Monday, 15 December 2014

Ok, I Think We Got Everything Covered. Not Quite.

Thursday, December 11, 2014 I shared a cartoon that was published in the Times Colonist that I interpreted to be racist towards the First Nations communities in Victoria, BC. My words were met with a fair bit of criticism, which I've come to expect with these sorts of things. I have decided to delete the original post, along with the comments, as I was requested to do so by an individual, and I will respect his wishes. This doesn't mean that I want to censor anyone.. please don't take that away from what I'm about to say.

I want to be perfectly clear about why I did not like this comic, and why I still do not like it, despite having read the artists reasons.
I would like to start off by introducing myself. My name is Lauren Micaela Petersen and I identify as a First Nations woman. I am Metis on my mother's side, and consider that to be a gift. I may not be from the Songhees nation, or Coast Salish, however I have had a beautiful life growing up as a guest on their territory. Those are my biases, they have helped to shape my views. This does not, by any means, make me an authority on their culture. My words are my own, and they reflect my views.
I respect that the artist himself spoke out and acknowledged publicly that he did not meet his mark on this. This has become a public platform from which many individuals have chosen to express their dislike for, or misinformation given about why we acknowledge territory. I feel that people have gone too far with this, and have forgotten to check themselves. We are all human, and we all have much to learn.. so I am hoping, in some small part, that my words may help this process.
Let's start with the history. Needless to say if you are from British Columbia you should be well versed in this, if you are not.. well... it's a special case. BC was the last frontier of British North America to be colonized. By the time the Western frontier was open to settlers, there was already a systematic way of dealing with native communities. Give up your resources, or be dealt with. Whether or or not settlers of BC like to acknowledge it, many bands were conned out of their land. Discussing this makes alot of new generation Canadians VERY uncomfortable, and understandably. Nobody likes to hear that they are a part of the problem, if they had no choice of where their family settles. But what people do not realize is that they have an opportunity to be a part of the solution.

The treaties that were drawn up to define what was crown land and what was not are largely disputed by First nations for many reasons, one of which is that the written language was not utilized traditionally within the context of First nations cultures... you could write anything you wanted down, then promise something entirely different using words, and any elders would sign an X. What many communities saw as a lease of land, was a transfer of property. This sort of behaviour would not be acceptable today, however it is what we go by today. This creates a lot of conflict, obviously. The history runs deeper than land theft.. there is a long history of racism, physical violence, and genocide. Those are topics deserving of much more attention than I can give, so I will leave you with supplementary information at the end of this blurb that touch on the Douglas treaties, BC residential schools, and the Stolen Sisters campaign that provides great information regarding the dehumanization of and sexual violence committed against Indigenous women in Canada.

My problem with the comic itself is two fold. My first issue is that the message was not clear. Initially, it appeared that the artist was making a comparison between the Nations who reside in and around the victoria area and insects. Many people shared this view, to the point where the Times Colonist demanded that the artist explain himself and issue an apology. It is as follows;

The cartoon is about the empty mouthing of a mantra that appeases the non-indigenous conscience without any meaningful effort to make things better. It is a perfunctory statement not backed by action.
Why not mention the deplorable living conditions some have to endure on nearby reserves? Why not do something about the high suicide rates among young people in some reserves?
It’s easy to say we acknowledge First Nations territory. It’s not so easy to address issues that are ongoing and deplorable in the 21st century. It’s not so easy to make a real difference. We, as a society, can do better and we should.”
See more at:

I think it is commendable that Mr. Raeside sees value in our culture. I agree with his sentiment that we should do more. I love that he is willing to stand up and ask such hard questions, I think we all owe it to the stewards of the land we are so fortunate to live on to ask ourselves those questions.

I do feel, however, that while he has a point... again he has missed his mark.

Which brings me to the second tick. I do not feel that Mr. Raeside fully understands why we acknowledge territory. I feel like this is a very appropriate time in which to share that, as it's become apparent in the past 24 hours that not many residents living in BC understand its purpose or significance.

