A Chaotic Tangle Of Thought

I should probably write something meaningful in this text box

Social Studies Final Project

Here are some photographs of the creative component that I made for my Social Studies Final Project. For this creative component, I decided to create a piece that is more dynamic due to my theme being a very dynamic one. The paper section in the middle of the box rotates and shifts, showing how identity changes gradually throughout constantly changing power relationships. Here are some photos in case anyone missed this part of my presentation:

img_20170620_232704642 img_20170620_232710119 img_20170620_232718406 img_20170620_232740296 img_20170620_232746150 img_20170620_232753686

The Golden Spruce: An Insight from the Eyes of Grant Hadwin

July 17th, 1971

At last, I finally think I found my true calling. This is where I belong; in the woods, by myself, just me against nature. My chance to be at the frontier; the frontier of tall, looming trees and filtered sunlight. This landscape of looming behemoths; behemoths that heed the words of no man. Although it pains me to see these once glorious mountainsides and valleys stripped down to bare rock, it is wonderful compared to becoming a worker, forever chained to a desk, with no challenges to overcome. Anyways, it’s not like the forest could ever run out of trees, right? I have the freedom to do whatever I want; take a detour to a neighbouring mountain, or hike along a wooded river. There is nothing that I can fear here; not even the wild cougars and grizzlies can defeat me; I am in my element, as naturally a bird in the air.

 

May 21st, 1979

Is cutting down all of these trees really the right thing? All of my doubts that I have been harbouring over the past years are slowly welling forth, eating away at my resolve. Who am I to be cutting down these these trees that have been here for hundreds of years? I have razed countless forests and valleys, leaving them dead and devoid of life. The tree-eating beast that is society is slowly killing this land and everything within it – with no concern whatsoever. But what can I do about it? All of my complaints to my manager in my reports, my attempt to make him aware of what his company was doing, so far have all been ignored and thrown away, never to be brought up again. There’s no use- I suppose I can do nothing but accept the inevitable destruction of nature.

 

October 11th, 1983

I quit. I want nothing more to do with this company that has no more concern for what they are doing to a land than a lion with a flea. I’ll devote my time towards using my skills to help the forest, using only salvaged trees to make a living. My conscience has finally driven me to act. No longer will I pretend that my job isn’t harming the very environment we live in. I was the last person to ever see some of the most beautiful places in the world, before they were cut down by these two filthy hands of mine. However much I love my job, I can’t keep going on like this, the destroyer of my own utopia.

 

April 3rd, 1993

What have I done? I am now facing probation, like a dog on a leash. That one moment of rage and anger bursting out from within me has caused me to become an caged man, with my every move watched and noted. They’re out to get me… I know this as a fact. I’ve been going to more protests more recently, trying to make as much of a difference as possible to save the forests that I know and love. No matter how many letters and faxes I have sent, and no matter how many people I talk to, I can’t seem to be able to get my message across. Although they have been mostly unsuccessful so far, I still cling to the hope that maybe, just maybe, all of this is doing something. If it wasn’t… the past year of my life would have no meaning at all.

 

July 14th, 1996

Cora is truly the only person I can confide in. Ever since I met her, I she’s the only one I’ve been able to talk to. Those days of us playing cribbage in the yard while laughing together are cherished memories of mine. As I walk along one of the many islands of Haida Gwaii, with Cora, a yellow shape, stretching up into the sky starts to appear. A tree. Except a tree unlike any other. I hear Cora gasp in wonder at what we were seeing. I gasp; but gasped instead in horror.

 

The tree was a sickly yellow, from the bottom to the very tip of the tree. An abomination of nature is the only way I could describe it. The tree defied order, proclaiming its uniqueness openly, for all to see. All around, I could see the stumps of those trees that had been standing there for hundreds of years, only to be cut down, with the golden spruce and the trees around it left behind as an awkward attempt to assuage the doubts of those who opposed the logging industry. As if leaving behind a patch of trees to please a few tourists dropping by in their air-conditioned tour buses would make a difference! Rage started to well up inside me; rage at the companies that ignored what they were doing to the environment while their executives raked in money; rage at those who stand by and do nothing about the destruction of the world around them; rage at the golden spruce. Something had to change, and only I could do anything to make that happen.

