Native Calgarian

A reintroduction, digital literacy of algorithms, an explanation of the petition for the removal of Calgary Mayor Gondek, a bit of the experience of a 2 day anti racism conference, knowledge of Two Spirit Day and more!
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What is Native Calgarian?

My podcast about everything in my life! Politics, Indigenous issues, social issues, LGBTQ2+ and so much more.

Michelle:

Today is March 22, 2024. Welcome to Native Calgarian. Or Sahtu Language. My name is Red Thunder Woman. My married English name is Michelle Robinson.

Michelle:

I use she, her, they, and them pronouns. I honor the Blackfoot as the elders and members have been so kind to me on my, reclaiming journey. Elder Red Crane has taught me how to pronounce my spirit name in Blackfoot, and Leonard Kenny taught me how to say it in Sahtu Dene. My humblest apologies to the Blackfoot and Dene elders and language keepers as I learn proper pronunciation. My Dene lineage roots me in the land of the Great Bear Lake Tribe in treaty 11.

Michelle:

My people wore rabbit skin, so it's been referred to as the land of the hare people. I'm a native to Turtle Island, and my Dene nation is an un is uninvited to this area of Klincho Tinay Indihay in Sahtu Dene, meaning many big dog town named after the Calgary stampede. I was born in Calgary or on Blackfoot, Moh'kins'tsis as Michelle Elliott, another English name that has afforded me privilege in an English colonial world. I'm trying to acknowledge my proximity to whiteness and to acknowledge that anti blackness is a real issue in our world, and that that is probably why I'm able to talk to you right now. My mother is Sahtu Dene or Sahtu Dene or Northern Slavey Dene, but my Indian Act imposed status card by the Canadian government says yellowknives Dene.

Michelle:

Through my father, I'm a daughter of the Mayflower and a daughter of the American Revolution while having a Canadian Indian act impose status card. That is a colonial construct by Canadian policies meant to divide indigenous people's inherent rights. Indigenous two spirit or the indigenous 2SLGBTQ community, and indigenous women are at the bottom of the Socio Canadian economic ladder because of colonial trauma, imposed poverty, racism, gender violence, and land theft. According to the 2023 quality of life report from the Calgary Foundation, 31% of racialized Calgarians cannot find suitable unemployment. So that shows you exactly why that correlation happens.

Michelle:

I'm not a social worker. I'm not an elder, nor do I speak on behalf of all indigenous. I just share what I have learned as I go As a trauma informed Dene woman who has attempted to run, joined harmful colonial parties, spent money to be at expensive conventions, left my home to travel to those conventions just to vote on incomplete policies that still allow for racism, incarceration, a denial of justice, a denial of health care services, colonial trauma, and genocide of indigenous and black peoples, I have worked to continue reports to advocate for and attempt to work within these systems meant to harm me and my community. I think of all of this today, and I hope we honour the many indigenous lives lost for this so called country named Canada. I hope you see your role in the importance of stopping harm and as a citizen, see your role in reconciliation and as a treaty partner.

Michelle:

Pride should never be 1 month. It's important to understand that the straight agenda and gendered violence was and is forced on these lands by Christian outsiders. Land acknowledgements are critical for creating a safer space for indigenous, as well as honouring the host, acknowledging your role as a treaty partner in a so called time of reconciliation. Can they be performative? Of course.

Michelle:

It's important land acknowledgements have meaning. That's why I encourage everybody to introduce themselves with an acknowledgment of their ancestors, stories of displacement, how you perceive your role as a treaty partner, a citizen of Canada, a refugee, or other land displacement so we as indigenous peoples know how safe you are to be around. If you don't know how to pronounce your local indigenous nations' names, you won't say your pronouns, won't say a story of origin, won't acknowledge stolen lands, won't acknowledge imposed economic oppression, your role in reconciliation, or worse, say, oh my god. I'm such a guest. I determine how safe you are to be around my community, my family, and myself.

Michelle:

Understanding land acknowledgements and their importance is Indigenous 101 because it immediately addresses colonialism, oppression dynamics, broken treaties, and lies taught today in Canadian schools nationally. That's why settlers and those who call themselves native Calgarians or whatever town you're from, you show me you have no indigenous 101 understanding. I am happy to see people say I was born and raised in Calgary because that doesn't, appropriate terminology. That's really harmful. And again, it shows you do have some indigenous understanding.

Michelle:

Jesse Wente's book, Unreconciled, explains this perfectly as well as so many other indigenous authored books. Land Back is a movement that could save the planet from climate change created by colonialism, but it would be a part of a treaty partnership, part of meaningful reconciliation, and honoring global initiatives like the United Nation declaration of rights of indigenous peoples. I'm speaking to you on the lens of the Niitsitapi, which is the Blackfoot Confederacy. The Blackfoot south of the imposed US Canadian border are the Blackfoot. The Blackfeet Nation, that's the one that Lily Gladstone is from.

Michelle:

So you've been hearing a lot of chatter here in this area because of it. And I tried to share as much of it as we could because, again, I acknowledge I'm on Blackfoot Confederacy. So north of the border is the Siksika, Gyanite, and Bugatti of the Confederacy. These lands are now treaty 7 as well, signed September 22, 18 77 with signatures that include the Blackfoot Confederacy, the Good Stoney, Chiniki, and Bearspaw Nations of the Stoney Nation, and the Dene from Tsuut'ina. I acknowledge all First Nation, Metis, Inuit status and non status across Turtle Island as the keepers of these lands.

Michelle:

All non indigenous are treaty partners with the government signing on your behalf. I sure hope that you've learned a lot of things from what I've just said. And if you did, I wanna tell you my Patreon account is native Calgarian where you can pledge and support. Thank you to previous donors for showing that support. If you value listening or watching and can afford to give, thank you.

Michelle:

To those who cannot afford to give, I'd love to hear from you at native y yc@gmail.com where you can send in your comments or questions. Also, giving a review helps whatever medium you're listening from. I have a YouTube channel that you can go into subscribe. You can also go to nativecalgarian.com for the latest podcasts, pinned posts on social media. And, you know, if you wanna book me, I'm I'm there as well.

Michelle:

So I I did wanna do a reintroduction to who I am and why I have this podcast. It's been a long time since I've done that, and I recognize I've gotten quite a few new followers over the course of my time. Now in my introduction, I regularly tell people that I've been involved in politics. So I think it's really important to understand that indigenous people are forced into politics by the moment we're born into this world. We are political by existing.

Michelle:

That's what happens in an oppressive colonial government, and that's actually what Canada is. I know this is news to a lot of people because they haven't really researched the truth of what has happened on these lands to indigenous people. So I have this podcast literally for this free education. You know, already I have talked about the Indian Act. I've already talked about land acknowledgements, I've already talked about oppression dynamics, and I've given some free information already.

Michelle:

Did you get it? I don't know. Sometimes people do. Sometimes people don't. I literally can tell when people talk to me if they've listened or if they're absorbing what I'm saying.

Michelle:

So I I just wanna be really clear. Who am I? I'm a mother. I'm a mother that experienced systemic racism. When I gave birth to my child, my husband and I wanted to have more children.

