Saturday, 22 March 2008

Tribes and Tributes. Part Two.

April 4th, 1969, a rainy Good Friday morning. We had gathered at the steps of Vancouver City Hall, all united in the same cause; To help the native people; To increase awareness of their plight.
This was the start of the most memorable Easter weekend of my life. We prepared ourselves for day one of our three day, one hundred mile walk. 'Moccasin Miles' had begun and this fifteen your old lad was thrilled with the anticipation of the great adventure that lay before us.
Through the incessant pouring rain, we finally reached out first destination. Completely drenched, it was so comforting to be inside the warm shelter of Langley Secondary High School. Our first day's travel had brought us almost thirty miles east of Vancouver. Time to relax, time to dry out and prepare ourselves for a night that will be firmly engrained in the minds of so many.
That evening, in the high school gymnasium, we were treated to a 'Pow Wow'. Pow Wow, a sensory delight of dancing, music and a traditional native people's feast. The chants, the festive and spiritual songs, were of joy and celebration. The pounding of the native drums had a powerful effect on this young, wide-eyed, teenage boy. Humanity, from all walks of life, bonded that night in respect and admiration for the tribes of British Columbia.
It was getting late, the Pow Wow drew to a conclusion. It was time to get some sleep, we slept in classrooms. I headed into a room and found a spot to place my sleeping bag. I looked around and realised I was the only white person in the room. All around me were native people from the great tribes of British Columbia.
I felt no discomfort being the only white guy in that classroom. Why should I? Then the good-natured banter began. They noticed me and proceeded to mention a sign that had been placed on the window of the classroom door. "Think you had better read the sign on the door" they chuckled. Clambering over a collection of sleeping bags, I stumbled to the door and read the sign. 'No white men allowed', it stated. Upon my reading it, everyone in the room started to laugh. I laughed too, it was just a bit of fun.
That night in the classroom, we broke down the barriers, we knew that to stigmatise someone because of the colour of their skin, or the sterotypes society had imposed, was to devalue them as human beings. I like to think that I base my perceptions on how people are towards me. To pass judgement, based on misconceptions, is a crime on humanity. Reflecting upon that wonderful day, I drifted off to sleep, the sound of the native drums, a gentle lull in my mind.
I call upon the First Nation's people. May your spirituality continue to inspire me.


  1. That's the trick isn't it? - not to repay prejudice and discrimination with prejudice and discrimination.
    It's good to see your blog again after some months - life has been so filled with stuff I haven't had time to post or comment - the holiday break has given me time to slow down and look around and even post a couple of items!
    Take care and keep on truckin'
    Tone x

  2. Hi klahanie,

    Another amazing piece of work!!

    Your life in Canada, considering you were yourself a relative newcomer, was quite amazing. I guess in the late sixties the civil rites movement was as strong in the north of the continent as the south. Over here we did not see that.

    Keep up the good work


  3. Daer Klahanie,
    Another great and very interesting post. Your great wealth of experience of life puts me to shame. Because that, despite your illness, is what comes over in your blogs. This great feelinig of a life truly lived. While many of us remain scared of living it seems that you remain fearless. I know you would probably say that that's not true, but your blogs say different.
    Take Care,

  4. 39 years ago today? and you were 15? Surely you mean 5...

    Was a coincidence that the start of the 'Moccasin Miles' was on the first anniversary of Martin Luther Kings assasination?

    What a fantastic event to be involved with, and what life lessons you learned along the way. Thank you for once again sharing your wonderful experiences with us. x

  5. Youve had some really cool experiences dude and i would of loved to have gone with you, but you would of had to put me in a rucksack as i was only one at the time :)

  6. Hi folks,
    Thank you all very kindly for your comments.
    Oh by the way young Simon; I think that you would have looked ever so cute in a papoose!
    Take care everyone. Kind regards Klahanie ( a guy wanting a simple life)...

  7. Weren't the sixties great, what the heck happened to them.

  8. They were great maaan. Far out and flower power, right on! :-)

  9. 'Cliches'? What? Wow, that's really trippy and awesome maaan...:-)

  10. It was a wonderful time in my life. It was a blessed experience.
    Peace brother..


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.