rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Confessions of a poppy beader

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

rabble is expanding our Parliamentary Bureau and we need your help! Support us on Patreon today! 

Keep Karl on Parl

Recently I have heard a few different stories in the paper about how the Canadian Legion has been unhappy with the rise of poppy alterations this year. For instance, First Nations people bead their own version -- sometimes still with four red petals and others with one petal for each corner of the Medicine Wheel.

First I want to make it clear that many people who have beaded or created their own poppy did also donate to the "official" poppy campaign or donated to wonderful groups such as Wounded Warriors.

No one here was cheap or cheating out veterans of their dues. The very fact that anyone insinuated that these First Nations beaders are trying to cheat the system is ludicrous and in fact disparages community members who wanted to put a special, personal touch to the ceremony. These poppies are either made by veterans themselves, their families or school groups

It was considered a duty in many First Nation communities to send their young off across the big water to European shores.

The federal government says more than 7,000 Aboriginal soldiers served in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, along with an unknown number of Inuit, Metis and non-status native Canadians.

The CBC reported on Cree veteran Joy Ward-Dockrey, who created a poppy made of red and black beads. "They come from the heart of our people," said Ward-Dockrey, an official with the Canadian Aboriginal Veterans and Serving Members Association.

"We are not trying to stand out and say we are better. It is something we do for ourselves as Aboriginal people to respect what happened to us and our healing journey."

Richard Blackwolf, president of the Canadian Aboriginal Veterans, said the handmade poppies are not mass produced. 

In a less culturally charged issue, other groups have been tinkering with the poppy -- mostly to keep it falling off people's shirts or collars 20 minutes after you buy one.

In an attempt to keep the poppy on your lapel, Doug Michetti, from Calgary, is the man behind the idea of the new poppy pin centres. Michetti is a longtime legion member and volunteer, and states that that branches sell his pins to the public for $3 each. He says he charges them "less than half that" for each pin and it costs him a dollar to make a pin. He keeps any remaining profit, but declined to provide more details. Necessity creates need.

Joan Lepidus, who is on the executive of the No. 1 Legion in Calgary, told the CBC that she has replaced her straight pin for a lapel pin poppy centre. While some in the Legion fear that this small step will lead to the commercialization of the pins -- other issue with the beaded pins mentioned above, other see it a vast improvement.

Amanda Moore posted on her Facebook page, "One of the Legion members in Calgary developed this pin for the poppies. I purchased five today from an elderly veteran and we had a great discussion about it! I think it would be awesome if other legions would join forces with them as I believe we would see more poppies around if we had a better way of securing them! I have been informed today (November 10) that the powers that be from the legion do not approve of this pin. I still believe it is the best option out there and support all the legion members selling the pins!"

rabble is expanding our Parliamentary Bureau and we need your help! Support us on Patreon today! 

Keep Karl on Parl

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.