Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dreamcatcher Nightmare

I like how the dress really compliments her hair colour and the necklace highlights her incredible white privilege.

My friend and I always laugh when we see dreamcatchers hanging from people's rear-view mirrors. We laugh and laugh and laugh until we cry tears of frustration. Maybe you don't know why this is ridiculous but those of us in the know do and we're here to educate you. Dreamcatchers are meant to catch dreams, so unless you sleep in your car or plan on falling asleep at the wheel, they make no sense in your fucking car. And hey...if you sleep in your car, I ain't judging. 
It's weird having my culture be en vogue. It's disturbing seeing skulls with Native headdresses on t-shirts for sale at Urban Outfitters
I'm real happy you were able to follow that Trail of Tears right on down to your 
local mall and pick up that shirt.
This is dangerous combination of hipster racism and white privilege. Try telling people they shouldn't be wearing these things. Tell them it's offensive. Tell them it's straight up disrespectful and they will retort about how they respect the culture and that is *why* they're wearing it. Yeah...I'm sure all the First Nations people who died through acts of genocide were hoping someone would wear their sacred and ceremonial headdresses to a music festival. That was probably their last wish. 
"Please...promise me that one day chicks in bikinis will wear my culture's traditional and ceremonial clothing to a Bon Iver concert." - Said by no chief, ever. (Pictured: Miniconjou chief Spotted Elk, dead, after Wounded Knee Massacre)

Look into offside distance? Check
Appear "stoic"? Check
Wear cheaply made, offensive "Native" apparel? Check
Congratulations. You're a racist.

After looking at pictures upon pictures of "Native Inspired" garb, I'm actually beginning to wonder if I'm Native at all. I don't own any feathers, I never stand in fields and I usually show emotions on my face. Shit, you guys. I better get on Etsy right now and see if these white girls can help me figure out how to get back in touch with my tribal roots. I'll call my cousins up and let them know we've been doing it wrong this whole time.

Before you reply to defend your racism and tell me why it's ok to steal from other cultures, please see if your answers are on this bingo card.
(Made by elusis)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tall Girl Observations

Tall girls are taller than all the girls and almost all the boys in elementary and Jr. high school. Some of the boys catch up to them in high school.

Tall girls sometimes have to dress a few years "older" than everyone else in their grade because none of the young kid clothes will fit. They're all too short or small.

Tall girls look the grade 6 teacher in the eye, even as he towers over the rest of her classmates.

Tall girls are told "You're tall enough" by insecure people whenever they wear heels. This starts in Jr. high school and never ends.

Tall girls sometimes make friends with the few other tall girls they meet and trade clothes for the first time in their life.

Tall girls get hit on by grown ass dudes when they are in their early teens. Sometimes this is thrilling and sometimes this is creepy.

Tall girls get told to "act your age" when they are acting their age, because everyone assume they're much older than they actually are.

Tall girls sometimes get asked to model.

Tall girls get asked if they want to join the basketball team at their new school.

Tall girls learn that short dresses for average height girls make really good long shirts for tall girls.

Tall girls stop trick or treating during Halloween a couple years before all their short/average height friends.

Tall girls don't mean to wear belly shirts sometimes. It just so happens that most shirts turn into belly shirts when you're tall.

Tall girls have cold ankles sometimes cause pants aren't usually long enough.

Tall girls don't get asked for ID very often when they go out.

Tall girls (who are hetero, single and looking) wish guys wouldn't feel the need to lie about their height in their online dating profiles.

Tall girls can always find their friends in crowded places, as they just peer over the masses.

Tall girls sometimes get called "snobby" if they stand up straight and proud.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Cunty Post

