A ‘Savage’ Offense (All This From a Picture?)

Taken from Naked Pastor’s ‘cartoon: rage against the machine‘ blogpost…go take a gander.

I noticed some of the cowards slinking around–what are they afraid of. I doubt if there are any weapons inside. Though, if I got wind that the savages were coming for my folks, my .357 mag. may suddenly appear.” (Fishon)

Time to explain this in more depth so as to not confuse anyone – why I said what I said to fishon – which is a freedom of expression issue – but also a ‘barrier over-stepping’ issue.

So you won’t allow me my angle, and my angle is rude? Or is it that there are only 2 angle to view it?” (Fishon)

Have your angle – there are many ways to view this piece – as I pointed out with a comment about MrsQ’s views (which were a few). However, calling your use of a few words rude was right on the money – and I will explain that in more depth.

“I would think that would be only if you were in the crowd that was attacking. Of course, if I was in the building, I would consider you quite rude” (Fishon)

The painting was not the problem fishon – your use of certain terms was.

“but I use the word ’savages’ and you become a critic” (Fishon)

Yes. For me, it’s a matter of some words never being used again in the ‘us and them’ context. Now you may have just meant some generic use of the term ’savages’ – of those attacking the building (granted). What you may not know is First Nations communities way back when were actually called this term in history books and legislature as derogatory terms to demean their humanity. It would be similar to calling someone a ‘nigger’ in these days – a word still with some original meaning – but we all prefer to drop the term out of respect for a race’s humanity and equality.

Problem being – before I even read your comment I could see someone going to the term ’savages’ or something similar – granted I figured it would be someone from my culture calling it out and explaining the problem with this painting when viewed only literally. Then I read your comments – also coming from a more literal reading of the painting and it basically disturebed me…there was a scene replete with the word ’savage’ tagged upon it.

“(a) savages—–Perfectly good word” (Fishon)

Actually, I don’t find it a useful word at all – it’s been used in such derogatory terms against my own people group and many other indigenous cultures it’s better left out of human communication.

“By the way, if you are against violence, whey not take the artist to task for drawing a cartoon full of intended violence? I threaten to ‘PROTECT’ my congregation and you accuse me of ‘advocating’ violence. He is the one depicting violence, not me.” (Fishon)

I did address David about the possible scenario’s a First Nations person could pull from that piece – he has the right the make it and print it – but I have forewarned him about the sensibilities this would have in First Nations communities – this can be read in such a way as to insult a culture. He wrote back and let me know his side of the story.

Your advocation of violence was more literal in scope than the actual picture – with the use of words like mag .357 (an actual weapon in use today). Then it was coupled with an old idea from centuries past (savages) – I read that and I can’t help but have questions about the wording being used. I would suggest you read some of the history of the First Nations peoples in America and Canada and the terms – and tactics – used against them – and you will find sentences just like the one you wrote about the ‘defense of that church’ in the picture – with the Indians being called ’savages’. It’s a sensitivity thing I think.

“You talk a big talk, my friend, but you don’t walk the walk” (Fishon)

That’s right – blame me for the words you used…then call me close minded to boot. The problem is I have studied this issue intensely and I am from a First Nations background – my conclusion is that not all freedom of expression is quite freeing.

Because I have problem with your wording I am close minded – I never said I was open to everything – but that I am open minded. I am so open minded I am going to wait to hear your response on this one and give you the benefit of the doubt – that you do not think this way in general but it was a comment made without the knowledge of the historical background my generations had to face in the arguement with colonialism.

“I do believe I made it pretty apparent as to who the “savages” might be” (Fishon)

I re-read it again and again to make sure I wasn’t missing a thing – the savages were those attacking the church apparently – and I think you are pretty culturally non-bias in the rhetoric. I just don’t think you know how that term sounds in ‘my ears’ as someone dealing with the past haunts of colonialism and its wasting on my community – and the total depravity of the term ’savage’ and how it was used to imprison 100,000’s children in schools without consent or choice on the issue. Which made these kids into ‘less than humans’ and they were treated that way – and my parents were part of that generation.

Multitude’s of scars still exist in First Nations communities because that term was used against us – as an excuse for the treatment of a cultural group from the dominant group to do whatever they pleased. I think I have been given the right to question when the term ’savage’ appears – namely in the context of this picture. Now if that’s close minded – I am alright with that – I’d rather address issues of ignorance than ignore them and hope they go away.

But if I am wrong – I would ask anyone here – do you still use the word ‘nigger’ or is that just not the word of choice to demean another group anymore? If we can drop that from the vocabulary then we can just as easily drop ’savage’.

