doesn’t exactly preclude you either.

I will leave you with this thought.

There was a teaching that I was given once, when I was asking an Elder why he was so helpful to White people, and why he chose to share knowledge with them. He said something that went like this, “There was a prophecy that came to the people of Turtle Island once long ago. It came around the time of the Seven Fires Prophecies, and it said that in the time of darkness that would be known as the Seventh Fire, many of the White people would come to us Anishinabek people seeking help.

“They would have forgotten their original teachings, and they would become aware of this, and they wouldn’t know where else to turn but to us. It says in this prophecy that we would either help them or we wouldn’t. Our decisions of either helping them or not, would also decide the outcome of the Seventh Fire.

“I choose to help them, because my teachings are that if you see someone with genuine intentions, then the medicine that we carry are not exclusive to Anishinabek people. If we are truly medicine people, then we understand that the medicine isn’t exclusive to us. If we see sick people who genuinely want to get well, then we have an obligation to help those people.”

You see, people, it is the matter of intention. What is it exactly that you are seeking, and what do you intend to do with it?

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I seek to learn more about the Right Way to Live so I can live it, and help others do the same, so we can all get busy living in Love, Health & Happiness.  Chi Miigwech Giibwanisi for the learning & lessons.

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And here is another excellent article by Johnny  Hawke discussing Decolonizing “Traditionalism” & New Ageism (see the site image of colonist stephen harper wearing a headdress and how blasphemous & way wrong it looks):

“Traditionalism, the movement to restore the social, cultural, and political integrity of our communities by restoring ancient models of governance and social interaction, has degraded into a laughable form of self-centered New Ageism, a ceremonial show or smokescreen behind which the dark abuses of the colonial master on a personal and collective level continue.”

–    Taiaike Alfred in his book Wasase Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom

By: Johnny Hawke

Through my own Decolonization process I have been engaging in my Anishinabe Peoples own Institutions to remove the colonial influences in my life. One of these tools I have been using is through the healing approaches of our spirituality where I have come to identify colonial attitudes embedded in our own Indigenous institutions which are creating a synthetic resurgence of our collective Identity.

I have established relationships and met many of our people who have been influential in the revival of the spiritual aspect of our Indigenous Institutions which has become an expressed ideology known as “Traditionalism.”  This Traditionalism is viewed by those who embrace it and those who oppose it as something that is separate to our collective day to day modern Indigenous identity. The attributing of our peoples way of life and all the things that make us who we are as being “Traditional” limits the goals of what we are continually trying to achieve.

Traditionalism though it is centered on Indigenous Spirituality like everything within our communities still has colonial attitudes attached and we must acknowledge that “Traditionalism” is a significant approach to of our shared Decolonization Process but is not the whole movement itself. Traditionalism when used as an approach to replace existing colonial institutions in our communities mistakenly creates an illusion that something western has been replaced with something authentically Indigenous but most time those same colonial values still exist.

This rant is a call out to those who are conscience of the illusions that are disguised as our own Indigenous Institutions and the attributed colonial behaviors that follow so we can create awareness for those who are ready to reclaim their identities and start their own Decolonization Process.

Things to be aware of within Indigenous Spiritual Institutions on your Decolonization Process:

Traditionalism, Hierarchy and Elitism:

Spirituality is the center of our Indigenous Being and in our history our Spiritual Institutions were subject to changes where another world view was introduced which affected these things and also where our Spiritual Institutions made illegal by our oppressors which forced us to keep these things hidden underground, where these things were almost lost. Now we are seeing a resurgence of our Spiritual Societies and Ceremonies thriving. With this we should not be so ignorant to believe that our Spiritual Societies are not exempt of the colonial stains which have infiltrated our other Indigenous Institutions. We need to be conscience of this and correct oppressive behaviors within our various societies as we are seeing a majority of our people return to our ways where they are doing it through our Spiritual Institutions.

Although our spiritual societies play a significant role in our decolonization process traces of colonialism is still entrenched in them instilling passive values which are making us submissive to our oppressor. We must also not make the mistake that “Traditionalism” or our Spiritual Institutions is the only thing there is to our Identity. We also have our own political, judicial, warrior, hunting, medicine, economic societies to reestablish.

The Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge is a contemporary movement of the sacred Midewiwin Society of the Anishinabe. Historically the Midewiwin, sometimes referred to as the ‘Grand Medicine Society” or the “Good Heart Way” is the original spiritual institution that keeps the sacred knowledge, songs and ceremonies for the Anishinabe people. Members of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge are initiated into the various levels of the Midewiwin. Today the Three Fires Society is one of many leading spiritual institutions where Anishinabe peoples are returning to our own Anishinabek Identity. This returning to our spiritual ways is commonly known by various Indigenous Nations as “Traditionalism”

My friend who has been involved with the Three Fires Midewewiin Lodge for most of his life and who is a prominent person who holds a specific degree in this society has helped me with some issues in my healing. He has helped me to understand some things with our Spiritual Societies. I didn’t ask to use his name in this article so I will leave it out in respect but will share what he described to me.

