Category Archives: Race

Finally, a visitor from Vancouver

My friend Rebecca Belmore is coming into town for that opening next week, the Mendel has a bunch of different shows going on at once, and she’s showing. I love Rebecca, she’s so fun. I have her panties but that’s another story (she’s straight, to my knowledge, which is why it’s funny). She was the second Aboriginal to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale, my dad was the first. She and I used to hang out at The Grunt in Vancouver, which was probably the only gallery scene I was able to appreciate in any meaningful way. I think because they showed a lot of aboriginal art and yet didn’t classify themselves as an aboriginal art gallery. Plus they were unpretentious and you could stand out in the rain smoking joints with staff and other artists, and then stay after hours and get drunker and drunker. They were the most aboriginal friendly gallery in town, so it makes sense that that is where I ended up.

There were other decent galleries, but they seemed to be mainly concerned with catering to the white hipster crowd of wannabe art stars. In fact when Video In started heading toward the wannabe art star crowd I kind of got disengaged with it and felt marginalized again. The irony of that is Video In, which is the oldest artist run centre in Canada, had a really strong mandate for doing community based activist work around issues like sexuality, race, sex, class, gender, disabilities, more sex, etc. So as you can imagine the membership was pretty diverse. But now I keep hearing disturbing stories of aboriginal members being treated in racist and offensive ways. I haven’t experienced it myself, but that’s the word on the street.

I sometimes don’t know if racist shit is going down because people forget I’m aboriginal, or never knew it. So if they hate brown people, I’m sometimes just off the radar to not see it firsthand and know somethings up. Sometimes it’s so fucked up that I almost want to say “Don’t be racist to my friend, be racist to me! Spread your all encompassing racism around and stop singling out the obvious brown faces.” It sounds weird I know. I have brown skin envy.

Which brings me to another thing. I hate it when white people say racism is hating someone based on their skin colour. It goes WAY deeper than that, it’s about hating cultures and POC histories and projecting white guilt into a more manageable form of hatred that comes out in words like “I’m not responsible for what happened hundreds of years ago” even when they still benefit from it, or “Don’t tell me about colonial history because you’ll hurt my feelings and I’ll run to your superior and tell them you’re racist towards white people!” Ugh! Just dumb. And I’m not the same as a full blooded European because I have a very different personal history rooted in Cree culture. Looking white does not make me care less or know less about being Cree.

I’m glad Rebecca’s coming to remind me of the Grunt that I miss.

More “Fuck You” to Mel Gibson’s rampant racism

I got this in my email from the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, and I thought I would post it here. I read another really good article on Apocalypto from a Mayan Scholar, but I don’t remember where it is. If I find it I’ll link it.


(This first commentary is written by Prof. Gerardo Aldana of UCSB. He is a Maya specialist and a good Mexica brother. The second, below, is from Indian Country Today.)

Having viewed a screening of *Apocalypto *at UCSB on December 3rd, I walked away recognizing three main points within Mel Gibson’s movie. This first colors the entire story, seemingly as a kind of guiding moral: “the good Indian is the savage one in the forest.” There is absolutely nothing appealing about Maya city-life in this movie—no indication that Maya urban centers flourished in the region for hundreds of years. Instead, religious figures are depicted as fraudulent or heavily drugged; political figures are fat and passive (both of these characterizations having been lifted straight from *The Road to El Dorado*); and everyone else seems to be living a nightmare of hard labor, servitude, famine, and/or disease. The “Maya” living in the forest village, on the other hand, are fantasized animations of National Geographic
photos of Amazonian tribes. These “hidden” Indians provide the audience the only possibility for sympathy—and this perhaps restricted to puerile humor or one family’s role as (surprise!) the underdog. For Gibson, it appears, the “noble savage” remains a valid ideal.

Second, for having a completely clean slate upon which to write, the story is pathetically unoriginal. From his decidedly Western constructions of masculinity, gender, and sexuality, to the use of a baseball move in a critical hand-to-hand combat scene, to lifting an escape scene from Harrison Ford’s character in *The Fugitive*, one gets the sense that all of his creative energy was invested in discovering ways to depict (previously) unimaginable gore. In fact, I would be ready to write off the entire movie as nothing more than a continuation of Gibson’s hyper-violent mental masturbation, except for the real-world implications.

