Being a Hasbien

i-told-my-parents-im-bisexual-now-they-tell-people-they-have-a-bison

There has been a lot of talk lately. Pro-Love protests at the U of R, however what happens when race comes into the picture of homosexuality?

Here’s what Ive been learning, my classmate Dakota gave a very interesting presentation about her family’s definitions of gender and how it supports her life. Being two-spirited and having a sister/brother has also contributed to the growth of her identity. But before that foundation was exposed, Dakota had developed a relationship with the LGBTQ community in Regina. Considering the personal nature of this story, I will just say that it was a short lived situation in which Dakota’s two-spiritedness conflicted with her Regina crew once they began tokenizing her at a younger age for being “Aboriginal”.

 

I also have a friend, Katryna Smith who is an heterosexual Honor’s Student at the FNUNIV, as of last week, she proposed her thesis to research the treatment of Two-Spirited youth in sports. She wishes to continue researching the current conditions of sports safety in regards to the field itself. She has found within the three months of her research that these youth are continuously bullied and their human rights are violated more than their self-declared heterosexual counterparts. The double standard of being Indigenous also plays the part. This violence comes out during activities the involve the field, training and the locker room. Katryna believes that proper supervision of such situations is needed to ensure the safety, especially for Two-spirited youth because the bullying can escalate to sexual harassment easily.

 

Both of these students had one thing in common; Identity. The faults of westernized and colonial culture have given favor to white, straight, blonde, tall and masculine men. It has also given power and permission to be passive, submissive female objects of the beauty industry and labels them as a household decorative appliance.

So what happens when people don’t fit into the hetero-normatives? They get ostracized, unless they were brought up in an accepting family, however they will go out into the world and be scapegoated because of their behavioral differences. With Two-Spiritedness there can be a women who is masculine and a man can be feminine, but they dont need to be homosexual, in fact they can be who or what ever they wish, its just a matter of roles and responsibilities within society that challenge this

As for myself, and why I wish to touch on this subject, is because I am Two-spirited. Many wouldn’t really believe me because Im not a “butch” or masculine in appearance kind of bisexual, but I’ll tell you- I fell in love with a girl in grade 10. I completely fell over a mountain in love with her, to the point where I was scared shitless. In Grade 12 I told her my friend loved her and wondered what she would do about it and that’s when I found out she was asexual. Few years later, I developed a weird relationship with a  female who didn’t want to admit she was the way she was because people get kind of crazy about it, especially in Christianized-Lakota backgrounds apparently, trust me, don’t go there. Run, away, they are cute, but way not worth it. She broke my heart and convinced me females are just as bad as males. It’s all the same, I realised I was more likely to fall for someone’s spirit before their physical achievements or appearance. Talents are a huge thing as well, and cultural practices… You don’t have to be sexy, you just gottah be deadly and passionate at something. So before I get into my “plentyoffish” requirements like a loser, I want to emphasize the topic of culture.

Essentially in this time of research and understanding from Dakota and Katrynas’ experiences…… It is very difficult to culturally declare Two-Spiritedness. I have the knowledge that the elder’s I associate myself with, are welcoming to this gift, but what happens when elders reject the ideas and tell you the you’re not Two-spirited? It’s another form of internalized Eurocentric thinking. To be gifted means many things and today youth are unlikely to declare due to the pressures of this society, that deems straightness as normal.

A family member of mine denied it, and called me a “hasbien” for not kissing my best friend. To be “gay” or bisexual in someones’ eyes does not mean that I want to have sexual relations with every girl or man, that’s ridiculous. That is like calling me a “squaw” and assuming I am asking for “it”. Give it a break. Gross. Extreme comparison but the ideas of being radically homophobic are in line with being white privileged and racist. It’s all part of the narrative of Canada, regardless of how polite we are, we are commonly bitches with smiles on our faces.

To be a Two-spirited and Aboriginal, means Abnormal. How Can We Decolonize This?

We come up with strategies like these two ladies, and develop Two-Spirited safe environments for youth, to prevent the rates of suicide from going up in our communities. Also implementing the resources for such youth, to get involved with safe cultural spaces and ceremony, to participate comfortably without challenging their gifts.

