Anicinabe Park Occupation 1974: Interviews with 2 Warriors

Warrior Publications

Participants in the 1974 armed occupation of Anicinabe Park, near Kenora, Ontario. Participants in the 1974 armed occupation of Anicinabe Park, near Kenora, Ontario.

– reprinted from Oh-Toh-Kin, Volume 1 Number 1, Winter/Spring 1992

The following interviews with Lyle Ironstand and Louis Cameron have been reprinted from Paper Tomahawks: From Red Tape to Red Power by James Burke, published in 1976 by Queenston House Publishing.

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Musings of a Michael Jackson “Person”

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David Suzuki Wish List & Notes from Beyond Climate Screening at Hot Docs October 27, 2018 and Notes on How to be Personally Socially Responsible

After attending the film screening of Beyond Climate, as follows is a David Suzuki wish list for Canada and other notes:

  • shut down the tar sands
  • cancel LNG and related projects (fracked liquefied natural gas)
  • cancel Trans Mountain Pipeline
  • cancel Kinder Morgan
  • governments will be about electing leaders who will follow through on their commitments to green energy and a low carbon future
  • 10 years to turn it around, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report October 8th that the world is headed for a dangerous temperature rise of 1.5°C by 2030 if dramatic action isn’t taken
  • reduce emissions down to 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 and down to net zero by 2050
  • two examples where environmentalists and indigenous peoples thought they won but lost: Site C Dam in BC and hydro construction projects in Brazil like the Belo Monte Dam
  • we have our children to be accountable to. Do we say to them we have no future
  • the challenge is to step back and give nature a chance
  • What I can do personally:

♡ Continue minimalist, nomadic lifestyle primarily within the territory currently called Canada from east to west and north, north, north. Care about it enough to continue to actively fight for and protect it.

♡ As a water protector and land defender as first dreamed about in 1997, continue to concretely stand with indigenous peoples and others re wish list and other longstanding fights re the sacredness of the land like Qat’muk to effect justice, right relations, reconciliation. Acknowledge the sacredness of the land and the wisdom of my ancestors where ever I am, then actively involve myself with whomever and whatever will encourage the resilience of nature. This fight is for all, with language or not, who still have the privilege of being here, for the right to clean air, clean water, undisturbed land. Storytelling about dreams and who/what shows the way.

♡ As per the answer Susan Aglukark gave me to my question as to what to do personally as a non indigenous person in the process of reconciliation (beyond it being, amongst other things, an environmental issue), her advice was to effect destigmatization of an indigenous group by choosing one or more and learning the precolonization history and sharing. Continue story telling of those met on the road, indigenous included from coast to coast to almost coast and enjoy the learning curve.

♡ As a person who still remembers the time BEFORE plastic, drastically reduce or eliminate my personal use of single use plastic and other plastics. In answer to my question put to an educator as to when to start teaching social and corporate responsibility, the answer without hesitation was “In the womb”. Join any campaign bringing awareness to this issue with focus on educating children and holding companies to account.

♡ As a very fortunate person who started life for most of the year eating food all grown at home – with the exception of sugar, coffee and flour; and further not having any exposure to junk food and other foods laced with dirty palm oil until later in life, educate myself about palm oil and make sure I do not use it personally. Join any campaign bringing awareness to this issue with focus on educating children and holding companies to account.

♡ Recognizing my personal food choices are a sustainability issue. Continue periodic cleansing, explore fasting and focus plant based and eating for the planet as per books like Brendan Brazier’s Thrive and documentaries like Forks Over Knives

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The Healing Garden

Does your garden rejuvenate you? Can you start out feeling troubled about something; but as you wander around planting, weeding, harvesting, watering, does a feeling of peace and contentment come over you? Do you feel yourself slowing down, breathing deeply, tuning in with the singing of a bird, the wind sighing in the trees?

