(Photo by Brent Braaten – Prince George Citizen)
As many of you know, my childhood and youth were fraught with abuse, violence and adversity. For the last fifteen years, I have worked my ass off and completed 2 degrees, including a Masters in Social Work; now near complete a Law Degree.
Recently I published my first book: Bruise Faced Child (Click on link to purchase a copy in USA).
This essay will explore the nature of a cultural collision that I am experiencing during my first weeks of law school. A collision of cultural supremacies that I am left to unravel and make sense of, while processing my own visceral responses to a grotesque and abusive legal system. This is an exercise to explore incongruent and sometimes conflicting aspects between Canadian society and the legal system. I publish this piece in hope to get feedback from anyone who reads this blog article.
It is my intention to do all that I can in this life to decrease harm, abuse, marginalization and oppression. My motivation is partially due to the fact that I was abused and suffered as a child, and also because I became a perpetrator and a recruiter of a supremacist network; thus, I owe it to myself and to others to do what I can to contribute to a better world. Without this motivation I would surely have joined my friends who have either committed suicide, rot in prison or suffer through addictions. Sometimes the act of putting a conversation out to the world helps me, and that in itself serves the purpose for such articles as this. I know I cannot save the world, but at the same time if I do not walk towards the end of effecting change then there would seemingly be no point in continuing to suffer within an abusive system founded upon supremacy.
My attempt to reconcile my experience as a marginalized and abused child within a system founded upon supremacy and power-over through the practice of “othering”; then becoming a perpetrator of supremacy myself; then moving into an ‘upper’ class that consists of supremacy and privilege as I completed academic career and now have entered law school; I am left to reconcile the direction I will walk…and wonder if I should even bother ‘joining’ such an elitist culture; as many people say that the system is unchangeable.
This working essay will touch on my life experience, education as healing, indigenous rights, doctrine of supremacy and my projected anticipation of a misuse and abuse of terrorist legislation in Canada against indigenous peoples. Thus, how law will likely be used to harm First Nations peoples in a new legal war that is still rooted within racial superiority.
Transitioning from White Supremacy
I joined the white supremacy movement as I was essentially tired of being an abused victim; thus, I became a perpetrator who believed my hatred and violence was justified through a complex web of half-baked conspiracy theories along with a fact pattern that was filled with logical fallacy. I then left the movement as I was exhausted by the hatred and violence within my life. I was unsure if it was even possible to live without a head exploding stress, but I attempted it and overcame many of my demons.
What I found was that taking my personal issues and turning them into political meaning and purposes I could then reconcile and resolve some of these demons. I utilized education as a partial form of personal and political healing. Now, decidedly, I entered law school in order to further challenge and advocate systemic oppression, marginalization and abuses that are often found along with systemic racism. I must now navigate through my own inner-workings while trying to maintain functionality within the Canadian legal and political system in context to both my personal life and professional roles.
Right Wing Canada and the System of Law
Law is a complex system. Although the legal system is not fundamentally illogical, there are areas that do leave to question whether the system itself is a matrix of contradiction that betrays it’s own standard.
As I am merely in the first weeks of law school, therefore not an expert nor a scholar of law; but I am a researcher that has published on systemic racism and do have some credible merits relating to the topic. Moreover, I have been identified by several entities as an expert-of-sorts relating to systemic racism. Mostly my experience comes from unlearning the fallacies of the extreme-right-doctrine, which is not so ‘extreme’ when compared to and in consideration of the cultural context of both contemporary and historical Canadian law, governance and history; especially where indigenous peoples are concerned.
As we see in this framework, a description of right wing ideological categories that are part-in-parcel of a larger system that operates within a racist structure and function.
If we put this framework into Canadian context we can surmise that the current Conservative government and Harper administration would fit well within this right-wing-framework. Moreover, I will note that there is irrefutable evidence that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has had direct interactions and alliances with convicted white supremacist terrorist and other right-wing-extremists; whom co-founded a pro-South-African-Apartheid organization with Harper in the 1980s.
Examining my past in detail is not necessary for those who have read my articles in the past. But, for those who have not here is a quick description:
1. Homeless at 12-13 yrs. old
2. Lived on Indian Reserve at 13 by a family who culturally adopted me
3. First hit the streets of east Vancouver at the 14
4. Spent years hitch hiking around western Canada
5. At 15 yrs. sentenced to two years in juvenile detention
6. Media identifies my group as friends as gang
7. 17 yrs. back to the streets of east Van with no family and one friend left over
8. 18 yrs. introduced to right wing extremist Nazi skinheads
9. 22 yrs. left East Van to the north and introduced to the internet
10. Utilized the internet for networking and recruiting and thus built a reputation
11. Violent tendencies increased, less frequent but greater degree
12. Recruited a bomber (terrorist)
13. Entered in war with old friends who were First Nations
14. 26 yrs old homeless and broken with kids left behind
15. Reach out for help and life changed over the course of the following 13 yrs.
16. Began started social work education
17. Started working frontline social service work
18. Re-introduction to traditional ceremonies and healing circles
19. Became a counselor and researcher
20. Became a public activist within media
21. Complete Bachelor degree in First Nations Studies
22. Completed Masters in Social Work, partially funded by Public Safety Canada
23. Recognized as primary resource for intervention work that interrupted right wing extremist recruitment
24. Completed research on right wing extremism and decolonization through education as healing
25. Founded Exit Canada (a non-profit that assists former violent extremists) and entered law school at age 39
After achieving a Bachelor Degree in First Nations Studies and Masters in Social Work, I now walk through the halls of a new-to-me university while attending law school. I am now the founder and Director of a non-profit society that assists active and or former-extremists to develop exit strategies out of extremist behavior, ideology, networks, lifestyles and identity. For nearly ten years I worked in the human services field in groups homes, addiction treatment and aboriginal social programs as a frontline worker, counselor and researcher. Throughout this time I also maintained the practice of writing, which I began during the first time I was incarcerated in psychiatric ward after being apprehended for numerous suicide attempts at age fourteen. Needless to say, life was very different.
I lived as a white supremacist for nearly a decade, which did have similar dynamics to the supremacist doctrine within colonial law and could arguably be identified within the same ideological roots that branched into systemic racism throughout the fabric of Canadian society as a British Colony; my research on education as healing through decolonization speaks directly to this assertion.
Questions of Supremacy in Law
I’ve found the culture within law school very challenging on several fronts.
