CALL TO ACTION: Support Haudenosaunee Treaty Rights

This weekend a group of Haudenosaunee hunters will gather at Short Hills Provincial Park for six days in ceremony on their traditional lands to hunt deer with bows and arrows.  Last year they took home 22 deer.  The hunt is also symbolic; as recognized by the Provincial Ministry of Natural Resources and the Nanfan Treaty / 1701 Albany Deed, for these six days the provincial park, usually a place where white settlers walk their dogs, is closed to the public and the hunt takes place.

Last year a group of about 20 white settlers parked their trailers at the park’s entrance, heckling the hunters, ridiculing their drumming and making racist remarks.  This year, they have blockaded the entrance and they are swarming and intimidating the hunters.  A group of local settlers, as well as Christian Peacemaker Teams who support the treaty and the hunters are trying to call attention to this injustice.  Several of my friends have made signs which read “I support First Nations Treaty rights” and other positive messages of support so that the hunters see that not all settlers are racist liars.

As a settler who realizes that I have benefited from colonialism, I can see that this blockade is only making our already bad relationship with the first peoples of this land even worse.  This hunt is a symbol of settlers actually fulfilling treaty rights, even if only for six short days a year.  These blockaders are destroying the credibility of our government for being fair and just in fulfilling legal promises and obligations.  Canadian police should be upholding First Nations treaty rights, not chatting and joking with blockaders and intimidating hunt supporters.

I greatly admire the settlers who are stepping up and standing between the racist blockaders and the hunters who are simply trying to carry out their traditional hunt.  This is our responsibility as people who have benefited from colonialism, and next year I will be one of them.

If any of my friends have suggestions for other ways to offer support in this situation, please let me know.

Below is the press release for more information about what’s going on.


Sat. Dec. 6 and Sun. Dec. 7, 2014, Haudenosaunee hunters will be exercising their treaty-guaranteed right to hunt on their traditional lands. In the face of protest by a few hunting, environmental, and animal rights groups, the Haudenosaunee hunters will be accompanied by locals who support this exercise of their treaty right to hunt, with a peaceful demonstration and dialogue.

Short Hills Provincial Park has hosted the hunt for the last few years as arranged by the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. However, anti-hunt protests and hunt-disruptions marred last year’s hunts.

International human rights observers with Christian Peacemaker Teams will also be present. After reports of sexist and racist verbal violence on the first four days of the 2014 deer hunt (Nov. 23, 23, 27, 28), these observers were invited to accompany treaty rights supporters as well as Haudenosaunee hunters in an effort to de-escalate further aggression and to support a dialogue between community members.

Canada’s constitution includes all treaties and agreements between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples before Confederation, which means that this hunting right (as established through the Nanfan Treaty / 1701 Albany Deed) is constitutionally protected.  Everyone should be able to express their opinions on this matter in a respectful way that builds relationships instead of creating divisions and exacerbating tensions. Hopefully a peaceful show of support for the hunters will build dialogue and foster good relations between First Nations and non-Indigenous communities in the area.

For mobile, contact Christian Peacemaker Teams, 1 647 618 5286
For email, contact

The Invitation: Poetry Worth Sharing

The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

De Uitnodiging, art by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.


This incredible poem shared with me by Ashliin Miranda.

My 2 Cents on Dating, Consent and Transparency

‘I don’t know’ means no. ‘Maybe’ means no.

Enthusiastic consent should be all you’re going for.  Nothing Less.

An excuse is a polite rejection. Always take it as such. 


This goes for sexual encounters, like meeting a drunk chick at a bar.  This goes for casually dating someone, like that guy you have taken on a few dates and you’re wondering if things are going to go further.  If she’s not responding to your texts, your sneaking suspicion is right– she’s probably not really into you, and you should save yourself the time and heartbreak and move on.  If he is too ‘busy’ this weekend, but doesn’t offer up an alternative date and time when he wants to see you, chances are he doesn’t.  I bet you a pumpkin spiced latte that the next time he contacts you, it’s for a booty call at most.

The consent discussion is especially relevant concerning safe and good sex, but it also carries over into healthy relationship building generally.  If someone is really into you, it shouldn’t be difficult to tell.  When you stop making excuses for their lack of interest then you’ll be free to move onto someone who clearly adores you.  This is regardless of gender.

Don’t spend your time with people who don’t respect and ask for your consent.  Don’t have sex with someone who isn’t super-duper excited to have sex with you.

