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the procurement of dependence and resistance

This shit keeps Me up at night. Seriously, it does.

After a thousand posts on Responding and Resisting Control in one form or another, and another thousand on trying to gain and regain some kind of Independence, I am slowly coming to yet another realisation.

But let Me digress slightly first.

I believe we are ‘controlled’ in one way or another, from the cradle to the grave. Some would say that this is ‘good control’, as in we need ‘checks and balances’ and some kind of stability to maintain a sense of order in society. Same goes for our daily independent lives. Routine and roles are allocated, whether we mean too or not.

We are hammered with gender roles, education ‘musts’, societal niceties, allocated roles, parenting tools and health ‘necessities’ from the get go. What we ‘see’, we absorb, one way or another. It’s the ‘nurture’ debate. That our environments mould us. That what we are taught, advertently or inadvertently, we take on board as a ‘norm’.

Each ‘group’ has a ‘standardised norm’, just as each household or family has their standardised norm. Whether that be that you attend church every sunday, or go to anti-abortion rallies, or discuss the politics of a certain party. Whether you have 2 daddies, or a single parent, or no parents. Whether your mother cooked your meals, or your father did the preserving, or your siblings vacuumed the floors. All these intricacies build up your ‘standardised norms’. Some we take on, inadvertently. Some we fight against.

And what are we fighting against? Control?

And what are we fighting for? Independence?

Right?

So we head off into the world to find ourselves; to establish our beliefs. To flex our independent muscles. Only to find that we are met with another, possibly differing set of standardised norms, that we are to conform too. Once again we are met with an array of information telling us what we should believe, what we should fight against, what is considered ‘normal or abnormal’, what is deemed justified or not.

And we filter that information based on the learning we acquired previously. Right? Racism is bad because Dad was of colour and he suffered at the hands of whites? Sexism is bad because my sister was made to lengthen her skirt at school and called ‘wayward’ when she didn’t want too? Eliteism is bad because my grandfather fought in the war? Christianity is good because Jesus died for us? Separating the whites from the colours before washing is good because mum did it? Showering daily is good because Nan said we shouldn’t smell?

With that information we decide whether we should be treated a certain way and whether those around us should be treated a certain way. Right? It’s OK not to have wheelchair access in every building because theres not that many people in wheelchairs. Right? It’s OK to ask females that are raped how much they drank because that might have bearing on why she was raped. Right? It’s OK to teach our children to sit quietly and listen to an adult talking because everything an adult says is important. Right?

So whether we agree or not, with what is presented around us, this process, based on the knowledge we absorbed before-hand, becomes a field of landmines to negotiate. And we react. We didn’t believe in all the christian stuff, so we’ve decided to turn to Buddhism. We don’t agree with segregation so we make sure we are inclusive to default. We never liked being told what to do so we won’t ever put limits on our own children.

And before we are able to get to the other side of that field of land mines, we happen upon a series of events, called Life. Included are sickness, loss, impairment and injustice. The stuff that was supposed to happen to someone else, not us.

So we negotiate our way around that stuff, as best as we can. Based on what? The knowledge acquired beforehand and after? We tackle sickness by going to the doctors, because thats what mum did and thats what the poster at the clinic says. We sign up for every single job we can find because grandma said ‘idle hands are the devils workshop’ and dad said ‘the bills don’t pay themselves. We ignore the lady that says she has ‘friends who are black’, because mum said ‘suck it up, you need the job’ and ‘Mary’ in HR was ‘let go’ after she made a human rights ‘complaint’. We pay the parking ticket even though we know we weren’t parked illegally, because dad said you can’t win against the system and every moment we delay not paying it, to fight against it, a ‘late fee’ gets added. We get insurance, like my brother suggested, and all the television adverts suggest, so the next time we’re robbed we can replace our stuff quickly.

We take up the cause or causes based on the information we ‘know’ and what is presented to us. We take the drugs because the specialist says we should. We send our children to school because they ‘need’ an education. We vote for a certain political party because their beliefs align with ours.

