Signs of sickness and contempt for society have existed for a long time now and show that we as an Aboriginal society have reached the flash point in Canada. Signs even a deaf mute could have seen to tell you it would get ugly soon. Domestic animals were the most obvious sign of impending doom as many a cat, dog, bird, and fish sensed the coming storm and the stress added up to sickness. House cats stopped eating, and had thirst no more, some were vomiting up their meals and others showed no interest in mousing. Dogs became lethargic and refused to eat or play, none wanted to even chase the mailman away. Weakened birds would huddle on the bottom of their cages, with their feathers ruffled, and would sometimes pluck their own feathers from their bodies. Fish swam upside down and would not eat, and white spots appeared on their fins and bodies. Pets were suffering with the stress of conflict because the gentle voice of the Aboriginal people, lost centuries ago, started during Confederation and settlement by the Europeans.
Their plight has been a long and arduous journey to the modern age led by a government that has shown little concern for their people. The tension in and around Winnipeg is so thick that they could have cut it as if it were a cake for the decadent upper and middle class of Canada, leaving crumbs for the Aboriginals as usual. The society they were a part of has proven to be inflexible and intolerant to their needs, not willing to bend or even flex a little bit to accommodate. Problems were rampant amongst the Aboriginal segment of society that needed to addressing. Substance abuse, homelessness, and poverty are prevalent in Aboriginal communities and it was evident that things needed to change. Since the Europeans had come and killed off the Buffalo and relegated the Native Tribes to reservations, the suffering has been going on. It compounded problems as the newly founded Nation asked the Natives to break tradition and give up on Potlucks, Sundance, Ceremonies, and then to separate families so children could attend Residential Schools. Things would not get any better on their own and the Aboriginals of Canada had reached a flash point… They were ready to rebel. I thought I would go out to the woods and contemplate the people’s future.
I saw while on the spiritual quest to find solutions to my people’s plight… The ultimate end to their suffering. I had gone alone into the woods and fast until I could come up with something… Anything to ease the tension. I had been wandering the woods for several days contemplating these problems, praying continuously for resolution, fasting, and hoping that a solution would come to me. I had not noticed animals of any kind, no birds chirping, no squirrels chittering, not even the bugs were out. The twigs I stepped on seemed to snap without sound as I lumbered towards my eventual goal. I had not eaten in four days, had not drank from my canteen for about two days and was weakened from the effort of walking. Starvation was imminent and my scratchy, dry throat had predominantly taken over my thoughts. I kept wandering, perhaps going in circles, now lost… Lost to our society and its many spirits. Blacking out occasionally, but still lucid enough to walk, I reached a clearing and finally collapsed from exhaustion. As I lay helpless on the edge of the trees, I heard a howl. A friendly welcoming howl that encouraged me to continue, to keep going, to persevere through my struggles… Then it happened… I changed into the Great Bear, Ursa Major from the stars.
I was no longer human, had given up on what I seen as an inferior form and somewhat of a detriment to the earth. I wanted to end the suffering, end the tyranny and rule of the Humans above those who were animal at heart. I stood on my hind legs and roared… Not a dull roar, but a loud one that seemed to strip the trees of leaves, cause avalanches, form tidal waves, and cause the Earth to tremble. As a bonus my thoughts had cleared up to the point that I could think clearly. I had chased away the Human spirits that were haunting me and instantly I realized that it was not all Humans that I hated… Not all had caused trouble… Not all had caused pain and suffering. I still felt rage to some people, especially the ones who had tortured me. I was ready to hurt the bad Humans, ready to fight for the Indigenous and those who believed in them. The rage I felt was like the rushing water at the crest of a waterfall just before it goes over the edge, before falling and unleashing its stored energy to create chaos below. I was ready to destroy the Earth…. I was ready to unleash Armageddon… The final conflict that ends all conflict. The wolf beckoned me to follow, so I started after him.
While following the wolf, I realized who he was and what was going on. He was Fenrir the mythical wolf from Norse culture, the one who was to eat Odin and end the Earth. I realized that the end times where upon us and the people of Earth would have to change. The humans who had caused our suffering would pay, people who endured would dish it out in various ways… The Indigenous peoples would lay claim to what had been taken from them… Life…. Land… And its resources. A return to the land and its ways was in order… A rebirth would follow and we could all live in harmony. As I lumbered along following Fenrir broken scattered thoughts occurred of various people’ s end time prophecies. The rage built as I followed Fenrir, but to where?
