Chiefs Gather in Peace at Parliament

War.

That’s what’s coming in one form or another.

The first shots were fired today in the form of words and insult.
First Nations Chiefs from across the country gathered today in front of Parliament in Ottawa. They brought drums, sweetgrass and a peace pipe.

They brought the concerns of their people, concerns for clean water, concerns for protection of land sovereignty, and concerns that the Canadian Government is seeking to unilaterally change key aspects of the Indian Act without any input or cooperation from..well…”Indians”

A small group was invited into Parliament by an MP, then that same group was thrown out by security, but not before these words of frustration were uttered:“Let’s see what happens when you try to enter our territories…this is just the beginning. This is just the beginning.”

All across the country, Indigenous people are outraged and angry, but what else is new? The public at large, that’s all they know of their Treaty partners.

Either they are entertaining with their beautiful dances and costumes, or they are dangerous and angry.

But we never get to the root of it. We never get to the “why” and rather than think about it or ask questions, the result is a shrug of the shoulders of people who know nothing about Reservation life or Treaties. They wonder why the Natives aren’t simply happy with all the “free handouts”.

The government says they have the best interests of the Indigenous population at heart. And I believe them. But what they feel is best for Aboriginal Canada, and what Aboriginal Canada thinks is best are very different creatures.

The Harper Government wants assimilation. They feel that the best way to deal with the situation is to make it disappear, absorb First Nations, Metis and Inuk populations into the rest of society. So what can you do to coax that outcome along if you are the Harper Government?

You underfund schools. You listen compassionately to the problems of clean water and housing and then blame the victims for mismanagement even though your own people can’t find any evidence of alleged mismanagement.

You sit idly by while the very young suffer and are brought up in Third World conditions in one of the wealthiest nations on earth.

You propose legislation that allows a few people the power to sell off the majority of Reservation lands in order to enrich corporations.

In short, you chisel away, bit by bit until there is nothing left. You make life so hopeless for the people who live on Reservations that they leave. They assimilate, and the colonization, the conquering, the decades of Residential School atrocities…it all comes together to drive the final stake in the heart of the enemy. You destroy their culture and renege on sacred agreements.

Why do you think they’re so busy building new prisons?

Why are Indigenous people seen as enemies?

Here’s the thing, people of Canada, the so-called enemy knows what’s happening. And the enemy sees you as brothers and sisters. The enemy is the descendant of the people whose blood and bones our cities and roads are built on. Their destruction has led to our enrichment, even if you are an immigrant.

And the enemy keeps coming to the table, keeps negotiating in good faith, keeps trying to follow the rules of the colonizing government so that they can help their people.

Because the enemy thinks we are all family. The enemy thinks we all have good and open hearts and desire to do the right thing. The enemy doesn’t know you view them as non-human. As less. As nothing.

But they are starting to get the message. Their young men and women are starting to see that no matter how many rules they follow, no matter how hard they work to break the chains and cycles of generations of physical, cultural, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of your holy men and women it won’t matter. Because no one listens.

No one listens.

And so a war is coming that no one wants.

My heart cries at the thought of it. Our children will be the casualties. Their innocence, their faith in us, their need for an example that the world can really be a better place…it all dies along with the end of our respect for each other.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Bill-C45 is a budget bill. Why does it have so many other things packed on to it? So they can slip a dozen things under your noses before you have time to notice. If you don’t know what’s in that bill, then you might want to find out.

I speak to parents now. I speak on behalf of your children. They deserve to raise their own children in a clean world. A world where they don’t have to worry about cancer from the sun, from the water, from the food they eat. They shouldn’t have to worry about cancers of the spirit.

But that’s the world we’re giving them.

We’re giving them a world of ignorance, hate, greed and pollution.We can do better. We should do better, and we need to do it now while we still have choices. We need to do right by Treaties signed in good faith, and right by those yet unborn. We need to take responsibility and move forward with wisdom and compassion.

We should never be ashamed to look our children in the eye, but shame is what we are bringing them if we do nothing.

It’s time to end this sick, dysfunctional cycle and act like mature, caring, strong adults.

War is coming, but we can stop it.

We can find a way.

We can honour the Treaties.

We can honour each other.

And with good faith, we can create something new.

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