Aboriginal Student Services Assembly (NASSA)

Summer of Our Decolonial Love - 11

By Mark Solomon posted 02-14-2018 08:35


So I haven’t done this in a while… Life has taken over but the verdict of this past weekend has brought me back.  Actually no the verdict didn’t bring me back let me explain…

Honestly no Indigenous person ever thought that with an all white jury could we get a conviction in Saskatchewan.   We really didn’t.  However what we did buy into was reconciliation.  We bought into the idea that things were gonna be different.

Indigenous people doubted over and over, we were assured by our government and leaders that no this time they would get it right.  With everyone taking Cultural competency courses, investments in capital, things were turning around especially in post-secondary. 

Mind you there were fissures in the vanish, Indigenous peoples’ works loads significantly increased, everyone looking for the magic bullet of Indigenization rather than the hard introspection of Decolonization but we were good.  Until the verdict.

I will tell you it killed me.  I felt exhausted by Indigenization but defeated by the verdict.  How could he be innocent?  A gun in his hand killed a sleeping 22 year old.    As a gun owner I couldn’t make sense of it.  Indigenous people are mourning.

We took to twitter to express disbelief, sorrow and organize.  But so did the haters. 

I posted this tweet

Going@out ice fishing with a bunch of Indigenous youth from @SenecaCollege today gonna make sure that I tell them they are loved and valued. Anyone want me to pass any messages along? #JusticeForColtenBoushie #justiceforcolten

I got 26 replies.  Half (13) were positive, expressing encouragement, telling them to preserve and that they were loved.  The other half were full or hate and vile.  I was gonna quote them here but cruise those hashtags and you will see the hate.

This tweet bothered me the most posted by an Indigenous person I respect

The real fucked up part is tomorrow we're all gonna get up, drink our coffee, and act normal.

Because we're deep into this kind of shit being normal. We're used to nobody caring. We're all gonna swallow that little lump of terror and go back into the world. #JusticeForColten

On Sunday I was in deep sorrow.  I was hurt.  I felt like reconciliation was over.  There was no point in continuing as there was too much hate towards Indigenous people.  I talked and texted many Indigenous people in the Student Affairs profession and we were all hurt, searching for meaning and next steps.  All feeling hurt and discouraged.

Late that night I got an email from a chair that I am acquainted with.  We aren’t close but I know her well enough to conduct small talk.  She sent me a note wanting to organize an event to talk about the verdict, media, law and hate.  She took the lead asked for some guidance and ran.

The CACUSS board made a statement.  A statement that I didn’t have to write, but rather my allies did. 

I saw on twitter there was a movement of allies fighting the trolls to allow Indigenous people a reprieve. 

Finally, yesterday Adam Kuhn called to check in.  That was powerful.  He called to see how I was and my family.  Adam and I are friends but see each other once or twice a year.  But he picked up the phone and called me.  Fuck that meant something.

So today, I challenge all of you to reach out to an Indigenous person, and tell them that you are calling to prove reconciliation isn’t dead.  You care about our relationship, and you are an ally in actions.

Indigenous people are mourning, we need support.

Soon the verdict will be handed down in the Tina Fountaine murder, today is have a heart day.  Please show up at these events and rallys we need your support more than ever.  Reconciliation sometimes feels like a one sided street and a burden. 

Lift it from us.




02-28-2018 13:09

Oh wow. This is hard to read. I have purposely avoided Twitter almost completely for at least three months now, for a number of reasons - including hateful things - and now I realise that I avoided showing solidarity there. I showed it in other spaces, but I forgot a space where I am connected to so many amazing Indigenous folks like you Mark. I'm glad you've got good people looking out for you. xo

02-16-2018 08:05

Mark. Thanks for continually being open and honest and speaking from your heart. I continue to learn from you, but you have also encouraged me to do my own learning. You have my support and respect. And I am committed to learning and unlearning and doing everything i can.