Aschewed Views
from a Half-Ast Aboriginal


Donald Blais

University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2001 by Donald Blais, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. Copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the editors are notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.

The following represent what I call my unholy assessments. They number 14. No special reason. Just 14 came to me as all. But, nothing is by accident. Simply, they are little stories. Post-colonial ponderings. As I walk down the concrete of Toronto looking at the wreckage. Wrecked dreams. Wrecked lives. A wrecked planet.

I had learned to think little from my mother, Little Flower, a disenfranchized Penobscot woman. God rest her soul. "Short and sweet," she'd say. "Keep things simple. Don't complicate things." And so, I'd like to share with you some little things which have been on my little mind, as I've been sitting on my Métis assets.

I once asked the little god, "Why is the grass green and the sky blue, and not the other way around?" The little god, it seemed, wanted to impress me by his erudition. So, he told me about how chlorophyl worked in plants, and how light was refracted in the sky, but never why is the grass green and the sky blue, and not the other way around. Go figure.

The people, who worship the little god, plant new shiny roads to replace their patched ones. Good, spanking-new roads. Then, the people of the little god dig holes in their new shiny roads to plant their sewers. (Crap in, crap out.) Then the holes in the once new shiny roads are conscientiously patched, just like a quilt. Finally, the people of the little god dig up the patched roads and lay spanking-new shiny roads in their stead. And so the circle of life goes on, as the little god assures his people.

The little god said, "My suburban people, when you enter your chosen land, stake out a choice piece of land. Then, clear the choice piece of land of all its trees. On the parcel of land, build your house of timber, which you shall have shipped in. Furthermore, I require that you plant twigs in place of the uprooted trees, and you shall call them nursery-bred trees. And you shall tell your neighbors that your move to this plot of land was motivated by your sense to return to nature. So, I have said." And the people fell silent before the little god, and did as he said without question.

The people of the little god cleared most of the trees and grass, and covered over the once flowing streams. They planted concrete and asphalt. Then they built their houses. Now, they find it too hot and too humid to be out-of-doors. So, they stay in-doors with their new-fangled air-conditioners with three settings. They tamed nature to the point of repression. In turn, nature has put them into their air-conditioned cages.

The little god killed off the wild-life in a given area. He built cages and reserves. He shipped in animal species from all around the world. And, he put these once free species in cages and into these reserves. He then called these places nature parks and zoos and he charged the people to see the wild-life. (And, I'm not talking just koalas and kangaroos. I'm talking Asians and Serbians etc. as well. But, I see you knew that.)

The little god spoke, and the gold and silver coin was made. And it was good. The little god then spied about and found that it was going to cost more in silver and gold to replicate the coins than the coins' face value. So, the little god spoke again and paper money was made. And it too was good. But, eventually it cost more in paper money to make the paper needed to make the paper money. So, the little god spoke again and electronic credits were made. And they, too, were found to be good. This time, they were thought to be very good. "Aye," said the little god, "I think I have the problem solved this time." But after a short, wee, tiny time the little god noticed that it cost more in electronic debits to produce the electricity needed to register the electronic debits. And, so all the computers in the entire universe shut down, as no more power could be paid for. The little god was beside himself. He paced back to and fro, up and down, and all around, mumbling as he went, "Time is money. Time is money. Time is money." So, he then went about trying to make it so.

The little god told his people that those things growing in their yards were pesky weeds. "Dig, them out! In the name of the little god, I command you! Uproot and destroy with herbicides! Spray like you have never sprayed before! Replace these foul creatures -- no, beings less than creatures -- with cultured flowers, bred and store-bought. That's what makes these flowers official flowers, you see." And, so the people did as they were instructed, and without question. It was done. The people manicured their lawns, sissified their shrubberies, and set out their pots of cultured flowers. Some of the people went off to the drug stores and found they could now buy shampoos with botanicals. Others were told it was healthy to ingest capsules filled with herbal powders. Again, the tense were told to go to aromatherapists, and to be massaged with natural essences. To each of the little god's most faithful was sent a flower catalog filled with pictures of the latest hybrids of official flowers. Inside the catalog was also found a packet of seeds to be planted in a window planter. The wrapper boasted, "A gift for our most valued customers. A packet of wild flower seeds." And the little god saw that every word-game went as it should.

To the little god's people I say, "You say that we are all free. And, that this society we live in is a free society. And so, in this free society I came to learn of the existence of cloth-mills, cloth-mills which weave and then sew-up white socks. And too, in this free society I came to learn of stores which stock these white socks, and sell them six pairs at a time. And again, in this free society I came to learn that I could buy these white socks, if I chose to exercise my freedom in this regard. And thus I have. I bought six pairs of these creatures you call white socks. Then, my friends and neighbors began to laugh when I put on one of these pairs of socks, and went outdoors sporting them. Their comments were made, of course, all in the name of freedom."

