January 27th 2003
I went to my first Pow Wow last weekend.
Billed as North America's largest gathering, it was held in the Skydome in downtown Toronto.
I won't know if it is in fact the largest until such time as I manage to make the other “largest” powwow down in the Six Nations Reserve past Hamilton. This very reasonably takes place outside and is held in summer and is high on my list of must attend events.
This did however bring together more Indians than I have ever seen since my arrival here in Canada.
At this stage I should perhaps make a small observation.
Aside from earnest young, and some not so young, white women manning (womanning?) the many Government stands, no one refers to the First Nations members as Aboriginal, or First Nations, or any other politically correct nomenclature designed to eradicate white guilt at treating the Indians as second class citizens.
Over and over, on the stands, on the pamphlets, on the T-shirts and definitely in conversation with various people there, the term “Indian” was used!
About the only time I heard a different comment was when the person involved was referring to a particular member of a tribe.
“He's a Huron” or “the Iroquois” for example.
Even the “Angry Young Warriors” manning information booths, handing out pamphlets denouncing the White Man's treachery, referred to themselves as Indians!
So Indian it will be and remain as far as I am concerned. It is the wish of the people after all.
As we walked into the upper side entrance to the Skydome it soon became apparent that a Pow Wow , and this one specifically, involved some form of competition.
In the background you could hear the incessant drumbeats and chants of different groups. Quite intrusive in a way
In hindsight the whole Pow Wow reminded me of the Scottish Gatherings that I have attended for years.
Masses of stalls selling “cultural heritage” items with a dance competition off to one side and a band competition on the other.
I wasn't there long enough to notice whether the afternoon drift toward a suitable pub took place. Which is part of the Scottish tradition at the gatherings I've attended. Before anyone starts moaning I would like to point out that as a Drummer in a Pipe Band I am more than suitably qualified to make those comments!
Although this is Canada and given the problems with alcohol and First Nations members and the many earnest “nannies” floating around, I have this sneaky suspicion that there weren't any pubs open.
So we decide to start at the upper level stalls and make our way down to the Astroturf level later.
At which stage you realise that there must be whole continent of people here who suffer from nightmares.
I have never seen so many dream catchers!
All different sizes, shades of colour and made with everything from twigs to the kitchen sink and some really interesting stuff in between.
But not with Eagle feathers as we were told. Eagle feathers are sacred and may not be sold!
Which made me wonder how the really ornate headdress that I would have loved to buy and which boasted “Real Eagle Feathers” was going to change owners. Unless the gods turn a blind eye to a whole wack of filthy lucre, I can only surmise that the feathers may have been some other bird and that the stall owner was tweaking the truth ever so slightly. But it really was a brilliant headdress!
As were many of the clothes and traditional dresses on show and for sale.
In the background you could still hear the incessant drumbeats and chants of different groups. Quite compelling in a way.
But my personal favourite without a doubt was the T-shirt worn by one of the stallholders.
“All my heroes have killed Cowboys”!
I wanted that T-shirt. Really, really, wanted that one and despite being roughly the same size couldn't persuade him to part with it. Damn! So I'm on the lookout for a T with that slogan.
Yes I know I have never grown up and that I am a kak stirrer and all the rest but it is rather amusing actually.
Anyway we walked passed the food court on our way where they were selling all sorts of “ethnic” food, which actually looked very much like hamburgers with an exotic name. Bison Burgers, Buffalo Burgers etc. We decided to have a berry juice made with fresh berries and supposedly a very old Indian recipe. It was very good and very refreshing.
Down on the floor we stumbled on the Government section, which was off to one side along with the Meti's stalls.
In the background you could hear the incessant drumbeats and chants of different groups. Very hypnotic in a way.
I did find it rather amusing to note that most of the Government stands were there to warn the masses about AIDS, gambling, alcohol and other such vices while alongside them were a whole host of stands extolling the virtues of visiting the Casino's. For those of you who are unaware, the majority of casinos' in Canada are either on Indian reservations or provide hefty revenues to the local nation.
Which, coupled with the free condoms handed out, was to my mind at least, a bit of a dichotomy. I was very impressed with the Indian legends and artwork on the condoms though. Well actually on the cardboard wrapper stapled around the outside of the condom inside. I checked all of mine but didn't discover any slip-ups!
So we decided that having bought a few goods for some of the people back home and a “Native Pride” baseball cap for me we wandered over to the actual dancing area to see what all the noise was about.
That was where we saw what must have been the youngest age group doing a dance. With a child there that looked to be about two or three tops! Not exactly fluent in all the dance steps she had the heart and carried on for quite some time. She also had one of the best costumes on as well.
In the background you could hear the incessant drumbeats and chants of different groups. Increasingly familiar in a way.
