The City of Lost Angels: Raw Words From The Road

The City of Lost Angles…

I don’t know how many miles I have logged being the only driver driving us south, it must be somewhere around 2000 miles, which most of this entailed a mix of the 101, to the I-5, to the 1, to random back roads, highways, freeways, and interstates. I have finally made the journey to a land where a five year long drought is a reality, but the water is still being served. California is beautifully disgusting, okay, at least, southern California sure wakes you up to what colonization is, you can see smog, you think it might be fog but you are seriously mistaken. Driving the I-5 is terrifying, and suddenly passing the Los Angeles river is morbid. Because it just doesn’t exist anymore. Colonization, at the least, how Spaniards pranced around colonizing these lands sure succeeded and surpassed British colonization by millions and millions of miles.

If modernizing the lands by covering it in oil spills, over populating, and smog, Los Angeles has received the golden medal from me: a prize it really shouldn’t be impressed by. But guaranteed, a republican reading this will of course disagree. Because capitalism thrives, and his pocket grows, while the planet dies, and the Mexican picks his food in the hot 109 degree weather, and the republicans white children shall grow to repeat the republican white privileged based, and I must add, a very elitist mantra: “death to the planet, death to the unions, death to the Mexican!”

I suppose to say it bluntly is the most obvious that I am not of these lands to where the Spanish came to suddenly call this state “California”. Although, I still feel for the lands, the animals, the waters, because I am educated enough to know another way of life could have been, and might very well be, possible, and mostly, I sit in silence to pray over an area collapsing in on its self. I pray for the ancestors to give mercy, for they took care of this part of the world that had survived so much to be murdered, removed, and disposed of rather violently.

Oil has indeed become our neo-nazi regime, moving the planet into global fascism is a definition into what oil stands for, oil is our Hitler in a more modern day form, dehumanizing is the law upheld proudly, nationalistic agendas vomit corporate owned media with its nationalistic programming of western propaganda coming in many forms, like that of a suit explaining to the town that nuclear energy is clean energy, spewing slick message of the oil spill the other day which is great for the environment because (somehow) refined tar is of course “natural”, the suit spewing sickness of how liquid fracked gases are cleaner burning energy than evil gasoline. We are subjected to laws restricting rain water collections, to feeding the poor, yes, our universal genocide is now on the slower track, a lovely train ride through a nice valley, or into the Rocky Mountains, and this new age genocide is very painful. The smog in LA tells me this, the oil spill people are cleaning up in Refugio beach shows me this, and the history of it all is explained very well in Summerland, California. Much like any logging, mining, or tar sands museum, we display our hatred for the planet like I wear a cedar head band to show pride in being Indigenous. We are consumed heavily by the words of people that know nothing of protecting the planet, they are out to protect themselves and we believe whatever they shall tell us.

I think the one thing that is, hypothetically speaking, keeping me in the California republic, is the fact southern California is usually filled with people speaking Spanish, rarely do I hear much English, or it is a mix or the two, and the accent, even the laughter with the language, just gives me hope that the English language could possibly one day die out, and we will all be forced to speak another language, Spanish or otherwise. The language, hearing people talking to each other, is beautiful, uplifting. My ancestors language is being rebuilt, it is slow, and painful to know if we do not do something to protect our coastal customs, the picture books will all be what is left of our once vast civilization of the Hul’qumi’num.

I realize throughout this whole trip, ten days of driving a coastal highway, and not showering, barely bathing, mostly washing of the face, and armpits, because that is road tripping to me, is in the end, being hosted by an all american, a red blooded, straight white male who offered us a shower, to sit by a roaring fire even in 70 degree night time weather, saying no, and watching him put out the fire with a hose. Drought may exist but classicism clouds the issue here. I see green grass, watered lawns, water parks, water fountains, free water at McDonald’s, and sweet tea for a dollar nine. I don’t know, the water comes in pipelines, like our oil, like our fracked gas, like their oil, like their fracked gas, and I ponder how recycled this water really is floating in my cup. The journey was tough, I drove, and remained the only driver all the way south, and yes, then heading north for home. We attempted to head east towards Arizona, and on towards New Mexico, but through the relentless nature of rush hour traffic on the I-5, and a major accident that shut down three lanes, meant me and my car sat stuck in a soup of fume spilling, toxic emission eroding vehicles, including my own car, my car gave in, and it was so incredibly hot, the oil started burning up, and dissipating from the hot desert like heat. The choice is to head back towards Oregon and get the car further inspected. And pray. It is all that I can do from this point on.

Leaving Corona, California, we took off for Sacramento, 500 miles north of LA, determined, ready to leave, the car survived the trip, but it is not looking good. I am just praying for a safe return. We were offered a safe spot to land, and I ended up, well, unwilling to leave, because the people that ended up hosting us last minute, were like family, they are family. I feel like just moving here, finding work, and contributing my weight to stay forever. Leaving is difficult, I think we have been here for two days, and still trying to leave while typing this. Home is where home feels like home. And this is it. Laughter, truth, just the ability to be ourselves and having them still love us for it, for being us.

Being here, travelling in the US is, well, it is like viewing the complete raw sewage of what many americans stand up for: the public toilets and dumping grounds of america was once the homelands of the Indians, I mean, it still is the homelands of the Natives, it just doesn’t look like it anymore…self service to full service is abundant, Oregon pumps your gas for you, here you can cut trees down all in the name sake for camping fire wood, hell, you can even burn dead fall, it is for sure in a state of shock and you can do as you please, remember, money is key though, money is key…

I think, drawing back, Big Sur was the silliest spot to stop, seeing the people living outdoors at random, I fit right in, I throw the blanket down, having taking up two parking spots, I laid down on the cement, to nap, to sleep outside of the car, people starred, the people living outdoors paid no mind, we are one in the same at this point, homeless, transient, wandering free spirits, the red blooded ignorant american calls me “hippy” but the Native calls me Native. For it is the spirit to wander aimlessly with no real destination that brings out the Native within me. I seek spiritual truth, and from the Native, I will be properly educated into real world issues, concerns, stuff not found in the media. Grassroots media, anarchist based media, any media talking truth and not spewing the conservative agendas. We also visited Portland, Oregon, which is very much like Victoria, outdoor festivals, naked bike rides to free the spirit, if that’s the reason, and the atmosphere is very much like Vancouver Island. The only thing separating us from them is a line they recreated to keep their laws and rules in check with their own views of colonizing the lands. The boarder guards are hard to take seriously, for they always me “How long are you staying”, and I can never help myself but say, “Funny, I was gonna ask you the same question”…even when I come back into the country I was born into, it is always, “Why were you gone so long”, as if a month is a long time, because they have been here since 1492…guarding a false state line, and filling it with false promises to give freedoms that don’t actually exist.