Michelle:

But after the experience that we had at the time, it was called the Calgary Health Region, in the local hospital that I gave birth to, I have not been the same since. And have I've always experienced systemic racism, but I never unpacked it. It's like, in my twenties unpacking misogyny and gendered violence. I I've just seen it as violence against women, but I have, of course, since evolved and understand a lot a lot more since then. So, you know, I am just a regular person like anyone else filled with all sorts of failures and wins.

Michelle:

And I just do this free education because I I took the concept of reconciliation very seriously. I legitimately thought Canadians wanted to work on racism. They wanted to work on partnership. I truly believe our treaties were signed with that intent, and I have an obligation to my ancestors as well as to the ances indigenous ancestors of the lands I'm on to help people understand the gravity of treaty being a spiritual covenants. I took geomatics in at SAIT and and did drafting land drafting.

Michelle:

So from my point of view, this is a conversation that's really important to me. It's one of the conversations I charge people for because I do have a background in geomatics. And if people truly wanna understand land acknowledgements, there's a bigger conversation to have about it. But the free education I give on this podcast would be, I hope, people understand that to indigenous people, this was something that was prayed upon and something that we legitimately have a spiritual connection to. And just because the treaty partners we signed with, the British, did not fulfill their side of the treaties, doesn't mean we have the right to not carry ourselves in the best way that we know how to.

Michelle:

Now I would argue that there back to the conversation of media representation of indigenous people, a lot of folks have a really wrong idea of who indigenous people are and what we are. I think a lot of people think that we are always so kind and giving, and we are. We are very kind and giving. And I would argue Canadians are lucky that we don't want more, vengeance for what they've done to us and continue to do. And I think that, from my point of view as a person who's half white and half native, I I see I have lived this colonial upbringing and had to unpack why it is I was experiencing sexism, why I was experience experiencing systemic racism, focusing on what colonialism is, and now trying to understand what differently abled people view the world with different, you know, brain functioning.

Michelle:

So these things are are a big part of my journey, and I don't like the term activist. I've been called activist, and I know many people are called activist. And I think that for folks who are non activists, they don't understand. You're just privileged enough not to have experienced the injustice that those of us who have been trying to raise awareness have. And that's the difference.

Michelle:

That's that's why we talk about privilege, and and that's why I talk about racism. And that's why I talk about gendered violence now because I I have to. If we're not being honest about all of those things, we're not being honest about what those solutions are. And I know that this podcast gives solutions. I give solutions all the time and, give so much free information.

Michelle:

So I think it's important that we start dispelling, you know, indigenous representation for the last 150 years. I would argue since about 2015, 2016, things have dramatically changed in in a better way in Canada. However, we still have so much more work to do. We went from Canadians going, oh my god. You still exist, to, now they have to understand what racism and colonialism actually is.

Michelle:

It it's disappointing we haven't gotten further, but I I do I have seen my own changes in myself, in land acknowledgements being said now, at least, prior to 2016, you would never hear one in Calgary, Alberta. No way. So there has been a lot of shifting happening. I I know, I don't love the term social media influencer, but I do know some of the things that I've put out there on Twitter at public meetings has changed a lot of things that I see here. I have talked about being politically involved.

Michelle:

I naively thought that a lot of people wanted more change quicker. When it came to federal politics. I've been involved with the Liberal Party of Canada since about 2011. Prior to that, I was in the truth movement because at that time, they were the only folks that were willing to talk about Indian residential school truths. After the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it became quite widely known, the issues of what has happened here in Canada.

Michelle:

Unfortunately, today, here in 2024, I find a lot of my work is, seeing that real strong white supremacist belief system and denialism of indigenous truth. I know that that is not different than any of the decades before me. I know our elders have always told their truth to deniers and to folks who profit off of the denial of our truth. So to me, it it isn't anything new. However, I would argue that because of the day of Internet and social media and social media apps, we're seeing a big difference and change.

Michelle:

So and the fall of of mainstream media would argue as well. So I do wanna talk a lot about, algorithms for folks who are unaware. You know, I actually find that a lot of the conversation So I'm gen x. I was born in 1977. So when I was in school, I graduated high school in 94, and that was the the last bit of old computer technology before they brought in the new computer technology into the public system newer, I should say.

Michelle:

I was surprised when I went back for my reunion, I wanna say 10 years ago, that they had AutoCAD in high school at at my old school. I was really happy about that because I I had to go to SAIT for drafting and and to learn all of that information. So there has been some some good changes in public school. However, as of yesterday, here in Alberta, there was a a release of the Alberta curriculum, and it was still very positive towards, colonizers and minimal like, did not address the violence that indigenous people experience. So I know we'll have another generation of kids that have been told misinformation.

Michelle:

And, and that's why this podcast exists. That's why indigenous people put out so much great social media content is to help educate open Canadians who are interested in learning about Canada's true history. And, also, like, for me, when I speak to indigenous people, it's a very different conversation than when I have a a public podcast like this that goes to all Canadians, because Canadians need to understand, some truths that, unfortunately, as indigenous people, we just live and don't necessarily need to be educated on. So that's another little teaching I hope you, takeaways that you never correct indigenous people on their experience just because you haven't experienced it. Again, it's a privilege to not have experienced the injustices that we have.

Michelle:

So, as I I've talked about, I I took reconciliation very seriously, and I started a book club that's been free for everyone. It was actually thanks to Carolyn Bennett in 2016 that really encouraged everybody in June, the indigenous people's month to start book clubs. And I don't know too many people who did. And, nationally, this one's been going since 20 16. So if you're interested in being a part of that, I run mine every second Monday of the month, and we go through a book selection.

Michelle:

It is indigenous led, and indigenous people speak first because non indigenous have always had the narrative and non indigenous bring in their biases. So the importance is making sure that we have, indigenous voices at these at these book clubs. Now if that time doesn't work for you, please feel free to listen to some of my podcasts. I had to pivot. I hate that word, but we all started using it when the pandemic happened.

Michelle:

And I I put my book club online, and I've been using Zoom since. And I haven't, I didn't know what Zoom was prior to the pandemic, but that, day everything started to shut down 4 years ago, that that is when I learned what Zoom was, and I continued the book club. And so it it's on my podcast as well if you wanna go back. And and if you have requests, I'd be happy to go through it. We have read every volume of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which I recommend all Canadians do.

Michelle:

And we've recommend and we've read all of the volumes of Reclaiming Power in Place, if you were interested in indigenous issues, you have to read our reports because they're public, they're available, and you can't claim you wanna help indigenous people if you're not willing to listen to the voices that are in these reports from the numerous, elders that we have and indigenous voices in general. Otherwise, you're just continuing and perpetuating more colonialism. What happened out of my book club is that there were issues around the city a lot of folks wanted to do, some action on. So we started the reconciliation action group. It evolved after there was a a school here called Langevin.

Michelle:

Langevin was the municipal architect that really created the Indian Residential Schools nationally. So we thought it was inappropriate for there to be a bridge, inappropriate for there to be a school named after him. And so after the 215 Graves spoke, it was then that Calgary changed that name. We've been trying to work with the Calgary Board of Education on sir a or John, sir John a McDonald. Another jerk that absolutely was a racist and a horrible person that created the Indian Residential Schools and, perpetuated racism against other races as well.

Michelle:

And yet, we have a proud high school named here after him. We also have a a lot of other initiatives like the Beaufort Towers. And if you haven't heard in Calgary if you're not from Calgary, wanna thank all of my listeners, international, national, and then, you know, across the province. But if you're not from Calgary, there's a a lot of issues that are here. So, anyway, I bring all of this up because I really strongly encourage everyone to be doing this work.

