Selfie Revolution….What Are u Afraid Of?

Big ups to Kim Katrin Crosby, The People Project, for staying on top of the selfie struggle. I am actually floored but not surprised that people are openly; violently opposed to POC; Indigenous people; differently abled; Two-Spirited; Trans gendered…selfie images flooding the World Wide Web. Seriously??? Let me say this, since the selfie I have had the incredible opportunity to visually engage with so many beautiful; unique; diverse; inspiring individuals from around the world. Images of people which never graced the print magazines; or television shows of the 80’s and 90’s. I have always been mad self-conscious about being photographed and even throughout the years as I became more involved with the arts and entertainment industry; I still cringed at the thought of getting my picture taken. Like many of us I had physical insecurities compounded by systemic racism…leading to self-hatred and identity challenges: Too skinny; Too fat; Too exotic; Not black enuff; Not native enuff; Funny nose; Gap tooth smile; Too Flat chested; Too much ass……anyway the selfie is my photo flash record therapy these days. I feel a lot different about my kinda beauty now…which is “my kinda beauty”…I see it shinning inside and out and when social media friends, fans and complete strangers identify positively with my kinda beauty…that’s a validation that speaks volumes to why I selfie and why many of us selfie. When I hashtag #nativepride #afronative under a selfie, I have sent out a beacon to others who self identify in a way that we couldn’t in school or in the work place or even in our own families…communities. I am not completely comfortable with the term “role model”, but I do know a lot of POC and Indigenous youth look up to me so my selfies indirectly encourage healthy positive self-expression; knowledge of self and the decolonization of Western European standards of beauty; and I’m down wit that. I have an inherent right to b “myself”; express “myself”; luv “myself”!! I am more than a serial number! More than a bar code! More than a box to b checked on a census form! I am visually iconic so deal with it!

U can’t box me in cuz I’m wearing my own skin!!!</blockquote>

So to all those selfie haters who claim, “POC and Indigenous people are saturating social media with visual egocentric pollution”
#unplugandstoptrollingus
!!

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Still I Rize #4: Reclaiming Konoronhkwa

It’s been said many times; many ways….so much so that for many it has lost it’s essence and we choose to no longer believe in the power of Konoronhkwa…love. And yet next to laughter it is the greatest healing emotional energy in the universe. It is so sad that this cold world has corrupted it’s purity and therefore has left most of us repulsed by the very notion of it. So where will I begin….how will I reclaim Konoronhkwa in order to stimulate the re calibration of my emotional balance?? The first thing I needed to do wuz admit that I came up with both a lot of luv but also an equal amount of fuckery…dysfunction. And no matter how many times I bumped Mary J’s “Real Love” back in the day…I just couldn’t seem to get it right.
I needed to let go of past hurts; disappointments and pain from childhood and adolescence….grieve; forgive and let go. Love is one of the 7 Grandfather Teachings and sits in the Western Direction. Which is also the Adult Stages of Life. As an adult I must re embrace love and relearn love. I must harness the healing properties of love so I can offer those to others. I don’t want to spend my adulthood twisted up in knots….repelling potential opportunities; friendships and partners because I am incapable of Konoronhkwa. Our teachings tell us love brings us peace; harmony with our creator and creation; absolute kindness; freedom; self-acceptance.
To overstand Konoronhkwa is to overstand that it cannot be demanded; it is earned and once earned should flo freely without conditions. To overstand Konoronhkwa is to overstand that I will never be able to love u if I don’t love myself.

Konoronhkwa has taught me so many valuable lessons over the years. These lessons have enabled me to love without judgement and urgency and devotion when it comes to my art; community and seedlings. Today I am now attempting to love courageously…I am allowing my heart to b handled once again after four relationships had my heart battered; bruised; confused and barely beating.

Abandonment after giving initiates a decree of, “I’ll never give my heart away again.”
My true nature however is to love…cause I long for happiness and desire to make my self whole. So for almost six months I have opened up my heart to someone…we both are very strong and yet fragile and we both want to heal emotionally. As I let go of fear…my belief in the possibilities of Konoronhkwa is allowing me to experience the simple joys that a loving relationship should bring. These simple things make me smile; feel giddy and have me demonstrating “random acts” of affection in both private and public spaces. The key to emotional well being lies in the power of my love….<3

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Still I Rize #3: Ebb & Flo

Three months into my “nu me” movement and I still have many rivers to cross. My Eastern Direction shifts to healthier eating and regular exercise are slowly maintaining a rhythm of consistency. However as I begin integrating emotional health awareness into my life I will again
need to revisit aspects of my eating habits which actually contribute negatively to my emotional well being.

I will need to reduce sugar, fat, meat and dairy; I have already started looking for healthier substitutes. Starting this month I am also switching to eating only fish with high omega’s. No more chicken; pork or beef…with the exception of liver for my anemia. If I’m eating red meat or fowl it has to be game meat exclusively now.