First, the curriculum is based in a doctrine that is rooted within the legal concepts of supremacy; constitutional supremacy, legislative supremacy, and the supremacy of God. The particular fact that our colonial history legally declares “supremacy” is rather difficult for me to wrap my head around. We are a nation that values Human Rights, Multi-culuralism and democratic voice, yet we maintain these archaic legal principles. Throughout the historic legal documents in Canadian history the concept of supremacy is reiterated. It is understood that in the historical context that is the way things were, but is it really relevant to the way things should be in a multi-cultural and more equitable society?
The real question for me becomes:
“Do I want to live in a nation that abuses a group of people solely based upon the color of their skin as a means-to-the-end that results in the government hoarding natural resources at the cost of perpetrating further atrocities?”
Supremacy Over Indigenous Peoples
I find it very challenging to sit, listen and accept that the mechanical system of supremacy is the guiding light that leads a society to be ‘better’.
Actually, I feel frustrated and disappointed that we live within a society that proclaims itself as supreme over the people it is allegedly accountable to represent as a democratic nation. Moreover, in context of indigenous peoples it is unarguable that the Canadian Colonial government sanctioned a genocidal program that continues today against the first peoples of Canada, or formerly known as Turtle Island. All while our democratic nation either turns a blind-eye to these happenings and or supports the abusive treatment of First Nations peoples; even though within the law itself there is an inherent fiduciary responsibility to indigenous peoples.
Canada has attempted to wipe out the indigenous peoples through biological warfare, imprisonment, assimilation programs, experimental sciences, racist social policy and industry development. These facts are indisputable and unarguable. These are legal and scientific facts. For any of these points many sources can be referenced.
Our society has become more aware of the lengths Canada has gone to interfere with the sustainability of First Nations culture, but very few people take the time to understand the degree and depth that we as a nation go to continuously damage First Nations peoples.
We see the Supreme Court has been making some strides in in recent years in regard to legal acknowledgement of aboriginal epistemology as seen in the Delgamuukw case, and aboriginal title as seen in the recent Tsilhqot’in case. However, we must not forget that these cases are still made from the supremacist doctrine of a racist legal system. There is no refuting that Canada maintains a racist legal system.
In fact, Canada even has even refused to sign on with the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights, thus having an international reputation of dismissing aboriginal rights. Moreover, the UN is also calling Canada’s treatment of indigenous peoples a genocide, which Canada refuses to acknowledge. Moreover, Canada refuses to address other issues relating to blatant systemic racism i.e. murdered and missing indigenous women.
The Living Tree
We maintain social policy that determines aboriginal citizenship through a paternalistic framework that measures blood quantum, which in fact is a non-scientific construct that is rooted from eugenics-like-pseudo-science at it’s core and is definitively and absolutely racist. Through the process that the legal system utilizes to interpret Canadian statutes and legislation the concept of a living tree is heavily relied upon. Law is created, interpreted, implemented, and enforced through the framework of a living tree.
All statutes and laws interact with one another, unless explicitly indicated within said statute; thus, by the framework utilized to interpret and implement law the Indian Act, which is the most racist law in Canada does in fact act as a central part of the Canadian legal system that impacts nearly all law. The fact that the Indian Act is central to Canadian law results in a legal fact that systemic racism is integral to the Canadian colonial legal system. All of this is justified within the legal doctrine of supremacy.
When we look to the authority of the state we, Canada, are declared to be governed under Constitutional Supremacy. The key word, supremacy, may not be an alarming concept to those who are of privileged classes; socio-politically privileged classes are, comparatively, identified as non-indigenous. Indigenous peoples are the only people in Canada who are racially segregated through racist social policy. All non-indigenous people gain a socio-political benefit of privilege at the cost of the historic, and the continuation of, injustice served unto indigenous peoples in the name of racism and supremacy.
The doctrine of supremacy is irrefutable as it is written within the rule of law itself.
Summary of an Indigenous Legal Perspective
Dr. John Borrows, an indigenous law scholar, states that Canada as a nation was founded upon supremacy, which now both proclaims and maintains the position of power-over as a nation of constitutional supremacy; we as a nation have already demonstrated legal fallacy in Canada in regards to fundamental principles and values we proclaim when contrasted to the treatment of indigenous peoples. Further to Borrows, it does not seem that we can claim to be an inclusive and equitable society, and laws therein, if we are maintaining an archaic measure of race i.e. Indian Act. This fundamental concept of racial segregation through “Indian” citizenship is not just an indigenous issue; it is relevant to every Canadian our government represents us. Thus, those we elect to govern continue to perpetrate these policies against every person in Canada. We, as a nation, cannot legally claim to believe or affectively be one way but continue to do another; incongruence results in a lack of integrity.
According to Borrows, Canada is falling short in regards to constitutional legitimacy due to the treatment of First Nations peoples. Essentially we are turning our law into a weapon against a particular group that we legally identify through what the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (RCAP) referred to as Apartheid, namely the Indian Act.
The reason I utilize the phrase “perpetrate these policies against every person in Canada” is because it seems most people do not believe that we should treat people differently nor abuse them simply because of their skin color, as that is racist. So why is it ok for our government to continue doing so?
Indigenous peoples must endure this oppression simply for being born. Being indigenous is a political fact. Canadian law determines who is legitimately indigenous and who is not; the measuring tool that is used is a racist schematic utilized by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime to determine who was Aryan or not. This is abhorrent.
I am by no means suggesting we abolish the Indian Act, as that would result in the government’s plan to wipe out indigenous rights. Indigenous peoples in Canada were not conquered, in fact it is quite the opposite and that’s why we have peace treaties throughout the country. It is time Canada recognizes these treaty relationships and honor them.
Recently Prime Minister Harper refused to endorse the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples, this is an example of how forthright our current government is resisting better relations with indigenous peoples; without going into further detail there exists a plethora of other relatable legal issues i.e. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Aboriginal Land Title, historic treaties, education policies, Human Rights violations against indigenous children in child welfare.
In 1969 Prime Minister Trudeau attempted to abolish the Indian Act in a policy called the White Paper; interestingly enough is the same name that South Africa used in Apartheid era. It appears he was attempting to act in the best of intentions, however that is when indigenous legal arguments really came to the forefront in our society. Trudeau’s attempt was squashed, thankfully. What we as Canadians should be discussing honestly is allowing First Nations to be self governing within their own determined process of governments; within reasonable contexts that does respect Canadian law.
First Nations should have a right to utilize cultural and traditional practices to determine who is or is not a member of their respective bands. Self determination of citizenship should be primary discussion point for non-aboriginals, so we can decidedly have a democratic voice to say whether we want a government that maintains racist policy that synthesizes Nazi Germany, or do we want to support a government who allows a community to determine who their own members are without being oppressed through racist and genocidal agendas.
