Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Ostwelve, Ron Dean Harris: Sto:lo Protectors

Waiting In The Wings (Spoken word)
Waiting in the wings with warmongers wearing war chief T-shirts silkscreened in the late 90s. Will we wade in the shallows of oily coastal waters while politicos dance for the next cause of action facing sentinels trained like terminators? The fish winks at the oil tanker thirsty in the distance. Empty eyes now hold our fate while self-appointed hereditary chiefs tweet with the sunrise disguise of wise tides that rise on social angst and hatred painted sacred with shame and abandonment from beyond. Broken societies clammer for positioning while giant mechanical serpents ready their scales for encroachment along side several brands of revolution. Some have traditional dogma while others are artificially flavoured to mask the bones hidden in its fleshy matter. Long dead and gone archetypes dance in the wind as brooms drearily sweep the remnants of solidarity incentives that fade into the past while babies eyes gleam the new motivation for occupation under the regime of soil eaters and water killers who will trade all things for gold even the bones of our Grandmothers fathers Uncles Sisters Daughters and children in tow banging on drums screaming prayers with thick muddy tears like tailings ponds and bloody lust for imaginary coins transmuting into eagle down that transform into bullets that rain on the horizon while boots begin to march along side the rumbling monster in the distance snapping trees like straws and growling as it digests the blood of its own ancestors sacredly stepping on grounds where they slept and wept and crept to safety from red shirts, black masks, brass shields, leafy flags, flowery rhetoric, poetic campaigns and slogans on recycled cardboard waving in the winds now tainted with drunken anger and rage that pisses into our collective thought space while dead eyes piss into the water jug we give to our children's kids friends over for a play date of social diversity and understanding between racial species and ideological eating, living, loving, working, praying, learning and expressional disorders clouded by lithium and false communications that are #hashtaggedasSACRED but never been naked in the forest moss or rivers shores wear salmon people dance for their saviour and beg for another chance at regeneration, revitalization, resurgence, respect and reprogramming while we wait on words and actions or words of actions on words for action or reactionary words with real intent on being, doing, loving, becoming destruction for the better cause because we know better than our Mothers because we're big grownups now with all the answers on our iPhones and Androids uploaded and filtered for flavoured geotagged for location so you can remember where you were when they made the announcement and where you will be for the 49er or funeral fires fuelled by the ancestral bones of trees and dead peoples baggage. Oh how those suitcases and trunks burned in the twilight with kids roasting marshmallows on the glow of realization and reframed revolution where women fight to feed their children and men put their faces on merchandise trademarked with grave markers and red ochre. "Put some feathers on it!" said one man while naked eagles shiver in the rains of our blind obsession with lights in the sky and sounds in the ground, thunder from under while the soil bleeds into the water and a turtle dances to the drums of our hearts. Waiting and praying...someone makes the right choices for those of us with no voices.

Stō:lo Protectors

Ostwelve - B.Medicine / Baphela Bantu
follow link for notes + more

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Akkaashi poems: new joint creations

Gilgamesh, image & title by Mahmud Kianush,
text from the epic, design by Joanne Arnott

Silence of Fire, image & title by Mahmud Kianush,
text & design by Joanne Arnott

A Rough Profile, image & title by Mahmud Kianush,
text & design by Joanne Arnott

Heavy-heartedness, image & title by Mahmud Kianush,
text & design by Joanne Arnott

Green Hand, image & title by Mahmud Kianush,
 text & design by Joanne Arnott
Green Hand waterways, image & title by Mahmud Kianush,

text & design & title adaptation by Joanne Arnott (click)

About the images:
I was amazed when I found out that there are many beautiful artworks hidden in the barks of trees, waiting for me to discover them. Now I have about 2000 photo-paintings in my computer, some 100 of them completed and titled, ready to be exhibited.

Another somewhat funny thing about my art of photo-painting is the Persian name I have made up for this peculiar art. Since of the two stages of the artistic creation, the first is “photography”, in Persian akkaassi(عکّاسی)and the second, the more creative stage, is “painting”, in Persian “naghghaashi” ((نقّاشی)then the child of the marriage between these two arts, can be called “akkaashi” (عکّاشی) , that is “photopainting”.

