Aaniin, today on Rezidivism I would like to talk about when you start making changes in your life and your old friends, family and acquaintances are unable to accept the changes. Like many others from the Reservations, I grew up with just about all of my family and their extended families. We are all related. Cousins are siblings and everybodys's parents are everyones's parents. We grow extremely comfortable accepting our collective state of oppression, racism and societal saturation. In this crisis, we adapt together through generations and do our best to maintain a strong sense of community through humor. In other words, we remain close and connected. I never knew how to process this situation and always felt alone. I do believe that to is a consequence of not knowing who I am as an Anishinaabe.
When I started to look into my Anishinaabe being, I began to grow. Studying and learning more about what Anishinaabe do and think, I was more aware of how I treat myself, my spirit and my connection of that spirit to the Spirit World. Being more open to this energy redirects your own energy. It is like the ingredients you put in to food, what you put in reflects on taste, color, texture and ,ultimately, nutrition. I started working on who I am as an Anishinaabe and what I projected must have been noticeable, even though I did not sense it.
I got a job after my first time in prison in 2005. I had just learned my Anishinaabe name and would use it when I put out tobacco, infrequently. An old brother of mine seen me working and I stopped to talk to him. He was drunk and high. That didn't bother me because I was still in active use myself. He asked me if I could get him a job, I said I barely got mine and these guys aint looking right now. What? you aint gonna help me out? I can try, but it isn't up to me. What you think your shit don't stink cuz you got a job and I don't? You forgot where you come from. I walked away.
That short interaction still lives with me today some 15 years later. The crabs sure do try to pull you back into the bucket, even though you aint trying to get out, you aint trying to leave and you don't even know there is a bucket. My friendship with my brother was never the same from that day. I took his words as an attack and I think in my head that he felt sorry for the words he said but do believe he absolutely stood by his words and would not reel back. I did not want think that my crap don't stink, I sure do know it does. And I have not forgot where I came from. I just see it differently. Thinking about that conversation recently and how I still experience similar attacks by others today in 2019. It is no wonder that it is so tough to let go. When the people you care about the most and your people that you should have strong relationships with because of our spiritual connection start shaming you for trying to do better, it more that emotionally/mentally/physically hurts, it hurts spiritually.
I want to share my understanding of how we can emerge from the blanket of oppression with lateral oppressive batting. It is a demonstration of my belief that I am living my purpose. No matter how someone else tries to derail me from that purpose, I need to self seek who I am as an Anishinaabe. That is something that no one else can tell you, and at the same time, we need collectiveness, a connection together in order to perform our purposes. We need to share knowledge rather than put downs. My purpose would be better achieved through this collectivity due to our energy together.
My crap does stink and I do remember where I come from even more today that I am more clearly able to recall my past and this helps me visualize my future.
We will further get into this topic and look forward to hearing your stories.
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