Greetings. My name is Kenn Pitawanakwat and I am here to promote my first book which is called WHEN MY SON DIED. This is a true story of deep loss written from a First Nations perspective. The book details my full journey from grief to acceptance and healing.

My book can be found here

Short bio: I have a Honours degree in Religious Studies from York University and a Master's in Individualized Studies from Northern Michigan University. It is also here where I taught the Nishinaabe language and culture for almost 8 years. My wife and I have also worked various roles with the Truth And Reconciliation Commission of Canada. I have also provided cultural grief counselling to many residential school survivors. I currently work in a elementary school in an isolated Fly-in only First Nations community.

Please forgive my elementary understanding of Reddit etiquette and formatting. I type with two fingers and currently have a friend who has a little experience with reddit helping me out.

Full bio

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Comments: 106 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

Gand-Elf9 karma

What do you foresee the future of the Odawa language is? Will it experience a revival? Will it completely die out? Or something else?

Kennpit14 karma

The Ottawa, Odawa, Outawais, will thrive. As it is now. It lives. It's a living language. I have been fortunate to have grandparents, uncles, aunties, and friends speak in the Odaw language, which is my first language, which makes me think in the language/dialect, so it's difficult at times to express myself in a secondary language, like English. PS If I sound oblique or off base to anyone's question, please forgive me as I do not think or speak in English. The world view that the Odawa have is to be one with Mother earth and a relative to to each leaf, pebble, or droplet of H20. So, as long as we have speakers back home on the reservation, the langiage pulses with vitality. But, true, the permeation of a global language, like English, does pose an obstacle, especially with the youth, who did not grow up on a farm or garden, or draft horses, and I was the water fetcher. Our water came from a springwater source. And from that came the sounds and expressions, of water, feel, taste, and more. Thank You for the question

Quiddity999 karma

What's your favorite story, myth or legend from your indigenous background?

Kennpit13 karma

Excellent question. FRom an Nishinaabe or Indigenous perspective or world view, there are many lessons from the communal and healthy experience. I have many stories. I would have to tell it in my dialect for them to resonate. Some are difficult to translate as English is limited in Indigenous comprehension. But, may stories under Nanabozho, said in mnay different ways, provides excellent life teaching material, said in a gentle and humorous way. Humor is foremost in the culture. The ability to laugh at oneself is paramount. That's a tricky excercise at time I have found,. At times when I perhaps thought I knew it all. So the creation stories bring sustenance to respect for self, others, and everything else from the flora and fauna. Many a nite I went to sleep howling with laughter as my grandparents told me stories in the oral language. There was nothing written. I'm coming out with some material that responds to your excellent question. Just give me some time :D Thank You. And I apologize for not having a favorite, as they all gel into another...They are so fun, these stories. But, I ramble. Have a super day.

VanBannana5 karma

Do you see a "divide" between Canadian and American Aboriginal peoples? I mean......the border was the colonizer's, creation. As a First Nations person from Ontario, do you feel that you are equally connected/ related to , say...The BC Salish as you do to the Washington State Salish?

Kennpit9 karma

Yes. Short answer. I have been all over the States and Us and I have found we are all the same and have that immediate rapport with one another. Ps. Im from Wiky, ON. :) My last sojourn into the US was as faculty at University teaching the language and culture. I remember sitting with an elder in Calgary area and immediately began conversing and laughing with another over language terminology. I was deep in the Chaco Canyon on the Hopi Rez, and immediately, they took myn wife and me as guests and gave us their Hogan-house, and bed. I have met Aborigines fro Australia and there is that automatic connect. I love it. Miigwetch my friend.

TacticalFleshlight4 karma

What is your opinion on the situation in Attawapiskat? Preserving cultural heritage is very important no doubt. Do you think the people of Attawapiskat actually want to help themselves? I see no attempt to preserve heritage with snowmobiles, pick up trucks, satellite TV, and kids flashing gang signs (no disrespect intended). What would be your ideal solution to the issues faced in Attawapiskat and similar places?