Finally, go adore and be adored!


Challenging White Privilege 101: Anthony Nocella

Challenging White Privilege 101: Posted on Facebook by Anthony J. Nocella II, re-posted here and edited for clarity. 

“If you don’t like white privilege and you are white you must do something that risks losing your privilege.  Voting for a democrat/liberal/socialist is not going to do that. Neither is going to a rally and taking pictures that you were there. Dating, marrying, adopting, having a relative or friend, or living in communities with People of Color (POC) will not allow you to understand what it means to be a POC in America or in this world. Finally, the best action to take is not for progressive white educators to teach in POC communities or countries, but to teach in white communities and work on our own people and youth so they are anti-racists. The field of urban education has been co-opted by white educators to teach future white educators on “how” to teach students of color, also known as ‘cultural competence’.

No one will ever be competent to teach another culture; it is OK to say a teacher is not; it is OK to say that a teacher has limitations because of their experiences.  Do not try to put the guilt of not being able to attend an event/conference or wear clothing specifically marketed to POC on POC.

White people need to know we are not always wanted, needed, and we do not and will not know what it means to be POC. And if you want to challenge Privilege, conduct actions that will risk losing it, such as doing something that at the end of the day will possibly lose you your job, friends, family, or safety.”

Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., award-winning author, community organizer, and professor is a Senior Fellow of the Dispute Resolution Institute at the Hamline Law School, Hamline University. He is the Executive Director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Co-Director of Save the Kids, and co-founder and Editor of the Peace Studies Journal.
Other resources for understanding White Privilege:



One of the best parts of spontaneous travel is that you stumble into incredible places where you learn things about yourself you never knew, or you forgot. All that wandering means leaving behind the things you’re done with too. Today is my first day waking up in my own bed in months and it feels so good. I’ll never forget where I’ve been, from the ships of Copenhagen to the spice markets of Istanbul, but being surrounded by my books and quilts and paints in my own little corner is just blissful. Thank you Europe, for taking the cold of the longest winter I’ve ever felt and sending me back refreshed, sun-kissed and at peace with the world.
Feeling lots of compassion, thankfulness, forgiveness, and love (for myself as well as others.)

RAVAGE: art and culture in times of conflict



I spent the afternoon at M (Museum of Leuven) at an exhibit called RAVAGE: art and culture in times of conflict. It was an incredible blend of art and history. Although it featured representations of the city of Leuven itself, ancient Troy, Hiroshima, and Beirut, disparate times and geographies, the exhibit was exceptionally well synchronized.
A key theme of the exhibit as a whole was art created to capture the destruction of cities, both to record and document, and for the sake of art itself.  Paintings of every medium, drawings and sculpture demonstrated a relationship between horror and aesthetic.   The rich diversity of formats was wonderful– maps of reconstruction projects, illuminated medieval manuscripts depicting conquerors slaying entire populations and burning their cities to the ground, ancient reliefs, scribbled notes, video footage and more.
Exceptional care was taken to describe the repeated destructions of Leuven by plague, accidental burning and of course war after war. It was fascinating to see the very squares and markets I had just hours before been strolling through in paintings filled with soldiers and flames. Europe is always interesting that way.
Daniel van Heil, ‘De brand van Antwerpen met het paard van Troje’, oil on canvas, 1700.
Lamia Joreige‘s feature on Beirut was my favourite. She created an elaborate map of mixed media materials (photos, video, poetry, historical texts) with a system of capital letters for hard dates, lowercase letters for soft data and numbers for her own reflections.
It was raw and informative.
Also featured was a project where shrouds with the grey-black impressions of forms evoked the people shadows of Hiroshima.  Instead of human forms the shrouds captured fireworks– gunpowder used for entertainment, evoking screams of joy.  Televisions beside the shrouds displayed the process, where artist Cai Guo-Qiang set off 1200 black fireworks in the place where the atom bomb fell August 6, 1945.  This project exactly captured the mess of emotions of horror-aesthetic and fit perfectly with RAVAGE the exhibit as a whole.
Certainly an exhibit well worth visiting, one of the best I’ve ever seen.

wĭl′fəl: Persists in doing as she pleases, habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition. Headstrong, self-willed- not obeying or complying with commands of those in authority. ˈwāwərd/: Given to perverse deviation from what is desired, expected, or required. Swayed or prompted by caprice; unpredictable.


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