Isolation 101: Bug in a Jar
I awoke from a dream. I was walking through sand. The weight of my body pulled me down. Was it quicksand? The feeling of entrapment jolted me.
It’s been 40 days and 40 nights without any human contact. It has become a physical thing, extending past the difficulty of the mental strife. I can feel it in my joints and in my bones. It actually hurts. My body has a new vibration, like a rough running carburetor. The functional machine I had been is broken.
I feel like a bug in a jar
If we are all energy, as I believe, it explains how this feels. It feels like dehydration of my soul. It feels like all of the energy has been sucked out of me through a straw. It feels like I am carrying a piano, that is carrying an elephant, that is carrying the world. There is simply no place for my wonderful, plentiful, bountiful energy to go, and with none coming in, that symbiotic exchange that is as natural as breathing is no longer happening.
Yet I am still this massive energy factory. I throw some of it into the world, hoping it will land somewhere good and needed. The rest rebounds off of my walls. Some simply drifts into the abyss.
At least before, I could be in a hot room with other yogis and we could let each other’s energy fuel our souls, like osmosis.
I am not appeased by zoom. I have all but stopped texting. I am not interested in television. I’m past the point of binging on anything, even cookies. There’s nothing that will soothe me. Nothing replaces people. Period.
I feel like a bug in a jar. Some bratty kid came along and put me in a jar. I am a bug in a jar. Sometimes the kid shakes the jar…
Sometimes I see a flash of light. It is not the sun. It is the hot, searing magnification of this situation.
I am a bug in a jar. My jailer plucked me out and pulled off all my limbs. I am now a bug in a jar, with no limbs.
I did not expect the physical part of this isolation. How could I? I have talked to people about the various ways we are sheltered in place. Some people are alone, like me. Others have their family. Some have a roommate, or friend. Some are in a care home. In each scenario there are challenges, difficulties and obstacles. Because I have empathy, I can let myself imagine how hard it would be in a worst-case, or bad case version of any of them. There is no good place to be forced to isolate. Period.
I was deeply in need of a hug, or any simple human touch. People say at least knowing other people are in the same situation makes it better. At least knowing some people are worse off makes it better. These things are all true. But nothing makes it better. Period.
Yesterday, I reached my breaking point. I was proud of how I handled the complete loss of my yearly income due to the full stop cancellation of large live music events, which is how I make my living. I was proud of how I was handling being alone. I was proud I had not reverting to the default and repeat cycle of self-pity and pacifying. But then someone I love was admitted into the hospital. Now I’m a bug in a jar with no limbs and I can’t go be there. Even if I had my legs, it’s not allowed.
“…My jailer plucked me out and pulled off all my limbs…”
When I was struggling with isolation before this all happened, I gained many important skills for living better and coping during trying times, but I realized I did not have a crisis plan, despite having a plan for almost everything. I suppose you don’t know you need one, until you need one. I thought I knew the people I could ask for help, but I realized I was wrong. There were times I told friends I was struggling and they didn’t understand I needed help. Once I even used the actual words “I am in emotional distress” and eight months later I have still not heard from the person I said that to.
Yesterday I enacted my new crisis plan. This plan includes a list of friends I have previously and specifically asked to verify, “if I tell you I need help, will you believe me?”
I asked for help and the cavalry arrived. At first, I just explained what was wrong and was told it’s okay to cry, so I did. I. Then I was told everything is going to be okay, because you need to hear it will be okay. Later, the cavalry brought so many donuts, along with wine and take-out.
The cavalry also gave me a hug.
There’s no way to describe getting the one thing you’ve needed after more than 40 days of having no human contact. We knew there was a small risk in the hugs. But it was necessary to take the risk. You can’t leave a man down. You wouldn’t leave a person in the middle of the street as bus with no breaks hurtling towards them. You can’t leave the damsel tied to the tracks when the train is chugging towards her. Yesterday, I got a hug and some time, love and laughter with two friends who came to pick me up off the ground. I was told the mission was not just for me; they needed it too. I said we had to fill our collective souls. We need people. Period.