Kennpit13 karma

Thank you for the excellent question and your observations. We are all products of our times. And the children described are a reflection of that. And yes, coming from a millenia of self-care-sustenance, and community - communal care, the People of Attawapiskat are no different from any human being, and welcome any opportunity to raise themselves to that staure known for millenia and sadly eroded by church and state over 150 years of organized genocide. The UN definition of Genocide (1949) under its 5 charters clearly describes colonial, US and Canada, agenda to readicate "savages" True story my friend. Solutions? Extend the same kindness extended to Europeans 500 years ago, when they arrive on our shores starving and dying from illnesses. Help us now, help ourselves. Miigwetch - Thaqnk you for that question. Education and communication is an excellent tool for harmonious relations. Keep asking these questions, I encourage you. When one is curious, answers come. And keep an open mind, and heart. Extend the olive branch. Try. It may work. You may get disillusioned. And that's okay as long as one has an open heart and mind. Soften the heart my friend. Then you can help bridge solutions. And there are many solutions. It'll take a lifetime to implement. Again, Miigwetch-Thank You, Kenn

OsmerusMordax4 karma


I am 1/4 Metis, and I was wondering what your views are on Canada's policy towards Indigenous peoples, and if you believe the Trudeau government will keep their word on improving their relationship with First Nations people?

Kennpit10 karma

Miigwetch, Salut, and Thank You for the question. Like any government, one has to be mindful on their purposes. This Trudeau government is the first in a long time, if ever, to come up with the effort to recognize the unique language of the Metchif and their culture. So I am leaning towards trust. But like anyone, this govt must be held accountable and constantly monitored. I hope and pray, and act and speak for the Metis as my wife and family come from the prairies, and their way of life Ihas been described extensively. I stand with the Metis

TogShark4 karma

Here in Wales, the number of Welsh speakers is falling and has been for some time. How do you convince parents to teach their children a native language when many do not speak it themselves?

Kennpit7 karma

Aanii- hello in Wales :D Welcome to the reservation. Nice to have you. What we did for our children is use social media for the kids themselves to see and hear themselves. Of course, that was way back when video was the only medium, along with film. In many cases here, we have fluent indigenous speakers who will not teach their families. But for those that do speak, record them I used to this with audio only, way back in the day. Many of those elders are long gone now. But their voices go on. And their story telling. Try and have storytellers tell a story or two, in their own Native langauge, at every opportunity. Concentrate on those parents and others who want to preserve. Pay them if you have to. I know it's a perverse method. But anything to preserve a rich sound original to an original group of peoples. Some basic research on endangered or lost languages with visuals might help. Over here we have curriculum from k-12 and post-secondary with indigenous language mandatory at all levels across Canada. US might be a good example of indigenous peoples who have lost their languages and what it cost them in dignity, and their frantic search to replace the void with true culture. How many speakers do you have? At one point we had 5 speakers in one part of the country. Now there are more. I can provide you links that may help if you IB me. Your friend, Kenn

Srnart4 karma

I'm a Canadian of european descent. While I was a small child, reservations were basically described to me by my elders as a special private place for First Nations to practice their culture without being bothered by Europeans. The picture was basically painted like how first nations had been on tv; fishing and hunting deep in the woods.

When I was a teenager, I got to do a geography project at the cartography center in PEI. Knowing that PEI didn't really have dense woods, I went and checked what the lands types were for the reservations. Each one was described as salt marsh. You can't grow anything in salt. You can't build anything in marsh. It's the worst possible land. No one would choose it. They had to have been forced onto it. The lie was revealed, and I felt crushed.

Is that generally true even out in Ottawa/Ontario that reservations are on the worst possible land? Would it be an improvement/more manageable if reservations were relocated? I suspect a lot of the water issues are stemming from this. It's probably cheaper to move people closer to fresh water than to make purification plants. Would First Nations be open to relocation, or would there be a trust issue with the government?

