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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Welcome to 2020

BY Xavier Kataquapit Jan 17, 2020

Mino-oosh-kee-poo-poo-n is the Cree way of saying “Happy New Year”. 

2019 was quite a year. For us northerners in Ontario’s James Bay region it was full of snow with very cold winter temperatures and a short summer. We all survived a nasty federal election, ending up with a minority government with the Liberals still in charge. Which is probably as good as it could get. This election campaign featured ample doses of hate, racism and bigotry coming from the far right and making huge use of social media. People I normally consider as open and kind were sharing terribly dark, right-wing attacks on Facebook and other platforms.

It seems like the dark face of fascism is once again rearing its head, now bankrolled by huge corporations that would like to take more control of our world. They want to get rid of any opposition to their profit making and they do what they can to discredit opposition politicians, journalists, academics and scientists. 

You would think we would recognize these old fascist strategies and reject them. But it is important to remember that there is a lot of power and money behind these movements and they dominate mainstream media, social media and all kinds of lobby groups. 

This is happening in many countries, including the most powerful – Russia, China, the United States – and even here in Canada. It is up to us not to fall for these nasty lies. Any time you see information in any media, especially in online social media, that spreads hate or racism to get you to support right-wing ideas and movements, don’t fall for it. 

Instead, think about the future of the planet, the future of your grandchildren and all the people you love. We need a more kind, open, tolerant and intelligent society – not one that is going to be dark, taking advantage of people, using war to dominate other cultures and countries, dividing us in order to control people – all the while sacrificing our environment and all her creatures for short-sighted financial profit. 

There is a good amount of healing and reconciliation going on right across Canada with my people and hopefully that will continue. Our future generations will thank us for working hard to make this a reality. 

Here is a little gift from myself to you that should help you navigate the world of news and information. 

For Indigenous news about Native Canada provided by Indigenous people go to: www.wawataynews.ca; windspeaker.com; theturtleislandnews.com; albertanativenews.com and nationnews.ca

For alternative Canadian news sources go to: thetyee.ca; rabble.ca; democracywatch.ca; nowtoronto.com

A source of information about medical stories can be found at ssristories.org 

These fact-checking websites can help you quickly check on the truth of a story you see: rationalwiki.org; www.snopes.com; wikileaks.org

For international alternative news go to these websites: www.alternet.org; www.democracynow.org; consortiumnews.com; www.motherjones.com; www.poynter.org; whowhatwhy.org; therealnews.com

It is not easy to find media and information that is factual these days and you have to figure out where the real news is on your own. This requires looking at a lot of alternate news and information sites so that you can get an idea of what is really happening in our world. 

There are two people I like to refer to when I look into determining the basics for real news and for a just society. Victor Hugo, the 19th century author who wrote in his novel Les Misérables, “If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.” 

Then there is Carl Sagan, the American astronomer, author and astrophysicist who came up with, “Keeping an open mind is a virtue but not so open that your brains fall out.” 

I do my best to remember these two quotes when considering what is real and what is not.

Happy New Year and I hope you take the time to do a little research in determining what is real news and what is not. If what you are reading, watching or listening to is asking you to hate someone or a group of people, think twice about what you are looking at or listening to. Stop believing those hateful, intolerant, racist and bigoted posts on social media that hook people into thinking in a dark and negative way. 

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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.