“Where are we going?” Thought the Great Bear.
“To the end. The end of everything.” Thought Fenrir.
“Why should I follow? Do you even like the Humans?” Thought the Great Bear as memories of his previous form were fading.
“How soon you forget… You… Not to long ago… Were a human.” Thought Fenrir.
“A Human? How… They are more devious then even Coyote the Native Trickster himself.” Thought The Great Bear as he lumbered along… Still forgetting humanity.
“Do you not remember? The enjoyment? The Circus? The Zoo? The cooked food?” Thought Fenrir as he led the Great Bear further into the woods towards the Gathering.
“Circus? Zoo? Are those not places of abuse? Where Humans hurt us? They claim they put us on display for our betterment…. For our protection. Really? My memories of the Zoo are of my Eagle form being picked on… Having stones thrown at me… Having to pick my feathers out because my human form once received a feather for my female companion of choice… Certain people decided who I should mate with… Who I should be with, but it was long ago, for always, for always, for always, decided by myself and the others I cared for… It led to the creation of my family… The Gods of above.” Thought the Great Bear as his rage subsided.
“You know there is a little jealousy as to the one you chose. Other men want to spend life with her too. They feel it’s their right to have a chance with her.” Thought Fenrir.
“Why do they have to be with her, when it’s supposed to be my turn? Why now? Couldn’t they have gotten it out of the way?”, suddenly remembering having had been Human once the Great Bear continued, “That’s part of why I gave up on Humans… I have no mate. I have nobody to trust.”
“It may feel like that, but look, you’ll know love this time… I mean in this branch… Your third try at life. Other women will be with you… You may even get the chance to have sex again and feel real love… Real passion. The romances might be short… They may not last, but she will fade and others will grow fond of you.”
“But I’ve given up on that form… The stinking Human in me was weak… He was useless… He always gave in and did what his brother and parents wanted… He hated life… He wanted to die anyways… There was no point in being Human…All Humans do is suffer when they follow the laws of man… Those that use spirituality have supremacy. They drive the others crazy and get them to hurt themselves… To commit suicide. They get away with it all the time.” Thought the Great Bear as he stopped to smell a wild mint plant.
His natural knowledge kicked in and he remembered things he had forgotten as a Human. Things that seemed useless trivia to him because other people did that for him. He had not needed knowledge of the many plants for a while, but now he ate the mint and felt relaxed… It soothed his stomach… Relieved tension and calmed him down somewhat.
“Should Humans die? Should they suffer just as the Indigenous and the animals of the wilds have? Some or most have forgotten that they were just like us at one point, wild and free. There were no borders… There were no governments… There was only the laws of nature to uphold. Eat or be eaten… Survival of the fittest… May the strongest overcome. Only the seasons dictated how you would act…. Starve all Winter… Enjoy the Spring bounty… Eat your fill during the Summer… Then prepare for the lean times again in the Fall. The freedoms of coming and going… Migrating.” Thought the Great Bear.
“You must believe that not all Humans are to blame… Some are still on your side. You have a way of picking up the pieces when you fall apart. You continue to persevere every time life hands you lemons… You’re the type of guy to make lemonade with lots of sugar and even start a stand to make money off of it. I bet with the right girl you could make a decent go at it, have the family you’ve always dreamed of, even be quite successful at your endeavors. I bet a guy like you has a lot of stories to tell… Be an author.” thought Fenrir as he smiled a toothy smile.
“ I thought I could be once, long ago… Seems like it anyway… I thought up a book that may explain parts of the underworld… You know… The whos and whats of why. Then I was chased away from what I called a good job and eventually ended up here in Alberta. As a human I used to come to this park, Kananaskis, all the time. I envied you animals and your freedoms even if it seems like a harsher life to a human. Where are we anyway? It seems like we’ve been walking for hours.” Thought the Great Bear.
“We’re going to a sacred meeting place… You and your family must come to terms with you being spiritually awake. They must accept that you are who you are… God. Don’t give up on ALL Humans just because the odd one treats you with disdain. Most are hard working and dedicated to you through their various faiths… You were even once dedicated to a man called Jesus… Remember him? Your Son and all… You know the guy who died on a cross? Am I ringing any bells in the belfry? Are the lights coming on? HELLO IN THERE!!!” Thought Fenrir with humor.