If we as a nation want to address these issues of racist policy, we first need to look at realistic ways that we can empower those who are oppressed, indigenous peoples, while honoring historic treaties and determining a workable and sustainable relationship between the colonial law and government with indigenous peoples. As a non-indigenous person who has studied racism and systemic racism for a decade it seems like a logical solution to ensure the government employs indigenous peoples self-governance and self-determination of citizenship, rather than being forced to live within the archaic colonial confines of racist and paternalistic schematic that still racially enslaves indigenous peoples today.
Incongruence of words and actions results in a lack of integrity, and incongruence is a political reality for the Canadian government and legal system. This became clear to me over a year ago when I attended a counter-terrorism-summer-academy and one of the underlying themes was about indigenous peoples resistance. The way that this was presented was not only concerning to me, but alarming. It presented as that the application of counter-terrorism is going to utilized to further oppress First Nations peoples. I knew that I could not sit idle and do nothing, but also had to practice some patience to get more effective tools; now I hope I can survive law school so that i can contribute to countering this misapplication of counter-terrorism.
The current relationship with indigenous peoples is deteriorating while Canadian government executive and administration perpetuates, knowingly and or unknowingly, systemic racism against indigenous people. This is a sure way for the government and legal system to create a pressurized atmosphere that will continue to antagonize, instigate and coerce indigenous peoples into resistance, which the government may now, in a post-9/11 world, have the ability to launch an assault on First Nations peoples through terrorist legislation; as it already has began to do.
With all of the government experts on terrorism and extremism in a post-9/11 world it seems that the Canadian government is knowingly beginning to antagonize indigenous peoples into becoming more aggressive through applying militaristic force while simultaneously using the legal system to attempt to dismiss or push aside indigenous issues like the truth about residential schools, Canadian child welfare, murdered and missing women, land title issues and UN Indigenous Rights.
As a former violent right wing extremist who is involved in several government affiliated projects and research, it is disturbingly apparent to me that the government in mobilizing such brutal force while subjugating First Nations children, families, elders, men and women to systemic racism and attempts to silence their inherent legal rights.
First Nations have inherent rights that are not necessarily understood by most Canadians. This is a complex aspect of Canadian society, but it is our obligation as a democratic nation that proclaims to instill Human Rights that we begin to honor our legal obligations to indigenous peoples while simultaneously honoring ‘our’ own proclaimed humanistic values and offer self-determination in contexts of citizenship to indigenous peoples.
First Nations are the only group of people in Canada who continuously face threat of military force. Canada has been exercising its archaic form supremacy over First Nations people through misuse of terrorist legislation by:
a) adding specific communities, groups and individuals to terrorist watch lists
b) engaging in illegal surveillance of First Nations and their allies in peaceful protests opposing industry
c) mobilizing military force against aboriginal asserting their legal rights
The misapplication of terrorist legislation will continue and will likely be asserted more aggressively as indigenous groups gain more public support. It is our role as non-indigenous Canadians to voice concern over these abusive misapplications of legislation.
We need to understand that First Nations have legal rights to oppose industry and government encroachment on traditional lands. We as non-indigenous peoples must recognize that our system is hell bent on hoarding natural resources while maintaining supremacy over land, resources and people. This can be contested and should be in a lawful and legal manner, until the state decidedly infringes upon our rights by excessive application of force; whether that force is police or militaristic. With the misapplications and corrupt ways that government is utilizing terrorist legislation, we as Canadians need to step forward and not allow this escalation to fuel a boiling point, which the government seems to be instigating.
The government has funded research on counter-terrorism for the last five years and is well aware that the more they legally antagonize and apply abusive force against indigenous peoples, by means of police and military, that WILL result in further entrenching First Nations groups whom are merely asserting there rights, and will result in forms of what Canada will label as extremists and terrorists. The government can then attempt to justify extreme militaristic responses while reigning supremacy against and over indigenous peoples through the means of terrorist legislation. These dynamics are now brewing and it is not a leap to suggest that Canadian government is knowingly, if not unbeknownst, engaging with indigenous groups in a manner that is hoped will fuel further civil disobedience of First Nations so that the government can coerce indigenous groups into legitimately being viewed approached as extremist-terrorist.
We can be assured that in a day and age of post 9/11 realities that the government will attempt to assert it’s supremacy over indigenous peoples and lands through the mis-application of terrorist legislation. This is one of the core reasons why I entered law school. I hope to bring this idea to the forefront of consideration as a future line of inquiry; as I indicated in my past research, if Canadian government is serious about counter-terrorist processes then we should be including decolonial contexts in order to avoid the imposed and perceived projected claim that indigenous groups are in process of radicalization while engaging in legitimate First Nations assertion of rights.
I have personally heard and participated in conversations with both RCMP and academics who qualify themselves as national security experts about the dangers of indigenous activists that are ‘radicalizing’ youth and should be dealt with as extremists and terrorists.
It is my hope to contribute to counter-terrorist dialogue in a manner that will breakdown this misapplication of terrorist legislation and enforcement while also educating the public in how we can democratically exercise changes to law in order to resolve the core issues and not end up in a situation where inevitable atrocity results from militaristic responses ordered by Canadian legal system. There are legal processes and changes that Canada can employ in order to avoid war-like conflicts with indigenous peoples.
A mere, yet complex, change to Canadian law that rightfully eliminates racist policy and offers self-determination, as was promised in treaties, and reflects the values of what it means to be Canadian and a human-being engaged with basic-human-goodness is NOT too much to ask for; from a government who persists on mistreating and abusing a particular group of people. This is a Canadian issue.
(picture by Edmonton Journal ~ Canwest Media Works)
Full of anger and hatred I pounded people’s faces into the pavement with a twisted drive of relentless energy.
(picture by Peter Rudge~ DuckRabbit)
The Scars of Past that remained on my body are symbolic of the power hungry mechanism of hate that I bore in order to tunnel my inner turmoil and fear into the eyes, hearts, and centre of my victims being; until I was forced to look at my self in a spiritual reflection within my son’s eyes. The day he was born I saw a mirrored child. He was a reflection of myself. I did not want him to be raised into a world of abuse and hate.
(picture by Peter Rudge~ DuckRabbit)
After years of self-reflection, personal development through dialogical post secondary studies, Cree-Saulteaux-Sioux cultural influence, and meaningful activism through writing, intelligence sharing, protests, and media interviews I have been able to contribute to the progressive advancement of a society I was at utter war against.
