Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#11 Gatherings

Below is a list of the top 10 events Red people gather for.

1. Pow Wow
2. Treaty Days (bread and cheese day in Haudenosaunee territory)
3. Birth
4. Death
5. Spiritual ceremony or celebration (other than pow wow, wedding or funeral and including other church or traditional ceremonies)
6. Weddings
7. Funerals
8. Birthdays
9. Graduation
10. Court

Here are all the reasons we like big ole get-togethers

Opportunities for:
Laughing, joking and teasing
Snagging (NOT to be done at family reunions!)
Dressing up (ironing something, new white socks, wearing makeup or buying something new to wear)
Memory Making
Moral support and empathy

Chances of:
Good times

Crying (happy tears, except for that one sickening cousin who cries about everything)
Running into someone old flames, your nemesis, or your crush
Getting a present or a surprise (gum from your auntie counts)
Witnessing a fight (argument, conflict, disagreement, otherwise just plain ole gossip making goodness)

This is embedded in our culture. As many of our nations are formerly nomadic peoples, we met during the summer season after spending the long winter months in smaller family groups. See: visiting for more information.

We are also big on celebrating individual achievements as they related to life and all it's journeys.

Get-togethers that didn't make the cut: Christian based holidays, socials, garage party, election time, Walmart, the weekend, hockey games, yard sales

Saturday, February 5, 2011

#11 Laughing when people fall

I just noticed, the most recent posts go on forever, guess I'm long winded. Kinda like Grandpa Simpson. And he's also the reason I'm a history major...haha. But if I live through some amazing history, I hope I can one day tell stories like that old man. Speaking of stories, here's some...

The year has just started and I've already fallen down. Thanks be that Mo' and Salim were there to laugh at me because laughing at yourself is just not as fun alone.

Last year I fell down three times. And wickedly I might add.

1. I was crossing the street with my backpack on. Yeh know, just another Red girl on a university campus trying to get some education. I was just stepping up onto the curb when... BAM! Flat on my face! Skinned knuckles, bruised knee, busted ego! I tried to put my hands out to save myself, but they were holding onto my backpack straps. My leg was cramped so I couldn't even stand up! I just rolled onto my side. This new Canadian saw me and started calling "MA'AM, MA'AM You OK Ma'am?" Insult to injury?? Cars honked. Make it worse?? A friend's Red boyfriend saw me and put it on his Facebook status, I think he got something like eighteen likes. Brutal.

2. I was walking to my car; it was winter. Yeh know, just another Red girl leaving a place of higher learning. I slipped on some ice so, I put my arms out to balance myself - as any normal person would. My silver ring flew off my finger and hit the side of a building. **TING** More concerned about the ring than my dignity, I launched at it. BAM! Hello hard, dirty, sidewalk! Although I can't be positive, I'm sure the Red lady walking towards me thought I looked like a dog on roller skates, or whatever stupid looking thing she thinks is hilarious. And to date...no silver ring. She probably put it on her Facebook status, I imagine it went something like this, "Just saw an awesome looking chick slip on ice. That was so damn funny. I wish she was my best friend. I'm lonely." Haha - Ok...more like, "Saw stupid woman fall for no reason - check out my secret video here!"

3. I fell down three stairs at the university. While two guys watched. And Laughed. Then called me "sister" as in "HOO WAH Sister...you okay?" (I think the sister part is more embarrassing - so I've never told anyone that until now.) Not only was I literally RED in the face, but I broke my shoe, and hurt myself. But being laughed at made it easier...well at least it made a good story (for them, I guess.)
Guy #1 "Dudes, dudes...We were at the university yesterday when this chick fell down the stairs!! AHHH MAN! Dumb chick, tryna be cool...HAhahahaaa...aaah...she had nice shoes."
Guy #2 "For real! Three stairs! Straight down. Yeah, her shoes were nice."
What?! Those shoes were gorgeous! Those guys totally noticed.

