Eleven ~ The Piece to My Puzzle

Miskasowin… A word that held zero value to me but only 3 months ago. I hadn’t a sniff of what it meant nor could I even begin to pronounce it.

miskâsowin [mis-SKAA-soo-win]

Finding one’s sense of origin & belonging

Finding ‘one’s self’ or Finding ‘one’s center’

It sure holds a lot more meaning to me now as I am enjoying embarking on this lifelong journey.

When I first began to think about this final project and how to tie together my learning process in a visual way, I was very overwhelmed. I mean, how can one create a visual of their process of finding themself? If I were to redo this project again and again, I guarantee it would take a different form each and every time. But this is what occurred first time around… with a few revisits here and there.

I began with a pencil and a paper. Because I enjoy simply sketching whatever comes to mind. I enjoy the process. It is a process of choosing a starting point with nothing but uncertainty about where it will take you. The outcome almost always ends up being something entirely different than what you originally imagined it to be. Much like my miskasowin journey. No one has the answer. No one knows where to begin. No one knows where it will lead or where they will end up. You just have got to start somewhere and make that leap of faith and enjoy the ride. Trusting wherever it takes you .

So let me try to break this down for you.

To create this piece, I began with Miskasowin written smack dab in the middle. I mean, the true definition is finding ‘one’s centre’ after all. So it seems only fitting. Then I began reading through and reflecting on my learning and weekly blog posts and allowing them to spark inspirations for further additions to this piece.

I included the feeling of being unsettled. That is one of the most important lessons that I have learned through this course, but my life in general. Sometimes we will feel unsettled and sometimes it is necessary that we do in order to spark that change. I hate change. I get anxious and worked up but it almost always turns out to be a positive alteration it my life that obviously needed to happen. I mean after all, everything happens for a reason, right?

I think of those billboards in Saskatoon for the “I am the Bridge” campaign. Think of all of the unsettled and angsty attitudes that caused. But the more that I think about it, backlash is almost a confirmation that your efforts are being heard. You must pick that nerve to spark that change. Be unsettled if I must say.

Next I stated that I am a white settler. My people migrate here and settled on this land that they eventually deemed Canada. I inserted my question mark here as I am uncertain and unsettled now to call it this. Canada now seems like a bitter sweet place. I once worshipped this place, thinking that is was that place of freedom that many people sought after. And then I learned of the true history of Canada and suddenly it’s not so glorious anymore. It just all seems so wrong.

This stemmed into White fragility. This was a term that was new to me three months ago also. I had no clue what it meant nor had I ever heard it. But the more I hear it, the more I love the term. It is so accurate and it almost makes me chuckle everytime I hear some narrow minded white folk speaking because I just think… OOOO you so fragile. It’s just the perfect term because we take everything so personally and take everything into offence rather than facing our issues head on.

The wumpum belt was added to solidify what my understandings are of the spirit and intent of treaties. It represents the First Nations and Metis peoples intentions through the treaty making process. Their intent was like the rows on the belt. To live together in perfect harmony but to never interfere or intersect with eachother. And as we know, that is not how they played out in reality.

I sketched the pipe to represent the pipe ceremony that we partook in as well as my own personal process of connecting to my higher self. I have been actively participating in meditation, crystal healing, smudging and so forth even before this class to try and find my higher sense of self. This process very much resonated with me and helped me further my miskasowin journey.

The addition of Colten Boushie and Gerald Stanley was to point out the injustice and ignorance we are still facing and fighting each and every day. This event, along with so many others, really unveil the truth about our country, the justice system, and peoples entitlement, beliefs and values. They reveal that we still have so much work to do and we are so far from reconciliation.

Lynn Beyak simply had to be included in my visual because it was an impactful and infuriating part of this course to learn about her. I was oblivious prior to this class to her existence and her values just like she was/is oblivious to reality and life . It conjures up so much hate in me to learn of her beliefs and yet inspires laughter at the fact that people can literally be that naive and narrow minded and still hold such high positions within our society. And by laughter I dont mean funny laughter, I mean nervous and ironic, cant help but laugh because it’s ironically scary laughter.

Included Canada 150 and the word protest because learning and presenting on that topic was really valuable to me and will stick with me for years and years to come. I learned a lot about why we should have been more mindful of what we were ‘celebrating’ and how our mindless acts on that day affected many people. I also found it quite rediculous how the media portrayed the men and women that erected the tipi on unceded territory at parliament hill as violent protestors, arresting them for practicing culture and their rights.

I included many things on this visual representation of my learning and miskasowin journey. Many of them I have discussed and some I have included but not shed much light on as they are fairly self explanatory. But what I most importantly want to share is my intention with the puzzle pieces as many of you are likely unsure of what they represent. As far as I can remember… we didn’t put together puzzles in this class.

What the puzzle represent to me is that the topics, images and phrases that I have included through this visual are all just itty bitty pieces to a much grander puzzle that we are facing. As you can see, I am beginning to put some of the pieces together through my miskasowin process. I am learning and building myself to become a better me so that I can contribute to society in positive and loving ways that have an impact on the world.

You will also notice that the puzzle is incomplete. Pieces are missing and lost. This represents the fact that damage has been done that can be neither ignored or mended. We will forever have missing pieces in Canada’s puzzle but we can still all do our share to put what pieces we have left back together and potentially create a entirely new ‘whole’.

To say I have learned a lot in this course and throughout my degree here at this university would be an understatement. This visual and these 4 minutes of discussion are but a brief snapshot of a tiny piece of time in my life. I am only beginning my lifelong miskasowin process and I am truly eager to find the rest of these missing puzzle pieces and attempting to find their place of belonging as well as mine.

Kinanâskomitin ~ Thank you