The act of recognizing indigenous people as the traditional stewards of the land is an important show of 
respect for the First Nations of British Columbia. It is a much appreciated integration of traditional First National protocol.

As explained in the British Columbia Teachers Federation, there are a variety of ways to acknowledge indigenous traditional stewards, which fall into two categories: a welcoming to the shared traditional territory or a verbal acknowledgment of shared traditional territory.

In the context of BC's indigenous cultures, “traditional territory” refers to a specific place within British Columbia and not British Columbia itself. Over 30 [indigenous] language groups are represented across British Columbia. Traditional territory refers to “this” place, the traditional language group of the area where the event is held. The welcome follows a traditional protocol for [indigenous] nations where people entering another’s traditional territory (language area) would seek permission from the traditional stewards and they would be welcomed to the area through an opening ceremony. 

Today, [non-indigenous] populations who are not originally from British Columbia are also welcomed to the traditional territory for the purpose of the events, and as a part of a continuing protocol, which is maintained and observed through [indigenous] communities across British Columbia.

Practices such as welcome to the traditional territory and acknowledgement of the traditional territory enable the wider community to share in A[indigenous]cultures, and lead to better community relationships and understanding. Observing these practices connects participants with the traditional territory, and provides a welcoming atmosphere and spiritual presence to the land upon which people are meeting. It also reinforces the place of [indigenous] perspectives within policies and procedures.”

To acknowledge traditional territory is not paying lip service. It is not a meaningless way to appease the angry indians. It is the right and proper thing to do, to pay respect to the shared history of the land, and to keep that at the forefront of the minds of those who are in the position to make decisions that affect our continued co-existence on said land. It establishes a healthy, proactive environment for all voices to be heard.

In that environment, we are safe to ask ourselves those hard questions. We cannot have one without the other.

Thank you for your time and your consideration.  

The original cartoon can be viewed here: regarding the Douglas Treaties on Vancouver Island can be found here:

Information regarding the abuse suffered by indigenous youth while in the care of residential schools can be viewed here:

If you wish to help the indigenous people in a tangible way, you can make a donation to the Victoria Native Friendship centre here:
You can email your local representatives on municipal, provincial or federal governments at their respective places of work.
Example: Email your city council. Email your MLA. Email your Premier.

Take the time to watch the beautiful documentary, Stolen Sisters, and educate yourselves.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Getting Iced.

It has taken something fairly extreme to rouse me from my blog-hibernation, for that I'm sorry - but not sorry.  I've been busy enjoying all that Korea has had to offer in my second year out here.  I have new students, I have new friends, a caring boyfriend and an easier time navigating the city of Busan.  I have a holiday planned next month to see Osaka, Japan, which I am very much looking forward to.

However, there has been something popping up on the daily that I have not been looking forward to, and that is these ice bucket videos.

Don't get me wrong, I'm typically all for fundraising efforts and awareness spreading when it comes to something as terrible as a terminal illness.. but this one has struck too close to home for me.

In the summer or 2011, after many months of weight loss and confusion, my father was diagnosed with ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (or to those of you in the UK, Motor Neuron Disease or Charcots).  As months passed quickly, he became unable to eat on his own and required a surgery to insert a feeding tube.  His body turned on him, and eventually, what was worse than any physical pain, his mind began to fade.  Not only did my father have ALS, but he also developed dementia.  It is very rare for such a thing to happen, but not completely unheard of.  My father was not a drinker.  My father was not a smoker.  My father was not obese.  My father was a healthy, intelligent, generous man that was so full of life and love and creativity that none that knew him could comprehend a world in which he no longer existed.  Life, however, had other plans.  My father lost the sparkle in his eyes,  he lost the ability to tell the stories we loved to hear, or play his harmonica.  On Thanksgiving Sunday, my father left us.  It was absolutely the worst thing that could have ever happened to our family, and it left us lost.  We are still trying to understand what happened.  We are still trying to rebuild.  It isn't easy.  This is what happens to families, and this is what we're left with. We're left with questions, we're left with nightmares, and we're left with a pain in our hearts that will never leave us.

