Sunday, February 28, 2016

Best Native Leader Canada Never Had!


Written by Roy MacGregor from OSOYOOS, British Columbia
and published in The Globe and Mail August 15, 2014
...the following are excerpts from his article:

The sun beats down on Canada's only desert ~ sagebrush on the far hills, rattlesnake warnings along the paths ~ and the luxury resort, surrounded by ripening vineyards, is packed with summer visitors. A young blonde woman wearing a small dress and large rings, moves across the street toward a brand new Range Rover (from $119,990 at your local dealership) but halts suddenly startled by the thunder of a Harley-Davidson rumbling down the paved approach to the resort. She steps back and stares, slightly aghast. The motorcycle driver is dark and solid and wears a helmet featuring the face of Sitting Bull (the Lakota chief and holy man whose visions led to the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876...and who was later shot and killed by U.S. Indian agents). The driver calls the motorcycle Crazy Horse, after the Sioux leader who brought down Custer.

The man on the Harley is Clarence Louie, chief of the Osoyoos Band and owns the Spirit Ridge Resort, the surrounding vineyards, the winery next door and the championship golf course in the distance. He is, in no small part the creator of the Osoyoos Miracle in the Desert.
Let us put our minds together and see what we can make for our children,”
Chief Louie's great hero, Sitting Bull once said.
Clarence Louie's other great hero is Billie Diamond, the Canadian First Nations leader who forged the James Bay Agreement in the mid-1970's and brought prosperity and an airline to the Crees of Northern Quebec. Like Mr Diamond, who died at age 61 five years ago, Clarence Louie may be the best national native leader the country never had ~ an intriguing thought during a summer in which First Nation's leadership has rarely seemed on more uncertain grounds; Mr. Louie has no national ambition at age 54.

I don't really think about Canada,” he says. “I've got my hands full with my own issues. A lot of chiefs like travelling. Business travel got boring to me pretty damn quick. I like staying on the 'rez' here. I just like creating jobs and making money.”

When first elected chief in 1984, he was paid $250 a month. Today, as chief, he is paid $18,000 a year. His additional compensation comes from operating as administer of the successful band and as CEO of the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corp. He says, “First Nations are being treated like 'wards of the state' whereby the old 'Indian Agent' mentality still exists. The federal government still feels the need to control and pry into everything (including our privately owned business and privately generated income) and at the same time announces year after year in the 'Speech from the Throne' that First Nations must take their rightful place in Canada's rich economy, competing in the business world.”

Mr Louie first rose to national attention a decade ago in which he brusquely told an Alberta conference on aboriginal economic development: “My first rule for success is...Show up on time. My No. 2 rule for Follow Rule no. 1.” His blunt message reverberated throughout First Nations and beyond. “Our ancestors worked for a living,” he told the conference, “so should you.”

Clarence Louie's own work ethic came from his mother, Lucy, a single mom who raised a half dozen of her own children and others' children. He believes there is a fair, if surprising, comparison to be made between isolated Canadian reserves and inner-city America. “Black people are like natives,” he says. “They're mostly raised by single moms and most of the people who get in trouble are young men.”

While the chief went to university for native studies and is respective of native culture, there is nothing he believes in as much as discipline. Lucy Louie, still alive and thriving, kept her children in line at home and they learned to work in the vineyards, which supplied grapes to various wineries. “Summertime wasn't playtime,” he says. “We started working at 11 or 12 years of age...and at four or five in the morning because there's no shade in the Okanagan. It was good training grounds.”

Clarence Louie returned to university to become chief of the band while in his early 20's. Unprepared, he lost an election, then returned with a resolve that transformed the desert around Osoyoos Lake. The band went from poverty, soaring unemployment and a shining success story...even hiring natives from 36 other bands across the Prairies, British Columbia and the Territories.

Mr. Louie is quick to note the band's advantage took far more than luck, climate and proximity to transform Osoyoos. Jake MacDonald, writing in ROB Magazine in May, noted that the band had $26-million in revenue a year ago and posted a net-profit of $2.5-million. The band has used available federal and provincial programs...astute hirings from outside...and partnerships to transform its 32,000 acres into a thriving modern community.

