It’s Been A Minute Since Someone Called Me A Whore

I overstand that there are people in this world that are deeply disturbed, I also overstand that in this age of social media networking it is almost inevitable that you will have a cyber encounter with a disturbed individual. I know I am not the first nor will I be the last woman to experience sexual harassment online. Since my journey in the digital landscape I have blocked male email accounts; FB accounts and YouTube Users. However this mornings encounter left me shook on a multitude of levels and is one of the reasons I am blogging about it.

Before you read any further I need to issue a *TRIGGER ALERT* and an *Explicit Language* alert for sensitive readers.

Almost 11 weeks ago I posted a selfie of myself as I was getting ready to attend a birthday celebration at the Harlem restaurant. I took that selfie cuz it was one of those rare occasions where I was dressed up. I’m usually dressed in my hip hop gear…hoodies, t’s and caps. I actually couldn’t believe the woman looking back in the mirror was me…she looked beautiful, sexy, confident. So I snapped and posted.

11 weeks later I have some new comments for that selfie that make me wanna throw up. After skimming the comments I clicked on the persons Instagram handle. It took me to a page filled with pornographic images of young white women and girls. I went back to my pic…I went through so many reactions within minutes of reading:

1. I was grossed out
2. I was infuriated and felt violated

And then the language began to set off triggers causing me to actually question whether those comments were warranted because I was dressed up and looking “sexy”… The classic: “maybe I asked for it”…

I had to have a major inner cipher with my consciousness and a major sage smudge so I cud really listen to the truth that my intuition was attempting to lift to my mental. NO YOU DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS SHIT!!!

So I reported this sexual predator. I blocked this sexual predator. And then I responded to the comments:

Here are the comments to my Instagram selfie below:

#meow2U2
I want to cum all over u
A Native whore is a need not a want
Nice Aboriginal pussy

My response:

In light of #MMIW (murdered missing indigenous women I have blocked u and reported u) my physical beauty is not an open invitation for verbally sadistic rape talk. Language such as this is sexual harassment and an act of violence. No matter what the medium this kind of talk is an act of violence against women. And not only are u attempting to degrade my gender but also my ethnicity. You are obviously disturbed and sick and need help.

Will this incident deter me from expressing myself visually online…no. This incident is a reminder that both the physical and cyber worlds I navigate through are rancid with systemic sexism; racism and every other ism u can imagine. I will continue to represent myself with courage; integrity and straight up fierceness. I spent a large part of my adolescences and early adulthood plagued by fear because of perverts like this Instagram dude. I’ve come to far in my personal healing journey to revert back to victim status.

M

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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3 Easy Steps to Support Hashtag Poetry Portraits

HASHTAG POETRY PROJECT

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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Red Slam Collective @ Alignment

Red Slam is bringing sum heavy hitters to Haudenosaunee Territory John Waaseyahbin Hupfield aka 7th Son Anishinaabe from Wasauksing First Nations; MC Miles T Mohawk Six Nations; Mahlikah Aweri aka MC AngelHeart Mohawk (Kahnawá:ke) & Mi’kmaw (Bear River) First Nations; Beat Boxer Skratch Won Cree/Dene (Alberta); B-Boy Dizine Izm (Rawn Razer) Cree (Saskatchewan); William Charbonneau (Bass) and Fumu Jamez (Percussions).

2012 is becoming a monumental year for the little Collective that grew and grew up from humble beginnings at the NCCT youth program office to showcasing at the 2011 NXNE, Manifesto and the 2010 CFSW. This year started with performances in Vancouver, New Mexico and in June Red Slam will showcase at NXNE 2012 and Pride 2012. The Hip Hop Fusion Movement S.L.A.M. (Spoken Lyricism Arranges Meaning) is unstoppable with the anticipated release of their full length studio album on the horizon for 2013!!

Red Slam Collective

 

A multi-disciplinary event brought to you by Nationless Minds, Burlington Slam Project, and PENTA

On Saturday, May 12th, we converge on 2 floors of Hamilton’s beautiful Pearl Company to bring you Alignment. Hosted by the dynamic Greg “Ritallin” Frankson.

You won’t believe our stellar line-up of performers and artists… exploring where various artistic expressions intersect and align with spoken word.

