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Op-Ed: Police Equality/Police Brutality

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Hello, children. Today Imma teach you about a lil something called police racism, and police brutality. First of all, let’s take a look the political cartoon I drew, as shown above. It portrays an RCMP officer holding a sign saying “Police: here for your freedom and rights”, but the word “rights” has been replaced with the word “whites”. This comic was actually based off a joke my and my friend made. We were discssing Aboriginals and police, and how even today there is still intense racism towards Aboriginals. They are caricatured as drunk, violent, dirty criminals, and a lot of the police treatment they receive reflects that view of them. In some regions, police would take any drunk Aboriginals tehy would find and drive them to the edge of town, forcing them to walk home in freezing winter weather, called “starlight tours” by the locals. This resulted in the death of three men in Saskatoon, and the police showing no remorse.

It’s the things like this that make me really doubt Canada’s sparkling reputation. Sure, we like to paint ourselves as the lily-white friendly neighbors of the Rude Americans, but no one wants to talk about the amount of racism and problems that Canada holds. Police equality? More like police brutality.

The Internet Adventures of Louis Riel

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Louis Riel’s Final Address

People of the Metis, hear me!

It has been two years. Two years have I watched my settlement be ground to dust. Two years since we have been overrun by the nationalistic, racist, religious views of the white men who have come to stay. Two years since they! joined as a country, and cut us off. Unity, protection, better resources for all, and a chance to be free! That was their offer. Look around. How ahs that worked for you?

My people, I know your fears. I know we do not own the claim to this land in the way the white men want. You fear their surveys, of them taking what is yours.But fear not.

My father’s legacy was one of freeing one man, a single Metis from prison; a single move that lead you to respect him. but that will not be mine!

My legacy will be of freeing a people. A nation that has been too long oppressed, and ignored. They tell me my pleas have been heard a thousand times before, but is that not that point? It has been too long, too long since our land was taken from us, our languages, our rightful place. Do you think the government will listen to us? They think us a joke.

But hear me now. You will not see us until it is too late.

Diary of Louis Riel: Teenage Minx to YA Jinx

Dear diary,


The world is hell. Unjust and cruel. I had found love. Her name was Marie and she was sweet as the meadows of my home. I would have married her. But alas her parents didn’t approve of my Metis blood and broke it off. I was heartbroken. My law career seems cold and dark, so I abandoned my dreams. As I worked at my new jobs I wrote many poems about her and how much I loved her but she would not have me back. Alas, this new tragedy has only increased my hate for the white man.

I hear of changes coming, the white men entering Metis land. That is what irks me the most, that they disrespect our cultures and our rules because we do not assimilate to their ideals. They believe we need a government when we have ruled ourselves for many years, without problem!!

My hometown of Red River is next on the list. I have chosen to visit there within the next months, since the city dulls me and drives me home. There is talks of surveys in the lands, a most worrying fact. WE do not holds claims to our lands as the pale ones do. If they attempt to take it from us, I have no doubt we will retaliate with force. Seeing as war is the only language these whitefaces seem to understand.

The nuns told me I was too “unpredictable” and “moody” to be a priest. Might as well put those to good use now.

Historical and legal writings about America that are based on the belief that Columbus discovered the lands of millions of Indigenous Peoples deny the rights of these people…The right of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas to continue determining their way of life was denied through the acceptance of the doctrine of discovery, and this denial persists to this very day.

-Sharon H. Venne, Treaties; Negotiations and Rights

Ah yes, the good old Columbus Debacle. While set a bit ahead of the time period we are studying, it is still relevant to both the Aboriginal Relations with the French and British in the 1800s, and the current treatment of the Aboriginal people.

The article deals with the history of treaties with the Canadian Aboriginals, and their relations with settlers who came to their land.  It stars with the question of “why did the British assume they had sovereignty over the Indigenous lands?” Though the Aboriginal people had a full culture ad hierarchy, and clearly were the dominant peoples of the land., the British seemed to assume that because thy seemed less sophisticated, by conquering their lands they were bringing “civilization and prosperity” to the people.

When both peoples, the Aboriginal and the British, assumed that had sovereignty over the land. communications and treaties became tense. In later dealings, when the British were “allowing” the First Nations settlements, hunting grounds, health care and education, it begs the question: when did the British assume the title of leaders of the land? It certainly was not a First Nations decision.

For me, this topic correlates with section B2 of our prescribed learning outcomes in Socials, which speaks about “critiquing the rational for treaties”. Since this article is so clearly about how the ratio of power in the treaties got distorted, I thought it fit nicely.

Canada: Land of the Strong, Free, and Blind

Canada. Land of the strong, free, and ever-polite. Look back on our history and you see all the glorious “Liberation!!” “War of 1812!!” “We let the slaves come to us, America!!” “Wheeeee igloos and maple syrup!!”

But really, where has Canada been? What about the lovely racism and was against our aboriginal neighbors? And by neighbors, I mean the people we forcibly ejected form their homes and lands. Don’t forget Canada’s 200 years of slavery, and it’s oppression against the Metis. While Canada’s reputation is mainly lily white and “rightfully so”, let’s not be getting a god complex here.

Where we have been may have been bad, but where we are going may be terrifying. The future is coming and Canada is changing. New laws, new illnesses, probably not a new government (let’s be real). We have the lovely Trans-Canada line causing buckets of controversy. Canada, especially Vancouver, has some of the highest living cost worldwide, while the homeless sleep right outside their doors. Food waste is growing until the average person wastes $300 worth of food each year. Our household debt is growing. Racism against Aboriginals has not been stopped, merely hidden. If all these problems increase, Canadians are in for a rocky ride as the years go on.

Canada might be needing a map to the future right about now.

