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Waabishka Niimki
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My Name is Waabishka Niimki. This is Anishnabek language for White Thunder. I am Thunder Clan. This page will be my inner voice.
My Name is Waabishka Niimki. This is Anishnabek language for White Thunder. I am Thunder Clan. This page will be my inner voice.

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Birth of resistance and change: A painful process.

Today I have many thoughts churning in my head. The current events place some in priority over the usual fare. Today I want to address some thoughts about revolution, resistance and the hope for progress and the cost of it all. I have a lot of people that I am in contact with that are upset with recent political events in this country. Some are moved to being fearful, others are angry, some are confused. All are concerned . One area of profound concern is how to deal with the people who have moved this country into this position. That may include family, friends, loved ones, neighbors and co-workers. I am not sure I am the best person to give such advice. I have lost several very old dear friends to the conflicts we are currently immersed in. I lost my oldest brother to the this kind of adversarial perspective challenge many years ago before his death. I had taken a stance opposing military actions in the first Gulf War in an email I sent out. I knew he may not agree, but I felt I needed to make my feelings known. The result was horrific and his final words to me included “ I have no idea what you must be actually smoking in those Sacred pipes you have, but your views are causing our Father to roll over in his grave”. I had no response. I tried for years to figure out a way to address this divide. I was not successful. He crossed over without us ever being able to remedy our conflict.
I bring this story up because I really do understand the type of loss that many others are just now going through. I have lost (and continue to lose) many people in my life. There are some that would tell you I burn a lot of bridges. In reality, and trying to be as honest with myself as I can, I don’t think I have burnt many bridges at all. I have almost always TRIED to leave the door open somehow. But at some point ANY relationship may have to separate for a period of time, or, like myself and my brother, permanently. Our ideals, our believes are sometimes all we have. With regard to these views, I fully realize I am as at fault as any of the people I have broken ties with. I am stubborn. I am relentless in the pursuit of my ideals. I am very direct about my views. Although I am MUCH more diplomatic then I have been in the past, I am still not someone who is good at playing down my emotions on some topics. To that purpose I like to have people around me that help me temper that edge and give me the ability to be more reasonable.
I see the world as a series of problems. I see what may be some solutions, and I also see opposing views on those solutions. I see great things dividing many people. I also see small, insignificant divides which we should be trying to set aside. We have great tools to enable us to reach out to each other, to manage and discuss topics and to help us generate reality based plausible answers for all of these problems. Compromise will have to happen and it can if we allow it to. But there are things that are in the way. I need to make a point here: The following hindrances I see are not meant to be used for finger pointing or blaming. These issues are exist all sides of the current positions. They are also not listed in any order relating to priority or magnitude.
First we are rife with misinformation. Everywhere. We are all subject to it, being crippled by it and it is being spawned and used intentionally and unintentionally to keep the issues from being examined in rational ways. I am no hypocrite, I get drawn into this as well. The knee jerk reaction to spread some bit of information sometimes outweighs due diligence to vet the information. Many people do not even know how to do this. And of course sometimes we are just lazy. We ALL need to do better. The people (on any side) that INTENTIONALY do this know what they are doing. The term is simple. It is called propaganda and it is seen as a tool for the manipulation of the minds and hearts of people drawn around a conflicting view point. None of it is helping anybody make clear judgements however. Are there bits and pieces of truth in it? Sure. But the harmful after effects of the emotional value taints the value of the information presented. We need to watchdog each other on this. And we need to use respect in how we do that also. Which bring me to my second point.
Secondly, we need to not be as picky with each other as we are. This is especially true with people who are supposed to be on the same side. In the social media today, there are people who will rush to make a comment on the spelling of a word. Or to dismiss a person’s argument based on grammar or some other minor point. We dismiss each other with labels (Libtard comes to my mind as I have had that thrown at me too many times to count). These things do nothing but gum up the process of any actual real discussion. And we are ALL prone to do it! Again out of some drive to win, we throw the most under the belt punches at each other. We try to best our opposition by using advantages (or disadvantages), cultural differences, lifestyles, backgrounds, age and any other manner of perspectives to ridicule, challenge or dismiss views. In the story I started with about my own brother, the part that made me