“Our Midewiwin Society has undergone three major changes since it was given to us by Creator. The coming of the white people to Turtle Island introduced a whole different world view which is based on monetary values. This made some of our people within earlier centuries concern themselves with providing our spirituality  for the exchange of goods of the white man and not out of the good of the heart. The second major change was when we had to keep these things hidden and where some stuff was lost. However these ways can never be lost because Creator gave us the ability to dream where we can retrieve these things. We are in another major change where we are seeing our Spiritual Societies return to our people.”

As he helped me to understand some things he also told me that there are two kinds of people who enter to the lodge.

“Some people enter for the healing they need and some enter sincerely because the spirit calls them to do this spiritual work.””

This helped me understand a whole lot because through my own colonial values that have been embedded in my upbringing I automatically assumed all the people who followed this way were all healed as I put them up on a pedestal and attributed them as “holy rollers” because they were following these ways. These colonial thought patterns that mainstream society conditions us to make also make a small number of people involved in this work to place themselves up on that same pedestal as well.

In our Indigenous worldview we are all equals and have our own roles to play within our community where respecting the free will of every entity in creation is understood. Today’s utilization of our spirituality is sometimes creating a hierarchy and elitism by some people who identify themselves as “traditional” or “initiated” or “sober” and some place themselves above others who may be on another level of their own healing journey, or who play a different role within the community.

This egotistic attribute employed by some is a western value that is not based on Indigenous teachings of humility. Although ego is a human condition and affects all races, colonial thought patterns and values that our people have adopted through assimilating into mainstream culture seem to be intensifying such colonial behaviors which affect our Spiritual Societies.

The individualistic ego behavior is creating elitism, hierarchy and belittlement which turn some of our people away from their individual decolonization process, healing and at times even against our own Indigenous Identity. In my experience and opinion some people who have certain issues who follow our ways make it seem that our ways are personally belong to them because of their seniority in the “Traditionalist” movement or because their families followed our ways longer than others. This creates a feeling that we need to seek them out for permission in everything “Traditional” that we invoke.

Our Medicine Societies and Ceremonies entrap non-natives and even our own people in a small box believing that this romanticized “spiritual” world view is all there is to our Indigenous Identity. Sometimes the “Traditional Healing Movement” is a barrier itself to healing and Decolonization.

These Spiritual Institutions also serve as a place where our people are flocking towards for healing and where a percentage of the people within these “societies” still retain deep internal unhealthy issues which affect their behaviors. Some of these people who are not well are giving the perception that they are spiritually healthy by belonging to these spiritual societies. They need to be told that they are representing these spiritual societies and are turning others a way.

At the same time I would like to acknowledge and honor those spiritual people who are out there who are true to the teachings and are representing what it means to be Anishinabek having a Good Heart and who really have a connection with the Spirit.

Powwows:  Inter-tribal Gatherings that included Political, Military, Economic, Social and Ceremonial Societies of our Nations has now been replaced by the Pan-Indian Traditional Gathering of Powwow.  Powwow has become a “Traditional” Gathering that showcases and has been a benefit of the reemergence of our Songs, Dances, Arts and Crafts. Some Powwows serve as Competitions for Dancers and Singers involving prize money and some are Traditional centering on honoring communities through song and dance.

As a “Traditional” Dancer and sitting with a few Drum Groups over the years I have noticed that other aspects of “traditional gathering” are not present.  I observe at Powwows  where community members who want to particpate by providing the “traditional” act of “giveaways”or other “specials” seems to be marginalized by the Powwow Community because it takes too much time away from the singers and dancers.  I have also observing Egotistic behavior and honorarium issues within drum groups and dancers which has also made me question if our values and teaching are being compromised just for the showcasing of our culture.

Also Politics,  Militancy or too much Ceremony seem to be unwanted at Powwow but organizers allow Colonial Armed Forces and Police Agencies to participate.  At a few Powwows I have also noticed people who are coming from communities who are engaging in either an occupation or blockade or protest, who come to seek support are turn away from Powwow MC’s who tell them Powwow is not the place for Politics or Militancy.

In Powwow there are many teachings. One of these come from the Grandfather Drum Teachings which is used at the Powwow by most Indigenous Nations. One founding teaching says that the “Big Drum” was given to all Indigenous Nations by a Woman.  During a time where all tribes we at war with each other  this Woman was given a vision. In her vision she was given a “Big Drum”  along with seven inter-tribal songs to teach to all the Nations so all Nations can sing and gather together to end the inter-tribal wars that was destroying the people. Teachings say that only Men can sit at the drum and Women are not because of the power of Creation that they hold.

There is a new phenomenon happening where Women are sitting  and  singing  and carrying the Drum breaking this “Traditional” taboo. These Women Drum Groups who are doing this are being asked to leave Powwows  by a majority of “Traditionalists” involved with Powwow.

The teaching that these Women Drum Groups are sharing to why they sitting at the “Big Drum” is that they are reclaiming the drum because most Men are forgetting their responsibilities. We are no longer standing up to protect our territories, the earth or are respecting our women or standing up to protect our Nationhood to defend the Peace. The Grandfather Drum is being carried by a generation of Men who are abusive to themselves or their people is the message these Women Drum Groups are sharing.