With all the rules we currently have in place, we can’t lose our basic human kindness. We can’t lose our compassion, and we need to have empathy for everyone and everything, even if we can’t possibly understand. I am not condoning the practice of breaking the two metre distancing rules, in fact I was following them to the letter without exception until I could not carry on without help. Yesterday required us to break them. I was a bug without limbs in a jar who was dying, and today I am just a little bit more myself.
I wrote this, so that’s a good sign.
Ilan Cooley is an Edmonton based entrepreneur and writer. She is a an avid traveller, rescue dog mama and advocate of kindness and community.
Assault prime suspect in Edmonton’s spike in violent crime
Edmonton seeing spike in violent assaults
Police are seeing a 27% increase in violence compared to Edmonton’s three-year average, driven largely by an increase in serious, violent assaults, including an 88% increase in assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm.
The Edmonton Police Service uses several indicators to measure crime across the city, such as violence, disorder and property crimes. Violence indicators include assault, robbery, sexual assault and homicide.
In July 2020, the Edmonton Police Service saw a 25% increase in violence indicators over July 2019. The July 2020 violence indicators saw an increase of 27% compared to the three-year average (July 2017-2019).
Of these indicators, assault was the main driver of the increase. More specifically, the category of assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm increased by 56% and aggravated assault increased by 43% in July 2020 over July 2019. Compared to the July three-year average (2017-2019), assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm increased 88% in July 2020, while aggravated assault increased 34% in July 2020.
Percent change: 2020 compared to 2019
|Assault – Aggravated||+36%||+16%||-19%||+3%||+43%|
|Assault – Bodily harm/weapon||+12%||+0.6%||+17%||+30%||+56%|
Percent change: 2020 compared to 3-year average (2017-2019)
|Assault – Aggravated||+55%||+34%||+21%||+48%||+34%|
|Assault – Bodily harm/weapon||+15%||+9%||+35%||+35%||+88%|
Since July 11, 2020, there have been eight suspicious deaths in Edmonton, five of which have been confirmed as homicides. August 6, 2020 was a particularly violent day for Edmonton, with two new death investigations opened by the Homicide Section. A violent, random assault also occurred at 98 Avenue and 104 Street at about 7:45 pm last night, when a male reportedly approached a female who was waiting in the passenger side of a parked vehicle, asked for money, and then stabbed her multiple times. She was taken to hospital with serious non-life-threatening injuries. A 20-year-old male was taken into custody and is facing charges including aggravated assault, robbery, and possession of offensive weapon.
“While it’s difficult to speculate on why this is occurring, the increase in violent assaults is certainly concerning,” says Supt. Brad Doucette, with the EPS Criminal Investigations Division. “Especially when we see assaults with a weapon or causing bodily harm and aggravated assault on the rise – these are serious charges under the Criminal Code that are used when the victim’s life is put at risk.”
Serious assaults and calls for service involving weapons often require greater resources, including a larger officer response and more investigators. The EPS has pulled in resources from other investigative areas that remain stable or have seen decreases in workload in order to assist areas that are overtasked, such as Homicide Section.
Read more on Todayville.
Honored Cree Chief Joachim Fromhold Passes Away
Joachim Fromhold 1947-2020
Chief Joachim Fromhold of the Asini Wachi Nehiyawak has joined the Great Circle in the sky.
Joachim, aka Joe, was born January 15, 1947 to Mina and Willi Fromhold in Germany.
His lineage can be traced to 1650 (Cree Chief Sisip Pimotew), and Chief Louis Joseph Piche in addition to the Carolingian Dynasty (Europe). He also counts Chief Bob Tail and his descendants as part of his ancestry.
Moving to Canada, his family spent time in Calgary before moving to a farm near Buffalo Lake and Sounding Creek in 1960. He graduated from Mirror High School in 1967 and had been accepted into Harvard but chose to work with the CIBC and aboriginal groups in northern Alberta. Through Joe, the first loans to aboriginal groups were granted in High Level prior to his resignation from the bank.
Always a businessman and hard worker, Joe built coffins (age 13), started a dairy herd while in grade 12 and bought into a trucking company, all by the time he graduated High School. Around the same time, he established the first newspaper north of Peace River which was, and still is, the only newspaper to have been privately aboriginally owned and operated. Fromhold also founded the first Alberta Youth Safe House dealing principally with aboriginal youth without government funding.