"A woman who shaves her vagina looks pre-pubescent."
Have you ever heard that phrase? Read it in an article, perhaps? Maybe in the comments section?
I have. More than once. I've heard it and I've read it and I'm not fuckin' buying it.
The first time someone said that to me, I was 16 years old. Every time I've come across this phrase, it was a man saying it but it could be any gender saying it. It's usually a person who probably considers themselves liberal, open minded and perhaps even a feminist. They have the best of intentions. They think they are striking out against this "trend" of shaved pussies. They think they are supporting woman by making their opinions known on the porn popular shaved pussy.
Well, fuck that. I assure you, it is not empowering to broadcast your opinion about grooming habits to a whole gender of people.
Calling a grown ass woman "pre-pubescent" is insulting. I wouldn't walk up to a man with a shaved face and call him "pre-pubescent". Why? Because he's a MAN. Regardless of how much hair he has on his face, his chest, his arms or his goddamn balls. I wouldn't go up to a lady with A-cup breasts and tell her she looks "pre-pubescent. Why? Because she's a WOMAN. And I assure you, when my clothes come off for any man I sleep with and they see my body, regardless of how much hair I choose to keep or not keep on my pussy, they know I'm a grown woman. They do not need that little signal to tell them so.
Comparing a WOMAN to a young girl because she chooses to shave/wax her vagina is inherently misogynistic because you are still telling a woman what she has to look like, what she has to be and do to be considered a woman in your definition.
We're allowed to have our own dislikes, likes, fetishes, turn ons and turn offs. But don't deny someone ownership of their body. Just accept that they are not your "type" and move on. Do not preach about why that "type" is unacceptable, repulsive or unattractive.
Men: I like facial hair but if you have a smooth shaven face you are still a post-pubescent, full grown man to me. And if you want to shave your balls, that's your business.
Ladies: Do whatever the hell you want. Do it because you want too. Because it pleases you. And don't let someone turn your pubic hair choice into a goddamn soapbox. Just let it be your box.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Attawapiskat Crisis

Attawapiskat is a northern Ontario reserve that is going through a major housing crisis right now. They've declared a state of emergency and so far, the Government's reaction has been to send someone to figure out where the money went and offer ultimatums. While I know for a fact that some reserves suffer from corruption in the band office, I find it astonishing that in -30 C weather, with families in tents and shacks without proper isolation, running water, heat or electricity, Harper's government thinks the appropriate response is to send someone in to do some accounting and auditing.

This is not a wood shed. Families are living in there with no heat, plumbing, isolation or electricity.

If you want to know where the money went, this blog offers an easily understandable assessment based on facts and not conjecture: âpihtawikosisân

But, I'm not necessarily surprised. When a dossier of possibly controversial quotes from Harper's team was accidentally leaked, I instantly combed through it to find out his views of Native people and what I found was a man resenting our treaty rights.

"What the new 'rights' definition means is precisely the opposite of that. It's now being turned into the right of one particular group [Native People] to demand things of another, which by their very nature can't be reciprocated." - Stephen Harper from Two Wrongs Make a "Right" 11/01/99

What pisses me off most about this quote is that it could easily describe the situation Native people found themselves in when settlers came here and demanded land, demanded they move to small, undesirable tracts of lands and refused to give them the same rights as other citizens. Does that not sound like " particular group to demand things of another..."? I've mentioned before, but it bares repeating, that one of those rights was simply voting in Federal elections. Native people could not vote until 1960 without having to give up their treaty rights or renounce their Native status.

I can't seem to read one single article about Attawapiskat without coming across hundreds of comments offering their own personal solutions to the Native "problem". Some comments are well meaning but half-hearted but most comments are steeped in racism, stereotypes, ignorance, prejudice, resentment and bitterness. People thinking that they can solve hundreds of years of marginalization and generations worth of trauma in 1 paragraph. This over simplification of such a complex situation is tired and trite. I've heard it a hundred times before but it always sounds the same.

As someone who has been on many reserves and lived on one, I can tell you one thing: This is happening all across Canada and has been happening for a very long time. It is happening a few miles outside of your town or outside of your city. You may even drive on a highway that goes through or around a reserve and from afar you may see the houses. From afar, they may look in decent shape. But try living in one, and you will find out otherwise. Houses on reserves are built with the cheapest materials. Just ask Mike Holmes.

I don't know what it is going to take for people to see that just beyond the city limits is a 3rd world nation suffering and being ignored by the Government of Canada. Perhaps, Attawapiskat will open some eyes. I suspect that it won't be until some small child freezes to death before we get a meaningful reaction out of the Harper government.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I Call 'em Like I See 'em

Sara Quin, of Tegan and Sara fame, recently wrote an amazing letter which echoes the sentiments of many people. She asked, "When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry?" Her whole letter can be found here

a call for change

When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry? When will they be treated with the same seriousness as racist and anti-Semitic offenses? While an artist who can barely get a sentence fragment out without using homophobic slurs is celebrated on the cover of every magazine, blog and newspaper, I’m disheartened that any self-respecting human being could stand in support with a message so vile.