Kennpit4 karma

Miigwetch-Thank you for a multi-tiered question. Let me begin with the last part of your quest. Yes, the trust issue is foremost. That will stay intact. In our language, the reservation is described as "the left overs." Understood? Native Americans did not choose those lands, but were forced under penalty, jail, fines etc. if they did not stay there. I can remember and official Indian Agent as they were called had to grant a hall room pass to leave and enter the reserve. That's from the Indian Act. On our reserve there was a bolted gate for entry and exit. The curriculum you describe is changing as per our own initiatives and finally now with this current government, an "accurate" rendition of history must be taught in schools and in all service agencies across the country as per the TRC truth and reconciliation Canada recommendations-94 of them. And yes, at one time these lands are the worst. Now with mineral discoveries, they now want them back for further exploitation. Short term gain for the 1%. Kudo's for your discoveries. Curiosity leads to enlightenment. Keep digging. Ask questions. Educate inform enlighten and build relationships. Miigwetch, Your friend Kenn Ps these reservations as bad as they can be are home and not up for sale. or to discard. Also remember, reserves were kept to keep us on the other side of the tracks. :D

Skraeling3 karma

Thanks for your AMA! Which ongoing case in Canadian Aboriginal law do you feel people should be paying more attention to?

Kennpit5 karma

Whew! That's a question. Hmmm. And thank You for the question.I know Nishinaabe lawyers. And each of them have expressed identity. Treaties. And the Jay treaty as its known-the international treaty where the US recognizes it, but Canada does not. I have extensive experience with Homeland Security and Canada customs. The Jay Treaty recognizes Native Americans as sovereign nation, free to travel, trade, and ensure the free flow of good between countries for commerce. The Rights of Indigenous People is an act to brand as as real and alive human beings, just like anyone else, not Indigenous, to stand tall and able to share ideas and dignity and basic human respect. Bill C31 was a good exercise. And the White Paper of 1969 is percolating to the surface its the Nishinaabe people advocating doing away with the Indian Act, which it looks like, yet when the current Prime Ministers Father, introduced the idea, back then, it was unanimously disapproved. So I would remind our law folk, to tread gingerly. Miigwetch my friend.

Jkobe173 karma

I've never had anything happen in my life that would compare to the level of awful of the residential schools and yet, I feel you have more faith in humanity than I will ever have. How did you achieve love, acceptance and healing?

Kennpit9 karma

Thank You for the insight. When I was youn g I went into the bush and fasted for four nites and days, without human company, deep in the woods, away from anyone, without water, or fire, and sat and cried under the stars and sun. I asked for help. I got it. And from that point on, the foundation for love and understanding and guiding and teaching, and the humility that comes from that responsibility, reinforced my family culture and upbringing. I say, embrace all. All are human beings. Even if they are not Nishinaabe. Everyone hurts, cries, and feels pain. At no time was that more evident than when my son dies. Yes. I was angry. But I could put my finger the reasons) if any. Life is precious. My boy taught me that. He was 30 when he went home as we say it. I am of age now where i should know better, and I try to help anyone, should they ask. Strangers included. I guess, I know, that unless one loses a child, one can never know the pain. And for me that's humility. And love. 'They do not understand" is something I say when I witness dysfunction. Nor do I wish this pain on anyone else. It;s a pain, no one should ever experience. So, I like to say, My boy taught me that. I give him full credit. And now my existing friends and family, I lean on. wev all need each other. Thank you

Jkobe172 karma

I agree whole heartedly with your sentiments. Thank you for your wise and thoughtful reply, kennpit. I will keep hope that my request for help will come.

Kennpit2 karma

You are most welcome :D

just_not_ready3 karma

I am not sure about the Odawa language or your ancestral people, but over here in BC a lot of aboriginal youths are finding it easier and easier to break with the traditions passed down to them in favour of the mainstream, English-speaking Canadian mélange.

When it comes to preserving your traditions in the 21st century, what will be the best approach? How can those traditions continue to thrive if younger generations find themselves less and less in touch with them?

What is gained by working within mainstream culture to guarantee the survival of your culture and traditions? What is gained by pushing mainstream culture away?

