How Not To Be An Activist

I never thought of myself as an activist. The first time someone called me an activist, was an internationally well known activist in a message to me on Facebook. She told me to keep up the good work and always stand up for what I believe in. That the life of an activist wasn’t easy. But to keep doing what I do.

“Wow” was what came to mind. “Really? Me? An activist?” I was shocked and honored. I’m a writer who feels very passionately about what I write for. I’m not on the front lines, yet. Legally, I can’t afford to be out there-yet. I have always cared about the wrongs of the world, talking in extent to both my parents about it all the time. I sit home and write about what all the wonderfully courageous people who have crossed paths with me by caring about the same things I care about are doing to make the world a better place. I respect that they care enough about the drinking water of grandchildren they will never meet. Or that they care about the future generations of our little brown Native children and their rights, without even knowing how this world will be at the time. Whether it will be better or worse, but hoping in their hearts, what they do here and now will make it better. Or they care about all the lives lost to alcohol two miles away from the reservation. That they care about a piece of land so sacred and important to The Creation Story of our people that it is considered The Heart Of All That Is, that they would help spread the word via social media. And all the Indigenous people who live in colonized governments who are sending support to the First Nations of Canada by saying enough is enough Idle No More as a globalized, unified movement with a heartbeat so strong, you can hear it like a drum beat in your soul. Like the game Jumanji is buried nearby.

That is what I realized being an activist is. Caring about grandchildren you will never meet. Caring about lives already lost. Caring about your people here and now. Caring about the Earth, the sacred water, our rights to be human, our languages and ways of life passed down for generations, and our rights to take care of the land. There is no end to being an activist. There is no epiphany or ice breaking moment when one day you just say “Screw it, I’m done.” And walk out as if it is a low wage, no benefit job. You don’t get paid for being an activist except by seeing change and progress. You care enough, that’s why. You are paid by heart. There is only that moment of clarity when you realize, if you are not born into a family of activists, that you do care. That you do believe and that change is possible. By standing up for what you believe in.

It’s how to be a warrior in this day and age. Whether you a straight out militant activist, on the frontlines or fighting the fight and getting word across by social media, through twitter and facebook. Which is like a virtual march spreading like wildfire. I respect all activists out there who use their weapons wisely to get word across. Whether that weapon is a pen, human barricade, stand in, a song, twitter account, etc.

Being an activist means you lose friends, maybe family members…who can’t or won’t accept your new goals in life. Yet, they oddly care enough to not care and want you to not care again. You don’t understand how they can NOT care and they don’t understand how you can waste energy and time on issues that aren’t even issues to them. But you gain momentum with every soul you meet that don’t give a shit about their future generations, it makes you fight harder for change. Because you never give up on hoping they too will see the light. That they will see what we do here and now will affect the next seven generations, whether that be for better or worse.

See I can tell you How Not To Be An Activist by simply saying don’t care about what is happening around you, bitch about people who are out there on the front lines wanting change, look your grandchild in the eye and not worry about what kind of water they will drink someday. Care about the here and now and the cash in your pocket. Bitch again about the 1% while not standing with the 99% you belong to. Continue to bitch about how much Pe’Sla costs when not a penny came from your pocket. Don’t feel the global heartbeat of Idle No More. Continue to be offended by the word “Idle” when in fact the very act of Indians putting other Indians down has been the “IDLE” since being put on reservations.

There is no end to being an activist. There is always some wrong going on in the world by others looking to get rich off the health, land, livelihood of the poor. When one battle ends another begins. Several battles go on at once all around you as you worry about Kim Kardashian’s unborn baby.

See, really I can’t tell you how not to be an activist. Because I care. And I think you do too. However, I will not give up on that awakening of your soul, when I think someday you will realize, enough is enough.

I have hope, as all activists do. Hope is the fuel to their fire. I have hope someday every one of us will care.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry. Ain’t gotta lie to kick it

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15 thoughts on “How Not To Be An Activist