As journalists and colleagues defend, excuse and congratulate ‘Tyler, the Creator,’ I find it impossible not to comment. In any other industry would I be expected to tolerate, overlook and find deeper meaning in this kid’s sickening rhetoric? Why should I care about this music or its “brilliance” when the message is so repulsive and irresponsible? There is much that upsets me in this world, and this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve drafted an open letter or complaint, but in the past I’ve found an opinion – some like-minded commentary – that let me rest assured that my outrage, my voice, had been accounted for. Not this time.

If any of the bands whose records are held in similar esteem as Goblin had lyrics littered with rape fantasies and slurs, would they be labeled hate mongers? I realize I could ask that question of DOZENS of other artists, but is Tyler exempt because people are afraid of the backlash? The inevitable claim that detractors are being racist, or the brush-off that not “getting it” would indicate that you’re “old” (or a faggot)? Because, the more I think about it, the more I think people don’t actually want to go up against this particular bully because he’s popular. Who sticks up for women and gay people now? It seems entirely uncool to do so in the indie rock world, and I’ll argue that point with ANYONE.

No genre is without its controversial and offensive characters- I’m not naive. I’ve asked myself a thousand times why this is pushing me over the edge. Maybe it’s the access to him (his grotesque twitter, etc). Maybe it’s because I’m a human being, both a girl and a lesbian. Maybe it’s because my mom has spent her whole adult life working with teenage girls who were victims of sexual assault. Maybe it’s because in this case I don’t think race or class actually has anything to do with his hateful message but has EVERYTHING to do with why everyone refuses to admonish him for that message.

It is not without great hesitation and hand wringing that I enter into the discourse about Tyler, the media who glorifies and excuses misogyny and homophobia, and the community of artists that doesn’t seem remotely bothered by it. I can only hope that someone reading this might be inspired to speak out. At the very least, I will know that my voice is on record.


For those too busy to read the letter, basically, she takes issue with performers and artists who are using misogynistic and homophobic lyrics without repercussions, without being questioned or without being called out for their offensive message. In fact, many of these artists are being lauded for their vision and their talent. While, yes, they may have talent, does that mean we should excuse their prejudices and degradations?

I feel the same way about people who want to excuse Roman Polanski of his raping a 13 year old girl just because he's made some amazing movies. As if their talent outweighs any harm they bring unto others. Any offenses they may commit seem to be wiped from the slate and they are granted forgiveness because of their genius. Or, worse, in some cases they may even be encouraged for their abhorrent behaviour.

I agree 100% with what she has written and it has inspired me to write this as well.


I want to know why Tegan and Sara use American Apparel products for their merchandise if Sara has specifically said, "I’m disheartened that any self-respecting human being could stand in support with a message so vile." I am not doubting Sara's commitment to her message. I only want to point out that it is hard to support Tegan and Sara financially without supporting someone like Dov Charney, the founder and CEO of American Apparel , who has made himself famous with quote after reprehensible quote, spewing misogynistic proclamations in many of his interviews.

Not sure what quotes I'm talking about? Read 'em and weep:

“Women initiate most domestic violence (claims)…and this has made a victim of culture out of women.”—Dov Charney

“Feminism is extremely restrictive. You cant call a woman a bitch, you can't call her this, you can't call her that. But that's what life's really like. Yet, she can do whatever she wants. It's out of balance and that's why young people haven't embraced feminism, because it's out of balance.”—Dov Charney

So, as much as I support Sara's message I can't actually support Tegan and Sara's band, monetarily, by buying their merchandise because I would be doing exactly what Sara has admonished in her letter.

I would love if they decided to go through a different merchandiser but I know that good quality, sweat shop free products are hard to find. Until they decide to switch their supplier, I am happy spreading Sara's message of holding public figures (artists and CEOs alike) accountable for derogatory and offensive statements, even if it means I can't wear a cool Tegan and Sara hoodie.


P.S. I'm aware of the lawsuits filed against Dov Charney for sexual harassment but decided not to include them in this as I would prefer his own words be my evidence of his character.