Disconnect electricity before servicing: Once I arrived in Corona, California, I realized my travel funds had diminished down to less than $100 American dollars, and acquiring the funds donated to my fund-raising campaign proved rather difficult, and it took all the effort in the world to obtain what money I could to keep going back North. I was offered, along with my friend, a place to land, a safe space, it is 500 miles north of LA, in Sacramento, California. And by the time I got there, $38 American dollars left to my name for this road trip. It appears that heading back north and towards home is the only option. Although, my journey does not end there, and I am hoping to acquire further funds and head up to Tofino and see what is taking place there, in term of Indigenous resistance to things like industry or state or federal government policy eroding land title/human rights issues/concerns. I opened this pointless “US checking account” through my bank, “he who shall not be named”, to which proved the reason I was having difficulty getting my funds. In a Safeway in Sacramento, California, I began to panic, I only had enough for a tank of gas, and even though Ashland, Oregon, is about 300 miles away, that would eat that tank of gas. I screamed “I have every right to those 330 american dollars”, clearly, I was, and maybe still am, a bit distraught. I had $320 american dollars released to me, and now have about $240 left. I am doing alright, and have been assured that my friend has some money, though she has been paying for the brunt of the food bill over the last two weeks that we’ve been on the road. I have been doing my damnedest to raise gas and any emergency funds we may need. I have been helping with driving 5500kms, and paying out the gas. This trip is eye opening to see that Canada rarely displays is disgusting ideologies to colonize my ancestors homelands, whereas, America, home of the brave, land of the slave, put the genocide, the murder, the theft, on display as a pedestal to what must be done for settler society to “progress” the American way, or as I’ve started saying “kkklan-ata”, and “Amerikkka” sure do enjoy the silent nature to which they violently took control of, at least where I am at preset, 6.4 millions acres of land in northeastern Oregon, and southeaster Washington State from the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla tribes when the “Peace” Treaty of 1855 was signed. What was left for those three tribes, 172,000 acres, much of which, well, half of which to be exact, is owned by fucking white people. So the three tribes that once protected 6.4 million acres is forcefully contained to about 86,000 acres of land. The three tribes in this area still mandate to fish, hunt, and harvest traditional foods to the area of that 6.4 million acres because that is what the Natives did before white people came and stole their land with shear american force, and they then carried on the brutality of what we know today as “white hospitality”. The Indians must appear as docile, and humble, polite, revered to what the settlers offered, mass theft, but after all, the whites did give the Indian some land back to them, the worst imaginable areas of the Indians homelands, but still, small bits of land all the same. Settlers reserved and set aside millions of acres in the areas where natural resources could be explored, extracted, and exploited. Moving slowly into capitalism. Settlers expanded. The Indians fought the flag of a government they want removed. Yet the way in which I fight for freedom today is an attack on a state illegal in the first place…and the worst part of it all, is they know this to be truth, their illegal presence and removal of the Indians, so yeah, denial is key….right now I realize that I’m closing in on driving us close to 6,000kms through three states and a bunch of random roads, forests, dunes, the ocean highway, rivers, streams, ponds, Mt Saint Helen’s creating volcano exploded made lakes, a crater lake made 7,000 years ago by another volcano, lakes made by volcanoes in general, cliffs even created millions of years ago from another volcanic explosion, to the lands of Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea, to reading up on the Peace Treaty of 1855, so if I take a deep breathe, yeah, colonization is heavily glorified in Amerikkka.

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Please Support Laughing Bear Productions Documentary Tour!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3NDVFhy0V8 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2014900379/qa-water-documentary

We have officially launched a documentary fundraising campaign over Kickstarter; this is for now a working title, but we have titled this film ‘QA, which in Hul’qumi’num (my ancestor’s island language) translates into “Water”, and our goals, hopes, and dreams from this film journey south are to interview Indigenous peoples about cultural survival in age of monoculture, and an ongoing modern colonial era of removing Native peoples from their homelands through new aged starvation tactics: Athabasca tar sands, liquid fracked gas “exploration”, oil and gas pipelines, open pit mining, deforestation, mineral/metal mines searching for gold, silver, blood diamonds, and palm tree oils; including the ongoing violence on the people, lands, waters, and animals.

Mostly, from this film journey south, we wish to speak with Native Elders that are carrying ancient knowledge to protect their homelands from British and new aged invasion, and look to be humbled as well since we will be educated about culture along the way. I have been working tirelessly to discover how Native peoples are working to protect culture, water, land, and language in this modern age of our Native identities.

I personally see that our main focus for discussion is the Native peoples living in what is now called “California”. I have been asked “why no BC”, and this is obvious, I am doing this southern journey to obtain a deep contrast to our Island way of living, which is full of pristine natural beauty, and including our accesses to clean drinking water on the island, the rest of so-called  “BC” will hopefully be the other half of my film journey, that is, if I have enough funds to stay on the road!

California Indians are stuck in a long five year plus drought. We want to learn how Indigenous peoples are working to preserve Native culture in a rather wasteful colonial society. Anyway, please, if you can, share the link around, we are taking off with our two person film crew (Kevin Henry, and Samantha June) California or Bust this coming July 1st, 2015!

-K. Henry

owner/operator of Laughing Bear Productions

vimeo.com/laughingbearproductions

gofundme.com/lbfilms

My Visit With The Unist’ot’en Bi Yintah: “People of the Headwaters Territory”

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Unist’ot’en Bi Yintah: “People of the Headwaters Territory”

Nem’tsun nem’ ‘ukwu tsakw sta’luw’: this puzzling sentence I put together from the help of my modern Native skills through hours of online hunting for ancestral words means “Pilgrimage to a Sacred River” (or something like that). The Unist’ot’en and their ancesors know the name of this river, it is “Wedzin Kwah”; although, the klanatians illegally occupying know this sta’luw (word for river in Hul’qumi’num) as the “Mourice River”…surely it is sickly named after some white colonial dude…as always.

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I must inform you Reader that I have just arrived back to my urban dwelling. I had just arrived back home from the Athabasca River region somewhere around July 2nd, 2014. I do not know what time it was so please, don’t ask me. I know that you are thinking, “Yeah, but where are you from?” So I will tell you in small detail…I just came home from the fifth and final healing walk around the infamous “Syncrude Loop”. The location is a key place where many walked around the Alberta tar sands. The location is the Athabasca tar sands site. I was only home for just six days-six days later but I am off on the road once again. I made the journey home to then wander back into another Northern Region of a different Indigenous Nation only six days later: the Unist’ot’en. The river, “Wedzin Kwah”, is free from worry to drink from, to soak in, even though a total of 18 pipelines took up illegal occupation here by corporate based interest.

The human to animal consumption ratio, compared to wandering around the state of Alberta and its water, is the worry free part in this particular region. In my Hul’qumi’num language, Nem’tsun nem’ ‘ukwu tsakw sta’luw’ translates to “I am going to the distant river”: I speak of Wedzin Kwah. The Indigenous name for the Unist’ot’en river so I will only use that name throughout this written journey. And I hear a voice calling out whenever I visit the bridge leading me into Unist’to’en territory that indeed this river is very much full of life, full of beauty, and full of amazement of raw power that Mother Earth holds, and provides First Nation societies.

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Moving along, I have fled my colonial home, and am bound for the road towards decolonization, but this as per my usual path to resist a country I was born into. It is here in so-called klanata that I resist, and live, for living to find Native culture is a very defiant act of resilience, and to breathe, thereby surpassing colonial occupation, is to become unbound by the oppression of my holy Indigenous mind-frame.
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The Unist’ot’en homelands are now in my sights. The place and area of the Unist’ot’en territory is full of wonder and Native type riches: clean air, clean water, locally sourced meats, and local foods, and local medicines.

****

Contrasting the importance of life is found in water, although, the Alberta tar sands are full of toxic lakes and false government promises to protect or conserve water. Since green lights for oil searching is endless, I must make a more that billions of water lost to frack for gas or turn tar into gasoline, the Athabasca river struggles more than I.

