By Xavier Kataquapit
Mino-oosh-kee-poo-poo-n – This is the Cree way of saying ‘Happy New Year’.
2019 was quite a year, and for we northerners up here in Ontario, it was full of snow and very cold winter temperatures and our summer was short.
We all survived a nasty national election and ended up with a minority government with the Liberals in charge, which is probably as good as it could get. This election campaign was very nasty with lots of hate, racism and bigotry coming from the far right and making huge use of social media. People I normally consider as open and kind were sharing terrible dark, nasty attacks on social media, such as Facebook, and that was disappointing.
It seems like the dark face of fascism is once again rearing its head, bankrolled by huge corporations that would like to take more control of our world. They want to get rid of any opposition to their profit making and they do what they can to discredit opposition politicians, journalists, academics and scientists.
You would think we would recognize these old fascist strategies and repel and protest them, but it is important to remember that there is a lot of power and money behind these movements and they dominate mainstream media, social media and all kinds of lobby groups.
This is happening in Russia, China, the United States, many other countries and even here in Canada. It is up to us to be intelligent enough not to fall for this kind of nasty stuff. Anytime you see information in any media, especially in online social media, that is spreading hate, bigotry or racism to get you to support their ideas and big companies then don’t fall for it.
Think about the future of the planet, the future of your grandchildren and all the people you love. We need a more kind, open, tolerant and intelligent society, not one that is going to be dark, taking advantage of people, using war to dominate other cultures and countries, spreading hate, racism and bigotry to control people and sacrificing our environment and the good Mother Earth and all her creatures for short-sighted financial profit.
There is a good amount of healing and reconciliation going on right across Canada with my people, and hopefully that will continue. Things are not perfect but I see positive changes in terms of assistance in education, health care, housing and infrastructure in Indigenous communities across this land.
We need to see our government do more to make sure life is as good on First Nations across Canada as it is in the non-Native communities. With the governments in power right now, I think this is a trend we can count on and we need to do our best to encourage development for First Nations so that the healing continues and the quality of life improves for everyone. Our future generations will thank us for working hard to make this a reality.
Here is a little gift from myself to you that should help you navigate the world of news and information. There are many sites you can go to that offer information that provides an alternative view and here are some of them. For Indigenous news about Native Canada provided by Indigenous people go to: www.wawataynews.ca; windspeaker.com; theturtleislandnews.com; albertanativenews.com and nationnews.ca
For alternative Canadian news sources go to: thetyee.ca; rabble.ca; democracywatch.ca; nowtoronto.com
A source of information about medical stories can be found at ssristories.org
These fact checking websites can help you to quickly check on the honesty and reality of a story: rationalwiki.org; www.snopes.com; wikileaks.org
It is not easy to find the media and information that is factual and truthful these days and you have to figure out where the real news is on your own. This requires looking at a lot of alternate news and information sites so that you can get an idea of what is really happening in our world.
There are two people I like to refer to when I look into determining the basics for real news and for a just society—Victor Hugo, the 19th century author who wrote in his book Les Misérables, “If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness”, and Carl Sagan, American astronomer, author and astrophysicist who helped to popularize the quote, “Keeping an open mind is a virtue but not so open that your brains fall out.” I do my best to remember these two quotes when considering what is real and what is not.
Happy New Year and I hope you take the time to do a little research in determining what is real news and what is not. If what you are reading, watching or listening to is asking you to hate or dislike someone or a group of people, think twice about what you are looking at or listening to.
Stop believing those hateful, intolerant, racist and bigoted posts on social media that hook people into thinking in a dark and negative way.