Ugh. So all I have to say is, yes I fell down and lost my dignity (First time ever! I swear!) But it was made so much easier by the people who laughed - who may I add were all Red people.

So, why do we laugh when someone falls down?

For most of us, it goes back to when we were babies just learning to walk. Babies learning to walk, fall. But, instead of getting hysterical and yelling "OOOOOOOH!!" and scooping the kid up, we just sit there and laugh. The kid then realizes that it didn't get hurt and they pick themselves up and carry on. *If they keep crying - then maybe they hurt themselves, so we investigate, but this usually isn't the case.

As adults, the vast majority of us can walk. And we're all very good at it, after all we've been doing it for years right? There's really no reason to fall down. And that's why it's funny. There's no reason behind it. The person who fell is just stupid. And stupidity is funny.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

# 11 Tea

From this point forward all posts will be number 11.

Similar to coffee, Red people's like of tea has many levels;

Some are loyal to only one flavor or brand,
My granny likes Blue Ribbon tea, yeh know...comes in a red plastic bag, 100 tea bags for 49 cents or whatever.
My friend D likes Red Rose, she's just nostalgic about the old flowery tins and free knick-knacks that it used to come with. *sigh* ...yesteryear....
My mom and aunties like muskeg tea (AKA Labrador Tea) and cedar tea, I think it tastes nasty but hey, it keeps scurvy at bay.
I used to like mushroom tea but that's a different blog... a different Space Cowgirl...a different lifetime...whoa, I have fingers!!!

Some of us like to make it in different ways, (I'm talking about tea here, not the other thing we like to do in different ways. Oooooo!)
The completely average way: boil water in a kettle, drop in tea bags, pour into a cup, drink.
Ooooorrrrr!! The awesome memory making way!!!

BUSH TEA! WOOOOO...OOO..ooo...oh...that's right, just me...
Alright, maybe I'm the only one down with this, but soon you will be too, especially if you're all about being outside at inconvenient, unconventional times of the year.

First, you need to dress appropriately, long johns, jeans, long sleeve shirt, t shirt, knitted wool sweater from your Kokoom, Mukuluks or rubber boots, mitts that flip over into gloves, and a bright orange toque (so you don't get shot.)

Second, you need some provisions. tea, sugar, canned milk (yuck!) one spoon, some cups, water, matches.

Third, you need a 4L tin can (or you use a camp kettle...boring), some wire that won't break if it gets hot.
To make a bush tea kettle:
Step 1, Make sure you can has no holes in the bottom.
Step 2, Poke a hole in side of the can about an inch from the top, poke another one directly across from it.
Step 3, Run the wire through to make a handle.

Fourth, start walking into the bush. Find a spot that has some fire wood to be had, a fallen tree to sit on, some moss, some shade, an opening for the smoke to escape up through the trees, some rocks...maybe a berry bush...a nice stream...some bunnies...a few chirping birds...a singing nanny....wait a minute...this isn't Disney.

Fifth, get two forked sticks and one straight stick. Drive the two forked sticks into the ground fork side up, steady with rocks if required.Thread the tin can filled with water onto straight stick and lay stick across the forked sticks. Build a fire under the tin can. Boil water.

Sixth, make the boiled water into tea. Enjoy your memories.

(These directions are very simple, so if you screw this up...your granny will be so disappointed. ARGH! And granny disappointment it the worst! It comes with embarrassment and teasing!)

This is done best in the spring, a little snow on the ground, crisp air, wet earth...good stuff.

For a little more on Labrador tea, Check this out: http://www.yesnet.yk.ca/firstnations/books/pp_web/makingtea_pp.pdf

Isn't that awesome? What I like most is that Granny is DECKED OUT...her prettiest dress, her beaded bling. And those little girls are ragamuffin cuties - I'm a little disappointed that they are not wearing matching, but different colored outfits, but still very cute.

So, why do we like tea? I dunno. I don't have all the answers dammit. MJ tells me that they are all about the tea in Norway House....so what up MJ? Enlighten us.