Saturday, July 07, 2007

Good things

My good friend Ramona is returning to Toronto -- as if to make up for my losing Julie to California! She is an Ojibway of Walpole Island First Nation, an award-winning journalist, who studied at U of Arizona, and one of the most generous people I know.


Even today's barometric headache doesn't obscure the fact that I had a Good Day!


I went downtown to get some supplies at the art supply store, then I stopped off and visited two friends who own a store, then continued on to Starbucks to meet with my friend Robert. Over iced tea, we celebrated his contract with CBC TV, and his job on Marketplace. It's his dream job. He became a journalist because he idolised the show's anchor, Wendy Mesley (a household name here). R. is young, has had a hard life, but he put himself through U of Toronto, became a journalist, and worked very hard. Along the way he had to put up with a lot of racism because he is Native, but he ignored it and didn't let it stop him. There is racism against the Native peoples, and there is patronizing by those who look at them as some kind of noble savage (the kind who tell you their spirit guide is a Comanche Chief or Hiawatha!!!). Either way, American Indians have survived a brutal and genocidal history, and frankly, those who despise them and are prejudiced against them should remember this was their land, their home, first. Yes, I feel very strongly about this subject.

At the CBC, Robert told me no one has asked him "what" he is, it's not an issue. Which makes him happy; he just wants to be like everyone else. No, I said, it isn't and shouldn't be an issue.

Meanwhile Adam Beach is starring in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Let me tell you about Adam (also an occasional character on Law & Order). When I first met him, I greeted him in Navajo, and he did a double-take then it dawned on him and he gave me this huge smile. The reference was to his role in WindTalkers. He gave me a quizzical look, and I said No, I'm a belagaana (Navajo word for non-Indian). He is the nicest, sweetest (and gorgeous) man around!! What I adore about his character on Law & Order, in which he plays a cop from another NY precinct, is that they don't say a word about the cop's background. The only giveaway is when the character says his ancestors built the skyscrapers (read: Mohawk, because they can go to great heights and never feel dizzy). Probably most people wouldn't know that reference, but that's OK too!

I know what you're wondering about at this point: She speaks Navajo??????

Have a peaceful day!

Edit.: My Navajo is rudimentary. I met Adam Beach at the annual powpow in downtown Toronto. He is not Navajo, he's from Western Canada, and I forget his Native credentials! My "feeling" for Natives is lifelong. I don't know where it came from; it's always been there.

8 comments:

  1. Ok yes, I did think to myself "she speaks Navajo?" So do you? I am also quite amazed at the people you know, the things you know, the places you've lived, the languages you speak, the life you've lead and the heartbreak you have overcome. I've often thought your life would make for an interesting book. Your art, each piece you create be it with fabric or paint or both has a soul to it. I think it's important to tell people these things rather than just think them....so I am telling you now.
    I am happy your friend is moving near by - it's such a wonderful feeling to have dear ones near by. And I agree with you about Natives as well,we could learn a lot from their heritage as well.
    Well this is a novel length comment....but I just felt it needed to be said. I have great admiration for you dear Colette!
    XOXO
    Lisa
    p.s. is that YOU in that photo?

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  2. I just realized that the photo is probably the friend you were talking about. duh!

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  3. Yes honey, the photo is of Ramona!

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  4. Of course you would speak Navajo! That is good news that Ramona is going to be close by! She is beautiful! Another door has opened...you also amaze me Colette...You are so global and learned and cosmopolitan and yet so grounded and humble and REAL. I told my SIL Louise from Philly all about you and showed her your art works. I am so blessed to know you and have you for a friend. Your actor/artist/journalist friends you spoke of reflect your intensity and passion for life. They sound so interesting! I have enormous respect for the Native peoples to this continent. There were many Native Plains tribe encampments near my home and a sacred burial ground. Oh my I could go on and on in this subject. But I echo your feelings on them. It was mass genocide. Peace AND love to you. xxxooo

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  5. what a face full of beam!
    that girl just glows. yeah for her move back.

    it is extremely hard for me to understand prejudice against natives or non-natives in this day and age. my children are cardcarrying potawatomi, so i forget that prejudice is out there.

    and congrats to your friend & his new job position. hard times are our souls' patina.

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  6. Well I want to know how you met Adam - yes, he's gorgeous! On my dad's side of the family, there's Cherokee blood (that's where my high cheekbones come from- my dad has coal black hair ) and I have a few Native American friends who are artists and live in or around Santa Fe. I agree with you about the history. And congratulations to your friend about his new job. And hooray that your old friend will be close by! xo

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  7. It is still so hard for me to understand "prejudice", PERIOD! I wish everyone could just understand that we are all EQUAL...we are all the same. It's so simple really..and until that day comes I don't think I will ever fit into this world and the way people think.
    I am part Indian as well..but that's not at all why I say this...I just wish we could all live as ONE.
    Much love to your friend Colette and I am so happy she is closer to you now. You are a Gem of a friend as well, and we are all lucky to have you as one.She is beautiful by the way...
    Namaste~
    Tracy xxoo

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  8. same down here with our aboriginal people... I don't think we will ever have one nation - there is so much racisim and hatred (on both sides). I wish I knew what the answer was... maybe that is why I feel that I don't belong to this country...
    I wish we could put the past behind us and 'just be as one'
    xoxo
    ps- it is really hard to say what I think and feel in a comment xoxo

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate each and every one of you.