I recall a very special garden I had the privilege of encountering in 2012, quite the thing of beauty already in May of that year. The striking entrance through the deer fence  a mystic star with poles sweeping up teepee style. Whoever originally designed the garden chose to shape the beds in a configuration of an Egyptian ankh. The cross piece in this case circles around several large stones, which warm up the immediate beds to speed up growing time by a few weeks. In May, beds of kale and brussel sprouts had over wintered from the previous season.

The circling raised beds making up the arms of the cross, consisted of three rows of raspberries – in spring just recently leafing out and brilliantly green; with an inner bed added while I was there, separating it from the inside row of raspberries to create another vegetable bed. I busied myself during my stay, putting in coriander, beets, radish, quinoa, broccoli, a patch of sunflowers for sprouting and another patch  hopefully to see yellow heads bobbing. Bending and squatting, dropping in each tiny seed it’s easy to fall into a meditative rhythm. I found a fellow volunteer, Ollis, entranced by the whole community of bugs, ants and worms he had disturbed turning up a rock, all living harmoniously in the cool rich earth.

The other arm of the cross had a wide bed of strawberries – all looking by early June like they had been putting out new energy as the days lengthened and warmed. At the end of the strawberry “patch”  a lilac bush, promised soon to be in bloom. The inner wide bed was again a vegetable patch with a plum tree at one end – under which I put in a few nasturtium and onion sets. I spent a while putting in two varieties of beets giving them a longer season by covering with a small moveable greenhouse in the fall. Had I had more time with this garden, I planned more vegetables to go  in over the  month of June.

The legs of the cross being more shaded were established borders of perennial beds of blackberry, grape and asparagus on one side and more strawberries on the other. A bed of blueberries, and many beds of kale, chives, garlic, lettuce, collards, spinach, tatzoi, sorrel, oriental greens, amaranth and more kale were already in the works by June, with plans for tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and squash.  What abundance!

Although the area of this garden’s location is the side of a mountain which nature didn’t originally plan to be a garden, one would never know it now after many years of building up the soil. On arrival in early May, I turned in horse manure, from the hard working Taloume, and compost. Everything of course organically grown so no worries as far as chemicals and fertilizers.

Taking out a few weeds and adding in some rows of greens toward the end of one day, as the shadows lengthened I was grateful for my sense of well being and for the quiet concentration of another volunteer, Jan-Michael, helping with some transplanting. Listening to the ch cchchcchc ch ch of the irrigation nozzles from the patio over supper; seeing the robins flitting in, I recall being assured of the garden’s ability to heal through the food it offered up and through the work it required, not only for that season of 2012, but for many a future season

 

 

 

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Further to Another Approach to Mountain Pose

As with the conventional mountain pose which is carried over into all other poses, so too with this variation (refer to “Another Approach to Mountain Pose” posted May 9). Also I’ve been trying this stance in other positions, such as wide legged, cross legged (that’s a challenge), seated straight legged with feet pressed against a support, or ‘v’ body again with feet pressed to a support. For me, it has the same activating effect of many of the yoga poses with the bonus of getting my brain completely involved as if new pathways are being built between it and the muscles. Physiology has never been my strong suit. All I know is, this is fun.

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Transcending Material Scarcity

Just listened to an hour length interview of Allegra Fuller Snyder and Jamie Snyder (daughter and grandson of Buckminster Fuller).

Some of the main points I got out of the video:

  • Bucky’s belief that all children are born geniuses with a comprehensive view which is drummed out of them by a school system which compartmentalizes thought processes.
  • In the face of such big problems as global warming, there is a tendency for people to feel hopeless and helpless. Allegra pulled out her shopping bag, noting that in the course of a day shopping, she might save 15 or 20 bags. This may seem incredibly insignificant, but “each one of us can do these very, very small things that add up to the big thing. The individual must feel absolutely responsible and effective within their everyday life.
  • As of 2001, of a world population of 6.5 billion; 1.5 billion is in extreme poverty (not making it); 1.5 billion are in moderate poverty (basic needs met, have food, shelter); 2.5 billion are middle income (basic needs met; have a little put away); one billion are wealthy (the rest of us)

Very encouraging ending with Jamie saying:

“One of the fundamental insights that he (Buckminster Fuller) presented was that for the first time in history, we’ve learned to do so much with so little in terms of resources; so for the first time in history, we have the potential to sustain 100% of humanity in a way that is ecologically sustainable while phasing out the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. That’s very central. AND

It is important to realize that there is a very large global consensus now; there is a very large coalition of people around the world who now understand that we can end poverty on the planet.”