Michelle:

I I encourage everyone to, you know, unlearn what you've learned about Canada and to relearn what you think you know about indigenous people through these reports and to work harder at being good treaty partners, good allies, and work on reconciliation in a better meaningful way having it indigenous led. So if you don't have a book club in your area, you can't join mine, start 1. If you don't have a and I mean every single church, every single place should have some sort of reconciliation committee. And the fact that they don't shows how, insincere their apologies were when it came to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. So, you know, that's that's my my challenge to you is to do that work and to to work forward in a good way.

Michelle:

And, you know, I I think that it is important. I I heard on the CBC Radio this morning, the founder of TED Talks, talking about how most people are good, and and it and most people have a willingness to want to give. And I couldn't agree more. And I think that it is undervalued in Canadian society how much free education indigenous people have given to deaf ears. I talk strongly about anti indigenous bias, about how folks, because they have been raised and are surrounded by white supremacy, they actually cannot understand indigenous people because when we speak a truth that goes against their understanding of life, That's their anti indigenous bias coming through.

Michelle:

So I wanna thank all the black creators, all the black authors who have done amazing work of educating me. Ironically, growing up in a world of NWA and the Rodney King video that went in my generation, ironically, a lot of people still haven't unpacked the concept of anti blackness and white supremacy and the world that they're raised in and still have that, black anti anti black bias as a result. So, anyway, I I also wanted to talk about a few other themes today. So I I hope for folks who have never heard me before, that that gives you a better grounding of who I am and where I come from and and why I do what I do. And I hope that, it inspires you to do more in your world as well.

Michelle:

Because everybody has, a gay, lesbian, transgender, or other gender diverse person in their life that we all have to work harder for. We all have family members from different parts of the world that we have to work harder for. My stepfamily is actually from Austria. So I've heard about, you know, anti immigrant sentiment through them, but through my community. And I've unpacked that more through my community than I have with my own family.

Michelle:

You know? I know not everybody is ready to have these conversations, but for those that are, thank you for listening, and thank you for all all the folks who have listened up to this moment. I hope that encapsulates kinda who I am and what I do. So I wanna get a little more further into digital literacy, and I see it a lot with a lot of folks. They don't understand really how algorithms actually work.

Michelle:

So a lot of people, get mad at me on my social medias because on my Facebook, I have it as friends only. But my actual page for native Calgarian podcast is public. So a lot of times, my my friends will say, well, where's the public post? And I'll say, well, it's on Native Calgarian podcast. And most of them won't click on it.

Michelle:

They won't like it, and they won't share it. So I think folks don't understand If you want to see certain things and you want to be able to share public posts, you have to go to public pages in order to share that information. And on Facebook, of course, we are not allowed to share, mainstream media. You know, double edged sword there. In some ways, mainstream media is wrong to share a full balanced picture on topics like Israel or Palestine.

Michelle:

But on others, there's some really important local issues that aren't getting really spoken about. So I do support local grassroots media. Here in Calgary, I can tell you about LiveWire, The Sprawl. Those are really good local medias. I listen to the CBC still.

Michelle:

I, you know, read their online stuff every now and then, but I also really support indigenous media. So Wind Speaker, one of my favorite medias, and that's really locally based here. And they really talk about indigenous issues there. So, again, I hope that you're learning from what I'm telling you, and that it is important to follow other indigenous content creators, but it's also important to follow a great organization like Windspeaker. They have a radio as well, and, it's a little too country for me.

Michelle:

But they do have segments where they teach about language and, it you know, just really important work that they do of actually giving indigenous people voices with, you know, actual journalists doing investigative journalism. I am not a journalist. So, you know, they they have standards of which they abide by. And for me, I try to carry myself in a good way. And I also acknowledge that both the TRC, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the National Inquiry For Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, they both have very strong, segments on how mainstream media and social media content creators should be carrying themselves, and yet I don't see that expectation of our so called treaty partners.

Michelle:

Another great organization that I will follow is APTN. So that's the Aboriginal People's Television Network, and, of course, CBC Indigenous. I have some really great things to tell you about CBC Kids as well. So that's a a great group of folks to follow as well. So kinda back to algorithms.

Michelle:

If you're not sharing the information you wanna see, if you're not liking, commenting more than 5 words, you're not gonna say those things. And you have to be really, authentically purposeful in trying to find the content that you want. Otherwise, you're going to be given content that meta the, you know, branch of Facebook and and Instagram, what they want you to see, what they think you should want to see. So these are corporate entities that are, you know, really accountable to shareholders as opposed to your best interest. So that's kind of the you know, you have to really be purposeful in the algorithms that you choose, the things that you watch from start to end, videos that you watch from start to end.

Michelle:

And, and just be very mindful of that as you're on social media. Know that whether you're on a Tik TikTok, whether you're on a Meta, whether you're on x, these are all apps that are doing data mining. And that data mining, changes what you are given. And it also, tells the the computers what it is that you want to see and what other people should be seeing. So that's why right now in this world of conspiracy theory and, you know, racism and white supremacy, you're seeing such a rise of hate because these algorithms are learning how to make that work, and nefarious parties are working hard to make sure those algorithms of hate are hitting your world.

Michelle:

So that brings me into a conversation I wanna have about what's happening here locally in Calgary. I'm in Calgary. I'm in the heart of conservatism. So federally and provincially, the people who are the heart of the conservative party federally and the heart of all of the conservative movements provincially. These folks have a a very strong agenda.

Michelle:

They know they don't have to work at all in Alberta or in Calgary for the vote. So they use that all of their resources to fight against progressive folks per whether it's the NDP, Green Party, and, of course, the Liberal Party. They hate the Liberal Party, which is why I'm their natural enemy. Part of the reason why I became a Liberal Party member, The Liberal Party has a long history of being problematic and well, genocidal to indigenous people. I don't I should never lessen the words.

Michelle:

And, you know, as a result, they they worked really hard in the 1996 era, 1995 era. They created the Indigenous People's Commission so that more indigenous voices would be included in the colonial democratic system. Regardless, you know, they have a long history of the genocide that has happened. More recently, when Stephen Harper was a part of the Conservative Party of Canada, you know, he really worked hard to undermine indigenous rights, and that, of course, led to the Idle No More movement. Last minute deal, he forgave the Catholic church 1,000,000 of dollars in, payment settlement that should have gone to my grandmother, that should have gone to my aunt my uncle, that should have gone to thousands of indigenous survivors of these residential schools and never did.

Michelle:

And, you know, this is something I'll never forgive him or his team for. Many of his team are still part of the conservative party. Jason Kenney, left to be a part to be the premier of Alberta for a short period before he got kicked out, by the incredible right wing that has been growing here in Alberta, over the over, I would say, since 20 well, I would say Stephen Harper started it, but, you know, it's just gotten progressively worse. And I I say that as all of the flags are lowered at half mask at this moment because tomorrow, Brian Mulrooney will be buried. And, it was it was funny because I think, I remember growing up watching people hate Brian Mulrooney and saying how he ruined Canada, how his agenda was there.