What I would love to see is actual knowledge being spread.  I am so relieved that people are learning those three little words, as much as they scare me, because I would never wish that horror on my worst enemy.  What am I not seeing, though, is how the illness that stole my hero from me is an excuse to have a camera pointed at your face while you chug a beer and have water dumped over your head.

From what I understand is that the challenge is to test your endurance, and if you opt out you can pay a 100$ fine.  So a donation to a worthy cause is a penalty, is it?  Some might argue that they are spreading awareness, but could they honestly tell me what ALS even stands for?

There are a million things I'd rather be doing than revisit my father's illness, trust me.  I am not writing this to be spiteful, or condescending.  I am writing this because I honestly feel that it is important for people to understand exactly what ALS is.  I want people to understand that ALS can happen to anyone, at anytime.  I want people to understand that ALS does not discriminate.  It can take the young, it can take the old.  It can take the weak, or the strong.  It took my father.  He was also a husband, an uncle, a scout leader, a volunteer, a friend, and a hero to many.  His loss continues to be felt in our lives every single day.  If there's anything that could prevent that kind of loss in someone else's life, I'm all for it.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is this.. when you accept the ALS ice bucket challenge, please think about the message you are sending.  Are you really raising awareness, if you don't know what ALS stands for?  I think it's worth a look.  Maybe it will affect someone you love, but because of this you are able to recognize the signs and seek treatment early.  Maybe your donation is that extra push that researchers need to discover better treatment?

There is so much we have to learn about this awful disease.  There are wonderful people dedicated to finding out the cause, and hoping to find a cure.  I will say hope, because we still don't know if there will be one, but if my words can help prolong someone else's daddy's life then I guess the tears I've shed writing this will be worth it.

Please think twice about 'getting iced'.  Think long and hard about how your actions will affect people around you, you might not even know your actions have caused someone to hurt.  There are many ways that are more respectful, and tangible to give.  Be it sending your love and support to families, or making a donation.  I encourage all to do their research.

Educate yourselves, and make a donation.  That money will go to helping families like mine through covering costs of expensive equipment, medication, home care and maybe even therapy.  Donating to research will help families like mine to get the answers we pray for every single day.

So maybe you're asking, what is ALS then?  It is a degenerative neurological disease that slows the firing of neurons in your brain.  It can affect your muscles, or it can affect your digestive or respiratory system.  It can also bring about cases of dementia.  It manifests in many ways, that are very difficult to diagnose.  It is very hard for me to speak about objectively so I will provide some links below.

I hope that my words have not affected people in a negative way, or insulting anyone who felt that they were helping out.  I am merely expressing my own opinion on a matter that has affected me in a deep way.  I hope that my friends and loved ones can understand that, even if they might be affected differently.

Here are a few links to websites that give detailed information about the disease:

Here is a link to the ALS society of BC, who did all that they could for my father:

Here is my father, my heart and my hero.  Thank you for your time and your understanding.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

I am the worst blogger ever.

I'd apologize for my lazy posting,b ut I've actually been out experiencing Korea from the OUTSIDE of my apartment!

Many friends have left, and new friends have been made.  There was a trip to the Green tea fields, as well as Jindo for the sea parting (it sort of parted but nobody made it to the island. we're doomed to be unlucky, apparently!)

I will make an actual recap post in the very near future, maybe tonight.  But for now some comedic gold.

Sometimes I can funny.


"All applicants will now be required to pass all Korean University entrance exams, and provide all academic transcripts. They will also be required to withstand emotional and physical abuse at the hands of their male partners over the course of a week, under strict CCTV monitoring to insure that they will adapt well to Korean culture. All applicants must be able to puke and rally, and demonstrate a strong ability to sleep whenever, whereever. Applicants will be judged on their ability to take a selca. All applicants must learn to sing the entire score of the cinematic masterpiece, Frozen, in both English and Korean (as we plan on changing that to our National Anthem). All evidence of hand washing will result in the rejection of your application. Welcome to Korea, where whitening cream is mandatory, and everything society has taught you in your past life must now be ignored. Because Korea"

** Sassiness inspired by recent legislation passed to regulate non-Koreans marrying into Korean families.  As well as harsher laws imposed on foreigners working within Korea.  Also, my school is driving me absolutely mental.

