Harper dons war paint, named chief speaker of Blood Tribe

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WilderMore
Harper dons war paint, named chief speaker of Blood Tribe

Quite the honour for the PM to receive.

STANDOFF, ALTA.—Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been given a ceremonial title shared by the likes of Prince Charles and Pope John Paul II — honorary chief of the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta.

“I am deeply grateful for the honour you have bestowed upon me today. It is an experience I will never forget,” the newest member of the Kainai Chieftainship said Monday, a headdress of eagle feathers perched on his head and paint smeared on his face.

The Prime Minister and his wife, Laureen, slowly shuffled along the grassy perimeter of an outdoor amphitheatre as tribe members pounded on drums and sang songs. Dancers in bright, fringed clothing twirled and jumped behind the procession.

A key part of the chieftainship ceremony is the “capturing” of the chief-to-be.

“Only warriors get the honour to do it,” said Master Cpl. Melissa Whitegrass, who was chosen to capture the Prime Minister.

Whitegrass was badly wounded by a bomb in Kabul on May 18, 2010. Six NATO soldiers and 18 Afghan civilians were killed. A year to the day later, Whitegrass gave birth to her daughter, Dawni-Rae.

“That’s why the creator brought me home and I wish all the people of the Blood Tribe the same luck, the same creator’s grace, and I wish the best for you, Mr. Harper,” she said.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1023254--harper-dons...

Maysie Maysie's picture

The headline in the Star is racist, and repeating it here uncritically is also racist. 

Nowhere in the putrid article does it say anything about the markings made on Harper's face with paint being "war paint".

 

WilderMore

The story actually comes from the InterTribal Times; they use the term "war paint" so it can't be racist.

http://www.intertribaltimes.com/canada/harper-dons-war-paint-named-chief...

Freedom 55

WilderMore, I'm not even sure how relevant the origins of the article are to the question of whether the title is racist, but for what it's worth; no, the story was originally published in the Star. It was posted on InterTribal times, which doesn't make it "from" there anymore than your posting it here makes it from rabble.

WilderMore

Anyhoooo.......interesting story nonetheless. Harper looked a bit taken aback. Perhaps he wasn't fully briefed on what the ceremony would entail, methinks.

Erik Redburn

I wonder if Harper's DIA chief Tom Flanagan will be getting any such honors.   Maybe they could enact his ceremony closer to the Oldman dam "recreation" centre....  

Mr.Tea

He said the tribe made Harper a chief because of the residential schools apology he issued in 2008.

"I think it sort of set the direction and the tone of rebuilding the relationship with First Nations," said Weasel Head.

After his name was announced, Harper sat cross-legged in front of a medicine man, who smeared yellow paint on the politician's face and hands and drew bright red lines on either cheek. The medicine man shook the headdress on either side of Harper before affixing it to his head.

Harper is the third sitting Prime Minister to be bestowed the honour, behind Lester Pearson and John Diefenbaker.

Jean Chrétien was given the title before becoming Prime Minister.

Former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, environmentalist David Suzuki and former Alberta premiers Ralph Klein and Peter Lougheed have also received the honour

ygtbk

Maysie wrote:

The headline in the Star is racist, and repeating it here uncritically is also racist. 

Nowhere in the putrid article does it say anything about the markings made on Harper's face with paint being "war paint". 

So does anyone know the currently-politically-acceptable locution for the paint markings, since "war paint" is right out?

Erik Redburn

Is "war paint" in fact the correct term?  That seems strange to me, given he's the head of a foreign government, which is at this moment an occupying power but officially at peace with them.  Not the same as adopting someone into thr tribe, even as a fellow "warrior".   I suspect calling it that  reflects the writers ignorance, or perhaps the guy giving him the honour is only speaking for a small segment of the Blackfoot confederacy.  The confederacy is not as far as I know at war with Afghanistan. 

Erik Redburn

Mr.Tea wrote:

He said the tribe made Harper a chief because of the residential schools apology he issued in 2008.

"I think it sort of set the direction and the tone of rebuilding the relationship with First Nations," said Weasel Head.

After his name was announced, Harper sat cross-legged in front of a medicine man, who smeared yellow paint on the politician's face and hands and drew bright red lines on either cheek. The medicine man shook the headdress on either side of Harper before affixing it to his head.