Michelle:

So I'm sure there would be older folks that would agree with me. It started with Stephen Harper. I'm sure if you look at the John a Macdonald, you can say that's the root of it. But, you know, ultimately, I I I am no fan of conservatism. And as much as I wish the Liberal Party would do better, I don't see much of alternatives, when it comes to colonial politics.

Michelle:

That said, I I think we've seen massive changes in Canada since Justin Trudeau became prime minister in 2015, and I think there is a lot more awareness of what the United Nation declaration of rights of indigenous people actually is, and I think there's a lot of movement to try to do systemic changes to create a little fairer Canada. Now I would argue the oppression dynamic is still horrible. You know, it is not in favour of indigenous peoples in any capacity, and we don't have the voice to say no in any capacity in in this country. So, by no means is it we we have a lot of work to do. And I think that the sad reality is that most Canadians are are blissfully unaware.

Michelle:

And I think that's another moment of privilege where, you know, as an indigenous woman, I'm expected to know my traditional ways of knowing, Indian act politics, local, municipal politics, provincial politics, national politics, and, of course, international politics. And, I think it's a luxury that a lot of Canadians have to not need to know all of those things because they think their life isn't affected by it. And for the most part, it isn't. So they can just worry about, you know, the latest hockey game or curling match and, you know, drink their Tim Tim Hortons coffee. So that, you know, that there is a a massive difference between us in that way.

Michelle:

So I I wanted to bring all of this up because, you know, I spoke a little bit about algorithms. The algorithms that the conservative party is data mining is absolutely being used to the advantage of them, creating a lot of hate and anti progressive rhetoric. And we're seeing a lot of violence against, progressive politicians. And right now in Calgary, there's a petition against Jyoti Gondak. This is a woman who as my, as someone I know who is the police commissioner one of the police commissioners here in Calgary said, you know, this is a woman that's overqualified to be our mayor.

Michelle:

Arguably, our previous mayor, Naheed Nenshi, was overqualified to be our mayor. Yet both of them chose to give that public service. And the conservative movement at this moment is really trying to undermine the democratic vote that voted her in and trying to start this petition that, that they passed and changed the laws so that you could recall a politician. Now why I know this this is completely and utter bullcrap is because Jodi Gondak is this, you know, the first brown, well, the first woman and happens to be brown woman that we've had as mayor. Very progressive in a lot of ways.

Michelle:

And, you know, I would argue a centrist right a little right of of center. But when you're in a world of fascism and real right wing, hate rising, you know, this person looks like a lefty. They they call everybody who's not a white supremacist lefty now, basically. So what I'm finding is that, we have this incredible woman basically being attacked. And so this is a a different level of misogyny and racism that we've ever seen in progressive politics because for the first time, we are seeing nonwhite women getting elected.

Michelle:

But when they're in office, they are being targeted horribly by these. So for folks who don't know, the military industrial complex and and corporations are buying people to be bots, to to be trolls online. So you're seeing progressive politics, get relentlessly targeted. With right wing politicians, you see a lot of, you know, I would argue, centrists and and just right of center, people that right wing people call lefties, which is and I would argue we don't have any more lefties in in so called Canada, anyway, just from a colonial way of looking at that, not an indigenous way. So this petition for Jodi Gondak is is going on and being amplified by, a group called Take Back Alberta.

Michelle:

This is a group of people that are basically in control of our UCP here in Alberta. They're the ones that are leading the charge for this petition for Jyoti Gondak to undermine the democracy and try to recall her. And the reason why I know this is all bold is because we currently have a sitting counselor who immediately after the election, it was brought up that he is actually a former police officer who, while in under uniform, actually had, because because of the dynamic of a 16 year old and a a uniform cop with a gun. You know, you can call him a child predator. I call him a child predator.

Michelle:

He's a he's a dirty cop that got away with this being a a child rapist, basically. And so, you know, I I am very vocal that the police union supports him. The city protected him, because at the end of the day, the Calgary Police Services is under the branch of the city of Calgary, obviously protected by the Calgary Police as well. And, you know, ironically, one of the first people in the so called diversity team of the Calgary Police Service. So, like, this is the level of grossness.

Michelle:

Just to take it a step further, there's nobody trying to recall him. I know the police commission looked into it. The UCP supposedly looked into it. Nobody can find a single way to take care of this this sitting counselor, yet he still continues to do his job. He actually, signed the petition and and promoted the petition as well, against JOTI conduct.

Michelle:

So here we have a sitting mayor who happens to be a brown woman who's overqualified for the job with a petition to recall her. And we have this ex dirty cop who was a child predator who there's no petition for him. So that's the level of ugly corruption that there is here, and and this is just a little tiny bit of it. There's a a former human resources, civilian for the Calgary Police that has been very much educating us all, unfortunately, about the level of misogyny and sexism that is rampant in the Calgary Police Service. And I I I just can't even look at the Calgary Police right now.

Michelle:

I I couldn't even look them in the eye because knowing now that they look at every single citizen as whether or not they are somebody they'd sleep with or not is beyond revolting. I never want my daughter to ever see a police officer. I don't want them in my house. I I don't wanna have a damn thing to do with folks who are that misogynistic. You know, it I I have no respect for an organization that, you know, can't seem to take care of a child predator, can't seem to take care of these misogynists.

Michelle:

Just yesterday, I was reading a new story. The former chief of Medicine Hat Police. He, he was former Calgary police officer, and he had sexual relations with with someone at work. And I cannot wrap my brain around how many folks do not understand the power dynamic that if you're a police officer, you cannot have sexual relations with civilians and not understand that that is a massive power dynamic of that's so inappropriate and especially in at work. Oh my god.

Michelle:

I get it is unbelievable to me when I when I read the police union's talking points and and the defense for the police and and read them, try to deny the amount of power and privilege that they have and act as they are the victims in a situation where they should have never they should have had the with like, when when we talk about judgment, we talk about the judgment of police officers. If they don't have the judgment to not have sexual relations with their coworkers, then and and quite frankly, I would argue they don't, actually have sexual relations, that there always is that power dynamic that actually prevents them and are from having a a true relationship and are indeed just sexual predators even if it is somebody their age. It's just disgusting to me. So, you know, it it's really important that people understand why is this so important to me. It's important to me because we have report after report after report talking about how we need to see changes in the judicial system in general.

Michelle:

And yet we see that same system protecting dirty cops. And we there is not mechanisms in place. Thanks, City of Calgary. Thanks, Calgary Police Service, for so called good cops to be able to, you know, properly say, you know, this is wrong. Whistleblower, I guess guess is the term.

Michelle:

We don't have proper protections for that here. So you have sexual victim after sexual victim after sexual victim speaking up. How can the Calgary Police Service, who have a real problem with sexual harassment and, apparently, child predators, How can they even possibly start talking about the missing and murdered indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse report, calls to justice when they don't even know what misogyny is. That would you is a question that wouldn't at all be uttered in in the offices of a police district. It is reprehensible that we are here as a society and that we have the Alberta judicial system protecting these folks.

Michelle:

And we have police unions acting as if the cops are the victim in these situations. They have the ability to murder us in a moment. If you have that much power and privilege, you better be accountable. And these, commissions as well as ACERT, they're filled with ex cops and pro police people. I recently had this interaction with a a commissioner and that said, well, you know, activists need to be, a little more giving.

