Pan-Aboriginal Confederation, anyone?

As the years have passed, I have seen the aboriginal condition only worsen. We do not have the rights that the white men enjoy, nor the power to bargain for any sort of deal. The treaties continue to sell our land, without regard for the people and where they will hunt and live. The white people invade our land even where there are no treaties, and force us out of our own home. Much of Eastern Canada is colonized, and now I hear that the Atlantic colonies are joining East and West Canada to form a dominion – the Dominion of Canada.

Oh Aboriginal peoples; we have been divided for far too long. When separate, the Englishmen can invade our land and squash our culture. But together, we can stand against them. They do not want a full-blown war when they are still afraid of the US attacking. They no longer have the protection of the British Kingdom. Now is the time to join together.

The Metis are included in this invitation, if they wish to join. They are of our blood, and also face discrimination and lack of rights. We will always have a place for our Metis brothers and sisters here. But many Metis have families with European blood, usually French. They will not want to split up their family. Neither would I force them to choose between their family and their heritage. When my mother’s tribe moved, my father left his tribe to go with her, rather than force her to choose between her love and her family. It shall be the same with out confederation. French people who are married to Aboriginals will be allowed to live in our new country with their families. In fact, I would welcome these mixed-race families as important alliances between the Aboriginals and the French.

The French share many of our struggles and grievances. They do not like the British much, either. Like us, they wish to preserve their culture and people in this new and changing world. We both want more rights, and the opportunity to keep our own languages and traditions. We can form a alliance with them, in East Canada. We will trade with them. Metis peoples will be able to travel between East Canada and Aboriginal lands freely, without the British urging them to settle down and become “civilized”. We will celebrate our diversity and stand up for each other. Let not the British set us against each other, like a pack of dogs fighting over a piece of meat. The pack finds more meat when they hunt together!

Our confederation will have its headquarters in Manitoba, where we are close to the French and Metis, who trade furs.The land originally belonged to the Aboriginals, then France – British is but its most recent owner. It is high time for the French and Aboriginals to rally together and take back what has been stolen from us.

In Manitoba, we have large, established trading networks, and a chance to finally have the freedom and equality we deserve. Our borders will be those same borders that we have had for years, the water which is too wide to cross and the skies, which we cannot fly. The land will be shared by all aboriginals, and those who wish to join our union. Remember the word shared. This means it is not mine, or yours, but ours. No one can sell it, nor sign treaties of it, without consulting everyone else in the country! The only places that we cannot go are those where the British and Americans will kill us. When one of our tribes is attacked, we all will respond to their call. When one of us has a bountiful harvest, we all reap the reward. We will share our wisdom with each other, our art and our trades, and lend our strengths to each others weakness. Such is the nature of the word shared.

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The center of the solar system…. In-depth #6

Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

White hat = information

Red hat = feelings and intuition

Black hat = critical thinking

Yellow hat = values and benefits

Green hat = new ideas/alternatives

Blue hat = organizes other hats; moderator

In the last two weeks of in-depth, I’ve had the chance to further develop my two main art pieces: the jellyfish and the space junk mobile. I’ve had a lot of conversations with my mentor exploring different possibilities for each one, and deciding when to come back to a problem later. For example, we were having  a discussion about how to represent the sun (arguable one of the most important parts) in my solar system. The conversation went a little like this:

Me: “So, my biggest problem so far has been trying to figure out what the sun is going to look like. It can’t be the proper size in relation to the other planets, obviously, but I’d like to make it stand out in some way that obviously designates it as ‘The Sun’. “

Ms. Kirkwood: “Yes. Well, we can definitely make the sun a bit larger than the other planets. To give it a round shape, I could use some of my circles and cross them over each other, to give it more depth. I also think it would be good to show some movement for the sun.”

Me: “That sounds good. I definitely think movement is a good thing, because the sun is always burning and giving off solar flares and radiation, right? It would be nice to have a little globe or sphere for the sun, because most of the other planets are 2D. That would set it apart for sure. What were you thinking of with the circles?

