Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health

Audio of the 2005 book. Compiled, Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean.

Episodes

Saturday Nov 15, 2008

Episode 22 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. This is the last of the 21 stories. At the beginning of the project, each of the women chose a random number to represent them. This was both to protect their identities and to make the stories themselves the central focus. When it came time to put the book together, I didn't want to refer to the women by their numbers. That would have been awkward and certainly impersonal. So I ordered the stories by the women's numbers, from lowest to highest, and then assigned a pseudonym to each, from 'a' through 'w'. In other words, while the alphabetical arrangement would suggest otherwise, the stories in the book were randomly sorted. This was to ensure no bias crept in, in terms of story placement. How fitting, then, that the random sortation would result in a native woman, Waneta, getting the last word. When I was 5 years old, [my mother] committed suicide in a motel room. My younger brother and I were present and were the ones who actually found her. We remember that night like it was yesterday. We found her in the bathroom. There were no adults around. We remember playing with her rope.... I was about 13 when my biological sister reunited with me. She visited us off and on for about a year. She took her life when she was 18. She also hung herself in Victoria.... One of the uncles that lived in the home started sexually abusing me. I didn’t know that it was wrong. We would go fishing and then he would get on top of me and stuff. He’d make me lay there. I didn’t know. All of us slept in the same room as my grandfather and his partner. Seeing him on her, I thought it was something that you did. My uncle was doing that to me at the creek, when I was nine, and I thought it was what you had to do. I’ve never told any of the family members. He told me not to tell anybody, of course. I had all these secrets. All these adults in my life were telling me, ‘Don’t tell, Don’t tell’.

Sunday Nov 02, 2008

Episode 21 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. Vanessa's background is one of wealth, with an emphasis on conservatism, religion and traditional "family values" and roles. Likely not surprising, Vanessa's independent spirit and high intelligence almost immediately placed her at loggerheads with her family's expectations and the norms of much of society still. When I thought about my future, one thing was clear: I didn't want to grow up and serve some man. I didn't want to get married... There was no freakin' way in hell I was staying home 'til 5 o'clock and making sure someone's dinner was warm. I didn't want to be a servant. I worried and fretted about this. I did not want to be a wife; that's what it boiled down to. I could accept the notion of fatherhood, but not husband... Then, when I did grow up, that's what I became. For years. That's the biggest thing that bothers me about society: It beats your spirit out of you.

Wednesday Oct 22, 2008

Episode 20 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. One of several native women who participated in the project, Tatum has proven herself to be a fierce fighter against injustice: of that done to her as a child, woman and Indian, and to others in similar circumstances. As with two other of the storytellers, Tatum took her abuser to court. Also like them, she paid harshly for doing the right thing. Beyond what has become the dishearteningly common tale of childhood sexual abuse, there are the abuses against native culture and identity. I lived in Vancouver when I was 19, 20, 21.... My whole life, I think that’s what’s a live and so burning anger. We lost our language and every other culture is out there yakking their language – on public buses and on public streets. Oooh, that used to burn me in Vancouver when I was young! I used to be so angry when I heard another nationality’s voice in their own language. I think I still am. Then I have to be a Canadian citizen and you’re telling me I have to know French?!?! Discrimination also remains alive and thriving in our community. [As someone who doesn't look like the stereotypical Indian,] I never felt discrimination until I had this ex in my life.... Renting in Victoria ... there was so much discrimination. They would give the place to me when he was working... Then I’d bring my Indian husband. BAM! We don’t have a place anymore. Two hours ago I had it! No problem, no question. Then they see this Indian... He was in work clothes and everything!