Missing Lynx (Urban Legends 2011 team)
Red Slam Collective
Amanda Hiebert
Electric Jon
P.O.E.
Poetic Speed
Cathy Petch
the 2011 Burlington Slam Project team
Hyf & PrufRock
Kevin Sutton
Fire Flower Revue

and… as if that line-up isn’t more than enough to blow your minds… we also have one more dynamic duo… Brad Morden & Ian Keteku as Atomic Wednesday.

PLUS…
A Bboy-Bgirl showcase. Progressive Movement representing a downtown Hamilton youth centre known as ‘The New Globe’.
Live artists Komi Olafimihan & ZS Cheetham will be creating on the scene.
And a gallery including previous works by the above, plus photography & videography by Michelle Darby and Ruzanna Shortstuffyan.

$15
tickets will be available in advance at various spoken word events throughout April in southern Ontario, or
contact us at we.are.PENTA@gmail.com for online purchase.

Doors open and the magic starts happening promptly at 7pm and we party until late in to the night…

Red Slam Collective’s Mahlikah Awe:ri is a member of PENTA for more info about the artist collective check out the web site:

PENTA

 

Not to Be Forgotten

In 2010 I wrote Dodom. It was two years after Steven Harper’s “apology” on behalf of the Canadian Government, regarding the human rights violations experienced by First Nations, Metis and Inuit Children from the late 1800’s to 1996, in the residential school system. I wrote it to share a hidden truth within my great-grandmother’s life. I performed it live for the first time during the semi’s @ the Toronto Poetry Slam. I knew the judges would probably score low…but I the message meant more to me looking out into the darken room filled with more than 100 non-native audience members. It was so quiet during the piece…and I was shaking when I finished. At intermish…strangers embraced me crying…”colonial guilt”…maybe, but it all seemed to be very genuine.

Two years later students attending the Academic Upgrading Program in the Downtown East; which I am the Manager for are reading Fatty Legs. After reading the teachers request I present a one hour talk about Residential Schools in Canada. I start the presentation with Dodom and end with the lasting affects of this deliberate attempt to “Kill the Indian Inside” by the Church and it’s Government. We have the missing children who never came home….mass graves are being uncovered in Mohawk , Anishnawbe and Mi’kmaq Territories as we speak. The 60’s Scoop. And the current state of Aboriginal Health and Education and the continual increase in incarceration and suicide rates in our communities.

As a people we do not want to dwell in the past but our teachings tell us once you know you never forget.

Here is a project helping native and non-native communities remember

Project Heart

Dodom

My body is not a temple but a totem

Remember my Owena
when I say ur body is not a temple but a totem
ur Dodom each and everyday
Great gran lost her dodom;
so she lost her way
Was it the mush and maggots
that swelled her belly
or being forced
to watch her older cousin
have his head smashed against the front wooden pew
til it was nothing more than jelly?
Was it the nightly rape fest
while saying the rosary
while his cold pale holy flesh
b on top of she?
Was it his sour gin whispers in her ear
fornicating a demonic twisted lie
as his ungodly member violated her dodom insides?
Shhhh…Please don’t cry; please to the Sisters don’t tell.
Or u shall end up burning in the firey pits of hell.
She was already in hell and she was already burned;
the scalding showers that teased and taunted that a dirty indian can b cleansed
from red savage to snow white civility
She was already in hell and she was already burned; the siphilitus inferno from too many saints;
who were truly sinners
had begun to spread
She was already in hell and she was already burned;
like a brush fire too close
to a wooded glen
her language was ash;
her ties to her tradish cinder
Her memories of Haudenonsaunee
like her once thick braided hair becoming whispy…thinner.
When they chop down ur dodom
they cut u off at the knees
…it would be less tortorous if they
just left u to bleed…to death…
but what amusement would quick and easy hold
for those who seek perverse pleasures in others torment.
They would rather watch her slowly rot…whither, and die…
With all the strength/wisdom/and luv
of ur clan buried deep inside..
.suffocatig beneath the decay
…dodom dodom dodom fade away
Yes her body survived the residential school otrosities
and yes she passed before
the late apology
So young her dodom frayed and splintered
and so on each and every winter
the women tie a sweet grass braid on a single birch tree
so that her daughter’s daughter daughter
and me
will
Remember her Owena
when she did say
ur body is not a temple but a totem
ur Dodom each and everyday

Mahlikah 2010

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