Whether we explore other options seems to come down to a couple of things. How trusting we are and whether we can think for ourselves. Right? But what if the other ‘reasons’ for how we respond or react, actually have nothing to do with trust or independent thinking? What if there was another piece of information we were missing?

We take the drugs because we are afraid of the outcome if we don’t. Our children get an education because it is illegal for them not too. We vote because it is the only system afforded to us.

These are not the options generally presented to us. We are usually wooed, blamed or sold the former. I’m assuming because it’s easier to get people to comply inadvertently than offer them a informed choice. Imagine if everyone decided to not choose as was pre-destined for us to choose. So does that mean that these choices are pre-destined? Would that not then make them not real choices? To be offered an alternative that isn’t really an alternative, is therefore a controlled alternative, is it not? By design, the alternative response is also a controlled response.

So we react or respond. We ‘free-think’ and come up with resistance. Awesome – Right? What if there was No need for Resistance in the first place? That the Resistance itself, is still Controlled? But what is there instead of complying or resisting? What is there instead of the notion of dependence and independence?

And this is where my realisation came too:

For Me, as an Indigenous person, I am able to look to what my tipuna cohabited like, prior to colonisation. In this existence there was No Dependence or Independence. There was only Interdependence, similar to the ‘community’ concept.

We had no concept of or word for poverty. There were no genders or allocated roles based on gender. There were only states of being that were seamless, transparent and interconnected. They Just Were.

And so I am left wondering, why am I trying to ‘reconcile’ or find wellness, within a superimposed system that was not designed for Me; does not care for Me and does not have my best interests at heart? Why am I trying to strive to be Independent when in actual fact, there is No such thing for someone like Me?

As morose as it may sound, colonisation was not designed to assist Us. It was utilised because complete annihilation and slavery was being abolished by the time the Crown hit our shores. We were not supposed to survive. Rather become willing slaves.

Now even in this realisation, there still has to be a silver lining, Right? Because what is the point otherwise?

What I hadn’t quite comprehended till today, was that just because they’re serving the dish, doesn’t mean I need to eat it.

By doing things ‘their way’, e.g.. -their drugs, their compensation, their options, their reasons, their labels – I am wanting and waiting for them to come up with the assistance and solutions, because somewhere deep down, I must believe they know best? That they have ‘more’ than I do and are able to assist Me with what I need?

But if I also believe what I quoted above – that colonisation and the Crown, were not designed to assist Us – To assist Me – then what am I waiting for?

Would it not be brighter to just do it my tipunas way?

Letting My Yes be Yes; My No be No; being as I Am – Now – with No reason or theory or thinking process attached; embracing Interdependence instead of In-dependence; defining my own version of ‘congruence’, intelligence, reconciliation.

It sounds a whole lot easier, does it not?

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mauri of me #32 ~ he kākano āhau

He Kākano Āhau (Born Of Greatness) ~ Hohepa Tamehana, 2001

 

Lyrics

He kākano āhau

I ruia mai i Rangiātea

And I can never be lost

I am a seed, born of greatness

Descended from a line of chiefs,

He kākano āhau

Ki hea rā āu e hītekiteki ana

Ka mau tonu i āhau ōku tikanga

Tōku reo, tōku oho-oho,

Tōku reo, tōku māpihi maurea

Tōku whakakai marihi

My language is my strength,

An ornament of grace.

Ka tū ana āhau,

Ka ūhia au e ōku tipuna

My pride I will show

That you may know who I am

I am a warrior, a survivor

He mōrehu āhau.

Ki hea rā āu e hītekiteki ana

Ka mau tonu i āhau ōku tikanga

Tōku reo, tōku oho-oho,

Tōku reo, tōku māpihi maurea

Tōku whakakai marihi

My language is my strength,

An ornament of grace.

 

Translation

I am a seed

Scattered from Rangiatea

And I can never be lost

I am a seed, born of greatness

Descended from a line of chiefs,

I am a seed.

