Tag Archive | Vancouver

Taking foot: Soldiers of Odin

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(Picture from Prince George Citizen)

I was recently interviewed about the Soldiers of Odin taking foot in BC. I see this as very problematic, in spite of the groups desire to claim they have no ties, nor intention, similar to that of the group they claim to be a part of. This, of course, is illogical; and in my opinion demonstrates how full of shit these guys are.

I decided to write this first letter to my fellow Canadians, and the latter to Soldiers of Odin as a whole.

Author’s Bio

Daniel Gallant is a registered Social Worker who studies law, and has been acknowledged as a leader on topics pertaining to right wing extremism in Canada. Daniel spent nearly ten years trapped within the white supremacist movement in western Canada, and has since dedicated his life to undoing violence, racism and hatred. His work has been presented to, acknowledged by and referenced by world leaders, governments, leadings scholars, global organizations, and law enforcement.

PART I

Dear Fellow Canadian Citizens,

Don’t believe the hype.

Soldiers of Odin (S.O.O.) are not here to protect you, nor your communities. This group claims, and may even believe, they are working for the greater good. But, this is clearly not true. I would like to tell you a few things about their organization.

First, S.O.O. is the by-product of the European white supremacist network. The group was designed in Northern Europe by hate mongers that aim to ‘cleanse’ neighborhoods from ‘immigrant hordes’. The group’s primary purpose is to engage in war and instill terror into its enemies, as that is a nature of war; for furthering context Soldiers of Odin were formed to target immigrants, Muslims and Islam. However, the Canadian leaders of this group want us to believe they have nothing to do with, nor are they alike or kin to, the hate group that birthed their organization, a little over one year ago.

Basically the Soldiers of Odin will do whatever it takes to hide behind every mask they can. Plainly speaking, if the group has no kinship with its white supremacist roots, then why did they join under the flag, and trademark, of the Soldiers of Odin. There does not appear to be any logical and rationale that could make this a plausible truth.

Soldiers of Odin began in Europe, formed by white supremacists, about a year ago. Now under that same flag, Chapters of the organization have spread throughout Europe and North America; all hailing anti-immigration sentiments and embracing right wing rhetoric. But, the Canadian chapter wants the citizens of Canada to be permissible and complicit in their inherently racist organization. This way they can both hide and fulfill their organization’s purpose. Hiding in plain sight.

WHAT IS IN A ‘NAME’

Soldiers of Odin are making claims that do not hold up to even the most basic logic testing.

For instance, let’s for a minute consider the name of the organization, “Soldiers Of Odin”, in itself demonstrates what the group is, and sets out to do. Odin is the god of war that honors those who die in battle to protect their race and soil. This is the odinist way. Anyone who claims otherwise, either is lying or does not understand the narrative they are supporting, which in itself demonstrates inconsistent messaging of this organization, or perhaps lies. These tactics are only utilized by those who have something to mask and hide.

ODINISM

Additionally, the term “odinism” was the construct of WWII era theorists, who were Nazis. The Nazis developed and branded odinism out of an ancient Nordic Pre-Christian Religion. The ancient pagan ‘religion’ was not called “odinism”, it is Asatru (and other variations of the like).

The Nazis created a new branch of neo-paganism, odinism, that had erupted into a real threat all over the world in the 1980s, which disguises itself as a cultural heritage ideology. Yet, just another way for extremist racists to hide their true ‘color’ (pardon the pun).

In our era of contemporary right wing politics and global issues pertaining to extremism and terrorism, these sorts of groups are emerging everywhere. And without a doubt, they are a threat to those that fall into identifiable categories. By this dynamic alone, is kin to the same way that racism plays out in our communities; it is schismatic in nature.

The main difference between Astatru and odinism, in a very rudimentary explanation, is that odinists worship the Nordic god of war. Odin is set out to protect soil and bloodlines. By this logic alone, Soldiers of Odin are there to protect their own race and land. This alone should be understood as racist in two ways:

  1. a) Soldiers of Odin was created as an anti-immigration organization to fight against the Muslim community, and
  1. b) which seeks to protect its (O.O.) own kind, and the S.O.O. membership is primarily ‘white’ people.