Sunday Oct 19, 2008

Episode 19 of 24. (Sheree) A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. I’ve always hated the way I looked. I was fair-skinned; I had light hair. I wasn’t Status. I was considered Caucasian by the Native community and by the government, but the white people would look at me: “You’re Native.” I was hated and ridiculed by my family and my peers: I was nothing; I was nobody; I would never amount to anything, no matter how I tried, where I tried or who I tried with; I was adopted; I was found in the ditch; I was found in the garbage. That was what they told me. I was beat up physically everyday. By the time I turned 5, I was made into a sexual object. I read that over to myself after copying and pasting it, and don't know what else to add. It sickens me what Sheree and so many of these women have gone through. All these stories were heart-wrenching to collect, assemble and hold secret until I released the first project report. Now to read them again, out loud, for these podcasts - well, that has proven difficult. In that respect, Sheree's story is no exception. It's like I'm in her skin. Nor is Sheree an exception in protecting and nurturing an incredible inner strength to overcome what so many others wouldn't: I’m hiding right now in this little place. I’m trying to gather my energy to go out in the world and say: “OK, here I am again! Let’s try it again. One more time. Let’s get it right people!” I think I’m so stupid sometimes, seriously, because I go out there and try again. I really, honestly think that I’m going to find someone who’s going to help. It won’t go away. I just believe. These women are amazing and literally take my breath away. It's been a profound privilege to know them.

Friday Sep 05, 2008

Episode 13 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. Lucy's is a very powerful story told with a frankness which is refreshing. As with Glenna's story, you'll find yourself cheering, crying and guffawing all within a space of a few sentences. All these Ministries have their code word du jour, so now they have this dual diagnosis: depression + diabetes. Dual diagnosis is a crock of shit. It’s one thing. Poverty. Welfare puts you on such a diet you can’t afford fresh fruits or vegetables, you can’t afford any high protein. You’re stuck eating Welfare Diet... That many carbohydrates turn you into a blimp. Well eventually, as a blimp, you get diabetes and in the process of losing everything that you are, were, could have been, should have been, used to be, could have had, should have had, would have had... you lose yourself. After listening to this episode, PLEASE RATE and comment. (To do this, you must have the episode window open and scripting must be enabled. If you are reading this from the channel's homepage, click on the episode title to open the new window.) You'll see a comment form at the bottom of the page. To rate, pass your mouse over the stars and click the star representing your choice. Podcast channels with the highest ranking and number of ratings attract more listeners! Regarding comments, I'd be delighted to participate in discussions on the stories, whether on this podcast site or as part of an academic course.

Saturday Jul 12, 2008

Episode 10 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. Your culture gives you a sense of belonging and home. It's something we all need. But far too many Métis, and native or First Nations people have been deprived of - more often, torn from - their land, their family and their ancestral roots. I'm still searching spiritually. My spiritual faith right now is with the Baha'i but I'm also attending the Anglican Church. A lot of times they conflict. It bothers me. I need my sweats, I need my smudges, I need that close association with cultural roots... I'm being pulled apart. I want to be with First Nations people. India is Métis. In addition to the struggle to reconnect with her native roots, India faces barriers which include a background of abuse, poverty and addiction, which began with her placement into foster care at the age of five. After listening to this episode, PLEASE RATE and comment. (To do this, you must have the episode window open and scripting must be enabled. If you are reading this from the channel's homepage, click on the episode title to open the new window.) You'll see a comment form at the bottom of the page. To rate, pass your mouse over the stars and click the star representing your choice. Podcast channels with the highest ranking and number of ratings attract more listeners! Regarding comments, I'd be delighted to participate in discussions on the stories, whether on this podcast site or as part of an academic course.