The little god one day broke some peoples' spirits. They, the now broken spirits, turned and hurt or killed other people. The little god then took it upon himself to put these broken spirits in boxes because the little god didn't want to admit to breaking their spirits, and too, he lacked the courage to release the broken spirits from their misery. So, the little god continued to put broken spirits into boxes and made the poor and the widows pay to keep the broken spirits in boxes. The little god thought himself gracious and generous in that he provided the broken spirits, now in boxes, with food and clothing and fresh water: all the things they could not have when they were not broken. And the little god saw that it was good.

The little god had a potlach at the mall. He made pretty signs which read, "Free, . . . with the purchase of one of equal value. No returns accepted." What a stingy little indian-giver!

The little god was standing near an old oak tree, and heard a ruffling of leaves and branches. "Who is up there?" said the little god looking intently upward. "I am up here," the voice stated politely and confidently. "Why are you up there?" the little god demanded impatiently. "Why are you down there?" the voice quietly querried in reply. The little god tried to debate the matter. But, the quiet voice saw no value in the exchange, and so went silent. Beside himself, the little god ordered the oak tree cut down, so that his people would not have to trouble themselves with perspectives.

The little god barked one day, "All free roaming dogs are to be gathered up, and put in cages or put to sleep. This I have said. The loose dogs are to be done away with. House cats are to be left alone." And so a concerted effort was made to round up the last of the free roaming dogs. Well, two dogs were making their way through some garbage in an alley way, minding their own business when they heard the sound of footsteps. "Spirit Wind," the littler of the two dogs, cried out. "Spirit Wind, what are we to do? We may have been seen!" "Anxious One," Spirit Wind replied, "do as I do. But first, hide behind these trash barrels with me." And so Spirit Wind and Anxious One hid behind heaps of garbage. Around the corner a dog-catcher came, believing himself to have heard some dogs barking to one another. As the dog-catcher came closer, he heard one voice crying, "Meow, meow, meow." And then another, "Meow, meow, meow." "Stupid cats," the dog-catcher cursed, as he walked away. When the coast was clear, Spirit Wind said to Anxious One, "It is a good day to be bi-lingual." And so it was. (I borrowed this -- liberated this -- from an anonymous joke-teller. The original joke was on bi-lingualism. Mine you see is on passing as white, and also the dominant culture's practice of marketing words: sounding like something you ain't. And that is why I can say that I borrowed it. Ha!)

The little god went on television and announced during the weather segment of the news broadcast, "What a peculiar day we are having today. My calendar says that it is legally Spring, but much to my amazement, it persists in snowing! It's all-too-confusing and inconvenient." Pouting, the little god wrote up a memo on official letter-head. It read, "The Creator should at least be more cooperative."

The little god stood indignant one day among his council. He paced back to and fro impatiently. "What am I to do?" The council members looked at one another, not knowing how to deal with the little god. "I'll tell you what is troubling me," he snarled. "When the Creator cast me down, I came here and spied out the land, so as to establish my nation. I found the humans accepting, so I told them they were savages not humans, and had everything wrong. Everything wrong. They had no idea who the Creator was. A few believed me, but not most. Then I stole away their children, and put them into my schools and called them stupid and boorish. Many ran away, most didn't listen, although some did. I told them about the Jesus I wanted them to hear -- making some modifications about my brother's character. Some believed me, but most didn't. Now, I told them, 'No jobs, no food, no happiness, no opportunities unless you go to university.' But, those who are going are succeeding at the game." And the little god began to shout and pound his fist in rage. "Truth is not truth, but the earned right to speak. And they're earning the right to speak. They simply don't know their place." And the little god clutched at his heart, and in a weak cough, coughed up some blood. "They're off-beat. They dance by a different drum. They remain ungrateful to my kindnesses. Who in my hell do they think they are? Now, with these degrees, they are attempting to teach my people! Or are lawyers! Or actors or authors attempting to infect my nation! Or freedom-fighters!" And with that, he began to cough up some more blood. "And they laugh when they do it. They laugh at everything!" And he coughed up some more blood. "Stupid humans! All they want to do is play!" (Sorry, that this one is serious, and not so ha-ha. But, my mood has now changed, and this was not one of the original ones. Still, it is an assaying of a half-aschewed Aboriginal, who teaches contract at university, one step ahead of his creditors.)

Back to Table of Contents, Vol. 5 Issue 3
Back to Jouvert Main Page