There is another discussion to be had about Soldiers of Odin and their impact upon indigenous peoples as well. But that is a more complex area of discussion to have in the future. But let me assure you, this is also an area where this group demonstrates pure ignorance and inconsistent messages. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to many people the S.O.O. will disguise itself, and it’s true purpose, function and structure by convincing members of the public otherwise.

SKINHEADS AND RACISTS

Soldiers Of Odin’s leaders claim they have purged out the racists from their organization. This is, flatly, a lie.

I was a part of the white supremacist movement in Canada for ten years. I have been engaged with online monitoring of white supremacist organizations now for nearly 12 years. I assure you that there is evidence that proves the S.O.O. are soo full of poop, on this point alone.  This is actually a ridiculous claim. They are flatly denying the presence of racists in their midst to the Canadian Public, while on the other hand have embraced white supremacists within their ranks; and remember that they were also founded by white supremacists.

White supremacists and racists have been praying to odin before beating and killing people on our streets, for decades. Some of you may even remember David Bowie’s 1987 album Tin Machine warning us about racist odinists in his song entitled: Under the God. This is not a new issue.

Not only do the Soldiers of Odin have white supremacists in their ranks, but the leadership does engage in many forms of rhetoric that synthesizes the nature and conduct of, and is derived from, white supremacist groups.

ANTIFA

S.O.O. has engaged in social media attacks against those who oppose or critique their organization; and this is why I have chosen to speak out.

Community leader and long-time anti-racist Alan Dutton has been interviewed about his opinion of Soldiers of Odin Chapter that was recently started in Vancouver. Soldiers of Odin members and leadership has began referring to the opposition as enemies and then referring to their critiques as “antifa”.

This is precisely what fascist, nazi and white supremacists do. In fact, the rhetoric and dynamic of attempting to discredit someone, by labelling them as antifa, is birthed out of the white power movement.

Antifa are people who are anti-fascist. Already, Soldiers of Odin have launched social media attacks against those they label as antifa, which surely they will label me. This is very problematic for a couple of reasons:

First, when did we as a society begin to say that Anti-Fascists are a bad thing?

Second, did Canada not take a formal position against the fascist Nazi Regime in WWII?

How can Soldiers of Odin claim to be upholding Canadian law and values when they are attacking those who stand up against racism and fascism. It seems that Soldiers of Odin are working contrary to our legal system.

The fact that S.O.O. is attacking antifa online, is indicative of the similar conversations found on white supremacist websites. This is a core contradictory element of their organizations discourse. This does demonstrate the ideological lineage of Soldiers of Odin’s members. I do not think, nor expect, most Canadians can easily identify these issues. But, I can, as I spent nearly a decade immersed in that lifestyle; and more than a decade of unlearning the doctrine.

Conclusion

My years within the white supremacist movement in western Canada, to my profound social change, and now my current role as an educator, researcher, advocate, Social Worker and future career as a lawyer, compel me to express to you that this group, in my opinion, are a threat to safety of ALL Canadians. Especially to minority groups and vulnerable persons.

It has been demonstrated to me, through my research on the Soldiers of Odin that there is a grave concern that emerges in the influx of their membership, and the fact that many people who are not attracted to white supremacy, are being duped into this new organization.

I will support any group that keeps our streets safe for ALL Canadians. However, not only are the Soldiers of Odin unsafe because they are inherently racist and war-minded as an organization (as is demonstrated by evidence found in their organizations founder and group name), they have also proven to be comprised of liars, racists, extremists and bullies who belittle immigrants and anti-racists. This alone should raise flags about who and what the Soldiers of Odin are.

Canadians should be concerned with this group that is reminiscent of the Heritage Front.

 

Sincerely,

Daniel Gallant (MSW, RSW)

Juris Doctor Candidate – 2017

PART II

Dear Soldiers of Odin,

It has come to my attention that you have now ‘set up shop’ in Canada, by rapidly expanding Chapters of your ‘organization’ across Canada. Let’s not waste time, nor mince words.