Michelle:

You know, activists don't wanna be activists. We don't want to, be putting ourselves out there. Everybody would just rather just, you know, do their own thing. And I'm a big Star Wars fan. I'd rather be watching Star Wars than talking about life through the lens of Star Wars.

Michelle:

But we have to be talking about these injustices because we are on the receiving end of them regularly. We have reports as guidelines, as solutions to help people. Education. And when you purposely choose to avoid them, when you purposely choose to not know the stories of victims, You should never be in these leadership's positions, these positions of power ever. You have no right being there if you cannot see how justice has to be served for everyone, not just a small select people of empower privileged group.

Michelle:

So so, anyway, that's a little bit about my thoughts on the petition for Jody Gondak. And I know Project Calgary has been working on trying to educate people on that. Unfortunately, there's a group called project y y c that are are literally, you know, this conservative funded movement to get rid of Jodi conduct. So it's easy to get lost in the translation of both. Follow me on social media.

Michelle:

I will, of course, not share the conservative paid troll crap. I'll just be show sharing what you can do. This matters too because of the NDP leadership. You know, we're I can't encourage people enough right now to take out a membership. I can't.

Michelle:

I'm a Liberal Party of Canada member. I'm, not just a member. I'm part of the operations of the Indigenous Peoples Commission. So because of that, I cannot take out an NDP membership. The Alberta NDP is still linked to the federal NDP, And the federal NDP, as well as the federal Liberals, both have in their constitutions and bylaws that you can't be a member of another political party.

Michelle:

So for me, it's it is a little different. For other people, it's not. If your name isn't on liberal.ca, I'm pretty sure you could probably take out a membership and nobody would would care. But it would be really important for you to be voting, not just for the NDP, but a bigger picture of who is capable of taking down Danielle Smith, who is capable of taking down the conservative party. Because that is what matters to me.

Michelle:

And I would do anything in my power to make sure we get rid of them. So I am encouraging you to please take out an NDP membership so that you can be on the inside of what's happening there and be a part of growing that organization so that they can defeat the conservatives. The conservatives never belong in office anymore, and they've moved our entire, political colonial spectrum really far to the right. So until they're willing to be real about, you know, all of the things that I talk about, I I just can't even understand how anyone can support them. And, what's happening right now is Pierre Polvie, federally, is really, you know, using talking points to try to undermine, liberal party.

Michelle:

But the problem is he doesn't have any solutions. And I know he was a part of Harper's team, so I know he's racist, and he didn't want the national inquiry. And he doesn't want to acknowledge Indian residential schools, and he's, said horribly racist things about indigenous people in the past. And right now, with the Palestine issue, we genocide, I should say, the Palestine genocide. We have folks that are saying, well, we're we're gonna remember the Liberal Party didn't do enough for us in this moment, and I don't blame them.

Michelle:

So if you are non Palestinian, you've gotta make up now for 2 votes, not just 1. Because what's gonna happen is that the conservatives are gonna win by default. And any progress that we've made is absolutely going to be undone as quickly as they can do it. And they we've seen Harper do it before, and it's a shame that Canadians are so privileged. They don't understand how that action can hurt so many people, which it has and continues to do.

Michelle:

Really strongly support, the water protectors. I strongly support, Athabasca, Fort Chipewyan, Dene Nation. These are folks that are on the receiving end of conservative policies and have disproportionate amounts of cancer, thanks to, nuclear, whether it's oil sands. It's just been colonial, regulation of allowing indigenous people to die. This is part of the reason why I talk about the ongoing genocide because it it's one of many policies that continue this.

Michelle:

The injustices that we see at the legal level, the injustices we see at the police level. For folks who who are new, there are many calls to justice and calls to action for you. What are you doing today to follow those? I know for me, I have to work hard every day for many reports that are out there, But I guess I have an invested interest because it's my people that are dying, not not yours. Anyway, so the city of Calgary, decided that they were going to have an anti racism conference.

Michelle:

So it was a 2 day conference, and it was attended by City of Calgary, Calgary Police, as well as the Alberta Health Services. So it was a very whitewashed, watered down idea of what racism is. And, you know, I I've found it very difficult. They changed the venue for one of these authors that I wanted to hear. She was basically the the person who invented the term intersectionality, and her name is Kimberly Crenshaw.

Michelle:

Really lovely person to listen to. I found it they moved the venue from downtown at the Telus sent convention center. They moved it to the Red and White Club, which is, you know, part of the McMahon Stadium where the football team is. So so we went there instead. And, I listened.

Michelle:

And I I I was saddened that there were certain things that were off limits to talk about. Accessibility was an issue, so anyone who was in a wheelchair definitely would would have had a problem being there. And, it was interesting. I've been in, you know, QTBIPOC, BIPOC circles, activist circles long enough to know certain things. And so when you hear, you know, an agreement, a lot of people will click their fingers together.

Michelle:

And what was interesting was the crowd that was there, the AHS, the city of Calgary Calgary Police folks, they're not, they they look down upon anyone who did that. So I got some pretty dirty looks when I was actually agreeing with the, speaker. So it's just so incredible how uneducated people are on anti racism and and activism that they don't even know the basics like that. It was incredible. So it I I was tweeting out a little bit about it.

Michelle:

They were really filtered in the questions that they would answer. And, yeah, it was disappointing disappointed with how activists were were looked down upon. Like, how can you talk to doctor Krimble Kimberly Kurnshaw about an activist in a negative way when that's, like, literally them? But it's interesting how an academic will really differentiate the difference between academia and activism as if they're not interconnected. Anyway, that was a it was eye opening to see that lateral violence against people that advocate and and protest.

Michelle:

So it I was disappointed with some of the the way it was framed. However, Kimberly Crenshaw wasn't having any of that and obviously talked about, you know, the racism and white supremacy and and such. And and so it was lovely to hear her speak and and to hear her her part of it. And I I sat down with, one of our local activists, Adora Nofor, who was sitting alone. You know?

Michelle:

It is always shocking to me how people say that they support us as activists, but yet here in this moment, just let her sit by herself. And I have no idea why. So I went and sat with Adora, and we we listened together and kinda chit chatted a bit about certain points that were being made. And then, I dropped her off at the conference that was downtown. I've been having some personal issues, so, unfortunately, I couldn't, attend day 1 downtown.

Michelle:

That and for folks who don't know, it's like $40 a day for parking downtown. So, like, I I couldn't have made that work in any capacity for a so called free conference. Anyway, I got feedback from other people, and they told me that, they had ran out of food on, the first day for lunch. So I'm I'm glad I didn't stay anyway for lunch even though I was registered too. 2nd day was quite eye opening for me.

Michelle:

I made a point to go go down and and try to hear some of the panelists that I wanted to hear. I was immediately I I guess, 1st and foremost, when I got off the c train, I knew that my friend Taylor McNally in stop the stack y y c was at the event with a table and trying to give information about the stack charges against both Adora and Taylor that had happened. And what was shocking to me was that when I got inside the actual conference, I was stopped by aggressive security. I went to show them my registration, and they, escorted me straight to registration. And they stayed with me until it was this was organized by QTBIPOC by BIPOC folks.

Michelle:

This was organized by QTBIPOC by BIPOC folks, and yet the number one thing we all know is that security and police are really hurtful and prom problematic to our communities, and yet that's the tone of this conference. When I went to go see Heather Campbell, the police commissioner, speak about anti blackness, I wasn't allowed in the room at first. And so they tried to tell me it was a fire code violation. That's why. So, you know, we were at maximum capacity.

