I was watching the news last night and there was a little story on this guy Bjorn Troch – The Social Traveler. I decided to get in contact with him and invite him to our Reserve, Sagkeeng. He accepted and I picked him up this morning and we went out to my see my Cousin Joe Daniels. My brother and I were going to go and Sweat with Joe. So it was nice to invite Bjorn along to take part. The Cousins and the other people at the Sweat were very gracious and welcoming to Bjorn. There is the natural curiosity and questions from both us and from him. In the end it was a very good experience and I think we were very good ambassadors.
That’s the thing isn’t it? We are all ambassadors of some sort, whether we want to be or not. I bet you can relate. Were you one of those Native people in a class or job that was full of non-indigenous people and for some reason any topic that had to do with Native issues, you became the ‘go to’ person? Your actions, words and demeanor become the measuring stick of which others are judged. You can also be an ambassador for your place of birth, your country.
I know its not fair to judge a whole segment based on just one encounter or by one experience but that’s just how it goes sometimes. I kind of laugh at how things go in Winnipeg. There have been some instances where travelers into the city have not had good experiences. I remember some young men came from North Dakota, I think they were young service men. They got fought in the city. Not a good way to welcome people. Another time a guy was biking across Canada and had his bike stolen. But you know in each of these incidents, the larger community came together and tried to make amends.
I was pretty happy (and proud) about how good my cousins and friends treated Bjorn. So I was bragging to him; “Indians are good people”. He said “people are good people”. That was something. I agree. There are some good and kind people out there. So I was humbled to know that not only are Indians good people, but many people from all over a good and kind as well. So sometimes when we are all proud and stuff, a few words can Teach us and show us to be humble.
So whether or not you want to be seen as an ambassador, you are going to be judged or put in that situation at one time or another. Are you ready to be a good ambassador of your people?
Or are you going to be one of those people that makes us look like arseholes?