If it was through Women that gave Men the Grandfather Drum in the first place to end inter-tribal wars to create peace between our Nations and are so powerful for being close to Creation, why we using “Traditionalism” to shut out a message that needs to be said?

Is there acceptance of the evolution of a new kind of Powwow? or even the rekindling of the spirit of what our “Traditional” gatherings used to be about? We now divide ourselves in specific circles to gather as  Chief and Council, Medicine Societies, Powwow, Blockades, Ceremonies, Occupations, Fish and Hunting Camps, Economic Conferences.   How is Powwow reflective of what our culture is as a whole? How is it nurturing our spiritual reemergence if it only concentrates on only a certain social group within our Nations?

Traditional Elders: I often am told by “Traditional Elders” that my place is either silently standing behind the women, tending the sacred fire when protecting our people, rights and territories or that occupations and blockades are only a “Mohawk thing” and I must do things in a good way.  I choose to believe that our people’s responsibility to protect our people, rights and territories is not just a responsibility of the women. If our teachings tell us anything it is to walk beside and not in front or to place anybody behind you and if someone is a threat to your well being it is your right to defend yourself.

Any direct actions that challenges the State authority is almost always opposed by “Traditional Elders”.  Our “traditionalism” then preaches on values that makes us complacent and passive which tells us not to be the physical warriors we once were ready to defend our well being.

What is a “Traditional Elder” ? Many Old People in our communities are  not active in our spirituality but possess knowledge and have a background in Fishing, Hunting, Construction or fluent in Anishinabek Language and know our Rights.  This “Traditionalist” movement seems to identify and place certain people with spiritual knowledge in high regards over other “Elders” who are not spiritual. People use terms like I get my “teachings” from this “Elder” which creates unnecessary divisions and a childish possessiveness over “Elders” and “teachings”

Cultural Appropriation:   We are a part of a new Generation of Indigenous Peoples  that has been brought up with “Traditionalism” where more aspects of who we are is now acceptable  within our communities. We are now in a time where we are regaining those things that were taken away from us but as we still retain colonial values we are now exploiting our cultural knowledge and relics.

We are seeing  our communities use symbols and relics of our culture such as  Headdresses. In the past, some traditions required each feather to be earned until enough had been acquired to fashion a headdress. Nowadays, this type of tradition seems to be irrelevant and the main requirement for wearing a headdress is to take advantage of a good photo op.

We have Indian Princess Pageants in a culture that never had theses things. We are using Teachings, Ceremonies, Language and placing Cultural logos on Colonial Institutions, Policies, Bureaucracy, Self Governance, Land Claim Settlements fooling ourselves that we are progressing and reclaiming our identity. We are now being are own oppressors by utilizing “Traditionalism” and placing it as a guise over Colonial Institutions.

“Culture never comes into play with our current leaders. We did some small things, but it was just, how would you say, a display? Like we had elders opening meetings, but were they there to negotiate, or advise or make decisions? Of course not. The elders were just brought in to do their prayer song, and then they were escorted right back out the door.” – Wasase Indigenous pathways of action and freedom

Superiority: As a new Generation of Warriors organize to defend our rights, territories and people there is a lot of criticizing from the older generation of Warriors.

Some of our “Traditional” Elders in our Spiritual Intuitions were a part of the generation in the 60’s and 70’s that was a part of our spiritual resurgence and warrior societies where AIM was influential in this process. I have been told many times of these Elders that this was the last generation of warriors of moral standing. Although great work came from this generation which us younger generation are thankful and inspired by they must also acknowledge that we too are also a new generation part of a new warrior movement that has brought  hope and change through Oka, Gustufsen Lake, NYM, Ipperwash, Burnt Church, Grassy Narrows, Kanenhstaton and also through the many Artists who are bringing our message and truths out in the open through various mediums.

The moral standing of our contemporary movements should not be criticized by our Elders who were of AIM generation.

People who call themselves “Traditional” and judge our young generation of Warriors as being immoral need to for sure address their own colonial attitudes and stop placing themselves above others. Sometimes these Elders forget that they were too Armed for Defensive Actions .  AIM although they have their place in our history is not the beginning and end for our Decolonization or Warrior movements. Superiority is also an issue for those who have been participating a lot longer in the struggle.

As our people begin to reclaim our Indigenous Identities “Traditionalism” which was initiated in a resurgence movement in the 60’s and 70’s where AIM was an influential force and centered themselves on Spirituality and where today’s Traditional Elders were a part of this generation we as a younger generation must learn and speak out from the mistakes and current colonial behaviors that are dividing us which sometimes comes from our Elders and Spiritual Societies as well. We must not exempt our Elders and Indigenous Institutions from colonialism because they are represented as being organically Indigenous.

New Ageism and the Non Native Experience:

Non Anishinabek People from other races are participating in a movement of their own where they are learning from our ways and starting their own healing process as a people who are realizing their own Capitalist Society is destroying everything. Sometimes this movement is referred to New Ageism which is a melting pot of global spirituality because their own ways have been oppressed and lost. They are flocking to our Spiritual Institutions to learn from us which is a good thing but they are also bringing their colonial attitudes with them.