 

January 22nd, 1997

The wind is strong as I make my way across the dark landscape, with the expanse of blackened sky looming overhead, like a hole in the heavens. All my my worldly possessions were on me, with everything else given away without a second thought. I was ready to make a difference. Ready to right a fundamental wrong in this world. Ready to cut down the very symbol of the hypocrisy and ignorance of the logging industry: the Golden Spruce.

 

I started my chainsaw. As I start to slide it into the tree, the blade passes by hundreds and hundreds of years of history. The life of the tree, from birth to death. From its beginnings as an object of worship of the Haida, to the landing of the first Europeans, to a simple tourist attraction in the present day. This was no wrong- this was the only option to save our beautiful landscapes that are our forests. Even though cutting down this tree may be  With every cut of my blade, I am one step closer to opening the eyes of British Columbians across the province. One step closer to kick-starting the change that will keep our forests intact. And one step closer to preserving the natural paradise that I know and love for future generations to come.

Found Poem

For my found poem, I decided to use page 60 of The Golden Spruce. The poem ended up as follows:

Drums pulsing, moving, bursting, into a floor-shaking tumultimg_20170507_153258484

Then, disappear, as if jerked away by an unseen string.

Voices rose into the air, resonating with grief;

As the flames rise around the people, some cracks begin to show.

The people break out of the flames and suddenly stare out,

Engulfed and yet untouched by the fire,

As flames burst, weeping molten tears.

When I was reading through the book, this page jumped out at me in particular with its strong, vivid imagery, and flowing paragraphs that transitioned very smoothly. I then thought about how I could use fire to represent something that I wanted to talk about in the poem.

Image Source

 

In this poem, I used fire as a metaphor, and chose an image of a flame blazing away in the night for my image. I tried to use fire in this poem to represent the swallowing of Aboriginal and First Nations culture by the west, and how the traces of First Nations culture became burnt away, replaced with something completely different, ending in sadness, weeping molten tears.

 

 

 

In-Depth Post #6: A Bit of Polishing

In the past two weeks, I have managed to meet with Peter two times to play badminton. The last time I went with him, we worked improving my hits overall in general. He told me that he had noticed that I had been swinging my arms out wildly before I hit the birdie, which may cause me to lose balance or not be able to react quickly enough in time. That is mainly what I worked on for the past two sessions, since at this point there aren’t really any new moves for me to learn, and I am mostly working on polishing the ones that I do know, for the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none” is not the point of this project.

While I was taking photos for this blog post, I realized that taking photos of a sport, especially a sport such as badminton, is very difficult. As you can see from the photo below, if you just pose and don’t move for a photo that looks very unnatural as well. As a result, for my learning centre, if I wish to have media or some sort of representation of myself playing badminton, I will take a video instead of pictures.

https://goo.gl/photos/zewmSecDYtUQ18DV8

In regards to concepts I learned in my recent sessions with my mentor, one concept that I learned have had drilled into my head from day one of this project in January is the concept of being ready at all times to hit the birdie. From the start, one is taught to always return to the centre of the court after hitting the birdie, and not stop to admire your own shot. This ties into the concept of always ready and supports it as well. Another part of the concept of being ready is to always be in a stance that easily allows you to spring forward or backward to receive a shot at any moment, with your knees bent. A final action that ties into this concept that I sometimes don’t do and am working on is having your racquet raised and pulled back to allow for a controlled and precise swing instead of just raising your racquet randomly, which also supports the concept of being ready. Another concept that I learned was the concept of forcing your opponent to do what you want instead of the other way around. This can be done by purposefully making a shot difficult to receive for the other side by placing it in a far corner or side of the court, which may cause the opponent to hit it in a very easy way to receive or not hit it at all.