Wherever I may roam

I will hold fast to my traditions.

My language is my cherished possession

My language is the object of my affection

My precious adornment

My language is my strength,

An ornament of grace.

Whenever I stand,

I am clothed by my ancestors

My pride I will show

That you may know who I am

I am a warrior, a survivor

I am a remnant

Wherever I may roam

I will hild fast to my traditions.

My language is my cherished possession

My language is the object of my affection

My precious adornment

My language is my strength,

An ornament of grace.

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activism ~ Australian Indigenous

When I went to Australia for a holiday, years ago, (we were on the ‘Gold Coast); one of the first questions I asked a ‘local’, was ‘Where are all the Indigenous Peeps?’, as in where do they hang out. I wanted to get a taste of who they were; their culture; their arts … their lives. I was met with a blank stare. Then it registered for them, that I was asking about the ‘Aboriginal’ people. The short sharp reply was that they don’t live ‘here’, more in land … and apparently I wouldn’t like them; ‘They’re violent, drunken, filthy people’, was what I was told.

Really??

I continued to look … and it saddened me, that the only ONE, yes one; I met, was in a ‘souvenir’ shop on ‘the Sunshine Coast’. When I asked him the same question, he looked slightly offended but got what I was asking eventually. Very politely, he explained that he was a ‘half-caste’ … that most of his ‘tribe’ lived ‘outback’ on a type of ‘reservation’. They owned this shop and this is where they made their living. He didn’t go into great depth … but this is the jist of it:

Indigenous peoples all around  this world, have been demonized, terrorized, tortured, butchered and annihilated. Australia and its Indigenous, are no different.

Reference: https://www.facebook.com/meg.perkins.5

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mauri of me #30 ~ karanga

‘Maori’, or Tangata Whenua, are the Indigenous or first nation peoples, of Aotearoa. We have a ‘call’…’karanga’…that happens when other visitors are being brought into our space/area/marae. It’s a eiry kind of sound, song…that acknowledges those that have gotten you to where you are, those that have gone before you, the ancestors…our tipuna…it describes who the people of that place are.

This is a very narrow explanation of the term karanga. This link is to a video from a series featured on Maori Television /NZ, about Karanga – the first voice. The people in the interview are from the Tuhoe nation.

But when you hear it…something else happens. All the hairs on the back of your neck stand up…it moves your insides, your spirit. You can’t help but feel ancient and young all at the same time. Its spine tingling and humbling all at once.

I was watching a news clip the other night, that featured this karanga and welcoming First Nation Americans. These people had a similar call that was also just as moving as ours.

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activism ~ the systemic failure of the New Zealand prison system

The following video is a six part series, looking at and discussing the recent events within New Zealand prisons. Whilst these events are ‘new’ to the public, they are in no way new to those working within the system or for prisoners themselves.

We should be disgusted.

Instead, our laziness as a nation, has given us exactly what we invested in. There is plenty of research to suggest that the punitive justice system does not work. And it definitely doesn’t work for Indigenous, with our people disproportionately taking up the insides of these prisons.

Māori Law academic Moana Jackson is calling for the abolition of prisons in NZ and says Ngāti Kahungunu would set up their own system to deal with tribal members that commit crime. Jackson presented his evidence at an urgent hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal over the alleged failure by the government to address the high Māori prison population.

We addressed our own ‘crimes’ pre-colonisation, and I believe we should return to our own systems. The current Crown system is not, at present, nor has in the past, ever done any good for us!

So why do we continue down this track?

Politics and Money.

Again, we should be disgusted.

The entire series can be found on YouTube.

whats real?

“Oh, Your Not A Real [ insert ] Though”

A real what?

Woman?

Maori?

Activist?

Pakeha?

Define REAL for me please?

Oh, thats YOUR definition

isn’t it.

ME … I

Don’t need to define shit to or for you.

I am what I am.

And it is a sad sad day

That sees the brothers and sisters

From other Indigenous Mothers

Dare to question authenticity,

of any Indigenous / Coloured peep.