Your organization has already demonstrated dishonesty, incongruence and hatred against your fellow citizens. Your politics are divisive and the evidence is found in your online campaign, organizational conduct, onslaught of misinformation and the fact that you have members who are members of various Canadian hate groups (both past and present). Heck, even your organization’s name speaks to the violent nature of your organization’s intent: war for the sake of ‘blood, soil and honor’.

There are several things I would like to hash out with Soldiers OF Odin and air publicly, some of which is in this letter, and more in my letter to all Canadians. We will surely engage more discourse as time moves forward, as I have a wealth of knowledge, insight, education and stamina.

Your ‘respective’ leader (Joel Angott) indicated (in Metro News article) that you all uphold Canadian law, and our collective Constitutional Rights. Obviously your organization does not understand what a Constitutional Right is. There are only a few ways in how S.O.O. could possibly frame the façade that you all uphold the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution. However, we both know this is complete bull-pucky.

If you had any clue what a Constitutional Right was, then you would not be attempting to claim your neighbourhood patrols protect Constitutional Rights in Canada. Let me explain further.

Canadian Constitutional Rights, are guarantees, in law, that Canadians receive to empower us as citizens. Guarantees that protect us of from the conduct and actions of government, police and authorities of certain variety. Moreover, Constitutional Rights are engaged as a legal protection that are sorted out through the legal system, not by walking through neighborhoods creating an environment of fear and intimidation.

I am sorry to inform you that you do not, in fact, nor law, protect Canadians’ Constitutional Rights. You are a group of self-appointed, not democratically elected, thugs who ‘patrol’ streets against our own citizens. These actions, even if righteous, are in no way connected to upholding our Constitutional Rights.

If S.O.O. were in fact upholding our Constitutional Rights you all would be working within legal strategies against the government and authorities, where there were Constitutional failings and pitfalls. You would not be involving yourself in right wing extremism and organized crime circles.

I do want to acknowledge, however, that we do agree on some matters. Our laws do not protect citizens well enough from pedophiles, rapists and other social ailments. But to be frank, I do not believe you are our solution to these matters. In fact, quite the contrary. This is where I find your organization very similar to white supremacist groups. Your group appeals to those people who are rightfully angered about the abuses and grievances they and their loved ones may have suffered. Soldiers of Odin capitalizes upon these vulnerabilities, and exploits citizens by doing so, while fooling un-suspecting people into your ranks. However, this mere tactic to garner public attention and community support is bound to fail because it is not transparent and congruent; rather it is coercive and manipulative.

Fortunately, there are those of us who have a deeper understanding through personal experience, education and formal research of how organizations like yours get started; and then move onto becoming a threat to Canadian public safety.

I hope that you take this input, how it is intended. My intention is to show you that your organization is publicly speaking out of line, on matters it knows not; and that the rhetoric you are attempting to sell is exposed for what it is: abusive.

Additionally, I do hope you become aware that there are those in our communities who care about sustainable public safety. Organizations like S.O.O., albeit believe they are righteous, are actually creating more divisiveness in our communities and are spreading hatred and fear in the very communities you claim to protect. The very fact that organizations of minorities are expressing concern, and your leaderships response is defensiveness and offensive rhetoric, both demonstrate and exemplifies your organizations nature; the intent of the Soldiers of Odin, hence, your organization’s name that pays homage to the god of war.

Let us, in summary, cut to the chase.

Soldiers of Odin membership includes racists, white supremacists, criminals and liars. S.O.O. was created to instil fear and conduct acts of violence in a war, that odin would adore. It is unfortunate that your predecessor, odin himself, would probably be very disappointed in your tactics and dishonesty.

Perhaps the next time you want to sell the Canadian public a stench ridden pile of steaming crap, you may want to consider a re-brand that does not overtly emulate the true nature of your group’s purpose: abuse, war & racism.