Putting my contrasting views or opinions of hatred aside for gasoline, I am tied to this method of has buying type travel daily; it is my twisted and modern aged canoe, as it were, the ocean is a place I stare out at and find myself whereas the highway I drive on is where I loose myself. My vehicle is a machine created for and directly taken over by and so the elite, top one percent can control the oil and gas industrial monstrosity; thereby generating white, monetary wealth. So I, in essence, drive a monster utilizing the broken bits of what was once Standard oil and their fossil fuel collection of oil and gas companies, filled to the oil barrel brim of waste, and oil sands by-products constantly.

I decided whilst being on the road that this is what my cedar canoe has somehow, and for now, morphed into: a paddle and canoe vs. two peddles and a fossilized, yet liquid based fuel. Regardless of my struggle, I am on the road and driving towards the Unist’ot’en Bi Yintah: “People of the Headwaters territory”.

The contrast from Wedzin Kwah to the Athabasca River are a stark image knowing that much, if not all, of the rivers, lakes, creeks in so-called “Alberta” must not be consumed by the general public, animals or anyone really in my personal understandings of industrialized poisoning of natural landscapes: yet industry and Kanata tells us that “Everything is okay” to drink or consume what is around us. Even with the threat of Kanata and industry, the Unist’ot’en lands and waters remain full of wealth, filled with growing, living, breathing life: water and food resources.

I continually watch on as Native peoples are continually asserting their ancestral sovereignty in such a way, being an intergenerational survivor of attempted genocide reminds me of how I am proud and will always be Hul’qumi’num. I am learning of how proud I am to be alive and in all seriousness I am also learning of how I am now seen by white society as legally allocated to be an Indian. I am praying that I just keep moving forward through illegal and white occupation of our ancestor’s homelands and find the balance to sustain myself as my ancestors did for tens of thousands of years.

****

The art of leaving home for me is actually and always quite difficult. I seem to leave much behind. Somehow though, I do gain a lifetime of friendships, family and knowledge. Indian education is without a doubt addicting. I was once taught that being Indian is a sin. I, or rather, our entire race of Hul’qumi’num societies are the savages, primitive and child-like Heathens and white society is somehow the more supreme race ruling over us Heathens.

Although, and having witnessed the tar sands, I think that many white people are quite wrong and I must inform you Reader that I have befriended many white folk that are correct that unsustainable practices only takes us closer to being an extinct species, as whole entity, ourselves. For this round trip, up to Unist’ot’en action camp and back towards Hul’qumi’num territories, I decided to skip the lime green caravan by way of the big old school bus and embarked on my own journey for Unist’ot’en Territory. Though, and I must apologize to Eric-Eric being the trusty bus driver. I was looking forward to travelling through a hot canyon stuck on the action bus created for social change and community building full to the brim of stress and people and different world views and governance in this hot summer/interior type of weather…

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All kidding aside, many nations are in essences connected through a silent struggle: Anzac, Fort McMurray, Fort McKay, Fort Chipewyan, Oka, Burnt Church, Ipperwash, Wounded Knee, Elsipogtog, Grassy Narrows, Clayoquot Sound, to Unist’ot’en; taking me right to the encroachment of all Indigenous peoples that have been obliterated or affected or directly linked or destroyed due to industrialized landscapes such as the “Alberta Oil Sands”…even though many people call them “Tar Sands” mainly because that in total truth remains what tar sands are: sand infused with tar.

The objective of tar sands open pit mining and also in situ (in place mining) is brought to a place where tar sands are then steamed/chemically bathed, moved along the assembly line, where tar sands are then forced with a consortium of Athabasca river water and other gnarly gross stuff to be pushed through an iron/metal pipe for further refining somewhere else and then brought to Asian and American type oil markets by way of oil tankers and LFG tankers where we then buy it back at anywhere from 50 to 120 dollars a barrel (pending stock market value) and also other products spawned from the oil and gas industries that are also and generally “Made in China”.

I have decided that we are fragmented societies done-in by brainwashing or whitewashing tactics that Indigenous peoples are the eco-terrorists spreading lies-even as we continue to live in squalor Indian reservations and then have to fight just to be heard. The reserved areas for Natives are places where we are incessantly displaced until we are pushed so incredibly far that we decide to stand and speak out to an indoctrinated white society that is nearly unwilling to listen already.

I am not heavily educated into the makings of tar and thusly the not so final step of turning sand into oil or the process of shale gas extraction and why industry claims it to be “natural” when to me it is more fracked fumes…although, I am learning. I also understand the extreme amount of land and water oppression Indigenous peoples reside around, in part, because in recapturing my family linage, a line that has been eroded down into near nothing, from Residential schools, to Indian hospitals, to the 1960s scoops, we are continually seen as the animals, even as I live and breathe in a so-called free world of the dominate white society to date. I am heartbroken knowing the pristine river on Unist’ot’en territory, Wedzin Kwah, is under constant duress and directly threatened and attacked from the very ideals we carry about liquid fracked gases to tar sands extraction travelling through pipelines. I am confused about my practices as a decolonizing individual and my westernized consumer driven half. I stand or sit and look on as pipelines are being illegally pushed through the Wet’suwet’en territories. The iron monsters are moving directly through the Unist’ot’en homelands rapidly. The action camp is filled with the ideals for training and resistance building against the Kanatian petrostate and every other aspect of illegal white occupation. Colonial occupation once thrived in this state and now with the power to capture our Indigenous heritage, the petroleum flags, I am praying, shall dwindle into a dark grim tale of how business is just not done, business mixed with its own cocktail of toxic measures that this is entirely an illegal practice to carry forward: step one is to cause destruction, step two is to generate death, and step three is to throw money at corporate media and government to fund and create chaos…then repeat as needed.

I am rather hooked on this gasoline method of travel. Being powered by oil and gasoline is rather strange. I have never canoed the Salish Sea, at least, not like my ancestors still do. I only stare out into a body of water where my family hunted, fished and moved along and today, I start to ponder about my colonial reality. The sacred art of sustainability was taken away from us. My ancestors were deemed as a lower race and we were casted aside, placed on reserved lands, wrongfully forced into residential schools, into Indian hospitals, illegally taken from our own familial homes in the 1960s scooping, we were then doomed and forsaken on our own lands, our own waters, judged closely as primitive peoples, as Savage societies. We live a way of life that is beautiful. The Indigenous governing strategies vary and yet are always connected. We are against the very fabric and makeup of colonization. We are a race that has established a way of political cognisance, we have laws and lawyers and we have hereditary leadership and matriarchs where I come from. We gave things and stuff and items considered very sacred to us away and we are racialized for this act. Ceremony is practiced in anything we do. Shaking hands, to talking, to singing, to making a basket out of cedar, to being handed a cedar headband for the first time, not to the mention being gifted a drum and finding yourself all over again, to entering another hereditary leader’s territory. I am at a loss of words when I see the oppression weighing heavy within my family. I am unclear of the path ahead as I look towards my culture that is still for many illegal or taboo or awkward to practice being human in the colonial and petrostate regiment of so-called Kanata. Why is my family’s hereditary linage such a threat? Why is it that we are so incredibly illegal to be, to do, to act, to practice the art of human connectedness?

I am reminded that the Native canoes have also taken off for their journeys to Bella Bella. I have never joined in a canoe journey. I do not know where or who to even ask of such a noble thing. I am as I have written many, many times, still colonized. I am, however, slowly breaking this systemic tie to be worried of being human around other humans that have been indoctrinated to fear difference: To fear difference is to truly fear yourself. We are all different. That much I know is truth. Yet we go about practicing capitalism and consumerism and enjoy guzzling back gasoline whilst many Indigenous nations’ way of life is dying, being eroded, being erased.

