Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stuck inside of Winnipeg with these Haudenosaunee Blues Again

I swear, every time I come to Winnipeg it just makes me sadder.

I love the work I do here, and I especially love the opportunity I get to visit my dear gay husband Dwayne and his band of happy mutant friends, but Winnipeg just makes me sad. I can’t get over the poverty and the despair and the outright racism I see. I am immune to its direct effects on me – nobody messes with a six-foot-tall Iroquoian woman in business attire – but what I see around me saddens and enrages me and makes me feel like a stranger in a strange land.

Is it economic privilege that envelops me? Is it the fact that I don’t “look Indian”? Just what is it? Right now I’m tanned from my trip to Mexico and I’m wearing some of my favourite Iroquoian silver jewellery pieces but maybe this isn’t enough to identify me as a member of the same disadvantaged group that I continually see getting ridiculed, told to move on, spurned in the streets, and openly ignored. I just don’t get the same treatment.

I often wonder if the answer is simply lookism, in that because I don’t look stereotypically “Indian” I get to be immune from the consequences of my status in this nation. I often wonder if that’s the reason. By virtue of being moderately pretty and moderately smart I get to enjoy a privilege that many other people of my same culture don’t get to enjoy. It’s weird. Must meditate on this some more.

In the meantime, I’m going to plug into my iPod and play some Bob Dylan and wait for my flight to be called so that I can go back to the centre of the universe and indulge myself in the security of being Haudenosaunee in my own traditional territory.