January 5, 2009

Back to Work

Starting today many are returning to work following the winter holiday vacation. Students are returning to school. Band Councilors return to the band office. I return to...well, same place I've been for the past 2 years.

Over 2 years ago I left High School for good. It was a conscience choice of intelligent and well thought-out planning. The simple reason was high school was doing so little for me, I had better options, and was doing more in spite of it. Most respond with "What about getting a high school diploma? You will need it!". I respond to them with, "Well, if I ever need to get it, I'll go for it." Little to they know that I don't intend on any going for my "GED" or high school diploma. I just said "...if I ever need it..." to silence their worried attitude.

It's not something you hear of when it comes to Indigenous High School Drop outs. I've been a static all my life, but who would have thought this Indian would have become part of the 60% Aboriginal drop-out rate. Well, I'm proud of dropping out and wish other native students who are or about to be in that position to leave school, look at it as a positive- not a negative. It's not the end of the world and your life is not ultimate doomed for the rest of it's existence.

The 2 years have been a journey into living life as a freelancer. I worked briefly in a full-time 30 hour job as an Arts Director, but upon reflection, can't handle rat-race type jobs. If I did it for a long time, and more then 8 months, I would probably become consumed by the "drive to work to pay for this car, pay for this car to drive to work" ethic that consumes so many. Wage-slavery much? Slavery for whom, by the way.

What I want is a feeling that I'm accomplishing much with my tiny life, in ways that only I can define because I have 1.) a visceral need to be independent and 2.) egotistical overachieving self-righteous dream to be remembered for something. I value and need my freedom to "think" without controlling forces penetrating my behavior, attitude, or way of living and need my freedom to act without expectation and others pressure to be their expectations of me.

As of late I'm assessing all my talents and abilities, which can make me a living, and how will I use my privilege in sacrifice for others. When Christmas Holiday's came around, I realized how much I've been on vacation. I have so much control over my life. When to eat, when to sleep, when to shop, when to go where ever I want at what ever time. Some have to go to sleep at this hour because they need to be awake at this hour. Some have to eat between these hours and be back at work at this time. I have unimagined freedom as a 'freelancer'.

I'm currently a self-employed Graphic Designer. Posters, pamphlets, business cards, promotional material, magazine and book design, etc are all within the domain of me for hire. I'm hoping to really venture into web design this year. I'm also hoping to work on this business soon so I can be more successful in achieving some consistency and stability to guide me in other area's of my life. This includes building a strong portfolio, promoting myself to prospective clients, and developing a strong work ethic. If I have to be a capitalist, I'll do my best to remain grounded in my principles and achieve some sort of good with that.

I'm a traditional singer, who knows some of history ancestral history and ancestors culture. So there, I have knowledge and expertise that most don't and should give me an edge to hired for said resources, but I'll never market myself that way. For things like that, I let the Creator choose what comes to me, and use those resources in other area's that are personal. It's my utmost belief that our traditions, customs, and history are there for all my people and would never presume ownership to be used for self-interested means. It's a type of selfishness that plays of our peoples predicament as colonized people.

I write for this weblog and have been published in a few small-time publications. I also intend to write a couple books in my life. My mother keeps asking me when I'm going to write my book about Skwxwu7mesh decolonization, and thankfully many thoughts about this are developing as the days go by. I don't have any training in journalism, although I am interested in learning more about this area to create new means for me to share media with the world and my people. I have some writing experience and knowledge, and could market this to create a living.

Adding onto the above, I enjoy writing so much, especially Business Plans and Grant Proposals. There is something challenging and fun about trying to convince my idea is amazing, assuming the idea is actually amazing. To get a grant from the Squamish Nation Trust I had to write a Business Plan for my Graphic Design business. I learned a lot not having written a business plan before, and have since researched increasingly into it. I recently served on the UMAYC Initiative Youth Council through Heritage Canada and the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centers. Going through 17 proposals covering spending over 2.47 million dollars really drives you into a state of immersion in timeliness, quantitative and qualitative results, budgets, work plans, cash-flows, and grant writing. You heard it from me people, I'm a grant and business plan writer for hire!

All through High School I flourished in acting, drama, improv, and film. For 3 years I served on the improv team. For 2 years I was in the best acting program in North Vancouver (at the time). After my Film and Television class, I've never looked at film the same way and have always had an interest in it. Sadly, I never pursued this further. I really want to go into improv again because I miss it so much. I've done 1 or 2 acting outside of school, but so badly miss this.

For the past year I've been studying and being trained in organizational development facilitation. Geez, I think I can call it that. It's really hard to define what it is, but through the inspiration of people like Chris Corrigan, I've learned tools like Open Space Technology, World Cafe, and Chaordic design, going with my already held True Colours, workshop facilitation, and public speaking expertise. I'm really interested in developing this more, through practice and mastery, into something to use both as a community organizing ability, and something to do for other communities and organizations.

I'm an artist. Ha! First time I've self-identified as an artist and meant it. In May I received the YVR Art Foundation's Aboriginal Youth Scholarship. In May I'll be placing my first public art carving, a replica of an old Skwxwu7mesh spindle whorl, to be on display at the Vancouver International Airport for a year. I also have another major art project, that I'll be undertaking with my talented mentor Aaron Nelson-Moody, but won't say anything about that now. I'm presently working on a series of prints to be released soon featuring both traditional Coast Salish art and my contemporary art. This is probably my weakest area with "abilities for hire", but it's one of my newest passions. (Upon reflection, it's actually my first passion going back to when I was 3 years old drawing in the carving studio of Klathe-bie. So it's my first passion, just revived.)

Those are my abilities for now. In order, they are:
  • Graphic Design
  • Traditional Singer
  • Historian (Bah! Bad title!)
  • Writer
  • Grant and Business Plan Writer
  • Acting and Improv
  • Facilitator
  • Artist

With the above talents, here a few things I plan to use them all to create in the new year:
  • Graphic Design + Writing + Facilitator = the first Skwxwu7mesh magazine
  • Traditional Singer + Historian = Singing Practices, Language stuff, and other cool community cultural events
  • Facilitating + Historian = Political Community Organizing. A new way of creative alternative change in our community.
  • Artist + Historian = Site specific guerrilla art.
  • Historian + Writing + Public Speaking = Spoken Word

For some reason I think I'm forgetting something. I probably am, but that's my best from memory talents and abilities.

Some I look forward to developing the future which are mostly just interests and hobbies right now:
  • Photography
  • Film
  • Web Design
  • Media arts in general

For 2 years now I've been on vacation. I've realized I'm a "freelancer". I am self-employed with multiple talents and abilities. I just need to discipline myself, market what I can and am willing to do, and enjoy life to the fullest.
by Rivers on Monday, January 05, 2009 |


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