It is dawn at my camp and I have just returned from a short walk. The dew was hardly present on the grasses and the low laying plants of the forest trail, for it is an overcast sky above my cabin. Rain is coming!
A mosquito, fat with Algonquin blood, is bouncing on the inside glass of the sliding door leading into the cabin. I know with all certainty that the insect has filled herself with my blood because I am alone here this day. She wants out. She has things to do and places to go. And this particular mosquito can only do those things with the blood she has drawn from my body.
It brings a memory of something one of my sisters told me a few years back. A colleague at her job site revealed to her that he had checked off the box asking the question “Are you Aboriginal?” on a questionnaire circulated amongst the workers by management. My sister, knowing full well that her colleague was not Aboriginal, asked him why he did so. “You never know these days,” he responded. “There might be a layoff here in the future and I’m betting that if there is, they’ll have to keep their minorities. I’m thinking ahead.” A pretty creepy guy to be sure.
A lot of other people have been ‘thinking ahead’ or so it seems with so many job seekers signing on as ‘First Nations’ or as ‘Métis’ when they believe a chance exists that doing so will secure steady employment for them. They steal something as precious as prosperity and security from someone else who is truly entitled to it. The job thieves have absolutely no qualms about doing so. How much more creepy can you get than that?
I have taken the ‘City’ section of ‘The Citizen’ near my chair and with it, gently guided the ‘full-blooded’ mosquito out of the cabin. “May you do well and have many offspring,” was my departing wish to her. The mosquito has gone off to do whatever needs to be done with my ‘First Nations’ blood and she has my blessings. How wonderful! But the people who do not have enough Aboriginal blood in them to even fill a mosquito but still declare themselves ‘Aboriginal’ and steal jobs and even our voices in the arts are on the wrong side of the area in me which grants blessings. I give them none.
Years ago, about 22 of them, I attended a sunrise ceremony at LeBreton Flats. It was an extraordinary spiritual happening. About 70 people of all ages participated. At least half of the people acknowledging and honouring Grandfather Sun were white. I mentioned to an old man I respected, how happy and hopeful it made me feel to see so many white people in the circle that dawn. The old man replied to my comment, “Yes, it is good that many white people are respecting our spiritual beliefs, but the ‘white man’ will not be happy with having a place in our circles, he will only be happy when he is running the circle and is in total charge of it.” In some instances, the old man was dead on the money.
There is a fellow I have known for a long time, at least 20 years. He often said, “I wish I had ‘Indian’ blood.” Well somehow, maybe by magic or perhaps through a warp in the twilight zone, he has acquired it. He identifies as ‘First Nations’ today and often dresses in a ribbon shirt and sings our ancient songs. I only know that Kichi Manido (God) had nothing to do with the ‘magic’ that placed blood, indigenous to this land into the veins and heart of the man who longed to be ‘Indian’ so long ago.
These thoughts have made my heart drum to a rhythm I am not happy with. Not at all refreshing like the sound I am hearing now of raindrops striking the tin roof of the cabin. Yes, I’ll go for a walk in the rain. I feel like I’m in need of a cleansing. And if the mosquito again takes my blood, I will not object. She only does with it what God has instructed her to do, which is more than can be said of those people who claim our blood only so they can steal what rightfully belongs to us.
To those people who do indeed have First Nations blood, no matter how small the percentage, please know that I stand with you and will fight beside you in your struggle against those who would deny you what is rightfully yours.