I recently attended a sweat lodge before I went out fasting where I was seeking guidance from the spirit to help me in my own decision that my community is faced with. A non native participant of the sweat and an acquaintance who happens to be an A.A Sponsor to numerous people made some comments to me at this sweat as if I was one of his people who he sponsors and made me feel belittled.

He vaguely knows who I am and what I am about and only knows me as an acquaintance through ceremony because his girlfriend is herself on a healing journey and involved within the Three Fires Midewiwiin Medicine Society. Anyways he told me that he was very worried about me and that he was glad that I attended the sweat and am back on the healing “path”.

He was worried about me because of my apparent anger issues and prejudged my attendance at the sweat and my fasting with his own opinion where he suggested I needed the healing which offended me. He was referring my apparent anger issues to videos I posted on a social networking internet site where I shared some how-to videos on self defense trap maneuvers in guerella warfare which apparently offended him.

In any Society some of the people need to be providers and some need to be warriors to protect the people and territory from threats and active training is a part of this. The resurgence of our warrior societies is just as important as our medicine societies. This non native person viewed my training as something angry which caused him to overreact through worrying which affected his wellbeing and where made it seem that he was above me. This is a perfect example how a narrow mindset can cause assumptions which causes problems.

This person participation and preaching on Anishinabek Healing is a good step but is a waste of time if he still possesses and clings on to mainstream attitudes. He thought I needed healing for anger issues but choose not to inquire why those videos were relevant in my path. If those videos were on hunting which is also a violent activity I wonder if he would’ve thought I still needed healing for my perceived anger issues. Sill after explaining to him why these man-trap videos are important and speaking my peace with him he still chooses to force his belief system onto my free will.

Non-Natives who want to cloak themselves in Indigenous “traditionalism” need to decolonize themselves of their western attitudes when choosing to take up our “ways” otherwise they are just playing make belief and can cause damage. Do I have to share what happened to the non-native capitalizing by conducting sweat lodge ceremonies in a New Age Texas Retreat? [suffering, harm & death, the holy trinity of the colonist way.]

Many issues are created when Non-Natives embrace “Traditionalism” where you can find numerous social impacts by doing a search on the internet all you have to do is type in, “New Age Healing.”

In this article I just wanted to address some things that need to be acknowledge as we reclaim who our Indigeneous Institutions. Although critical on some aspects in “traditionalism” I am very spiritually centered. I now encourage those who are on a “healing journey” or Decolonization Process  if your are conscience of colonial values hiding within our own Institutions it is our responsibility to speak up and change it for the good of others and our future generations

I will leave this article with a quote from Dr. Wendy Makoons Geniusz who is from the Anishinabek Nation and is director of American Indian studies and assistant professor of foreign languages at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. She teaches courses in traditional American Indian cultures and the Ojibwe language and is also an author.

“Because of the colonization process, many of us no longer see the strength of our indigenous knowledge. Our minds have been colonized along with our land, resources, people. For us Anishinaabeg, the decolonization of gikendaasowin (Anishinaabe knowledge) is also part of the decolonization of ourselves.”

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Some Uplift for the Downtrodden

Hello kittens.  I’m sorry I haven’t written for a while, Life has been kicking my mental/emotional/spiritual ass a bit lately as I continue to navigate the cold, dark, turbulent waters of DEcolonization of Self.  It ain’t easy or fun or pleasant to be contaminated in the head, heart and soul by the colonist dis-ease — being enslaved by, and participating in colonization, and throughout it all deeply yearning to live Indigenously and tribally, while not seeing it anywhere around me.

I recently heard someone describe a person as “well-adjusted” in a positive light and I had to snicker at the absurdity of the notion.  To be “well-adjusted” to the dominant colonist culture is nothing to celebrate or aspire to, unless ignorance is bliss, which it never is because one person’s blissful ignorance is their neighbor’s painfully awake suffering due TO the ignorance next door.  Ignorance seeps out and effects much and many regardless of how much of a me-me-me bubble ignorant people operate from.  Something is Real Bad Wrong when we’re “well adjusted” to the colonist genocide, slavery, oppression and general deep disrespect of the planet and of eachother that is happening on so many levels and degrees.  I should know, since I was one of those blissfully ignorant people, a perfectly “well adjusted” idiot following all the rules I was taught and that I just picked up on implicitly and explicitly from schools, media, family, peers, all in the name of approval and acceptance by the lame-stream mainstream and its high and mighty colonist judgy-judgertons.

I call my move away from blissfully ignorant idiot to slowly and surely DEcolonizing myself, giving myself permission to think.  Which is pretty fucked up, that somewhere along the way I internalized the idea that thinking was bad and wrong.  I internalized this message quite early on, and the equation was something like:  Thinking = Difference of Opinion = Conflict = Bad = Rejection, which = Death to vulnerable young people before building up self-protective mechanisms, general confidence, and the idea that our role in life is not to please people (especially the case for females, though fear to speak up and express difference seems like a big allergy of the colonist culture regardless of sex, though females in particular are expected, encouraged and rewarded to be extra compliant, submissive and people-pleasing compared to males).

