There has been an alarming increase in violent episodes in Eeyou Istchee in recent months and it’s sad that some of it happened just in time for the holidays.
An even sadder part is the shame and degradation that comes with being jumped or attacked for no reason. When these incidents happen, the victims are so embarrassed and eager to put it behind them that they are very reluctant to discuss it.
Many times we get calls at the Nation informing us of violent episodes. Our reaction is to report it, but sometimes the victims want to stay out of the limelight and they give us little or no information.
Here are just some of the incidents that have happened in the past two months:
– A Chief and two others attack a man at a Val d’Or hotel because of the strong words he used in an late-night political debate;
– An elderly handicapped woman is attacked for as yet unknown reasons in Chisasibi;
– A 21-year-old man attacks a taxi driver on his way to Nemaska, steals the car, hits a ditch, and then tries to hitchhike home all bloodied up;
– A school committee member is involved in a scuffle with a principal.
Why is there so much infighting in Cree territory? Some have said the Paix des Braves brought with it riches and a clear dividing line and in at least one of the above-mentioned instances that’s true.
But the real problem starts at home. Problems with alcohol and sexual and physical abuse need to be addressed and corrected.
Why are we taking our anger out on each other? More importantly, what can we do to stop it?
It’s high time we take more responsibility for our actions and be man (or woman) enough to walk away from confrontational situations, especially at this time of year. It is supposed to be a time of sharing, caring and giving of one’s self.
When you feel angry just step back and take a breath or two. Count to 10 or 100 if you need to.
If alcohol is involved we all know it’s harder to calm down because your judgment is impaired. Try to think of it this way; a good time does not mean ruining someone else’s good time. For the holidays let old rivalries drop by the wayside. You may find that by the end you have even forgotten them.
Another method is to look at something and say, “Will this matter tomorrow, next week or next month? Will it affect or change my life?” A court case involving assault charges will not improve your life, or the life of your family. Do you really want that? Wouldn’t you rather try to find the root cause and do something to ensure it can’t affect you that way again?
One other small trick is not to give your enemies or non-friends power over you. If their words make you angry then they are gaining power over you. Refuse to let that happen. If it’s a friend ask them calmly what the problem is while reminding them you value their friendship.