He has captured the attention of so many other First Nations that he could easily spend half the year on the road giving speeches and business workshops. “I keep telling the government to concentrate on economic development and then we wouldn't be in this mess. The original treaty relationship was a business relationship. It wasn't a 'dependency' relationship. Even at the national level, I never hear the national chiefs talk about that...they always talk about poverty. You'll never get rid of poverty without jobs. Talk about Jobs. Quit talking about poverty.”

Mr Louie also stands strongly behind the need for a better education system for First Nations, but with a caveat: “Once you get beyond the fluff about what education is supposed to do for you ~ make you a better person, more rounded, all that stuff ~ it's really about making yourself employable. The more education you get...the better job you're going to get.

When Mr. Louie speaks of his dreams for Osoyoos, he is always months, sometimes years down the line. A $200-million provincial prison will be going up near the band's headquarters at Oliver. His experience while serving on a federal panel reviewing the operations of Correctional Services, convinced him things could be done the band bid on and won the project, though it will not run it. Still, the prison will mean more jobs ~ and he hopes, lead toward new approaches.

Then there is the hobby race track...a new idea that is itself racing the Osoyoos band is convinced it can attract a rich clientele that prefers Lamborghinis to Land Rovers and might like to live out their Formula One Fantasies.

The day done, Mr. Louie straps his Sitting Bull motorcycle helmet tight...fires up the Harley and heads down the resort road toward the band office. There he will collect his truck, parked beneath the band sign that contains the same inspirational quote that runs along his truck's bumper:
Native People Have Always Worked for a Living.

Merle Baird-Kerr...penned March 6, 2015
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation

Frequently, when visiting the Lighthouse Theatre in Port Dover...or the beach for the day...we'd stop either en route there (or the return) at Hewitt's Dairy Bar along Highway 6 for lunch or simply to savour their luscious ice creams offering over 60 flavours from pineapple to cotton candy, from butter pecan to blueberry, etc. etc. etc. Lunches are served at their diner-style-counter featuring homemade burgers, western sandwiches, BLT's...and top it off with a milkshake or banana split! Breakfast is served all day, every day. The coolers offer milk and milk products to purchase.

Nearby is a sign on the west side of Hwy. 6...New Credit Indian Reserve (also known as The Mississaugas of the First Nations)...which I've always known as the Six Nations Reservation. Frequently, I've driven into the Reserve to buy gas (which is a lesser cost than the highway fuel prices). With a friend, Mary once, she was frightened to do so...firmly believing we'd be attacked by tomahawks or spears. She had expected to see teepees as the Indian homesteads...maybe even warriors...however, she was amazed to discover that they live peacefully in houses as we do. Their properties are well maintained and very tidy. They have televisions and modern cars. On that occasion, we stopped at a restaurant on the Reserve...and Mary was delighted they served 'Canadian food' and offered glasses of Niagara wine. Attached was a spacious gallery filled with sculptures and paintings...craft hobbies of the restaurant owner.

Oshweken is a village on the Grand River First Nation Reserve near Brantford, Ontario. Approximately 300 of the 2,700 homes on the Reserve are in the village. It is the site of the Reserve Governmental and Administrative Offices. Located here are Veteran’s Park…Gaybird Powless Arena…Iroquois Village Plaza... and a Speedway. Annual events: Six Nations Fall Fair…Bread and Cheese Celebration… National Aboriginal Day...Grand River Champion of Champions Pow Wow…and Elder Network.
Media: two Community Newspapers...Turtle Island News and Two Row Times. A community Radio Station broadcasts a variety of programs ~ local news, music, language lessons and radio bingo.

In the village is Chiefswood National Historical Site; the museum at 1037 Highway 54 in Ohsweken, is the birthdplace and childhood home of the famous Six Nations poet and writer, Emily Pauline Johnson. It has since been restored to the 1880 period.

