Sunday, July 10, 2016

When Worlds Collide...

I had begun this post back in mid June to recognize National Aboriginal Day here in Canada... but in all truth my resolve and desire to finish and post it evaporated with the recent and deadly turn of events all around the globe. This unexpected inner malaise reached a crescendo... driven by the ranting rhetoric of Donald Trump followed immediately by the series of senseless tragedies that have since gripped various parts of the United States.

The sole part of my original post that still applies is its intended title. It would seem to me that in both Canada and the United States, we are witnessing the sudden upheaval of the tectonic plates of early history which have for centuries had been observed periodically... but otherwise had lain unresolved.

The earlier general indifference of the majority and power-enabled abuse accompanying it can no longer be ignored. The terror arising out of these senseless and obscene acts has swept aside the very underlying fabric of our "peaceful" societies... creating and promoting fear and bitter hatred across cultural and ethnic boundaries.

In both histories, we dominated, humiliated and abused a group of people one indigenous... the other dragged in chains mercilessly from their true homes to serve early capitalism. Both suffered the same mistreatment and both were dealt with inequitably and even inhumanely by our governments and yes... even our people.

Now... with fear and anarchy on the very verge of controlling the streets of any city, town or hamlet... we are faced with the new reality. We either meet the situation embracing truth and honest intent to reconcile the misdeeds and mistakes of  past history.

Maybe we must revisit enshrined "rights" that are now not just obsolete... but are now a danger to all citizens within our midst. First amongst these rights to be re-evaluated... and perhaps even fall by the wayside in my mind... should be the "right to bear arms".

The use of deadly force... even by our police needs to be reconsidered and our officer members retrained in what police maintained in my own community as I grew up - a stronger community presence and mentorship role with youth. Both of these very visible and meaningful aspects of police work in the twentieth century helped establish my own healthy respect for the law and the officers who were resposble for maintaining and dispensing it.

Just one old codger's response.... certainly a much more cpomp-lex problem than my idealism describes in this brief post.

My post does reflect however... how very disturbing the world situation has been for me in my own creative life. I truly have been left reeling by these events... and my optimism has been eroded for certain. An early post construct entitled "Truth and Reconciliation" lies unfinished. Perhaps it need not advance further... it has served its purpose for me. In tandem with today's post... the two leave me feeling like I'm simply "peeing into  the wind".

I am including the body of that earlier post today... as it shall remain. Ironically, it perhaps it sounds the "Last Post" for Journaling With Paint. There comes a time in everyone's life that one must become "Self"-ish. That is, one must seek to serve and honor one's Self. That is far from the other "selfish".

I have been struggling with this decision for many months now... searching my heart for many months now, while seeking a new direction. Recent family and personal health concerns and economic realities in our lives here in Rockport have further contributed to a need to refocus our energies and directions.

I have finally made a decision to embrace a new direction with vigor and a much-needed time away from blogging... at least for the time being. I believe I have found a novel pursuit to direct my attention and creative energy towards. My painting of course... will continue unabated.

Stay tuned...

Happy Summer and Good Painting ... to ALL!!!

Truth and Reconciliation...

I am a few days behind in posting, given that the substance underlying my reason for this post passed me by on June 21st... National Aboriginal Day in Canada. Highlight... it would seem for that event here was the unveiling of a lifesized bronze at Parry Sound, Ontario... home of World War I hero, Corporal Francis Peagamagabow.

The bronze symbollically depicts the "warrior" Pegamagabow  unleashing the eagle... in this case into the gentle winds blowing ashore from Georgian Bay. At his feet lies a caribou... totem of his Ojibway clan. Ironically however... it might as well symbolize the presence of his rifle and sniper's skill... "credited" with 378 "kills" and more than 300 captures. These are indeed the "remembrances" as the "Warrior Chief"... which have earned him worthy honour on the battlefield.

My own respect for Pegamagabow arises in his post war achievements as a Canadian father, grandfather, great-grandfather, leader, fierce activist for his people's indentity and causes - his peaceful humanity. These attributes in my own mind line up better with what I am proud to assert... are Canadian values which align with what I consider "being Canadian" stands for. They also follow the direction indicated within the body of my last post.

In Canada... we as a nation are currently working through the process of addressing the injustices caused to indigenous (First Nations) peoples contained within Canada through a process the government calls "Truth and Reconciliation". How long this takes... and to what degree it is met will be hopefully determined through rightful and fair negotiations in tandem with First Nation, Inuit and Metis leaders.

The injustices span nearly 400 years of European colonization and domination. Highest on the list of grievances to be discussed and settled upon are land claims caused by unfair treaty agreements and the catastrophic degradation, physical and sexual abuse imposed upon innocent  and helpless native children who forced out of the hands of their parents and culture and into distantly located residential schools. These acts were a deliberate and willful intent to destroy the fabric and language of their unique cultures and way of life.

The obvious hopeless despair of so many First Nation individuals and communities is rooted in these earlier and still continuing injustices. Fortunately, icons like Peagamagabow have inspired new leaders and youth who have risen out of the ashes to assume leadership roles. These are intelligent individuals who have combined their own sense of "Who" they are and where they have come from... with modern standards of education and a better understanding of the place for an autonomous presence for their nations in Canada.

The time is right. Symbolically... the time in a natural fashion parallels the Summer Equinox we have just exerienced. A full moon rising last evening beautifully over the peaceful waters of "Manitouana"... here in Rockport. The Thousand Isands most certainly live up to their First Nations origin - Garden of God! It parallels and demands a time for the Canadian Government leader Justin Trudeau to offer more than a token Sunrise Ceremonial gesture to mark the occasion. I think that his iconic Canadian legend and father Pierre would expect... and offer more.

I wonder..

Poppies in Summer Equinox moonlight

In closing out this post... I would offer another level of consideration in regard to the process of "Truth and Reconciliation" . Could the gesture not be expanded to include all Canadians??? 

By definition of the word... and by birth... am I not - are we all not indigenous Canadians by birth. My ancestors arrived by ship across the the Atlantic Ocean from Scotland and England in the late nineteenth century. Original First Nations... it is puported by current archaeological evidence, crossed into North and South America across the Bering Strait millenia ago. Only time and circumstance separate us really.

What DID separate us and has caused the chaos are the ownership values of white superiority carried by Europeans and imposed upon First Nations Peoples already here and settled... sharing the land degrees.  The creation of reservations was akin to creating structures which functioned (intentionally) like corrals. They most certainly limited movement, cultural pride and identity, education and language maintenance. But more damagingly... this abuse of power destroyed a way of life and the sense of free will of an entire people.