This leads me to the third point, and the real crime, which is Gibson’s interpretive shift in his representation of horrific behaviors. Specifically, four of five
viscerally repugnant cultural practices that are here attributed to Maya culture are actually “borrowed” from the West. The raid on the protagonist’s village constitutes the first interpretive shift viewed by the audience.

The brutality and method of this raid directly replicate the documented activities of
representatives of the British Rubber Company in the Amazon Basin during the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the Amazon case, those perpetuating
the human rights violations were European or European-descendents against indigenous
communities; the raiding of villages for human sacrifice is undocumented for Maya cultures.

Next, the slave market depicted in the city constitutes a mirror image of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in the pre-Civil War United States. In that case, the “sellers” of African slaves were Europeans or European-Americans, dehumanizing Other peoples by treating them as commodities. While slavery is documented for Maya cultures (and Greek, and Roman, etc.), there is nothing that attests to their having been bought and/or sold in public market contexts.

A third objectionable attribution is that of decapitated human heads placed on stakes within the city center. Documented examples of this practice come from Cortes’s entrada into Central Mexico committed by Spanish conquistadors against their
indigenous “enemies.”

Depictions of “skull racks” do exist, but there is no evidence that these
resulted from mass murder or even that they still had flesh on them when they were hung. Finally, the escape portal for the protagonist—the releasing of captives to run toward freedom while being shot at—is straight from ancient Rome (or at least Hollywood’s depictions of Roman coliseum “sports”) and finds no corroboration in records concerning Maya peoples.

Heart sacrifice is the only practice that scholars have “read” from ancient Maya cultural remains—although the scale and performance is Gibson’s fantasy alone.
The attribution of heart sacrifice to the Maya is largely anchored to Spanish accounts of Aztec practices, which raises two additional issues: *i) *Mathew Restall’s recent *Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest *gives a good overview of how unreliable Spanish accounts may be; and *ii) *Mel Gibson clearly could not have substituted the Aztec capital for his “Maya” city given the same Spanish accounts of it (e.g. Bernal Diaz del Castillo on approaching Tenochtitlan: “With such wonderful
sights to gaze on we did not know what to say, or if this was real that we saw before our eyes. On the land side there were great cities, and on the lake many more…”)

In any event, these perversions of the historical record appear to be Gibson’s alone and cause me to wonder if they reflect an agenda. Whether he meant to claim that
all cultures have been as grotesquely violent or inhumane as the West (and so in some
twisted way, making such behavior “ok”), or if there is a more nefarious attempt at disparaging Mesoamerican cultures in some sort of justification of their “conquest” (implied by the pristine representation of the Spaniards)—this is a question Gibson alone can answer.

Whatever his response, my assessment is that—apart from its “artistic” license—because it takes the worst of the West and “reads” it into one or two days of
“Maya” civilization, this movie comprises an extreme disservice to Maya (and Mesoamerican)cultures past and present, and to indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere. The case is so extreme, I wonder if it might constitute a legally actionable hate crime against Maya people. At the very least, though,with this movie, Gibson has performed a tremendous disservice to scholars who aim at accurate
representations of the past, and to the audiences who will have their perspectives of Maya culture tainted by the agenda of one man with too much money.

Prof. Gerardo Aldana y V

University of California, Santa Barbara


*Dowell: ‘Apocalypto’ is upon us*
Indian Country Today December 08, 2006. *All Rights Reserved* Mel
”Apocalypto,” a movie about human sacrifice among the ancient Maya, premiered Dec. 1 at Chickasaw Nation’s Riverwind Casino amidst Hollywood-style hoopla. Oklahoma Indian actors have been wooed by director Mel Gibson and are about to make a big splash on the big screen with the potential for even bigger and better roles for Natives in film. I understand Gibson’s claim that the movie is about a society’s
excesses and the costs of war (the movie has been billed as an anti-war film). I can
stand with him on those aspects. But what message is ”Apocalypto” really sending about the Native peoples of Mexico and Central America? This is but one thing we Indian people in the North must consider and question before we jump on Gibson’s bandwagon.

