Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Standing with the Chiefs

Dear World

My name is Michael Redhead Champagne. I am 24 years old, grew up in the North End of Winnipeg and am originally from Shamattawa Cree Nation. I am writing you this letter because I will not be silent any longer while the young people, elders and children in our communities continue to die. In my position as a leader in my community, I support Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence in her protest of Minister Duncan’s insulting response to the emergency in her community. The deplorable conditions are all too familiar and have recently been highlighted in communities such as the state of emergency in Attawapiskat, the lack of education in Pikangikum, the youth suicides in Shamattawa the missing and murdered Aboriginal sisters and daughters. These conditions are all too familiar on First Nations communities across Canada and our Federal government fails to respond effectively. They respond with irresponsible, scattered and often offensive responses to emergencies, assuming there is any response at all. I think we all remember slop buckets and body bags, more recently mega prisons and fighter jets.


While Canada touts its international horn on its human rights and other such things, aboriginal youth are committing suicide in my community. We even have a museum dedicated to such a cause in our very own city. Meanwhile, so many young people are suffering from something called HOPELESSNESS. I buried one of my kids last month because of this sickness and many stand by watching us die, and kill one another until there will be no one left. And even if we do survive, the political and health and justice and treaty systems will ensure that we shut the hell up.

Hopeless?

I am writing this letter to send a message: Aboriginal youth are leaders. We are strong, and we are learning our culture and traditions and we will not be stopped now. We continue to reclaim our languages, protect our children and love our elders. We will continue to work together to stop the corruption, the disrespect and the contempt. We are standing to show that we are willing to act together with our communities as well as other First Nation Leaders across our country to ensure a prosperous future for our young people, and indeed all Canadians.


It can start right now. By simply leaving a comment (or emailing your message to aboriginal.youth.opportunities@gmail.com) and sharing your support. It can start on Thursday by coming to Lighting Up The Avenue. It can Start Friday At Meet Me @ The Bell Tower. The choices are yours. But I know that the only way we can stop this injustice, is by standing together.

Love, Courage and Respect

MC

7 comments:

  1. Greetings,

    My name is Daniel Sioux Ranville and I am a person of Métis descent. I am called Notchigo Meengan day zhan ee kah zheese or Different Wolf, I am wolf clan a lone wolf, my colors are all the colors of the Earth.

    My sacred colors make me invisible, camouflaged. As a wolf clan member, my job is to be a scout, to leave the safety and security of the community and patrol our borders. Today, in military terms it is called reconnaissance. My only weapons are my stealth, skill and my knife. If I have to use my knife then I am not doing my job very well. Because my job is essential to the people, I am essential to the people and there is no room for mistakes so I must survive. My job is to bring the people a message of our enemies movements. It is very dangerous work. I am ever watchful for the enemy. As a lone wolf and warrior, my job is to leave even the safety and security of our borders and penetrate deep into enemy territory hidden by my sacred colors. I must observe the enemies movements and learn their tactics and then to bring them back to the people so that the people can take steps to protect themselves.

    I have a message especially for Aboriginal Youth. This message is inspired by the women and youth who have taken specific action over the indignities that we all endure today. Specifically, I am encouraged by the one lone warrior who posted on Youtube his statement to the racist rhetoric seen in the Attawapiskat housing crisis and declared state of emergency. The lone wolf mentioned the truth about government funding and where the true responsibility lays with our racist government paternalistic tutelage. Michael Champagne and his efforts. Your all inspiring.

    The system has been always focused on youth, to sway them, to lure and corrupt. The system has ever been after the children, the sacred fire. The system has ever been disrespectful to those who are able to give birth the to sacred fire, our children. Before the sacred fire is allowed to be born into their circle, they are already threatened by the system. Aboriginal youth are like those paratroopers in World War 2 who jumped from the planes deep into enemy territory. Upon landing, the paratroopers were surrounded by enemy, anywhere they went the knew they would have to face their enemy. And the Way of the Warrior has always been to protect the people at their most vulnerable points, The Circle of Power, The Sacred Fire, and The Contraries. This is where our medicine is. We are all Warriors and we must do our duty and not the opposite. Share this message with friends and family and protect yourself from the great corruption and deception.