So yeah, some of us wake up and smarten up, and some of us never do.  For those of us who do, It’s hard and exhausting fucking work to stay clear, coherent and grounded in this colonist dystopic dysphoric hell.  BUT there are ways to endure, to cope, and sometimes, to fuel the spirit, which in turn incites CHANGE, such as Mz Staceyann Chin’s brand of speak-out.  Plus LOVE — the only reason to stick around and keep enduring the horror show that is the colonist culture.

I came across this rad spoken word video of Fuck You! kinda protest by the bold & awesome Staceyann Chin which I find so soul-filling and inspiring so I share it with you with eternal hope for a better world and the STRENGTH to resist the predatory, soul-sucking colonist energies and behaviors swirling and hurling at and around us 24/7.  For example, the hatred from a random colonized dude which Staceyann poetically responds to in this video.

I have new posts in the works, percolating and to be shared here with you soon.  Thank you for following and being in my world my lovelies. <3

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The Strong n’ Sexay Lucille Bogan: A Spine Made of Whalebone & a Cock* Made of Brass

What True Sex Positivity and Sexual Freedom looks like!

DISCLAIMER & TRIGGER WARNING:  “Don’t listen to these songs if you have an aversion to dick, cock, pussy, fuckin’ or shit…… or a sexy fat woman that is intimately acquainted with all 5. Thank you”. (SS)

Lyrics:

I got a man I love
I got a man I like
Every time I fuck the mens I give em the doggone claps
Oh Baby
Gives em the doggone claps

But that’s the kinda pussy that they really like

I told em I got a good cock
and it’s got four damn good names
rough top
rough cock
tough cock
cock without a bone
you can fuck my cock
suck my cock 
or leave my cock alone

Ohhh Baby
Honey if its all night long
You can fuck my cock or suck my cock Baby
until the cows come home

You know both a my mens
they are tight like that
they got a great big dick just like a baseball bat
oooooh, fuck me, 
do it to me all night long

I want you to do it to me Baby
do me til the cows come home

They know a bitch from Baltimore
I got hairs on my cock that will sweep the floor
I gotta funk on them hairs that will shut the door
and I look over your hands saying I’m a bitch from Baltimore

Ohhh talkin bout a bitch from Baltimore
and I got hairs on my cock
sweep anybody’s floor

I gotta big fat belly
I gotta big broad ass
and I can fuck any man
with real good class
talking ’bout fuckin
talking ’bout grindin baby all night long

and I can do it to ya hunny, do it til the cows come home

if you suck my pussy 
baby I’ll suck your dick
I’ll do it ya honey till I make you shit
ohhh baby
honey do it all night long
do it to me papa,
[Do] me til tomorrow comes.

A more lesbian-themed ditty called BD [Bull Dyke] Womens Blues by Lucille who may have been bisexual, or a lesbian who didn’t have to explain or apologize for likin’ the dick from time to time:

Lyrics:

Comin’ a time, B.D. women, they ain’t gonna need no men
Comin’ a time, B.D. women, they ain’t gonna needs no men
Oh, the way they treat us is a low down and dirty thing

B.D. women you sure can’t understand
B.D. women you sure can’t understand
They got a head like a sweet angel and they walk just like a natural man

B.D. women, they all done learned their thing
B.D. women, they all done learned their thing
They can lay their jive just like a natural man

B.D. women, B.D. women, you know they sure is rough
B.D. women, B.D. women, you know they sure is rough
They all drink up many whiskey and they sure will strut their stuff
B.D. women, you know they work and make their dough
B.D. women, you know they work and make their dough
And when they get ready to spend it, they know the place where to go.

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A bit about Lucille:

Born in 1897, Lucille Bogan first began recording in 1923, singing vaudeville songs. By the 1930s she had established herself as a blues singer and her oeuvre was slanted decidedly toward the raunchy. In songs like “Sloppy Drunk Blues”, “Tricks Ain’t Walkin’ No More”, and “B.D. Woman’s Blues” (the B.D. stands for bull dyke) she focused on themes like gambling, drinking, lesbianism, and prostitution; themes that featured prominently in the juke joints she had worked in early in her career. (source)  [She was] among the first to be recorded. She also recorded under the pseudonym Bessie Jackson. The music critic and sexologist Ernest Borneman stated that Bogan, along with Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, was in “the big three of the blues” (wiki).

* My cock is made of brass.  She’s not got her words confused, as some have suggested.  Nor is it a lesbian thing [oh really?].  To her, what she had between her legs was a ‘cock’ – as it was for other southern [U.S.] women of her age, color and linguistic directness. [..] The female cock was a southern U.S. thing. It was the most common slang word for the vagina for a very long time. As late as the 1960s, in the southern states, ‘a piece of cock’ was a woman. (source).