This last summer I completed writing my Masters thesis that reflected on my past extremist violence and compared my personal transformation with the social change of three other former-white supremacists. I found so many more commonalities than I had anticipated. I thought I was different than everyone, boy was I wrong. I thought each story would reflect utter differences but what I found was that the four of us, in the study, were very similar. We were actually more like everyone else than I had ever anticipated, our challenges and epiphanies did not seem a far stretch from normal experiences (of course minus the extreme violence and propaganda). This retrospective perception has brought me to further consideration of who I am, at the core of my being.
A small town kid who loved going to kohkum’s house every summer. My home, Moberly Lake, had nothing but fond loving memories for me. My mom’s parents, may auntie Linda’s house, and kohkum’s place. The smell of drying moose meat, tanned hides, horses, and the autumn paths that lead to the rocky beach which was joined by a year round icy water that we swam in. My home. My boy body was a temple of happiness that could not be defeated by physical and sexual abuse when we returned each year to Moberly Lake, the safest place in the world.
Years later I returned to Moberly Lake seeking refuge. I found refuge. Kohkum gave me my own cabin after I ran away from my home in Toronto at age 12. Then I began drinking and smoking drugs. By age 14, I was on the downtown east side of Vancouver. After spending nearly two years in juvenile detention centres, from 15-17, I returned to the streets of east Vancouver. I then began scarring my body with symbols of hate. A confederate flag then a swastika; a celtic cross; another swastkia with a fist in the centre of it; then an Odal Rune. I declared war through symbology and language, as I spat at people, and engaged in acts of terror and war against the society I was born into. I engaged in acts of warfare against minorities and First Nations peoples.
I directed my own pain and fear at those who reflected the very things I hated about myself. It took years to learn this about myself. I had great teachers though: kohkum, auntie Muriel, Pastor Ed Sukow, counsellor Darren Wilks, Neil Meyer, Chris Rosebrugh, Dave Mcdonald, former Chief Jerry Goodswimmer, Gary Moostoos, Garry Gottfriedson, Dr. Ross Hoffman, auntie Linda Nichols, cousin Josh Nichols and Elenora Joe and so many other pivotal people; of course the longer I am on this path the more people join the list of my teachers.
(picture from Global 16×9 show)
I returned to Vancouver, for the filming of the TV show 16×9, after years of needed separation from a city that I was at war with nearly two decades ago. I was only in Vancouver for a few days for the filming. I had to return several times in order to connect with the streets I was battled. I needed to move further away from my not-so-distant propensity of violence by confronting the demons that haunted me on the streets. I was homeless abused youth who sought refuge in the war mind of the white supremacist movement. In the summer of 2013 I returned to Vancouver after spending few weeks in Edmonton, Alberta.
I had gone to Edmonton as a guest speaker at the 2013 Hate2Hope rally that was organized an aboriginal youth named Chevi Rabbit. He was the target of a hate crime and has turned this horrific experience as a tool to speak against hate. I attended the speech and two of my close friends attended the rally, both Gary Moostoos and Jerry Goodswimmer. Both of these men were instrumental throughout my personal transformation from a life of hate. After the rally both Jerry and Gary agreed it may be time to consider removing my tattoos. In the past I was provided with the opportunity to have my white power tattoos removed through laser surgery. This was offered by the Canadian Jewish Congress. I did several sessions. However, between advice from my friends and the overwhelming pain and lingering healing process due to flare ups of my skin disorder I had decided to stop the laser surgery. I was still carrying my scars of past. In 2013, I was prompted to finally consider getting these tattoos either removed or covered.
While visiting Vancouver I visited my old stomping grounds. I walked down Commercial Drive as a man, not an angry and violent youth, and concluded that the tattoos I was still carrying in my skin had to be removed, or at least covered up. I walked into a convenience store to buy a bottle of water. I was wearing a t-shirt and the swastika on my forearm was visible. When I paid for my drink I twisted my forearm inwards in order to hide the offensive tattoo. The cashier lady looked at me in the eyes and smiled. When she looked down she saw the swastika on my arm.
The cashier then looked scared and did not look into my eyes again. Saddened by the fact that the swastika on my arm was still visible to everyone, I wondered what I could cover it with. I then passed a corner that I used to walk past when I was a young angry white supremacist soldier. I then reflected back in my life, to a time before my hateful days. I was just a sad and angry street kid. I remembered how much I loved a pocket watch I used to carry. I never used the pocket watch as a watch. The watch always stayed closed. I only cared about the vibration of the ticking. Each second that passed manifested with a tick.
Sometimes the click would vibrate through my pocket into my leg. When I took the pocket watch out of my pocket and carried it in my hand I could feel every passing second in the palm of my hand. When I think about walking down the street holding the pocket watch in my hand, I used to think I am seconds ahead from where I was, just moments before. When I was distraught the clicking offered me a security that I was making it through this life without exploding. The ticking-clicking sensation would distract my mind and feelings from the intrusive reminders of devastation from my childhood that still incessantly haunted me. I also felt relieved I made through another second that brought me closer to the end of my life. Each vibrating second was a moment closer to death. That brought me solace.
I recalled what it was like being a child and locked up for nearly two years. The clock in my cell would tick away no matter what happened. Even when I would beat on another kid or smash the furniture the clock always ticked when I was put into isolation. As rage poured out my eyes in violent fits of exacerbation, the clock would tick comfort until I fell asleep. I would think to myself “Why did I need to live in this world of pain?”
As I reached the crest of the hill on Commercial Drive that morning, I found my answer. I would cover the swastika on my arm with a pocket watch. The time reads 11:03 as I was born on the 11th of March. My only demand was that the person who tattoos me had to be a gentle woman. Never again would I let a man who promotes violence tattoo me.
Every tattoo on my body was etched by men filled with angered and abusive natures. But then again, the culture of North American men is built upon dominance and violence. It was finally time I let women help me heal some more. I know so many beautiful women who live compassionately and remind me why non-violence is necessary. This was my personal way to symbolically resolve a new connectivity to women, who are supportive as I walk further away from the tumultuous path of abuse.
My first cover up, the pocket watch, flew by with some nice relaxed conversation between the artist and myself. I barely felt any discomfort or pain. It was a fairly pleasurable tattoo session. That is not how I remembered tattoos. When I recall getting tattoos, years ago, I cringed at the non-stop pain. I hated pain. I hated tattoos. I hated myself.
After the tattoo session, I sat with my cousin Josh debriefing about how I felt relieved. He suggested I get my stomach tattoo covered asap. He recommended a reputable shop. We looked at the website and portfolios of the artists. I was excited, “shit Josh! these artists are crazy good”.