The Native Indians come from all walks of life: actors, politicians and volunteers, civil servants, poets, athletes, etc. They have recreation centres, grocery stores, garages, craft shops, churches, meeting halls and various other stores. Such a pleasure it is to see the 'native art work', the crafted leather jackets adorned with feathers and beads; pottery and beaded jewellery, paintings and sculptures, many 'dream-catchers' (I have two hanging in my home). At Christmas time, I bought unique native-made a few other items as gifts for family and friends...which were uniquely appreciated.

The Grand River, since pioneer days, has been their ‘highway’ for trading, transportation, recreation and fishing. Today, it is a tranquil drive along the river as it approaches Caledonia along Highway 6.

Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation...
is the largest First Nation band in Canada with a total of 25,660 members. Some 12,271 are reported living on the reserves. It is the only reserve in North America that has all six Iroquois nations living together: the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora. Some Delaware also live in the territory. The vast Six Nation Reserve is bordered by: the County of Brant, City of Brantford, Norfolk County, Haldimand County...and the New Credit Indian Reserve. The acreage at present, covers some 46,000 acres ~ representing approximately 5% of the original 950,000 acres of land granted to the Six Nations by the1784 Haldimand Treaty.
So much history to comprehend and a heritage to appreciate.
There are numerous Indian Reserves located
throughout Canada's ten Provinces and three Territories.

Ellsworth Huntington commented,
The coast of British Columbia
was one of the chief centres of Aboriginal America.”

A Sunday-Drive Destination, if in the area (offsite from Indian territory), is Ruthven... Haldimand Hwy. #54 near Cayuga. Ruthven Park National Historic Site consists of approximately 1500 acres and is situated along the banks of the Canadian Heritage Grand River. It was owned by five generations of the Thompson family from 1845-1993. The major feature on the estate landscape is an exceptionally fine 1845 Greek Revival mansion filled with original family furnishings and possessions. David Thompson, soldier, politician and businessman, built Ruthven as a symbol of his prosperity. A visit to Ruthven may include a guided tour of the mansion...hiking on one of four trails...even 'High Tea' on a summer Sunday afternoon. The restored 'Coach House' is used for special events or programmes and can be rented for mid-sized gatherings and conferences.
The property and mansion today is a project of the Lower Grand River Trust Inc.
located at 243Haldimand Hwy. #54 near Cayuga, Ontario (east of Hwy. 6).
Open year-round, it's worth the drive to Ruthven!

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled March 4, 2015
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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Native Chiefs of Canada Speak Words of Wisdom

Chief Dan George OC (July 24, 1899 – September 23, 1981 ~ chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation...
a Coast Salish band whose Indian reserve is located on Burrard Inlet in the southeast area of District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He was also an author, poet and an Academy Award-nominated actor. Born as Geswanouth Slahoot in North Vancouver, his English name was originally Dan Slahoot. The surname was changed to George when he entered a 'residential school' at age 5. He worked a number of different jobs including a longshoreman, construction worker and school bus driver. He was band chief from 1951 to 1963.

Canadian Donald Sutherland narrated the following poem...My Heart Soars (by Chief Dan George) at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver:
The beauty of the trees...
the softness of the air...
the fragrance of the grass …
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain...
the thunder of the sky...
the rhythm of the sea...
speaks to me.

The strength of the fire...
the taste of the salmon...
the trail of the sun...
and the life that never goes away...
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.”

One thing to remember is to talk to the animals. If you do, they will talk back to you. But, if you don't talk to the animals, they won't talk back to you, then you won't understand, and when you don't understand, you will fear and when you fear, you will destroy the animals, and if you destroy the animals, you will destroy yourself. (Chief Dan George ~ Native Canadian Indian)

Love is a need as vital as breath. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because, without it, we become weak and faint. Without love, our self-esteem weakens. Without it, our courage fails. Without love, we can no longer look out confidently at the world.
But, with love, we are creative. With it, we march tirelessly.
With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others.
(Chief Dan George ~ Native Canadian Indian)

Chief Yellow Lark: Oh, Great Spirit...whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me!

Ojibway Indian Poem: Sometimes I go pitying myself
And all the while I am being carried across the sky
By beautiful clouds.

Chief Seattle: Teach your children what we have taught our children...that the Earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the sons of Earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know ~ the Earth does not belong to man ~ man belongs to the Earth.