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In closing, here’s a great sex education video called Jam that talks about what healthy sex looks & feels like, minus the pro-prostitution piece, which is commodified sex and which goes against the video’s message of commodifying sex being unhealthy.  Other than that, a very cool, educational and refreshing vid:

As my fierce n’ fab feminist sister Petra Cerise Bocourt-Rosario states about this vid:

It’s so true, screw planning sex as a chore, rigid must-work expectations brought from previous relationships, porn or “my friends do that so should I”. I’d put more emphasis on creativity or tuning-in than on talent though. I like what she says about consent and desire a little bit after the middle of the video and kicking out the concept of sex as a mindless exchange or commodity, but then she kinda kills it with embracing prostitution… Also the part about judgement can be interpreted in multiple ways including the sex poz bullshit as do not dare to criticize anything sex related, which partially negates the consent and desire and anti-commodity (common for many sex therapists saying shit like out of 10 sexual encounters 4 will suck, 4 will be ok and 2 will be awesome) points. All in all a very refreshing vid focusing on finding the missing substance, energy/emotion/experience flow and giving importance to the whole process.

And on the topic of healthy sex in general, Petra explains:

I dislike the term “waiting for sex”, because it sounds like after the waiting period over it’s mandatory. I prefer separate session decisions that ought to be respected no matter if the reason is “too soon in the relationship”, “feeling anxious tonight” or anything else. It’s fucked up when compromise means compromising ourselves deep down where it matters the most.  Not talking about using Deepthroat as an example of sex positivity… True sex positivity comes from talking about sex and related with honesty, acceptance and respect and keeping that in mind when theory leads to practice. It’s bullshit to think that most couples would find the narrow definition of sex in porn as the best stuff they can get “naturally”, it’s a fucking brainwashing.

I think one reason why anti-porn and anti-prostitution feminists and other such activists are wrongly labeled “sex negative” or prudes or vanilla, etc., is because there is an imbalance between critiquing unhealthy sex, i.e. degrading, violent, misogynist, dehumanizing and harmful porn & prostitution (lots of excellent critique in this department), and educating about healthy sex i.e. respectful & consensual (not much of this out there, in comparison to the critique).  So I hope this post helps bring some balance to the “sex negative” versus “sex positive” debates, because understanding what harmful/unhealthy sex is, is half of the equation; learning about what constitutes healthy, respectful, mutually pleasurable sex is the other, very important part.

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Roseanne Barr: A Formidable Comedic Matriarchal Goddess & One of my Pretend Moms

I think that all comics or humorists, or whatever we are, ask questions. That’s what we’re supposed to do. But I not only ask the questions, I offer solutions.

A comic needs to understand the big picture in order to fracture it and present it to people so they can see it more clearly. Comedy is the only hope for humanity.

There is so much to say about Roseanne Barr. She’s smart, funny, beautiful, real and makes a lot of sense, for starters. She’s also a writer, a stand up comedian, an actress and a political activist; she ran for President of the United States in 2012, will run again in 2016, and says she’ll keep running until she wins. Out of all the presidential candidates I’ve seen, she’s the best by a long shot and could easily make a clean space in the huge mess that is the colonist Congress/White House that’s been running the genocidal oppression and enslavement show for the last 500+ years in the Americas.

The Conner Family from the television sitcom ‘Roseanne’ (1988-1997)

Like many from my generation, I first learned of Roseanne from watching her sitcom ‘Roseanne’ which ran from 1988 to 1997. This show always made me feel so warm and fuzzy, and still does when I watch reruns. I would giggle with glee at how she smartly, effortlessly, lovingly and effectively ran the Conner household. This simple, funny and smart “blue collar/working class” family probably spoke to and affirmed the hearts of the majority of American and Canadian households who weren’t chasing the elitist American Dream Nightmare and instead were busy being themselves, struggling to survive the day to day shit life throws at us.

The Conner family was the kind of quirky, diverse, fun-loving, down-to-earth, non-judgmental, supportive family I always dreamed of belonging to, and I loved getting lost in this cozy world for the 30 minutes the show would air. This show was such a refreshing change from the bland mainstream Stepford status quo television “programming” on TV, then, and what seems like more so, nowadays.

Roseanne is unapologetic about her beliefs in her uniquely casual yet serious-as-a-heart attack manner. She takes no shit from anyone, which is one of the many things I love about her.

A guy is a lump like a doughnut. So, first you gotta get rid of all the stuff his mom did to him. And then you gotta get rid of all that macho crap that they pick up from beer commercials. And then there’s my personal favorite, the male ego.

Roseanne inspires the matriarchal warrior within me. She also makes me look forward to aging. I see her as I see all women, like a fine wine that gets better with age. She is the kind of person that commands Respect from those smart enough to see her for the spark of beauty and power she is. Roseanne says it how it is in a funny and accessible way, and offers simple solutions to stupid, over-complicated problems created by the colonist culture. Though she isn’t a decolonist and believes in making changes within the current political/legal-economic order of things, I still think she’s still a radical woman just for being herself. I like what she says about her relationship with politics/the political system:

I just want to keep the voice of dissent alive in all of our elections. I don’t really want to hang out with politicians. I’d rather go straight to hell, and not collect $200.

She doesn’t pretend to be a submissive man-pleaser like the colonist patriarchy demands of women, and I love her so much for that, it was so inspiring to me to watch as a young female trying to navigate my way through the jungle of the fucked up misogynist colonist culture.  It takes guts to be ourselves and voice our rejection of the mainstream bullshit lies that society (and sometimes our families) feed us from birth, and Roseanne does it with her unique style of power and grace.