Don’t we have enough of that

from White Privileged People

Already?

I am what I am.

I am a Woman.

I am Tangata Whenua – Maori.

I am Pakeha.

I am a Grandmother.

I am angry about the injustices our people

MY people, YOUR People

Suffered historically,

and the bullshit they still endure.

Don’t ask me to justify who I am

or what I do.

You just do you.

And stay out of my way.

#anindigenouswomanresponding

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366 reasons to smile ~ +182.

+182. LOL! I don’t even know who he is! But I like he got his ass kicked 😉

Link

Princess…1973

So I have more information now, pieces to add to my story and fill in the gaps. I think sometimes it’s easy to tell yourself a narrative that isn’t exactly exact. You tend to fill in the missing pieces with other bits of missing pieces. Finding out the context of an environment or situation seems to just make it all slot together to make a whole, a whole lot better.

Turns out we are not a family huge on talking even though we talk plenty! Seems like I missed a few important details…good details…and not so nice details, which make the picture a bit more robust.

I was born at 8pm. Apparently my Nan was a 10 month carrier so my ‘lateness’ to arrive on the scene was actually right on time, well right on time for our gene pool lol! My Mama says she began labour “exactly 24 hrs earlier. Long hard labour”. She says she “didn’t know what was normal for a labour so just went with it as you do :)”. As it turned out I was coming chin/face first & had to be turned with forceps. It was very painful for her. But she says it was “so worth it.” For Me it makes sense that I don’t sleep at night well…I’m a night baby! :), so I think I’ll stop fighting it and just roll with it…if I’m awake I’m awake, if I’m tired I’ll go to sleep. Sorted! Well that was a whole lot easier than stressing over not sleeping! And it go figures that I’m stilling arriving at a destination or situation, chin and face first lol! Apparently I’m designed to do just that! Make a pain staking but memorable entrance lol, sorry Mama 😉

But most importantly, I found out, I was in fact, wanted…very very much wanted.

Mama says’ “Oh you were so looked forward to. I’m so sorry you were wounded from this. I actually went to bed two weeks early in my pregnancy because I was going to lose you, and I didn’t want to lose you. I was at home then with Nana & Grandad. When I first found I was pregnant, I’m not sure if your father knew or not then, but I went…to look for work. I was staying in a dive in town while I looked. I remember buying wool and starting to knit for you. Later when I went back” home “(I worked…for a month or so in a Rest Home for the elderly) I recall folding and refolding your clothes every day. Decorating your bassinette with lace & frills. Knitting and sewing more clothes. Buying a pram. I was seeing your father & we were looking for a house to live in when I was around 6 months pregnant. I wanted to end our relationship as I sensed it wasn’t going to work & wasn’t really happy with him. But…I wasn’t happy anyway in myself & never had been….I spent a lot of my youth not wanting to live. It was too painful. But yes, you were very much wanted. Abortion was NEVER a consideration. (And not to condemn any who choose that route but I just never considered it). When you were born it was the most wonderful experience … I would gaze at you every day in your crib in wonderment at your perfection. I loved you dearly. You were perfect. I talked to you constantly … breast fed you for 8 months … tried my very best to be a good mum. I think somewhere along the line as life seemed to get harder (as it does in a relationship of any sort let alone an abusive one) I had less & less to give out to you. I was trying to make sense of life and what to do. This was my only reason for wanting to end my life. It was never you. I suppose I’d reached a place where I wanted to back up and opt out… however I’d made decisions I couldn’t back up on and one was, I now had another life in my womb to consider. Bear in mind too, back then it was unheard of to go to a counselor. There weren’t any. It wasn’t on anybody’s radar. You just figured stuff out for yourself. A family Doctor was the nearest thing you’d get to that … a 5 minute chat. This would’ve been the period when I was late in pregnancy, and living with your father…It was very hard. An abusive partner, me lost, the big responsibility of parenthood looming and not knowing what to do.