I have been to Central America. I have visited the Maya in their homes where
I saw mountains of beautiful fruits and vegetables being grown, not for Mayan consumption, but for export, most likely to the United States. The Maya could not eat those fruits of their labor. They cannot afford to. In the village I visited, the Maya shared a communal kitchen where most days the women cooked meals of beans and tortillas because that is what the family’s hard labor in the fields afford them.

I heard the cries of women whose husbands had been ”disappeared” and murdered by government troops or by paramilitaries. In Guatemala they are struggling to recover after almost 40 years of civil war incited by the 1954 CIA overthrow of a democratic government, subsequently wiping from the face of the earth 140 Mayan villages. The Maya fled to bordering countries and some were held in death camps for removal, much like our own ancestors’ Trails of Tears. This is contemporary history.

The extreme, impoverished lives most Mayans live are not due to the ”excesses of their ancestors,” as stated in a recent ”20/20” special on ABC. It is due rather to the institutionalized racism of the church, military and government, which could not recognize our own Indian ancestors as human, justifying their wholesale slaughter, Christian conversion via boarding schools and the taking of our lands.

Before we rush to pat Gibson on the back we should understand that the same religious, government, military and corporate institutions that systematically conspired to take our lands and destroy our culture here in the North also had a hand in the demise of the ancient and contemporary Maya people. When the Spaniards invaded Central America in the 16th century, ancient Maya texts were burned so that the people would forget their history and a new history, more palatable to Europeans, could replace it.

Because my community work gives me the opportunity to occasionally network with indigenous peoples from below the U.S.-imposed border with Mexico, I am aware that some Maya people are not happy with this film. This pretty much answers the question why Gibson chose to hire North American Indians, making it necessary to teach them a Mayan language. If the film was welcomed by the Maya, he could have hired Maya people, since the film was made in their territories.

How will a film, which depicts the Maya as bloodthirsty primitives, impact their work, their lives, their image and our perception of them? What impacts will that portrayal have on the people in power who have an obligation to make policy for the Maya in Mexico or Guatemala, or elsewhere in Central America, where most policy is implemented at the business end of a gun?

Because we have a genetic, cultural and historical relationship with all the peoples of Turtle Island, we have an obligation to view this film with discerning eyes and a critical mind. The movie opened nationally on Dec. 8. We can use this as an opportunity for raising consciousness and educating about our commonalities with the indigenous peoples from below the border.

For instance, do you know that in some of those countries indigenous peoples
comprise 40 percent to 80 percent of the population? In the case of the Maya, a lot, if not most, speak Maya as their first language. The women still dress in the traditional huipil. In Chiapas, where the Maya communities are occupied by the Mexican government (with aid from the United States), a large part of the region’s resources are sucked out from under the Mayas’ feet to generate electrical power for the rest of the country while the Chiapas Maya live without running water or electricity.

We should remember that some of the brown people coming across the lower border as ”illegals” are probably Maya, or descendants of other Native nations. To justify atrocities against Native peoples (and to manipulate the citizenry into looking the other way), the elite have historically sought ways to portray us as less than human.

Let’s make this an opportunity to learn more about contemporary Mayan struggles as well as the current struggles of Indian communities throughout the Americas. They are among the thousands of indigenous peoples who are going to the international community to seek redress for their grievances.

As we watch this new movie, we are obligated to do so with an informed mind. Our history is the Mayan history.

*J.K. Dowell, Quapaw/Cherokee, is founder and director of the Eagle and
Condor Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance and lives in Tahlequah, Okla.*

Please visit the Indian Country Today
website for more articles related to
this topic.

I’m always baffled when people are still surprised that Maya people still exist. I have a friend who’s Mayan and he saw his family murdered by a US sponsored totalitarian government. People like to think of Indigenous people as living way back in the past, out of sight, out of mind. Maybe Gibson was hoping he could be racist again by singling out a group he thought was extinct. By the way, there are also still Beothuks out there.

I’m also embarrassed that the lead role was played by a Cree actor. I know it’s really amazing to get a major role if you’re aboriginal, but still, it’s important to be ethical in your choices. I would say it’s amazing to be well paid for a film role and be aboriginal, but Mel was very proud of the fact that he could pay First Nations actors less than the going wage. Either way, ethics people. I’m reminded of when Gordon Tootoosis turned down that Jackie Chan movie because it was racist, another Aboriginal actor took it on and has been getting flak from the community ever since, and rightly so. Aboriginal actors should unite somehow in boycotting roles or films which promote racist attitudes towards our people, or anyone really. Let Mel Gibson direct a bunch of white folks in red face. Why should we be puppets to valorize colonization?