Thanks for the AMA! This is a great way to connect with younger generations and people from different places!

Kennpit6 karma

Miigwetch-Thank You for the insight and observation. "Within" mainstream offers the opportunity social media has, like today's exercise. One cannot escape mainstream culture. But one can live with it, but one also has the opportunity to shed it, if only a few hours, or even days. As an endangered group, Native America has tribal practices and ceremonies to help bring one back to their roots. You know, the culture "finds a way" to survive, if I borrow a line from Jurassic Park. The culture is coming back, and it began in the sixties, which I was fortunate to see. It will not go away. It's coming back with resilience. It may seem the culture and indeed the language are eroding, and not only in BC, and it is, but by the same and equal and opposite force, taking root and standing firm. Yes, it's too bad the disconnect is real, but so is the return to identity, or the search for it. My best approach has always been to lead by example, not that mine was stellar, and do face the consequences for our actions, and be responsible for ones own dignity and community contribution. I know this is true. But the Nishinaabe traditions are coming back strong in our young people, here and across America. They come through ceremony. And in my case, born into it with a visit from the spirit world at my crib when I first came to into this world. So, I know, the original people's are coming back. Stronger. And you are most welcome for the AMA as I wish to do more soon.

just_not_ready2 karma

Thanks for the response! An AMA in /r/Canada might be nice too, at some point in the future.

Kennpit1 karma

Hey excellent comment. Sounds good. Help me out? How would I go about AMA /r/Canada

MattJonsey3 karma

If you ran a school for kids that were taken from their homes, what would you make sure they would have that you were denied?

Kennpit12 karma

Miigwetch for the question...Miigwetch means Thank You. Love, I would provide love and a safe environment for an innocent first response. I would treat them as any healthy human being and or parent wants to have their children treated.

Mike_hunt_hurtz3 karma

thank you for your services to the community! I hope life has treated you well kind stranger. Has life been decent to you? I couldnt post without a question.

Kennpit6 karma

I thank you sir :D My life has been excellent, in spite of tragedy and dysfunction. I continue to serve at request when called upon. We are no longer strangers. Lets continue to collaborate. Thank you. But I have a fantastic family with grown kids contributing to their communities in an honest and open manner to everyone they encounter. My life is full of love. I love it

TacticalFleshlight3 karma

How bad were the residential schools? Obviously they were bad. But what was your personal experience? Anything from your first day to your last

Kennpit8 karma

Miigwetch-Thank you for the excellent question. I went to Indian Day School. My parents went to one in Spanish Ontario. My mother escaped. She literallly ran away. She was one of the lucky ones. But the damage had been done, and for that my siblings and I suffered and I saw first hand and heard the material a child should never experience. The TRC addressed the cultural loss. But our people suffered under the 5 instruments under the UN declaration of Genocide. If you wish to research that item from 1949 , Native America suffered all of those, and much of this material is now available...I got whippings from nuns. My friends experienced sexual abuse. Brothers from the Catholic Church abused my boy child friends. And More. Its called the Holocaust. Thank You friend

just_not_ready1 karma

Thank you for relating what must be a difficult thing to dredge up.

Kennpit4 karma

It's reality. It's not difficult-for me- but, Thank You, for the observation. It's disheartening at times, but that is where the strength to step onward comes from. Your friend, Kenn

TyeneSandofDorne3 karma

What is the biggest problem facing First Nations youth today?

Kennpit7 karma

Miigwetch-Thank You. Identity. For 150 years their families were bombarded with identity eradication. "Kill the Indian, save the child" came from government and religious institutions, that continues to reverberate throughout Indian-Nishinaabe country today. The children of today are decendants of a culture where it's not cool to be Indian and even shameful, and to hide or bury or forget your culture, language and community. It will take a while to recover from 150 years or organized assimilation. So please help by educating your circle. Thank You.

Inotreb2 karma

Thanks for doing this and for your time. Are there any books you can recommend, possibly of a collection of Indigenous stories for children that I might read to mine(4 and 2 years old)?