 

Sincerely,

Daniel Gallant (MSW, RSW)

Juris Doctor Candidate – 2017

Sameness, Hate Crimes and Blood Alley

I spent years in the DTES (downtown eastside) Vancouver. I committed a lot of hate crimes there. Blood Alley was a place I frequented.

Now, at times, I am bothered by the recall of the feel, smells and tastes of blood soaked into my skin and clothes. I am reminded of the sputters and chokes and gags and screams and cries of the abuse I perpetrated. I am reminded of waking up with swollen hands and infected gashes on my knuckles. I am reminded of my fingers sticking together due to the dried syrup blood. I remember the adrenaline hang overs that made me puke…or maybe it was a spiritual rejection of my disgusting behaviour.

…now after years, education, social transformation and a whole lot of healing…I am still haunted by my own deeds and the pain I caused for others, in moments that likely linger for their whole lives…I remember…

…blood alley

Racism Smells Like Blood in Blood Alley

Shapeshifting Images: Manifested Transformative Tattoo of Realism

From Edm Journal

(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.

Daniel (6 of 22)

(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.

Daniel (5 of 22)

(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.

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(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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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

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(*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.

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(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.

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(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.

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(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.

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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.

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I arrived in Vancouver and we began more sessions while filming.

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(Adam filming tattoo)

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(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.

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(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.

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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.

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(day 7 @ 3 hours)

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(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.”

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(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!

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(day 9 @ 4 hours)

Finally the old swastika was concealed. Now for the following day. The belly button area hurt real bad.

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(day 10)

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.

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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.

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(day 11 @ 3.5 hours)

This is the final product!

Post Tattoo Session

ME ON BEACH

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.

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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.

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(Adam Myhill)

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.

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(film maker Damien Gillis with the one and only beautiful Rene Botha)

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(Adam)

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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…

ekosi maka

Dan Green “the electric indian”

I dedicate this story to those who were my friends and family by choice.

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When I was a young boy my family gave me the nick name “Goober Pea.” I was always listening to my grandpa Clay’s favourite singer, Burl Ives. I would put ol’ Burl on the turntable and listen to his vinyls for hours on end. I would sing along with Burl to many songs: Frosty the Snowman, Mr. In-Between, and Goober Peas.

“Peas, peas, peas, peas, eating Goober Peas. Wouldn’t it be delicious eating Goober Peas.”

Burl sang this song and my grandpa would tell me that it was about World War I and how the soldiers just wanted to come home, so badly, to eat their delicious big beautiful green Goober Peas cooked for them by their moms. I loved my granddad, and I loved eating peas. I loved the color green, it tasted so great.

My auntie Linda made me a handmade stuffed felt Goober Pea. Every time auntie Linda would see me she would grab my face and kiss my cheeks and say “I just love you so much Goober Pea.”

I would smile inside. Auntie Linda always made me feel so loved. I was filled with green Goober love. Auntie would pick peas from her garden and we would sit their joking and laughing and eating peas while singing the anthem: Goober Peas. But, i will let you in on a little secret, Goober Peas were not exactly as I was told what they were. They were not actually green, nor were they peas.

Goober Peas are more accurately described by Johnny Cash when he sings with Burl Ives. They are Peanuts.

But life was not always so great. I had experienced many abuses at home. I was exposed to grotesque physical and sexual violence, drug addiction and alcoholism in our family home. My step dad’s beatings got so bad I had to leave home.

After I had left home at age twelve, I ended up living on an old Metis settlement community and two Indian Reserves. I was a white boy rejected for being an indian, and accepted by the Indians because I was an indian; at least an indian by heart.

I hate myself so badly I had been hospitalized several times for suicide attempts. By the age of fourteen I was hospitalized a total of six months for three separate overdoses. After my second hospitalization I was released into my parents custody. I hated them and did not want to be near them. When I was released it was early December, 1989.

One night as I was sitting in the basement alone, I was hurting inside so bad that I just wanted to die. I was alone with a room full of Christmas lights. I took one of the strands of lights down from the window. I pulled out my knife and cut off the end and stripped the wires bare. I took out every single light bulb and smashed them with my closed fist against the wall. One light bulb at a time. The shards of glass embedded warmly into my knuckles. One of my favorite feelings was the burning sensation I would get, as I would pick out the glass from my knuckles. That was a habit, I started at the age of thirteen.