Both Josh and I were instantly impressed with Rene Botha’s art work. The website for the tattoo shop had what I would call an application process; Liquid Amber Tattoo, located in the downtown east side of Vancouver’s gas town. While surfing the website it felt right as we looked at the art. “Josh, they would want me to wait too long. I need them gone now. The website says I got to wait a year for an appointment.”
He looked at me with stern compassion, “go and tell them your story and why you want them gone, you never know.” His confidence gave me hope. Our dialogue taught me something. He loved me and only wanted the best for me. I trusted his input, as I often do. The only reason I finished my second university degree was because of Josh’s encouragement. He was the only one who believed I needed to continue with my degree. Most of my friends and families thought university was a waste of time and that I should spend my time working in the oil fields or working as a counsellor. He knew what I did not know, which was that there was a progressive education for higher learning out there that would challenge me and result in further personal growth. My education would bring me to a realization of understanding hope as a motive to contribute to social change.
I walked into Liquid Amber Tattoo. The receptionist Jessie told me that they would be booked up for months in advance and the only possibility of getting me in was if one of the guest artists could do my stomach cover up. I thanked her and emailed her my ideas for a cover up and some links of media work outlining my personal journey.
The following day Jessie contacted me to set up an appointment the day after with an artist named Rene. I met with Rene Botha and she quizzed me about my ideas for an image. I told her that I wanted a raven or a crow because of the blackbirds in east Vancouver. It is said to have the largest murder (crow population) rate in the world. At least that is the word on the street. I emphasized that the raven represents shapeshifting and transformation, but not just an individual level but also collective and cultural transformation. I learned these lessons from Cree cultural teachings. But I insisted that the image must be reflective with a horizon of the city or something. I also requested that the image does not borrow or synthesize ‘native art’ that reek of cultural appropriation. I preferred the natural representation, or close to it.
Rene spent the weekend designing my piece and emailed me a photo of the sketch the following business day.
(the image is an ambiguous and abstract interpretable piece [what is it?])
As soon as I looked at the image I was taken aback. I was more than impressed. I felt honoured that her art would be on my body. We arranged a start date for the following week. I wanted to complete the piece in one week. Rene indicated that if I was able to sit under the gun that long she would have no problem doing so. I was excited.
I wanted to have a friend of mine use my DSLR camera to record video footage and take photos to document the progress. A couple of years ago I won an award at the Weaving Words Aboriginal Storytelling Festival for a piece I wrote called Scars of Past. I wanted to develop a video piece on my tattoos and transformation. I had no video recording experience, but I was determined to find a way to make this happen. My friend was unable to come to Vancouver and operate my camera for me.
While I was in Vancouver in the summer of 2013 I connected with a filmmaker I had met three years ago at UNBC. I had just started my Masters’ in Social Work. There was a presentation that I attended on fracking, which is a natural resource extraction process. I was familiar with tracking because of two reasons. First, I had worked in the oil field many years ago as a truck driver. Second, my parents had illegal waste dumped on their property in Chetwynd, BC. It just so happened that the film, Fractured Land, was about the same territory that I was from.
During the presentation it became clear that the subject of Fractured Lands, Caleb Behn, was familiar with my personal story and my family’s experience with fracking. In fact, it was frack fluid that was dumped on my parents’ land mixed with human sewage. The illegal dump has most likely resulted in my auntie’s sickness. The day of the dump she was hospitalized due to, what I will refer to as, chemical burns in her lungs. She now has cancer and is trying to live her days in a loving and caring way. Needless to say I have a lot of anger towards the oil industry. In fact, I left the oil field because of corruption. I had exposed a case of environmental abuses that resulted in an Oklahoma based company operating in the Fort St john area being fined over $200,000. Of course that is pocket change. But for me, it was representative of my saying “fuck you” to the system that damaged my auntie, cousins, and siblings. The Fractured Land film crew was definitely doing good work.
They were interested in interviewing my aunt who now has cancer. I arranged for the film crew to speak with her. My aunt Linda is a brave mother. She is one of the strongest women from my biological family. In fact she is one of the only people from my mother’s family whom I trust and can whole heartily say I love. Many other members of the family can easily be referred to as abusive. I had chosen to not be involved with those family members.
The first day went well. I was at the shop for ten hours. I sat under the gun for seven and a half hours. After the first day I felt as if I had been run over by a truck. I felt completely broken. I walked out of the shop, got in my car, and drove away. I was driving down East Hastings leaving the city to go to my cousins house. This was the same road that I took my first time I went downtown Vancouver.
At age fourteen I hitchhiked from northern BC to Vancouver. I continued thumbing it from the highway down Hastings. I was not familiar with the community.I was not aware of all of the prostitution and drugs. I was oblivious. I was a child. The man who picked me up wanted me to suck his dick. I was confused. He saw my confusion. He looked at me and said “you really have no idea about this area, do you?”
I explained it was my first time in the city. He told me to never hitchhike there unless I was working. “ohhh! no I do not have a job. I left home.”
The john shook his head and explained to me that I had a lot to learn and to be careful or someone was going to hurt me. I am grateful he was empathetic and compassionate. In hindsight, my first trip to Vancouver was a blessing. I was definitely out of my league.
Twenty five years after my first trip of hitchhiking down Hastings while being mistaken for a male prostitute, I was recalling these events. I reflected on why I left home i.e. physical abuse, sexual abuse, and verbal abuse. I curiously wondered why anybody would treat a child the way my parents did. I wondered why nobody came to save me. I wondered why teachers, social workers, and police blamed me for my families’ problems. They blamed the victim. I thought about the racism I was taught. My mind was consumed with flashes of all of the people I had hurt. I was overwhelmed with sadness for all the pain I caused. I did not want to finish the tattoo process because I did not want to feel pain anymore, but I knew I had to get through it. The least I could do was to go through a bit of pain in order to stop offending people with my tattoos. I felt shattered and broken from all the pain I had experienced. My eyes filled with tears.
I choked them back and felt my rage creep in. I wanted to stop the car and smash the windows in my vehicle. I wanted to kill someone. I felt like I wanted to kill myself. I was sick of the world. Then I told myself to “stop!”
I pulled my car over. I was feet away from a spot where I had once beaten a black man into unconsciousness. My eyes streamed out tears. I did not want to be angry. I embraced my sadness. I embraced the questions of why I was so angry. I embraced the fact that I have transformed my identity and built a new life. I felt the compassion of people involved in my healing journey. Rene and the film crew came to mind. I decided in that moment that I would see these people as my family. That they were my mainstays. My rocks. I decided that I would allow them to be there for me on this journey. My body was hurting, and it was self-inflicted. I had to focus on the end result. I would get rid of these hateful symbols that restrict my ability to swim with my kids and that I will no longer offend people if I am shirtless. I found strength in my sadness and vulnerability.