 

 

 

 

The Aftermath

Ahh yes, the Night of the Notables is over. While I am in part relived, sad, and totally exhausted, I am mostly pleased with the amount of improvement since last’s years Night of the Notables.

My initial goals for this project were: Find a good person (better then last year) who I understood and intrigued me, have my speech completed at least three days before eminent, and improve my public speaking/relations skills with my speech and learning center. I definitely accomplished the first one. The second one, however . . . I actually more started my speech three days before eminent. In my defense, I had ideas, I just hadn’t written them down. The speech went amazingly, though. The third, well, I had fun talking to people at my station; I don’t know if they did.

As for the night itself, it was kinda stressful. With everyone rushing to complete their learning centers, and I had a whole costume/makeup/wig getup to get into (I had to go to choir dressed like that; not fun.) I barely had enough time to set up  my learning center before we were all being called down for speeches.

That, is what I am most proud of, the speech. If you go on the TALONS flickr page, you will see several shots of me yelling angrily at the crowd to fight me.  Unfortunately, the minute the speeches were done and we were all in our dazed, “what? speeches are done?” mode, we heard the doors opening and the crown coming out. Well, it was a mad dash for learning centers after that. Luckily, we all got to our stations in time. I had a lot of fun talking to people and occasionally sword fighting them, if they requested it. I was a lot busier then last year, though that might not so much have been me as the cheese that I had on my table. The best question I got asked was by this one guy who said “But why was she so . . . tense???” 

One of the main things I learned during this project was about getting into character. I thought this project was more about finding out thins about your person, researching them, but when I started writing my speech and really got into her character, acting like her, I understood her a lot better and it showed in the rest of my work.

I could not have completed this project without a whole lot of help. First of all, the biggest and brightest thank-you goes to my sister, Emily. When I told her who I was going to be for eminent this year, so was immediately intrigued and, as she has both a talent and love for sewing, offered to help me with my costume. Now, as I am quite hopeless with sewing and the more crafty things, her “helping” was more me showing her pictures of what I imagined, and her creating me the best costume I could have imagined. The end result was a shirt, vest, hat, scarf, gloves and jacket that turned me into the most swashbuckling opera singer ever to swashbuckle. She also gave me so much encouragement for both learning center and speech alike, turning my piddly small-stemmed ideas into an amazing garden. Thank, Em.

My other thank-yous go mostly to my friend in the TALONS class (namely Vanessa F, Emma and Alison) and my parents, both of whom gave me ideas, prompted me, encouraged me, and told me to get off my butt and start actually doing things. I received a lot of help with my learning and my speech. Another thank-you to whatever other poor souls I dragged down and forced them to listen to me repeating “FIGHT ME” over and over.

The best thing I will remember about this eminent night was the big group hug backstage, right before grade then speeches. Each of us were a bundle of nervous energy, having repeated and edited our speeches over and over as the day went bye. You could see people muttering lines, or practicing gestures, or teh few that gave up and were sitting down trying to sleep. Eventually, though, after we heard everyone sitting down and w had all gone over our transitions so many times, we had a big group hug backstage and just wished everyone the best luck. Because we just want everyone else to do well. It’s a great group dynamic. And you bet every time someone came off the stage from finishing their speech, they were surrounded by the rest of the class, being told how good they did.

And now, it’s over. And I know I did good because for once, I don’t want to redo it.

 

Eminent Speech: Julie D’Aubigny

Oh, hey. Didn’t see you there. Look, I know what this looks like. I’m not running, I swear. I’m just . . . leaving. It’s not her fault, no. I love her. I became a nun for her. I burned that nunnery to the floor and ran from arson and graverobbing charges for her. But that was then. Now, it’s … Just us.

I don’t even know why I came here with her. It’s not like I’m good for her. Hell, I’m a swordfighting, singing “criminal” who loves men, women and the occasional cross dress. I’m not exactly your  status quo. But I won’t let that stop me. Don’t like what I wear? Fight me. Don’t like who I love? Fight me. Don’t think I can’t beat you to the ground? Fight me, and we’ll see.

Because I’m going to do great things. I’ll show them I’m not just a fighter, but a delicate singer, and a damn good one as well. You don’t think I’m going to stay singing at these bars forever, do you? Someday, it’ll be me up on that center stage.

I live for adventure. My life may be short, but I will live forever in stories. I am famous! I am Madame de Maupin. I am afraid of nothing. I may not have long, but you can be damn sure I’ll leave my mark here before I die.

Madame Tallien: An End to the Madness

22 August 1805

My dear Papa,

Many things have happened since I wrote to you last, but I can say with great relief that the Revolution is over. The overturn of FRance has come to an end, and I can continue with my life.

I was arrested a second time, papa, this time being seen as a threat to the altruistic power of Robespierre, but not all bad came from that event. I found my friend Josephine, married my husband Thermidor Tallien, and together we banded to oust Robespierre. I must admit I had a large part in that papa,  with a certain letter delivered at the right time. I was liberated, and using his power I freed many prisoners, not wanting anyone to suffer through what I suffered. I gained myself the title of “Lady of the Thermidor”, as I was the most likely to intervene on behalf of the detained. Would you believe that you little daughter once had a month named after her? With the horrid Robespierre, my enemy, gone, and Josephine married off to a man most powerful, Tallien’s power waned and I found myself distancing from him. We divorced, papa, and I spent my years gaining reputation and status, evolving into a pinnacle of social grace. (I am still a vain child inside, papa)

Today I marry Francois, the Prince of Chimay, and reclaim my true status. With my enemies dead and my connections to that horrid revolution finally severed, now I can go on with my life, papa. I hope france will remember me for my good works, my intervention for prisoners. France has not seen the last of me yet.

Avec amour,

Theresa, Princess du Chimay.

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