While in Peace River country, he began to actively gather data on aboriginal culture and history, a pursuit which he continued throughout his life. He also helped establish the Metis Association of Alberta in northwestern Alberta.
His formal education in archaeology started in 1970 with classes at the University of Calgary and continued until 1973 with further education from Universities, Museums, Cultural and Business organizations continuing throughout his life.
Several cultural and historical organizations were born out of Fromhold’s desire to preserve history. Archon Consulting Ltd, The Cultural Awareness Program, A.V.C., Buffalo Head Cultural Survival Camp, the Old Fort Museum, The Indian Legends Museum, The Vermillion Lodge Museum, the Mirror Business Center and Museum and the Mountain Cree Asini Wachi Nehiyawak Band in 1996.
Numerous other business ventures established by Fromhold included The Inner I Coffee House, Subway Coffee House, Paintball Warrior, Fromhold Security, Sports Rent, Old Fort Hotel, The Antiques Advertiser, The Red Deer Antique Mall & Collectibles and Rocky Mountain Outfitters.
Fromhold was instrumental in establishing the written aboriginal history in western Canada and beyond. Through his genealogical research, published in various books and magazines, he formalized the presence and lineage of the Cree people, thereby paving the way for many legal challenges, many of which are still ongoing.
Active in the archaeology community, Fromhold has catalogued and identified important aboriginal sites in Alberta. Among his discoveries is the presence of the Moundbuilders in Central Alberta on the Battle River, The Donalda Buffalo Pound, Medicine Hills Survey of significant sites and the discovery of the the existence of the Ice-Free Corridor, the existence of the North Trail and the Colville Trail, the proving of pre-Columbian cross-mountain trade, proving aboriginal occupancy and land use in the mountains, and demonstrating that various lithic sources were to be found in Alberta. In the theoretical field he established the methodology for reconstruction of prehistoric populations and developed the first Census data for prehistoric Alberta.
His influence and involvement in Northern Alberta was substantial, both in education and cultural preservation.
On graduating from the M.A. program in Anthropology he took a position at the Alberta Vocational Center in Lac La Biche (now Portage College) to develop a Native Arts and Crafts/Native Studies program there and at A.V.C. Grouard. These were the Grandfather Programs for all subsequent cultural programs in Alberta. In my position I was also an advisor to the development of the University of Lethbridge Native Studies program and liaison with the Saskatchewan Indian Colleges, and as a resource person to various aboriginal communities in eastern Alberta. Family ties existed with Beaver Lake Cree Nation, and he married Irene Mountain, daughter of Chief Lawrence Mountain and descendant of Chiefs PESEW and
Bobtail (Piche) and Big Bear.
While at Lac La Biche he collaborated with Christine Daniels to found the White Braid Dancers, served as Pow-Wow Director for 5 years and for 4 years as the first aboriginal President of the Lac La Biche Lions Club. During that time he also re-introduced the Pow-wow to Beaver Lake Cree Nation and Cultural Days to Heart Lake First Nation and were involved in the development of the Saddle Lake Multi-Cultural Days.
At this time he founded the Mountain Peoples Cultural Society to sponsor cultural events and two dance groups. With his wife we also established the first Wilderness Cultural Camp in Alberta.
In 1985 he took a position with Alberta Advanced Education as Program Head of the Opportunity Corps Program, a second-chance training program, in northwestern Alberta. At the time the program consisted of one pre-trades training campus, it being part of his duties to develop a second campus to the point where it could be turned into a community college. The campuses were to serve 16 aboriginal and 4 non-aboriginal communities. Through internal training programs they developed highly skilled office personnel who began to take over and effectively and efficiently manage the office administration of a $15,000,000 (2010 dollars) operation and through another similar program operated several cafeterias in several communities.
Over the next few years the position became responsible for delivery and supervision of all programs delivered by Advanced Education, including Apprenticeship and Transitional Housing. In 1988 the campuses were re-classified as a college and a satellite campus.
