Monday, November 23, 2015

New Website in Process!

I'm in the process of creating a new website!  The good news is that my domain name will stay the same but I will be getting an official divorce from blogger.  There will be several new changes including many additions to my business Red Circle Consulting. 

I have also launched a small publishing company called - Waub Ajijaak Press.  Here is a preview to information regarding the press:


Waub Ajijaak Press is a small press that focuses on Great Lakes Anishinaabe stories, children's stories, and poetry. We are committed to cultural revitalization and preservation. 


In honor of ancestral Ogema Waub Ajijaak (Chief White Crane) this press was started to honor ancestors, culture, decolonization, healing, heritage, matriarchy, recovery, sobriety/wellbriety, and traditions. My family's ancestry comes from a line of hereditary Chiefs from Mooniingwanekaaning-minis (Madeline Island, Wisconsin). The Anishinaabe culture believes that our ancestors are always with us. In Fall 2014 I had a dream of a White Crane. Through research I discovered Ogema Waub Ajijaak is my ancestor. In regards to traditional clan relations this press honors the past, present, and the future that we can create through sharing our gifts of storytelling. 


The traditional role within the community was a "leader" or "Chief," not even as defined as what we know in our Anishinaabe communities today. Leadership was not hierarchical but it was leadership within the circle. Crane in Ojibway translates to "echo maker" which is a reference to the strong and resonate voice of the crane. Also crane clan members were speakers for the community and worked to negotiate with other tribes and bands.
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Please stayed tuned for the big move.  Chi miigwech/thank you for supporting me in all that I do!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Poem: Decolonization of Industrialized Islands

The decolonization of urban spaces,
Urban islands fenced off and monitored,
The water flows,
Street signs and town lines are a distraction,
This will not be here in 100 years,
This metropolitan area,
City and town,
Is a creation,

The feeling of "settling" is unreal,
When your family toiled in the factories,
Union organizer who assisted in the building and founding of the UAW,
Zug Island,
Environmental injustice of the soul of the people,

What is the name of the island before the state-county-city?
Owner-occupied all the way to the core,
What happens when we de-develop?

When will we foreclose on the mindset of "history starts here?"
Settler colonialism "starts here" and it is all that matters,
There are more stories not yet written but they are there in the soil,

The sound stirs in your heart and soul,
The ancestors dance,

The river runs clear at a point,
Can we get there?

Do we remember the land as it was before?
What are these sounds that we hear?
The Windsor hum?

Is your hand not the workers hand?
Did your ancestors not toil as mine did to create unions?
Work for industrialists and sacrifice for their families?

Is your body not the workers body?
Assembly line mind-set to be decolonized,
The steels and rust topples our ancestors bodies and stories,
The sound is heard in the soul,
Can you hear them?

We are walking this river,
The river runs clear at a point,
We need to remember this.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Article: Two-Spirit People, Body Sovereignty, and Gender Self-Determination

As Cree people we understand that the nature of the cosmos is to be in balance and that when balance is disturbed, it must and will return. 

Restoring balance

Two-spirit identity is one way in which balance is being restored to our communities. Throughout the colonial history of the Americas, aggressive assimilation policies have attempted to displace our own understandings, practices and teachings around sexuality, gender and positive relationships and replace them with those of Judeo Christianity. To recognize ourselves as two-spirit is to declare our connection to the traditions of our own people.  

As a self-identifier, two-spirit acknowledges and affirms our identity as Indigenous peoples, our connection to the land, and values in our ancient cultures that recognize and accept gender and sexual diversity. 

The recognition and acceptance of gender and sexual diversity is reflected in our languages, spirituality and cultures. Our Cree dialect does not include gender-distinct pronouns. Rather, our language is ‘gendered’ on the basis of whether or not something is animate (that is, whether or not it has a spiritual purpose and energy). 