When your father’s father died I was just then contemplating separating but I didn’t have the heart to leave him right then so went to the taangi. It was there I” became a Christian, I “urged…to get married. And we did. But things just got worse.” 

It was accurate that my father was cruel to my mother, violent to be truthful. Apparently an abusive man at the time; jealous and possessive; a drunk and violent person, who threw around ridiculous accusations of unfaithfulness and spent more time at the pub than with his family. My mother was afraid of him, and rightly so by the sounds of her recollections of him. She recalled ‘being hit occasionally and having a black eye once’…one too many I think! My Grandfather was protective of my mother and me. Apparently my Grandfather was kind toward my father when we were not living with them, but this changed when he knew what my father was doing. Thank you Grandad! My mother went back to my father when I was 18 months old, but my father had impregnated someone else and he chose that family. I didn’t hear from or see him until I was 7.

I also found out I was called a ‘Princess’ by my paternal family.

That we did indeed come from a long line of revolutionists, with my “Great great great Grandad, on my granddad’s side, fighting for our lands with one of the greatest warriors of his era, Titokowaru”.

I also remember having what I thought was a dream in later years. It was of sitting on a seat of some kind and moving across a road. It was big with metal sides. The whole road was moving and there were cracks in the road. Years later I was telling my mother this and she told me that she had taken me on the first Hikoi, with Whena Cooper. That moving road was the Auckland Harbour Bridge and I was in a push chair. It swayed as we crossed over it. Apparently it had been shut down to traffic while we all crossed. Years later I took my own daughters to the second Hikoi, to parliament, in protest of the foreshore and seabed legislation. A few years afer that, I went with my youngest daughter to the last of these Hikoi’s which was wahangu…silent. It was a powerful time. What an amazing legacy in all that other shit 😉

I know we lived in my home town on and off, in and out, over these young years. We lived on the East coast for awhile too, before my mother left my father. And I think we ‘travelled’ around abit, sometimes I stayed with my Grandparents.

There was another man around at this time, my brothers ‘would be’ father at that stage. I don’t think I liked him much.  I didn’t like how he made my mother feel.

At 3 years old, there are vivid memories of being frightened and having nightmares/terrors. I remember hiding in big boxes downstairs…playing. But I was frightened. I remember this because I remember the house we lived in at the time.

I also learnt hat my maternal Grandfathers Grandfather was Scottish and his father was French-Canadian.

My maternal Grandmothers parents came from a small west coast town and then moved to my Grandfathers place of birth in their later years. Both of them were English. My Great grandfather was from London, and my Great-grandmother was from south London. My Nan was treated unfairly her entire life; apparently she was supposed to be a boy…thank the heavens she wasn’t ay Nan 😉

My Uncle was super talented; a beautiful man as I remember, he was also tortured soul…he ended his life when I was 7. He was my first dead body. I thought he was going to wake up, but he didn’t, and he never came home. I loved him; I still do. I am glad that I knew him.

So I end this segment knowing that while our family was dysfunctional as such, it was also enormously resourceful, talented and abounding in love and sacrifice. It knew culture and diversity; it embraced grief and loss; it dealt with war and violence….and it survived, and became stronger. It left strong, solid and hopeful roots. I was loved and I was wanted. I am now forever grateful and forever in awe of the history that is mine.

Lots of light and love and fluffy stuff, to me, as I unravel even more 😉

https://meptsdandallthefuckedupshitinbetween.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/the-first-time-ever-i-saw-your-face/

(First published 5th May 2015 @ 2319 … Hollah 😉 )

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activism ~ tohunga suppression act 1907

When the great white hope docked their vessels in Aotearoa, and proceeded to ‘discover’ the already occupied land; they brought with them alcohol, tobacco, lawlessness, drunkenness … and disease.

Our indigenous population prior to 1840 was approximately between 90,000 and 100,000, and pakeha population was approximately 2000.