Native American Grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.” The Grandson asked him,“Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?” The Grandfather answered, “The one I feed.” (Native American story)

Life Quotes by Plains Cree Elders

If you want to learn your language, you need to use it.
(Freda Ahanakew, Muskeg Lake First Nation)

We have to put our minds together as Indian people for the good of our youngsters
and teach our children their mother tongue.
(Smith Atimoyoo, Little Pine First Nation)

In the old days, we used to respect everything.
This isn't done today, that's why we are lost.
(Isiah Bear, Muskoday First Nation)

I will never let my culture go! I fear for our young people.
I hope they have enough sense to seek spiritual guidance from the elders.
(Edward Fox, Sweetgrass First Nation)

The treaties must not be forgotten. We must remind our children of this.
(Edward Okanee, Thunderchild First Nation)

Realize that we as human beings have been put on Earth
for only a short time and that we must use this time to gain
wisdom, knowledge, respect and the understanding
for all human beings ...since we are all relatives.
(Cree Proverb)

Be truthful and respectful in our speech, which is in itself is a miracle
and a gift from the Creator...that we might use it
only to speak good of each other and pass on the good things of life.
(Cree Proverb)

Only when the last tree has died
and the last river has been poisoned
and the last fish has been caught
will we realize
we cannot eat money.
(Cree Indian Expression)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled March 6, 2015
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Remembering the "Pledge of the Crown"

The City of Hamilton and Six Nations Community Members
Joined to Commemorate the End of the War of 1812.

Representatives from the various Native Nations were invited to Dundurn National Historic Site on the 200th anniversary of the 1815 Peace Council, which was organized to acknowledge:
the Native Nations who were British allies during the war.
The public was invited to attend a free 'Remembering the Pledge of the Crown' on April 25, 2015. Admissions were free to Dundurn Castle and The Hamilton Military Museum on that day. All visitors could engage with hands-on lacrosse demonstrations, food samples, lectures, art activities and special exhibits. Events planned would be an opportunity to learn about the rich and diverse history of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) and other Native Nations who were British allies during the War of 1812.
The circular emblem depicts a star-like center displaying a native at each of 6 corners.
the outer edge is symbolized and imprinted ~

A Look Back: In April 1815, Native Nations who were allies of the British were invited to gather at Burlington Heights, by William Claus (then Superintendent of Indian Affairs). Over a 3-day gathering, Claus shared messages of peace and condolence. Following the customs of these Nations, he presented them with a 'wampum belt' called the 'Pledge of the Crown.' This gathering allowed Claus to reaffirm the Treaty of Ghent, which had formally ended the War of 1812 on December 24, 1814. The war saw many Native Nations torn between the treaty agreements they had made with the British and Americans and their personal and familial relationships and responsibilities.

'Burlington Heights' where Dundurn Castle stands today,
is a historic landscape of importance to Native Nations and Settlers.

The area had served as hunting, fishing and farming grounds for thousands of years. This was recognized by Richard Beasley, the first Settler to live on the heights. Once, established there, Beasley traded locally with the Six Nations of the Grand River, as well as the Mississauga Nation.

From June 1, 1813 to September 1, 1815, Burlington Heights was used as a British encampment and fortification at the head of Lake Ontario. It was from Burlington Heights that the attack against the American Post at Stoney Creek was launched on June 6, 1813. The geographic location of Burlington Heights made it the only truly defensive position between Fort George and York (capital city of Upper Canada). The British records indicate that representatives from several tribes met with Claus and officers of the British Indian Department.

Notification of the foregoing intrigued me to such an extent
that I researched answers to my mind's inquiries...which I share with you.

Wampum are traditional shell beads of the Eastern Woodlands tribes of the indigenous people of North America. Wampum includes the white shell beads fashioned from the North Atlantic channeled 'whelk shell'; and the purple and white beads made from the quahog or Western Atlantic hard-shelled clam. They are short tubular-shaped beads. The Eastern Woodlands in north-east United States encompasses New York State and the immediate surrounding areas.