I went to my cousin’s house and both he and his wife were there for me. I got a hug. I got to talk and share what was going on for me. I was heard!…finally after all of these years people would hear me. My cousin reminded me that these filmmakers and others believe in me; and that he believes in me. I continued to cry, but I was ok. A friend once said to me “maybe you’re not falling apart, maybe you’re falling together.”
The First Session Set
(*day one @ 7.5 hrs.)
My first day of tattooing lasted all day long. I was at shop ten hours. I was booked in for four days straight. After day one we realized I would not be able to complete the tattoo in one week like I had originally hoped. I rested after the first day. I was sore as hell. But i looked forward to being tattooed by one of the most impressive people I have met, Rene Botha. Not only has she been a cultural edge walker, but she was absolutely beautiful both inside and out. It made going back to the shop so much easier.
(back to back ~ day 2 @ 4 hours)
After day two I could not last more than four hours. I had passed out twice, which I did not tell the tattoo artist. I was afraid this would damage our relationship. My mind felt overloaded. I was consumed with physical pain.
The Second Session Set
I was still in Vancouver. I was crashing at my cousins and sleeping in my van from time to time. I came back to the tattoo shop partially healed and ready to experience more physical pain, reluctantly.
(day 3 @ 4.5 hours)
I came back six days later to do two more back to back sessions. I was still raw and sore.
(day 4 @ 4 hours)
After this session I was ready to get out of the shop and never return. As the tattoo gun got close to my arm pit it triggered a memory from fifteen years before. I recalled when one of my uncles had attacked me. He rammed his thumb nail into my arm pit leaving bruising from his huge hands that gripped my entire chest muscle. He pinned me against the wall while holding me by two of my pressure points and banging my body on the solid brick wall. I had no choice but to either find a way to fight back or to be beaten. I overcame incredible pain in my armpit and punched him straight in the face. He dropped me. I was free. I then stepped forward and combination punched him in the face until he was unconscious then I jumped on top of his limp body and continued beating his face until my step-dad and cousin pulled me off. He was left with a swollen face and six boxer cuts from my knuckles. As the tattoo needles went near my armpit tears streamed down my face. I felt a pity for my past self. I grew up in a violent home. I grew up being that violence and abuse were the most solid resolve to conflict. I felt grateful to be a different man today.
The Third Session Set
While I was in Vancouver I found out there were some issues with my thesis committee. I had to return to Prince George in order to ensure the issues were dealt with in a timely fashion. I returned to Prince George in September, 2013. Earlier that year in April, I had sold my home because I was informed I would defend my thesis by September 1st, 2013. That did not happen. I then had to move back to Prince George, after a summer of living in my 1978 VW Van I enjoyed the summer mountain biking; now it was time to go north and deal with university politics.
I had to fly from Prince George to Vancouver for each session. The plan that was proposed by Rene was to do two separate four hour sessions back-to-back during each trip. The running joke amongst the staff team at Liquid Amber Tattoo and the film crew was that I had a low threshold for pain. “Not so tough now eh?”
I explained I was never tough. The only reason I could fight is because I was willing to bite, stab, poke eyes, or anything else I needed to do to control a fight. I was good at fighting in order to avoid getting hit. I did not target weak people; that is not to say I never hit anyone who was not vulnerable, because I did. I did not shy away from fighting five guys at a time who had weapons, and equally so, I did not shy away from hitting nearly anyone who made me angry. I was never physically strong. I am a small man, and when I was violent I was an even smaller person. This tattoo process has literally brought me to my knees. I had cried. I had given up. But I kept showing up. I did what I had to do. I wanted to do this to avoid hurting others and to offer my children an opportunity to enjoy me without these racist scars from my past.
I arrived in Vancouver and we began more sessions while filming.
(Adam filming tattoo)
(day 5 @ 4hours)
The second day was brutal. I could not stand the pain. I was unable to last the full four hours. We were able to get a small section on the belly done. Rene was more than accommodating. I left the session and walked straight to my hotel room and cried myself to sleep. I was sick of the physical pain. But even more than the stress of the physical pain, I felt completely alone. I just wanted to have somebody with me.
(day 6 @ 2.5 hours)
This last session was intense but short. It took a lot out of me. I had to quit, there was no possible way I could have lasted the full four hours. The back to back days were too much on this trip.
The Fourth Session Set
This trip was my favourite trip. I drove down with a dear friend. We had met through her family. I love her parents, and they love me. It felt like everything just fit. All of us agreed with that. I felt like I belonged in their family. After meeting their daughter who was the same age as me, I felt absolutely blessed. She is a hilarious writer with a smile that cannot be replaced. She drove down to Vancouver with me. We laughed and had a blast. Until we got to the city. It became clear to her how difficult the tattooing process was for me.
Rene’s plan for the seventh session was to re-do the ink on the sun. Again I was triggered to remember some past violence. This time I was getting flashes of past physical violence perpetrated by my second step-dad. When I was eleven years old I started getting my ass kicked hard by him. Those ass kickings left bruises all over my body including my ribs and face. The sun brought those memories back, perhaps I had some more ‘personal-shit’ to work through. At least this time I had “her” beautiful embrace.
(day 7 @ 3 hours)
(my favourite photo)
The gal I started seeing had a cousin who lived in Vancouver. Her cousin was out of town and invited us to use their condo for a couple days. The picture below is my old stomping grounds. I worked at two bars in the buildings below around 1995. I was a violent racist skinhead. Now nearly two decades later, I was looking down at my past as I was looking towards my future. It was surreal. On the street below I had committed countless hate crimes. Her cousins’ husband was a man who left the racist skinhead network many years ago. We had past mutual acquaintances. Here I was in a condo with another person who understood me, as we looked down towards my old stomping grounds. I was getting rid of my hateful scars. I had her arms wrapped around me as she murmured “I love you.”
(day 8 @ 3 hours)
The next day, I got more done. Again, I could not last the full four hours. I was able to make three hours though. I knew that I had her embrace. That night we went to her friends for a dinner party. I was pretty silent and not thinking right. My mind was trying to be where I physically was, but I kept zipping back to my childhood. Each twinge of pain on my chest exacerbated my social skills. I sat in a room full of her friends. Inside I felt less than. I felt like I did not belong. Here I was, a former Nazi skinhead, with a loving woman. I was unable reconcile how I got to where I am in life. Completing my second university degree and abandoning a life of violent extremism. On the drive back to her cousins condo I exposed my raw thinking. Thoughts I maybe should have kept to myself. My triggered negative thinking became apparent. I was in midst of physical pain, intrusive memories of abuse, and a thesis supervisor who was inconsistent and irrational. Everything seemed to be coming down hard on my mind and heart. I silently cried myself to sleep with her wrapped around me.