Monday, 18 November 2013

My Very Own Top 40 List!

The List:

I recently read an article titled "40 things I've done in a drunken stupor that are not crack cocaine" and it made me laugh really hard.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am obsessed with lists... I have been inspired to write my own!  Not all of these were done under the influence..  I don't need to be intoxicated to make a fool of myself.

40 things that seemed like a good idea at the time

40. Grilled peanut butter jelly & bacon sammiches
39. Talking to the French Africans in Ol'55 & admitting to having kakao talk
38. Soju
37. Eating an entire jar of pickles (No regrets)
36. Wearing a sweatshirt in public that says "Let's Make Out" on the front
35. Instigating a dance off with an ajoshi on the beach
34. Drunk dialling my best friends from Korea
33. Drunk skyping my best friends from Korea
32. Passing around a 2-6 of Crown on Canada Day with no mix
31. All of my ex boyfriends.
30. All of the bacon.
29. Drinking all of the wine.
29. Not buying more of the wine.
28. Grocery shopping at Homeplus while drunk & hungry.. Nobody needs that many rice krispy squares!
27. Wearing heels anywhere in Busan
26. Mentioning the world Israel whilst Alistair is intoxicated & within earshot
25. Having this couch delivered to my apartment building knowing full and well that the elevator does not go to my floor.
24. That time I woke up with mystery cheese cake in my bed.. wait no, that was excellent.
23. Not bringing a tent to either Goeje or Namhae.. who brings a tent camping or checks the weather report, I mean really?
22. Not bringing sunscreen or a towel to Goeje or Namhae.. because you know.. summer?
21. Those dried cuttle fish bits did honestly look like turkey jerky.
20. I really thought those dried fish were potato sticks...
19. Live Octopus.
18. Pull tabs: They hurt so good.
17. Hiding Lucky beers all over my room like drunken Easter Eggs.. I did not find all 12. When I return to Canada there will be lovely self gifts to discover, granted my mother doesn't find them first.
16. Making this Santa's day
15. Boozey baking at 11 am..
14. More pull tabs.
13. .... 
12. Learning the hard way that duct tape really doesn't fix everything.
11. Baconaise.
10. Chopping my hair off.
9. Every time I think it's a good idea to cut my own bangs.
8. UVic's Beerology... can you say Care Bear drunk?
7. Only packing four pairs of jeans to Korea.
6. Ignoring my own intuition.
5. Student Loans.
4. Every instance I've tried to ride a bicycle.
3. UVic Idol 2010 & 2011.
2. Leaving my aircon on in my apartment for the entire month of July ($250 utility bill... yikes!!)
1. Allowing Johann & Mark to convince me that the globe in front of the Lotte Motel was an accessible space available for rent.  The revelation that that was not true was actually soul crushing.  Who wouldn't want to throw a party in a globe?!

October in a Nut Shell

Evidently I am not so great with updating my blog.. I've signed into this website probably two or three times a week and stared guiltily at the post box in front of me.  It's not that there's nothing going on of interest, or that I don't want to.. I just keep getting distracted by adorable animal videos that my coworker Victoria posts on my facebook.  I am not joking, watching adorable animal videos takes up a far larger chunk of my time than is appropriate for an adult... do I care?  Not really.

My last post was October 9th, and I believe it was a photo post. I don't have photos to add to this post.. sarry.  I will post a few short snap shots of my 6th month in Korea.

The Busan Scavenger Hunt: Saturday, October 5th 2013
Once a year there is a city wide scavenger hunt held in Busan.  Teams of 5 are given lists of tasks that are to be completed & recorded via film or video, then judged my a panel.  Teams are expected to wear costumes, too.  It's basically one drunk messy day of shenanigans that probably horrifies most innocent Korean bystanders. Jenny, Ethan, Mark, Adam and I formed a team which we called "Late For The Ark".  We all wore animal onesies bought on  I had ordered a Unicorn onesy, but two Dinosaurs were sent instead.  I wasn't terribly thrilled to have to match another team mate, so we attempted to peg on a big pink bow... I was a cute little dinosaur anyhow.

