Yesterday I went on a little adventure. Okay, it wasn’t really an adventure it was more a walk on a paved bike bath in the bush over behind these soccer fields. I live in the city but not just any city THE Forest City aka London ON. You might ask yourself why it is called “Forest City”? Okay, maybe not. I didn’t even know it was called Forest City until 3 years after I lived here and I asked someone why it was called the Forest City. They just laughed at me and said “Look around you.” I looked around. I personally think it should be called “Tree City” or “City with lots of Trees, Bad Public Transit, and Sink Holes Downtown every 3 years-City.” Okay, maybe just Tree City. Really, there is no forest anywhere. That bush behind the soccer field isn’t really a real bush. I mean what kind of bush has a paved bike path in it?
What does this have to do with my adventures yesterday? Well, I went for that walk on that paved bike path in the bush behind those soccer fields located in Forest City looking for cedar. Cedar. What did I find? No cedar. Okay, I am lying a bit about that but you would think in a city also known as Forest City might have at least ONE cedar tree. Nope. It didn’t. Did I want to venture off the paved bike path and search for cedar. You would think that a Native girl who grew up on the rez and played in the bush (yes, the kind of bush with no paved bike paths) would be brave enough to go into the city bush. No, I am smarter than that. Really, I think city bush is more dangerous than rez bush. You have to watch out for REAL people who might be lurking in the city bush waiting to pounce on their next victim. Rez bush you just have to watch out for bears, wolves, and cougars… Oh my! And no, not the kind of cougars that you find in some city bars.
What did I lie about earlier? Well, there is cedar in this city and the only cedar I found was in my neighbours’ yards. I called my sister who lives in a bigger city and asked her if she thought it would be weird if I knocked on one of their doors asking if I could pick their cedar. She just laughed. Yeah, bad idea. Someone else just told me to just pick. WTF! Can you imagine the headlines on that: Local Indian Girl Caught Stealing Cedar From Neighbour’s Yard And Tries To Repay With Tobacco. Then Arrested. Yeah. Not. Good. I did notice that one neighbour had a cedar tree that sort of grew into the city bush and hung a bit over the fence. I thought to myself, “Maybe if I just take what I need by pulling that tree just a bit over the fence.” Still, a bad idea.
Then I remembered growing up on the rez back home that even the sage we used to pick didn’t even grow in our own yard. It grew on our non-Native, Christian’s neighbour yard. God bless him for letting 4 little Native girls go into his yard and pick it. On my walk, I noticed the only sage growing was in the local garden in the school yard.
Then I thought, “heck, not only did Canada colonize Native people, Canadians are now colonizing our traditional medicines.” Colonization, can you just stop it with the Native people please!
So, if you are reading this and live in London ON and you have cedar in your front yard, be on the look out for a Native girl coming to your yard to pick it… just kidding 😉 but if you do have some cedar in your yard and you’re not using it, can you kindly let me have some. I promise not to take the whole tree **teehee**