Aboriginals in the film industry get fucked over all the time. I know because I’m in there!! I could go off on the Industry’s treatment of brown people, but I won’t in this post. All I’ll say is it’s sad to hear an Aboriginal actor get excited because he finally has a role where he doesn’t have to ride a horse.

Five Bullets in an Indian’s Dog

I don’t know how much you all know about Saskatoon, but this city is one of the most racist environments I have ever lived in, even worse than Quebec!!! It’s nearly 50/50 between white and aboriginal, yet the majority of people employed are white. I have never seen any kind of employment parity in this town. I had a job that was trying to get employment parity, but I had to quit because a coworker was making racist comments towards me and the director didn’t think it was an issue.

And we’re screwed either way. If we’re broke and living in the inner city, whites call us drunk welfare bums. If we live in a moderately affluent neighborhood and dare to have a new car, well then we’re rich and getting that infamous free money from the government. After all, how dare an Aboriginal own a new car, or god forbid a house. White canadians seriously believe we each make 30 000 a year solely from free government money.

Do you know how much money we get for being aboriginal yearly? Five bucks. Literally, you line up in front of a table with Mounties in full regalia and they give you a nice new crisp five dollar bill. Treaty day, it is called, and usually that money gets used up at the dickie dee stand within about 15 minutes.

Racist shit goes down in Saskatoon all the time. In grade three I had one friend in my school, the only other aboriginal. Everyone else was white, and they all hated us. Racist comments throughout elementary school would be ignored by teachers. Aw man, it sucked!

You may have heard of Saskatoon in the news a while back when the police were busted for their Starlight Drives. Essentially they would pick up a drunk aboriginal man and instead of taking him to the drunk tank, they would take him out to the powerplant in mid winter, take his shoes and coat, and leave him out there to walk back. My friend and I drove out there recently, it has a creepy feeling, you can tell people were killed there. We clocked the distance from the drop off point to the nearest house or other shelter. It was about three kilometres, maybe three and a half. It was obviously meant to kill these people. There was a lot of protests, a lot of trials, internal investigations. Only two police were singled out, and the repercussions of killing people was a three month jail sentence and being fired from the police force. After all, they were only Indians.

A new story has come out in the last couple of days. A lot of differing accounts are going around, but basically, a police officer was hassling an aboriginal family looking for gangland ties (we do have a lot of gangs here, but that’s not the point). The families 17 year old german shepard was shot five times “in self defense.” The first article had the police saying that the dog had jumped the fence and attacked the officer, but today’s article had the boy who owned the dog showing that the only blood spatter was in the yard, which means the police were lying, again. The police here lie all the time. 6 cars and nine officers were on the scene immediately to deal with the aftermath. One family member stayed in the house and videotaped the confrontation between the family and the cops, and apparently got some very derogatory things the cops were saying on videotape. Of course now the police have been demanding the tape “for their investigation.” The family is not giving it up, thank god. The dog is at the veterinarian’s right now being treated, it seems to be stable but they’re trying to fix his ear that was shot off.

There isn’t an effective way to police the police, or the mounties. If they’re fucked up racists, then the only recourse we have is to demand they do an internal investigation. It’s much like letting Goebbels investigate Nazi atrocities, just a bad idea all around. In another lovely recent news story, a cop raped an aboriginal woman in custody. I didn’t pay much attention so I can’t give you the details, I think I was suffering racism overload and was trying to think happy thoughts somewhere.

Reporting a crime if you’re aboriginal is fucked too. Every aboriginal woman I know who has reported a rape and even knows the name and address of the attacker gets her charges dropped. A person close to me was even dismissed after the rapist said it was consensual sex. He was white, she was brown, case closed. This was one of the main reasons I never reported my rape or pressed charges, even though I knew the names and addresses of the assailants. Once I was beaten in the street and a cop car across the street just sat there, we didn’t get helped until some women stopped their car and ran out yelling at the perps. And then when we called the cops to come take our statement, they didn’t bother showing up because they wanted us to calm down first.