Michelle:

And I'm like, so you're not letting me in? And I made this white woman volunteer say, yeah. No. I'm not letting you in. So I had to go and find an organizer and explain the situation that, you know, me, just being me wasn't allowed in there.

Michelle:

And so when we got there, obviously, the organizer let me in, and there were chairs that were open in the front as there always is. So we were hardly at a fire code violation moment. And it was it was interesting. I my highlight was hearing Heather speak and kind of a rule that we have as BIPOC folks is that we don't what what stays in that room stays in that room. So, you know, I I will say if you get an opportunity to hear Heather Campbell speak about, you know, the misogyny and racism that she experiences in these leadership positions, I highly recommend you do.

Michelle:

She is fantastic. And she showed us some great videos. There were some great humor and really some sad reflections as well. And my hope is that this 2 day conference, the folks that did attend that were clearly never affected by racism, I hope that they see how they're a contributor to racism with their silence and with their lack of knowledge and that they implement some of the things that they heard from everybody. So afterwards, an you know, kind of one of those rules I conduct myself with is I know what it's like to be a presenter, and I know what it's like to have people mistreat you.

Michelle:

So I definitely was there to support her, to give her that smile, to give her the clicks, the finger snapping when when she made some funny things, to laugh out loud, in moments that were meant to be humorous. You know, I was there for that because I think it's important that we support the other facilitators of these hard conversations. And so I was waiting at the end, obviously, you know, black folks first to talk to her about, her presentation. So I kinda just waited in the back, while other folks spoke to her. And while that happened, the original white woman volunteer came up and attempted to say, well, I'm really glad you went to go get that other facilitator as if that somehow excuses her racism towards me to stop me from going in in the first place.

Michelle:

So that was kind of my red flag that, Michelle, you you're red flagged here. So then at at the break, it was lunch, and I was waiting in lines patiently with everyone else, and they ran out of plates. So it was it was futile. Let me let me put it that way to be trying to get food from this from this place. So, you know, it's interesting because as a person who would want to bring in, like, say, the Liberal Party to Calgary for a convention, If what I seen happened, I would not want the Liberal Party to I'd be embarrassed that, you know, we promised food and there was no food to give or no plates to give the food that was there.

Michelle:

It was embarrassing. Now just some background, the TELUS Convention Center recently lost, like, a a 2 s LGBTQ status because they brought in some hate speakers like Tucker Carlson, and, and they didn't stop him from spewing his hate rhetoric. And then he went immediately to Russia to interview Putin. How any of this is okay, I will never understand, but it's Calgary, Alberta. We just have rules that don't matter for anybody.

Michelle:

Right? So disappointing to say the least. Anyway, I don't think highly, obviously, of the TELUS Convention Center. And after what I had witnessed, it was it was really problematic, to be policed in the way I was policed. I was disappointed.

Michelle:

And then I spoke to a few I I won't say their names. Some of the organizers and such and very disappointed to see them to frame Taylor McNally's information table outside as a protest or disruptive. Either the day before she came in to give information to people, and, they considered that disruptive, and they consider her protesting, etcetera. So I was disappointed to see that lateral violence. It really broke my heart because it what they said to me without saying so is that we will not support you.

Michelle:

Now I already knew that they're already not attending the reconciliation action group or the book club, but it was painful to watch someone I respect, Taylor McNally, being treated with hostility by, basically, her own people. It's not okay. And I I'm really disappointed to see that from from some of the organizers that they don't understand the person who should have been speaking is is her. Now highlight I heard that I did not witness, this is all hearsay so it could be untrue, was on the 1st day, our police chief spoke up and presented at the antiracism conference. This is a white man who, under his leadership, how many indigenous and black people have been murdered by his own police, how much sexual harassment and discrimination has been going on and and not addressed.

Michelle:

You know, very disappointing to hear that he got the floor at all, let alone you know? Anyway so I heard that a whole bunch of people got up and walked out, and I found that to be right. But to be honest, when I got escorted from, you know, one hall to the other with all of these people who wanted to come say hello to me, but I said, oh, I'm just being escorted right now. Not stand up for me. Not intervene.

Michelle:

Not ask if I was okay, not walk with me. You you didn't just show me that you are okay with racism against me. You showed everyone else in that room, all the police officers, that know when we do escort Michelle, all of those folks who claim to be anti racist who are organizing this event will not stand up with me, just like they're not standing up with Taylor. So to say I'm hurt and disappointed is a fucking understatement, but it also empowered me to know you know, it I I don't begrudge people for needing a paycheck in this capitalist world, but I do begrudge people who who know despite that, this wasn't okay. And I did have a few of those.

Michelle:

So, like, you know who you are, and much love to you for being open and honest with me while we were there, but so disappointed with the majority. You know, people who I knew who wouldn't come talk to me because they didn't wanna be seen talking to me there. So you you empowered me. That is the truth. And the truth is, is I won't be promoting your events at all anymore.

Michelle:

I mean, I I haven't really been in a lot of ways. It hurt me yesterday to have to promote the Aboriginal awareness week poster. It's important for our people that I do that. That's why I did it. But knowing where it came from, after what I witnessed this last 2 days from the city of Calgary, wholeheartedly disappointing.

Michelle:

As a result, I've let my emails kinda filled up. There's a a few from the city of Calgary that it just hurts opening them at this point knowing that they are purposely the gatekeepers that are hurting, QTBIPOC right now and are okay with it because they get their paycheck and their pensions. Right? So that's what DEI, policies have evolved into in Calgary from what I've seen here in March of 2024. Take it for what you want.

Michelle:

Maybe it's step 1 of an improvement. I don't know. But what I do know is that we are not seeing systemic changes, and we're not seeing those calls to action and calls to justice being implemented. So that that's just my view of it. I did wanna bring up something that is new to me that, I hope becomes standard for everyone.

Michelle:

And so, you know, dates like this really matter to me. 1 of the key issues that I've seen in the topic and and the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls, and 2 spirit was the lack of advocacy for 2 spirit. So I've made it quite a bit of my mission when I advocate for it that the 2 spirit are always included. Over the course of my life, I've been lucky enough to meet some really amazing folks, and I wanna give a a shout out to Harlan Pruden. He is a 2 spirit elder.

Michelle:

He's out in BC. He was originally out in New York helping Obama. Now he's in BC helping with, their health issues on 2 Spirit. So, apparently, this 2024 is the 3rd annual national 2 spirit day. So that just started, and it it's on the spring equinox.

Michelle:

And Harlan shared this on his LinkedIn, so that's how come I know. Through ever growing visibility to 2 spirit community and allies, both indigenous and nonindigenous community members come together today to announce an inaugural and annual 2 spirit awareness to celebrate day occurring on the spring equinox in recognition of the diverse sexualities, genders, and gender roles, gender expressions that existed in indigenous communities prior to colonization. The overall intent of this day is to bring awareness to lift up and celebrate 2 spirit trans and nonbinary people and communities through actions, events, and celebrations to formally integrate 2 spirit and communities back into their respective nations and societies to ensure to move forward the 2 spirit community was no longer being an afterthought. 2 spirit trans, nonbinary indigenous peoples, and communities once again will know respect, honor, dignity that they had prior to colonizations, where indigenous people were forced to conform to the colonizer's rigid binary gender system and was forced upon indigenous peoples and communities and introduced foreign and harmful ways of concepts, such as misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and cisgenderism. This day comes from years of advocacy from 2 spirit elders, mentors, and community leaders and members who have worked alongside countless allies for the reclaiming of these ways and restoration of honor, respect, and dignity within an individual's nations that 2 spirit once had.