One alternative that my mentor has offered me is the alternative to learn different or new moves instead of polishing the ones I knew, but I chose to polish the ones I knew because of the limited five month time frame of the In-Depth project. I decided to be better at a few moves, instead of being average in a lot of moves, which may impact my playing negatively or positively. Another alternative that was offered to me was the alternative of playing a lot of games instead of practicing moves one by one, in which I decided to practice all of the different moves at the start but then move towards playing more games towards the end of the project.

I believe that if I had a different mentor, my playing style may have been different as I would have had a different role model to try to copy and learn from, as I may have had a mentor that focuses more on theory and strategies instead of focusing on getting moves down and perfecting my motions. This would have resulted in me having worse movements but being better at strategizing.

I am looking forward to In-Depth Night very much after the adventure trip, and will be excited to present and showcase everything I have learned then.

The Realisation of Ideals

Background

For this blog post, I was interested in finding out more about how the responsible government actually worked at doing what it was supposed to do, representing everyone, in the early days of Canada right after Confederation, and if John A. MacDonald and company were really successful in making a fair, representative government that represented all Canadians, regardless of income. In part my reason for doing this came from the fact that my character for the role play, John Graves Simcoe, was very against democracy and a responsible government, and believed strongly in a class-based monarchy as the best form of government. Tying into this, I also hope to find out what degree of power separation remained, if there was any left, between the upper and lower classes of the newly formed Dominion of Canada. In summary, my guiding questions are as follows:

How did the government in the days immediately after Confederation function compared to now?

How did the representation of minorities and the lower class change after Confederation, compared to before?

Image courtesy of wikimedia.org

Research

Overall, I had very great difficulty finding scholarly sources to help answer my questions. However, after a bit of digging, I could find these mostly unbiased sources to learn from in order to answer my question.

Source 1

The first resource that I found was a document that came from the website of the Parliament of Canada. This was a very good source which detailed the history of Canadian government as well as some of the requirements of joining. One interesting piece of knowledge that I found was the following, which stated that

“Senators are “summoned” or appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. They must be at least 30 years of age, reside in the province for which they have been summoned and have real and personal property worth $4,000, in excess of any debts and liabilities.”

This rule of only being able to become a senator by having a certain amount of assets may have limited somewhat the lower class from being able to be part of the senate, although this rule was most likely not made for that purpose. I also learned from this source that the way that government was structured right after confederation was almost identical to how it is now, with a Legislative and Judiciary branch, as well a Governor General.

http://www.parl.gc.ca/marleaumontpetit/DocumentViewer.aspx?Print=2&Sec=Ch01&Seq=2

Source 2

The second resource that I looked at was from the Canadian Encyclopedia, which, while not being a scholarly source, still offered useful information to help me answer my questions. This resource detailed the history of the working class in Canada. Although the subject of the article wasn’t entirely aligned with the questions I was trying to answer, I still learned important things. For example, I learned that, although there weren’t many former members of the lower class in the government at the time, the government after Confederation still listened to the working class, creating the Trade Unions Act in 1872, as well as Labour Day in 1894. The recognition of the working class, I believe, mostly came from the sheer number of people in it, as

“The consolidation of Canadian capitalism in the early 20th century accelerated the growth of the working class. From the countryside, and from Britain and Europe, hundreds of thousands of people moved to Canada’s booming cities and tramped through Canada’s industrial frontiers. Most workers remained poor, their lives dominated by a struggle for the economic security of food, clothing and shelter; by the 1920s most workers were in no better financial position than their counterparts had been a generation earlier.”

This combination of a large amount of people in the working class as well as their needs not being met helped make more things happen to make the situation better for the working class. As well, as stated in the Trade Unions Act, “The man who sells labor should, in selling it, be on an equality with the man who buys it.” This shows how the attitude towards the working class had improved much from before, and had grown to be a group that was fought for in the government, even if it was only for the sake of getting more votes.