 

Thanks

 

JBH

Idle No More: Heathens and Infidels

Elyse Bruce

In 1823, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that Indian Nations did not have title to their lands because they weren’t Christians. When Chief Justice John Marshall made his ruling, the Doctrine of Christian Discovery was established. With this doctrine came the concept that full ownership of Indian lands belonged to the United States , and tribes had the right of occupancy. This, of course, completely ignored all the treaties that had already been made with North American Natives.

So what does the Doctrine of Christian Discovery mean?

It means that even though North American Natives lived in North America, and even though tribes had their own spirituality, that the status of a “human” was then, and continues now to be, based entirely on whether the person was or is a Christian — regardless of whether the person is a Christian in name only or a practicing Christian.

It…

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Canada and Disney: Iskewews for Squaws

We have been set up historically.

The Indian Princess and Squaw– are the terms that are associated with the visual stereotypes of Indigenous Women.

It began with the misunderstanding of the women roles in our societies during contact. We did work. We were not passive contraries to men, where decisions were made for us, because we were property-we were equal in responsibility, for our homefires.

Female imagery is split, but equally objectified with the Warrior stereotype of Indigenous men.

The authenticity of a sexually targeted situation is skewed by the imagery created by the euro-centric narrative. 

try and deconstruct that……

Since women could not be equal or more valuable in a patriarchal lens, it was a mission to perpetuate images of us as easy prey; as squaws. The bounty of erotic fantasies among the settler populus, lead to the fall of our reputation as culturally important to the Canadian nation.

Pocahontas is a common reference for this construct of Indigenous Women.

Archetype: Indian Princess

pocahontas

 

 

In 1985, Bill C-31 An act to Amend the Indian Act– was passed in parliament to bring the Indian Act into line with gender equality under the Canadian Charters of Rights and Freedoms.

The act, no longer controls blood quantum alone but also the rights to “treaty”. These rights are monitored by ensuring “status” stays in conjunction with the standards of the Canadian Government’s authenticity of nativeness. In early times of this act, out-marriage by Indigenous women was faced with the consequence of losing “status”, while settler women who married an Indigenous man gained ‘status”.

To this day the Indian Act is used to delete the Indigenous people from the Canadian story by systemically ensuring it through this same federal legislation, without the gender specifics, but it is still fixed on blood-quantum. This is to help eliminate the Treaties that tie us to the Crown as Indigenous Peoples, in which are already denied proper access to due to the Indian Act. So your Status Card, is not a Treaty Card! If it was a Treaty Card, the world would be a different place, and we would get what we were promised in the treaty agreements( Treaty Four 1874). But cheaper tobacco and gas, are not treaty … Those are sell out commodities, which we are dependant upon.

Anywho, why does this image matter today?

Because the Canadian construct is still lying in bed with the Indigenous women.

From the point where they have been labelled by Canadian press as passive women who are framed by the colonial narrative as deviants.

If they are not passive, calm, quiet, sexy, and slim-They are squaws, prostitutes, alcoholics, and homewreckers causing trouble for no good reason.

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Within many families of Indigenous peoples-It is only a part of the reason for so many missing and murdered- daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and friends.

Speaking from experience. I have been sexually assaulted/raped 7 different times in my life, I am 22. In result to that- I have experienced numerous mental breaks. Each time being reminded that I am not worthy of justice, I am bat-crazy, only worthy to be dismissed or blamed for such outcomes. Only amongst my immediate family members and cultural ceremonies, I have reached some sanity from the situations.

Even in the most recent, I was threatened with a cease and desist letter from an individual I claimed as my best friend, who was also a female and indigenous- wanted to protect her name from being associated with such a situation.

The justice system is a scary place, I reported a modelling agent for exploiting Indigenous women and I was told that he is only doing his job by two female police officers. However, I am a practising visual artist and volunteer within the fashion industry locally, and he wasn’t registered, had no creative background, and was not a photographer. He since has shut down his operation, yet this situation was only received as serious by many Indigenous and Non-indigenous people on social media once it was publicly addressed.

