Sunday, May 29, 2011

People & Privilege (aka Day 1)

So I am about to begin this CCELD conference and I am jacking their free wireless connection. Technically today is Day 1 of the conference, but my adventure started yesterday when I began my travels. Yesterday I traveled from Winnipeg to Toronto to Ottawa to Gatineau. In traveling by myself, I did a lot of people-watching. I really enjoy people watching at home in Winnipeg. It is nice to see people I can relate to and try to guess what kind of journey they are on and try to guess what we may have in common.

Privilege

The one thing that I noticed about the airport people in Winnipeg, Toronto AND Ottawa is that they are very...privileged. They seemed very...untouched by the struggles of poverty...at least on the surface and in the way they carried themselves. I am an eavesdropper, and these folks were talking about 'last week in London...' and complaining about how they had better service at some other airport, and even speaking in a tone of voice that implies they are entitled to even more service than what they are receiving. This attitude of entitlement is way too overwhelming for me, which is probably why I spent most of that trip in silence and didn't want to smile at people and didn't want to engage in conversation. This privilege (to me) almost seems like a sickness. A blindness where people are unable to appreciate the gifts they have received and an almost deliberate ignorance of the struggles of those around them. I hope I am never that privileged.

People

I think that when we go places, we never really go by ourselves. All of those privileged folks have families and backgrounds and experiences that I cannot pretend to know. As such, I should not judge these people, just because they have lived a more privileged life than myself. What I can do to help, is be honest about the people that I carry with me in my journey. I carry the North End of Winnipeg with me when I go places and every young person that I have come to know and love, and I take very seriously the job that I have to REPRESENT when I am out in the world. I want to make sure that I act with Respect and Humility and remind those around me that when we roll, we roll with Love. I represent my home community of Shamattawa, and indeed our entire vast beautiful province of Manitoba. I will try my best to share the amazingness that has been shared with me by the people in my life. I will take all of you with me and share all that I have with those that I encounter. I do this, so that my example can be shared with young ones, the next generation, and the next group of inner city ghetto children that go traveling abroad, represntin' internationally.

Antidote

This generosity and sharing is the antidote for the illness of privilege. It is ok to have fancy things, like a fancy hotel, or a fancy trip, but those experiences are not yours to keep. The are your memories, and your moments, but they must be captured in some way, in ashareable format that will benefit others in your community. When we share these things we are able to cure greed, and set an example to those that do have privilege, what they should be doing with it.

Love & Respect

MC

PS. This beautiful Algonquin woman just gave a beautiful opening prayer for the conference, and brought tears to my eyes. Our medicine wheel, and our people are so beautiful and so strong.

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North End MC

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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Representin the North End of Winnipeg since 1987. I will share my journey tryna set an example and live a proud Cree life. I'll include my challenges and feelings and progress in terms of AYO! Aboriginal Youth Opportunities. You(th) are the reason.

Tetris