Wampum Belts are used as a guide to narrate Haudenosaunee history, traditions and laws. The original 'wampum belts' can be traced to Aiionwatha....commonly known as Hiawatha at the Founding of the League of Five Nations. Today's Haudenosaunee is the Six Nations of the Iroquois: Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora and Seneca. The Iroquois, originally called themselves Kanonsionni...meaning 'people of the Longhouse'...their habitation homes.

This Wampum Belt was created by the British
to represent the ongoing relationship after the War of 1812.
The pattern may have derived from an ancient design of two colours
called the Meander or Golden Key.

Colonel William Claus (then Indian Agent) stated, “The Wampum Belt is often used to represent the interwoven bonds of love and friendship. This belt, which I now hand to you, I ask in compliance with your Customs, be sent by you with these, my words in his behalf, to all Nations in friendship with your Great Father, the King of England. I am further instructed to inform you that in making Peace with the Government of the United States of America, your interests were not neglected...nor would Peace have been made with them, had they not consented to include you in the Treaty...which they at first, refused to listen to. I will now repeat to you, one of the 'Articles of the Treaty of Peace' which secures to you the 'Peaceable Possession of all the country which you possessed before the late war...and the road is now open for you to pass and repass without interruption.”

In 1887, Onondaga Chief John Beck...the Wampum Keeper at the time, stated,
This belt represented a Pledge by the Canadian Government
to never force the Haudenosaunee (The Six Nations)
to change their customs.”

Information garnered by Merle Baird-Kerr...April 19, 2015
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

"When a Man Loves a Woman"

.“When a Man Loves a Woman” was released after being featured in Oliver Stone's Vietnam War film, “Platoon” in 1987 and reached No.2 in Britain. Michael Bolton topped the charts in the 1990's with a cover version and Rolling Stone magazine later ranked it No. 53 on its list of the greatest songs of all time. The composition of the song has long been a mystery. Some thought that Percy Sledge wrote it himself...Sledge said he was inspired by a girlfriend who left him for a modelling career after he was laid off from a construction job in1965...but he gave the songwriting credits to two 'Esquires' bandmates ...bassist Calvin Lewis and organist Andrew Wright...who helped him with the song.
He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993
and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in2007.

* * * * * * *

The first time I heard this love ballad, was sung by Michael Bolton...whose rendition with humble heart and desperate love, emotionally touched my heart-strings. Following, are Micheal Bolton's lyrics:

When a Man Loves a Woman

When a man loves a woman, can't keep his mind on nothin' else
He'd trade the world for a good thing he's found.
If she is bad, he can't see it; she can do no wrong.
Turn his back on his best friend if he puts her down.

When a man loves a woman; spends his very last dime
Trying to hold on to what he needs.
He'd give up all his comforts and sleep out in the rain...
If she said that's the way it ought to be.

Well, this man loves you woman,
I give you everything I got (yeah)
Trying to hold on to your precious love.
Baby, please don't treat me bad.

When a man loves a woman...deep down in his soul,
She can bring him such misery if she is playing him for a fool.
He's the last one to know…
Loving eyes can never see.

When a man loves a woman,
I know exactly how he feels
'Cause baby, baby, baby...
I am a man
When a man loves a woman.

A few years ago, I viewed the movie, Don Juan de Marco starring Johnny Depp.
This movie depicts a psychiatrist who must cure a young handsome patient
who presents himself as Don Juan...the greatest lover in the world!

Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?
(This memorable classic at the end of the 1994 movie was sung by Bryan Adams)

To really love a woman
To really understand her ~ you gotta know her deep inside.
Hear every thought ~ see every dream
'N give her wings when she wants to fly.
Then when you find yourself helpless in her arms
Ya know ya really love a woman!

When you love a woman you tell her
That she's really wanted.
When you love a woman, you tell her she's the one
Cuz she needs somebody to tell her
that you'll always be together.
So, tell me...have you really,
Really, really ever loved a woman?

When you love a woman
Let her hold you
'Til you know how she needs to be touched.
You've got to breathe her...really taste her...
'Til you can feel her in your blood.
'N whenyou can see your unborn children in her eyes
Ya know you really love a woman.

