What does it mean to be an indigenous man? New book challenges misconceptions of indigenous masculinity

“As opposed to mainstream masculinities where discussions might be around power and how it’s deployed, all the conversations we had were around responsibilities, and how men can take up those responsibilities to the natural world as well as to all their human relations,” said Anderson.

Anderson believes that indigenous masculinity has become linked with violence and criminality because of the long history of colonialism.

“Prior to an interference from colonization, indigenous men were embedded within families and communities where they had tremendous responsibilities that they exercised on a daily basis,” said Anderson.

“Those are the things that were disrupted, and those are the things that contribute to the levels of crisis and traumas in our communities and the violence that people experience.”

Beyond defining what masculinity is, Anderson and Innes said the book highlights what needs to be changed to ensure a positive future for indigenous boys.

Soft Power and Hard Power

I was fortunate to learn from Jeannette Armstrong (born 1948) (Okanagan) is a Canadian author, educator, artist, and activist.  I recall a class I took with her where we discussed soft power and hard power. I think a lot about soft power in the context of my business plan and how it is rooted in feminine energies, of realizing, reclaiming, being, wellness. At the same time, these things so condemned at times, and not supported by mainstream. Yet, so inherently important and integral.

“To my mind the most fascinating readings in this book are the quotes from Douglas Cardinal and John Trudell. Cardinal’s words on the nature of power and the way women are treated are stated so matter of factually it makes you wonder how anyone could act any differently. On women he sums things up very succinctly,

“One has to state that all the premises that men have of women are basically wrong and you start from there. Even the language is wrong”. He uses the same directness of language in his discussion on the nature of power, “I have learnt…that the most powerful force is soft power, caring and commitment together. Soft power is more powerful than adversarial or hard power because it is resilient”.

Trudell’s words resonate with a different kind of power.

The worse I think is the lateral colonialism- this when its perpetuated from within. “We are much more valuable and much more precious than we were”

Take a listen: http://www.tropicalbass.com/2013/11/irindigenous-resistance-we-r-valuable-feat-jeannette-armstrong-in-dub/