“Yeah… I get it… I was put to spiritual sleep as a child. My brother this time fooled people and had me under his spell… He talked in specific ways like a poet might write. He would say things that made sense but meant more then would be obvious. Things like breaking sentences into parts and imbedding an unsaid meaning into the words. The tea cup fell off the wagon: The tea cup is a name for someone… Like a code name and fell off the wagon is like the saying of starting to drink again after being sober for a while. Sounds different when said all together” Thought the Great Bear.
“Okay I get it… I long ago learned that manner of speaking… You will too. You can’t blame your father for putting you to sleep.” Thought Fenrir.
“No… I can’t… He was ignorant of the Devil Incarnate’s ways. He knew nothing of that way of talking. He didn’t know that my brother had doubled his meaning… literal sleep with spiritual slumber. If he had known I’m sure things would be different. They didn’t believe I was grown up inside either… I tried to tell them in their heads like we are talking… You know through telepathy… Maybe they did, I don’t remember right now… My head’s still fuzzy… Foggy like I’m possessed.” Thought the Great Bear.
“Well either way they and your forbidden love is up ahead… They do love you. They are from various times… Your parents are younger and your lovely wife, the actress, is older.” Thought Fenrir again showing his toothy smile.
“Wife?!? Actress?!?” Thought the surprised Great Bear.
“Yeah… Life is much different for you in the future… Not many have hassled you like you believe… Most love you and feel your pains with you. Even Odin snapped once… You do realize you enacted Odin don’t you… And myself… I used to be one of you, but now the spirit has moved on. I’m still connected to you in a strong way, but I’m not you anymore. You won’t even be you anymore after you die. That Human you will once again become won’t even be you in the future after he dies.” Thought Fenrir hoping to explain the meaning of life to the now calming bear.
“Again? I don’t want to be Human… I became this form to protect myself… I’m tired of being abused… I can now shred the doors off of a car like a human opening a tin of tuna. I had nothing much to lose anyway by leaving society. I had a couple of friends, a decent job, a car, a few other material things, but no wife, no family of my own. I thought I could do something… Be somebody… Achieve like others do… You know: Kids, a House with white picket fence, a garden for fresh vegetables, maybe a dog or two, a couple of cats, and maybe a horse for the daughter… It all went south one day at work and since these enactions go backwards I snapped before it happened… Again one of my coworkers started stuff with a disabled Native man in a wheelchair and got away with it. The Native man was setup and came across as the bad man like always happened to me as a child…. So why keep trying?” Thought the Great Bear as he lumbered closer to his destination now with slight anticipation.
“You know your coworker will get what’s coming to him don’t you? When you resume your life as a Human stick it out and play it like a Master Angler Pickerel. You will file a Human Rights Complaint and when they offer you a settlement don’t bite… Wait it out… And then pounce when the time is right. I’m afraid it’ll be too late for the Native in question as he later died at a Hospital in Winnipeg, but that can’t be helped… Yes I know more abuse to the tender underbelly of the Native people. That stuff will stop and here’s the plan: All the religions that have identified with an Apocalypse will have a loop of time to run it in… The Christians will get their Hells Angels to run things in the world and they will run rampant in a loop… The Muslims will have their way… The East Indians… You name it. Then we will have other types of global events…. Zombies… Plague… Rise of Robots like in the Terminator… Hell on Earth… Etc. The whole thing is sort of magical and a lot of people will be involved. The wicked will remember their sufferings and may smarten up after the suffering ends. Not all people are expected to stay on Earth for them… You know the whole one brother will be taken and one will not… Not all people will remember suffering but may remember dishing it out… You will even get to vent a little. Oh yeah, you can do gangs for a few loops too… The other side, your dark side demands it… Just be careful and don’t get too out of hand… You know the Second Death is still a thing to you Christians. Anyways we are almost there. The meeting’s just up ahead in a clearing.” Thought Fenrir in all seriousness.
“I smell Humans! Who’s there?” Thought the Great Bear.
“Don’t worry I sent for your wife and parents, remember?”
“Oh yeah… I guess I’ll listen. Maybe they have come to their senses and will let me live a freer life. I hate them lording over me… Telling me, a thirty-six year old, how to live… They should have let go along time ago and let me make my own mistakes. They think they are my God and Goddess just because they gave birth to me.” Thought the Great Bear now hesitating to go on and wondering if they really had changed any after my disappearance.