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Drifiing back, my memories of Unis’to’ten are all about the sun being out and holding onto these memories of my coastal identity, the ocean is calm, like my mind, for now. I am driving my war pony up this year to the Unist’ot’en territory: The fifth annual action/training type of camp. I am nervous. I am going once again for a second year a little more knowledgeable to who and most importantly what my family stands for, and also I am a little more educated into the world of petroleum, and most things surrounding liquid fracked gases. I drift back, I must, as I look out on the highway, I notice this, it is a mirage of water down at the end of the road, my eyes are glaring at the image, sadly, it is a memory of the tailings ponds producing and realizing I doubt my ancestors a thousand years ago had figured this is how Hul’qumi’num peoples will survive: witnessing the genocide, the mass death, of our respected Native lands and waters. We are a people uniting in the fight to hold back the erosion of our inherent rights to be human.

The little islands connected the big island of so-called Vancouver Island, are lands my ancestors once guarded and defended that have now become strewn across history as white societies property to desecrate, to alter, to maim.

We have a liquid fracked gas pipeline traveling along this island. I have seen this pipeline only once. I have not visited this pipeline since last year. Within that year, I have learned that liquid fracked gas is shale gas extraction and hydroelectric fracking in fissures in the earth. Industry injects a chemical/hot water bath to make those fissures react and explode in such a way that “natural gas” as it is known to industry, is discovered and consumed by us. The Unist’ot’en clan is safe guarding their ancestral homelands from eighteen pipelines. The four I can name off the bat are the Pacific Trails Pipeline, Trans Mountain Pipeline, Northern Gateway Pipeline, and the Pacific Northern Gas pipeline. I have been told five, soon corrected that there are eighteen pipelines.

My first grand adventuer started with the pilgrimage to Unist’ot’en back in 2012, which was met by travelling in an orange old, loveable school bus. In the middle of summer, I was excited to be included on this trip to visit with the Unist’ot’en, and thereby obtain education that is worthwhile, culturally, meaningfully, for it is education the way I know best, it is an understanding that is also not taught within white society: unsettling your mind and visiting the struggle of another person, another village, another in general. I was looking for my culture that was, and for the most part, is still being silenced by searching for those Native voices that rebuild by taking back their lands and human rights by saying that “Enough is Enough”.

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What the real deal is coming down to is standing against greed:

“Three companies, Kinder Morgan, Pembina Pipelines, and Endbridge Inc. each propose dual pipelines to transport not only dirty bitumen, but also condensate as a diluent (along with the cocktail of heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and poisons from the extraction and slurry process to turn solid bitumen rock into flowing mock oil).” http://unistotencamp.com/?page_id=26

I have much to learn about corporate greed and the way in which industry has forcefully enslaved Mother Earth as white suited men go merrily on to search endlessly for profit. The journey, some 1200 kilometres for me, was a trip remarkable in scenery, greenery, and rivers. The water in this state of BC is safe to consume, at least, when you outrun the city limits and enter the back country, not to mention entering the deep country of the Unist’ot’en territory. The Wedzin Kwah is mighty and graceful, poetic and charming in its story to thrive here in the colonial world, and flowing under constant threat from industry. I think about an oil spill when a pipe ruptures near the Unist’ot’en and their Wedzin Kwah. The river on Unist’ot’en territory is a main source of drinking and cooking water, will be obliterated just like what has happened with the mighty Athabasca I recently witnessed. One oil spill and all of the protection and work on an ancestral level the Unist’ot’en have been doing, will be undone due to the petrostate of Kanata and by our addictions for lusting after tar sands and what tar sands offers: unsustainable greed.

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I had arrived at the action camp, tired, exhausted, I adorned my Grandma Dorothy Henry’s sacred blanket my mom had lent me (when my grandma past away, this blanket sat in a big house for cleansing, so it was uniquely special I wore it for bridge protocol), oh, and my cedar headband was at the bridge with me. As I stood awaiting to explain my reason to be, that river remained the two territorial markings, crossing one territory, leaving kanata behind…driving along the long stretch down the dirt rocky road, to then be walking those final steps from Gitdumden to Unist’ot’en territories. The free, prior, informed, consent protocol was about to commence. The ceremony at the bridge is sacred, it is something I appreciate witnessing and taking part in. The art of explaining who I am as a ceremonial, culturally based gesture, this is not uncommon being Hulq’umi’num. This ritual has just always been done this way for tens of thousands of years predating colonial occupation and for me, is commanded that I must. The lands I am a guest on are the actions built, created and kept of Indigenous peoples asserting their sovereign rights. Protocol is a way of looking into and inquiry on knowing who I am, where I have traveled from and if I work for industry or any other form of colonial construct that is destroying their homelands. The two biggest resources I have learned about in many Indigenous communities are the lands and waters. So if we allow all these unwarranted laws created by colonial band politics is to suddenly destroy those two things without our given or written or verbal consent. If and when we decide to take those two resources and sell out to industry, greed, or Kanata then we are culturally destroying ourselves as a people. We are entrusted to safeguard our homelands and taught not to sell out to things like industry, or to corporate, or to the petrostate’s greed. We are angry, we must be angry, angry at the colonial system that has invaded our way of life and eroded our hereditary leaderships; a policy of intergenerational forethought on how to keep our people in tune with their cultural normalities. Not this destruction is beautiful ploy industry tactfully structured within this present day existence.

The thought of just being back on Unist’ot’en territory brought out the Native songs playing into the night. Travelling through my headphones and moving swiftly into my soul in such a way, I found myself suppressing my voice in not knowing if I am allowed to sing these songs. I, at the camp, sleeping comfortably in a hammock, cried out for the pain of my Indian family and the damage we do by separating issues and then separating ourselves. Everything to do with the destruction of Unist’ot’en lands and waters are directly led with any and all Indigenous struggles quickly designed to defend our inherent responsibilities. Governing structures made to protect our way of being on the land. We must never sell out to industry or sign shady corporate deals. When this process takes over, corruption is the only thing being consumed and without warning, our food and water sources are forever at risk and degradation is now our way of doing things: this is how our cultural morals are eroded. I have witnessed that once a “bought” Chief signs over lands and waters, those inherent rights I speak of means an entire village will be seen as corrupt; instead of culturally safeguarding our territories we are seen as a “for sale” type of people.

For many Indigenous villages, taking back sovereignty is quite empowering and selling out is clearly not the case in many places I have visited, been a guest on territorial lands, societies of Indigenous peoples that have each expressed strong opposition towards corporate or industrial or Kanatian interest. Many Indigenous nations live by fending off industry or corporate expansionism muscling in on the reservations: systems spouting false hopes in times of desperation offering up large cash grabs and fabricating little room for real growth so we must be and remain sovereign. We have watched on too many times as our corrupt leaders sell out to industry without his/her peoples consent. From here, the fate of the village is rather grim: we fade, we die, we are no more, and we then disappear.

I suppose in a sick way, this is what Klanata and industry desires more and more from Indigenous peoples. Stronger than ever, we, as sovereign nations, are birthed into this world to find the ancestors homelands spoiled from a corrupt regime already illegally occupying, taking down forests soon cultivating cities encouraging the destruction of Indian villages as pure, tar sands replacing canoes, disposable nations instead of sustainable occupations.