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/working-class-history/

Conclusions

In conclusion, I found that the structure of the government immediately after Confederation was almost exactly the same as the modern structure of the government today, but the view of the working and lower class has changed through Confederation. I was quite surprised and glad that there were efforts to make the condition of the working class better, from passing the Trade Unions Act to creating Labour Day. Although the conditions for the working class were still not great, the responsible government I believe played a big part in improving these conditions by ensuring that every party needed the support of the masses that were the working class to win. Without these rights being carved out by the working class, Canada surely would not have had the sheer manpower to turn it into the country that it is today.

John Graves Simcoe: Confederation

September 2, 1864

Although I may not be part of the corporeal world anymore, I still am here, an onlooker from afar, not doing anything but observing. The world has changed greatly since my death from that pestilent sickness that took my life; the achievements that I made in my life are things of the distant past. Currently, slowly but surely, the winds of change are stirring, pushing this colony further and further away from the British Empire. Yesterday a conference in Charlottetown ended, beginning the first step in reaching the potential nation known as Canada. The people are fools; so caught up in ruling over their own little kingdom that they would do anything to split from the British Empire. It was a mistake for any of the colonies, including the United States of America, to unite in the first place. I was so determined to bring the United States of America back into the welcoming arms of the British Empire; bringing them under the gentle ruling hand of our Queen Victoria. However, I finally accept the fact that this is not going to be possible. However much I strived to turn Upper Canada into an aristocratic colony, I failed due to the pioneering spirit of these pioneers. This country that attempts to be a democracy will never succeed; equality is an ideal, an ideal that is only thought of as achievable by fools. I wish with all of my heart for the Charlottetown Conferences to not go well; for this dream of democracy to fail and be replaced by a monarchy with our true sovereign, Queen Victoria. Mark my words, if those fools in Charlottetown still try to bring about a democratic nation, only failure will come of it.

The Rise of a Colony

August 23rd, 1793

Upper Canada: a place that was just newly formed, is finally, with my daily toil, moving in the direction that I envision it. My “Act Against Slavery” has made us, Upper Canada, the first British colony to abolish slavery.

We will no longer follow the barbaric, savage practices that the Americans and Lower Canadians make; I have made the first step in proving the superiority of Upper Canada. I am not merely the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada; I am the king of this colony, the sovereign of Upper Canada, the one who will lead this colony and make it into the colony of my dreams. Oh, how I loathe having to obey that man, my supposed superior, Lord Dorchester who sits and does nothing but twaddle his thumbs all day from his position in Lower Canada. That unimaginative old fart is bereft of ideas; even though I have contacted his superiors in London many times they still refuse to remove him from his position.

I dream of so many things, so many ideas that need to be fulfilled but not enough time. I dream of reuniting the United States with the British Empire, bringing them back into the welcoming arms of the king. Others say that this is impossible. However, I, and only I, will lead the misguided Americans back into their rightful place as a colony of the Empire. I will do this and more. I will prevent the gradual creeping of this idea of “democracy” from coming to Upper Canada. We will always remain as the King’s men; loyal, true, and patriotic, a colony of those motivated by their love of Crown and Country. However erratic others may see me as, I will be the one that keeps this colony together, keeping it from ever diverging away from Mother Britain. Even through all of the illnesses befalling me of recent times, I will push through and continue my efforts to keep this God-blessed colony true and straight, one only occupied by those who have pledged loyalty to the King and Motherland, our true leaders.

 

Sources:

https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Graves-Simcoe

http://www.uppercanadahistory.ca/simcoe/simcoe1.html

French Rule: The North American Fur Trade

While researching the events and big ideas surrounding French rule in North America, I discovered that the fur trade played a big role in providing economic growth to the French colonies. French settlers would trade liquor or tools which the Indigenous peoples would know have the knowledge of production method, and trade for various furs such as mink or ermine to be sold for a high price in Europe for use for decoration of clothing of Europeans. Fur trading outposts were build to facilitate this, and cities such as Montreal or Toronto today were originally fur trading posts.