I turned on the radio to listen to my last song as I truly intended to die that night. It was a Testament song called Envy Life playing on the midnight metal show. Chuck Billy, the lead singer was a fucking big Pomo indian.

“Make sure your reach does not exceed your grasp. All that is to be done before you act. In a pact of invoking spirits from your past. You’re as good as dead. The lost souls of time. Envy life. Envy life.”

I took the end of the Christmas lights and plugged it into the wall, the other end I slowly put into my mouth. Then a bright blue spark snapped and bit my lips and the music stopped, lights went out. I heard the breaker in the wall above me slam. Then I heard my parents moving about upstairs. I quickly jumped up and turned the breaker back on. I touched the burnt end of the wires together and there was no more juice. I knew it was time to leave again. I packed my stuff and vanished into the wind.

After years of roaming the northern parts of BC and Alberta, I made my way down to the big city of Vancouver. I had many adventures. Some of these escapades ended me up in juvenile facilities for two years. When I got out I was 17 years old.

Sanchez

I headed back up north for a short visit so I could go get my friends from Moccasin Flats, the Metis settlement, and bring them to Vancouver with me. I had been placed in an apartment by child welfare after getting out of juvvy.

I was feeling more rebellious than normal, because I had decided to be ‘straight-edge’ when I got out of juvenile facilities. I was drug and alcohol free for a little over a year. I was angry and pissed off. I was not going to be held back, beat up, pushed around, nor told what to do by anybody. I was rebelling.

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I wore 14 holed doc martins. Green Army short and pants, usually shorts. Long sleeved black shirt that was a few sizes to big for my skinny frame. I had chewed holes into the sleeves in order to wear my sleeves like gloves, that way when I was skateboarding and wiped out, I would have a little protection on my palms. When it got cold my fingers and knuckles would swell up. I had gotten frostbite when I was about fourteen from hitch hiking highways in the north in the middle of winter. I think I permanently damaged my hands. I still have pain in my hands today when its cold. I shaved my long thick hair into a Mohawk that I dyed green.

The night I dyed my hair green my friends and I got into a huge fight with my neighbors. My friends had come down with me to the Vancouver area; to my apartment in Surrey.  My neighbors were gang bangers. We ended up beating a guy severely. Then later that night him and his gang attempted to do a home invasion on us, at my apartment. The end result was that me and my skinny Metis friend Jason, who was like a brother to me, ended up getting arrested for shooting one of the guys.

There was news cameras and police all over our yard. That next day when me and Jason were back at the apartment with everyone else,we watched the news and burst out laughing. “A party in North Surrey got out of hand last night when this man was arrested for shooting another man.”

There was me getting put into the police car with my long green hair, green doc martins, green army shorts and black long sleeve shirt. I looked like a hoodlum. Obviously Jason did not look as crazy as I did because he did not make it into the news that day. Robert was laughing so hard as he sat there with his arm around his girlfriend Amanda, “hahaha there is Dan Green the electric indian.”

After that day for the following months, years and decades I was known as Dan Green ‘the electric indian.’

Many of my friends like Robert have died while suffering from abuses that they lived through. Only a few friends have gone on to be successful in their careers. Jason is a respected cook, artist/artisan, and an amazing musician.  Me, well I have become a writer by my own rebellious virtue.

To this day I can be seen wearing green shirts, shorts, hoodies and pajamas. I ride a green bicycle and I love eating peas. I still hum the Burl Ives tune in my head some days. I love visiting my auntie Linda who still calls me Goober Pea. All while, back on the rez there are still a buncha people still thinking about that crazy electric indian named Dan Green.

Chicken Slaughter House (DTES)

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.

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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.

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The third poem, Pickton’s Princesses, was also published in West Coast Line No. 72. It was read at Artivism event in 2013.

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Tangled in Hair

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 am reminded of where I have been, what I have seen, and what I have done in the past.