Harper is the third sitting Prime Minister to be bestowed the honour, behind Lester Pearson and John Diefenbaker.

Jean Chrétien was given the title before becoming Prime Minister.

Former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, environmentalist David Suzuki and former Alberta premiers Ralph Klein and Peter Lougheed have also received the honour

 

I read the blurb.  Fact that they saw Ralph Klein as worthy of the honour as David Suzuki might say something about its superficial "honourary" nature...or the present Piegan leadership's particular political leanings...or obligations.

voice of the damned

The guy giving the honour was Charles Weasel Head jr., who is described by his bio on the [url=http://www.bloodtribe.org/council.html]website of the Blood Tribe[/url] as "Chief of the Blood Tribe". Assuming the bio isn't a complete fabrication, it doesn't sound like he's just one guy pretending to speak for the whole community.  

As for possible political bias, well, if, as the article says, the award was given specifically for Harper's statement on the residential schools, then it need not be interpreted as an endorsement of everything Harper has done. It can be politically astute to commend someone for doing something you've been pushing for them to do.

Or maybe the tribal leadership just likes to schmooze with power. Who knows. In any event, it would seem to me that it's really nobody's business but the tribe's who they bestow a Chieftanship upon.  

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

It strikes me as a PMO orchestrated event, frankly. This FN has negotiatiated petro deals with US investors so I would say that Chief and Council are not outside of Harper's wheelhouse of interests. Notice that this ceremonial event and locations where perfectly convenient for the PM. It's not like he raced off to Norway House, Manitoba to be inducted as an honorary chief. Based on the coverage and the freaking laziness, low cost journalisn of the day. I believe most of the details were provided by the PMO. Hence all the info about the Major Corporal who was part of the ceremony and had been injured in Afghanistan and no freaking meniton of what the apology was all about and its ramifications. For example, an update on how the reconcilliation process was going or why Harper chose NOT to renew funding for the Healing Fund.

 

 

 

 

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

"Charles Weasel Head"?  Yeah, THAT sure sounds authentic...

Erik Redburn

Actually it could be Ken, but there is a growing gap between the governed and the government on many reserves too.  Wealthier more "progressive" ones (relative to others) often have more problems with that than poorer more isolated ones.  Or so I've been told.  VoTD could be right about it being strategic in intent, but if that's the case its only seems to be working for Harper.    That asshole has done more damage to them and other FNs than all the Liberal do-nothings of recent memory.  But that shouldn't be a surprise, even to a better connected chief.

Erik Redburn

Pardon me, "Blood tribe" not Piegan.  Kainah I think is closer to the real word.  

voice of the damned

Ken Burch wrote:

"Charles Weasel Head"?  Yeah, THAT sure sounds authentic...

 

[url=http://www.blackfeetgenealogy.com/pafg54.htm]It would seem that it is.[/url]

WilderMore

laine lowe wrote:

It strikes me as a PMO orchestrated event, frankly.

If the board members can't say without proof that the Arab Spring was a CIA-orchestrated manoeuver, shouldn't saying the PMO orchestrated this honor also be verboten?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

One is an anti-imperialist phenomenon; the other is a pro-imperialist phenomenon. I'll leave you to figure out which is which.

WilderMore

Same coin, different sides. Gotcha!

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

WilderMore wrote:
Same coin, different sides. Gotcha!

Which of course leads to the inevitable question.  Which side are you on?  

This board says the discourse should be from the perspective of people on one of the two sides not that all points of view are equally welcome.  

WilderMore

The coin is this:

It's forbidden for rabblers to state that the CIA was responsible for the goings on in Arab nations this spring, because that would deny the Arabs' capacity for self-determination and THAT would be racist.

It's not forbidden for rabblers to state that the PMO was responsible for the goings on in First Nations this summer, even though that would deny the First Nations' capacity for self determination and be racist.

Pretty clear.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Clear as mud to me.  Oh well I don't follow all attempts at logic.