  1. You are great~I am so glad to read this,sometimes people feel so teeny tiny, in a big giant world.” Actively participating!” It does feel good to stand up. This made me feel empowered, Idle No More has empowered me too.
    I am not “Native” , I have always felt that is was DISHONORABLE, not Honorable, what the Calvary did to the Native People. (sounds so cliche’) . It is true! I have always felt that way,I was a small child and I would cry during the Western Movies depicting the Indian Wars~CRY and felt grief over it; for the Indian people. Distraught over the History that was literally unwritten and untrue. My Aunt helped me to learn and I even took bad grades at school.
    My Grandfather was sad about the” Mankato Massacre” of the 38Dakota Men who were hung,I looked at it and I was horrified by it.He was giving me information and I didn’t ask,he offered it one day driving to Mankato to do shopping(I was very small). I am grateful, but angry that this has taken so long to be brought to the true light of exposure. Still a long way to go, but I feel somehow like maybe the few became the group; and the group becomes the movement.Or something like that~I enjoy your writing, and I enjoy feeling I can comment,although I feel insecure, I do it. I am not sure it reaches anyone, but I comment so I can connect somehow.
    I got off on a roll,commenting about your previous writing~
    I always stood in the middle of the front seat,when Grandpa Ernie drove. My little chubby arm resting on his shoulder. It was a trip to go to Mankato, shopping. As we drove along,I asked him about his Snuff(tobacco). He let me try some too. Yuk! Then he said,this is a terrible place,they hung all those men here. Very bad~he scowled and changed the subject,I was spitting out the tobacco on his handkerchief. It sparked my soul,but it also left me feeling like there was something I wanted to know about my family,and my home. I think we were moving away,I always missed my Grandfather~we were shopping because we would be far away after that time.
    It has taken me many years to get home. While I was living my life nothing changed much for others~or for me. Why does change take so long~in the scheme of things, I wonder but I also don’t dwell. So I have taken to watching from my house,from my computer. I love having my computer,I get into trouble sometimes but it is good to have a way to communicate.
    Thank you for your writings~I am just one person,I will be sixty next month,I try to enjoy my days. I have really chubby bunnies that come for cracked corn~now 15 bucks a bag! It is worth it, to me.
    Here goes~~~~~

  2. my mother did her own thing – just her own – so i came to her house one day to find a letter on her desk from the then prime minister of new zealand – a personal reply to one of her little things.
    Then one day – a big problem. The local animal charity – part of a huge ukwide charity – was spending money on slap up banquets for the members, was having to move headquarters because of the noise from the animals and was in a real mess.
    So she went on a course on self assertion – got together a group of friends and reading the organisations constitution got themselves voted in as chair and commitee. Result, new headquarters – no more slap up dinners on charity money and a very strong and happy community. Mother retired and left them to it as soon as she could.
    Activist – naaaah, she wasnt qualified, no university – wrong age —-just a retired old woman living on her own.

  3. I remember being in high school in the late 80’s. Hip Hop culture was fully absorbed into the Afro-Centric era. The ideals of the Nation of Gods & Earths and their rhetoric was all around. One central idea they espoused was “knowledge of self”. This was learning about Africa and African history. Learning the truth of the African diaaspora’s experiences over here on Turtle Island, as well. I grasped onto this idea and began doing everything I could to learn and respect my own Native people. I became alienated from many of my so-called Godbody friends, since Native “knowledge of self” didn’t support the near Afro-supremacist ideals the Nation of Gods & Earths truly preached. I became as intimately familiar with AIM and all the other Native activist groups of the 60’s and 70’s. I myself wanted to become an activist. As I entered college, I began to notice most within NDN Country didn’t want to hear a single word I had to say. I became burnt out. I eventually had to leave school, as well.

    Over the years, what I have come to realize is that those of us trying to promote the idea of our people returning to our ancestral/traditional beliefs, languages, ideologies, etc.. truly are on the frontlines of activism within NDN Country. Existing as we are meant to traditionally exist is the ultimate act of activism in itself, as Western Society never intended for us to exist into these days and times.

    It has been said, “with the coming of little brother–he will try to destroy you. All you have to do is continue to exist. Exist, be whom and what you are meant to be, and the fight will continue to protect Mother Earth from the vicious and cannabalistic actions of little brother.”

  4. My heart beat right along with yours as you spoke it with such power and conviction. This brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Brava!! (P.S. I like you in my “family”…just sayin’..)

  5. Pingback: How Not To Be An Activist « sicanguscribbler

  6. I am really interested in what you have to say but the tiny white writing on the black background is making me cross eyed and I had to give up. What you have to say is so important, please make it easier on the eye and thus more readable.

  7. “There is always some wrong going on in the world by others looking to get rich off the health, land, livelihood of the poor. When one battle ends another begins.”

    Industrialization freed the poor. However civilization allows if uncontrolled; behaviors such as “get what you can when you can” and greed to take that freedom away. In 2008 the Grand Woten told the tribes to form up. As we create wealth the civlized populace grows untill it consumes all. We are approaching that point; this generation has to to turn us around before we start to feel the pain and while we still have options.

    This was a problem when I was a child with a couple of Billion people wanting to live like kings. Now we have 9 billion AND THE WEALTH IS BEING USED UP faster and faster every day.

    I liked what you wrote. Every aspect of scoiety has to change for civlization to evolve. Can it do it in time? Activists are very important; people wake up……

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