Crab Bucket by Matthew Shorting

Crab in  the bucket, we may have heard this term and I wonder…why is it so difficult to support those that are successful instead of trying to tear them down?

A lot of people in Winnipeg have difficulty with supporting Indigenous people.  People who have overcome many barriers that have been placed before us throughout history. Don’t believe me check out: Wab Kinew, Robert Falcon Ouellette, Don Burnstick, Adam Beach, Inez, Ashely Callingbull-Burnham, Tanya Tagak.

If we choose to see flaws only, that’s something that needs to be worked on. Paint the whole picture– look for their gifts. Quit trying to use flaws as if there always going remain that way and stop trying to generalize that behavior to their whole being.  At the end of the day, do we even have any knowledge of who they truly are? Hear-say is not truth.

We all have flaws,  so who are we to judge? What you can do is have compassion for their pain that drove them to unhealthy behaviors and talk to them instead of about them. Connection and relationships change people by not being alone, isolated and ridiculed. Shaming doesn’t work. Courage outlasts fear. Love will always conquer hate. 

WE JUST SURVIVED A GENOCIDE! 

Of course we learnt unhealthy unconscious negative behavior. The survival  mechanisms from intergenerational pain is insidious, cunning and powerful. However, that can change gradually by connection and by paying attention to it. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have, with the resources available to them. Know the difference between unintentional and intentional behavior. Quit trying to bring yourself into the light by calling people down – let them have their shine and time. No one’s perfect. No one’s perfect. No one’s Perfect. 

YES we need boundaries and discernment when the person is unwilling or unable to change harmful behaviors. YES we need support each other when everything is trying to divide, separate and conquer us. And NO, this is not an excuse to not grow or be your best every single day. 

HUMILITY Is realizing that no one is above or below another and that all of life matters.

Be like the grass outside. It gets stomped on, burnt and walked allover. Yet when it’s a hot day and we go to the ground, that grass is cool and gentle. That grass is always kind no matter what. No, It doesn’t mean  be a doormat or give of yourself until your hurting yourself and those around you either.

Creators love is Like the sun, it shines on all of us no matter what.

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Food As Medicine Notes

On September 8th, 2017, approximately 80 residents of Winnipeg’s inner city came together in a special event featuring the Bell Tower Family, the National Diabetes Association and researchers from the University of Manitoba to discuss FOOD AS MEDICINE. The conversation was highlighted by our usual Food Not Bombs vegetable soup (veggies donated by Food Fare) and some delicious Bannock Pizza from Neechi Commons. The discussion asked community members to identify ways we could use food to improve our health, how to improve services and costs so that all members of our community could access healthy and culturally relevant food.

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Find below a summary of our conversations grouped into the following 7 areas:

FOOD BANKS

  • Easy access food banks for people with a disability, wheelchair or walker
  • More emergency food available in the community
  • More MILK available for seniors AND children at food banks

PHYSICAL WELLNESS

  • Free Gyms
  • Exercise classes for low income people
  • More access to cultural/traditional health activities (example: singing/dancing/pow wow classes)
  • More opportunities in the community for people struggling with addictions

COMMUNITY GARDENS/GREEN HOUSES

  • More community gardens with traditional food (not just flowers)
  • Free herbal tea
  • Teach how to grow herbs and traditional herbs
  • Year round community gardens (including green house and winter activities where applicable)
  • Bring back Indigenous corn

LIVING WITH HEALTH CHALLENGES

  • Diabetes “rehab”
  • eating well with diabetes
  • Foot care if you have been amputated for diabetes reasons
  • Heart care for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • Increased access to alternative sweeteners (sugar and aspartame are both bad for us)
  • More information about the harms and benefits of alternative sweeteners and sugar
  • Access to appropriate foods for those who are diabetic or lactose intolerant

TRADITIONAL FOODS

  • Increase access to traditional foods on the land
  • How to braid sweetgrass  lessons
  • More berry picking groups (and planting berries in the city and out of the city, when we can provide transportation)
  • Sharing stories about how food can be medicine

ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE/HEALTHY FOOD IN THE INNER CITY

  • More community shuttles to grocery stores
  • Host a community vegetable sale at the end of every month (possibly at the bell tower)
  • Lower prices for healthy, organic food
  • Increased communications and access to farmers markets
  • Increase access to free healthy  family dinners throughout the week (like cooking classes that let you take what you cook home to your family ex. “make and take”)
  • Cheaper prices for local fish

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

  • Opportunities to teach community members how to grow traditional foods (in the city)
  • Cooking and preserving classes (for jams, pickling, etc.)
  • Cook Book/cooking classes with healthy recipes and ho to cook on a budget
  • More opportunities to learn about the teachings behind food (spiritually)
  • Recipe exchange program between community members and nutrition experts
  • Increased information about the dangers of dye food colouring in our foods
  • Increase the marketing of healthy foods locally
  • Art classes – make collages of healthy lifestyles
  • Ban marketing junk food to children
  • Ban free refills of sugary rinks at fast food restaraunts
  • Healthy cooking video series for YouTube/Facebook
  • Fire department could come to the bell tower to teach about first aid
  • Free Seeds / Seed Bank or Library

As you can see, there are various long term and short term initiatives or projects we could be working on as a community to try and improve the health of our relatives living in poverty or those who are already living with chronic illness. We will be sharing the academic report with community members when it is finished and will also be continuing our relationship with the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association to ensure we can do prevention and maintenance for our relatives living with diabetes.

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Natalie & Joyce from the U of MB rang the bell together