February 18

Yet another glorious sunny February day at the bed and breakfast here in Victoria BC. Boy are we getting spoiled. It’s February! The first photo below is of the oak tree on the boulevard at the front of the house.

Obviously the oaks aren’t to be fooled by the weather, but the second photo is of one of the many Japanese maples at the corner. All the flowering trees in the city are in full flower. It is glorious. Here’s hoping that we don’t get any rain in the next little while. Rain is always the end of the flowering trees.

Trees in Full Bloosom

Ray and I went to see Where the Blood Mixes at the Belfry theatre last night. It’s a new play by Kevin Loring and has been nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award. The show deals not so much with Residential Schools as with the aftermath of Residential Schools. The characters, in some way or other, are all dealing with the effects of the Residential Schools. It’s beautifully written, well acted, great set and lighting. The story is about a native man whose wife committed suicide just after the birth of their daughter. The daughter is then taken away by the ‘authorities’. The show starts years later. His daughter has found him and has arranged to meet him for the first time- in the bar that is his usual hangout. It’s heart wrenching.

What the play doesn’t deal with is hypocrisy. I mean the hypocrisy of the white society. We have just celebrated the opening of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. In the front row were the Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Premier Gordon Campbell. Surrounding them was a phalanx of native people all in the traditional costumes. And all around the centre of the stadium, natives danced while the athletes paraded in. It was all so bright and loving and colourful and it is so nice that they let us use them when we want to put on a show and add some colour and come curiosity. However at any other time, we wouldn’t give these people the time of day. We certainly wouldn’t want them to live next door to us or marry out daughters. We prefer to have them living in their foul communities, in mould infested houses- houses that none of us would live in. What we resolutely refuse to do is deal with their social problems in a meaningful way or honestly deal with their land claims. But we have not problem celebrating their culture when it suits us, when it makes us look good to the world. As I say, we need a good play about hypocrisy.

I am concerned about the hypocrisy of the audience as well.  Will seeing this show inspire any of us to actions on behalf of Native People.  Probably not.  The show is very cathartic.  It takes you on a dark journey but the end is happy for the father and daughter.  There is a reconciliation of sorts, a reconciliation with an acknowledgement that there are problems that still have to be dealt with but at least they are happily talking to each other at the end.  And so we feel good.  All that pain and suffering that we had just experienced is going.  Whew, I feel so much better, let’s go and have dinner.  It was just a play after all.

And that’s what you think about when you are out in the garden.

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