You got to give her some faith...some light...
A little tenderness...gotta treat her right.
She will be there for you, takin' good care of you.
You really gotta love you your woman!

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr...April 16, 2015

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Female Canadian Aboriginal Leaders

The Nobility of the Female Soul includes a
Leader, Decision-Maker, Educator or Mediator,
Negotiator, Center of the Family and Community.
She also needs a rollicking good sense of humour
to handle it all. (Author unknown)

Native Women's Association of Canada
The NWAC is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nation and Metis women. Since 1974, NWAC's mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal Women in Canada. This organization is actively involved with partner organizations across the globe towards this goal...including The United Nations and Amnesty International to end the discrimination against indigenous women.

Aboriginal Women have of course made notable contributions to Canada.
Here are a few examples:

Susan Aglukark: Talented singer and songwriter from the Canadian Arctic.
Anna Mae Aquash: Canadian activist born on Mi'kmaq reserve in Nova Scotia who dedicated her life to helping native people.

Pitseolak Ashoona: A talented Inuit artist from the Canadian Arctic.
Molly Brant: An influential Mohawk diplomat.
Amelia Douglas: A pioneer in the fur trade.
Pauline Johnson: Mohawk poet and performer who increased awareness of Aboriginal culture.
Mikak: Inuk leader who worked to develop peaceful relationships with Europeans in Labrador.

Nahnebahwequay: Heroic pioneer in the battle for Native Rights.
Alanis Obomsawin: Distinguished filmmaker from the Abenaki Nation.
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Talented musician and activist, born to Cree parents in Saskatchewan.
Shanawdithit: Courageous woman who was the last of the Beothuks in Newfoundland.
Tookoolito: An important guide and interpreter in the Arctic
Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk woman who maintained her religious beliefs even when persecuted.
Thanadelthur: A Chipewyan Dene woman, influential in the fur trade.
Molly Rools: At age 23 became North America's first female sea captain in 1939.
Sally Ainse: Oneida Trader, diplomatic courier and landowner.
Demasduit: A heroic Beothuk woman
Mary Two-Axe Early: An activist from Kahnawake Reserve in Quebec.
Elsie Knott: The first female Indian Chief in Canada under the Indian Act.
Marguerite Vincent Lawinonkie: A talented Huron woman who helped save the Huron-Wendat.
Kirkina Mucko: An inspirational midwife and nurse from Labrador.
Angela Sydney: A woman dedicated to preserving her Tagish and Tlingit heritage.
Charlotte Small: The woman who helped David Thompson map a nation.
Note: Many of these women are featured in the books ~
100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten
and 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten.

Each has a story and history to share...about which few of us non-Natives know.
From the foregoing list, I confess that I'm familiar with only 4 or 5 names.

Sally Simpson, a student at Wilfrid Laurier University, stated, “We don't celebrate these significant people and in my opinion, we need to.” Through her studies she has created a list of indigenous firsts through Canadian their profession or of cultural significance. Her list has now grown to include 60 women. Proudly she discovered the number of Six Nations Women making it on the list.

Words of Aboriginal Wisdom

In Honour of all Women...Past, Present and Future
Bullying, cyber-bullying, jealousy, hate, greed, lies, arrogance, searing self-absorption, destructive 'power over' mentalities...are all wasteful pursuits...and causes the female heart to fall to the ground and the world to shatter that much more. It is beyond healing...beyond human conscience when women fight with each other. We are Mother Earth's heartbeat...the life-givers. It is our responsibility to bring 'peace, harmony and balance' back to the world. This will not happen if we contrive to find fault with ourselves and perpetuate it on our sisters. Remember sisters, as the Cheyenne say, “When the hearts of women are on the ground...all the weaponry in the world will not save the earth.”
(Shannon Thunderbird...Coast Tsimshian Elder)

Ojiba Teaching: The woman is the foundation on which nations are built. She is the heart of the nation. If that heart is weak, the people are weak; if her heart is strong and mind is clear, then the nation is strong, knowing its purpose. She is the center of everything. (Late Elder, Art Solomon)

Cherokee Saying: When the white man discovered this country, Indians were running it. No debt...women did all the work. White man thought he could improve on a system like this.

