Listen and read to learn, not to respond, argue or prove a point that you only have one perspective on. We are always so quick to let our emotions get the best of us that they take away the opportunity to learn something new, connect with someone or something and grow. Don’t take what others do or say personally is a teaching that I am reminding myself of a lot, especially now stepping into another new business adventure. I know I am ruffling people’s feathers, a lot of my own people are asking who Amanda Kennedy is and who does she think she is and what does she think she is doing. We have some amazing leaders and Elders out there and great teachers who have had the privilege of growing up on their Nation, accepted into their longhouse or traditional practices, by their people, family and have learned and live their traditional ways and teach others, which we should all be very thankful for. That’s not me and in no way am I trying to pretend to be that person. If you want to learn about culture and traditional practices then you can go to some great Native Organizations that are in London, ON full of events and People who can teach that to you. Note, some things are sacred that they will not teach out of respect.
If you want to learn from a completely different perspective then that’s already out there, more about your-self, the Indigenous peoples’ truth, who they are as people, how to relate and come together to heal and grow and learn, how to think outside of the box and a new way of doing things, then I am that person who can help and teach you. I am an Indigenous, colonized, marginalized, urbanized female child and youth leader of yesterday. I was not accepted by my own People, family or Nations for being an urban and I was not accepted by society and Non-Indigenous People for I was Native. However, I was accepted by the people who lived in Manor Park. Manor Park became my home, my Nation and the people I grew up with are my family. Regardless of how I am treated by my Nation and the People I am still very proud to be Oneida. I have always been a leader, organizer and teacher in my communities since I was a child and I have helped many people throughout my childhood, youth, and adulthood and will continue to do so in my walk-in life. I am non-judgemental and those who have worked with me or that I have helped know that about me and were always willing to tell me a lot of truth, I had a lot of questions, eager to learn and they answered all those questions, so I have a unique education that I gained first hand by walking my own path and alongside many who struggled with various things and issues in life. I am a self-taught, self-made Indigenous Woman Leader and Social Entrepreneur. I know exactly who I am, I know exactly what I am doing and teaching and why I am now doing what I do. I am speaking for the underprivileged, vulnerable, marginalized and/or colonized people. I am speaking my truth and their truth, and this is not a path that I pursued this is a path that I was led to and the opportunities keep crossing my path therefore I accept what Creator has laid out for me. I am a traditional Indigenous woman who doesn’t own a ribbon skirt. I look forward to the day that I own and wear my very first ribbon skirt, which I will honour.
For the past 3 years I have been completely focused on my Social Enterprise the Non-Profit Sector concentrating on the children and youth and how to help them heal and grow and I have fought hard to get where I am today and to get Yotuni “its growing” to the Social Enterprise that continues to help and grow.
I can take the hits, I am not going to lie it hurts, but I am so strong, resilient and I know that I am doing this for those who need to be heard, who need to be healed and helped. I have been blessed to have platforms put before me and given an opportunity to speak and I am going to take a road less travelled and do what’s best for the People, teach people how to be kind, humble and how to work together no matter what walk of life you come from.
I wanted to write this all a couple of days ago after I heard more negative feedback about what people are saying and thinking about me, but I had to let myself sit with the emotions, allow myself to feel them and work through them and humble myself before speaking so that I am speaking from the heart and speaking truth and not from anger.
I have always felt more comfortable around men and have a lot of male friends who respect me. Ever since I was a child I had problems with other girls and women, I am lucky I could fight and stick up for myself, because they would probably would have tried to beat me up many times, but they still acted up and talked behind my back, which still hurts. Especially by the Indigenous women. Don’t get me wrong I am very blessed to have a couple of strong women in my life who are amazing and been very supportive and I am so thankful for them, a couple out of 100’s of cousins and less than a handful of friends. However, I believe in keeping my circle small and positive, then large full of drama.
I say this because not to long ago I had someone act up towards me, and I am a big girl myself but she is bigger then I, and thought that she could intimidate me with her size, however I wasn’t scared of her, stood my ground and shook it off. I didn’t take how she was feeling or acting towards me personally because I know that was her own issues that she is struggling with and its projecting onto others. All I wanted to say was shame on you, knock it off and learn how to act right, especially when you are in the community. However sometimes say nothing says it all. You can’t talk to someone who is only listing to argue or prove a point. You need to be mindful of how you are using your energy, and what energy you are taking on. Not all big girls are tough, if anything they are scared, and they get aggressive hoping that their size will intimate others and make them scared to actually challenge them, because they know that if they do get challenge they might get their ass kicked by someone smaller than them. Mind you there are some women who can be any size and strong and will knock you out for acting up. I proudly know some of these women. Us Native woman (all woman) are so beautiful but I want to focus on my own People right now. Our Native women are resilient, strong and beautiful. I just had a team of Non-Indigenous men help me develop a Case Study for my two Social Enterprises. One thing of many, that one of the good men that I was working with learned and couldn’t believe after doing his research is that Native women and girls are the ones who are struggling the most out of male, female and from all backgrounds (Indigenous and Non-Indigenous) and they are the ones that are the biggest targets and at most risk. Which is true and why our People are fighting so hard to fight for our Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls and to protect the ones who are still here. Seeing the tears form in his eyes as he spoke the truth he learned, made me proud that he was on my team listening, learning and helping for I know that he will continue to share that knowledge that he has gained.