Ms. Kirkwood: “I have some old guitar strings that are really nice, they have this bouncy-ness to them that makes them really fun to work with. (Gets them out and arranges them like so) What if we wrapped a shiny clear material, like this cellophane, around it to reflect light?

guitar string sun, courtesy of me

Me: “Oh, yes I really like the guitar strings like that. Especially how the rings that make it look like the skeleton of a globe aren’t entirely lined up, so they make these great little crescents. The cellophane….I’m not sure. I like how it reflects the light, and it’s plastic, so it’s reusing garbage material, but it’s a little bit too green and pink. It doesn’t remind me of the sun that much. I almost feel like we would want something fluffier and lighter, because the sun is full of gas, and it’s always burning and releasing energy. It would be cool if we found a way to make the material be releasing, or expanding. Hmmm…..I’m not sure about the cellophane, but I really love the guitar strings. How can I attach them to make them stay in that shape?

Ms. Kirkwood: “I usually just tape them together using strong crafting tape. It works well because you can easily take it off if you don’t like it or need to make changes, and because it’s easy to put on and holds very well. If you tape it like this, crossing over one way and then the opposite direction, it makes it more difficult for the tape to get pulled apart.

Me: “Oh yeah, because now it is held together in a way that by trying to undo one piece of tape, the other piece will stop it from moving. Cool! It’s just coincidence that the tape is bright yellow, but I really like how that colour contrasts with the more copper-y guitar strings. (puts pieces together with tape) The two overlapping points are at the top and bottom of the sun if you hold it this way. It’s kind of cool, because it looks like two “poles” on the top and bottom of the sun.”

Ms. Kirkwood: “Yes, it does. Do you have any more ideas about the fabric we could use for the sun? If you want plastic, or garbage-y material, I could give you some kind of plastic-y wrapping paper I had…just let me go look for it…(15 minutes and a messy storage room later) Huh, I thought I had something, but I guess not. None of those more napkin-y tissue papers stood out to you?”

Me: “No, not really…. I don’t know, I can’t really think of anything that seems to fit with the mobile.The rest of it is coppery wire, wood and red plastic.

Ms. Kirkwood: “Do you want to come back on it? We can always work on something else, and come back to it with new ideas later.

Me: “Sure…maybe let’s work on the jellyfish for a bit.

(We make our way back to the space where we do most of our work. After about 30 minutes working on the jellyfish, my leg brushes a piece of cellophane and causes it to shift and expand, falling a little more flat).

Me: ” Wait, what if we crumpled up a material and put it inside the sun, instead of overtop of the guitar string fame?

Ms. Kirkwood: “Why don’t you show me?

Me: (crumples the cellophane and holds inside of frame) “It would be cool if I could suspend the material in the center of the frame…but I still don’t really like the cellophane. It just doesn’t seem to go with the rest of the project. (…) Could I use those yellow bags you get from No Frill’s instead? They’re a bit fluffier and match with the yellow tape really well.

Ms. Kirkwood: “Sure! That might work out well, because its always good to make objects kind of relate to each other. Then they look more like they fit together.

After that conversation, we didn’t actually get around to suspending the bag in midair. But I, for one, kind of like the way the bag flip and curls on itself like solar flares are protruding in plastic strips, and the reflective, somewhat luminous nature if plastic. I can see that in this conversation, we had a lot of ideas being tossed around. Since art is pretty subjective, most of our decisions about what to do were based off of emotions and intuition, the red hat, or the resources we had available (the white hat). Blue and black hats occured the least, but we often talked about what looked or felt good (yellow hat) when trying out new ideas. Now, off to Cuba, where I’m sure I’ll see some sun that isn’t made out of plastics and guitar strings!

wow... do those sun spots spell out No Frills, or is it just me?
wow… do those sun spots spell out No Frills, or is it just me?

Leadership 11: Myth Bustin’!

Questions from John C. Maxwell’s “360 Degree Leader”

1. Discuss if people need to possess the top title in order to achieve results and help others become productive.

People definitely don’t need to possess the top title in order to achieve results and help others become productive. For example, in my band class, I don’t have an authoritative position (heck, I’m not even one of the best flute players), but I help out my section by making sure the people near me know what piece we’re about to play, or what the proper fingering for a trill is. By doing this, I help others become more productive and achieve the result of a better-sounding flute section. There’s a saying that goes, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something”, and it relates to this because even if you’re not at the top level, doing the little something you have to offer can make a big difference to the group!