I feel that corporate bought states are quickly creating laws that make Indian peoples unlawfully living on our ancestral territories. We are now a people fighting off the colonial state and many are working hard by recreating sovereign laws and sustaining a life surrounding the practices to consume clean water. In this day and age, that is too much to be asking for. I have witnessed many sources of many rivers and lakes that have become mass open wounds of death, almost like looking at open grave sites that no one really wishes to talk about or explain that consumerism is total land suppression and cultural alienation…leading me right into the theories of an environmental type of racism.

The struggle of Indian peoples is near invisible within and surrounding much of white society. The mark of marginalization is built around theories of injecting fear into a Native society’s way of life. This fear quickly becomes oppression, soon turning into suppression and then depression. The mixture of these three things can easily lead towards suicide or suppressing our own ideals that we are not human and our culture is evil and anything heathen is simply not okay, not acceptable to be something white people seemingly despise, loathe, fear, hate. The pain is our connection, the struggle is what well unites us and the will to move forward is our strength to work as one. The reality for white society is Indian pain is seemingly not a real issue; our voice is no longer carrying weight. The day arrives that speaking becomes a way to break systemic racial silencing yet we will never be fully understood. Living by a code, the outside force is moving quickly to operate illegally to decimate, shift, and move metals, minerals, trees, mountains at an alarming rate.

For me, those are the ideals of profiteering. We then react by creating the space to open the lacerations of emotional turmoil, which in my personal experience remains a tool for healing (safe spaces, safe talking circles, free from white judgement and ridicule). The scars are fluid in our movements to reconcile not with colonization but on our way of coinciding as one entity searching for culture yet we are dropped fast, we then feel alone, suddenly left with too many questions and no one person to help answer why we are hurting, why many of us are in constant pain. The welt of white privilege is then run deep across our souls. Rekindling with each other is done on a very humanistic scale and where our Native bond grows. Laughter is a plain I tap into as much as I can.

Sometimes to help me cry, sometimes to help others heal through laughter. Indigenous peoples are strong. We are not weak; being at a guest on Unist’ot’en lands, this strength is witnessed within our ability to shelter and gather around those that are hurting, crying or in need of a general check-in, or to push out intruders. I do not look to pervasive curiosity, I do not need to fully know where your ancestors hail from, I do not need to know what this color red means or why does it rain, or ask if I can touch your hair. I just need to hear a laugh or see a smile. I will smile and say “hello” and I, for the most part, get a “hello” back soon leading us down a road built for meaningful conversations on our struggles and what we face daily under consistent strain (white people probing for all the answers or seeking the meaning of life). Suddenly, we are family, the bond grows and we look to reach farther in this modern occupied white age on how to break free from the prison of colonization.

****

A saying I heard back on Unist’ot’en Territory:

“We just want clean water, clean medicine, and clean lands”…

We have been pushed so incredibly far to see and be white indoctrinated to the point where we vision ourselves as wretched, vile, lesser than the whites. I realize, in looking at decolonizing every aspect of my life that somewhere in Native historical contexts, dehumanization quickly took over me. I, for me, and my understandings of how westernization plays into my life, I do not fear being Indian. Instead, I fear the very essence and idea of all the humanistic qualities we carry as an Indigenous people. We must then work together to nurture the art of working past the disgruntled image white society made for us, wrongfully. I suggest we then take all that confusion and frustration to a compassionate level, teach those capable that we have taken anger as normalized and turned them into tears, moving along with us on the long road from the removal and displacement of self-identity, right back into the human beings around us that, even though we were white educated to loathe, despise, hate, fear, or be jealous of other Indigenous peoples, we must create safe spaces to be, well, there for each other. I suggested within myself, holding back ten years ago that no, do not harbor your confusion, angst, fear, doubt or worry, simply be you, complexly enough, be human. I understand through the ages of white suppression that white society taught us brainwashing, whitewashing tactics and I know that these immoral practices to segregate can be and are presently being, unlearned. We just need time to heal and love ourselves.

Transition is difficult, the drive was rather complicated knowing I am leaving a place I have come to love, my ancestral home territory of the Hul’q’umi’num; although, I hope to keep supporting the Unist’ot’en in every avenue of my creative lifestyle. The art of saying “goodbye” is more of a “see you later” type Native clause since we are all over the map, working on different campaigns, different projects yet we remain connected at the roots-roots of our hearts for what is at stake. The fabric of the world is being taken apart seam by seam and many stand idle at the destruction of the planet. I do not know how many places exist where an Indigenous clan is taking back their right to cultivate sovereignty. I do enjoy being a day dreamer and think that we all are in our own ways. The realities of Indigenous understandings of living in unison have dulled and faded, never fully changing colour, never really going away. I urge we stop the madness, working as one and not against the lands and waters, keep at bay the colonial concept to conquer and divide. Forgot the opposite, backwards, wayward concepts that are found in every corner of colonization to secretly hate thy neighbour.

I had suddenly watched myself leave Unist’ot’en territory, a day early at that. In returning and driving in reverse the 66km dirt logging road, I hit so-called “civilization”, it was just still there, all the lights, sounds and sights. I mean, for me, it was indeed like being dropped out of the ancient times, almost like “leaving the 1800s” I said to a close friend I ran into at a gas station nearby, reuniting with this strange alienated and somehow modernized world I have always known, once partially respected even, to disrespecting their colonial laws and tactics that many look by further supressing my Indigenous sovereignty. Interesting to discover how quick I can become adjusted to the groove of the back country and how devastating my reality truthfully is, well, still heavily colonized…“where to go from here”…I have taken a road break in a safe space. I feel distant even still from those around me. I think in my head: “Does the colonial world really understand what is traveling just blocks away from them?” Pipelines, refineries, tanker traffic, racism, sexism, oppression of culture, suppression of self, no one seems to notice. If the colonial world has not figured it out by now, I am sure tomorrow is another day to help push real world education.

****

I have headed for home and civility is grossly comfortable, for me this colonial world is lazy and easy to slide back into or crawl back into like a silk shirt or buying a cup of espresso or flicking a light switch or utilizing the fridge and freezer or the natural fracked gas stove living in my house I operate to cook with. The grocery store and coffee shops and gas stations and high pressure fracked gas and tar sands pipelines are all filled with warning signs indicating that I must flee this hybrid way of living of fighting industry and tar sands and fracked gas and deforestation and driving my vehicle. I, at the time of protocol, arrived with an open mind and I then left looking to pry it back open. In driving along the highway, indicating that I have hit the colonial British Empire, somewhere in history, these Indian lands became so-called Kanata (well, “(kkk)Canada”).

I reside heavily in an occupied ideology where industry and corporate create this magical lines white society claims as the utmost rules. And what is worse, well, this fucking government is the monkey dancing along to the rhythms and sounds of coins jingling in oil barons over worked hunger and his political pockets and parliament bills are being eroded that once sought to continually hand down intergenerational knowledge to safeguard our respected ancestral homelands, all guarded and protected all aspects of lands and waters yet for many in the western world, for many that are white, they even conjured up laws to make these Hul’qumi’num ways a joke.

As if my ancestors were a fallacy I created in a picture book, stuck filling in the lines, careful not to step out of my bounds, my means, or be smacked back into place. The island I call home is at the very least severed from how Hul’qumi’num peoples lived by a code of being responsible to care for the natural environment for those yet born, so they may have shelter, food, warmth, skills passed down to survive, and repeat the caring of land and water process for the next guardians, so many areas of this island I reside on were once protected, as opposed to now barely any areas are neglected. Modern day white reserves so they may progress forward and strangle the life from those lands and waters Hul’q’umi’num peoples were entrusted with to defend.