Thank you Roseanne for the radical act of being honest with a triple dose of brilliant hilarity; you are a fresh and fierce gust of inspirational wind beneath my matriarchal wings!

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” — Roseanne Barr

Source for some of Roseanne’s background info and quotes used in this article.

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The Unseen, Unfelt & Unspoken

ThanxTaking On Indigenous Graves

The Unseen

Is it an uncomfortable truth for the uninvited? An old aching wound that some Indigenous Relations would rather not think about?

Does it put scratches of clarity in the rose colored hipster glasses of today’s blissfully ignorant Indigenous youth?

I notice over the day of colonist thanks taking, among all the social media pictures of enormous spreads of commercialized Indigenous food and posts about black boys shot by white cops in our Indigenous Homelands complete with graphs and charts and pies (both the quantitative and the gastronomic kind) that mostly no one had thoughts about what the so called day of “thanksgiving” Reallllllly is or who it’s really about.

And no one acknowledged that they are living on land taken via the largest GENOCIDE on Earth or that their glutenous feeding frenzy is taking place directly on Anishinaabe land or Creek or Miccosukee or Sioux or Tsalagi or Navajo or 560 or so other Indigenous Peoples Homelands.

Or that where you now park your minivan was once an old growth forest full of living beings, diversified and unified in the web of life.

Or how if you are in eastern “america” odds are high that your house was built on or near a destroyed burial mound where hundreds of loved ones were interred to Mother Earth with intentions of them sacredly remaining together within her forever only to be destroyed and flattened for subdivisions full of all the separately together homes full of all the separately together colonist people that are mindlessly yet “thankfully” “celebrating” the day their white god allowed their relations to smite out the filthy heathens Indigenous to this land, so that they might manifest their “destiny” to become rulers of this living land and all that dwell within it.

This year I decided to just be. To be quiet. To watch and see….if any seeds were planted, if any grew to be yearlings.

Not that I saw. No one acknowledged any of it.

And in all their charts about white on black violence and police brutality across the races, I saw not one shadow or echo of the Indigenous people whose home lands this terror filled colonist drama is unfolding on.

While “Indians” do timeless time in an ever growing rez called prison and in an ever growing prison called the rez, colonists do a mindless mime of a mindless mine, wìth diamonds on their fingers and blood on their hands they perform the american nightmare on a stage of Indigenous lands.

by -Shea Z. Sandy-

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One Cissy’s Take on Trannies, Mis-Gendering & Passing

For those who don’t know, “cis gender” and “cis sexual” is basically defined as the opposite of trans gender and trans sexual, i.e. “cis” people are those who do not desire to medically/surgically/hormonally change their bodies to appear more like the opposite sex than they are (though not all trans people want or do medically/surgically/hormonally change their bodies, but still identify as trans and the sex they more align with spiritually/emotionally/mentally).  Whether trans people physically change their bodies or not, it all creates a shitload of social, legal and political complications within the small, rigid bounds of the colonist culture.

Once upon a time I had a lesbian friend who I dearly loved. We got so close over the years that I considered her family. I experienced her as quite butch with that masculine energy thing going on — whatever “it” was (whether we call “it” gender, energy, essence, or whatever), I thought she wore it well and worked it well, just because it was the thoughtful, sensitive, lovable, loyal, intelligent, hilarious, unique, creative HER (all caps to emphasize her essence, not her sex or gender). Continue reading

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Activism and the Beautiful Fucked Up Mess of Cyber-Connectivity

Image used for illustrative purposes, but it’s not accurate in many ways; YouTube comments section, for example, is one of the worst places for online cruelty.

Social media. Facebook friending and unfriending. Online conversations that can leave us feeling connected, understood, elated, confused, triggered, traumatized, bewildered, amused, comforted, pissed off, curious, destroyed, disturbed, regretful, and sometimes, terrified. The internet is a tool that both brings us together and has us more isolated than ever. Except for disabled people who are housebound and whose only plug into the outside world IS through the computer. I think these people take cyber-connection and relation a lot more seriously than many able-bodied folks. My wife is one of these people. She was a very active, effective and powerful native rights activist for many years before her health took a nosedive, robbing her of mobility and energy. So her activism is – to her frustration – is largely reduced to the internet. And holy shit does she do an amazing job in educating people. Her words are like truth arrows, stirring people’s consciousness, un-mining minds and DEcolonizing hearts and spirits, word by word. Good thing activism is almost ALL about EDUCATION, which can happen through many mediums. I’ve heard the mean, ignorant term “internet warrior” thrown around parts of the internet, which is a misguided understanding about what activism means, as well as disability for people doing actual educating online. However, there are other “internet warriors” who do their online “activism” by terrorizing people and/or causing all sorts of drama and bullshit.  That is not what activism is about.  People who think the computer isn’t “real life” and don’t realize that there are real people typing behind these screens, are very disconnected from theirs and others’ humanity. Continue reading

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A Stirring of Consciousness: A Strong Indigenous Voice in the Wind Speaks

In response to this tweet:

Came these powerful Truth Arrows:

White Feminism Needs Less Head, More Heart & Spirit

For those who don’t know me, I’m a Russian-Jew. What this means to me, among other things, is that I am afflicted with the over-intellectualizing gene. I think it’s because My People have such a long history of running from persecution and assimilating themselves into whatever current order of things was/is going on at the time to survive that they forgot/lost/mangled their tribal ways of living and being in Balance with earth, ourselves, and other beings.

