A Funny Native

I was asked to go be the master/mistress of ceremonies for a community event in Bkejwanong. I’m kind of new to the whole self-booking and making all the travel and lodging arrangements myself? Thanks to the big move on reconciliation and a new flock of Grey Owls, I usually just let whichever colonial agent do my own bookings themselves. Let them work their system while I go have a smoke outside their rotating doors.
I keep in mind how much cash I have on my debit card, just in case I need to go without meals just to put the deposit down on my room. I don’t have a credit card anymore. Lesson learned. I’m not that good at math. That was a hard teaching. Thank you Creator and Amazon.com. The last time anyone had any interest in me it was on a plentyoffish.com profile back in 2013. Anyways. I don’t have my license either. So I am like THAT kind of native guy. I make up for it by opening up my mouth and praying that Creator allows something wise or funny to fall out of it. Or I just let white guys touch my hair and stroke my skin and tell me how soft I am. I might not like that kind of attention, but my background is social justice and theatre so I just give what those “I thought I was giving you a compliment, don’t get so hostile, you fucking savage” type of people pay me to do. *bows* I do my best not to spit on anyone. But like any good treaty I can’t make any promises. *shrugs*


I keep in mind how much cash I have on my debit card, just in case I need to go without meals just to put the deposit down on my room. I don’t have a credit card anymore. Lesson learned. I’m not that good at math. That was a hard teaching. Thank you Creator and Amazon.com. The last time anyone had any interest in me it was on a plentyoffish.com profile back in 2013. Anyways. I don’t have my license either. So I am like THAT kind of native guy. I make up for it by opening up my mouth and praying that Creator allows something wise or funny to fall out of it. Or I just let white guys touch my hair and stroke my skin and tell me how soft I am. I might not like that kind of attention, but my background is social justice and theatre so I just give what those “I thought I was giving you a compliment, don’t get so hostile, you fucking savage” type of people pay me to do. *bows* I do my best not to spit on anyone. But like any good treaty I can’t make any promises. *shrugs*

Being on the road is tiring and you forget what human contact can look and feel like. Until it happens. And then you wish there weren’t any humans able to contact you at any given moment. Other than those exchanges of weird eye glances with the people at your front door who pass you your delivered UberEats of McDonalds and regret. Sometimes the only humans I want to have daily contact with are the settlers on my FallOut 4 game that isn’t mine, which is played on a gaming console that also isn’t mine and on a television that belongs to the person I share an apartment. If that isn’t reconciliation I don’t know what is. I’m just rude. That isn’t reconciliation. Reconciliation is a big rubber duck. Reconciliation is celebrating 150 years of an imposed system that dictates who gets to have different status over others because of generations of oppression and regression to what the status quo promote no matter what name is on that status card you hold onto.

Sorry! Not Funny!

Funny!

I’m the funny native who comes out of the closet/cupboard and is put on display. More notice if I were a skirt. Less engagement if I don’t shave and still wear a skirt. But before I get to the stories or the jokes, the Q&A begin when I walk into the room. Do I sing? Do I dance? Have I published a book because that’s what the natives do. We dance. We sing. We publish our stories or publish stories we share with others who get published for us and invite us to the book parties but don’t share with us the royalties. I don’t sing, well not good. So not often. I don’t dance, but if I do it would be in a jingle dress. And I haven’t published my stories. Not now. Even though I have a drum I still might not know the answer to your horrible question about my identity that you’ve only researched about via disney movies. Kaawiin. That is a big Kaawiin. I said ‘no’ now get off my land. FUNNY! I MUST BE FUNNY!

I’m still on this journey of healing and rediscovery of myself! Which is weird because I’ve always been here. An Indigenous person, who once thought they were Italian because they grew up in Sault Ste. Marie and just figured that their family was fair and brown and also yelled at each other. So Ta Da! I thought I was Italian. We also ate a lot of pasta, but that could have just been a grocery thing. Bravo kiddo for not knowing anything about yourself. I lived on a reserve called Rankin and took Ojibway class all my life, but couldn’t put two and two together that I was native. We aren’t always practicing. Sometimes finding out that we are native can be a shock.
We need to start finding ourselves, figure out who our ancestors were, which pow wow do I go to first, is it okay to smudge? But what if I am on my moon time? Do I have a moon time? How do I get a moon time? Can I buy it next to the sage at the new age corner shop or look for it next to that fake native regalia at the costume store?

Halloween is so far away. It’s my favourite holiday. Was my favourite holiday? I still cook a turkey at thanksgiving, I just smoke medicine that sometimes gets mistaken for what is in my smudge bowl when I go into schools, at the same time I’m stuffing a colonial fowl. I’m still thankful for a lot of my colonial ways. Ya’ll still drive. So many questions. So many problematic questions.


We need to start finding ourselves, figure out who our ancestors were, which pow wow do I go to first, is it okay to smudge? But what if I am on my moon time? Do I have a moon time? How do I get a moon time? Can I buy it next to the sage at the new age corner shop or look for it next to that fake native regalia at the costume store?

Halloween is so far away. It’s my favourite holiday. Was my favourite holiday? I still cook a turkey at thanksgiving, I just smoke medicine that sometimes gets mistaken for what is in my smudge bowl when I go into schools, at the same time I’m stuffing a colonial fowl. I’m still thankful for a lot of my colonial ways. Ya’ll still drive. So many questions. So many problematic questions.

Crap! Sorry! Funny! Be funny! People want to feel happy knowing that you are sometimes unhappy. That a lot of your writing isn’t always happy even though you seem to be happy on the outside. That must reflect what’s on the inside. Like in high school. But remember I dropped out of high school countless times for not feeling like I fit in, even though folks thought I was in. I wasn’t. I realized realized young, that the system wasn’t going to change for me because the system wasn’t built for First Nations in mind, or queer or trans or non-binary or gender-fluid people in mind, or neurodivergent folk, or people of colour or feminine folks or folks who were none religious, or spiritual or who dressed differently. Even though we were there. We have always been here and the system has created to diminish all of that. To diminish voice and prioritize who gets put on display and who doesn’t. Who speaks within party lines and who doesn’t. Who speaks that colonial speak that sometimes gets masked in liberalism that goes against the sovereignty that I’ve only heard about in small circles and around the time of Chief n’ Council elections, which aren’t even ways that we governed ourselves back in the day. But no, that’s not funny. That doesn’t unite anyone. That doesn’t make Canadians comfortable and happy. Because no one wants to talk about genocide. Because no one wants to admit that they benefit and contribute to the colonial destruction of our Indigenous people and their lands and our mother earth.

Our own Indigenous leaders still can’t see women as being equals. The same with 2-Spirit and gender-flexible spirits who have been ostracized from circles who still push others out and into a world that isn’t always accepting. Or into the hands of lateral violence where they hurt other ceremonial people who have an open heart and see their pain and who want to help them heal. To reconcile their own thoughts and teachings about gender and healthy consenting relationships. No matter their status card. Or assigned sex at birth. Or blood quantum. Or race. Or beliefs. We need more of these helpers who reach out and pull those ones back into our circles who have walked away from a community that wasn’t ready to accept them. We don’t need to lose anymore.

This gathering in Bkejwanong reminds me that their are people out their who care. That their are helpers who are ready to listen and to create change in their homes, offices and communities. And also within their ceremonies. The organizer tells me that I am a guest in their community. I tell them I feel like native royalty. Like Tantoo Cardinal or Crystal Shawanda. I would have mentioned Joseph Boyden but not every royal family includes their jester.
Sometimes my jokes aren’t always funny.


Sometimes my jokes aren’t always funny.
They were probably not meant for you anyways.

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