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), Shethe Bee.

My heart is heavy and my hair is tangled. 

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A Public Reference: Links to media interviews with Daniel Gallant

This is a list of articles and profiles for public reference.

TV/Video Links:

2013

Global National, 16×9, Feb. 2013

Brotherhood of Hate Online Story

Brotherhood of Hate Show (16×9)

Behind the Story Interview with Krysia Collier (Producer) 

 

Newspaper Links

2006

Edmonton Journal, January 6 2006

Ex-skinhead seeks path of redemption

by Graham Andrews

 

2011

Prince George Citizen, Feb. 9 2011

Are Prince George white supremacists gaining momentum?

by Frank Peebles

 

Prince George Citizen, Letter to the Editor, Feb. 11 2011

Many kinds of metal in the mix

by Sam Wright

 

Prince George Citizen, Letter to the Editor, Feb. 18 2011

Don’t disparage black metal scene 

by Leah Coghlan

 

Prince George Citizen, March 9 2011

Sharpeville remembered in P.G.

by Frank Peebles

 

Prince George Citizen, March 20 2011

The Powar of Love

by Frank Peebles

 

Prince George Citizen, March 21 2011

Anti-racists march on Monday

by Arthur Williams

 

Free Press, March 22 2011

Rally held to end racism

by Joe Fries

 

Prince George Citizen, March 22 2011

Bigotry still thrives, gathering told

by Frank Peebles

 

2012

Prince George Citizen, June 27 2012

An education in the extreme: Daniel Gallant turns to learning as he moves from white supremacist to anti-racism crusader

by Ted Clarke

 

2013

Windspeaker, V. 31 Issue 33, 2013

Reformed neo-nazi skinhead UNBC masters student calls residential school system institutional white supremacy

by Deborah Steel

 

Prince George Citizen, May 16 2013

Former skinhead speaks out against residential schools

by Frank Peebles

 

Prince George Citizen, May 31 2013

What’s Happening Prince George

by Citizen Staff

 

Prince George Citizen, June 5 2013

What Chances did the farmers have if the Axis powers lost?

by Frank Peebles

 

Outwords: queer views, news, issues, July 2013

Turning hate into advocacy

by Danielle Cloutier

 

Prince George Citizen, Nov. 4 2013

Former extremist brings anti-racism message to NY

by Frank Peebles

 

2014

Prince George Citizen, May 23 2014

What Happening

by Citizen Staff

 

Magazines

2013

Thompson Rivers University: Paper Trails Magazine, On campus racism and vandalism, 2013

by Nigel

2014

Decibel Magazine Blog, May 5 2014

Ex-Skinhead: “This was never just about Inquisition”

by Justin M. Norton

 

Decibel Magazine (In-Print), July 2013 Issue #113

Interview with Daniel Gallant

by Justin M. Norton

 

Newsletters

AVE [Against Violent Extremism], Feb. 2013

Video Corner

 

 

University of Norther British Columbia, First Nations Studies Newsletter, Fall 2013

FNST Graduate Invited to Speak at Google Ideas Summit

First Nations Newsletter

 

AVE [Against Violent Extremism], May 28 2014

Formers & Survivors take centre stage in Far Right workshop

 

 

Radio:

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

 

Blog Articles:

Feminist Blogger

 

Daniel and Inquisition:

Shamelessnavelgazing Blog article: Inquisitions and black metal’s fascism problem

 

http://www.metalinjection.net/latest-news/rumors/black-metal-band-inquisition-are-probably-nazis

 

http://www.decibelmagazine.com/featured/inquisition-frontman-dagon-im-not-a-nazi/

 

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2014/05/black_metal_ban.html

 

http://www.metalinsider.net/updates/inquisition-frontman-im-not-a-nazi

 

http://shamelessnavelgazing.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/inquisition-and-black-metals-fascism-problem-clarification-and-follow-up/

 

http://www.metalsucks.net/2014/05/02/analysis-inquisitions-weak-denial/

 

http://www.metalinjection.net/editorials/so-inquisition-arent-nazis-i-dont-know-who-cares#comments

