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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Jingle all the way

BY Xavier Kataquapit Dec 1, 2022

It is hard to believe that Christmas 2022 and the holiday season is right around the corner. There are Christmas parades happening in most cities and towns right across the country. For many this is the first time since 2019 before the wretched Covid pandemic hit the world and stopped us all in our tracks. It is good to see Santa back on his sleigh running around the streets and greeting all the kids. We all need that idea of the goodness of Christmas and Santa this year.

We have dealt with being sick with Covid, lock downs, wearing masks, getting vaccines and having our lives turned upside down with all kinds of restrictions. Many businesses have gone bust, in particular those in the retail, tourism, entertainment and restaurant sectors. We have lost many loved ones to this pandemic, and we continue to lose people as Covid keeps coming back in new variants. We know so many people who have been sick, hospitalized and are dealing with long Covid and trying to get their lives back to normal.

The holiday season is certainly welcomed by all of us. This is that nostalgic return to joy and magic. It is also the time to spend, spend and spend to make sure we shower our young ones and those we love with all kinds of wonderful gifts. It is also the time of gatherings to celebrate the season and a little later to welcome in 2023. People will be travelling from remote First Nations to cities and towns all over the country to purchase gifts and to enjoy the holiday break. 

This Christmas and holiday season should come with a warning. While we are running around and spending a lot of time indoors without masks, we will certainly be catching Covid, flus, colds and other infectious diseases. We should keep in mind that we are in the middle of a severe sick season again this year and although we want to believe things are back to normal all the experts tell us that is not the case. So, if you want to protect your Elders and the very young from severe sickness and possibly death you should try to remember where and when you are in history. Get the latest vaccine to protect yourself from serious sickness, get the flu shot and for goodness’ sake wear masks when you are heading anywhere indoors. This is not the time to be caught off guard during the circulation of so much sickness.

Also, you might want to consider the warnings from all the financial experts that we are entering into a time of severe recession and possibly depression. That means if you are like most Canadians and living from paycheque to paycheque and maxing out your credit cards, you just might be in for a big surprise if the economy fails to the point where you end up jobless and way over your head in debt. So, while you are spending your way to happiness this Christmas perhaps you might want to remember to try to put a little cash aside for the possible rainy days that are forecast for the next year or two. 

As we head into Christmas and the holiday season with 2023 on the horizon, we remember that the world’s superpowers are madly sabre-rattling with each other and for the first time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis there is talk of nuclear war. This seems to be very unreal and all of the above considered feels like we are watching a very bad movie. Still, we are human. We are hopeful and we trust that most of the world leaders are somewhat sane and working towards a better life for all of us. Still, that is a bit of a gamble.

One thing for sure as an Indigenous person I can tell you that my people have already suffered from poverty, starvation, racism and the tragic violence of colonization. This life experience has prepared us for whatever is coming that might not be all about pretty gifts under the tree and Christmas cake. We are survivors and we can cope with just about anything. However, global nuclear war is something none of us can deal with. Hopefully the upcoming year 2023 will bring more sense to our world leaders and those few filthy rich billionaires, the end of the Covid pandemic and a goose in every pot for us all. The alternatives are dire. 

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Xavier Kataquapit is Cree from Attawapiskat First Nation on the James Bay coast. He is a writer and columnist who has written about his life and Indigenous issues since 1998.