Listen to the interview at <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj_lyn0982E&gt;

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Musings of a Michael Jackson “Person”

How does one become a Michael Jackson “Person”? I’m sure there are any number of ways to finding oneself including MJ on the journey. As a simple example, one young woman told me she grew up immersed in popular culture at a time when Michael was playing a major role in it, that she was proud that he was involved and that he was one to admire and his talent was unquestionable.

For my part, being a few years older than Michael, I of course knew of the Jackson 5 and one could hardly miss Thriller, Billie Jean and Bad. But other than his greatest hits, I have to admit I largely was unaware of Michael’s career and his impact on music and popular culture. Perhaps it was because his music came under the pop genre that I never paid much attention. Pop wasn’t to be taken seriously in my view, blues and rock and roll was where it was at.

At any rate, probably 99.9% of my becoming an MJ person had to do with the existence and access to computers and the internet. One day late in August 2010, browsing the video site YouTube, which at the time I had no personal history with, a video of Michael’s was just one click away. Later I learned August was the anniversary of Michael’s birth which was perhaps why one of his music videos came up and not something else.  A second click brought me to the 30th anniversary concert, Madison Square Gardens, NYC, 2001 at which Elizabeth Taylor introduced Michael as a great humanitarian. If anyone in popular culture is going to get my attention, the aspects of their character that have to do with what they are giving back to the world is a huge draw. What was Taylor referring to?  I was soon to find that the proceeds from entire tours had gone to charity and to the Heal the World Foundation, to learn of the visiting of children in hospitals and orphanages around the world and of the creation of Neverland, Michael’s home, and it being made welcoming as a retreat and outing for sick and/or underprivileged children.

Wanting to find out what MJ was like as a dancer and during live performance on tour, it wasn’t long before I came across the Live in Bucharest concert and then watched everything I could find featuring his moves.  Later looking up Jackson 5 videos, it was evident the years and years spent honing his stage skills from early childhood on.

In writing this I’m noticing what drew me in first. Someone else might have been drawn in by the music first, but for me it was MJ’s humanitarian side, then his dancing and performance style as a solo artist and yes eventually I began to absorb the music itself. I was to discover, that no matter which song Michael Jackson either wrote himself, was given or collaborated on, I liked them all. Unusual for me, as is more often the case, just one or two songs of a recording artist will grab me, not their entire catalogue. Early on I recognized his genius encompassed musicality far beyond just one genre. Just now looking it up, I find it included soul, R&B, disco, funk, gospel, synthpop, hiphop, rock, New Jack swing, and adult contemporary.

From here I recall my research mushrooming in any number of directions simultaneously. I needed to know about it “all” and how it “all” started: the history of his childhood and family background; the influences he cited, which again led to weeks, months of researching anyone whom he had credited like Sam and Dave and of course James Brown; his years performing with his siblings and family and learning all about Motown and all the performers and groups, Michael’s musical contemporaries, coming out of Barry Gordy’s Hitsville, many of whose songs were familiar to me as a child growing up in the 60’s with a radio clamped to my ear listening to an American station in the middle of the night.

Having always been a voracious reader with a wide range of reading interests and biography, autobiography and memoirs some of my favourite reading material, it was time to reread Moonwalk, although I found little of interest in 2010 otherwise. The library shelves were bare in comparison to other contemporary artists such as John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Elvis.