Haudenosaunne Teaching: Before the men could go to war, it was customary for women to make the moccasins. If the women did not want war, they did not make the moccasins.

Courage is the capacity to confront
what can be imagined.
(Leo Rosten)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled March 2, 2015
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Heroic Determination!

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage
to lose sight of the shore. (Andrew Gide)

Exploration awaits you, said Leonard Nimoy.
Not mapping stars and studying nebula,
but in charting the unknown possibilities of existence.

In wisdom gathered over time, I have found that every experience
is a form of exploration.” (Ansel Adams)

The Kon Tiki Expedition
In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer and writer led a journey by raft from South America to the Polynesia Islands. The raft was named Kon Tiki after the Inca sungod, Viracho. Heyerdahl believed that the people from South America could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. The Kon Tiki expedition was funded by private loans, along with donations of equipment from the U.S. Navy.

Heyerdahl and a small team went to Peru, where, with the help of dockyard facilities, they constructed the raft out of balsa logs and other native materials, an indigenous style as recorded in illustrations by the Spanish conquistadors. Beginning on April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and 5 companions sailed the raft for 101 days over 6,900 km (4,300 miles) across the Pacific Ocean before smashing into a reef at Rarola in the Tuamotu Islands on August 7, 1947. The crew made successful land, returning safely.

Thor Heyerdahl's book about his experience became a 'best-seller'...published in Norwegian in 1948 as The Kon Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas, was later reprinted as Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific on a Raft in English in 1950...also in many other languages. A documentary motion picture about the expedition, also called Kon-Tiki was produced, winning an Academy Award (directed by Thor Hayerdahl).
I'm a storyteller: that's what exploration really is all about.
Going to places where others haven't been and return to tell a story
that hadn't been heard before. (James Cameron)

Spanish Exploration of the Pacific
In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan's expedition was the first known crossing of the Pacific Ocean, who then named it the 'peaceful sea'. Born into a wealthy Portuguese family (in around 1480), Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer and was eventually selected by King Charles I of Spain to search for a western route to the Maluka Islands (the Spice Islands). Commanding a fleet of vessels, he headed south through the Atlantic Ocean to Patagonia, passing through the Strait of Magellan into a body of water he named the 'peaceful sea' (the modern Pacific Ocean).

Despite a series of storms and mutinies, the expedition reached the Spice Islands in 1521...and returned home via the Indian Ocean to complete the first circuit of the globe. Magellan did not complete the entire voyage, as he was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines in 1521.
The “Megellan Penguin” is named after him
as he was the first European to note it.

Ferdinand Magellan's navigational skills have also been acknowledged
by the naming of objects associated with the stars...including the 'Megellan Clouds'...
now known to be two nearby dwarf galaxies.

Space Exploration

Do You Star Gaze? Who Hasn't?
The Tau Zero Foundation is a global volunteer group of scientists, engineers, writers, entrepreneurs and writers working together to advance the goal of interstellar flight.

Why Do We Go to Outer Space? We live in a world so full of social injustice...of problems, of poverty and disease. Is it worth spending even one dollar up there when there is suffering and pain on Earth?
Did You Know? Virgin Galactic has already sold tickets to space to more people than have ever gone before. Waiting for their time when they step on that spaceship and fulfil their childhood dream and go to space, are 650 peole who have paid up. (One such traveller is a female journalist from Burlington, Ontario.) This stuff is really, really close on the horizon.

Space Exploration is the ongoing discovery and explanation of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology. Carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, the physical exploration of space is conducted both by unmanned robotic probes and human spaceflight.

Way Back When...I was in public school, we had to give a 10-minute talk to our class on any given subject listed by the classroom teacher. Being extremely shy and of low-esteem, I was dreading this presentation. Fortunately, in a magazine was a fictional account with several cartoon-like-drawings entitled...A Trip to the Moon. Pure Fantasy at that time! My mother and I redrew these 'cartoon-like drawings' with colour and mounted them onto sizeable 12” x 16” bristol board showcards. These, when displayed to my classmates, were my 'crutches' to get through the presentation.
No one at that time would have believed such Space Travel would ever occur!!!