Thursday Jul 03, 2008

Episode 9 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. Halona's is one of five stories by Métis, and native or First Nations women. Raised off reserve, Halona was born into a quite wealthy family. Until the family's breakup when Halona was eight years old, life had been good. Halona adored her father and he encouraged and supported her aspirations. After the breakup, it was arranged for the children to stay with their mother. At that point, Halona's life began to fall apart. Halona's story is one of abuse, poverty and addiction. It's also a story of one woman's immense determination to make a better life for herself and her daughter. Everything I am striving for right now is good role modeling for my daughter, my community and my family. My message to others is that it is possible. Don't give up. Fight back! After listening to this episode, PLEASE RATE and comment. (To do this, you must have the episode window open and scripting must be enabled. If you are reading this from the channel's homepage, click on the episode title to open the new window.) You'll see a comment form at the bottom of the page. To rate, pass your mouse over the stars and click the star representing your choice. Podcast channels with the highest ranking and number of ratings attract more listeners! Regarding comments, I'd be delighted to participate in discussions on the stories, whether on this podcast site or as part of an academic course.

Sunday Jun 22, 2008

Episode 8 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. [I confess to having favourites. This is one of them. Within the space of a few sentences, Glenna manages to move readers to tears, laughter, fury, and cheer - truly, one feels like slapping a high-five and yelling Go Girl! to the rooftops.] In her mid-fifties at the time of this telling, Glenna has worked since the age of 14. Born into poverty, her tale challenges the common perception that a life in poverty means a life without riches or meaning. Glenna has faced multiple, endless barriers, but these have had less to do with her upbringing, which was warm and supportive, than with how society treats i) people without money, ii) women - especially those without money, and iii) people, particularly of categories i and ii, who speak out against the discrimination. Be prepared: have tissues handy, allow room for pacing, and drink your tea in sips - guffaws can be messy. After listening to this episode, PLEASE RATE and comment. (To do this, you must have the episode window open and scripting must be enabled. If you are reading this from the channel's homepage, click on the episode title to open the new window.) You'll see a comment form at the bottom of the page. To rate, pass your mouse over the stars and click the star representing your choice. Podcast channels with the highest ranking and number of ratings attract more listeners! Regarding comments, I'd be delighted to participate in discussions on the stories, whether on this podcast site or as part of an academic course.

Sunday Jun 08, 2008

A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. Often quoted by dietitians, Elysia's story makes a strong statement regarding the distinctions among leading a healthy lifestyle, knowing what a healthy lifestyle is, and having the choice to lead a healthy lifestyle. A single mother of four children, one of whom is autistic, Elysia struggles each day to find the energy for tomorrow. It’s not raising her children which she finds challenging. It’s dealing with the counter-productive, inconsistent rules governing British Columbia’s social assistance programs. They're willing to pay $200 a month on a drug. I would far sooner see that $200 in my cupboard and my fridge. It would go a lot further. Consequently, if we weren't so poor, I wouldn't be so stressed. If I wasn't so stressed and had better nutrition, I wouldn't have this rash to begin with. After listening to this episode, PLEASE RATE and comment. (To do this, you must have the episode window open and scripting must be enabled. If you are reading this from the channel's homepage, click on the episode title to open the new window.) You'll see a comment form at the bottom of the page. To rate, pass your mouse over the stars and click the star representing your choice. Podcast channels with the highest ranking and number of ratings attract more listeners! Regarding comments, I'd be delighted to participate in discussions on the stories, whether on this podcast site or as part of an academic course.

Saturday May 17, 2008

Episode 3 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005. Anna was born in St. Lucia, spent much of her childhood in poverty and from the age of 15 began life as an illegal alien in Canada. Anna is uniquely positioned to draw certain comparisons and she challenges the notion that people in North America who live at the bottom income level don't - or can't - know what 'real' poverty is. After listening to this episode, PLEASE RATE and comment. (To do this, you must have the episode window open and scripting must be enabled. If you are reading this from the channel's homepage, click on the episode title to open the new window.) You'll see a comment form at the bottom of the page. To rate, pass your mouse over the stars and click the star representing your choice. Podcast channels with the highest ranking and number of ratings attract more listeners! Regarding comments, I'd be delighted to participate in discussions on the stories, whether on this podcast site or as part of an academic course.

Copyright 2012 Chrystal Ocean. All rights reserved.

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