Sunday, 20 January 2013

Where men are men and women know their rightful place.

Following Robert McClelland's recommendation, I read Jonathan Kay's account of his whirlwind field trip -  well financed, and likely as comfortable as CONvenient - to *collect* examples of First Nations folks who are almost just like NatPo readers.

About 40 paragraphs into Kay's piece, I started wondering why he didn't speak to any Indigenous women in the course of his research.  Then a couple of women make an appearance; the men that Kay has exclusively chosen to interact with, introduce them. Their contribution:
“Family dynamics is a big problem,” she tells me. “There’s lots of separation and switching of partners. The kids in school are basically suffering from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. You’ve got a 16-year-old trying to deal with their parents splitting up when he was three. And a big part of that is addiction — alcohol, drugs and gambling. When you’re high, you fool around with someone else. And the next thing you know, you’re separated. That pattern has become common.”

At this, Eva Lazarus, Ms. Moore’s mother, who’d been listening from the side of the room, jumps in: “I know a woman here with four, five, even six children, all from different fathers. Then everyone sees it, and thinks growing up like that is the norm.”
Can't trash *pagan* beliefs and the *old ways* without highlighting good old boys' - and gals' - christianist slut-shaming, can he?  Jonathan is after all, his mother's son.

Kay applauds all the non-deleterious effects of religious indoctrination and how it has facilitated assimilation instilled a christian work ethic in the objects of his article - in spite of the horrific abuses inflicted at residence schools.  He only alludes to the long-range effects of PTSD suffered by adult survivors in one short poignant exchange with a non-native nurse.

But ... HOCKEY!!!  Yes. Boys playing hockey is seemingly the best hope, the most dynamic potential First Nations communities have of succeeding in Kay's rightful, paternalistic and euro-centric vision of Canada. "Balancing tradition and capitalism" ... indeed.

Kay is not alone in disregarding the dynamic role of women in Indigenous communities; he is following the "norm" established by centuries of patriarchal ideology who diminished, discredited and tried to destroy matrifocal traditions.

This is worth reading, for its insightful deconstruction of gendered contempt - specifically gynophobia - that has contaminated most news items about Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's use of fasting as a strategy and as well, has disparaged the Idle No More movement. 

Sadly, it isn't only right wing nut jobs and CONs who disrespect First Nations, Metis, Inuit and all activist women of Indigenous ancestry. In the guise of well-intended concern, this blogger is wagging his phallic substitute at the women who originated the name of Idle No More (yet never claimed ownership of the movement) as he attacks them in his churlish screed.

In case we forget, here are some photographs of Indigenous women, from here.

 A candle light vigil for missing or murdered aboriginal women on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Oct. 4, 2009. A report released in April 2010, added 62 more names to a growing list of missing or slain aboriginal women and girls across Canada.
The next vigil for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women will be held on February 14 on Parliament Hill.  More information here.

Grand merci to Kathryn Ssedoga for the wealth of links and resources on her Twitterstream.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting to me that you assume I must be a man. Also, that you assume I have no idea what I'm saying.

Have you taken the time to ask yourself where this insight has come from?

Or to read the follow-up post that is contained in an addendum near the top of the post you have linked to?

Or even the National Post article in which Sylvia McAdam clearly issues orders over the entire Idle No More movement?

deBeauxOs said...

If you were as "critical" of what you read in the National Post as you are of the Idle No More women, your piece might have been factually correct and balanced.

"You are two of the four women declaring themselves the “founders” of Idle No More, and a lot of people are buying into this idea." I have read that the only thing the four women have claimed as their own is the hashtag. Incorrect information or deliberate hype on your part?

By the way, it says "He was a shark in a past life." right at the top of your blog.

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