In later years, a Space Race between the Soviet Union and United States evolved. The launch of the first human-made object to orbit Earth...the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 on 4 October 1957 and the first Moon Landing by the American Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969 are often taken as landmarks for this initial space exploration period.
Landing a Man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth
within a decade, was a national goal set by John F. Kennedy in 1961.
On 20 July 1969, Astronaut Neil Armstrong 'took a giant step for mankind'
as he stepped onto the moon's surface. Six Apollo missions were made
to explore the moon between 1969 and 1972.

After 20 years of exploration, the focus shifted to the Space Shuttle Program,
from competition to co-operation as with the International Space Statioon (ISS).

* * * * * * *

The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves
to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams.
(Neil deGrasse Tyson)

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...November 6, 2015

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tributes Upaid

There are many 'Unsung Heroes' in our daily lives ~
the Policemen, the Firemen, the First Responders, etc.

It's also the bystander, who in the face of danger,
rescues a person from a burning vehicle.
It's a person, saving the life of a despondent
contemplating a 'jump from the bridge'.
It's also the person who rescues an abandoned kitten
in a vehicle-hazard mall parking lot on a cold wintery day.

In our world of Big Names, curiously, our true heroes tend to be anonymous. In this life of 'illusion' and 'quasi-illusion', the person of solid virtues who can be admired for something more substantial than his 'well-knownness' often proves to be the 'unsung hero': the teacher, the nurse, the mother, the honest cop; the hard workers at the lonely, underpaid, unglamorous underpaid jobs.
(Daniel J. Boorstin)

I Was a Police Officer
(submitted by comment needed ...this says it all)

Today, I will not answer the radio call that your boyfriend has come home drunk and is beating you again. Today, I will not answer the radio call that your 16-year old daughter, who is very responsible, is four hours late coming home from school. Today, I will not answer the radio call that your store has been robbed or your house has been burglarized. Today, I will not stop a drunk driver from killing someone. Today I will not catch a rapist...or a murderer...or a car thief. Today, I will not answer the radio call that a man has a gun...or tried to abduct a child...or that someone has been stabbed...or has been in a terrible accident. Today, I will not save your child that you locked in a car...or the child you were too busy to watch who went outside and fell into the swimming pool, but that I revived.
No, Today, I will not do that. Why?

Because, Today, I was killed by a drunk driver while I was helping push a disabled car off the highway.
Today, I was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop to simply tell someone they had a taillight out.
Today, I was killed in a traffic accident...rushing to help a citizen.
Today I was shot and killed serving a warrant on a known drug dealer.
Today I was killed by a man when I came by to do a welfare check because his family was too busy.
Today I was killed trying to stop a bank robbery or a grocery store robbery.
Today, I was killed...doing my job!

A chaplain and an officer will go to a house and tell a Mom and Dad or a Wife or a Husband or a Child, that the son or daughter or husband or wife...or father or mother won't be coming home today.

The flags at many police stations were flown at half-mast today...but most people won't know why.

There will be a funeral and my fellow officers will come; a twenty-one-gun salute will be given...and 'taps' will be played as I am laid to rest.

My name will be put on a plaque, on a wall, in a building, in a city somewhere.

A folded flag will be placed on a mantel or a bookcase in a home somewhere...and a family will mourn.

There will be no cries for justice.

There will be no riots in the streets.

There will be no officers marching, screaming, “No Justice, No Peace!”

No citizens will scream that something must be done.

No windows will be smashed, no cars burned, no stones thrown, no names called.

Only someone crying themselves to sleep tonight
will be the only sign that I was cared about.
I was a police officer!

* * * * * * *

Words of Wisdom
What we do for ourselves...dies with us;
What we do for others and the and remains immortal.
(Author unknown)

Success isn't about how much money you make;
It's about the difference you make (and can make) in people's lives.
(Hilary Clinton)

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen
can change the world.
(Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan
who platformed the 'power of education, human rights, quiet heroes.')

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled February 24, 2015
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