Cultural disruption and “Skirt Shaming”

Today some of our Elders and spiritual teachers have adopted and introduced understandings and practices and understandings that were not necessarily part of their own cultures prior to colonization and the imposition of Christianity. For example, a recent celebration in a community included a sweat lodge ceremony. When two-spirit and other participants arrived to take part in the ceremony, the person leading the ceremony demanded that some in the group change their clothing to conform with what he perceived their gender to be and added the warning that if he suspected that they had dressed inappropriate to their perceived gender, they would be required to prove their gender identity to him. In the face of this direct assault on their body sovereignty and gender self-determination, some people left the ceremony..  The role of Elders in our communities includes the sharing traditional teachings with youth that will help them understand their own experiences, including their expressions of gender identity and sexuality. However, in most of our Indigenous cultures where gender and sexual diversity were once accepted and valued, our traditional teachings, ways of being, spirituality, and languages were disrupted and displaced through the processes of colonization, Christianization and assimilation. The result (as the incident described above demonstrates) is that some of our own present-day cultural teachings and practices extend the continuum of violence that two-spirit people have been subject to since colonization began. “Skirt-shaming”, excluding, policing or shaming trans, two-spirit people and women because they are not wearing long dresses in ceremonial settings, is increasingly common and is a continuation of the continuum of violence.  

Two-spirit people are frequently subject to interconnected homophobia, transphobia and misogyny, and in the larger society they are additionally subject to structural and individual racism and classism. This has had devastating impacts on the two-spirit community. The suicide rate for LGBTQ Indigenous youth is ten times higher than that of any other group. Thirty-nine percent of two-spirit women and 21% of two-spirit men have attempted suicide. In a recent study of transgendered and gender non-conforming Indigenous people, nearly one-quarter lived in extreme poverty, elevated rates of HIV were found, and more than half of respondents (56%) had attempted suicide .   It is imperative that Elders and others consult with or rely on Two-Spirit leaders for teachings and direction regarding gender and sexual diversity. 

Coming in

There is much work to be done, then, to undo the work that has been done upon us. When we call ourselves two-spirit people, we are proclaiming sovereignty over our bodies, gender expressions and sexualities. “Coming in” does not centre on the declaration of independence that characterizes ‘coming out’ in mainstream depictions of the lives of LGBTQI people. Rather, coming in is an act of returning, fully present in our selves, to resume our place as a valued part of our families, cultures, communities, and lands, in connection with all our relations. 

Indigenous sovereignty over our lands is inseparable from sovereignty over our bodies, sexuality and gender self-expression.

Dr. Alex Wilson (Opaskwayak Cree Nation) is an Associate Professor and the Academic Director of the Aboriginal Education Research Centre at the University of Saskatchewan

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Original post - Red Rising Magazine

Monday, October 19, 2015

Poem: The Androgynous Man in Brown Pants, Part 3

Urban living/freeways/repulse/recluse

She has combed the streets with her hands,
Found absolutely nothing,
Strangers peered into her heart from alleyways and buildings,
She ran away,

The criteria was distraction,
A solution and potion made for delusion,
Diluting the prospects of the soul for elevation,

The majority culture consciousness was retrospective,
But numbing at the same time,

Decolonization for real/very lonely chapter as she awaits the sunrise of the soul of her people,

The churches need not exist on the land,
Symbols of power and might,
Symbols of abuse and silence,

Destroying infallibility of patriarchal structures,
Even the traditional teachings have been distorted,

A man who is female/a male who is a woman,

He became lonely as the world was not deep and meaningful,
Many had ignored his loneliness because he appeared in a female body,
He had tossed the checklist of commitments based on gender roles into the fire,

Eating disorder recovered/recovery/still yet burdened with mixed messages,

The body is a deception to the truth,
The love of the soul is found in the depths,

Healing lungs/we have a right to breath/to fully heal,

Breathing now,
We free up these old constraints,
More flight but not fighting now,

The androgynous man in brown pants has merged with he/she and she/he,
The androgynous man in brown pants is now complete.

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Please see the original - The Androgynous Man in Brown Pants
Please see the next one too -- The Androgynous Man in Brown Pants, Part 2