Michelle:

This 2 spirit celebration and awareness day is a mature and so we're mature, maturation of the 2 spirit movement and marks a shift from education and advocacy to action and integration of 2 spirit within nation, communities, and peoples and is hereby mending of a sacred hoop. Why the 1st day of spring? Spring equinox was chosen as opposed to the autumn equinox by a group of 2 spirit community members for the significance and symbolism spring equinox holds for 2 spirit peoples and communities. Spring and autumn are the only 2 days of the year where there is an equal balance of the light of hours of light and dark. It should be acknowledged that many indigenous communities, these days and times coincides with traditions, beliefs, and ceremonies.

Michelle:

Spring Equidox represents and holds the space between the cold, dark winter and the warm, bright summer. 2 spirit people have experienced one of the longest, darkest, and coldest journeys. This day signals a time of renewal, rebirth, equity, brightness, warmth, and love. This time of year is considered to be a time of profound change and celebration of new beginnings. The spring equinox is a halfway mark between the shortest and longest days of the years, a place and place a space and place that was uniquely held by 2 spirit people and communities.

Michelle:

As 2 spirit, we're able to navigate many environments and many spaces and and places effortlessly and were often expected to serve as the go betweens for their people. Finally, for many indigenous peoples, spring equinox is a time to shift from oral based knowledge sharing and storytelling, sitting close to warm fires, applied land, and activity knowledge activity based knowledge sharing by doing. It is a time of celebration. It is time to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather and the return of plants and animals. Nations recognize this is a time to gather and to work.

Michelle:

For many, it was a time to confer and gather with others and to make decisions that affect the community as a whole to decide who got to go where and what had to be done, how adversarial people and nations were allowed to be handled, and what new resources were available, and how they were to be gathered and stored to prepare for the upcoming winter. Similarity 2 spirit awareness to celebration day is a time to move from and build upon community awareness and education of 2 spirit people's ways and traditions for a time of celebration and reintegration of 2 people into their respective nations, peoples, and communities. So for, 22, it was on Sunday, March 20th. 23, March 20th. For 24, March 19th.

Michelle:

And then next year, it'll be March 20th. So and and it'll be March 20th again after that. What is this day meant to accomplish? The overarching objective of 2 spirit awareness to celebration day is to build upon the community's awareness and education of 2 spirit people, ways, tradition, and etcetera. There's a lot more for me to say.

Michelle:

However, I just wanna make it very clear that I have been trying to raise awareness about 2 spirit issues in the movement of the missing and murdered indigenous, people's movement, that conversation, because a lot of our nations were taught homophobia and transphobia, and now trying to reintegrate our 2 spirit back into our ways. But that bigger picture too is that for the, non indigenous LGBTQ community, they've never, properly accepted indigenous people because of their, anti indigenous bias. So a lot of our community has asked that the 2 s go in front because we were here first. And, the rest of the LGBTQ community are treaty partners in a so called time of reconciliation. So wanted to bring that up because, you know, it's new to me, And I consider myself one of the folks that have that tried to teach other people about 2 spirit in the hopes that, you know, the the 2 spirit will start having the rightful place that they they have earned.

Michelle:

They are their most sacred beings and should be treated as such instead of being at the bottom of the Canadian socioeconomic ladder. Anyway, I've had a really great podcast today. I hope you enjoyed it. I I'm obviously on the side of Palestine. I see, Israel as the oppressor.

Michelle:

And, for me, I just encourage people to join their local Palestinian groups. We have quite a few here. And we also have independent Jewish voices. They understand the gravity of the issue in Palestine and are on the side of Palestinians. So you may have one of those chapters in your area as well.

Michelle:

So please follow those. Here in Calgary, we generally have, a march either on a Saturday or a Sunday at 2 and a few other actions in between as well. And one of my favorite things to watch is to see people, you know, do it throughout the week. And, you know, there's been poet nights as well and and letter writing and lots of activism out there right now. So strongly recommend you get involved with that because, honestly, this is that moment that they ask what were Germans doing when the Holocaust was happening?

Michelle:

As Canadians, you're doing it right now. So you have a choice of what side of history you really wanna be on. And, disappointed to see a lot of people falling for the mainstream media, the pro industrial complex of, the military, their propaganda, when it's really clear what's happening, and it's a genocide. And I also wanna acknowledge, Congo and Sudan going through this as well because of the western because of the western issues that were, I guess, the capitalism in general causing all of this pain and suffering. So, yeah, thank you so much folks for listening.

Michelle:

I hope that you had had some takeaways from this. You know, I'm proud that this podcast has given solutions and included cultural safety training and cultural first aid in all of them to create a safer space for indigenous people of color, those with a disability, and 2 s LGBTQ to speak. According to the 2023 quality of life report from the Calgary Foundation, 88% of racialized Calgarians feel uncomfortable or out of place because of their religion, ethnicity, skin color, culture, language, accent, gender, or sexual orientation, which is up from 75 percent in 2022. I would argue because of the issue of Palestine, that number has gone up from 88% as well. Again, as of 20 20 three's quality of life report, 84% of racialized Calgarians believe that racism exists, and 66% of non racialized Calgarians believe it.

Michelle:

I wanna say thank you to authors Sheryl Ward, Chelsea Branch, and Alicia Friedkin of here to help dotbc.ca of what is indigenous cultural safety and why I should care about it. Their work and those cultural action tools are available, so please support indigenous and settler work like that as part of your reconciliation work and settler understandings. I'm just lucky enough to highlight and repeat them here. Internalized racism or lateral violence is another form of violence indigenous marginalized folks experienced by the structure of oppression dynamics imposed on these lands. Racialequitytools.org, what is internalized racism by Donna Bevans.

Michelle:

Send her some money. Check out all the resource files she has. It's just a fantastic resource. Do's and don'ts for bystander intervention by American Friends Service Committee. You know, that's what you do when you see other people experiencing racism.

Michelle:

You have a duty to inter intervene, and yet I don't see enough people doing it. In fact, my experience at this conference shows it. Wish all the folks that follow me on my social media would watch the antiracism organizational lead, talk about the journey of becoming an antiracism leader. This is a great YouTube piece that really shows what being an anti racism leader is about. So I've given you now two resources on that.

Michelle:

Obviously, I've talked throughout this podcast about Taylor McNally and Adora Nofor being legally targeted. Please go to stop the stack y y c to learn more about that and to help with donations if that's of interest to you. No indigenous have been talking about these issues, sharing our traumas in reports, commissions, and public hearings just so it can be regularly disregarded. No more. Honor our words.

Michelle:

Honor the treaties. Listen to the politicians and their policies and platforms. If they don't recognize the marginalized in their budget with gender equity plus, if they are cutting violence prevention programs and services, indigenous education, uterus health choices, gay straight alliances, lack of human rights for migrants, immigrants, folks with disabilities. Know that your vote to that party is directly negatively impacting equities deserving people. Demand that they implement the truth and reconciliation commission calls to action.