At which stage we discovered we had been there for quite a few hours and that we needed to head off back to far flung reaches of the GTA. Which considering it was snowing when we got outside was a wise move. So now it is a definite must that we have to go to the Pow Wow down in the Six Nations Reserve this summer.
January 20th 2003
At long last people are beginning to awaken to the fact that political correctness has a strong insulting component to its stupidity.
Quite a few people in fact.
Including I might add the very people that are supposedly being shielded by the actions perpetrated in their name by the PC mob.
It's that time of the year again.
A celebration of an event that drives the left wing PC loonies around the bend with rage and loathing.
So for years they have worked on destroying the religious aspects. Dragging it into a mere holiday rather than a religious celebration.
That vapid stupid term “Happy Holidays” being a typical example of the invidious propaganda used to topple the occasion.
This time some nameless faceless bureaucrat in Toronto's over bloated bureaucracy decided that the Christmas tree erected in Nathan Phillips Square was henceforth to be known as a “Holiday Tree”.
In order apparently not to offend the multicultural and religious sensitivity of Toronto's citizens. Without actually asking the citizens how they felt about it of course! The PC nannies never do! They always know what is best for you. No argument.
Of course insulting millions of Christians in Toronto is fine but heaven help anyone who disturbs the multicultural farce by putting up a tree and daring to name it for what it is!
No doubt there was much backslapping and celebration at sneaking another nail into Christianities coffin.
Until, that is one of the reporters from the Toronto Sun asked the rather reasonable question as to why the tree was renamed and on whose authority?
Out came all the sanctimonious platitudes so beloved of the politically correct when they are asked to support their decisions. “Inclusive, Multicultural, feelings, diversity” They only stopped short at accusing the reporter of being racist because this was a religious argument but you could smell the accusation hovering!
No one however knew who was actually responsible for the decision to rename the tree the “Official Holiday Tree” It just was. “They” decided! “They” implemented.
Which is par for the course. Faceless nameless bureaucrats implementing insanity before anyone is aware of the need to protest.
So the reporter decided to ask a few people if the idea of a “Christmas Tree” was insulting or annoying or even made them feel less included in our bustling multicultural metropolis.
Everyone, from Rabbi's, Heads of Jewish organizations, Imam's, Islamic Community groups, Buddhists and everyone else, except Pagans, who weren't asked, said the same thing.
No! They weren't threatened at all by having a Christmas Tree in Nathan Phillips Square. In fact they were more annoyed by the stupidity inherent in insulting another religion.
I gathered by some of the comments that they were also even more annoyed that they were being used as a convenient scapegoat. Not to mention that they felt it would probably not be long before the zealotry for atheism shifted focus toward them. Which it always does!
As one of the Rabbi's said:
“We have a Menorah up during Hanukkah. Nobody is trying to call it a “Holiday Menorah”
No! But “they” would if they could.
The Mayor of Toronto, who is Jewish himself, came out strongly against “political correctness gone mad” and the whole bang shoot went back to the council at City Hall for a vote. Which given the leanings of some councilors is rather like asking the Fox to vote on guarding the henhouse. The PC crowd however are nothing if not cowards and when the wind isn't blowing correctly they will go with the flow if only to come back sneakily another day.
The upshot was that we are now allowed to officially call it a Christmas Tree.
Which isn't to say that the Politically Incorrect Reactionaries can rest on their laurels. No Sir!
Quietly making its way into the subconscious of the collective and captive great unwashed is a TV advert currently being flighted by the Canadian Mint.
It features a beaver and a Moose extolling the virtues of giving coins for Christmas.
It is actually rather humourous except for the song in the background. Based on “The Twelve days of Christmas” it has been altered so that the actual words go like this “ On the first day of GIVING”
Crass commercialism and insulting again all in one go. Very good and typically North American. It's the type of action you expect from the capitalist piggies down south and not from the all-embracing multiculuralist socialists from Canada.
Even more eyebrow raising was the letter sent to someone who complained about this. Basically the writer, some Mint spokespeople, managed to sound pained that anyone would take offense, and anyway more people said they liked it. So Wah! No doubt all the advertising agency staff eager to get more handouts from the Government. Or people in the mint too frightened to say anything unless they lost their job.
The stupid thing is that it is a nice ad and leaving in the actual words would only have made it better.
Ah well. Who can fathom the tortuous meanderings of the tiny minds that are involved in being politically correct anyway?
The other stupid thing is that I'm not particularly religious and even I am getting really pissed off about the denigration of Christmas. I know I am not alone.
So I am going to make it my duty to tell everyone to have a Merry or Happy Christmas when I see them. Particularly those faceless oinks who make up the bloated bureaucracy in Canada.
What's more I'm starting now to look for signs that the Easter Bunny will be named the Holiday Rabbit or something!
Oh. And Merry Christmas to you all.