Not quite 50 years later, indigenous population had declined by nearly 60%! And pakeha had the cheek to quote our ‘savage’ beliefs as the cause of our decline and suggest we embrace christianity. Our population decline however, had nothing to do our belief system, and everything to do with our immunities not being equipped to deal with the infestation of foreign diseases. Other Indigenous cultures throughout the world, experienced similar ‘die offs’, which at the time, were also attributed to their ‘pagan’ practices.

So as we died off by the thousands and christianity was implemented as the saviour, the Crown systematically set about destroying what was left of the Indigenous identity.  The Tohunga Suppression Act 1907, is but one of the Acts, the Crown has used to oppress, assimilate and dictate how Tangata Whenua should behave, act and respond. This little shit stain Act of Parliamentattempted to kill the practice of ‘healing thy self’, which I might add, we were very good at prior to colonisation.

So by the time this Act was Repealed in 1962, it had semi done what it was designed to do.

Ref: Charissa Waerea 2011 Home Birth Conference

Recently this ugly Act and it’s ‘intent’, have raised its horns again. Once again the Crown is trying to define what is ‘right’ and what is ‘safe‘ for Tangata Whenua, by their own ethnocentric understanding and standards, and to sanction and punish,  how Tangata Whenua practice their own forms of healing.

“In a written statement, the Ministry of Health told The Hui that “certain activities are restricted to particular health practitioners, because of the risk of serious or permanent harm to members of the public if those activities are carried out by other persons.”” (News Hub)

The thing with one group believing they are superior to another, is they believe they also have the right to decide how ‘the others’ should moderate, regulate and heal themselves. Need I remind the Crown that a. Tangata Whenua were healthy before they sailed in on their colonial vessels and b. the Crown has not down a great job overseeing their own peoples health let alone Indigenous health.

I suggest they fuck off and mind their own business, but considering they probably won’t; I suggest We re-learn, if necessary – or continue to practice, if known – the holistic techniques our ancestors used prior to the colonial invasion. We are a resourceful people; well equipped to dismantle the ideologies forced upon us, and well equipped to embrace wellness.

This is the Act of Decolonisation, which we need to do in every area of our thinking if we want to thrive, not just survive.

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mauri of me #23 ~ sensitives

I come from a family of ‘sensitives’ … sensitive skin, sensitive tummy, sensitive hearing, sensitive taste … Just sensitive all round.

And then theres the ‘other’ sensitive. The one ‘they’d’ medicate or lock you up for, if you talked about it ‘out loud’.

It’s the sensitive that see’s whats supposedly not there. That hear’s whats supposedly inaudible. That can smell subtleties that no-one else can smell. That can sense what ‘isn’t’ there.

Is this such a strange phenomenon for Indigenous? No. It’s not. And prior to the Tohunga Suppression Act of 1907, the sensitivity I’m talking about was called matakite.  For mainstream though, it’s something they don’t understand and fuck up, whilst they try and understand it or distinguish it.

I always had trouble distinguishing between my dreams and nightmares and what was actually present. Both freaked Me out. And when my eldest daughter came along, and she could sense similar things, I also freaked out. Some of this was to do with the Christian belief that everything that couldn’t be seen, was evil; or there was something inherently evil about the ‘see-er’.

When my 2nd daughter came along, her ‘sixth sense’ about things was quite ‘organic’ and natural. It didn’t seem freaky or mystical so to speak. It just seemed normal.

By the time my mokos came along, we were all beginning to embrace what we were as pretty normal, even though we didn’t fully understand it. Moko #1 senses what isn’t seen and whats not spoken. Moko #2, can smell whats not there; she can also understand whats ‘not spoken’. Moko #3 can hear the almost inaudible; and can also see your motive; she can also sense your pain. Moko #4 can hear your motive.

And Me. Well I’m still working out the difference between whats a sensitivity and whats pts(d). But I know whats a dream now, and what isn’t. I know now, when to ask my tipuna (ancestors) for assistance and advice.

What I like the most … is that my mokos won’t struggle with all of this like I did, or like my daughter did. For them, its natural, and they’re learning how to make it work for them.