the Holiday Formerly Known as Victoria Day.
Secular holidays are rather sad. They are considered long weekends, and have little to no cultural significance. For the longest time, the day off in August was called “August Civic Holiday” – doesn’t quite stir the heart like Halloween, now, does it?
However, this weekend is Victoria Day (Monday officially). In this corner of the world (Ottawa, Canada) a number of interesting things have started to happen around this time. People plant their gardens. The last frost date is the beginning of May, but this long weekend, people have dirt under their fingernails and that weird gardener’s glow about them. Last night was the full moon. And the past few days have seen a very palpable spring fever owing to the cabin fever of long winters.
But none of this is part of the official holiday, which celebrates Queen Victoria, the second-longest ruling British monarch, and Queen when so much promise of Settler-Native relations in Canada went completely to shit. Not really a monarch I want to celebrate. But what can we do? It’s already printed on all our calendars.
Transform these holidays. That’s the challenge before us. How can we take such a mysterious, powerful, and contentious figure as Queen Victoria and make it relevant? By not being amused.
The challenge, henceforth, for me (and you’re all welcome to join in. Please, feel free to join in), is to spend the day not being amused by anything. Maybe we should gather cadres of clowns and comedians around the statue of Q-Vic to see if they can get that bronze to crack a smile.
Here’s another little known fact about Ottawa, unless things have changed (now, why would things go and do that?), it’s home to the most Inuit outside of the North. The reason I bring this up is the real challenge to not being amused all day. Inuit women practice throat-singing. I learned that two women face each other, holds arms, and throat sing back and forth until one of them laughs.
It’s pretty intense if you’ve never heard it – the sound isn’t great but the throat-singing is awesome!
That’s the challenge – to develop something akin to throat-singing, and try, desperately, in the face of someone trying to make you laugh, not find it amusing. Best of fortune to youse guys.
Albert Einstein imagining himself riding lightning.
And here we have a clever representation by Alphonse Swinehart
Louis Theroux of the BBC
Documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux uses a variety of techniques to engage potentially confrontational people (Westboro Baptist Church, street-level drug dealers, incarcerated pedophile) in conversation.
Exploring Indigenous means to healthier individuals, families, and communities.
I’ve been stumbling across books serendipitously at the library, falling down a rabbit hole of threads. Of late, it’s been neurocognition – neuroplasticity in particular, as well as anthroplogy (although here I’m really getting in on the ground flood). The most recent thread in this quipu appeared suddenly with my reserved books at the library. I don’t recall having requested it, but that’s not uncommon. In Indigenous Healing by Rupert Ross describes the continuing effects of the residential schools on survivors and their children. Ross describes how native healing circles have proved the only successful means of bringing survivors, their families, and communities out of the cycles of addiction, violence, suicide.
Very brief notes from the book (I was too engaged to extract much, as the book works more as a whole – appropriately enough)
Indigenous Healing – Exploring Traditional Paths by Rupert Ross
Part One Stumbling into a World of Right Relations
Ch 1 Learning to See Relationally
Ch 2 Seeing Justice Relationally
Ch 3 Moving into Right Relations
The Embedded Indigenous Soul
Ethical Responsibilities toward All of Creation
Languages Built on Spiritual Connections
Place, Space and the Medicine Wheel
the Centrality of the Circle and Ceremony
the Fundamental Posture of Thankfulness
the Notion that Humans are Fundamentally Good
Right Relations and True Knowledge Read the rest of this entry »