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  2. Aboriginal youth today are under the impression they are different, they have things under control and they will be better off than their own parents. Aboriginal youth have a false sense of control and security and are deluded. What Aboriginal youth are not aware is that they were born into a system and that system is not Aboriginal friendly. That system is ancient and far more powerful than any Aboriginal youth can imagine unless they are gifted to see many complexities and profundities, making connections and understanding.

    It is important to know that the system wants you to believe that you have control so that the system can then control you. The system wants youth more than anything, to corrupt and to control, to enslave. The system wants to put out The Sacred Fire.

    We understand that Aboriginal youth of the 1930's 40's and 50's were forced to attend Indian Residential School suffering many abuses and many never came back home. That is no longer a secret. Before that many suffered at the hands of the dreaded Indian Agent who controlled every aspect of their lives even the buying and selling of a cow or leaving the reserve, permission was needed. Those youth suffered. They became parents. Today, they would be your grandparents, aunts uncles, mothers and fathers. Many of them would have been driven to dysfunction over what they experienced, transferring their dysfunction to Aboriginal youth today. We would have seen it in home violence, substance abuses, sexual abuses, neglect and other exploitations and grave indignities children should never have to endure, witness or participate. That was their system. I do not blame them for what they did, they only behaved the way the corruptor's and assimilator's taught them, the priests and the nuns, the Indian Agents and racist teachers, the corrupted.

    They are called survivors. What they survived is a nightmare beyond comprehension and they brought it home in a way no one would quite understand until the inevitable volumes of research revealed what we know today as Intergenerational Effects of Indian Residential School. That is my system, like many of you, I am a survivor of survivors.

    That system remains with us today. Like many of you, I too grew up in poverty, violence and racism, in instability with the danger of apprehension very real. As a child, I slept through many wild drunken parties and stepped over passed out bodies, scrounging for food on my way to school. I too lost my indigenous language, Mitchif. I too was pushed out of school by racist teachers. I too worked crappy jobs with crappy pay. I too sold dope to my brothers and sisters thinking that was the only option for me. I too was in a problem unaware of the path to transcend it. I too had children at a very young age. Though I thought I did my best, that system, continued in our lives and now my children had to survive my dysfunction. My dysfunction was apparent to them and now, they too live with the intergenerational effects of Indian Residential School. It is a legacy we are trying to end. It is a system we are trying to liberate from, to live the lives we were meant to live. But they and all Aboriginal youth are at a greater disadvantage than I was and maybe the situation is getting worse, not better; or better for some and worse for others, just like the system we know as Empire with their have's and the have not's and the growing economic disparity associated with it.

    Youth are still getting wasted by that same system today and its unnecessary. Even more than the dreaded 60's scoop, Aboriginal children are being apprehended at greater rates. As a result;

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  3. Aboriginal Youth participation rates in gangs and other criminal activities are increasing. That means your children rarely see mommy and daddy if ever because many are either on probation, in jail or at risk of suicide or murder. Or your children witness violence. For this reason many children are apprehended. For this reason, children are without parents and stable families and for this reason, the cycle and intergenerational effects continue unabated.

    Substance abuse is high. Aboriginal people have the highest incarceration rates, lowest education levels, poorest health, lowest income levels with a booming population growth indicating early teen pregnancies which is not good for teens or their children. Having the highest push out rates and poorest education levels, Aboriginal youth will face poverty and suffer enormous indignities. National rates of suicide among Aboriginal youth are estimated to be five to six times higher than among non-aboriginal youth.

    Aboriginal youth today, as youth in the past will suffer. That is certain. Unless there is a change.

    For too long we have watched friends violently beaten, killed and murdered, incarcerated, engage in criminal activities and die from overdose. For too long we have witnessed the indignities youth have done to themselves as a result of the corruption that came from Canadian colonization, Christianization and assimilation. I think about HELEN BETTY OSBOURNE, J. J. HARPER and Neil STONECHILD! I think about the Saskatoon Police who allegedly drive Aboriginal youth to the outskirts of town, take away their shoes, and make them walk back into town in the middle of winter. I think about useless justice inquiries that remain ignored by the system. Recently, I think about the kids who lay dead and dying in the streets of our cities wasted from senseless gang violence, the system they and their children will face.