P.P.S. I also purposely decided not to include pictures of anyone I mentioned in this article because, again, I wanted the words to speak for themselves.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Hyphen

Last night, while out at the bar with a couple of my friends, our waitress tested me.

She said, as she conversed with our table, "My family is Scottish..." and I refrained from looking shocked. Shocked because she's a POC (Person of Colour) or perhaps you prefer the term Visibly Monitory. She said it with all the casualness in the world and because, so many times, have I said I'm Native and people look stunned and in disbelief, I wanted to respond with a casual acknowledgment of her statement.

I'll admit, sometimes I like when people look stunned because I know it's surprising to some people since I'm so pale. But I've resented when people didn't believe me or questioned it. No, I'm not trying to punk you. No, I'm not lying. Yes, here is my treaty card as proof. Sure, go ahead and decipher my facial features to see if you can find my Native heritage. It's cool.

Side by side comparison to make it easier on you

In the past, Mixed Race was sometimes looked on as a solution to a problem. For example, A.O Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines in Australia until 1940 and made well known by the movie "Rabbit Proof Fence", systematically enforced the practice of removing "Half Caste" Aborigines from their parents in order to lessen their contact with other Aborigines and encourage "biological absorption". I look in the mirror and wonder...have I been biologically absorbed? But...that can't be because, although I look white, I identify much more with being Native. But, perhaps Mr. Neville would've thought that I had been biologically absorbed successfully as most would never guess my Native heritage unless they knew what to look for.

Then I think of it from the other perspective. Has my Native DNA tainted my Caucasion DNA? Is there no redemption of my lineage now that I am Mixed Race? Is this a case of the One Drop rule? Honestly, I don't care. But there are people who cared about these things and still do. It was not that long ago when governments and society were trying to figure out where Mixed Race people fit. In fact, many of the decisions made by yesteryear's racists, white supremacists and eugenicists are still affecting People of Colour and their right's today. For example, the issue of Virginia Natives trying to gain recognition as a tribe. Even my own treaty rights rested on a very precarious balance as one of the only reasons I got them was due to my mom being Caucasian and my dad being Native. Native women and their children lost their treaty rights when they "married out". This was amended in 1985 (the year of my birth) but still affects many people, especially their grandchildren who don't get treaty rights or status despite the amendment.

One of my favourite insights into being Mixed Race is the short film by Vin Diesel called Multi-Facial, which deals with him struggling at auditions to be what they expect him to be. I have included it (in two parts) below:

I'm not an actress. I don't face these challenges professionally but I think many people of Mixed Race deal with the reality of not filling the role you are expected to fill. Either being too this or not enough of that and society looking at you and trying to figure out what stereotype is more fitting for you. Personally, I enjoy not fitting into any of molds that have been cast for me. When I catch someone off guard because I am paler than they thought a Cree person would be, I am happy. I've made them question their own reality by introducing them to mine. And last night, I was happy to be on the other side of that interaction when the waitress made me question my own preconceived notions.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Why I Vote

Did you know we're having an election here in Canada? Well...we are! May 2nd!

This is going to be a short entry but I just wanted to a write a little something.

I don't care why you vote, who you vote for or how you get there. You could drive a Hummer, throwing Styrofoam cups out the window and blasting Miley Cyrus all the way there and vote for anyone. That's cool. You know why? Cause I'm just glad you voted.

But I wanted to explain why voting is important to me.

It wasn't that long ago that someone in my position didn't get to vote in the election. I'm not talking about being a woman. Women had the right to vote in Canadian elections in 1919. What is more disturbing to me is knowing that it wasn't until 1960 that aboriginals finally got the right to vote. In fact, before 1960, if a native person wanted to vote they had to give up their treaty rights and their Indian Status to do so.

I listen to music from the 1960s! I watch shows from the 1960s! I own CLOTHES from the 1960s! The 1960s was not that long ago. It is insane to me that within many of my relative's lifetimes, they were legally not allowed to vote.

Why is voting important to me? Besides all the obvious reasons, it's because I know that it wasn't that long ago when my family and ancestors was denied the right to cast a ballot. Denied the right to control their future. How many people's voices were lost in every election before 1960? How many chose to have their voices heard and lost their treaty rights to do so?