This past winter I completed my graduate diploma in Urban Environments with Dr. Joy Mannette at York University. Such an amazing course; I would highly recommend it! One of the assignments was for each of us students to take a stroll through Toronto based on the concept of being a “Flaneur.” Flaneur’s came out of 19th century France which were usually individuals of affluence who people watched. When I took MY STROLL through Toronto I wrote this piece “Indigenous flaneur.” Hope you enjoy.
Urban Indigenous Flaneur – February 2015
By Eddy Robinson
Who am I and where am I from?
Am I from this land like the echoes of my ancestors and the weeping of my Grandmother’s?
If we belong to the land where is my home?
Is it within the constructs of prescriptive technology, mainstream ontology strategic urban planning with intention of further vanishing, who I am.
Indigenous Diaspora dispersed from the directions; Am I from waabanung (east), zhaawanung (south), ningaabayanung (west), kewadinanung (north) or Ishkonighan (Reserve translated means leftovers)?
Why are we further removed from the visual presence of this metropolis? Absent of the Indigenous spirit is the plot of this?
How should I locate myself for your benefit and privilege? Why don’t you believe I am Anishinaabe (Ojibway)? Why is it important for you to call me Indian, Aboriginal, Native Canadian?
Why is my skin not the right color for you? Is it because all the social work books you’ve read say I’m other-ed to you?
How Indian should I look? Do I need to be wearing an Eagle feather headdress adorned ermine skins, beadwork and Ojibway-ness?
Does my face need to be painted to appease your romantic novels, oppression has been a lifetime acquainted for me to grovel.
My Anishinaabe methodologies and Urban Indigenous ways of knowing led me to this epistemology, the Sweetgrass path no matter what my spirit was sowing.
Surrounded by housing, food banks and marginalization hidden policies further removing my identity was not a civilization.
So here I am gathering wisdom, seated humbly by Creations gifts of pure vision.
As I sit here on Mother Earth overwhelmed with introspection, the pedagogy of our people becomes clearly obvious to the next path and direction.
This vision questing has not only been a method for cleansing cognitive confusions but has been a way of knowing for gathering information from Creation in seclusion.
No matter what our geographical locations, generations upon generations have been connected to Creation.
Indigenous ways of knowing will continue bestowing
Meegwetch (Thank you)