Introduction: Three Vignettes
According to a list compiled at McSweeney’s, the renowned German actor Klaus Kinski claims to have had sex with the following people (I believe in this order):
Discussed in this post:
5 Books (The History of White People; Other Council Fires Were Here Before Ours; Ojibwe Giizhig Anang Masinaa’igan; Austerlitz; and Nostromo);
2 Movie (10 Cloverfield Lane and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night);
3 Documentaries (Crumb; In the Realms of the Unreal; Salesmen).
I saw a picture of you today when you were a child. You had a gentle smile. You look shy and sweet and tender – like the kind of kid who wouldn’t say a word if he was abused. And you didn’t. None of us did. But for you abuse has just steadily been overshadowed by chronic pain, long-term illness, and dis-ease. Yet, for the most part, you still don’t say a word.
(I’ve been thinking how strange it is that I used to describe our childhood as “sheltered.” I think the term “deliberately isolated” might better capture what was going on. It wasn’t that our parents were trying to protect us from the evil out there in the world – it’s that our dad didn’t want others to know the evil we experienced at home.)
Part One: Dirty Water
As of January 1, 2016, there were 135 drinking water advisories in effect in First Nations communities (that is to say, on “Indian Reservations”), across Canada. This is excluding British Columbia, where another 26 drinking water advisories were in effect as of February 29, 2016. If you actually read through the advisories, you’ll notice that many have been in effect since the mid-1990s and have no sign of not being in effect any time soon. Altogether, over 109 communities are impacted. It’s hard to know the exact figures because many communities do not have a population listed but, based upon the information available, we can estimate that this impacts over 75,000 people. Over 75,000 Indigenous people living in conditions of poverty we tend to associate with some of the poorest nations in the two-thirds world — we are talking about people who lack buildings with heat or insulation (despite living near the arctic), who lack running water, and who cannot drink or bathe in the water that is available to them.
Discussed in this post: Two books (Quantum Physics by Humphrey, Pancella, and Berrah; and The Medicalization of Society by Conrad); three or six films, depending how you score it (Andersson’s Living trilogy, Vinterberg’s Hunt, and one disappointing one about David Foster Wallace) and three documentaries (Dreamcatcher, Running From Crazy, and Prophet’s Prey).
I have been thinking about Eduardo Kohn’s book, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human along with Ye-weh-node’s teachings in Language of the Stones and elsewhere. I have been thinking about what Glen Coulthard says about the connection that the Yellowknives Dene feel with the land — that the land does not belong to them, but they belong to the land — and how this is a common belief amongst the various Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. And I have been thinking of the words I heard from a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Elder who said, “We have different languages because we come from different lands. It is the land that gave us our language. We speak because the land gave us speech and different lands speak differently.”