 

http://www.decibelmagazine.com/featured/ex-skinhead-this-was-never-just-about-inquisition/

 

http://www.metalsucks.net/2014/05/05/inquisitionwhite-supremacy-controversy-continues/

 

http://www.metalinjection.net/latest-news/drama/ex-skinhead-who-labeled-inquisition-as-white-supremacists-speaks-out

 

http://www.nocleansinging.com/2014/05/06/the-inquisition-inquisition/

Brotherhood of Hate (Behind the Scenes)

16×9 interviews Krysia Collyer (Producer of 16×9) about behind the scenes interview for the Brotherhood of Hate and Daniel Gallant.

Scarved Embrace

This poem is currently unpublished.

On a chilly evening walking around Vancouver, BC, in January 2013 I wore a silk scarf given to me by a close friend. I walked around the streets that I lived on as a homeless child in the 1990s.

I was doing my first TV filming for a national production. I have always avoided TV interviews. It was a big step for me to accept this TV appearance. I was in Vancouver reluctantly. I had other plans of how and when I was to go to Vancouver, but they fell through.

As I walked through the battle grounds where I damaged hundreds of people in the past, and where I felt utterly lost and damaged as a child and young adult. I was now walking these streets a loving and compassionate man. I returned to the lower main land base where I proclaimed my war against society. I was once an over-zealous-fanatic demented by my commitment to engaging in a race war with my fellows. I walked these streets in 2013 feeling many things and left to process my return the streets. Alone.

I wore the scarf in solace. I walked. I cried. I experienced dialogues with street kids. I heard a story that crushed me. A girl in the same situation I was in when I was her age. I do not know her name. My life changed maybe hers will too, but most likely she will die. I processed these things alone, which made me sad. It seemed that decades later I walk the same streets that I lived on as a homeless youth utterly alone. This time, I am not utterly alone. And most importantly I have myself.

I have overcome many horrible things in my life, but there are somethings that can not be healed. People come and go, sometimes unnecessarily, the only constant is my own being. Sometimes the only thing I can do is find a way to embrace myself. With memories and solace from a scarf.

Image

Mirrored Child

This piece was previously published in the life-after-hate journal (www.lifeafterhate.org), 2012:

My life of hate began as a boy. From incidents of child abuse, to life on the streets. The east side of Vancouver was a breeding ground for violence and hate. Hate which I carried for many years to come.

I left the street life behind while an organized crime group, which led me to a darker path, employed me. In the mid-nineties, I moved away from Vancouver after nearly becoming the first person charged with a hate crime in British Columbia (BC). I retreated to northeast BC, the beautiful Peace River district, I carried a network of hate and violence with me. Bridging western hate networks from the south, to the east, and to the north.

I had introduced many youth to extremist groups, and doctrine, contributing to fueling their hearts with hatred. Including a northern BC man who is now in prison after multiple convictions for explosives. Peter Houston. All in the name of hate. Extreme hatred. There were three major events in my life that transpired and initiated my process of liberation—freedom from the life of hate.

First, was the birth of my last child, my son. All of my previous children were girls. Though I tried to love each and every one of them, I was unable to reach inside of myself to a depth that permitted true love and humanistic connection: the girls were fatherless.
I was detached with anger, hate, and rage.

The day my son was born, August 11, 2001, a profound realization came; I had been creating a world filled with pain and violence for my children. This boy, my saviour son, was born into my reality. I wanted to protect him from the pain ahead. He was not going to endure a childhood of abuse, like I did. His tiny body was a reflection of my being. He was my mirrored child, representative of my rebirth. I wanted to protect him. I wanted to protect myself.

If I did not change my hateful ways and my addiction to drugs, alcohol, and violence; then my son would surely be led down a similar path. I did not want to be responsible for destroying a little boy, as had been done to me. I felt like I was damaged and destroyed. Worthless. I did not want to live in an abusive world any longer. I hated life and all of the pain I endured. I had dreamed of a good life for my children, but the path to achieve these dreams was not apparent. Surely my path would destroy my son, and daughters.