When I did make my statement some stuff was really telling. My friend who also got beat up was white. He asked her what school she went to (we were teenagers). He didn’t ask me what school I went to, he said, and I quote “So are you on welfare or what are you doing?”

I don’t know what will ever stop the Saskatoon Police force, or any police force really, from being openly, actively racist. They can have as many “sensitivity training” workshops as they want, but the fact is after learning not to use words like wagonburner or injun or chief, they’re still going to have a jolly good time killing, raping, assaulting, and denigrating aboriginals. And not only that, but they’ll shoot our damn dogs too.

A Message From AIM Just In Time For Christmas

I’m sleepy, but I wanted to throw this statement from AIM on my blog for something to consider when you go to movies over the holidays. I don’t normally support NOT seeing a movie just because it’s problematic, but in this case I would advise people to wait until it’s on video or tv, just because paying to see it makes the capitalist system justify racism. Yeah, so no Apocalypto.


Holocaust Denial In America
December 19th 2007
David Duke, in a Holocaust conference in Tehran, was big news in America as he accepted an invitation by the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In Duke’s speech, he said the purpose of the conference was“ to offer free speech for the world’s most repressed idea, Holocaust revisionism…and the condemnation of the shameful imprisonment of European scholars and academics who simply dare to state their opinions of historical events that occurred over 60 years ago.”
Duke went on to say “ I as a former American elected official will be condemned by the Zionist influenced press in America for coming here in peace and friendship to a nation that they hate: the nation of Iran.” Overwhelmingly, the media in America condemned the Tehran gathering and labeled it the “Holocaust Denial Conference” but on the question of the many other Holocausts, the American media remain stunningly silent.
For indigenous people, Holocaust Denial in America is nothing new. Revisionist history is nothing new, but rather it is big business supported and financed by multi-nationals like Walt Disney and Hollywood A-list actors like Mel Gibson. They will not go to jail for distorting history or justifying the slaughter of Mayans. They will make millions of dollars in their revisionist movie, Apocalypto. Mel Gibson’s version of Mayan history is based on the lies of Spanish conquistadors and men like Bishop Diego de Landa, the Franciscan monk who, on July 12, 1562, burned hundreds of Mayan codices and over 5000 Mayan “cult” images. He later tried to justify his crimes, his Inquisition and torture of Mayan people by stating he had found evidence of human sacrifice.
The real savages, the Spanish Conquistadors, hacked off the limbs of Mayans for not bringing in enough gold and silver ransoms. They justified their savage crimes by deliberate lies depicting the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs as sub humans who sacrificed humans to the sun god. In this movie Mel Gibson does the same thing. He depicts the Mayans as sub-human, grotesquely violent, and incapable of compassion. The American Indian Movement condemns Apocalypto as revisionist history, in the same vein as Rambo, John Wayne westerns, and hate inciting movies such as G.I. Jane.

The historical evidence of the slaughter of Jewish people in the Nazi death camps of World War II is irrefutable. Any movie or documentary that denies that evidence should be roundly condemned and censored. No movie should profit from justifying the killing of Jewish people in the Nazi death camps. The American Indian Movement supports the Jewish people in seeking justice for their Holocaust and the recovery of gold and other valuables stolen from the Jewish people during that Holocaust.
The American Indian Movement condemns Walt Disney Inc and Mel Gibson for profiting from the distortion and revisionist history in the Holocaust of the Mayan people. The American Indian Movement urges world governments to initiate recovery of all stolen gold and silver taken from the Mayan, Inca and Aztec people. AIM condemns the piracy of so called “Spanish” doubloons recovered from sunken ships and calls for all recovered gold and silver to be returned to the rightful indigenous owners. AIM further condemns the Catholic Church and its institutions for unrepentant theft of Mayan, Inca and Aztec gold and silver, which is hoarded in Christian idols in Europe.
AIM urges nations worldwide not to stop there, but to demand that the United States restore to the rightful owners the more than $14 billion of gold stolen from the Black Hills in South Dakota, to the Dakota people.
The American Indian Movement acknowledges and thanks the small groups of activists and supporters who have protested the movie Apocalypto and condemns this movie as an act of greedy profiteering, of revisionist history and justification of the slaughter of indigenous peoples.
To our indigenous brothers and sisters in Central and South America who continue to struggle with intense poverty deriving from entrenched colonist policies, we offer our support and apologize for this outrage of a movie which is being pushed, financed and supported by Holocaust Denial in America.