Back to the internet, I could find endless entertainment in the Jackson 5 performance years, leading me to set up another social media account on Twitter wanting to have some connection, however illusory, with people who had lived and breathed and worked with MJ, his brothers being all alive and right there a “tweet” away. Another Jackson family member, Katherine, was also of particular fascination for me. In MJ interviews I noted his chosen speaking voice. From whom did he learn to become so soft spoken and articulate? Perhaps they had drilled him at Motown or was Katherine’s example, his initial template to emulate?

And so it went. l was thrilled to catch the Cirque du Soleil – Michael Jackson The Immortal show in Vancouver in November 2011 and again in August 2012. It was a treat to be able to see in action people who had once worked with Michael, Sugarfoot Moffet, Greg Phillinganes and Jamie King.  A spectacular show with the live band, the acrobats,  the dancers, the visuals, I felt MJ’s artistic integrity had been ensured by involving so many who had originally worked alongside Michael.

I thought that my journey as a Michael person would be a solitary one. After all, at the time, I lived north of the 60th parallel, in Whitehorse, Yukon so I thought it highly unlikely I would find anyone to share my obsession. However I was wrong. After leaving the Yukon I received an email from my former boss, with “Michael Jackson” in the subject line. I thought my boss was teasing me, as he had caught me once in his office practicing The Drill.

I used to have a bit of fun at the bakery where I worked. On the front counter, rested a basket of white gloves which we used to take the freshly baked loaves of bread off the shelves. One day a new customer asked me what they were for. “Oh,” I offered, “we’re all Michael Jackson fans, stick around long enough and you might catch us breaking into Billie Jean.” For a moment I think she believed me. But I digress.

The “Michael Jackson” email was to introduce me to Wendy, still living in Whitehorse, who having found Michael was searching for others to relate to. Corresponding via email I felt that at least I was not entirely alone on the MJ path. After a miss a year ago, when Wendy and I were to meet at the Jackson family home in Gary, Indiana, the stars aligned, and some would say Michael, finally made our meeting happen and the two of us, as it always is between Michael friends, found our time all too short. I relish more get togethers to come in the future. 

Several years ago it was Wendy who had introduced me to the In the Studio with MJ seminars offered world wide by one of MJ’s former sound engineers, Brad Sundberg. A story teller extraordinaire, he invites other artists who once worked in some capacity with Michael, in the studio to share their stories. I have thus far had the privilege of meeting the genius who is Brad Buxer, musical director on tour and collaborator with MJ and Michael Prince, the understated and self described “knob twister” in his working relationship with MJ.

For someone like me who would never have thought much about the anatomy of how a recording is made, and to hear the break down of a completed piece on the best studio equipment out there at near MJ decibels are experiences I never imagined to have. These workshops can be quite addictive and with content being switched up from time to time I’ve had more fun than a person should be allowed at two of these events, one in Boston, another in Toronto. In Boston I was able to thank Joe Vogel, the author of The Man in the Music, letting him know in my opinion it should be on every library’s book shelf. Speaking of books, Elizabeth Amisu’s The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson is on my to read list. Happily there is now considerably more literature on library shelves to gain new insights into the legacy left by Michael and I seriously need to catch up on the never ending source of information from other media, such as The MJ Podcast.

Recently, I’ve had the distinct privilege of meeting self described MJ devotees, Brenda, author and Siren, artist, who graciously and generously opened their hearts and homes to me and included me on their respective Michael paths intertwined beautifully one with the other.  For them, Michael is a remarkable before and after, life altering, muse creating, all encompassing experience. They can tell it better and they have, through their art, books, charities, blogs, posts, etc. If Michael’s oft stated “all for L.O.V.E.” were an embodiment, it would be in these two.

Interesting the intersection of our paths crossing was because of a tree planted by Brenda and Siren in Michael’s memory in Calgary, happening to also be old stomping grounds of mine from life times ago. When I contacted Brenda on line, I thought I was simply getting directions to Michael’s Love Tree with no expectation to actually meet. Having experienced much loss in the way of friends who I thought I would have for a lifetime, it is reassuring and gratifying to find that any new friends some of whom I will meet because of Michael will be for life.