The above reasons are why I privilege and prioritize traditional indigenous/tribal ways of being, and because a) they make the most sense to my heart; and b) I live on stolen Native land.  I am sick to death of (and pissed right off at) the mind-mining and spirit-eating that the predatory, dehumanizing colonist culture does to people, and for years I’ve been in the process of liberating myself from these shackles.  I’ve come to learn that over-intellectualizing is one colonist shackle that keeps our hearts closed and spirits shriveled.  Closed hearts and shriveled spirits are must-haves to maintain colonialism.

From the moment I discovered (white) feminism, radical or otherwise, I’ve never felt it to be very loving and almost completely devoid of Spirit/uality, most especially in online spaces. I find it a curious thing that despite the many political/philosophical similarities people have, which at first, instantly and excitedly connect us, feminist connections are often fickle and quickly implode, explode or die a painful death when differences of opinion surface.  I recall reading an article a while back written by a 50’s something year old white woman who worked hard for many years for and with a feminist community, and was crushed and suffered major depression when she was dropped like a hot potato by what she thought were her sisters, all because of a difference of opinion. Continue reading

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Decolonizing Sex & Gender: The Pronoun Issue

I came across this post on a facebook group:

The post rubbed me the wrong way in tone and content, so I left this comment:

If we spoke the language of the people whose land we are now colonizing, there is a high probability that we would be speaking a language that does not use male or female pronouns (since there are currently hundreds of different Indigenous languages in North America, many of which do not use male/female pronouns).

Point being it wasn’t and isn’t cool of colonists to force Native people to speak English and it’s not cool to make demands of, or police people’s language, period.  It’s also not cool (and impossible) to control how others perceive and experience us — if I experience someone’s energy as feminine or masculine or both, nothing someone says or does will change this.  I can and do use people’s preferred pronouns to be nice (and for safety reasons – I get it), so I guess if authenticity isn’t a priority in all of this, then it’s all good?  The colonist culture has a real problem with respecting boundaries.

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On the trans* topic in general, from a DEcolonist and Indigenous perspective, it’s really simple:  Nature is to be respected.  Who are we to say Nature’s oddities are mistakes?  When things get unbalanced (which the colonist culture so “successfully” creates over and over), lots of mistakes happen, destruction & suffering abound.  Nature when left alone is perfectly imperfect.  When we take the time to observe Nature, we can plainly see sex and gender expressed and enacted in infinitely diverse ways, and following no rules.  Humans are part of Nature and as similar and different as all animals.  The colonist culture works tirelessly to disconnect itself from Nature in all sorts of ways, creating infinite problems and a collective state of dysphoria.  Creating and building upon complicated ivory tower theories (circles and circles of nothingness)  is part of the colonist process.  The more we DEcolonize and the closer we get back to Nature, the simpler and healthier ALL life will be.  As Native rights activist Klee Benally says, Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.

I would also like to share this very thoughtful article about gender abolition and the following excerpts which I particularly appreciated:

…applying our own concepts of gender and sexuality constructed within white [or any other] supremacist cultures to people outside of our epistemological framework is redefining them on our own terms for our own benefit.

…how can we expect people for whom their gender interacts so closely with their race, their religion, their cultural background, to divorce or even to recognise the bits and pieces of gender that are independent of their culture to destroy?  Or, if gender is an epistemology, is race and other intersectional factors part and parcel of gender in such a way that one cannot simply abolish it alone?  And if we attempt to do that, it leads to the next big problem I have: that the abolition of gender may be, especially stemming from a white feminist bases, a colonising force.

The problem with abolishing gender is not only do we [the self-appointed All-Knowers who carry the burden of educating the supposed ignorants] have to define it, apply our definition towards other cultures, demand they remove gender from their own race, cultural, spiritual or whatever background, but also assume that the abolition of the concept of gender will result in equality or a lack of discrimination.  In doing so, from a white perspective, we effectively create a colonising project wherein we’re intervening in their own identities, behaviours, and practices in an attempt to make their lives better.

/ End of post for now.  I may add to it later, or not.  The trans* issue is quite a cluster fuck within and outside of feminism, and the only way to clearly, coherently and compassionately address AND understand AND make peace within and outside of it, is from DEcolonist, Indigenous perspectives, which is where my interest and energy most gravitates towards — about sex, gender, and pretty much everything else Life-related, since the colonist culture has gone and fucked up so much of Being Human and Life in general.  Liberation = DEcolonization + (Re)Connection with our Indigenous roots — entailing more work and harder work for those of us more colonized and displaced from our tribal roots, but exists within us, on a spiritual and genetic level that colonist science cannot begin to understand or explain.

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