Thursday, August 4, 2016

Stories Around Every Corner at the Colonialism No More Solidarity Camp

There are so many stories, around every corner, at the Colonialism No More Solidarity Camp along Albert Street in Regina. I bring a little box of 50 timbits and as I'm walking toward their white tent, I see Prescott and Shannon in a car.
"Hey," we say, big smiles on our faces.
I reach my hand through the window and shake Prescott and Shannon's hands.
"We saw your Treaty Walks," says Shannon.
Prescott and Shannon tell me that I should go meet Robbin, gesturing to a guy with a cap on, over by the blue tent.
I take my timbits, but then Evangeline and Connie meet me at the tent. I give them the goodies, and. we visit for a bit. Evangeline is a playwright, working on her soon-to-be-hit, "The Manly Art of Breastfeeding". Connie tells me that she's on her way to Barrie, Ontario, so will be gone shortly.
"I just thought I should come down and take a turn, give people a break," says 83 year old Evangeline.
"Do you want a pamphlet?" says Connie. I am happy to have something to read further about this camp.
The women pose for a picture, and I catch a fancy car, roof rolled down, idling in traffic, behind Connie and Evangeline. I wonder what his story is, but I don't maintain eye contact, a little afraid at what he might say. Colonialism is not a polite topic.
Prescott and Shannon have gone to get Robbin to meet me, and soon I am shaking hands with this man, Rider cap, Rider sweater, and a big grin.
"Where are you from," I say.
"That little blue tent over there," he says.
We laugh, then he tells me he's from Carry the Kettle.
"I play table tennis there," I say. I look at Prescott and add, "Everything goes back to table tennis." He laughs because when I first met them, we talked about table tennis right away, since I'd just come home from Nationals in Winnipeg.
Robbin invites me to have a seat in the tent for a visit.
Robbin Whitecap tells me about his story, growing up in the 70's, moving to BC where he learned a lot from matriarchal communities. Raising five daughters who taught him about the power of women and importance of feminine leadership. He worked hard to help elect Elsie Jack as Chief at Carry the Kettle.
"The women are leading us," he says. "And our job is to protect them."
He points to the definition of Colonialism on the yellow poster board and explains that when he started learning about that word he started understanding the root of so many of our societies issues, on both side of the Treaty handshake. Ralph Goodale has sat in the circle, asking questions and listening. It's time, we both agree.
I tell Robbin a bit about the hopes and dreams I have teaching my adult 12 program next year, and we make plans to meet at the Treaty 4 Gathering the second week in September. Robbin is passionate about life skills, life coaching, identity building and strength based programming.  
I stay too long, visiting. I have to run, picking Michael up.
My second visit to the camp has been pleasant. I've made contacts, learned a little more about the goals and dreams of the group, and acted on my desire to be an ally of those fighting colonialism.

Connie and Evangeline

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