Kennpit3 karma

Excellent question. And I say Miigwetch-Thank You. The TRC Truth and Reconciliation Canada came out with 94 recommendations including curriculum. Try their resources. It's heartening to hear your plea. It makes me feel good. But, off the top of my brown head, I am unable to provide an author or title. IB me later, with developments and I will try to help. Miigwetch-Thank you, and keep caring. Kenn

theletterqwerty2 karma

Chii-miigwetch for speaking to us! I have a difficult question that I'm having a hard time phrasing inoffensively, so pardon me if I misstep.

In the years leading up to (and well after) the first world war, a succession of Canadian governments was openly embracing policy that amounted to genocide against your people. We both know what was going on then so I'll spare us the list, but in the midst of all of that, when our King was attacked, a LOT of Aboriginal men volunteered to defend us. So many that attempts to conscript them late in the conflict failed because there basically weren't any who hadn't already joined! Can you comment on what must have been going through those young men's heads, leaving the relative (??) safety of their homes to go overseas and fight for the government that had treated them so unkindly? And then a second time in the mid-1940s, after so very little had changed?

Kennpit5 karma

Chii-Miigwetch definitely :D Smiles. Well, Miigwetch. Thank you for the interest. This part of history remains vague to me but of special interest as your question highlights. Let me say, the present is as true as it was back then for Aboriginal men and women to join the military. My daughter is one of them, She is an Lieutenant in the Canada Armed Forces Air Force. The only way or one way for sure I know about our people, is that we have the warrior spirit deeply engrained, inherently in all of us. We respect and admire the warrior spirit. And we are good at it. So when the time came in history that we could no longer pursue our vocation as our "enemy" was no longer present, as in a battle scenario, our people joined the colonizers military. I suppose in one way we honor our great warriors of the past, and warriors can be oraters and not specific to war, our people jumped at the opportunity. On another level, it was economics. Since all the land and way of life was removed, ie. no longer free to hunt or trap or wander the terrain in pursuit of game and the glory that came from that, our people had to be realistic and on the question of how to feed themselves and their families. For pay, they joined- and status. From the world wars to Vietnam to the middle east, our boys and girls signed on. At another level, Native America was here first. By extension, they are defending their ancestral homes that have been theirs for millenia and who better than the original inhabitants of this great Turtle Island, called North America, to defend what is rightfully theirs. Is there anyone who will not defend their home, women, children, elders, and the infirm, over and above a paycheck, than the original inhabitants. Miigwetch-Thank you for bringing this history to the table. Lets keep in touch, if you wish, and continue educating others from within and without. But, we have not surrendered nor will ever surrender to governments. We have never lost in war. Battle maybe. but not war. Thus Treaty intrusion. In essence, we are defending Turtle Island and honoring those who tried to keep it from foreign hands. The rest is history. I value insight and questions that exercise my think cells. Your friend, Kenn

aif1232 karma

What's your favourite province?

Kennpit6 karma

Miigwetch-Thank you for the question...I smile. I have not been fortunate enough to visit each province, but from those that I have seen, each has that terrestrial beauty unique to the geography. So to pick one requires me to jump over others. But I would have to say each provice is awesome. Love them all. And I have been fortunate to see the land and people from each. If I was a politician, I would be in trouble trying to pick one...Good thing I am not a politician . I must say all of them are favorite each in their own way. Miigwetch :D

fiorerosso142 karma

Do you find young people to be interested in learning about their origins?

Kennpit5 karma

From every race....yes. They do. And I love them for it. Please ground oneself in their roots. And be proud of them all.

WillowtreeMoon2 karma

I try every day to take the time to stop and appreciate our beautiful earth, but it can be hard sometimes with our fast-paced world and all the technology we have. What's your best advice for remembering to keep that connection with nature alive?