In this time he was also involved in the development of the High Level and District Friendship Center, the High Level and District Museum and the Fort Vermilion Museum. We also initiated annual pow-wows at High Level and Fort Vermilion and developed a touring dance troupe that traveled to regional schools and sponsored annual Native Fashion Shows based on the family collection.
Fromhold began the work to convert his research into digital format for his world class native history website, http://inewhistory.com/ , an effort which continued to his passing.
With the death of his wife Irene in 1994 he relocated to central Alberta to concentrate on raising his children and developing the databank. Over the years they had taken in nephews and nieces to give them a stable home environment, and he now adopted two others who were in danger of becoming street kids in Edmonton; they returned to school and eventually continued on to college and university.
In 1996 the Mountain Peoples Cultural Society converted to becoming a Traditional Band, and Joe was delegated by the family to represent the interests of descendants of Lawrence and Leo Mountain. Descendants of two other brothers also consolidated, the four bands forming a common council.
Fromhold and the Band proposed to the City of Edmonton and investment of $20 million in a transition to employment and housing program for the homeless and disadvantaged in Edmonton in 2006.
Through the efforts of Fromhold in 2008, the Mountain Cree Band (Asini Wachi Nehiyawak) became a member of the Jasper National Park Aboriginal Forum advisory group, as a successor group representing the interests of the now-dispersed Bobtail Band. Independent of the Advisory group, he offered to participate financially in the development of a Nations of Jasper Cultural Interpretive Center. Participation in Jasper continues to this day with the Pow wow and placement of aboriginals in park positions.
Fromhold’s books on aboriginal history in Alberta started in 2010 through Lulu.com. To date there are more than 40 books available, ranging from the Moundbuilders, to a history of the Red Deer/Central Alberta area dating back 13,000 years to genealogies for specific bands. Prior to his passing, Fromhold had planned as many as 20 more.
In 2011, he was awarded the Canada Heritage Minister’s Award for Leadership Excellence.
He was honored in 2012 with an Honoring Ceremony by members of the incipient re-structuring Edmonton Stragglers Band in appreciation of the guidance given to the members in pursuit of their history and interests.
He was a founding member of the Alberta Association of Consulting Archaeologists and in 2017 was the founder for the Association of First Nations Archaeologists and Historians.
The Asini Wachi Nehiyawak purchased and renovated a former bunk house in Mirror, creating a museum, antique store and rooms for short term stays in the community. Along with the commercial aspects, all records of the Mountain Cree were available for research. Presently, a constitutional challenge is outstanding on the property.
Fromhold was involved with Enoch Cree Nation in legal action to settle outstanding land claims and to protect historic burials in the Rossdale Burial Area of Edmonton, a dispute dating back nearly a decade. The efforts to protect native heritage and cultural sites continues to this day.
Other ongoing efforts include working with Lacombe to develop a cultural centre, preservation of Mound Builder sites, site preservation in Red Deer (multiple), and relationships with Transalta, TC Energy and various energy companies. Many other discoveries and historic sites are waiting to be protected by future generations due to his passion and knowledge.
Fromhold, throughout his career, attracted many gifted associates and was once tasked with guiding Richard Leakey on a tour of Alberta. While the two archaeologists shared many observations, Leakey pointed out to Joachim numerous sites that exhibited evidence of human occupation, some dating back 100,000 years in Central Alberta!
In conversation with Joe, his skills as an archaeologist were continually developing. He noted that ‘over the last few years, I have now learned to recognize flint knap sites,’ adding that like camp sites, every few miles on old trail, he could locate them. He lamented not knowing that that as a young researcher, realizing that he had passed over thousands in his career. During a Red Deer connector survey, he discovered a knap site that was possibly (likely) evidence of a campsite for David Thompson during his exploration of Central Alberta.
He started the Mountain Cree News in the late 1990s, and the monthly newsletter continues to this day.
The legacy he leaves behind is one of people: people he inspired to take an interest in their history, people he inspired to better themselves, and people he impowered to make our society into one that recognizes the value of the history of our country and early inhabitants.
Joe leaves behind children Dustin, Odin, Jennifer, mother Mina and many others he mentored into a better life.
Rest well warrior.
This article was originally published on August 5th, 2020.
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