disengage was the part about “smoking something in my sacred pipes”. My brother and I had different mothers. His mother was a full blood Native American woman. My brother was a half-blood Native American. Although he never knew or followed any of his culture, he was proud of his identity. I have a small amount of Native blood in my own lineage from my mother, but it is a long way from the blood quantum he possessed. However, for whatever reason, I am drawn to and find much connection to the cultural aspects of the Native community. I have made that cultural part of myself for a long time and it is very sacred to me. So for him to attack that was especially painful. This is the type of opportunism that can end relationships and certainly stop any form of communications between people trying to address a problem. And again, we all may find ourselves drawn to such attacks, myself included. Although you can win a fight doing this, the cost is high and no progress is likely to come out of it. In the end such things will shatter us all.
Thirdly, there are powers that be that WANT us ALL to fail. We HAVE to acknowledge and remember this! They thrive on our failure. As individuals, as a society, as a country. Everything. They thrive on strife. They thrive on suffering. If there is such a thing as evil, this is it. It has many names and faces. Greed, racism, ego, nationalism, pride. All these things work against us and manipulate us towards failure. The tentacles of this stretch out in every direction. They are in people, companies, religious movements, racial groups, and of course governments. There are very few areas that this evil has not made some amount of intrusion into. We ALL get caught up in our self-interests. We become easily manipulated because of it, prone to fear because of it, emotionally misdirected and overly invested because of it. And these irrational perspectives spread WAY to easily. We need to challenge this in ourselves and each other when we come to the table to try to move forward.
So. Where does all this leave us? For me, much of the die may be cast. I am already in a radical left position on most things. I grew up during the 60’s and 70’s and watched as protests played out all around me. I grew up with bodies on the TV screen and the denouncement of a war, racism, environmental causes, etc was a daily din of perspectives and information everywhere. My parents were both fairly conservative, but they also were compassionate people, who also saw things from a pretty reasonable perspective. I watched my straight laced father openly protest the cutting of great old oak trees in our home town. I listened to my mother make statements about the inequality of race in discussions with her friends. I watched my proud veteran father waver on his views concerning war when they started bringing home young men he had coached him and he saw the damage that had happened to them. And I saw them as people who worked in their community to help people, to make things better. I saw them as principled people who taught those same principles of fairness, honor, dignity, respect for others, pride in what you do and how you live, to me. At a young age, these things galvanized me. I was taught to stand up and stand strong against things. Moving through the rest of my life, I sought an education, I sought my own spiritual development and I have pursued my own understanding of the world around me. I found that I champion causes well. I found that I had connections to the Earth and can draw power from that. Thanks to my strong parents and the allowance for me to speak my mind, I have been able to continue to do so. Today that seems more necessary than any other time in my life. But the conflicts that are looming in front of us are great. The peril of failure will have repercussions on us all. I have no idea what our exact roles will be. We will hopefully be able to get back to communication, find ways to work together on our problems, and challenge ourselves and each other about our biases productively. But that evil is persistent. It is powerful and its tentacles go very deep. We must challenge it in ourselves, check ourselves continually, use the perspectives of those around us to make sure WE are on track. Be willing to adapt and change when possible, to negotiate when not. And, sometimes, we may have to generate more loss. That will be, and should be, the hardest decisions we make. I hope that our present course can continue to avoid as many losses as possible. But we must also manage to keep some resolve in difficult time.
Going forward I have every intention to continue to stand strong, stand up and stand my ground. I will continue to try to address my own hypocrisies and I hope others do the same. I hope that others who are resisting are mindful to stay safe, take care of themselves and those around them. I will miss those that I have had to leave behind. But I have good memories and will continue to hold on to those. Perhaps someday we may stand together again. In this life or the next.
Going forward we must continue to fight the good fights as we may need to. And we should attempt to embrace peace when we can. To unite as we can. To build together as we can and have. Balance prospers all.
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When we look back behind ourselves
we can see from where we came

If we look forward
We may be able to see where we are going

But if we look upward to the heavens
Or downward to the ground below our feet
Then we will know were we are now

And that is a very good thing to know
Before we take our next steps
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