The journey of life can sometimes take on a treacherous turn or two. On the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s birth in 2018, I was to discover a “Michael dream” I had in 2014 had powerfully much greater significance than the initial lighthearted interpretation. That being a happy premonition of a dear friend, Aija, and me making a journey to New York before “knowing” anything about making the trip. While taking a break from the reason for being in NYC, being the People’s Climate March, the largest climate change march in history held September 2014, we found ourselves sitting on a memorial bench dedicated to Michael Jackson at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. The 2014 dream was to go several layers deeper when on August 29, 2018, Aija, after a life long exhausting battle with mental illness, took her own life. My new Michael friends, Brenda and Siren, saw me through the initial shock and remembering the dream, I was to feel and still do, “held up like the River Jordan”. If I can in some small part bring forward Aija’s care and love for her art, for others including children and especially her son and for the planet, at the NYC march she began writing the lyrics for Our Climate Song, then I will be doing well.

How or why a public figure’s life has enduring impact on one’s own is of interest to me and I was asked why, in my case, “Michael”.  I identify with Michael and his journey, through my own and I have duly noted the many similarities, parallels and passions of our lives: our ancestors repeatedly geographically displaced, for Michael in both his African and native American roots; both from every large families, 10 and 9 respectively, one of whom passing at birth; both from very strict religious families and breaking away from same while retaining what really mattered; both with fathers who raised children with the old adage of “spare the rod spoil the child”, being a girl in my family saved me; both starting to work at a very early age, Michael had a few years on my ten; both capable of being incredibly naive but still sharp as tacks; both having lies, beliefs, and judgments made of us resulting in being turned upon and enduring through it all, because “lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons” and finally having a raison d’etre of giving back which in Michael’s capacity to dream big included, “healing the world starting with the children”.

When I found that one of Michael’s ancestors on his father’s side included a shaman of the Choctaw tribe, it was of great personal significance to me as I have no doubt of the power of what we bring forward on our DNA. My own passions, specifically when it comes to ecological concerns tied in as they do with reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters, have evolved along side that of Michael’s who said, “Our goal is to change the world. To change world consciousness about children, the ecology and the planet, to make it a better place for everybody, starting with the children. ‘Cause that’s the future we live. And I’ll stick with it forever until it’s done'”.

Galvanized by a dream I had in 1997 having personally by that time spent half a lifetime living off “the fat of the land” I have and will continue to participate in any action supporting indigenous peoples’ and all of our (those with or without language), rights to clean air, clean water and clean food sources, to step back and give nature a chance. To fight for all species of which humans are only one to have a place in the biosphere. As one example only, twenty-three years after the release of Earth Song, it is heart breaking to see footage of an orangutan fighting a bulldozer and realizing personal habits and actions on one side of the globe affects whether an orangutan is left an orphan or not, has a home or not. So yes, I too will stick with it forever. Jane Goodall has said one of her reasons for hope for the planet is social media and the instant relay of information. That twitter account and other social media is now useful far beyond a purely entertaining medium.

Michael will always be “just another part of me“. Aside from his music sustaining me through a heavy turn, MJ has been a reminder to also keep the journey light, impish and carefree.  Recently a psychic, who knows nothing of my Michael interest, informed me I have a helper from the other side who is a prankster and loves making jokes. “Does that make sense? He wants you to lighten up.” I laughed out loud.  Again on the more serious side, Michael reminds me, through Siedah and cowriter’s memorable song to “make that change” whenever possible while at the same time to just allow for that sheer escapism that Michael often talked about wanting to provide through his artistry.

Someone recently said to me, we are so tremendously lucky to have lived at the time of the music scene of the last half of the last century. So I am always happy to celebrate that my happening to be around when Michael happened to be around just so happened to coincide. Right now I am really, really celebrating another musical legend and whom I like to imagine was a friend to Michael during his life, Freddie Mercury, through the bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody, but that’s a whole other story.

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