“You are just as judgemental as I am. Don’t you just hate that!” (Fishon)

I never said I wasn’t judgemental – I admitted all of us are – including myself. That is why each of us can look at that painting and make some creative assumption about it – we use our skills of judging it.

However, in this case I think I am using my judgment of the wording used by you in a very ‘just way’. I have addressed the problem with the word, explained it, and now am asking you to understand it…beyond that there is little more I can do. But that’s ‘judging in love’…asking you to understand that I know a whole group of people that will be offended by the term ’savage’ and asking you to check your sensibilities on the issue. If you don’t like what I am saying then ‘explain why’ – as any good court would allow on any subject presented before it. But if the arguement makes sense – then all I am asking is you ‘drop the use of the term savage’.

Am I wrong – no. I am not doing this for me per se – that comment offended me only a little bit – but I am doing it for my community – who if they could read that comment in the context of that pic might have more problems than I. I am trying to voice their opinion so this never has to happen to their faces and people know better than to use that term around a First Nation person/community. 


Anger Issues…

Comment taken from ‘Contempt‘ – Shane Vander Hart’s blog ‘Caffeinated Thoughts’

Anger, for many of us, is not a righteous thing, but rather prideful or vengeful and it seeks to do harm.  God throughout the Bible pointed His anger at sin.  Righteous anger is anger at injustice and sin.  Not at sinners, and not just when we are sinned against which is usually the only time we are angry at sin.

Righteous anger on our parts should lead to a response that is graceful and is bathed in truth.  We should demonstrate mercy to the victims, and seek reconciliation with those who offend.” (Shane Vander hart)

“Why even draw a line between righteous anger and plain old anger – when the line is so thin to not be recognized? Wouldn’t it be better to say the standard is a huge ‘no’ to anger – then hope people keep the standard?

I know anger is actually not a bad thing – it’s a normal human emotion we all have when things happen to us or others that deeply hurts or offends us.

Anger is only a problem, which I think this teaching from Jesus addresses, when it becomes plans to act upon it (and continously obsessive at that). Jesus seems to be drawing a correlation between anger at something and becoming a murderer – which is very true. But Jesus is not saying anger is ‘bad’ – but that anger – if not kept in check – is a horrible process to follow through with (even obsess upon – which leads to actual doing).

But even righteous anger is quite bankrupt these days – anger at sin does not promote grace and truth – if we are talking about the same emotion (anger) here. Usually it leads people into fanaticism and not being level headed when dealing with an issue of ’sin’ – they actually become harshfully judgemental and do more stupid things. Some abortion doctors did not become victims by accident – no – someone thought what they did was ‘right/just’.

Not saying a ‘just anger’ does not exist – but I think Jesus is even addressing that also in this teaching about ‘dealing with anger’. I hate watching stuff on the Holocaust because it makes me hate the Nazi’s so much…well you know that anger I am talking about. Or when I watch the treatment from the gov’t of the black equality movement (civil rights) in the 1960’s – my blood just boils. I get the idea of a ‘just anger’ – for things we should be angry about…with good cause. But should we act upon that anger or let it take a foothold?

That’s the problem with anger and it being ‘just’ (which I believe is possible)…maybe it can spurn us onto dealing with these things in a ‘just way’ – then again maybe it causes such offenses in us that we react in the ‘wrong way’ (notice all these offences in the teaching are before a court). I think Jesus is teaching anger does exist and always will – but it is important to find ways to deal with it so as to not cause more problems…and this is obviously possible but I know it’s a tough one to teach.” (Me)

Anger…good and bad – how do you think it can be used righteously? or can it?

June – Aboriginal History Month

June is Aboriginal History Month – and I am part of a group ‘Regina Aboriginal Professional Association‘ (RAPA) – that is making this a yearly endeavour. 

It started last year when the Province of Saskatchewan and the City of Regina both acknowledged the idea publicly and threw their support behind it. The idea made it as far as the Federal Government – mentioned by a lady in BC in parliament – not sure what happened on a National scene – but we celebrate on the local scene here. 

I am proud to be part of the initiative and to allow for further reach into Canadian society for the Aboriginal (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit) perspectives in this country. We have many planned events this June and we hope to get our community involved in its own self-awareness. We will also be running television Public Service Announcements, radio, and print ad’s province wide.

That being said, no matter who and where you are – take some time this month to learn about Aboriginal history – a documentary, a piece in the paper, a book, or even the internet. It really is a great culture and history – and we are your neighbours. It never hurts to know more about someone else – so this June – give it a try.

Me…I plan on celebrating all month!