Kennpit11 karma

Thank you for the question. I used to live in Toronto. Even on the concrete, I looked at it as Mother earth. Which is true. All that concrete and asphalt comes from my mother. So it grounds me. I remeber talking to trees and non-natives looking at me. That was funny. So I first gave thanks to that concrete or that tree, and then the air, and gives thanks for the ability to breathe, and the ability to walk on my mother, with respect and apologize to her, for soiling her person. Technology is an extension of the Nishinaabe way. I have all the latest tweets and such. And I made sure my children did. But ech was grounded in that sand on the beach or the water they swam in. Yes. we all know the detriments of modern technology, but each time I start my car, I have to thank her, she is mother earth, and the fuels in her, which all come from her again. So I dsay Miigwetch-Thank you, and please forgive me. Thank your car, truly :D, and the fuel to make it go. Thank the lumber or mortar that holds up your abode. It's all mother earth. If you can sit by the water, or next to tree, talk to it. You are heard each time. I guarantee it. And from time to time, take a time out and turn off cell phones and computers, which I do. When my children came to me, I always turned off the television. Even if my favorite program was on. EWalk away from it all. And go where. In my case, deep into the forest. Alone. :)

WillowtreeMoon3 karma

Thank you so much! I'd never thought of all our modern conveniences as an extension of earth, i will work to keep this in mind every day!

Kennpit3 karma

:D Glad to help...This is the Indigenous way, Miigwetch-Thank You, Kenn

discvention2 karma

First of all, thank you for participating in this AMA, Kenn. In light of the crisis that has effected Attawapiskat, what do you think is the most challenging factor to community growth when it comes to living in rural Aboriginal communities?

Kennpit4 karma

Miigwetch-Thank you for your awareness. Attawapiskat, I have been to, and still now reside in a remote fly-in community, accessible by winter road, needs access to basic human services, at the same price and choice available to urban Canada. Access. Access to every service, product and commodity. But with the caveat, access should be governed by locals at the reservation level. I am big on education. All my children are university grads. And we made sure that we were with them during high school. There are many very challenging factors. Let's begin and even react with one issue, and plan for multi-pronged approach with the other existing issues. And we led by example, as we were fortunate in that way. My wife and I. We have post-secondary degrees. As I tell my students, here, there, and anywhere, keep working at it, whatever "it" might be and not to give up. I know we can discuss this matter more...and thank you again for being aware. It's appreciated.

TacticalFleshlight2 karma

What would you like to see change in the relationship between the Canadian /Provincial governments and the Native American peoples in the next 100years?

Kennpit3 karma

:D Miigwetch-Thank You. Return to the original relationships of respect and helping another. The Indigenous peoples do not recognize those international or provincial state lines. The original people were there for millenia before those impositions. Education is great place to start. Native America knows all about non-Native America. Does Non-native America know the original peoples culture? Dialogue is great. I find it works very well for me. But with the arrival of colonial impositions, can non-indigenous aspirations and history take a step back, take a deep breath, and open up their minds and hearts, and recognize, and admit, there is so much more to enrich their lives and relationships with Native America. Miigwetch my friend.

TacticalFleshlight3 karma

Thank you for all the answers to all my questions. I think you would make a good politician/representative.

Kennpit5 karma

I am Laughing at my self over your observation...and I am enjoying it. So Miigwetch -Thank You my friend, Kenn

1tudore2 karma

What policies for cultural restoration/propagation for Natives in urban areas and on rez do you think are good models for other countries?

Kennpit4 karma

Miigwetch - Thank you for your interest. It Matters. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a good arc to begin. Educate, inform, question the respective government leadership and the opposition on why it took so long for Canada to embrace basic human relations with the indigenous. Reach high. Reach for the global. Begin where one is. Keep learning. And keep humble. I find this works for me. Thank you friend, Kenn

BillNihilism2 karma

Hello! Thank you for your wonderful work, insights and optimism! In Pakistan, my home, there's some concern that Urdu is changing for the worse. It's not in danger of "dying" for now but increasingly English is integrating into everyday speech, and English words are replacing their Urdu counterparts. Do you think there's any benefit to young people mixing English and their native/ancestral language or do you think the language should be preserved in the most pure form possible? Does it have to be one or the other?