Millions of Indigenous peoples do what klanatians forgot: to actually “stand on guard for thee”; yet Natives, or anything not white, are seen as terrorists, pagan drones, problematic equations that can be solved from letting go of humanity, and suddenly erasing those Savages from their actual place of birth.

Anyway, angered, I drove back into white society knowing this is an environment with shifted perspectives of what sustainable is, and is not, congressional idiots thriving on a bacterium infested petri-dish where big bags of royalties ring in the sounds that shall erase all life forms from the map entirely, of course, this is also largely thanks to our own addictions, and also due to the industrialization and corporatization of so-called Klanata: “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN”; but please don’t. I fear that as long as the tar sands’ coins are continually being tossed their capitalistic corrupt government way, our Native lands and waters are in serious danger of becoming extinct: The system is indeed fucked.

Modern Struggles

"Crossing the Bridge"

“Crossing the Bridge”

“Modern Struggles”

Dedication Piece to my Uncle James Henry

My words here are to express the struggles I deal with, written for my Uncle, he is not alone, and to help show my frustrations for our Hul’q’umi’num family living to break free from an ongoing colonial occupation of our ancestral, and Native homelands here on so-called “Vancouver island”….

****

I am stressed the fuck out, and that’s still an understatement. I am fierce, independent yet colonized when it comes to the terms of how “I MUST BE THERE FOR MY UNCLE, OR THAT I MUST BE THERE FOR FAMILY!”.

I do this as much as I can, but still am bogged down by the pressures of helping them each through decolonizing, since I rarely know them on a personal level, it is somehow supposed to help me love him. I do love them, I just haven’t figured out how to love them. I am clearly distraught by the fact that suddenly someone in my family needs me to pick up the pieces of fragments cultured and old, that was all fragmented by racists, white society destroyed my family, and I am somehow the fucking superhero here to swoop in. *Whoosh!* Cape, cross, and all. Here I stand to salvage the wreckage of our family’s name. Our collective pain is quickly becoming my more modern Indigenous struggle.

****

I have a LIFE! God damn it the pressures are so random and bold. I have finally locked myself to the very style of institution that took, stole, kidnapped my aunties and uncles and mother and father, and grandmas and grandpas from us all…our Healers have disappeared, and been replaced by white coated men with white suited medicine framed, false, our very life to heal is shattered, a broken stain glass in a church window is what becomes of my generation. It is the allocation to smash church windows if we so choose, if we so please, if the destruction of imperialist constructs brings us pleasure to dismantle operations that the white state enacted to remove us from ourselves. We will rise against the tyranny of the imperial state. And we must.

****

I am the mantle, and on it, is the weight of an entire people demanding questions that I must do something now, or I am not Indian enough, I am not compassionate enough…I am not your salvation, Uncle.

If you see me in that light, you have much to figure out before crawling back through a birthing canal coming back out as an adult: crying, and begging. I cannot offer spiritual handouts, Uncle, your healing journey is yours to discover. Get out there, and ask an Elder…please, ask anyone, Uncle. I do not know.

Why must you decide in this year of my being 30 with the stress, and complex idealism of colonial schooling must you hound me each waking day to your illness, Uncle….seek culturally, professional, spiritual help. I love you even still, Uncle.

****

These words, I hope, Uncle, is a testament to how much I love you; the stranger that abandoned me in the night, so bold, and relentless you will now knock, and I will ignore, for now at least, not always. Because you do not know me, and I in return will never know you, Uncle. My favorite colour is blue, how about you? Yet you will not let me in, and I will not pick up the phone.

I am unsure of what you want, or the “expect the unexpected” cause this is it, for me to say “everything is going to be okay”. Would be and is a lie. Nothing is okay, and question everything…the racist colonial state is out there, omnipresent, and square, ugly, naked, raw, so I cannot be your salvation. I do not have to be your salvation because that is my choice to allocate safe space for myself to fucking heal, and to also clam down, and continue to love you, Uncle. I cannot be your salvation. I am not a savior. But I love you even still, Uncle.

****

I am just a Native person struggling. In pain, always in pain. I see, and understand what the whites did by claiming to be the Heathen’s salvation. We are not Heathens, we are anything but. What is considered “religious norms” has become my waking nightmare. I see what the white man has done to strip my family’s namesake, and ground our entire linage into dust. Blowing away in the wind is what becomes of that white salvation which has quickly become my mental illness.

Maddening, probing, I soon take on the alter ego of the Mad Hatter. Calculations of the loss, a hard toss, becoming a type of boss, speaking strictly to loss, rather than help, I give out a yelp, falter, and shatter like the stain glass, acting like an ass, soon breaking down the codes of hatred, a sinner unwilling to conform. I will never conform. I do not have to conform, and that is my fundamental right in being the Savage. I am human.

In the eyes of those in white society abusing the absurd quality by dehumanizing the Natives, living, devouring our roots like invasive species. I am the simpleton that knows nothing. And the oddity of it all, I, to some degree, completely agree with the white mentality that I am to appear simple minded. I am not. I am a complexity that even pisses off my own thoughts of delusions of grandeur that this world I live in is pink, fluffy, puffy it is stuffy, it is hard, and living on the chard of our ancestors are the ruins of our collective society, with a thud I found the ground of a stage to rearrange my pain in words like here today. We survived horrific things, “To each’s own”, it is the phrase used I do believe.

It speaks much truth to the Indian I am becoming, once cold, many starving for culture, cup in hand no chalice shall be afforded for them the opportunity is to culturally heal as I have, with each new sun rise. I am granted certain privileges in a much different light than my white friend sitting across from me at the café sipping a latte, and talking of a trip oh so far away from this table, and in order to speak of these “transitions of becoming a white East Indian”, or like traveling to backpack through India somehow means you’re this “rediscovered”, spirituality reborn white Indian/Hindu or worse, a yoga instructor.

I was gifted spiritual advisers, to cultural leaders, and sadly, the right to revolt against my oppressors without a beating, or a lashing, or rape, or torture. I survived, was birthed, in a world, to live in a different time where these words will be pictured as pure passion, or for most of white society, I will only be viewed as a person whom shall speak with shear blind rage.

“Capitalism is without a doubt the very reason homelessness exists…”

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The Athabasca Tar Sands

“Capitalism is without a doubt the very reason homelessness exists…”

Homelessness and the imperial state is rather defined as the act of sleeping on cold cement because the upper class elitist shed neither emotions nor compassion for a person without warmth, security, comfort, or the ability to cook foods. The people on the streets are “shelter-less”, and being homeless proves many problems in the white, westernized world. We are seen as a disease, even when the system that created genocide, claims to have no cure to the problem, being homeless in so-called “Victoria” is a big issue, and a topic only filled with empty political promises. Indeed, homeless shelters here offer little relief for people not addicted to drugs or alcohol, the ones seeking true refuge from the lonely streets, it all comes with high risk for people strung out on crack or meth.

I am talking about the people actually stuck without a home, the Street Community with nowhere to go but to the Open Door for burnt coffee and stale doughnuts. And I already know shelters offer a mast assortment of comfort to the addicted over the non-addicted. Yeah, in the town I grew up in, we have what is called “Out of the rain shelters”: churches and other outreach based venues providing mats all in a shared setting; usually non-coed; then there is also something called the “Cold weather protocol” (a last ditch effort, and usually, sometimes my Auntie Rose is the one that calls in to the local CBC radio station demanding the doors be open now, “before the people freeze to death”). Although, this supposed protocol is a complex designed to be opening more doors but are merely enacted when temperatures hit below freezing, or -0 degrees on the island. I do enjoy the odd collection of people claiming the Street Community as a people, in place of the normal “They are a problem” cops and politicians spew.