The Fifth Session Set
In January 2014 I had the fifth session. I flew down to Vancouver…alone!
During the xmas holidays I struggled in a way I have not struggled for many years. I have not allowed myself to enter a relationship because of the way I had handled being emotionally hurt in the past. It seems that when I am emotionally hurt I withdraw, isolate, and internally beat the shit out of my own spirit. Then I am left trying reconcile my intrusive demons. I wish this was not my struggle, but it would be untruthful to present it as anything else but…
Over the holidays I was under a deliberate attack by my children’s mother and her new found love, my cousin. This dynamic has impacted my relationship with my children. These social attacks force me to re-visit old feelings of childhood abuse. At the same time I was dealing with a delay in my graduate studies. My thesis process was put on hold for more than seven months while having to pay tuition. I was in limbo without any movement. I was so frustrated I nearly quit school. I was dealing with these life situations and facing my normal holiday demons that were also compounded with the intrusive triggers onset by the physical pain of the tattoo process.
I am surprised I actually made it through the xmas holidays as well as I did. I remembered one thing, no matter how bad shit feels, I am doing a lot better than I did when I lived on the streets. However, my demons impacted this new found relationship. It definitely took it’s toll on her. It seems my demons instigated and summoned her dragon that then set my world on fire. She had to separate herself. I accepted this.
I had no choice but to accept and sit still for weeks. I sat still during the holidays in -30 degrees Celsius winter. Isolated and alone…looking forward to only one thing…having this tattoo completed. No matter how much pain was coming I was willing to make it through this. If nothing else, I would ensure I made it through the tattoo process. I was not completely alone. I had my cousin, my auntie, my friends from UNBC First Nations Centre, and new friends I continue to make…but friends and family cannot fill this kind of absence. I am faced with having to let go, not only of the person I got so comfortable with so fast, but also the idea that I fit within their family. Saddened, I continue to walk my path and face my demons.
Much like the tattoo process I had to feel the pain and go through it. I now know that the best way to to take pain, is to taste the pain. To embrace the pain. To lay back and breath, then when it becomes unbearable and my limit is reached, take a break. Then come back another day and taste the pain.
I made it through four hours. Progress!
(day 9 @ 4 hours)
Finally the old swastika was concealed. Now for the following day. The belly button area hurt real bad.
The last official session! The only thing left was one more trip to do four hours of touch ups. When I returned home I was waiting for the final touch up session I had another film project I was working with. DuckRabbit is a film company from London, UK. They were contracted through the Kanishka Project that is coordinated by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.I was invited into the film series as a member of a steering committee. I was then approached to be a subject of one of the films. This counter violent extremist film series is to be shown in public schools all over Canada. Working with DuckRabbit reminded me that my story is important and I must keep pushing forward. I had also made some headway with my thesis committee. Things were looking up a bit more…although I still feel an vacancy in my heart.
The Sixth & Final Session Set
Two weeks before the final touch ups on my new ink, my daughter Madisson phoned me. She was laughing her ass off. She said she was at home showing her boyfriend family photos. She came across a picture of me (shirtless) and my two daughters when they were young. Apparently her boyfriend was shocked, and rightfully so.
I was disheartened by the imprint I left in my kids’ minds. I polluted them when they were young. I corrupted them; but I have also taught them people can change. I have kept this tattoo cover up process a secret from my kids. The reason for keeping it a secret was in hopes that when I see them next I would take them to the beach and take off my shirt and see their expression. But after my daughter sent me this picture of me with two of my daughters I felt obligated to tell her…but I did wait till the day after my last session.
During the last session me and Rene shared some laughs. She may have even been happier than I was to finish the piece. She designed the piece. It is her art. Plus, when I reflect on my low pain tolerance, I think I was probably a challenging client. I winced and cringed. At least thats how I feel…perhaps I am a little hard on myself though.
(day 11 @ 3.5 hours)
This is the final product!
Post Tattoo Session
About three years ago my friend Rhonda Lee McIsaac challenged me to a bet. I do not recall the bet, but I know I lost. I owed her. The agreement was that one day if/when I cover up my stomach swastika tattoo that I would send her a specific picture. She always loved the above picture of me when she saw it posted on my Facebook account. I promised to send her a picture of me flexing my muscles, like I did when I was goofing around at Moberley Lake as a kid.
So…even if I look like a fool…here you go RLM.
I do risk a lot posting these goofy pictures, and my vulnerable truth, but here is the thing…this tattoo is more than about erasing hate. It is about reconnecting to the child I once was, the boy who was beaten and abused. I am allowing myself to share with my friends and the world the declaration of my vulnerability. I know how to love well. I know how to be loved. In moments it can be a very difficult state of being, especially when faced with demons…but I am doing it.
We spent the following day in Adam’s film and photography studio in downtown Vancouver. We did some final interviews and photo shoot. When the shoot was over Damien and I walked down Granville Street, where I was recruited into the white supremacist movement many years ago. Damien indicated he had enough footage for a online teaser and a twenty minute documentary short film. Damien has indicated he is very interested in pursuing my story for a feature film . He wants to follow my successes. To date that includes a Bachelor degree in First Nations Studies, published writing, Masters in Social Work, and a life after hatred. After we walked and talked, we parted ways.
The Final Chapter
I sent my daughter a text picture message of my new tattoo. I had to show her, that things changed and I want her to show her boyfriend that her dad got rid of that old hate shit. My daughter responded:
“holy shit…is that a tattoo?…or marker?”
I laughed so hard. I guess it would be hard to imagine her dad without that old tattoo, especially after sixteen years. Here next responses meant the world to me. While I write this blog post I can hear her voice.
“fuuuuqqqqq…I love you.”
One thing a Cree elder taught me was not to say good bye…we should always say see you soon or that is all for now till later…
This year has been filled with travel all over BC and Alberta. Currently visiting the DTES of Van City aka East Van (downtowneastside of Vancouver). This morning I was driving to go for a coffee on Commercial Drive before meeting a documentary film crew I have started working with this month.
The documentary piece is a promotional story pitch to present to funders about my journey in life. I left home first at age 12 from Toronto to northern BC. By 14 I hitch hiked to East Vancouver and began my street involvement on the DTES. This resulted in struggles with addiction, gangs, right wing extremism, homelessness, criminality, and extreme violence.