Michelle:

The recommendation of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the multiple reports about child welfare reform, violence prevention, 231 calls to justice from the national inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women, girls, and 2 spirit. You know, again, back to the trauma. I was recently at a talk, and somebody asked me about, you know, a book and somebody's, you know, sharing all of their trauma and it being trauma porn. My message to people is that until Canadians stop the genocide and stop the colonial trauma, we're gonna continue to experience colonial violence. So if you wanna stop the trauma porn, stop the violence.

Michelle:

It's really simple. Provincially in Alberta, the county government started the 113 Pathways to Justice. The new premier's council on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls exists. We have a municipal report called the white goose flying report. Denying all these reports is a form of abuse called gaslighting.

Michelle:

Our solutions are in those reports. If you're a Canadian that cares, there is a lot you can do just by reading those reports. Our people are experiencing extreme racism in the in every institution in justice, health, education, with multiple reports that say the same thing. Demand change from election platforms and politicians. They don't understand colonialism, racism, privilege, sexism, they have zero business running, should be understood by all parties, local politicians, community organizations, sports clubs, Google articles on how non indigenous Canadians can become allies because there's multiple ones out there now.

Michelle:

And, also give another shout out to the Calgary Foundation. They have a great allied toolkit. So they have a PDF. Go check it out. I've shared it, by the way, for folks interested.

Michelle:

Steve Stephanie Harp and I, we had an emergency podcast about a year and a half ago now trying to encourage our allies to write and do more on the crises that we're facing. I follow aboriginalalert.ca. You can sign up there for missing children and missing people that are in our area. Missing Children's Society of Canada also has an app you can sign up for. I really think that will women's homelessness dot ca has put out some good, supportive statements in regards to the lives of indigenous women, girls, and 2 spirit, and gender diverse people experiencing homelessness.

Michelle:

So support that work. Write to your politicians. We have more information about the drug crisis that we're experiencing right now. Drug crisis and deaths remain high in Alberta, setting new standards. If there's someone you know using substances, encourage them not to use alone.

Michelle:

If you are using alone, contact the National Overdose Response Service at 188 688nors for support. You can also download the Brave stores or lifeguard apps. I strongly support Freedom's Path Recovery Society dot ca. You can go donate to them, and you'll get one of those statuses of your charity. They provide free 1 on 1 addiction counseling services, group treatment, and recovery for Calgary are queer friendly and antiracist.

Michelle:

As many of you heard, I'm fully supporting Canada's first 2SLGBTQ Addiction Recovery Centre called stonewallrecovery.ca. You can also give some money there if that's that's where you'd like to do. If you're experiencing any emotional distress after anything I talked about today and want to talk, you can call the First Nation and Inuit Hope for Wellness helpline at 1-855-242-3310. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also go to their website, hope for wellness.ca, and they have a little text box on that website that you can chat with.

Michelle:

If more related to missing and murdered indigenous women, girls, and 2 spirit, you can call 844-413 6649. Again, another 247 crisis call line that you can, reach out to. The Indian Residential School Survivor and Family hotline is 866-925-4419. Native youth crisis hotline is 877-209-1266. Non indigenous, there are distress center lines in your area, a functioning 211.

Michelle:

And you can also call the new 988 number, and that is a toll free number as well. I just find it very interesting how many how many crisis service canada.ca numbers there are actually out there. Kids help phone, 1-800-668-6868. Wanna give a shout out to the Trevor project at life voice dotca for all the 2 s LGBTQ supports that they have. If you're trans, 877-330-6363 63 or sorry, 6366.

Michelle:

And if you are a youth, 866-844-7386. Violence is my everyday reality. Every indigenous generation has faced it. It's self care, how I take my power back. That's why I started this podcast to speak freely without interruption, tone police, leadership shaming, gaslighting questions as many people don't wanna hear indigenous opinions.

Michelle:

She like to tell their uninformed ones when they know nothing about indigenous people, colonialism, the constant surveillance of our people, our protests, our vigil, and our rights. I and many others share info on microaggressions daily, so it's just unacceptable. Learn about being trauma informed. Folks like me are dealing with internalized racism, gatekeepers that survive off the status quo, and I've seen that at that conference. For folks who are so in their trauma, they stop people from doing the work and deplete personal and, institutional resources.

Michelle:

Internal and external racism is an everyday reality for me, indigenous peoples, folks with disabilities, QTBIPOC, and others. To my ancestors, to my granny, and my mom of what strength looked and looks like through your example. I wanna thank my dad for teaching me to be strong and blunt, my stepmom for showing me anti immigrant bias and her culture through her Austrian family and roots and teaching me to be a proud Calgarian. It is through her. I am a second generation, proud Calgarian.

Michelle:

And to my husband, Darcy, while he is the producer and editor, I will say I recently came across a person who did not understand that I am the content creator and I am the assistant producer and the host of this podcast. And I thank him because I appreciate him, not to undermine my contribution to this podcast. Anyway, he has been obviously my support as my husband, my childhood friend, father of our child, and my whole journey going and reclaiming who I am as an indigenous Dene woman, witnessing decades of racism and sexism To our child, thunder pipe necklace woman, we are blessed to learn from you daily and honored you chose us. You give me daily accountability to be a better and stronger person, and I just hope that, you know, my family will be proud in the future for of us trying to discuss these present day issues in a way that they'll understand down the road. My Patreon account is nativecalgarian where you can pledge and support.

Michelle:

Thank you previous donors for showing your support. If you value listening or watching and can afford to give, thank you. For those who cannot afford to give, I'd love to hear from you at native yyc@gmail.com where you can send in your comments or questions. I also have a YouTube channel that you can go and subscribe. You can go to nativecalgarian dotcom for the latest podcasts, pinned posts on social media.

Michelle:

And also if you you wanna book me, I kinda really shut down the times because, you know, my time is really precious, and I don't have time for white fragility. If you're not there, don't book me. I do wanna maybe start a new segment. It's kind of like a touch grass moment. I talk a lot about dark things, and I know a lot of people need hope.

Michelle:

I I don't know how you can't listen to me and not understand that my hope is our indigenous youth. So I do all of this free education in the hopes that Canadians will do better so that your kids aren't busy trying to make solutions that should have been put in years ago. Anyway, I would love to hear whatever things that make you happy. You know, it touching grass is like an expression to reconnect to the world and not focus too much on our screens. So I'd love to hear what your touch grass moments are.

Michelle:

The last few weeks have been really eye opening for me and my rehomed dog. We got mister Hugo Boss last May, and this was on the heels of the passing of my my grandpa, my granny. And when the funeral was happening, I had to go to the liberal convention. So, anyway, we got him when he and he was intact at the age of 5. He's 6 now, so he got altered.

Michelle:

And it turns out that because he's this old, recovery's a little tougher. My vet outright called him a mature dog. So my touch grass moment was because of this recovery was not doing as well as it should. I had to take pictures of his stitches, so I had to literally send my first dick pics. Worse, it was consensual with my vet, so it just seems to make it so much worse.

Michelle:

Anyway, I wanna end by giving side eye to those Calgary rabbits. You're lucky I'm not tradish. And my beautiful cousin responded, or you'd be in my dish. Thanks, folks, for listening. I hope you enjoyed it.

Michelle:

Please let me know what you think, and I hope you you tune in next time.