This is such a difficult, demanding, deplorable, “This again” topic of homelessness, which comes with these talks I have had with people I even know that would rather, and will continually argue, “Homelessness isn’t real”. I fear that this is another twisted facet of white privilege speaking to an issue whites cannot or will barely understand. Not unless they have been asleep on the cold, and been robbed of their dignity; not unless they have felt cold, bitter, sour taste of what a sleeping bag attempts to provide: warmth; not unless they have felt trapped, lost, knowing they have absolutely nowhere to go but that comforting cement slab out of the view of any onlookers in hopes to hide the shame of sleeping on the streets.

White privilege will never know what it means to be without a roof; with no one to turn too, not when most of white society at least carries the option to go back to a home, even as adults, white society is afforded the option of a home, a parents house, a grandparents house, a friend’s house, a random house offering no money just be here type due to the colour of skin; whereas, many people of colour, and Native peoples, will be heavily marginalized, and casted out for their supposed sins of being “impoverished”.

The destitute, okay, hold on just a second, I detest colonial religion highly, though I still carry a small amount of faith in Jesus, before western society stole, conformed the bible, twisted words spoken from the Jewish peoples, Jesus had it correct to offer support to the poor, and silenced in her/his time of living, and attempted to cast out the true sin of the naked world wishing for monetary wealth, not things like social-housing, and maybe was killed for the up rise she/he was about to create.

This is all due to the imperialist garble/garbage forced on Indigenous peoples, people of colour, and the odd mix of white people aware. Yes, this is the system being constantly flawed in that it will not build affordable housing in order to house the handy-capable, or the less fortunate because there is no money to be made, and when there is no money to be made, other options are presented, a condo is built, a cigar is smoked, a glass of brandy is swirled, and profit margins are soon increased. Profit housing over non-profit housing is the solution, and is backwards for me, having been homeless, having slept on those cold, and hard, and unforgiving streets of my hometown.

Social-housing will only be created in place to cover up the problem of the stereotyped “Street Bum” demanding coins, demanding bills, demanding booze, demanding drugs, demanding help, assistance, and we, our daily societal normal, will give them a numbing agent of silence instead. We will close our eyes, and rather wish it away, even though the Street Community, a group of people demanding to also be heard, will not go away because we will it out of existence. Indeed, if anything, my Native peoples strength has taught me that much. We need to address homelessness now, fully, head on, and not ignore the Street Community, a people in dire need of stable, social-housing.

RE: “Vancouver Tim Hortons Owner and a Bucket of Water; Titled: “The Sleeping Man and His Dog”

“The Sleeping Man and His Dog”

tim-hortons-water-thrown-on-homeless-man

Tim Hortons quickly responded from a share to an article I put on my online wall, a mutual Facebook friend shared the article of “Pete” getting water thrown on him, or under him rather, from a business owner of a downtown Vancouver Tim Hortons chain: “The regretful actions in a moment of frustration at one of our Vancouver locations is not at all reflective of our brand and restaurant owner values. On behalf of Tim Hortons we sincerely apologize. This owner is committed to personally apologizing and making amends with this individual. He will also be making a meaningful donation to Belkin House, a local Vancouver shelter.” I shared a post about a downtown Vancouver area business owner dumping water underneath or on, either way, the action of pouring water on a homeless individual is borderline insanity after all, it is still basically cold out. Then someone I’m connected to over Facebook shared the same article, and soon received that quote above tagged me to see.

I continued to write my anger, and am still baffled by such neglect, and criminal harassment of the sleeping man and his dog. I mean, was the water cold, warm, or hot, did the owner think, “This man smells, he needs a bath”. I don’t really think so. I think the owner of the downtown area Tim Hortons business knew what he was doing. He decided and made a plan as he was filling up that bucket of water. He knew, it was planned, and he knew, that has to be the most disturbing part: He knew by pouring water on an innocent individual is borderline sociopathic in my mind.

MY COMMENTS FROM FACEBOOK:

“Tim Hortons actually commented….wow, assault is clearly the case, criminally attacking someone, while disregarding the rights to sleep, I just pray a lawyer steps up to help free of charge and help get him off the streets, this system is flawed, designed to fail, and has failed countless times. I say, it is time to be boycotting this Tim Hortons to hold them accountable to their bully tactics of an innocent person sleeping.”

I don’t think frustration is justifiable to the deviant planning the owner took in throwing water underneath the individual, and soaking him and his dog: this is not frustration, this is hatred for a homeless man sleeping, and clearly in the owners eyes of a man looking like a bum, and disrupting coffee, and doughnut sales must be justifiable as well, or so says a majority of society. I see a homeless human being living with more frustration and stress, unneeded stress, not the owner, I’d never protect the one throwing water on the innocent, and I’m protecting the “dirty bum”, he is not dirty, I know this, merely for emphasizes on the stigma surrounding poverty. I know he is a human being, I know he was trying to decently sleep. We all just live in a rather cruel world.

I am disturbed that company claims the owner was “frustrated”, since I have personally been there, I have been homeless, and I have dealt with local law enforcers on so-called “Vancouver Island” from policing agents trolling parkades, street corners, bus shelters, and back alley ways, and business alcoves from the Bum sleeping soundly. Waiting for the cop to come by and disturb my right to sleep at 5am. It was discovered, from the article I read, to be the owner of this franchised Tim Hortons in so-called “Vancouver” to have thrown water underneath thereby soaking a dog and the sleeping individual. I am demanding the actions be brought up and investigated further because this owner needs to be sued, fully. I begged the question online: “Was the person in question smoking crack, shooting heroin into some veins, causing a noise, a ruckus, a disturbance, the answer is obviously no, the guy was sleeping, is innocent, and it’s just disgusting.”

Dissecting the Male Doctor Genes : Seeing Trauma from The Eyes of a MisDiagnosed “Mentally Ill” Patient

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Dissecting the Male Doctor Genes: Seeing Trauma from The Eyes of a MisDiagnosed “Mentally Ill” Patient

What you see as normalized treatment plans, routines, schedules, patients, I know as names, peoples, humans, pains, truths, and realities. I know you see this as “mental illness”, it is the issue at hand. Mental illness is a label created to be feeding the pharmaceutical industry and ignoring the concerns of the human; eventually dehumanizing the self and seeing dollars signs through the label of “mental illness”. That is my universal truth and nothing more than what I feel and what I dealt with being put on the table to be dissected myself. Put into a jar to be studied, poked, and so his notes could be taken, stored. read at a later date.

?female or male?

?Addictions?

?Sleep or insomnia?                                                                ?Voices or no voices?

                        ?Disease?

?Displacement?

?Disconnection?

!Pills!

!Pills!

Pills!

Invalidation of the person is what really takes place inside the room of a man with a degree in western medicine. The cure does not exist. This guy with a degree on a wall tells, no, mandates, or rather, attempts to explain my illness is invisible; all symptoms I claim to have can all be numbed, controlled, regulated…never solved.

