Have you thought about how many things you do every morning to start your day?
It might be a silly game, but indulge me, please.
I’ve done this exercise recently to figure out what I do all day, which things are habits, which things are self-pleasing indulgences, which things are work, and which things are ‘black swan’ events – the one-off, out of the blue things that alter my day/trajectory/life, and which things make me happy. The objective of course to make my day the most time effective, to make more time for things that give me joy in my work and in my play – and for the sense of knowing myself better. Everyone’s introspection is unique, but I’m wondering if we are more the same than we are different.
For a bonus, have a look at all things you could do, should do, the night before. I know, we are always tired – we put it off till morning, till tomorrow …
But what we do ‘ahead of today’, what we did last night lightens our load for the morning. When we wake up to the day’s workload, isn’t it so much better to not have to spend a minute, let alone hours, doing things we could have done yesterday?
This time-management issue is troubling less, but I’ve not succeeded yet. Not yet. But I’m determined to make this re-thinking my thinking work for me.
Wow such a heart-felt response. I don't see it the way you do but appreciate your thoughts, CG, Cobourg, ON
Much truth here, Mark but I think your view of pre-European indigenous life in North America is dangerously romantic. Tribes fought tribes for territory and material gain, for vengeance and glory. Certainly Europeans (we) have treated them wrongly, badly. It is easy to acknowledge that truth, incredibly difficult to plot a path forward. We can’t go back and the First Nations can’t go back. Providing reliable potable drinking water in unsustainable communities is not a long term solution. Greater participation in the country and world as it is today as opposed to clinging to a mis-remembered and primitive (yes, I said it) past seems like a more promising endeavour, RH, Calgary, AB
What a Utopia it would have been had we not come, I guess. The water issue I agree is huge, other parts of it often most often come down to money, just money. Stories I hear from different indigenous people around makes me sad, RK, Calgary, AB
The Truth is … complicated. Hi Mark. I read your column today with great interest. The matter of First Nations and their treatment at the hands of European Explorers/Settlers has been a topic I have struggled to reconcile in my own mind for years.
First though, a couple of points in your column I need to address. Our current iteration of first nations are really the first. The original wave of expansion by humans in to the North American continent was followed by several others. These are the ‘indigenous’ tribal groups we have now. The second wave of migration pushed the first group out of the territories originally settled, driving some to extinction as a tribe. Some are absorbed by the new wave.
There has been a steady global expansion of peoples as populations grew resulting in continuous displacement of those who came before.
Many of these original peoples are now gone, others displaced due to climate change as well as conflict with other tribes, some vanished to who knows where. The Anasazi are a good example in the southwest, as are the Dene in the far north. Speculation is that the Aztec originated in what is now the American south west and were forced out by another wave of migration. They are forced to settle in a defensive location in the plain of central Mexico, a swampy lake area which is now Mexico City. Had it not been for the difficult of invading through the swamp and across the lake they too would have been wiped out.
Short story; the newcomers did not arrive peacefully, but were in conflict with those that were here before them as they in turn looked for new space and resources to feed their growing numbers. the influx of peoples form Europe was inevitable. Their history is comprised of numerous waves of migration, overcoming and subjugation the original inhabitants, ultimately merging in to the peoples who are there today . The big difference was that the newcomers didn’t not force the original inhabitants on to reserves, and the invaders and invaded eventually became one. One big mistake our forefathers made, and one that the Spanish didn’t make when they colonized Mexico. They just left the locals where they are and built over their temples and scarred places. That population is now integrated although you can still see the Spanish and the Native as distinct groups.
As far as stewardship of the land by the so called first nations peoples goes, I think the term is misapplied in this case. An example of stewardship is the act of making wise use of the natural resources provided by the earth. I don't think the first nations had a clue about this; they just lived off the land. It is true their value system included a respect for the land and its resources. Proof of that can be found at Head Smashed In just south of here where it is evident that they made the best use of everything from the bison they hunted, leaving only some of the bones. There but weren’t enough of them to make much of an impact on their environment. They are just another factor in the big scheme of things and a minor one at that.
Now they want “their" land back and claim ownership, quite a reversal of their original position when their culture did not include a concept of land ownership. That came with the Europeans and has been co-opted by First Nations as part of their rationale and argument against colonialism.
That said, I have a big problem with how they are being treated, and the manner is which successive governments have failed to adequately address the problem. On the other side of the coin, there are many examples of abuses by tribal leaders who appropriate funds entrusted to them for use by their communities, or exploit the land for their own personal gain. Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island is a good example of corruption and abuse of tribal members by their so called leaders.
Have you ever been to a reserve and noted the standard of maintenance when left up to them? Some are great, others not so much. Installing a water treatment plant is the first step, but it has to be maintained. Add to that the fact some lands are rich and well suited to habitation, others not so much. Many reserves are on land that can not provide the basics.
So what to do? Where to begin? Apologies by the church and the federal government accomplish exactly nothing. Sure, we are sorry for what our forefathers did, especially since they left the next generations to deal with the mess. And deal with it we must.
I had a few thoughts while I was on the road in South Africa, and witnessed for myself the epic failure of colonialism as it morphed in the situation there today . Quite simply, now that the indigenous folk are largely back in charge, South Africa is on the verge of becoming a failed state. In this country, if we want progress in reconciliation we need to avoid the mist made in SA seek, meaningful integration of cultures, and to stop treating these people as wards of the state. Indian Affairs is quagmire and needs to be dismantled. Not likely to happen as the bureaucrats don't want to give up their jobs and power.
What is needed is a grass roots campaign by the people. I was thinking about an organization that would sponsor and promote the development of Model Reconciliation Committees. Committee members would come from all walks of life, especially students from both sides of the debate. What do the First Nations want? What can they realistically have? How do we get from where we are to where we need to be in order to live in harmony. Just what is that? How important is it to preserve indigenous culture, oral history and language? Very important in my opinion. Mediation and Arbitration tools abound, we just need to educate stakeholders aim how to use them and start the groundswell.
Setting up a Not for Profit Society is easy. The challenge is getting funding to start disseminating the message and stimulation interest to set up the model reconciliation committees. I'm going to talk to a few more people, but you are the first. What do you think? Do you want to talk some more?, Cheers!, DM, Okotoks, AB