Oh Cantada

I wrote this piece a day after the Tina Fontaine verdict was delivered. I wasn’t going to post it but I need to share how I was feeling emotions can be so raw. I was so angry. I still am. But after attending a memorial after writing this piece, I realized I need to channel that anger into something positive. But here is some of my truth for you. #Justice4Tina #Justice4Colten

I am that angry native person that your old stock Canadian relative warned you about. I haven’t stood for the National Anthem in years: and I feel great for doing so. I don’t stand on guard for thee, because I can’t respect a nation built on systemic oppression that many “Canadians” still contribute and benefit from.

It’s hard to trust people. It’s harder to work for agencies that tokenize Indigenous voices and bodies. The ones that offer “Free Opportunities” and “Exposure”. Your request of me to provide you with free emotional labour is inappropriate. So don’t expose yourself to me.

I don’t care anymore about reconciliation that still leaves or brothers getting shot in the back of the head. I don’t care about adjusting my language or tone to make “Canadians” feel comfortable, to mimic their notions of togetherness. We can build strong relationships with Indigenous peoples, but only if the “Good Little Indians” stay quiet and stick to their talking points, issued to them by their handlers.

I care about my friends, but will question the reconciliationists. How can we have nation to nation relationships, when one nation still has the power to restrict the other nations sovereignty? One nation that dictates who is and who isn’t Indigenous. And one nation that still allows murderers to walk free after killing one of us.

Canada has considered itself a melting pot of different cultures. But you still need one culture to build the pot. One culture to authorize who goes in and who comes out of that pot. I’m not here to stir the pot, but I will do my best to help knock it over.

Those 94 calls to action ain’t working fast enough. Our round dances and drumming are not working. We need to get radical. We need to kick out those good Indians out of parliament, along with their colleagues. We need to take down oppressive systems that still kills our family and community members.

Instead of killing the Indian within the Indian, they have resorted to earlier narratives of actually just killing Indigenous people. While modern day Indian Agent murderers walk away with their freedom and our scalps in hand. While other Canadians pay off their court expenses. We disappear and reappear again. Wrapped up blankets and washing up along riverbanks.

When will it end?

I’ve begun to lose hope. I don’t trust white people. Because I don’t know which ones are Indigenous and white passing, which ones want to fetishize me, and which ones wish I’d just “get over it” or the ones that wish that I’d go missing too.

The genocide of Indigenous people continue as JT dresses up like the Indians that Columbus was searching for. When do we go from trying to integrating ourselves into their systems to create change? And when do we say f**k it and just set those systems on fire?

I don’t think I can experience this again. How many more people do we need to lose? When I was 15, a friend, who was from a traditional family, told me that I couldn’t be gay and native. I believed them. And I didn’t want to be Native anymore. That was 17 years ago. I thought I’d never feel that way again. I feel that way now. Sometimes.

My partner asked me how do I cope with being Indigenous? I told them that I didn’t know. That I don’t have a choice. My answer today hasn’t changed. I can’t cry anymore. I don’t have faith in a government or their agencies to protect me. I don’t trust the police. I don’t trust our healthcare system. I don’t have faith in our Indian Act chiefs.

I live in a place where folks believe that this is Indian Land, where people are indifferent towards historical oppression and Canadian Genocide is what you stand on guard for? There are people who believe that the only good Indian is a dead one. If you don’t believe me, just read the comments sections.

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