What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Well that is sure true for our Bandwagon red truck and trailer mascot “Prowler”. Back in BC when we started our journey we had what some may perceive as signs or tests by our creator. The truck was tuned up but then: the back lights went while we were driving down the mountain at dusk, the break line caused a fire to start on the rear right wheel of our trailer, the transmission blew, so before leaving BC we returned to Brian owner of Silverline Transmission (Revelstoke) and thankfully got a sponsor deal on our very needed repairs.
So then we cleared the prairies predominantly in the daylight, as our lights started to act up again, and made it successfully to Ontario, Eastern Canada. Our vehicle ran on propane, which is a more environmentally friendly burning fuel, but to our surprise many propane providers do not provide (auto) propane, as much out east and if they did, the price was at par with gasoline. ($1.25 vs the .80 cents in BC)
In Wendake Quebec we had blown our tire driving down the narrow streets while trying to get the perfect shot of film. Thankfully this reserve is full of great people and great policing. The local muffler mechanic Yves came to our rescue and helped us get our spare tire back on with some handy machinery. We were fortunate to break down next to a church where we ran an extension cord to our trailer to use Yves air gun. Tommy a new police officer to the Wendake Police Force was exceptionally great directing traffic around our vehicle, which was blocking an artery and kindly explained to the public the humor of what had been a continuing challenge for our poor “Prowler”. So we left Wendake heading to Montreal to see Randy’s daughter Shaylah; after seeing Shaylah we stayed at ITL in downtown Montreal, and were beside ourselves because the hospitality Lynn, Allain, Bruno, Daniel and others had provided was over the top.
The next day we headed to Ottawa in preparation for our interview with Conrad Prince on Parliament hill. In St. Lazare not 10 min. from Montreal our car engine blew. We had Rupy, a family friend, come to our rescue and pick us up, with our production equipment, to get to Ottawa in time for the interview with Conrad. After our interview (which will be the next blog) we spent Saturday buying a car to finish the rest of the journey across Canada. We now have a new mascot “Sky”, a sky blue coloured Toyota Camry, which is a heck of a lot cheaper on fuel. Now we are heading to Six Nations and will successfully remain on schedule.
What is the moral of the story? Never give up!
We were just in Halifax interviewing Danial N. Paul author of “We are not the Savages”. Daniel holds many awards which include an honarary degree in Letters, 15 years working within Indian Northern Affairs Canada and is a member of the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada. “We are not the Savages” is a must read book on the documented history of the Mi’kmaq and the collision between European and Native American civilization which chronologically unveils “pre-columbian”, scalp bounty policies in history to the policies that still affect indigenous people today. Donald M. Julien, a key source of knowledge of the Mi’kmaq was also another invaluable person we interviewed along with Tim Bernard.
Donald Julien, Executive Director and Tim Bernard, Director of History and Culture from The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq in Truro Nova Scotia illustrated the cause and affects of systemic racism and how the government policies of the past affect the Mi’kmaq today. Chief Lawrence Paul of the Millbrook First Nation in Truro stressed the importance of economic developement to support self government and pride in community. His initiatives in building a “power centre” that services the surrounding communities outside of Millbrook has supported education, housing and healthy community.
To see more of what they are doing and their resources visit www.cmmns.com
I was in Six Nations Haudenoshaunee territory, home of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscorora, with Jannica, Randy and Randy’s son on July 29th. My heart swelled with pride as I witnessed the children learning their language and songs and dances. I was able to speak with Haudenoshaunee men about what they were doing to teach their young boys – the roles and responsiblities as Men in their Clans and Nations. I was honored with a water drum and saw a snapping turtle which I learned are a part of their ceremonies. I felt as if I was at home, the issues we are facing in the Shuswap Nation and in BC are the same issues they are facing. I shared that I was in foster care as part of the 60′s scoop and was just begining to re- learn my language and songs. I felt a wee bit embarassed that I could not share a traditional Secwepemc song with them. It was an honor to be on the lands of the Six Nations Haudenoshaunee as I have meet and worked with many Mohawk people over the last 30 years.
On July 30th I travelled with the Band Wagon to Tyendinaga to meet with Patrick Johnston and Chief Maracle. We spoke about what we need to do nationally in the area of Child Welfare legislation and INAC’s directive 20-1. Chief Maracle talked about his community and how poverty plays a role in the child welfare system. Patrick Johnston was someone I meet over 28 years ago as he was doing a book on the child welfare issue, he had dinner with myself and family in 1980. It was great to speak to him, we thought that it was time to do another book and that maybe I should write the book and I am thinking about it.
I wanted again to thank Randy, Jannica and Randy’s son for undertaking this project “The BandWagon” as our children are our responsiblity and this project will give voice to those who do not have a voice. Children are at the front lines of the genocidal war of the Government’s to remove us from our lands, resources, languages and traditions. It begins with the residential school and continues with the apprehensions across Canada. It is estimated that today there are 27,000 children in care of the state across Canada more then were in residential schools at the height of their operations to kill the Indian in the Child, we are dealing with the aftermath of the residential schools in our communities today. Canada’s apology is great for the survivors but what about the children and grandchildren and great grand children of the survivors, these are the innocent bystanders who are collatoral damage in the genodical war being waged by government policy and legislation.
Only we as Indigenous people can find the solutions that work, that are rooted in our lands, our language, our laws, our tradtions, our ceremonies, our families and our Nations.
If we truly believe that our children are our future, the future is right now, we must do whatever it takes as it is our sacred duty for those yet unborn
Kukpi7 (Chief) Christian
We were welcomed warmly into Six Nations Haudenoshaunee territory, home of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscorora, by Ken and Rhonda Maracle. Ken is Cayuga Deer Clan and a well respected Wampum maker/teacher who has travelled throughout Canada teaching students in University how Wampums are used to reflect politics and treaties.
Larry Longboat, Manager of Child and Family Services for Six Nations illustrated the services that Six Nations provides compared to the apprehension that CAS provides on Six Nations. Although Six Nations provides family outreach and five times the services when compared to CAS they are doing so with 55% of what CAS the provincial body is doing.
We also celebrated a variety of Aboriginal cultures reflected at the Grand River ‘Champion of Champions’ Pow Wow July 26-27, 2008• Chiefswood Tent and Trailer Park, Ohsweken, Ontario.
Kukpi7 Chief Wayne Christian flew from Splatsin Spallumcheen First Nations, BC to Six Nations, ON was welcomed by a camp of children and families who shared their culture through dance, drumming, singing and ceremony. Kukpi7 Chief Wayne Christian continued on our journey with us to Tyendinaga to meet with Patrick Johnston who introduced the term the 60′s Scoop. During the 1960′s, the Children’s Aid Society removed aboriginal children from their families and communities. They either placed them in foster care or adoption them in Canadian homes either outside of their community, or out of province and outside of the country. This is referred as the 60′s Scoop. In the 1980′s Kukpi7 Chief Wayne Christian and Patrick Johnston introduced some of the first data in Canada on the surge of scooping aboriginal children from their families.
It is my pleasure to extend you an invitation to nominate deserving individuals
and/or organizations for the first annual Representative for Children and Youth
Awards of Excellence. These awards will acknowledge those that strive for excellence
within the child and youth serving system in B.C. and will recognize those that
perform their work in ways that reflect the goals of the Representative’s office,
such as through commitments to innovation, respect and to improving outcomes for our
vulnerable young citizens through professional excellence. To nominate an individual and/or organization please visit our website at www.rcybc.ca. If you have any questions, please contact Brooke Hykaway, Office of the Representative for Children and Youth BC at (250) 356-6710 or at email@example.com.