Written by Chief Terrance Nelson, Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, American Indian Movement Board Member Telephone # 204-782-4827, email
Approved by American Indian Movement for general distribution

Sex Work

Being a dyke I’ve been intimately involved with sex workers both as lovers, friends, and colleagues. I think straight people get surprised by the link between sex workers and the lesbian community. The fact is, a high percentage of female sex workers are queer. I not only know sex workers, I was one for a very very very brief time. It was phone sex, it was terribly boring and silly. I pretended to have an orgasm while watching t.v., and then I quit when a foot fetishist kept asking for me, just because he talked and talked for a REALLY long time. I did, however, come really close several times to doing street based sex work. In that case, it wasn’t because I actively chose that kind of work, it would have been survival sex work. I lived in grinding poverty for several years in Vancouver, I often had no food, I skipped on my rent several times, I ran up bills I couldn’t pay, I had a very difficult time being hired for work, mainly for being a butch woman. Sometimes I had no phone. I wasn’t going to do sex work for drugs, I just want to go eat at least one meal in a day. And through all that I still self funded a video art practice.

God, let me say again, I have only ever gotten one grant in my entire career. I honestly don’t know where this idea that I’m getting tons of money for being an Indian comes from.

So yeah, sex work. My family helped me out some, but they did the guilt trip thing, and I never told them about wandering along the strolls wondering about getting into the next car that stopped for me.

I had a girlfriend who started doing sex work again while we dated. Friends were really fucked up about the whole thing. They thought she was some kind of low life (she was going to university), they felt bad for me dating her (no way, she was cute and sweet!), and one friend even asked me if I was jealous for her doing sex work. I had to laugh at that one. I didn’t really care that she was having sex for money, my only concern about her was the very real possibility of being assaulted on the job.

Some people say that the dangers sex workers face is exactly why it should be eliminated and more aggressively prosecuted. I think this is problematic, because it pushes sex work even farther on the margins. People who do Shame The Johns campaigns and push sex workers out of neighborhoods put these women into even more unsafe places, like industrial areas where there’s more isolation. The more prostitution is criminalized, the easier it is for predators to prey on women. Even filing a rape report if you’re in the biz becomes a humiliating venture where cops refuse to believe a sex worker can be raped.

If people are serious about keeping vulnerable women from doing sex work out of survival, they need to look at the bigger picture. The minimum wage should be raised, women’s labour should be more respected and improved, and for sure butch women and other marginalized people need to have more job opportunities. Consider how many transwomen end up in the sex work biz.

And there are sex workers who like their jobs, as much as people hate to consider. Some women I know have certain clients who are their favorites, there’s a certain level of intimacy that happens that while it is not romantic, falls under a category of therapy. While there are assholes out there, there are also a lot of johns who are genuinely just looking for some closeness and release which they may not get for certain reasons like age, disability, the recent death of a wife, etc.

I remember one time I went to visit my girlfriend when she switched from the streets to a massage parlour. We were hanging around talking with her coworker when a client came in. The coworker started laughing and said “Oh my god, what if a client came in and picked Thirza!”

Basically, I think that feminists pathologizing sex workers are misogynist and classist, and that the battle for sex worker rights should not be allowed to be dampened by women who infantilize the people doing these jobs.

Another thing, when people say sex work shouldn’t exist because it is demeaning, they should consider other jobs poor people often do which are equally demeaning. Outbound call centre work, McDonalds, Production Assistants, all of those are demeaning jobs which have a demoralizing effect on their workforce.

Beheading Holofernes

I didn’t get into Berlin. Bah! I’m applying to Outfest next, who actually likes me, but I’m not sure if they will take me. The deadline is at the end of January. Toronto’s deadline is in the middle of January. And I need a grant soon to work on something, but I don’t want a bunch of money to make a short. I know, maybe that is bad. But maybe I also just want to keep writing.