Today in Saskatchewan, it is difficult to feel safe, I cannot walk anywhere, even during the day, without needing someone by my side. As an Indigenous woman, I risk being pulled into a moving vehicle or even be followed to or from the “Indian gas station”. A couple weeks ago I was stared at by a strange man , who had parked his van next to my vehicle, when all I wanted was a bottle of water from such a gas station. The victimization and survivor mode is continuously going through my veins, thankfully I was raised with this awareness but it has not made me immune to the colonial systemic factors of the human trafficking trade, socio-economic struggles and rape culture.

Recently in Canada, a national inquiry on the missing and murdered women in Canada has failed in parliament. It is up to us in our communities to start safe-houses and neighbourhood watches for such a matter and for those who are at risk and to talk to our women, our sisters. The numbers in awareness matter, we will not give up.

Rape culture is also a symptom of this type of stereotype. Further research of rape culture is needed, to understand it completely from an outsiders perspective. It lies in the justice systems and has normalized the victimization of sex trade worker. It is responsible for breeding  thee-“They were asking or it” mentality. It is not natural, and it is a crime to rape and assault anyone. Call out Rape Culture.

Due to socio-economic barriers, women have the path of turning towards the streets to feed themselves and their families. The image of the squaw/indian princess have left these women as objects to the colonial narrative as liabilities rather then valued persons. This holds them vulnerable to many dangers.

Further Info:

Watch the film: Finding Dawn

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/03/07/conservatives_reject_inquiry_for_murdered_missing_aboriginal_women.html

http://www.nwac.ca/files/download/NWAC_3D_Toolkit_e_0.pdf

 

Acknowledging the highway of tears,

JBH

Playing Indian: Cultural Insensitivity or Over-Sensitivity

Head-Dress @ Sasquatch Music Festival

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Dressing up for halloween, music festivals, and dance events seems harmless enough right? But what happens when a group of people decide to take the initiative to dress up as Cowboys and Indians?

In the colonial constructs of the “west was won”, the deaths of millions of Indigenous peoples took place. So how is the action of wearing such costumes even more detrimental to them and why else are they so up in arms about it?

Cultural Sensitivity is justified by centuries of colonization. Indigenous peoples have just as much right to call people out on things that need to change. As they are survivor of the colonial narrative and live within it and know whats wrong with it. The stereotypes of the brave, warrior, indian princess and stoic indian perpetuate violence- lateral, direct, and indirect-It does not matter who is having fun with it, and what their intentions were. Last year,  a  group of people in a Saskatchewan house party decided to play Nazi/Jew Beer Pong.

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For perspective, this is equally not acceptable.

Please commend Vianne Timmons for her efforts along with the Indigenization Team at the University of Regina for taking immediate action . However, stay consistent in the grassroots with the rebuttles against White Privilege, because if complaints are so sensitive, how come everytime an idiot decides to do this, people get mad? Or why do people justify the fun of it all before considering the targetted group?

Monoculture allows for differences in ethnicity, socio-economical, struggles etc to be ignored by giving permission/political correctedness to everyone to be all the same as human beings. While this is true in some regards, it denies the colonial histories of any nation as systemically traumatizing. It ignores the degrading effects that costumes like these have on people in which it tries to impersonate. While making this even more true, it depicts an imaginary character that has been developed through film, media and print culture.

Tonto

It is an everyday battle for this issue to be taken seriously due to the effects of capitalism and the ideas of owning commodities. Individuals buy a costume and feel entitled to wear it because of their investment. This however is increasingly offensive due to the culture the items are attempting to portray. It gives off the idea of disposability, fake, and playful. It makes excuse for such individuals to play “indian” in which they can claim, they meant no harm to anyone, however, supporting a stereotype is harmful and dehumanizing as they are actively going out into the world as an imaginary indian.

The authenticity is in the hands of white privilege, because it is eurocentric commodification who makes the gesture to reinstate an image of indigenous people.

That being said many uninformed people support the actions of having ‘fun’ before considering the negative outcomes this has on the minority being objectified.

Not to mention most costumes are named:

Squaw

Squaw Princess

Indian

Sexy Indian Maiden

Sexy Women Tribal Trouble…

So not only does it target a  race, but also further places indigenous women in a position of possession. The insensitivity stems into the ignorance of such issues of Missing and Murder Indigenous women.

Being Cheerleaders, nonetheless, supports this notion.

