A disclaimer, of sorts, by Cowboy:
I am a young man, still learning, still developing, still here. I am new to Redway BC. I have a different way of presenting important subject matter and new ways of understanding these complex issues. I have been known to stir things up and ruffle feathers, but not for the simple sake of doing so. I will write passionately about my subject matter. I may offend some readers with my blunt views, but if I sound curt, it is because time is of the essence. We are living in extraordinary times; therefore, it is our responsibility to honour the ancestors who worked so very hard for us, their, grandchildren. There may be the odd time where I will use English profanity, but I will censor myself out of respect to the elders who may read my words. The Redway BC newsletter is another great platform for me to express myself, so I will do so with great fervor. This is sentence is what Astronomers call the Event Horizon or point of no return, continue reading at your own risk!
A disclaimer, of sorts, by RedWAY's Editor, Kristin. I appreciate the passion, intelligence and diversity in the new Aboriginal Youth Media Team writers. For years I have chosen to highlight the positive stories in the community, to focus on sharing good news and to sometimes paint challenges with an overly optomistic brush. I survive that way. But I look forward to continuing on my journey to 'honour, inform, and connect' while providing a space to challenge others to speak up, to speak out, and respectfully, to share their opinions. Thanks, Cowboy, for helping me push forward into new directions and invite a new audience to join our existing readers.
Who is Cowboy Smithx? Not sure, but here's what I know so far.
I was born on a brisk Sunday morning in Fort Macleod, Alberta, January 31st, 1982 (year of the Dog) to be exact. 10 lbs 9 ounces, a big frickin baby! I didn't come with a manual, a sense of humor, an official language, political affiliations, inhibitions, phobias, addictions, habits, clothes, reputation, an iPod, V-chip and most importantly I didn't come with a name. It was my parent’s responsibility to give me a name. I was a new living creature here on Earth, I was a being, a human being. Then came the labels; boy, Blackfoot, Canadian, Indian, Aboriginal, Cowboy, Kelvin, Creighton and then eventually Smith when my grandparents adopted me. Blackfoot people have very English sounding names, though very few of us come from or have ever been to England. Some example of these names include: Provost, McHugh, Wells, Grier, McMaster, Devine, Bastien, English, Wadsworth, Davis, Creighton, McDougall, Smith and list goes on.
Other surnames are blunt English translations from the Blackfoot language such as Littlewolf, Springchief, Weaselhead, Running Rabbit, Yellowhorn, Crop Eared Wolf, Tailfeathers etc.
My father was a pretty good Calf Roper at the time (1982), my mom was a great up and coming Barrel Racer, both adamant participants in Alberta's thriving Indian Rodeo scene. My dad was a cowboy; mom was a cowgirl, so I always tell people that if I were born as a female my name would be Cowgirl Smith instead of Cowboy Smithx as it is today. I love my parents and have come to terms with the name I was given. It's easy to remember and hard to forget.
Some might say that Cowboy is my Christian name, which sounds strange, because Jesus never knew any Cowboy's during his lifespan. Maybe the Roman's would be considered Cowboy's, mainly because they were all a bunch of assholes with weird hats. Believe me when I say that I am well aware of the irony surrounding my name, just imagine...Cowboy the Indian - come and see what Wild Bill could only dream of. Some asshole Indian named Cowboy!!! lol
And then there's the enigmatic "x" in Smithx, there are 21 inspirations supporting the silent "x" and here is one of them, Malcom X's real name or white slave master’s name was Malcolm Little (and later El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz while a member of the nation of Islam), he chose "X" as a surname to symbolize the African family name he never knew. The silent "x" in my name is a memorial commemorating my true Nitsitapi Blackfoot family name that was lost during the colonization of my traditional Blackfoot territories. It's a small step towards achieving a euphoric sense of decolonization that I have pursued since I was rebellious child in Catholic school, constantly questioning the establishment, secondary curriculum and religious propaganda.
Don't get me wrong, Religion is not bad by nature, but people are. Not all priests and nuns are devil-mutherf*ckers, but most of the ones from the residential school era were definitely “evil” by their own definitions.
What if that earlier list looked liked this: Provostx, McHughx, Wellsx, Grierx, McMasterx, Devinex, Bastienx, Englishx, Wadsworthx, Davisx, Creightonx, McDougallx, Smithx, don't you think my ancestors who fought tooth and nail to maintain our freedom, culture, language and connection to the land would be proud of this blatent act of decolonization? I definitely think so.
This brings me back to my main plea, decolonize your mind NOW!
I'm not only speaking to the Indigenous brothers and sisters out there, I am speaking to everyone in North America and the World, because if you put aside all the bullshit colonial thought, we are all Indigenous to mother Earth, regardless of our creed, skin color, language, nationality, genetic code, ethnicity, religious affiliation and geographic location. Our minds have been colonized and have come to accept the hypocrisy of today's so called democracy.
Brand Obama vs. The World
In the United States of America, the Obama-McCain gongshow was not a practice in true democracy, but an exercise in copious corporate hypnosis. There were basically two parties to choose from, only based on the fact that that "multi-national corporations" were backing them. For those you on the Obama band wagon you can all get off now, our man at the White House just appointed former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker as chairman for the Economic Recovery Advisory Board or ERAB along with several other so-called economists who are mainly responsible for the disastrous economic crisis we are all facing. Noam Chomsky said it best "It's like appointing Osama Bin Laden to run the war on terror." In a way the fall of Babylon might very well be a damn good thing for the world, but who's gonna have your back when sh*t hits the fan?
More to come...thanks for reading.
Until Next Time...Goodbye, Adios and Kiitamutsiin!
About the author: Cowboy Smithx is a new Aboriginal Youth Media Team writer for RedWAY BC News. He’s a filmmaker, writer, actor, radio host and neo-eccentric philanthropist from the Blackfoot territories of Piikani and Kainai in Southern Alberta. Cowboy began writing for Ineluctable.ca in 2003 and became a regular contributor to New Tribe Magazine in Calgary, AB.
Cowboy currently works for the Knowledgeable Aboriginal Youth Association and is a regular contributor to RezX Magaine. He also became the youngest person to ever win a Blackfoot Arts Award for his work as a performing artist. Cowboy's latest film project "Chance" is currently in theatres and was showcased at the 2008 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, California