I do have an idea for a story that is REALLY dark, creepy, and terribly violent, with the climactic scene referencing Judith Beheading Holofernes by Artemesia Gentileschi. There’s also a scene where a woman comes screaming out of the bushes with a knife in her head. People are going to think I’m seriously fucked. It’s a take on missing/murdered Aboriginal women, but with an I Spit On Your Grave approach to it. Hence the Gentileschi reference. No cutesy funny Thirza, I’m sorry, it will happen again someday. If this doesn’t creep you out, the film I want to do after this WILL end up giving you nightmares.

Anyway, for those who haven’t seen Judith Beheading Holofernes, here it is:

There are some who say this painting was created to deal with Artemesia’s rape by Tassi, who offered to marry her so that she would not have a damaged reputation or be considered damaged goods. When she charged him with rape she was tortured to make sure she was telling the truth. Tassi was a serial rapist and had also raped his sister. Oh, go google it, it’s an interesting story. Anyway, he was found guilty but got a slap on the wrist. Some things never change. Artemesia went on to have a running theme in her work of rape as seen from a female perspective. Of course this was all buggered up in a film made about her where Tassi is her passionate lover who mentors her in painting. That’s fucked up, ugh, I could go on and on about the sickness of a filmmaker who would glorify and romantize rape even admist copious evidence of Artemesia’s thoughts on Tassi. ANYWAY, as you can see, she painted Judith being totally unafraid and determined to behead Holofernes, which was a far cry from other Judith paintings where she turns her head away to avoid seeing the horrors of being an assassin. And this is a good example of why therapy as art is relevant.

This was probably my favorite painting in Art History. If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it. Oh never mind, that’s a terrible joke.

I don’t know if it will get funded. Native women beheading a white man on screen might push too many people’s buttons, even though Native women are killed on screen all the time. It would be such an excellent image though. So yeah, I want to write that story while I wait for funding on my other film’s production to come through. I would apply to the Canada Council for production funds, but sadly 60 000 is not nearly enough. A screenwriting grant on the other hand would give me a year to write this next script. A year of writing, what a dream!

A sense of responsibility

I have insider information on what really happened to the missing women which is now being entirely pinned on Pickton. Pickton was involved, I’m not at all implying he is innocent, far from it. I found out what really happened about four years ago, just as I was going crazy. It was so shocking that I actually wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the triggers which lead to my manic episode. I didn’t know what to do with this information, and I have a source who knows where files of documents outlining the events are held. A group of people were closely working with the one good cop on the force who was leaking information. I think they stopped because there was a serious threat of being murdered.

It’s a tricky story to break and I don’t know how to do it. If I tell you what I know I have no proof to back it up because I’m not the person holding those documents (and I don’t know where or who that person is either for safety reasons, though if I had to find them I could). I don’t live in Vancouver anymore, so I feel slightly safer from the possibility of being murdered to cover up the truth.

I think I figured out how to explain this without getting in to shit. I’m just going to tell you a story from when I lived in the Downtown Eastside.

I was walking along Hastings one day with a friend when we came across a poster carefully being preserved behind the glass of a business. I don’t remember the exact wording but the gist of it went like this.

“I am a survivor of the events going on at the Pickton Farm. I was abducted and taken to a club whose members contained Vancouver police and several high level government officals including Ujahl Dosangh. They told me they were going to do what they did to my friends and rape and kill me while filming it. This is a snuff film ring being aided and covered up by the government. I have no one I can go to to report what is going on and I am still in danger.”

Obviously she escaped, whoever she was. And obviously there are a number of people living in the Downtown Eastside who know what is going on. There are people who want to classify these atrocities as the work of one demented serial killer, when in fact from the rumours I hear it is the work of a cult committing genocide directed at Aboriginal women and children. For twenty years this has been going on before anything finally happened. Maybe they decided they had to dump Pickton as a fall guy and find another way to continue murdering aboriginal people for entertainment (and this is entertaining to these people).

For my own safety I will now do my disclaimer: I have not seen these documents but I heard this exact story three years before I came across this poster. I have nothing to do with any undercover group of people working to somehow bring this information to light, I could not tell you where or who they are because I simply don’t know. If you need me to prove it I can’t but I might be able to connect you with people who could. I am not invested in destroying the reputations of government officials or the Vancouver police force. I do not want this post to be referred to as irrefutable proof, if you must link to this post refer to it as a plausible conspiracy theory.