 

2. How can you reshape your thinking and habits to better display the characteristics of a leader?

Becoming a better leader isn’t really something you can just pick up on the side, and call into play whenever you need it. To be a leader, you have to display the characteristics and think like a leader all the time, until it becomes part of you and you are a leader, whether you are required to be or not.
I would like to change my thinking to be more critical, and more open. Whenever I am planning something, I need to ask myself “Is there another way to do this? What are the challenges that I might face, and how could my group and I meet them?” I also need to let go of the control-freak side of me. I sometimes try to take on too much of a project on myself, and forget that I can ask for help, and let other people take ownership for parts of a project. I need to reshape my thinking from, “I need to do this” to “We need to do this” and then make a decision with my group about how to divide up our task. Some habits I would like to form are:

  • Take initiative
  • Involve other people
  • Communicate clearly and effectively
  • Empower other people and give leadership opportunities to people in my group
  • Help and encourage others and build relationships with the people
  • “Question the Quo” by bringing relevant but fresh perspectives and ideas to the table. Always ask – is there another way to do this?
  • Be proactive
  • Ask for group opinions and perspectives
  • Check in with group members

3. What prompts you to follow someone else?

I follow people that I trust. If I trust someone’s judgement, and I have faith in their ability to distinguish the best course of action, I am inclined to follow them. Secondly, the person’s character plays a role in whether or not I would follow them. Their values and morals define to what extent I would be willing to follow them. Third, after getting to know the leader, their ideas and opinions and how much I agree them would affect whether or not I continued to follow them. In addition to this would be seeing how the leader responds under pressure or in the face of a challenge. If they are able to maintain the main focus of the group without sacrificing their values/morals, I will be able to make a judgement on whether or not I will keep following and supporting them in the future. The better I get to know the leader, the clearer it will become whether I will follow them or have to re-discuss the leadership of the group.

 

4. What factors should chairs of a committee take into consideration before making a decision?

Before making a decision, committee chair need to take into account the resources we currently have, the schedules of the class members and facilitators, the needs of the class and facilitators (such as allergies or injuries), other committees, and whether or not the decision fits into the big picture and forwards the class’ goals.
For example, in the practice committee, when setting up practice hikes last year, we considered that we had first aid kits and people would bring their own hiking shoes and packs. W considered the schedules of MS. Mulder and our hike leaders when planning the dates of the hikes. We made note of the people with health concerns and made sure that they were prepared to deal with whatever might happen. We discussed with the program committee what intensity the trip hikes would be, and thus what we needed to work up to in practice. Lastly, we made sure that these practices would help us perform well on the adventure trip.

 

5. To whom do the chairs in the committee answer?

The chairs answer to their group members, because they need to lead them fairly and listen to their opinions. They answer to their co-chair, because they each need to do their part and make sure the other is on track. They answer to the rest of the class, for taking care of the part they chose to do and keeping in mind what is best for the class. Lastly, the chairs have to answer to themselves. Have you done your best? Is this something you can be proud of? The chairs have a responsibility to themselves for their personal fulfillment and development.

 

6. What are you capable of achieving? What would reaching your potential look like?

I think each person has a limitless potential, constrained by the amount of time we have until we die. Strangely enough, we don’t know how long we’ll live, so I don’t think we ever really know the true limits of our potential. Right now, I’m capable of being a middle leader and finishing grade ten and many other things, but in the future, perhaps I will be capable of bringing about world peace! Or the model plan for an entirely sustainable city that could be implemented with little cost, or maybe do something as simple as instate unisex bathrooms in schools to improve conditions for people who don’t fall into the categories of “male” or “female”, or may not look like the “norm” for the gender they identify as.
To be a little less vague, I think I am capable of becoming capable of anything I want, and to me, reaching my potential would be leaving the world a little better than it was when I came into it.

 

7. The reality for most people is that they will never be the CEO. Does that mean they should just give up leading altogether? Discuss.

Just because you’re not CEO, doesn’t mean you can’t lead in your job. By leading from the middle, you can influence people (including higher-ups) without needing to be the top level person. Plus, you can always lead in other aspects of your life! For example, you could lead in a volunteer group, or start a local club. There are so many ways to lead and exert influence on people to fix problems, streamline processes, and bring your goals into fruition.

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