When I first walked into Pillar Non-Profit and Innovation Works, actually when I “crawled” into Innovation Works for the first time for my first meeting there, I was wounded, exhausted and had taken so many beatings mentally, physically, emotionally, Spiritually, financially and more; and all I am doing is trying to help and bring change. So many people say that our children and youth are our future and we need to start investing in them, however their actions are different from their words. I have had many struggles, many attacks, doors closed on me and people going out of their way trying to stop me from what I am doing, I never allowed myself to stop, even though I thought I wanted to many times, but that was fear trying to get the best of me. I kept believing in myself, what I was doing and kept fighting for the children and youth, because it’s not about me it’s about them. When I crawled into Innovation Works I was sad, hurting, frustrated and losing hope. I met with someone who just wanted to help me. Who was non-indigenous and wanted to help at no cost and had no expectations or wants from me, he just wanted to help. I couldn’t understand why he wanted to help me when no one else wanted to especially my own People. Note that I have always had and continue to have the support of the children, youth, their families and some community members that know of myself and Yotuni, and I am so thankful for all of them and those who helped however they could.
I had to learn that my People are hurting, and not to judge them, if anything it made me want to help and fight more. I had to learn and remind myself that what they say and do is a reflection of their own hurt, pain and struggles and don’t take what they say or do personally. Which is really hard to do because it hurts my heart and clutters my mind and I have to constantly do my own smudging, remind myself of my teachings, self-care and meditations to help ground myself again and keep moving forward with a good heart and good mind in a toxic hurting world. You will be too much for some people and that’s okay those aren’t the people you need to work with and they aren’t ready, that is their path and when they are ready then the resources and people who are meant to help will be there.
It’s sad how Indigenous People treat each other and it’s sad how non-indigenous and Indigenous People treat each other. I am going to be straight up with you and use a phrase my dad uses. Knock it off! Knock it off and stop acting like that, because it’s not right and its hurting people. You don’t have the right to past judgement, if you don’t know then ask. You don’t have the right to treat someone bad. Check yourself before you wreck your-self. Quit acting liking that and if I am offending you or stirring up emotions in you and you are getting frustrated, that’s all you. Those who don’t act like that are like yeah knock it off People. Those who act like that are going to feel some type of way and be like who the hell do you think you are. Again, I humbly say this in a calm and respectful tone, I know exactly who I am, and I am proud of who I am today. I don’t go around hating on people or judging people. You can’t be a leader or a good person with a negative mind and actions. Be real and be authentic and start acting right. I am not saying this to get people angry my intent is to say something in hopes that people will see their ways, be kind with themselves, forgive themselves and deal with that anger, hurt, pain or resentment that they carry so that they are not projecting it on other people because that is what is happening. Our People are hurting, and we take hits from other people all the time and it’s so sad how we treat each other and that needs to stop. Rez, City, First Nation, Inuit, Metis, Non-Indigenous, black, white, red, purple, green, and so on, we are all human beings and we need to stop with the barriers and “clicks” and start welcoming each other and working together. When someone new walks into ceremony, a social, event, workshop or teaching, be kind, welcome them. Because a lot of us know what it’s like to be an “outsider” with your own people they don’t accept you and aren’t inviting, and those who do this know who you are and what you do, so knock it off. Recently I have been attending some Oneida Events and they have been very welcoming of me and my family and that I am thankful. That is your job as a community worker or member to empower working together building up our communities. Remember community means an alliance of people who share common attitudes, interests and goals, which we all do. Treat everyone with respect, be kind and be happy that they are there to learn and help them. One day I will have my own building and I will not accept my team, staff or volunteers to act that way, that you see sadly else where. I will call them on it, remind them and help them be a kinder person. Regardless of what walk of life you come from if you come, if you want to be part of a good community and looking for help then you will be welcomed with open arms from people who knows what it’s like to be judged and will not judge you. This is the treatment that after a year I continue to get from the Innovation Works community and I am so thankful. They are so kind, respectful of my thoughts, traditions and want to help me in any way they can and they have helped me in so many ways. Yes we had some growing and learning to do however I love and so thankful to be part of a community who all share having open minds and a strong passion to change. A community of Social Entrepreneurs. I love when I have to go to Innovation Works and the way I am treated, however it hurts my heart that I am not treated the same way by my own People. I believe that can change and if we start working on our selves and together then we can change that for the children and youth of today. So that they don’t have to struggle, feel judged and disconnected from their own people, organizations and communities like a lot of us do. Let’s be that change and take ACTIONS moving forward, no more talking. Its time to act on positive change.
When we get frustrated our body reacts and we stop breathing properly which then disconnects us. Please take a deep breath, hold it, then release slowly breathing the air out. Please do that. Again actions! Repeat that until you feel that calmness and grounded again. I am not trying to hurt you, I am trying to stop others from hurting themselves and hurting others. I know that you don’t feel great when you know you treated someone bad and didn’t act kind or professional. I know how yucky it feels because I too have been guilty of doing so. It’s a crappy feeling and instead of checking ourselves and helping our self we just allow it to build up on the negative emotions that are already there. Breath and let it go. Forgive yourself and knock it off.
Note please if you don’t have anything nice to say then please don’t say anything at all. All negative comments will be deleted. Please feel free to share this post, your thoughts and opinions so that we can learn and grow together.