As we approached the clearing I saw a pack of wolves resting amongst a herd of deer in a glen. It seemed peaceful enough… Predator laying with prey… A wolf in sheep’s clothing was amongst them and stood out as a black wolf. The Great Bear knew him by another name, one of Odin’s sons…. Loki. He thought it was nice to see him here… To see him care about his adoptive North American cousins. After all the Natives adopted the Norsemen when they showed up on the East Coast as Skraeling outcasts. They had joined the great tribes and blended in learning the ways, some even taking Native wives and spawning children to start families. The Natives taught the Norsemen their values, their languages, their plants, their animals, and in kind the Norsemen told stories of their Gods and told of their deeds as sailors and explorers. Loki was like the Native Trickster, Coyote, he taught people lessons when they were abusive. He was usually in trouble and like to play jokes or pranks.
Odin’s pack of ravenous wolves… The form Icelanders like Odin chose when they came to North America, lay in wait for the outcome of some debate, some great undertaking before deciding to help Natives consume society with carnivorous desire. They were Grey Wolves and of average size. They looked well fed and content, not malnourished, because it was summer and food was plentiful. Some were panting in the heat of midday standing amongst the resting Whitetails , others were resting under trees in the shade, and the Omegas were playing with the pups and keeping them busy learning hunting skills. The Alpha Male stood and howled in greeting as Fenrir approached… Then wagged his tail. He was a strong, determined looking wolf with a scarred right eye like he had been in a fight… Maybe while defending his pack from a predator…. Maybe with a fellow pack member who wished to take over before he was weakened. The Great Bear knew him to be Odin himself and looked around at the others. He picked one out of the pack and bet that it was Thor, a pure gray wolf larger then many of the others. He was resting under a tree and panting in the shade.
Standing with the wolves and deer where a couple of people I recognized, my mother and my father. They looked sad and didn’t seem to understand why a bear had arrived instead of their son. There was another girl, one I didn’t recognize… She felt familiar to me… But foreign in a sad way like I had once known her and had been hurt to the point that I had left her alone. She had brunette hair that was shorter and fell to just above her shoulders. Her face had a pale complexion complete with freckles that were sparse and took careful examination to notice. A mole near the left side of her nose that was tiny and insignificant and reminiscent of the one that Marilyn Monroe had back in the Sixties. She was not the tallest I had ever seen, but came up to just shy of six foot when I measured her up by eye. She seemed friendly through a smile that was hard to beat… Not many girls could get the attention of a Grizzly Bear you know… Especially the Great Bear after giving up on Humanity and walking into the woods. Her shoulders were slightly slumped and she held out an open palm for me to sniff. I cocked my ears forward and approached, sat down at her feet, yawned, and looked away for a few seconds.
Then I took the bait… I inhaled deeply… I enjoyed her scent… For a Human it was pleasant… She wore perfume reminiscent of strawberries, one of my favorite foods. There was no fear even though I was larger then the average Grizzly. I stood four foot six at the hunched shoulders and weighed about seven hundred and fifty pounds… Like I said I was a Great Bear, not just any old Grizzly. My fur was cinnamon and tawny in color and I had black pads on my feet. My paws stretched about one and a half feet long from the tips of the nails to the back of the foot pad. Each of my massive nails was four and a half inches from where they joined to the toe to the tips and were curved for digging up ant nests and tearing up rotten trees to eat grubs. My massive head had beady little eyes dark as lumps of coal, but full of life and poor sight. The ears were semi circular but filled with keen hearing that could pick up on the minutest sound while roaming the woods. Three inch canine incisors were in the front of my snout which was about a foot and a half long and full of sharp teeth meant for tearing flesh from scavenged carcasses. My delicate lips were nimble enough to eat the heads off of individual dandelions one at a time, and to pick berries off of plants without killing the plant itself so the plant could grow more berries for me to eat… Due to this I did my job spreading seeds around wherever I roamed.
“What are you doing as a bear? I thought you were spiritually awakened? Do you know who I am? I know you may not care any more… At least listen before eating me, or your parents. I can’t stay long, I’m on the set of a movie that you wrote the script for based off of one of your books.” said the stranger girl.
“Greaaarr Rhuuuugh Neaaaah.” said the Great Bear out loud.
“Oh, yes. Talk in my head… I don’t mind it won’t drive me crazy. You do know that I love you.. don’t you?”
“I know that you must be the one that Fenrir talked about, my alleged wife… An Actress! What is your name?” Thought the Great Bear.