In the work I do in the last twelve years I share many stories about my experiences. My introduction to my dear friend Garry Gottfriedson, who is also my writing mentor, was the first person I ever shared a poem I wrote. He asked me to. I trusted him. We then forged a strong bond. Now, with Garry’s guidance I am a published writer in both poetry and creative non-fiction.
That first poem I wrote was edited down into three smaller poems in a series. It was about the DTES prostitution, Johns, and feminist based social justice issues. I wrote the poem in Dr. Si Transken’s class, who later became my thesis supervisor for my Masters degree.
In 2012, Dr. Transken invited me to read a poem at the Art-ivism event which was largely feminist based activists and artists. I was honoured. So I honoured her by reading the first of the three poems I read. It was called God Is Dead.
This year, 2013, I was invited to be a return reader. This year I read part three of the poem, Pickton’s Princesses. Perhaps next year I will read the third called Chicken Soup.
As I was driving to commercial drive today, on the corner of Commercial Drive and East Hastings there was a chicken slaughter house. I could not remember where the slaughter house was, but I recall the smells and images from when I was living on the streets. But today there were signs in front of the slaughter house. Along with the signs were two beautiful social activists.
I had to stop. I was in tears for a moment sitting in my car. It was a surreal moment as often happens when I am reminded of my past and where I am now in life. It is a miracle. I got out of my car and went and talked to one of the gals. She invited me to email her my poetry. I then told her I would write this blog, link their website, and post my poems.
They are doing important work. She talked about how the abusive raising of chickens in an urban area through cruel practices is abhorrent, then went on to talk about the contrast of the prostitution in the neighbourhood that is still going on; twenty years after I had been down there, both the slaughterhouse and the prostitution and poverty. She was a beautiful mind. I wanted to hug her, and I would have if she was not soaking wet from the Vancouver rain. They have been out every week protesting for months. Good job people.
I find it interesting how the majority of social justice advocates I come across are women. From First Nations communities, to organized protests, and rally organizers. I guess there is truth in the concept that women can be more connected to self and the world then their counter-parts downtrodden by institutional hyper-masculinity; much like I was for a long time. But, we do recover when we work at it.
I am thanking Liberation BC for the work they are currently doing.
The first poem is called God is dead which was published in SFU’s West-Coast-Line No. 72 in 2012; also was read at the Aboriginal Weaving Words Storytellers festival and Artivism event at UNBC in 2012.
The second poem, Chicken Soup, was never read publicly, nor published yet. I did however read it to Garry Gottfriedson’s family in his living room on Boxing Day in 2011.
The third poem, Pickton’s Princesses, was also published in West Coast Line No. 72. It was read at Artivism event in 2013.
This poem was not previously published. This blog article is written intentionally with poor grammar and references.
As I return to the city I was homeless in, where we filmed the documentary piece for Global’s 16×9 Brotherhood of Hate.
I remember the security I felt in a Scarved Embrace when recalling the realities of God is Dead. I recall that my Letter to Matthew was inspired by the same aspect of myself that allowed my Mirrored Child to come forth. As I step forth in this city I am Bleeding Tears Pores Sting thick while battling the truth about how Gossip is Personal. Blue Life brings me to My Daughter Loves to Joke in a way that makes Totalitarians Scurry. I have Prism Tears remembering She Danced with Ancients Fade.
She was As Real As I, but she stays clad in the Iron Forest where she recalls that the Minus the One on a Cryptic Night. I am left fraught with What to do with a small fox who carries an albatross. i hope to tear down Cold Brick Walls, which cannot be achieved without Existential Liberation from Emotional Rape. I feel Stiff as the Beat and Rape and Pound sows Rape’s Seed deep in my work, as Await(s), She…the Bee.
My heart is heavy and my hair is tangled.
This is a list of articles and profiles for public reference.
Global National, 16×9, Feb. 2013
Edmonton Journal, January 6 2006
by Graham Andrews
Prince George Citizen, Feb. 9 2011
by Frank Peebles
Prince George Citizen, Letter to the Editor, Feb. 11 2011
by Sam Wright
Prince George Citizen, Letter to the Editor, Feb. 18 2011
by Leah Coghlan
Prince George Citizen, March 9 2011
by Frank Peebles
Prince George Citizen, March 20 2011
by Frank Peebles
Prince George Citizen, March 21 2011
by Arthur Williams
Free Press, March 22 2011
by Joe Fries
Prince George Citizen, March 22 2011
by Frank Peebles
Prince George Citizen, June 27 2012
by Ted Clarke
Windspeaker, V. 31 Issue 33, 2013
by Deborah Steel
Prince George Citizen, May 16 2013
by Frank Peebles
Prince George Citizen, May 31 2013
by Citizen Staff
Prince George Citizen, June 5 2013
by Frank Peebles
Outwords: queer views, news, issues, July 2013
by Danielle Cloutier
Prince George Citizen, Nov. 4 2013
by Frank Peebles
Prince George Citizen, May 23 2014
by Citizen Staff
Thompson Rivers University: Paper Trails Magazine, On campus racism and vandalism, 2013
Decibel Magazine Blog, May 5 2014
by Justin M. Norton
Decibel Magazine (In-Print), July 2013 Issue #113
Interview with Daniel Gallant
by Justin M. Norton
AVE [Against Violent Extremism], Feb. 2013
University of Norther British Columbia, First Nations Studies Newsletter, Fall 2013
FNST Graduate Invited to Speak at Google Ideas Summit
AVE [Against Violent Extremism], May 28 2014
Formers & Survivors take centre stage in Far Right workshop
2004: CBC Radio: Edmonton: White Supremacist Bombings
2010: CBC Radio: Edmonton: Hate Group Activity
2011: CBC Radio: Edmonton: Recent Hate Crimes
2011: CBC Radio: Calgary: Recent Hate Crimes
2012: CBC Radio: Prince George: Healing from Hate through Writing
Daniel and Inquisition:
This piece was published by the Simon Fraser University literary journal, The West Coast Line no. 72, 2012.
At the Men Resisting Violence even I read along with two poets Ken Belford and Robb Budde, and Novelist Josh Massey.
At this storytelling festival I read along with Garry Gottfriedson and Richard Van Camp, this was an honour for me. To have these individuals allow me the space to tell a few short stories alongside them establishes their praxis on creating healing spaces for all people. Why is a a former right-wing-extremist allowed space to read at an aboriginal storytelling festival, it is because it is about healing and good medicine.
Dr. Si Transkan, my thesis supervisor and self proclaimed cranky-bitch-feminist, who organized the 12 week ARTivism event at UNBC to bring attention, awareness to violence against women and to bring healing spaces into a patriarchal and paternal academic space.