Challenges included wearing a dead octopus as a hat, acting out a mission impossible style spy sequence in a convenience store, making a convenience store employee do a love shot with us, filming a 3 minute short on the benefits of soju (Mark nailed this, when the video is available I will definitely post), kiss both ends of a penis fish, carry an ajumma across an intersection (we didn't feel comfortable doing this one.. ajumma's rarely speak English), take a photo with someone "old as fuck", serve strangers food in a restaurant (Tony hooked us up), roll around in the surf taking a baywatch photo, find a korean with a beard and bow down to them... and many other hilarious things of the like.  We did not place, but we made some hilarious memories.  Sometimes it's just the best thing to get silly, I know my family enjoyed the photos I posted on facebook.

One year: October 8 2013
October 8th marked the one year anniversary of my father's death.  There was a typhoon, so lots of rain and wind, to match my mood.  My lovely friends Karlee and Amanda skyped in with me knowing full well how depressing the day was bound to be.  I was quite ill, so I actually had a day off to rest which was appropriate.  it was a day of solid reflection, and might have even been a cornerstone.  I feel like I've come to a point here where I can talk about my father openly.. and while I miss him dearly, I do not seem to cry as much.  When I do, it's because I am just so happy to have had him.  I am happy to have my mother, and my brother, who keep me grounded.  We are still strong together, and he's definitely still chilling in our family home, so there's that too.  He likes to make his presence known.

Canadian Thanksgiving : Sunday October 13 2013
I decided that I would attempted to serve up a glorious Turkey feast in honour of the fall harvest... Saturday October 12 Kristy, Charles, and myself set out for Costco to pick up the necessary equipment for this foodgasm fest.  I managed to buy a massive Turkey Roast, 5 packs of bacon, croutons to make stuffing, various vegetables, and film for my new Fuji Instax8 camera.

I borrowed the lovely Jenny's mini oven to cook the turkey, and managed to pull off the rest without a hitch. Many people brought food, desserts, and wine. There were about 16 people in my apartment at once - which I would not have thought possible!  It was a really fun evening with some really amazing people.  If I can figure out how to scan photos at work on our Korean hardware, I will share the Instax shots.  I really missed Thanksgiving with my family, because last year's Thanksgiving was truly the worst day of my life.. but I am thankful for the new friends I have made here that helped me get through the holiday with a smile.

Birthday!!: Wednesday October 16 2013
I turned 24, but in Korea that makes me 25?  Apparently I was one year old already when the doctor's cut me out of my mother's uterus -which makes no sense considering a pregnancy only lasts 9 months.. KOREA!!!.  I had to work on my Birthday, but it was fun.. my babies sang happy Birthday to me and a few even brought me gifts.  My primo Ivy class bought cake!! I was very excited. Afterwork I went to dinner with my coworkers to the Fuzzy Navel in Seomyeon.  I had Tacos, I had a margarita.. it was excellent!  After dinner, I went to HQ bar for some Trivia then to Ol'55 for some live music :)  I hung out there with Paige, Brinn & Davis until bed time.  It was an excellent Birthday :)

OPEN CLASSES OF DOOM!! Thursday & Friday October 17/18 2013
Every foreign teacher's biggest headache has got to be these stupid open classes.  The children learn songs & practise the same subject matter over and over and over and over until they get really bored & start dicking around.  My coteacher knew this would be the case, so we brainstormed fun games to play everyday to trick our kids into believing what they were learning was not the same boring shit.  We did a lot of role playing, word puzzles, and even showed them cartoon clips that involved various jobs in the community, our very exhilarating topic! I was very tired on the Thursday but White Class, my 6 year old angels, were perfect.  The parents were very pleased, and so were my Korean keepers.