“Yes, an Actress! My name is Susan and I’ve been married to you for a long time now. Just because we haven’t met yet doesn’t mean we won’t meet… We’ll meet much later on. I know things went bad here again… Don’t give up on society yet… It does get better… Things will change. You’ll go back to school… Oh damn… I’m sorry… That was screwed up too but you met many good people. Especially the Instructors in the Creative Writing department at the University of Winnipeg. Some of them will actually believe in you by the time you go back to finish your degree.. Like I say it was a washout again, but hold on to your budding talent and write your novel in the mean time… Let it fly when the time is right.” said Susan.
“I think you are telling me the truth… You smell honest…. You don’t even show signs of being lying Human scum. You blink… You look me in the eyes… You don’t seem to fidget… You didn’t repeat yourself… You didn’t add too much detail…that sort of stuff. I guess I’ll believe you for now. You seem to know more about my future then I did, so now what? Go back to being Human and accept being taken advantage of?” Thought the Great Bear.
“You don’t have to do anything…. Just behave… You know… No sex. And no violence… At least try… Don’t kill anyone… I know you’ll be temperamental… You’ll trash your Great Aunt’s place… You’ll break all you shit except for the family hand-me-downs. You’ll slash your new bed and stab your furniture… You get a little wicked when you have no choice but to go home… But you’ll be okay.” said Susan.
“Okay… Can I at least finish this life? I like being a bear… I know I’ll start out where I ended off… At the edge of the woods where I fainted.” Thought the Great Bear.
“I guess so since you’ve decided to cool off… Get your den dug, it’s already fall… Sleep for the winter and then decide… Do you know how worried your parents were? You were missing for four months… They had no clue what happened to you. Your car was found on the roadside and no body was ever recovered. Expert trackers were baffled as your prints stopped and Grizzly prints took over. You shouldn’t do stuff like that… It worries people.” Said Susan.
“Yeah, we were worried… We thought a bear dragged you off and ate you.” Joked his dad.
“I thought it was going well in Calgary… You always seem friendly again… You seemed to like it here.” Said his mother.
“I seen the ending and didn’t want to leave the park… I love it here… It’s my new home… All the animals except me for who I am like the Humans… They believe me… They listen to me… They actually cared. I seen the end coming and couldn’t bear to live through it… That guy will get away with it… That disabled man was jus ta low down scum to him… Nothing but a hated Indian… Someone to push around. I wanted to be free of Humans, so I changed.” Thought the Great bear.
“Why did you choose the form of a Grizzly?” Asked his dad.
“In the future I have a cat named Tigger. She’s my best bud in all the world… All of it. She decided to be my friend out here and wanted a new unique form… So together we created the Grizzly Bear as a new species and I see they’ve caught on… There’s enough of them around.” Thought the Great Bear.
“Why not change back to Human? Finish off your time in Calgary and know when to give up and go back to Bowes… It won’t be that bad… Really, you’re my son… I missed you.” Said his mother through tears.
“Why don’t you three join me? Become Grizzly Bears for a life?” Thought the Great Bear.
The three Humans thought it through…. Mom hesitated… Dad wanted to but didn’t want to be alone…. Susan thought she might if I agreed to behave… To go back to ENMAX and finish the way I was supposed to… In dishonor. They deliberated for a while, then all three sat down and changed into Great Bears. Susan decided to invite Tigger’s man, James, to join us as Great Bears. Tigger and her man, who happened to be a Human at the time, agreed to join us. Susan drew a circle in the air with her bear paw and summoned him. They also changed into Great Bears and all six of us wandered the park for life… Eating Grubs and foraging for berries all summer long. We debated the need for the Indigenous to reclaim their ways even if it meant that thy would loop as Inajis… Indian Jihadis.
We invited many from the Native tribes to pipe up and say their two cents worth… To have input and to tell their tales… To join us in Kananaskis and deliberate. We wanted to hear from all the Aboriginals in North America to see if it would be warranted enough to loop a war… It might make a lasting impression and then society will listen… After the loops we can try peaceful solutions… Protests that make a difference. Many chose other forms… Whitetail… Shrews… Pheasants… Grouse… Mice… Chipmunks… You name it and we decided… We decided it was time… Time for change. One by one we died off in the forms we had chosen. We reverted to Human, right were we had left off… Right at the instant I had walked into the bush and given up. Even I didn’t remember, but eventually I would and the loop would begin… The war would start and we would mean business this time… Time for Real Change.