by NimKiyoshk on October 2, 2015 - 11:17am

Do you have an example of ways that you encounter the law on a regular basis?

Most days, it is unconsciously encountering the law on regular basis. At the cafeteria when I have my food or whatever I’m going to buy. There’s sometimes thought of not going past the store/cafeteria part because they will think your stealing and can get into trouble. Although, I don’t think about this on the regular basis it’s still consciously happening. As to where you follow the rules and make sure you pay like everyone else so you’re not coming into contact with law authorities. Sometimes, I want to smudge in my residence to purify my body, mind and spirit but because the rules of residence I have consciously programed the facts that I know I shouldn’t. If you don’t know what I mean by “smudge”, it is sage that gets burned as a coal like a scent stick usually set in an abalone shell. Many Native or Indigenous people all over use this today but many times in different settings we aren’t able to. So unconsciously many people set the rules of society without having to think about or come into contact with the actual authorities.

How does the law and/or the legal system structure your life?

In many ways, law structures my life in residence, school, cities, and all around but I think in cities there are the most rules. In residence I know to not make tons of noise, I know not to break the appliances; I know not to have alcohol, weapons, or anything of heated sources in my room. At school there obviously rules to follow that we all learn from grade school and up like no fighting and no bullying.  When I go for walks I’m not going to walk across everyone’s front lawns even though I’d rather walk on the grass or earth because again that thought of not wanting to come into contact with the law authorities. Of course there are many other rules that shape the way we think, behave, and view the world either through law and or through how people around us see’s and views the world. Cultural morals and traditions also play a big part in individuals’ philosophies but law is a big part of it too. A difference from city life from the woods or my reserve, for example, is that there are many free spaces that you can go to without so many rules. Out in the woods or my reserve there are more places I can smudge and walk on the earth instead having to walk on cement. There are many more countless things you don’t worry about in the woods that you do in cities and I think there are ways in which people may think it could be “uncivilized” in ways but I believe there are ways to govern without having to build cities and prisons. I know this may be a bit off topic but the more I get into my explanations it makes me write more and think more. My ancestors play a big part of how I think today and today think about much of the destruction to earth that is in western ways of life. I want also mention that I don’t people to feel blame, guilt, and or shame about anything.

Is the law an invisible or visible presence in your daily life?

It is invisible and visible in my daily life. Consciously and unconsciously as I explained in my answer to the first question in my daily life many rules get programmed in an unconscious way where I have to think about it. Many times the rules or laws get thought about and followed in a very conscious way where I’m thinking about it more. All in all, law is encountered everyday even in the woods, cities, schools, residences, and everywhere. For example, in the woods and everywhere I know there to be spiritual laws, laws of the creator, and laws of mother earth. Although, I don’t know all those laws that are very spiritual in ways where in a Native belief system we most of the time do not take from the earth without giving something back and we don’t take more that we need. Residential school played a big part in the loss of Native peoples’ languages, cultures and governance systems which are coming back as Native peoples learn their language, history, creation stories, and walk a spiritual path.