I made the choice to quit crystal meth; others forced an idea of another world being “better”, to forget my losses and grief, find the “greener grass” situation, if you will; still, and in the end, the choice was up to me to walk away. It is in that moment of a choice being made that needs the most support. Finding the healthy options to move away from my own addictions and seek help. Moving forward and letting go is difficult. Finding the right options to help “ruin” my reason to relapse and fall back into something known, something most terrible, it is addiction to crystal meth and the numbing agents he provides me. I can say “fuck the world” and hide out for hours. Sexual abuse no more, trauma no more, gay no more. The closet kept to be the safest place to be, wrapped in familiarity, my walls were once my only warmth, my only connection to anything.

The pills become the support structure. Once I entered a christian run drug recovery house, activating recovery mode, being on that path, or the “Red Road” as most Natives known this path to be, the pills will be taken away. Suddenly, the support and structure I once knew, told by my white doctor, “This is the cure, the answer”, it is forcefully removed from my life. I, the person consuming the cure, will breakdown, and I will revert to an emotional breakdown because the original problem(s) was never fully resolved, only ignored, and silenced by my physician. The doctor failed to shed emotions, disconnection is their displacement for humanity, for seeing humanity. They do not see humanity, they see science, symptoms in the science points to discomfort and discomfort can be quickly resolved with anti-psychotic meds, anti-depression meds, anti-anxiety meds, and anti-insomnia meds…Trazodone, Effexor, and Seroquel.

The three wonder drugs my physician prescribed when I quit abusing crystal meth, anti-psychotic, helping me numb my mind and temporarily adjust my behaviour so I am then forced to forget the problems I am facing. I am mentally debilitated by taking these medications and am only placed into a hyper state in order to forget, in order to be controlled, in order to dehumanize myself I must take these medications…so I stopped taking them and got to the root of my own discomfort against my own doctor’s orders.

Seroquel side effects:

More common

  • Chills
  • cold sweats
  • confusion
  • dizziness, faintness, or light-headedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

Less common

  • Black, tarry stools
  • blurred vision
  • changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
  • chest pain
  • cough
  • drooling
  • fever, muscle aches, or sore throat
  • inability to move the eyes
  • inability to sit still
  • increased blinking or spasms of the eyelid
  • lip smacking or puckering
  • loss of balance control
  • mask-like face
  • need to keep moving
  • painful or difficult urination
  • puffing of the cheeks
  • rapid or worm-like movements of the tongue
  • restlessness
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • shuffling walk
  • slowed movements
  • slurred speech
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • sticking out of the tongue
  • stiffness of the arms or legs
  • sweating
  • swelling of the face, arms, hands, feet, or lower legs
  • swollen glands
  • trembling and shaking of the hands and fingers
  • trouble with breathing, speaking, or swallowing
  • uncontrolled chewing movements
  • uncontrolled movements of the arms and legs
  • uncontrolled twisting movements of the neck, trunk, arms, or legs
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual facial expressions
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Rare

  • Dry, puffy skin
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • loss of appetite
  • menstrual changes
  • tiredness
  • unusual secretion of milk (in females)
  • weight gain

Incidence not known

  • Aching or discomfort in the lower legs or sensation of crawling in the legs
  • painful or prolonged erection of the penis
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • skin rash, hives, itching
  • tightness in the chest
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • unusual weight gain or loss

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking quetiapine, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose

  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • decreased urine
  • dry mouth
  • increased thirst
  • mood changes
  • muscle pain or cramps
  • nausea or vomiting
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • weakness

“Some quetiapine side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:”

More common

  • Constipation
  • headache

Less common

  • Abnormal vision
  • acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • decreased appetite
  • decreased strength and energy
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • increased appetite
  • increased muscle tone
  • increased sweating
  • increased weight
  • indigestion
  • sneezing
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • stuffy or runny nose

“If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly. Dizziness or light-headedness may occur…”

Trazodone side effects:

More common

  •  Blurred vision
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • dizziness, faintness, or light-headedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • light-headedness
  • sweating
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Less common

  • Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles”, or tingling feelings
  • confusion about identity, place, and time
  • decreased concentration
  • fainting
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • lack of coordination
  • muscle tremors
  • nervousness
  • pounding in the ears
  • shortness of breath
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • swelling

Rare

  • Skin rash
  • unusual excitement

Some trazodone side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common

  • Dry mouth (usually mild)
  • muscle or bone pain
  • trouble sleeping
  • trouble with remembering
  • unpleasant taste

Less common

  • Constipation
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • diarrhea
  • hearing loss
  • muscle aches or pains
  • weight loss

Effexor side effects:

More common

  • High blood pressure
  • lack or loss of strength
  • severe headache
  • sweating

Less common

  • Blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • mood or mental changes
  • ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • suicidal thoughts

Rare

  • Actions that are out of control
  • convulsions
  • high fever
  • high or low blood pressure
  • irritability
  • itching or skin rash
  • light-headedness or fainting, especially when getting up suddenly from a sitting or lying position
  • menstrual changes
  • nervousness
  • problems with urinating or holding urine
  • severe muscle stiffness
  • talking, feeling, and acting with excitement that you cannot control
  • trouble breathing
  • unusually pale skin

Incidence not known

  • Agitation
  • bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • bloody stool or urine
  • confusion
  • dark urine
  • decreased frequency or amount of urine
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • fever
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • headache
  • increased thirst
  • light-colored stools
  • muscle cramps, spasms, or pain
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nosebleeds
  • overactive reflexes
  • poor coordination
  • red or purple spots on skin
  • restlessness
  • shivering
  • stomach pain on upper right side
  • swelling of the face, lower legs, ankles, hands, or fingers
  • trembling or shaking that is hard to control
  • twitching
  • unusual bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • yellow eyes or skin

“Some of the side effects that can occur with venlafaxine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:”

More common

  • Abnormal dreams
  • chills
  • constipation
  • decrease in sexual desire or ability
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • heartburn
  • increased sweating
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • stomach pain or gas
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • tingling, burning, or prickly sensations
  • trembling or shaking
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Less common

  • Change in taste
  • muscle tension
  • yawning

Incidence not known

  • Night sweats

You’re looking at a person, this person has spent a life in a trench, fighting a war, a battle festering on the inside, you only see mannerisms with “disease” due to them being a needle junkie, a druggie, a dope fiend, an addict, you do not look into their eyes, you glance at them, you fail to acknowledge and are playing the role of dehumanizing because western medicine mandates you are a scientist, you are egotistical and think you are the cure for their problem.

The strength is in the person reaching out, looking for support, looking for answers. It is the admittance of self-seeing they have a problem, in that moment it shows me how we are human.

Now, you, from reading this, may get a sense of what millions of misdiagnosed individuals, aka “patients”, deal with in being labeled as schizophrenia or bipolar or anything else a doctor can conjure up and “doctor up” the illness being presented and cured with this magical bottle of pills, pills, pills. You fail to see this person as someone that survived trauma related to sexual abuse, to a life of torment, torture, or belittlement; you fail to see the family troubles, their home life, school life, foster care home life; you even missed what that person went through from having a school life, what about as a person of colour or what about a school life as a Native. Indeed, these factors, and many more I can assure you of that, will never be considered, weighed, or suggested. So if you work in the health care industry, fucking humanize the person already and attempt to be human yourself. I suggest you always, always, always consider your home life, your family life, life is not about “roses” and “smelling the daisy’s”, sometimes a person’s grass is not green, it may very well be dead, so feed them love and positivity, reinforce growth, show them once again their humanistic qualities, not their “disease” and “discomfort”. They survived something terrible, how dare you dehumanize that fact. Now is a great time to assert within and see you are abusing westernized white privilege by dehumanizing a person, a human being.