As they expanded their empire, the French built fur-trading forts at strategic locations where Natives could bring their furs to trade. Native villages would grow up around the forts, as tribal groups came to trade their furs, and seek jobs. In later years many cities and towns- Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, Detroit, Michilmakinac- would grow up where fur trade forts had been.

The Beginnings of the Fur Trade

In-Depth Post #3: Learning Beyond the Class

Wow. I can’t believe that I’m nearly a quarter of the way through In-Depth. Over the past three weeks, I have made a great deal of progress on my In-Depth Project. During the last three weeks, I have had two lessons with my teacher Peter as well as worked on polishing some of my skills more specifically with (A different) Peter Nicholas and his daughter, Rachael. I also tried to keep in my mind the tips in “How to Have A Beautiful Mind” by making an effort to ask for clarification and interject where needed by asking the reasoning behind performing shots certain ways, and making connections. However, I did not get a chance to share a personal story that illustrates the conversation topic as I did not have any related stories and felt that I would only be detracting from the conversation and speaking for the sake of speaking.

Over the past three weeks, I have learned in my lessons a great deal about the basic footwork, which my mentor explained as “Fundamental for building a strong foundation of skills”. I have also spent time practicing during the lessons maintaining proper form during a game. Due to there being no consequences of losing a match, I have endless opportunity to try new things or practice my form. I learned how to properly step to the corners of the court from my mentor without overextending and making me unable to return to the centre of the court. My mentor Peter (The instructor of the class, not Rachael’s dad) had noticed previously that if I stepped to receive the birdie in the far corner of the court, my form would often crumble and I would end up having to stumble across the court to intercept the next birdie. Therefore, he recommended that I spend time practicing my footwork so that I can efficiently move all around the court and always be prepared for when the birdie comes back.

I also happened to have a session of playing badminton with Rachael and Peter Nicholas(I know, funny coincidence with the names) over the weekend and got help practicing the shots that I needed the most help on. I first started off by playing a short game with Rachael and her dad, to see whether they could notice anything I was doing wrong that I hadn’t noticed myself. After playing for a while, they both noticed that there was something wrong with how I performed a clear. Now, a clear is a hit that is performed from the back of your court that hits the birdie as high and far as you can to the back of the opponent’s court, which requires hitting the birdie with a lot of power. Upon further inspection, it was discovered that I hadn’t been fully extending my arm and wasn’t using my shoulder enough. This was causing the birdie to not fly as high and go as far, which made it a lot easier for the opponent to hit the birdie back.

After practicing for an hour, trying to improve my clear and make it so that I fully extended my arm and used my shoulder, I sort of got the hang of it. I still need to practice it a bit more, but without Peter or Rachael being there, I would not have noticed that I had been making the mistake. I truly appreciate their help in rectifying it, and from now on will also try to notice any bad habits that I am making before they become habits. I made an effort to get them to explain and elaborate on what I was doing wrong, with very good results.

I hope to update everyone on my project again in two weeks (which will probably feel like two seconds again). Until next time!

What Defines Culture?

The Push

When I was reading about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I  remembered from previous years of schooling that there were many cases of European trappers settling with aboriginal wives, which must have led to many children who had two different ancestries and two cultures. I was curious to find out more about how the influx of Europeans coming to Canada affected the culture of those who were in that precarious in-between stage, and what decisions they may have had to face as well as the perception of those mixed-race children in general. I found myself having interest in this topic due to the fact that I myself am of mixed race and cultures, and felt that I might be able to relate more to those who were of multiple cultures in Canada. I am hoping to be able to learn more about the mixed-race children of Canada in order to find out what exactly the blurred line between cultures that a biracial person is really means, what cultural transmission means to them, and what the stopping of cultural transmission does to these people.