There wont be any reconciliation over the matter until the history of North America is acknowledged, that way this ordeal can be further prevented and harmony/understanding shall exist amongst civilians alike over this topic.

Exerpts from the Comments sections……..
Joe S
Mar. 17, 2014
2:39 PM
Abuse
I guess little kids are crossing the line when they play cowboys an indians too? Cultural sensitive gone too far again…

Curtis
Mar. 17, 2014
2:20 PM

We better cancel the Calgary stampede. I’m sure it crosses similar lines. And Halloween. Pretty sure I see a few little cowboys and First Nation costumes. No wonder The Lone Ranger movie failed. Oh, sorry, it was just really bad…and politically incorrect of course.

Nat
Mar. 17, 2014
1:56 PM

Apologize? Anyone think political correctness has reached a sick and disturbing level. Shame on the university professor that complained

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/u-of-regina-cheerleaders-blasted-for-cowboys-and-indians-event-1.1732244#ixzz2wGGhkjVi

Watch Neil Diamond’s film on this subject Reel Injuns… It explains a lootttttt!

JBH

Wearing Your Boots with the Fur: You Are Not Offending Anyone

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In Canada, the first permanent settlement occurred in 1604, then began the revaluation of Indigenous peoples.  The colonial hegemony of civilization in North America was born. The mission of working together was also on the table, to create an economy that would place most of the savage population in the lower class.

In more contemporary times, we have the image of Indigenous peoples being de-constructed and rebuilt by The Canadian Press and print culture, who cover grass roots movements such as  OKA and Idle No More. These movements are primarily organized by Indigenous peoples due to the relations they hold with their ceremonial territories. However the media content that is released often reflects the Indigenous population, a lot like it did during the 1885 Rebellion.

In these movements the press reacts in a way to make this selected minority the enemy of the state. Sound familiar? The same method was used to label anyone of “Middle Eastern” resemblance, as enemies in media coverage of the 9/11/2001 in  the US and North America till present day. The Canadian method is ironic because the targeted individuals hold familial lineages native to North American soil, and although years of out marriage perpetuated the dissemination of blood quantum (Indian Act 1951-present), many still honour their beliefs systems in regards to the land while have adapted to mainstream culture for survival.

Along with the efforts to portray the Indigenous people through media, that attack has made the essence of their being a sales item to benefit the capitalist system. Whether on the television, YouTube, or in a online costume store; the image of a demonized or hyper-sexualized Indian is no less dehumanizing then the label “terrorist”.

In another part of this historical crime, Terra Nullius, is a term adopted from the Doctrine of Discovery (1493) declared that land inhabited by people who are not Christian, also deems that land uninhabited by human beings.  In which Canada was inhabited by savages from time in memorial…….

Once the Fur Trade began in North America in the 1500s it began to force traditional materials and items to be sold in the Hudson Bay and James Bay company trading posts to provide monetary contributions to the Indigenous families and communities….

The commodification of such items has lead to misrepresentations in mainstream culture today. White privilege has gained enough throttle by  being a colonial stakeholder, and can control the imagery that is identifiably ‘Indian’. Just like the colonial narrative strives to erase culture from history by making it a tokenized shelf item. There is an illusion in capitalist society that if something isnt worth any monetary value, it is not worth valuing at all. Media is responsible for reinstating a negative, stoic warrior image that has been the backbone for fashion trends of fringe, mukluks, dream catchers and anything stereotypical Indian that has been reconstructed as Hipster fashion today. This is not the first wardrobe malfunction of mainstream culture, but if one looks at trends of the 60s- present day, during times of conflict, it has come up to resemble a style for monoculture/unity/sameness where white people hold equality and privilege close to their hearts and can wear whatever they want culturally significant or not.

So when it comes to the Victoria Secret headdress, American Apparel leggings, Forever 21 accessories, Pendleton blankets, and Urban Planet mukluks- the geometric designs and iconography used are meant to support the disenfranchisement of Indigenous peoples traditional practices and identity.

If you want wear such things, purchase it from an Indigenous artist or designer- Learn about the distinct heritage the designs are symbolic of——-:

http://www.beyondbuckskin.com/

http://www.tatankaboutique.ca/

Regards,

JBH

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