Friday was a bit more stressful, because my 4 year olds don't always stay in their seats... or raise their hands.. but their parents were surprisingly patient.  They were very pleased with the demonstrations of what school life really isn't like at SLP :)

Parents from both classes took my photograph with their kids, and themselves.  One grandfather took a photo with me too, it actually made me feel very proud that they found me worthy of that.  They invest a lot of trust, and not to mention money, into their children's education.  To me, it was kind of a show of good faith.  The kids had fun, I had fun, the parents smiled and I didn't get deported.  Huuzah!!

Double Birthday Celebrations: October 19 2013
Exactly 7 years after Rebecca Anthony & I threw the world's most destructive and hilarious highschool house party to celebrate our 17th turn around the sun, my good friend Mark & I realized we shared the same Birthday.  We decided to keep it pretty chill and kick it around KSU.  We met our good friends from BBQ and then moved on over to Eva's Ticket for drinks and silliness.  I had a really good time talking that I barely ate a thing, after a few mandatory Birthday shots from my favourite barkeep Eva I was swerving on my feet.  Ethan & Karina made sure I made it home okay sometime before 2.  I woke up with my boots on & a massive bottle of water beside my bed... but no hangover!  It was a pretty spectacular evening from what I do recall.  I know at some point I had a kebab because my dress showed evidence of that in the morning.

Busan Fireworks Festival/Halloween Weekend:
I dressed up as mono.  I wore a sweatshirt that said "Let's Make Out" with a hello kitty sars mask.  I thought I was pretty clever, but my friend Herman stole my sweater midway into the evening.  I decided to wear my simple black jersey dress, a sheer lacey cover up & a black lace & gold masquerade mask.  I told people I was a ghost.. whatever, it worked.  I spent the first half of the evening with friends watching the fireworks from the rooftop of a hairdresser's shop in Gwangali.  The fireworks were unbelievably beautiful and I was thankful fro the company I was with.  I really have made some wonderful friends here in Busan.  I have a funny video of Alistair discovering what we're pretty sure was a UFO.  it was probably a remote controlled zephyr filming the fireworks, but aliens sounds like more fun.  We'll stick to that!

My night was a bit dramatic, and that kind of annoyed me.  I'm really starting to learn what sort of person I can & cannot go out on the town with.  I think that I am much too... flighty.. to really be able to focus my attention on one singular thing when these outings fall on exciting holidays, such as Halloween.  I had written a full summary of my gongshow evening but decided in retrospect that it was far too negative.  I'd prefer to remember the end of the night, when I made a new friend & got myself home responsibly in a taxi cab at a decent hour with a smile on my face.  Korea, as a whole, has been a fantastic experience thus far.. that is how I want to share it, & remember it!  This blog is not the appropriate place to put specific people on blast (if such a place if ever were to exist).

I've recently discovered that I am good at roulette - well as good as anyone really can be at a game of chance.. I guess I am lucky? Kristy loaned me money just to play for fun, and we ended up winning our dinner's worth.  Kristy's boyfriend Tim left Korea a week ago, so to see him off they had a day at the casino, BBQ in Gwangalli and drinks on the town.  We won enough that we were able to go.  I ended up leaving Sharky's mind you, some D-bag told me that while I have a beautiful face I could do to lose 25 pounds.. THEN HE GRABBED MY FUCKING STOMACH.  He apologized a few days later, but I really can't explain the shock of it.  I was so angry, and sad, and actually started to cry.  I'm sure in time I will let it go, but for now... ugh. No, just no.  Bad drunk man! Bad!  I left, I went to KSU where I met up with Graham instead.  When shit like that goes down, all you really need is to be around someone who knows you.  It was nice to sit & catch up with him, & ofcourse go to Cheesy Kimchi.  Tony's place always puts a smile on my face.. and for some reason old Korean dudes always want to take my photo? Anywho... We found the SICKEST Vancouver Grizzlies sweatshirt in Jangsan the next day.  Stoked that franchise made it's way into Busan. Mike Bibby, it's all about Mike Bibby!!