The Story

Before the settlers from Europe swept their destructive path across North America, bringing nothing but sorrow to the people of North America at the time, there were countless cases of mixed children with an First Nations mother and a European father, often a trapper, being born. This in turn gave birth to a new community of people that grew to become an aboriginal group of Canada in their own right. Many of these mixed children were often called derogatory names, such as “Half-Breeds”, “Black Scots”, and “Jackatars”. Although there were mixed children all across Canada, people in the Canadian Prairies banded together and started to identify themselves as “Métis”. Many members of this group grew up in their own First Nations tribe, and became culturally First Nations, although often still receiving some Catholic education. This group, the results of the marriage of two cultures hundreds of kilometres apart, grew to become their own aboriginal group in their own right, with their own distinct culture and way of life. However, this was not to last. During the 19th century, the Canadian Colonial government slowly began to restrict the rights and freedoms of the Metis people through taking their land and changing their way of life, with no treaties being signed whatsoever for the Metis as a whole.

Image courtesy of wikimedia.org

There were two major uprisings against this restriction, which were the Red River Rebellion and the North-West Rebellion, which were both mainly unsuccessful. After the rebellion in 1885, Sir John A. MacDonald said the following words, which reflected the policy that Canada would have for the next century. “If they are Indians, they go with the tribe; if they are half-breeds they are whites”.

These words had a huge impact on the Metis. Until the mid-1900’s, poverty and racism were highly associated with the “half-breeds” as they were called, causing many Metis people to try to throw away or bury their First Nations heritage completely. Just this one perspective on the Metis people was one that stopped cultural transmission completely in many cases, causing parts of people’s bloodlines to be forgotten and abandoned. So many Métis have been assimilated into the European Canadian population that in Western Canada, it is estimated that around 50 percent of the population at the moment have Aboriginal ancestry.

Image courtesy of thecanadianencyclopedia.com

Ever since Canada was confederated, the Metis were not recognized as an aboriginal tribe under the Indian Act, and were not given access to the same benefits that First Nations people with Indian Status may have access to. However, just in April of last year, the Metis people were finally recognized under the Indian Act,

after the end of a case that started in 1999. The Metis people are making their way back from the dark times that they experienced, and are regaining their unique culture. Today, “The blending of European and Indigenous traditions has created a unique and rich Métis culture” (Canadian Encyclopedia).

The Substance

Although the stopping of cultural transmission was performed in a very different manner, the effects were still the same. Much of the Metis culture that had been built up was forgotten, buried in the past just by a certain view of them. I am still craving to know more about how being Metis plays into the daily lives of the Metis today, but have still learned a lot. I have learned that culture is something that can be adapted and changed, as shown by the blending of the First Nations and European culture. Just because it’s “a mix”, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a culture in its own right as I hadn’t thought before. I have come to appreciate as well how a culture that was nearly dead was revived and grew to become an aboriginal group in its own right, facing many struggles on the way there. In addition, I have also managed to relate to the First Nations culture more easily, through exploring those who shared the same experience of being mixed race like I am. Through learning about the story of the Metis, I realized that you don’t need to have a certain skin tone or facial structure to be able to identify with a culture, as the early Metis who lived with their First Nations tribes did. I realized that who someone is isn’t clearly one race or another has freedom to choose how they live, which can have negative consequences in the case of Metis people burying their own culture and stopping cultural transmission, but also in positive ways. I learned that Canada as a whole may not have always been the accepting place that it is starting to become, but in small steps, even now, we are becoming united as a nation while cherishing each other’s differences, for the differences between us are what unite us.

 

Sources

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/14/canada-supreme-court-aboriginal-people-special-status

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/metis/

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/north-west-rebellion/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Métis_in_Canada#19th_century

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_River_Rebellion

You’re Métis? So which of your parents is an Indian?

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