I don't have a clue what your statement has to do with babbles stated goals.  If only our FN's had the capacity, within our system, for self determination.  Allowing FN's a chance to be self determining nations would be the best thing for Canada. IMO

Quote:

In defining itself as "progressive," rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and as such encourages discussions which develop and expand progressive thought.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

WilderMore wrote:
The coin is this: It's forbidden for rabblers to state that the CIA was responsible for the goings on in Arab nations this spring, because that would deny the Arabs' capacity for self-determination and THAT would be racist. It's not forbidden for rabblers to state that the PMO was responsible for the goings on in First Nations this summer, even though that would deny the First Nations' capacity for self determination and be racist. Pretty clear.

You specialize in sarcastic putdowns of the left and blatant propaganda for the right, copied from the MSM and presented either without comment or with comments like "Quite the honour for the PM to receive" (which for some reason babblers choose to charitably construe as irony).

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool me at all.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

"Charles Weasel Head"?  Yeah, THAT sure sounds authentic...

Well given that the surnames used by many First Nations people here in Southern Alberta are literally translations of an ancestor's actual name, it is not a terribly unusual one. Practice elsewhere may have been to adopted a phonetic rendering of the same in an indigenous language, but that is not the case here. The results may sound strange to those of European descent, but the imposition of naming conventions (the very existence of surnames) came from the outside anyway.

WilderMore

M. Spector wrote:

with comments like "Quite the honour for the PM to receive" (which for some reason babblers choose to charitably construe as irony).

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool me at all.

Regardless of your views of First Nations peoples, it is an honour to receive the Kainai Chieftainship. I realize there's no money attached to it, like the Nobel Prize, so perhaps that's why you think it's not a "real" honour.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

bagkitty wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

"Charles Weasel Head"?  Yeah, THAT sure sounds authentic...

Well given that the surnames used by many First Nations people here in Southern Alberta are literally translations of an ancestor's actual name, it is not a terribly unusual one. Practice elsewhere may have been to adopted a phonetic rendering of the same in an indigenous language, but that is not the case here. The results may sound strange to those of European descent, but the imposition of naming conventions (the very existence of surnames) came from the outside anyway.

Point taken.  I guess I was confused because you'd have to BE kind of a weasel head to do this for Harper..  I hope I didn't actually offend anybody.  Sorry if I did. 

BTW, was I the only person who thought the thread title meant that Harper had changed the name of his party to "The Blood Tribe"? That would kind of fit with his foreign policy.

Erik Redburn

WilderMore wrote:
M. Spector wrote:

with comments like "Quite the honour for the PM to receive" (which for some reason babblers choose to charitably construe as irony).

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool me at all.

Regardless of your views of First Nations peoples, it is an honour to receive the Kainai Chieftainship. I realize there's no money attached to it, like the Nobel Prize, so perhaps that's why you think it's not a "real" honour.

 

You're just trolling.   And you're not even very good at it.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Erik Redburn wrote:

WilderMore wrote:
M. Spector wrote:

with comments like "Quite the honour for the PM to receive" (which for some reason babblers choose to charitably construe as irony).

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool me at all.

Regardless of your views of First Nations peoples, it is an honour to receive the Kainai Chieftainship. I realize there's no money attached to it, like the Nobel Prize, so perhaps that's why you think it's not a "real" honour.

 

You're just trolling.   And you're not even very good at it.

Laughing  Laughing

Maysie Maysie's picture

Erik Redburn wrote:
 You're just trolling.   And you're not even very good at it.

Hey! I called troll in this thread 3 days ago.

Nyah.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I meant no disprespect to the Blood Tribe and one acquaintence who is a member of that FN was totatlly aghast over this as where other members of her FN. From what I gather, this was not a decision made through referendum or Chief and Council but an action atributable to the Chief alone.

And I still believe that the PMO was responsible for distributing the initial press release. They probaboy set up that talking points. I also think that they might very well have been involved in the staging of the ceremony because that is just how things work with Harper.

Erik Redburn

Maysie wrote:

Erik Redburn wrote:
 You're just trolling.   And you're not even very good at it.

Hey! I called troll in this thread 3 days ago.

Nyah.

 

Heh.  I've had almost as much experience by now, but you're still the queen of troll spotting.  Maybe I need a turn as mod too, but noone really deserves That title...

Missydumaine

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Was this bumped because the Chief is supporting Harper on his vague and non-commital stance with respect to the one day summit?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I don't know, but the poster who bumped it is Melissa Whitegrass, the soldier who "captured" Stephen Harper in the OP story.