Mirrored Child

(for Kieron Gallant)

familiar sadness spiraled inward

sneaking smiles index logical wit

freckled essence of ancestors splattered

chiseled features of a lively boy

demeanor displayed through daily interaction

ancient respect offers delicate soft requests

fervor anticipates emotional swells erupt

advice sought from fathers, grandfathers and men

you are soft surrounded by women

dimpled giggles with protective eyes

small toned Celtic warrior reminisces

pent energy needed direction

your natures images reflected

you stand mirrored in my eyes

After seeing myself reflected in my son’s tiny body, my last ultra-violent incident occurred. I beat an aboriginal man with a hatchet. For the first time I felt a guilt that I had never experienced before. There was no alternative but to turn myself in. Once again, for a moment, I knew this life of hate could not continue.

It was shortly after this that my second epiphany came to fruition. Presented with childhood flashbacks of repressed memories the term crisis became very apparent. I had never gone through something so torturous, as when I had experienced those memories that revealed horrific scenes from my childhood. In hindsight those memories were a metaphysical breath offered to my inner-being, awakening my spirit which had been drowned in hate. A breath that led to a path of redemption.

The third epiphany was the 9-11 tragedy. I was convinced that a race war was about to erupt, believing that the twin towers were the world’s most powerful financial institution, which was operated and controlled by Zionists. Engaging in preparation for the race war, I watched the towers crumble, I ensured that all the weapons I had cached in the hills were loaded and operational.

Gathering enough provisions and weaponry for a small army, I informed my trusted friends to prepare for the racial holy war also. As the information came out that 9-11 was not the work of white supremacists, my compatriots and I were horribly disappointed.

Discouraged, I began to question our collective dedication to a race war. I spoke with my peers in the network of hate leadership, and all seemed to be avoiding a prime opportunity for war. This was the first epiphany for my exit: the ‘movement’ was a fallacy.

For the next several years a process of change led to a pathway of liberation. But before freedom, there were feelings of being shattered and hopeless. I finally quit drugs and alcohol. After a few months of self-harm and fighting with others, while sober, a decision was made to seek help. I attended a men’s residential addiction treatment center.

After a couple of months I was prepared to leave the treatment program. A counselor made a suggestion to me for my continued path of hope and recovery from a life of hate. He informed me that he saw my intelligence, but there was still a problem. I was filled with hate and right-wing-extremist doctrine. He suggested a route to recovery that involved attending a social work school program. My counselor said that social work education could challenge my belief structure in a logical manner. I followed his suggestions, as there were no other viable options for my healing, then began college with a grade seven education. This initiated my life-after-hate[1].

In 2012, I graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) with a degree in First Nations Studies (Indigenous Studies), then started working on a Master’s degree in social work. As a successful anti-racist activist, my work includes having initiated several interventions, including exposing a white supremacist bombing, preventing hate group recruitment, and facilitating presentations to youth, professionals, post-secondary institutions, law enforcement and public events that educate people about racism, hate groups, and the realistic threat of right wing extremism in western Canada. As well, the racism we see from extremists is merely a reflection from the larger social consciousness.

I have completed several manuscripts of poetry that outline aspects of my journey. Writing saved my life. Ever since the age of fourteen, my writing has been my lifeline. My first manuscript is offered to honor those who have helped me on my healing path: academics, professionals, community members, the red road, twelve step groups, and my fellow global citizens. My first publication has been done in an editing partnership with my writing mentor. Aboriginal poet Garry Gottfriedson, has helped me to sharpen my poetic voice, in order to tell my story.

In my professional life I have worked as an addictions counselor, group home manager, researcher, and child advocate. I have many more roles in the community that are fulfilled on this travelled path of social justice. I do this work to respect all human life in a network of hope, diversity, and compassion. I consider myself, and my path, a miracle to have the opportunity to live this life-after-hate.

In compassionate and creative solidarity,

Daniel Gallant


[1] LifeAfterHate (LAH)