Kennpit2 karma

Good question I value. Miigwetch-Thank you. Let me say we have been incorporating or adding English into our language for a long time. That is unavoidable. At some of this terminology, we laugh, either because it sounds funny, or the skill we were able to apply to get the discussion across. In the traditional language scene, much of this phenomenon is openly discussed and elaborated upon. Urdu might be changing, but I think you may have more than 5 or 50 speakers, depending on the locale. In one situation, one part of the country here had only 5 remaining speakers, 4 of whom were transplants, of which one was moi, and the the only remaining local, sort of, speaker was from a neighboring area. Now we have more. Some of them are now teachers of the language. Yes. Do keep Urdu as pure as possible. That is your culture. That is your identity. Keep it strong. But do recognize foreign influence. That seems to happen as a matter of circumstance. It may not be one or the other, but respect each others way of keep the language of the people alive. Respect is key. Your friend, Kenn

RothXQuasar2 karma

I know you said elsewhere that you believe your language will live on, but have you written any books or things detailing your language? Are you planning to? Or has sufficient documentation already been written?

I love linguistics and languages, and believe very strongly in the preservation of languages. A quick google search did not show any resources on the language.

Kennpit3 karma

Hello Roth. Miigwetch - Thank you for the question. See my book for a partial answer to your question as it has key written language. And there are more. First, understand there are different schools of thought on preserving and teaching the langauge. The Ottawa langauge, is an oral language. It was written, pre-contact, but not the way its understood today. Therde can never be enough documentation, so I support any of our speakers who continue to write in syllabics or the Friere method. There are other schools of application. My book is detailed with the language using the double vowel system which is taught in our part of the country. As for my writing plans, no doubt language will be a key component. I enjoy to see your interest. Miigwetch, Your friend, Kenn

veyra121 karma

How would you recommend that youth, indigenous or otherwise, reconnect with their communities?

Kennpit3 karma

Wow! That's a big and excellent question. Miigwetch-Thank You. If there is a way one can be held accountable and responsible for their actions/.behaviors, then one has an opportunity to engage relations. I know the obstacles. And they are real. But someone from each community or city block, or territory must take some lead and forge the way, by leading, and preaching last/later. Each situation needs its own unique approach. Recognize that, and allow the people to forge with respect in its many facets be the foundation for dialogue. Tough love, As I did with our children has to be equally in place for all, adults included. Miigwetch-Thank You your friend, Kenn

WindowShoppingMyLife1 karma

I might be too late with this question, but no one has brought up this issue yet.

How do you feel about while people imitating or Romanticizing Native culture? For example, the Boy Scouts of America is known to incorporate Native legends (which may or may not be authentic), rituals, and sometimes clothing into their own traditions. In their case I think it is meant with respect, but at the end of the day you still have a bunch of white boys dressed up like Native Americans.

Does this sort of thing offend you, or is it a good sign that white people are interested in your culture? By extension, how, and to what degree, do you see your own culture fitting in to the larger "melting pot" of mainstream culture?

Kennpit1 karma

I always try to discourage mascots, the war hoop in sports and stereotypical imagery portrayed in Hollywood. I would not be fun to portray the black face - I am glad that has stopped, but in Native America we have a long way to go. Miigwech.

indianmeat1 karma

No one-liners?

Kennpit1 karma

Read my book! Thank you!

CupKate1231 karma

Hi, I read a research paper for a course that said nearly 35% of First Nations communities are geographically isolated with limited or no road access. These communities are also usually under drinking water advisories, do not have adequate healthcare or other basic services because of the geographic isolation. Do you think the Federal government should conduct a once-in-a-lifetime mass roads construction (as much as the terrain allows it) to connect these communities so that food/goods/transportation and other essential services can be driven in cheaper than flying them in?

Second question on a personal anecdote. An acquaintance of mine in Toronto grew up in a small First Nations community in the North (cannot remember the name unfortunately). We were discussing about the drinking water crisis and he explained that it is so cold all year round that the pipes are always frozen and are literally of no use. I'd never considered the climate before until he said that. How do you think this issue can be resolved in such communities? Thank you.