What is emotional health? It encompasses mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addiction, and other conditions. But being emotionally healthy also means managing day-to-day issues like stress, making and keeping friendships, changing bad habits, and using your creativity, all of which can have an impact on your physical health. Understanding emotional health means paying attention to your overall happiness and well-being. Being emotionally healthy also involves maintaining control of your thoughts and feelings. People with good emotional health are resilient in the face of challenges, find ways to express their creativity, and understand the importance of social connections. They also recognize the power of spirituality and the value of staying positive. One of my challenges is I’m somewhat of an empath; which means not only am I sensitive to the feelings of others, but I have a tendency to carry the emotions of others with me; which includes both positive feelings and negative. If I don’t release these emotions through smudging, drumming, meditation, forrest bathing, writing, exercising…. They can build up and cause me to become moody; overly emotional and can trigger other emotions associated with my own past hurts, which can cause anger, frustration, deep sadness, withdrawal….so I need to maintain those healthy emotional outlets. And keep up open communication with people close to me so misunderstandings can be avoided. This is also a challenge for me cause despite being a performer, I’m actually extremely shy and guarded about my feelings…especially where relationships are concerned.
I am working on letting go of insecurities within areas of my emotional life. Having a lack of confidence is stopping me from growing and blooming. So I am surrounding myself with individuals who show me why I should be feeling better about myself, they shine light on accomplishments that barely register when they should have. I have done more and come so much farther than I give myself credit for. Emotions are like waves. They come and go, ebb and flo….keeping my head above water; while embracing the tidal waves of life….I swim.

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3 Easy Steps to Support Hashtag Poetry Portraits

HASHTAG POETRY PROJECT

Hashtag Poetry Portraits: an exploration of indigenous teachings through digital literacy

Ahnee, She:kon:

Wow it’s been a minute…almost a year since my last post. Mainly cuz life offline…analogue took a major priority. I think it is only fitting my return is motivated by a little project that could….no correction, “Will” create a nu form of poetic expression grounded in an ancient indigenous philosophy…how kool is that?! Hashtag Poetry Portraits is currently a top 10 finalist in the Neighbourhood Arts Network BMO Seed Arts Project Grant. Right now all 10 projects are fighting to make the top 6 by getting “liked” to death on FB. The 6 projects with the most “Likes” by 5p Monday June 10th…will be awarded
$1, 000 start up for their project. Honestly this is the most bananas competition I’ve ever been involved in. It’s become a full time job….it involves Friends, Family, Arts Networks, Community Organizations and complete strangers. Like after like after like, I feel like I gotta keep motivating all our supporters, rallying my digital soldiers….with the partnerships with ArtCity in St. James Town and Daniels Centre of Learning Regent Park in RP we’ve been able to hustle the whole social media landscape and support is growing. Artists and community members across Turtle Island and abroad have been holding me down. We came in as underdogs in 8th and climbed as high as 2nd. I am doing this for kids 6-13 native and diverse kids who struggle to express the written word but got a lot to say. Kids who live in hoods that get a lot of negative press…but for them that hood is where they call home. My connection to these inner city communities is authentic. I have been a part of them for almost 13 years and don’t plan on stopping.

Click on the link below:

Hashtag Poetry Portraits

Like! Share!!

It only takes on step to start a run…lets run together!!

Nia:wen Chi Miigwetch

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So Before 2008 My People Were Not Considered Human Beings…Shame!

The Federal Government for the past three years is experiencing what Malcolm X said, back during the Black Power Movement when Blacks began to assert their basic Human Rights against the powers that be, “the chickens would come home to roost so soon“….Well the eagle has landed…It was only until 2008, that our people were able to utilize the Human Rights Act of Canada to file complaints around injustice of our rights within the legal justice system, education system and within the child services system…where some of the most horrendous violations of the rights of our people of been inacted decade after decade….Under the “Indian Act” our people were excluded from the Canadian Human Rights Act…yes please take a moment to digest the blantant racism behind such policies….

Examine this issue closer in the following article which actually made the National Post:

First Nations challenge federal government and band governments with hundreds of human rights complaints

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Aboriginal Education in Tdot….Can we break the cycle??

As an educator and artist of First Nations heritage who has been working in communities and classrooms in Toronto, ON for over 12 years the inclusion of contemporary imaging and historical contributions of Aboriginal Peoples as the First Peoples of Turtle Island has slowly through mighty determination become more visible in our schools, which is encouraging students of Native heritage to self-identify and proudly embrace their roots; instead of being a invisible majority in the classrooms of our Toronto schools.

The Cycle that I am interested in breaking is our kids dropping out because they do not feel any validation and therefore their self-worth is low. I agree as many do that the nightmarish legacy of Residential Schools and the 60’s Scoop and the Child Service System is at the heart of the blame…

Please find the article:

Closing the ‘achievement gap’ for Toronto’s aboriginal students

Many people I respect in the community share their stories in this one.

Also if you are a parent or teacher native or non-native and you would like an Aboriginal Artist to work with your students or your kids during the 2012-2013 school year and you are based in Ontario please check out the OAC Aboriginal Artists in the Schools Roster which I am also listed in:

2012-2013
ABORIGINAL ARTISTS IN SCHOOLS ROSTER

Finally if your in Toronto and your interested in the Red Slam 4 Directions Urban Community Arts Workshops check out our links on the Neighbourhood Arts Network which is supported by the Toronto Arts Foundation.

http://www.neighbourhoodartsnetwork.org/members/red-slam-collective

http://www.neighbourhoodartsnetwork.org/members/mahlikah-aweri

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