Mahmud Kianush

Inspired by the Akkaashi images, and the poem-image blends of Kuni san (haiga: see haiku here), Michael Onsando + friends (Koroga), and Steve McCabe (poemimage), i adapted the first two as above, and sent them off. 

I received Mahmud's approval for further such nonsense/poetry games, alongside a reflective poem, "A Footnote," in response to my recent collection "Halfling Spring."

copyrights remain with the artists.

Joanne Arnott,
with thanks!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

June 21 unveiling of monument acknowledging survivors of St Paul's Indian Residential School (North Vancouver)

Boarding school graduate to unveil monument

Saturday, 31 May 2014 07:03

Barbara Wyss hopes to see statue go up June 21
By Agnieszka Krawczynski

The B.C. Catholic

Caption: Barbara Wyss

A former residential school student is building a statue to help heal pains of the past.

"This monument will become part of the healing process," said Barbara Wyss, who attended St. Paul's Indian Residential School in North Vancouver from 1952-1957.

Wyss's experiences at the school motivated her to create the statue, which will be unveiled this summer, to remember the past and help others move on.

"Our language, our history, our people, it was all to be forgotten," the Squamish native recounted.

The oldest of nine children, Wyss was forbidden to speak to the boys, including her brothers, or to use her native language at the boarding school. She says discipline was "excessive."

"At that time in history, teachers were allowed to use a leather strap. I was strapped constantly." Wyss said she suffered also physical and sexual abuse, something she's suing the government for.

"For seven years they have been making a decision on it. Hopefully within the next few weeks it will be completed and I can put that part of my life behind me. It's haunted me most of my life."

Despite the trauma, Wyss surprisingly describes most of her time at the residential school as "a good experience."

Caption: Barbara Nahanee (second from left) (now Wyss) stands with her Grade 2 classmates at St. Paul's Indian Residential School in 1951. Photo submitted.

"We learned a lot of housekeeping and social skills. I loved learning. It was always fascinating; I wanted to stay in school."

She said the school had a boys' boxing club, a girls' choir, and an Irish jig dance group that took prizes in archdiocesan and provincial competitions.

Wyss, who was known for reading encyclopedias, became the only student in her class to graduate to Grade 8, and later, the first person in her village to graduate from high school.

"My father strongly believed in education," she said. All of her siblings graduated high school and four completed university. "We are looked up to by different members of the community because of what we were able to accomplish."

Now a parishioner at St. Paul's Indian Catholic Church, Wyss admits she had trouble trusting the Church after she left the residential school.

"I was very bitter and angry for a long time. I did a lot of counselling, and my father said it's the people who were running these institutions, not God, and not the Church, who caused the problems."

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission announced it would fund residential school memorials through its Commemoration Initiative, Wyss sent in a proposal for a monument on the land of her former school.

She suggested a carving of a boy and a girl, standing back to back on a concrete base, to be placed on the grounds where St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Secondary School now stands.

The TRC did not accept the proposal, but various donors stepped in to support the erection of the memorial.

"As sisters who had been there from the very beginning of the school in 1899, we thought it was very important this monument go up," said Sister Denece Billesberger, SEJ, president of the Sisters' Association of the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

"It was an injustice done to our first nations people."

Jason Nahanee spent one year carving the seven-foot-tall wooden section of the monument.

"We want to show that these were strong young people before the residential school came along," he said. The other portion, made of cement, will be in the shape of a wave, and display 600 names of students who attended St. Paul's.

Wyss hopes to see the statue go up on National Aboriginal Day, June 21.

"I forgive what happened to me," she said.

21 June poster above​ + 

more info on this school:

A.L.I.V.E. Reconciliation in Action ~ June 20th

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Convergence 2014 march & rally TOMORROW

What: Convergence 2014: Protecting Our Sacred Waters from Tar Sands Oil. 
March from Sunset Beach & Rally in Vanier Park

When: June 8, 2014 - UN World Oceans Day. 12:00 PM

Where: March starts from Sunset Beach in Vancouver [map link]

Spread the word. Please share the event on social media:

If you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #SacredWaterWarriors.

We are so thankful for all the contributions we have received to cover travel costs for youth and Elders to attend this event. If you would like to donate, click here.

Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, Yinka Dene Alliance Coordinator

Monday, 2 June 2014