Kennpit1 karma

1)I feel each community would have to be involved in deciding if it wanted road access. It will change everything that makes the community unique to have road access and 2) it is not true that the pipes are always frozen and of no use, but on occasion they will freeze if a house has no heat and the water is on. The drinking water is an important issue that the government(s) should focus on helping out with - water being essential to health and life. Miigwech for your insightful questions, although I am no expert in this area.

Halifaxia1 karma

Hi Kenn, I might be a little late to the party, but I figure I may as well ask this question as I've always wondered how a Native Canadian would answer.

Do you think Canada will ever transform into a country where reserves are obsolete and the Assembly of First Nations is abolished? I don't mean that Native culture is wiped away or that Native lands lose their protections or that people are forced to move off of their communities.

Kennpit1 karma

Thank you for your question, but this is not my area of expertise. Miigwech.

that_blind_panda1 karma

What's your favorite color?

Kennpit2 karma

Brown. Thank You for the excellent question. Its the colour of my people-red some say.

Jean_Pierre_Genie1 karma

Have you ever analysed other indigenous cultures around the world to see any similarities or differences with the First Nations indigenous culture?

Kennpit1 karma

Yes, studied and met many of them. We all share the same world view, one of respect for all human and non-human. Miigwech. Thank you.

turtleblanket0 karma

Boozhoo. What kind of work do you do with your indigenous youth? How do you engage our young people and lead them to a bright future? Do you have any ideas about how to address the high suicide rates among First Nations youth?

Kennpit1 karma

Currently I assist the elementary school teachers in class as a support person and I work one on one with any students who are not able to stay focused in class, in another area of the school. We do as many land based activities and sports and hands on projects as possible. We have a long winter in northern ON, but we do the best with what we have. Miigwech.

throaway23430 karma

Why are only the bad aspects of the residential school system talked about? Not even a near-majority of attendees were abused.

History is filled with millions of examples of people being forced to leave their homes, but rarely for the purpose of being educated.

What about soldiers drafted and forced to murder? They carried on and learned from the experience. They work hard and make a life for themselves.

Why is there no accountability on the part of natives? Over 98% of missing and murdered aboriginal women is because of aboriginal men, not whites.

Why should I, as someone born where I live, be considered an outsider, or a coloniser? Isn't me being called a white devil racism?

How do you explain the insane wealth and quality of life gap between tribe leaders and their populations? Why are chiefs multi-millionaires while their people live in delapidated houses?

If non-native Canadians are all bad, why do you want free fire and police and medicine? Everything modern that improves life, that has allowed you to make it where you are is because of Europeans.

Kennpit9 karma

Miigweetch-Thank you for your comments. We value your input. We value your speech. Freedom of speech and religion was unheard of in Europe. So, thank you for your expression. Women were chattel in Europe. Women here were the governors and lawmakers. Both US and Canadian Constitutions came from Native America. Its recorded by European hands. So, the words,"Everything modern that improves life, that has allowed you to make it where you are is because of Europeans." needs some rethink. And the medicine, painkillers from Aspirin to cocoa came from Native America. The corn enjoyed came from Native America, The tobacco inhaled came from Native America. 240 plus medicines still now in use came from Native America.The naming of each state or provice came from Native America. Each river is Named from Native American. And so much more...Like we say, education and keeping respect in place with an open heart is key to a healthy relationship. Miigwetch, Your friend, Kenn

AngloKiwi0 karma

Was that university of York in the UK? How did you find York, and what do you feel were the best and worst parts about it?

Kennpit1 karma

This was York U in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Excellent textual analysis of my field (Religious Studies) and at that time I felt alone because there weren't many Native Americans within student body or in administration. Miigwech.

todayIact-4 karma

Is your Y-chromosome Indian?

Kennpit1 karma


jkilopo-8 karma


Kennpit9 karma

jkilopo Hi :) I apologize. All I have from you is "lol?" Was there content lost? If so, please resend. Miigwetch-Thank You, Kenn