The Curse of Job Thieves

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.

Keep the Circle Strong,
Albert “South Wind” Dumont.

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.

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4 Responses to The Curse of Job Thieves

  1. Doug Gordon says:

    Thanks for your thoughts this morning Albert. I do not have aboriginal blood in my veins and will never pretend that I do. It is not the legacy that the Creator has given me. I am proud to be me; I do not wish to be First Nations as that would mean that I would not be me. On the other hand, I feel that in thought and spirit a traditional First Nations perspective is one that I aspire to have in my life. I have found deep meaning in First Nations rituals and philosophy. I meditate using the medicine wheel and the sacred herbs of the Anishenabe, some of which I grow in my yard. I take follow annual quests to the sacred sites of the Anishenabe, often alone and have found a deep connection with the unseen world as I have done so. I take part in solidarity with the issues that face aboriginal communities, fasting and signing petitions whenever I can. I promote an awareness of First Nations ideas and philosophy with my family, friends and the people I work with as a mental health practitioner. Please know that as you write and think as a First Nations man, there are settlers like me who think enough has been taken already and want only to be brothers and sisters in spirit. Although I will never be First Nations, I will always honour those who are as the First People of Turtle Island.

    • South Wind says:

      Hi Gordon,

      Your response to my blog was one of the most welcomed that I have received since I began posting blogs last December. What a great society we would have here if all Canadians felt as you do. Your words are uplifting, not only to me and my family but I’m sure to all people who understand the true measure of what is spirituality. I salute you and wish you God speed in all you do.

      All the best,

      Albert Dumont

      • Doug Gordon says:

        Thanks for your reply Albert! I received news of your blog from a Facebook Friend’s post today. I will follow it with eagerness and pray that you are given wisdom and insight as you write. You have a gift with words. I look forward to dialoging with you as time goes by.

  2. John Henri Commanda says:

    Aannii Albert,

    Miigwetch for the wise words and the lesson within for I have read and truly believe that you have offered some wonderful insight into one of the “issues” faced by Aboriginal People in places of employment where one is asked to “self-identify” as an Aboriginal Person.

    I would like to add that in the past, when we lived on Turtle Island with our many brothers & sisters from the many Nations that made up the Native population (before the arrival of the Newcomers), we had in place a process that would alow for inter-tribal adoptions. This process was used even upon the arrival of the Newcomers, and only when the Newcomers decided they would determine who was going to be “Indian” did this change.

    While being born Anishinabe is a gift that can only be given to Anishinabe people, we did adopt non-Anishinabe People into our community and gifted them with the status of being a community member but it was a process that required a number of steps to be completed.

    First, it was not imposed upon you…if you were Mohawk or Apache or any other Nation (applied to Newcomers as well), you and only you could ask to become a member of the Anishinabe Community. Then, it would be determined through council whether you could be adopted into the community through your behaviour and actions.

    Did you believe in the Anishinabe ways, follow traditional teachings, ask and learn about medicnes, sacred ceremonies, follow and fight with us, share with others these teachings, did you walk the walk, did your honour and respect the elders, teachings and sacred items and ceremonies of the Anishinabe People?

    If it was determined you did all of the above and you did ask to become a member of the community, your request would then be brought to the community through the leaders (council or meeting of elders) and only when concensus was reached regarding your request…would you be advised of the decision.

    Finally, if you were accepted to join the community, there would be a community celebration of (as we love to celebrate) to welcome the newest member of the community.

    So as you can see, there was (and to some extent still is) a process where a Non-Anishinabe person can be accpeted into the community…but it is “not” by checking off a box on a form…

    All my relations…

    John Henri Commanda

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