Regina, Treaty 4: Simon Moccasin
(Photo by Eagleclaw Thom, Intro by Ashley Hayden)
Simon Moccasin is a bit of a conundrum. If you have ever had the pleasure of exchanging words with him, you would know of what I speak. Firstly, he is a proud father of two beautiful young women. Secondly, he is an artist/activist and is deeply passionate about Aboriginal/Human rights. He just recently took a stand against the Regina Police Service in hopes of shedding light on racial profiling (walking while Indian). He is currently in mediation regarding this incident.
I was asked to write an introduction for him, for which I am honoured, and these words came to mind:
Fierce protector of family,
Ever resourceful and resilient.
Battling, alongside the people,
Against inherent spaces/places of racism.
All the while, furiously and fearlessly decolonizing and
Assisting others with this process
Through spoken and written word,
Speaking to people through his medium.
Unafraid to bare his soul in his art
And expose flaws within the system – the machine.
KC: What kinds of project are you involved in right now?
I am involved in a few projects at the moment. One of the “projects” I am participating in, is the action around Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) in Regina. We are occupying outside INAC. We are coming at it from a Grassroots point-of-view. Many INAC Chiefs and Council are participating within the Colonizers political arena through the Westernized model of politics. Therefore, there is much suffering of the “People.” That and the “Canadian” Government has done very little for our people since contact. So, we have a list of demands for the Federal Government to gain respect for, and to alleviate suffering of the Indigenous People of Turtle Island. I feel like I am on fire when conducting this type of humanitarian work.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?
When I am not politicking, or tending to my most wonderful daughters, and partner, Maija, Sage and Ashley, I am a writer, actor storyteller and a teacher. What I love most about these jobs is, they are all congruent in pushing the re-Indigenization of this land forward. I am grateful. What I find challenging is sitting at the computer, sometimes, and waiting for those words to coarse through my body and on to the documents. It can be nerve-wrecking sometimes.
KC: What’s important to you?
Family is the most important to me. Right after keeping my own self balanced mentally, physically, emotionally and Spiritually. It starts with self then family then community etc. I’d do anything for Ashley, Maija and Sage to assist in keeping them happy and healthy.
KC: What do you like most/least about Regina?
What I like most about Regina is that for the most part it is behind the times. Plus there is so much racism here. The mayor, Fougere, doesn’t want to talk about it. The Chief of police, Hagen, says there is no racism in the police force and there are many incidents of racism here. It is getting worse. So it’s a nice place to start from to promote positive change for an all-inclusive Regina.
What I like least about Regina is the rampant drug use and there is little for the teenagers to do.
KC: What is your impression of Saskatoon?
I am from Treaty 6 territory and I love me some Sassytoon. My writing seems to flow better there because of the flowing river. The river is very healing as well, it takes the “dark energy” that accumulates in a person and washes it away. In Regina we have a human made slough, that’s pretty much what I have to say about that.
KC: How do you survive the winters?
I love the winters. Two years ago when it was -57 out, I went for a run around the block…..lung burn! I wanted to experience that cold of a temperature.
From Proust’s questionnaire: What is your current state of mind?
I really admire this time frame of the Indigenous movement since Idle No More was born. Idle No More woke a lot of people up and gave them voice. There was, and still is, education on the issues being taught. In this day and age of post-Harper, getting to know one another is an asset in repairing what was broken and what was exposed. The Treaties are essential to survival and the nation to nation partnership that was started a long time ago.
My plight and fight as a teacher is to educate about what we as Indigenous people have been struggling through since contact. Personally, as a 60’s Scoop survivor that’s where I am focusing next. Back in the day Ottawa, through collusion and such, set up a system where the Social Services of each province went onto Reserves and scooped Aboriginal babies from their families and placed them into non-aboriginal families. The purpose was to assimilate and to keep practicing genocide on my people. We seek justice and healing, we seek respect and that this trickery stop. Thank you for your time.