Skoden Banksy: Part Two

After a mysterious artist painted a “Skoden” mural under the Newport Bridge just outside of Brantford, question came up as to who the artist was.

On Wednesday, October 3, an email was sent to the Two Row Times with excerpts from a reflective journal written by the “Skoden Banksy” after their arrest for painting the mural.

As we published some of the reflection last week, this is part two of the reflective journal for you to enjoy:

  1. Why do you think the Pre-Charge Program has been offered to you? What can you gain from completing diversion successfully?

The Pre-Charge Program was offered to me as an alternative to being arrested for something I should never be arrested for in the first place. I believe the reason I was offered this “opportunity” is because the police realized they had no real ground to arrest me in the location they caught me painting, so they had to give me some sort of consequence to assert their invalid jurisdiction over our lands. (I was only a few feet away from the river. According to the Haldimand Proclamation, Haudenosaunee lands are 6 miles (10 km) on either side of the Grand River “which them and their posterity are to enjoyforever”… (see Reference B)
Since I am obligated to pay $125 for this program, I am going to get my money’s worth and write out an honest and direct reflection journal, in an effort to educate this infant Canadian law system on their flaws and areas of needed improvement.

  1. What kind of changes are required to avoid making this mistake again? What kind of changes are difficult for you?

You see, the kind of changes that are difficult for me include oil spills; dead zones in water ways; dried up wells; rapid spread of preventable forest fires; seeing trash everywhere; the current opioid epidemic; claiming residential school days are done yet number of indigenous children held in child welfare system exceeds the number of children incarcerated in residential schools at its peak; mass incarceration rates of black and indigenous peoples, yet white murderers and rapists still roam free; lack of justice for black and indigenous peoples in justice system; the staggering numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women; unnecessary resource exploitation; species extinction happening 1,000 times faster because of humans, etc.

What I did was no mistake. However, since you asked, I will inform you on the changes that are required: For the Canadian government to fulfill their responsibilities to this land, to the people and all living beings of this land. We’re just demanding peace while y’all want war; when you really think about it. Canada done declared war on the water, on the land, on children, indigenous peoples, on anything that holds the potential for peace.. You wanna look at me like I did something wrong because I created a painting and picked up the trash. Case and point. Mother Earth needs a break from all this destruction. Its too much. Stop it. She needs to detox now. Halt all projects that perpetuate the destruction. It’s time we apply our efforts and our moneys toward cleaning up the mess. It makes no sense to invest in further destruction and depletion of resources.  Especially given the fact that we know full well that there are safer, cleaner, sustainable alternatives for generating power and basking in comfort. We don’t need to do things this way. If installing a pipeline can create hundreds of jobs, well I’m sure you could also create hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs for taking the pipelines out, cleaning the mess and installing technologies for sustainable energy alternatives. The research and all the tools are all out there, just waiting to get funded. I need the Canadian government to be more responsible with their money and more conscious of their actions. There’s a whole lot of life depending on it.

On this territory, we have what is called the Dish With One Spoon Treaty. It “is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers, have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect.” We, as Indigenous peoples of this land, consider this a shared responsibility. When they offered reconciliation, this is what we had in mind. “We all eat out of the Dish – all of us that share this territory – with only one spoon. That means we have to share the responsibility of ensuring the dish is never empty; which includes, taking care of the land and the creatures we share it with. Importantly, there are no knives at the table, representing that we must keep the peace.” (See Reference C) When we say we want our land back, there is never any mention of settlers going back to where they come from (unless of course it is a joke or phrase thrown back at them). Protecting the land and sharing our territory is an agreement our ancestors bounded us to within the Dish With One Spoon Treaty. When we say we want our land back, we mean we want our connection with the land back. We want our ways to be honoured and respected so that the land can again, be honoured and respected. It is our belief that when the collective of humans inhabiting this land can do this-protect the sacred- then the health of our land and water and people and creatures, will be improved.

We declare peace. They declare war. We are warriors, yet we buried the hatchet years ago. That was part of our evolution process. Yet, here they are, still declaring war. Therefore, we have to get creative with our battle strategy. They bring their weapons of war. We bring our weapons of peace and say, “SKODEN.”

  1. What makes a person responsible?

As defined by Oxford Dictionary; to be responsible means “having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one’s job or role.” As a Haudenosaunee Hip-Hop artist who belongs to the Six Nations community, it was my obligation to fix that wall. Not to only fix it, but to create something with it that is meaningful, impactful and which properly represents both cultures. [Responsibility check 1.] In painting this wall, in this way, I took control over how Hip-Hop is being visually represented in our territory. [Responsibility check 2.] In cleaning up the literal trash and the trash painted on this wall, while simultaneously writing a bold statement which urges community members to “Protect the Sacred”, I am exuding care for the children, land, and water (as these are the ones who are most directly impacted by the irresponsible decisions carried out by the Government of Canada and all of its complacent allies.) [Responsibility check 3.] What you are considering an offence in this case, was in fact, my obligation, my role, my job to take on. Given the positive feedback I’ve received from my community, I believe it is safe to say that I have effectively fulfilled my responsibility in this matter.
Had Canada fulfilled their responsibility with regards to protecting the waters, like Justin Trudeau PROMISED 12 year old Autumn Peltier he would do (see reference D), honouring our treaties, ensuring proper housing, drinkable water and resources are allocated to first nations communities, etcetera, etcetera; then maybe you wouldn’t see so many SKODEN’s painted everywhere. The people are rising, waking up and urging their communities, as well as government officials, to step to the plate and fulfill their responsibilities to the land, to the water, to the children. I’m happy you asked this question though, RESPONSIBILITY IS IMPORTANT. Responsibility is a founding principle within the Great Law of Peace and it is something I take seriously.

  1. What can you do better next time? What could you have done differently that might have resulted in a better outcome?

Well, this is my first graffiti piece. There is so much area for improvement. Next piece I do I want to get more creative with the letters. The colour blend was a nice touch. However, I really gotta work on my small letters. Trying to write letters any smaller than a hardcover textbook is super tricky with a spray can. I had to re-do that “protect the sacred” several times and still, I feel like it looks sloppy. Maybe next time I’ll hit it with a paint marker, but I’m sure a little more practice with my cans will help me get the groove just right.


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