THE FOG – Metis in the Middle
This BLOG is a little more personal for me than many of the past. It may help to explain why it took me so long to finally decide to jump into the deep end of the pool and become a priest. It has been a long time coming. I had completed my formation a number of years earlier and during my final discernment for the priesthood ordination did not feel right. As much as I wanted my will to be done I had to listen to the spirit and decline ordination. Over the long haul my intuition has paid off. I was still able to participate in ministry but not as a cleric. Then as God would have it. The call to the priesthood returned. My intuitive spirit told me that this was now “thy will” and not “my will” be done. So here I am today writing this as a priest.
In hind sight it all makes sense. Many things had to come to pass before I could be ordained. But nothing was stopping me from ministry. In fact the years of ministry simply prepared me for the priesthood. But what has really made all the difference for me is the discovery of my native heritage and Ojibway roots.
I am a Metis citizen. But this revelation took many years to explore, cultivate and appreciate. It has defined me not only as a priest but as a human being. What was lost has been found and embraced. Today I know that I had to explore my Metis heritage before I could become a priest. This has also been true for many others who were never told of their native past. It was kept from many of us and as a result something just never seemed to be right within our souls. However once the truth was discovered many things began to make sense and fall into place. Now that this has happened something interesting and unexpected has also happened.
I have come to believe that the Metis are the original Canadians. Please let me explain what I mean. The First Nation people were already here on Turtle Island so they were not Canadian. The Europeans who arrived were certainly not Canadian. But as a result of these two cultures meeting, and in many cases colliding, a new people were born. These people have become known as the Metis and in my opinion the original Canadians who helped to form the country of Canada with both European and First Nation peoples. This may be hard for many to consider but you only have to look at the history of Canada and it becomes clear.
As a result we have become the Metis in the middle. We existed then as now between two very distinct and powerful cultures. However as First Nations people were pushed to the fringe on their own lands they became less powerful and fell victim to European conquerors. These conquerors have never left and are here to stay and to date hold the seat of power. So it is clear that recognition of the Metis as the first Canadians has been lost deep within the Canadian psyche. Even the First Nation people who also struggle for recognition by its conquerors have a difficult time understanding the Metis as the original Canadians. As a Metis citizen I am not saying to our First Nation and European ancestors that they are not Canadians or we were here first. All I am saying is that you created us and you gave birth to us, the first Canadians and the country of Canada. As Metis we are not here to displace anyone. But we must be recognized as a distinct people beyond what the constitution declares.
Since the first Europeans came to Turtle island there has been a never ending flow of new immigrants to Canada. Today Canada is home to peoples from every country in the world. We are a very diverse country and everyone is welcome. As a result the white European entitlements of the past are slowly disappearing within the melting pot of cultural diversity. Today Canadians are one of the most multicultural and proud peoples on the planet.
Herein lays the gift of the Metis and the relevance of being in the middle. With a foot hold in both worlds we are a very capable people. We can exist very comfortably in both worlds. In fact because of our blended history and ancestry we are quickly becoming healers and leaders. I was lucky to have avoided the horror of residential schools. However I was exposed to an abusive Roman Catholic school system. I was born in 1956 and because my family denied their native heritage avoided the 60’s scoop of forced assimilation. Many Metis and First Nation people could not avoid it and so had to suffer the indignities and abuses of residential schools.
Metis have become quick to adapt and learn from their past. We have the ability to live within many religious and cultural variations. As our voice gets stronger it is heard by more people not only in Canada but in other countries around the world. Especially in countries which continue to oppress the indigenous peoples of their land of birth.
Today as a Franciscan I have returned to a Church. However it is not the Roman Catholic Church. It is a more accepting, inclusive and diverse other-denominational Church or lodge. As a Franciscan I believe in the ideas of St Francis of Assisi and his message to care for the poor and the environment. As we look around the planet it is obvious to anyone who has any common sense to see that these ideals are more important now that ever. Today we must recognize that the face of poverty is changing. We are told in the Gospels that the poor will always be with us. We know the face of the poor in many concrete ways. But there is another face evolving and it is being caused by climate change and directed at future generations know as millennials. People between 18 and 35 years of age.
