Calling Our Men/Laura Fraser

This started in the new-year for me when I had seen one of our men acting out. I believed at the time that this Man was lost and still believe that are many of our Men lost. I have seen many Men gone or fighting for a long time away from home. I have also seen men that have been lost away from home for many other reasons as well. For a long time I have seen our men suffering, hurting, angry and acting alone. Some have acted out in anger and have hurt their own people as well. This brings me to a different time that we must return too… I am writing this for my partner. He has asked me to share this teaching.

Our ancestors knew that if men became lost they would go crazy. Not the way you think of crazy. They would become detached from our people and would not be able to think clearly and begin to act alone. Away from our people they would forget our laws and practices. If they were lost at sea they would become that sea and forget their people. They would transform to the sea and no longer be human. If they were lost to the woods they would forget their way and become the woods. What happens to our men lost away from home they become the environment they are lost in. What if men are lost in conflicts? Away from home they would become the conflicts. What happened when our young men that became lost in residential schools? They became the residential schools. We had this awareness that without the ability to return home people would not know how to be among our people. If men were away from their families they would learn how to not be with their families. Great effort has been made to separate our men from our women thru colonial practices.

My grandfather had become lost out on the sea and he felt himself letting go and that he would succumb to the sea. He resisted that letting go because he wanted to return home. He hung on to the fact that he wanted to return home. We are certain that our ancestor’s ways came from knowledge that was tried and true. Sometimes when men became lost for a long time we would have to bring them thru ceremony to bring them back. They would learn of our people again thru re-teachings of conduct, responsibilities and be brought back into our society. This division or being lost was not natural for our people. Women and men held roles and responsibilities that were guided by strict laws of conduct. Some men did not make it back to our people though. Some would be banished or killed for misconduct. Hard decisions were made on if a man was lost to the woods for misconduct. Some men did not learn the things they needed to learn to return. How do we help our men not let go and succumb to their lessons not learned?

We know as people that we have faced many conflicts and the strength to come back again in these conflicts has always been proven with ancestral laws. Our people continuously returning to each other have helped us face much violence. That is our strength and has help survive many times. Today we don’t need to survive the way we have had to survive. Asserting our rights and laws will strengthen us to live by those rights and laws. I hear many women calling to our rights and laws and strongly advising our leaders to assert our laws and rights. I also see a strong need for our men to return to those laws and rights. I think of the men though that are lost, not defending, not protecting or not acting with our community. We must call them home to remind them of the laws and teachings. This conflict we are facing with termination is not a conflict we have created it is a conflict created by a system that wants to have full control over our lands, rights and title. Many people are asserting their people’s rights. We no longer believe that we are not in our power over our selves. We do not have to accept what is conflicted before us. It is a system that is not ours and has not supported us well for a very long time. It is a system that blames poverty as a peoples fault when much control and effort has been spent by this system attempt of controlling governance, lands and monies. This plan faced before us extinguishes title and rights. In the same breath we are told that it will be protected by the constitution of Canada this governance is claiming it has right to infringe upon those rights. I heard elders ask, “How will we be protected under constitution if we are dealing with a government that might make changes that don’t protect our rights.” Great distrust has been created thru attempt of extinguishing title and not acknowledging rights of Indigenous Peoples by a system that’s aim is to dissolve complete identity of the respected peoples in our indigenous communities. We are calling you to come back to our laws and practice our rights. We do not want you to be lost in the system anymore. We are stronger together as people by returning to what is rightfully and inherently ours.

There is no reason that we should have to convert in order to be able to support and provide for our families. We have every right to participate, live and provide for our families without constricts of assimilation policies. There is no reason that our people should have been kept in poverty all of these years. It is completely unjust that economic growth is being held over people’s heads in order of assimilation attempt. In peaceful and meaningful ways we would not have to assimilate. How do we prevent more harm that has been inflicted upon our rights? We are hearing the Women calling to the Men to come back. We are hearing the Women calling out or rights and ancestral laws. We are listening to the Women calling and standing strong.

We need our men to become strong, healthy, protect and return to our ancestor’s laws and rights.

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