    Aboriginal youth under the age of 25 represent more than half of the Aboriginal population in Canada today. What we can see is a booming Aboriginal youth population with a lost heritage entering Canadian society. Things do not appear to be changing and no one really has control.

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  4. We know Aboriginal youth want to participate in something that is good, wholesome and honest but what is stopping them? Probably adults in a frantic, over/under-involvement dysfunction wanting to be liked by kids rather than being responsible parents, we give in to childish demands. Or being over/under-invested telling and lecturing rather than guiding and letting go. Too many pied pipers, interferences from other dysfunctional parents and gangs, too much harbouring of our youth in other dysfunctional homes. There is a solution for all youth. Have you ever wondered what happened to the Traditional Warrior? What was taken from us so long ago, only seemed lost. The Warrior teachings cleverly hidden so we can remember who we are with dignity and self respect. The Way of the Warrior is a solution to the dysfunction we continue to witness. The Way of the Warrior is what helped everyone to survive and remain after numerous assaults and assimilation attempts to our cultures occurred from Canadian colonization. The Way of the Warrior was always with us and survived because you can kill the people, you can even drive them to dysfunction but you can't kill the spirit, the core of who we are. The Warrior teachings are found in the traditional ways of the people, in the languages, in sacred law and in the ceremonies and dances, in the art and culture. It is found at home with family around the dinner table. If you want to be a true Warrior as you were meant to be, then go to the traditional teachings, ceremonies and culture. Hidden therein are the ancient Warrior teachings and it is time for them to re-emerge in a powerful way! You must be very clever to find them as they are so well hidden so that the essence of who we are will never be lost. In the old days, the Indian Agents banned ceremonies and languages because they knew this is where the fire of our communities remain lit and they took children away from the community because they knew this is where identity is transferred, to youth. Though many youth fell, assimilators were unsuccessful.

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  5. The Warrior Way is not trying to ruin your good time in your youth. The Warrior Way does not take you away from your friends, night clubs and parties. The Warrior Way does not ask you to join a religion where you make radical changes to be a good person or wear a robe everyday. The Way of the Warrior does not ask you to prove yourself. You have already done that in surviving the survivors and the assimilators in resisting. You are already good and wonderful and full of potential just as you are. That is how you were created. Deep down inside, is where the real you is and no matter what you have seen or done or felt, it has not changed who you truly are. You are a Warrior. It is the assimilation that has everyone confused. Today, our culture is threatened by another culture. Modern culture, with all of its music and television, and role models themselves confused! They are assimilated.

    What The Warrior Way does ask you is to ask yourself if you are ready to learn the Way of the Warrior and improve your life chances in surviving and protecting yourself from assimilation, for yourself and your children? Take a look around you. Are you satisfied with what you see? Is it enough for you and your children for seven generations? Do you feel safe and secure? Are you truly happy? Do you really think you have everything under control? If not and you know there is more and you truly believe you are entitled to the best, then maybe you are ready. Are you ready to discover the truth? If so, then study the traditional ways of the people with a sincere heart and notice how everything refers to your survival as an indigenous person of Turtle Island. The truth is that you are worth so much more and you deserve the very best. So treat yourself well and be good to yourself.

    If you are not of Aboriginal descent you can still learn the ways of the warrior as the warrior society is open only if you are ready. In the old days, the Francaise and the Anglophones used to escape their societies and come to live with us, the Warriors because our ways offered true liberation, empowerment, self respect and dignity. That is a tradition The Warrior Way will continue. The Way of the Warrior is welcoming and sharing in mutual respect because the Way of the Warrior is to know self respect.

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  6. Replies
    1. Wow. Thank you for your words. Can we get in touch via emai or Facebook soon?? I'd really like to share your msg with youth, but would like to ask your permission first. michael(dot)champagne(at)hotmail(dot)com Ekosi!

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North End MC

My photo
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