These millennials have now surpassed the baby boomers in numbers and their population will be bearing the brunt of the future of poverty. We must therefore make our priority not just the alleviation of poverty but the education of millennials to the possible future disasters they will face because of climate change. The Franciscan Friends of Gnosis is a sharing community which can offer a platform for future generations to lobby the idiotic politicians of today.
I use the word idiotic specifically to describe the politicians of our day. For a quick history lesson the word idiot comes from the idiom “village idiot”. The village idiot was not someone who was the local weirdo. The village idiot was someone who did not support the community at large. For instance the baker depended on the farmer for flour, the farmer deepened on the blacksmith to shoe the horses to plough the fields, the black smith depended on the miner for coal to fuel his fire, and the miner depended on the baker for food to sustain his energy in the mine. You see the connection. Everyone was aware that cooperation and support was necessary to make the village successful. However the village idiot was a loner who did not support the community and thereby became a robber. Therefore this robber stole from everyone and was a parasite on the entire community. It is important here to remember that the village idiot was not a stupid person. They did not lack intelligence. They just did not use it for the benefit of the community or the greater good. As a result they were considered idiots who in the end would only be hurting themselves along with everyone else.
Today we still have the village idiot in our midst. However they have become slicker, and resemble a huckster or con-artist. And where can we find these unscrupulous people? We find them where the power and money is because they are still at their very core robbers and village idiots. Only now they have gathered enough money and power to provide the illusion of sincerity. These disingenuous personalities have positioned themselves in the most powerful boardrooms at the helm of corporations, governments and religious institutions. In doing so they have performed the best sleight of hand any con-artist can master which is to make us all believe they actually care about us. They have finally shed the village idiot persona and cloaked themselves within the mythic illusion of a superhero.
For example when the early church under the control of Constantine accepted Christianity as the official religion of the empire all kinds of people were attracted to the church for the simple reason that they now had great opportunities to gain political power which meant wealth for Bishops. The door was opened for all kinds of people to secure positions of power within the church. And as we know when the door is open many types of people with different motivations will enter the sanctuary. To put it bluntly many unsavory people became powerful. Today we see the same thing happening in both church and state and we have come to recognize these individuals as sociopaths and psychopaths. In fact there is a new social science developing called Ponerology which deals with these exact personality types. So as you can see this type of deception has been going on for a very long time.
Ponerology has led to much inequality, favourtism and nepotism. Unfortunately this is why the people of Turtle Island and the Metis have on occasion been misled into conflict for the scrapes thrown from the table of its conquerors. This is also why the millennials are the quickest growing demographic in the world destined for poverty. However what makes their poverty different is that it is being caused by climate change. And due to climate change their future is bleak. They may very well become the first people in human history to face extinction due to filicide. This of course will culminate with the disappearance of the human race. But before this happens the rich will get richer at the expense and ultimate sacrifice of the poor. So in this sense nothing has changed except the stakes in which elitists are willing to gamble with another person’s life.
So what do we have to do in order to avoid our own extinction at the hands of the few psychopaths who have seized control of the common destiny of humankind? As in every other uprising we need to get our power back through conversion. This conversion can happen when individual gnosis takes the power from village idiots whose only doctrine is based on greed and the dogma of monetary growth. When we realize that their type of growth is unsustainable then we can be a force for change through loving kindness. This does not mean we are week and must turn the other cheek. For the true nature of turning the check has been misunderstood and preached by the powerful and slick con-artist for way too long. To turn the other check means we must be strong so we can tame what is damaging. To tame a horse we must become a horse whisper and befriend it. This is done lovingly. To be tame by the definition of a con-artist is to be weak and turn the cheek so we can live as indentured servants. This false humility only justifies servitude under the illusion that we are cared for. When we recognize this simple difference we can begin to get our power back. It is unfortunate that the human race has been fooled for so long by the commerce of religion. This only means it will be harder to collectively sustain a wakeful existence.
Waking up means giving up all the illusions created for us by psychopaths who have been peddling humanity all kinds of seductive products to fill our pathetic lives. Products we don’t really need which only serve to make the rich richer. And yes I did say “our pathetic lives”. I don’t mean to sound patronizing, but let’s wake up people before it is too late. If the knowledge of our ultimate demise cannot wake us up then maybe the Devil has won and God will once again be alone.