Idle No More: Deep Green Resistance Has Red Roots


A post by Jamie

I’ve been following and learning from a number of radical grassroots indigenous activists for quite a while now. I don’t remember when I encountered the first, who has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to me since our first contact on Facebook. But before long, I was getting to know a bunch of people who are proud of their indigineity, the lands their ancestors taught them to protect as though it were their next of kin, and all the life depending on that land — including people like me, by which I mean not related by blood to the First Peoples, and always learning new things about indigenous cultures. So when news of the pipelines and FIPPA deals the Harper government wanted to bury under the streams, rivers, lakes, and homes of many of the blood kin of my indigenous friends first broke, I found out about it through them. Not from the news. Then a whole lot of Occupy Vancouver activists (most of whom are white and apparently haven’t the foggiest clue beyond a very superficial understanding, of exactly what they are actually saying when they declare “unceded Coast Salish territory” at the beginning of their speeches) started their predictable and ambitious surge of hippy speak, wheat-pasting, vegan food, flyers, and public musical jam sessions, to try and raise awareness of the pipelines. Finally, it started to appear in the news, in between reports of Trayvon Martin being murdered while George Zimmerman was allowed to keep all his Nazi regalia company in the privacy of his own home for weeks, Shaima Alawadi’s murder being pegged at first as a hate crime until it was determined she was killed by her husband, and Bei Bei Shuai being sentenced to prison after her late-term pregnancy was interrupted by a suicide attempt (the baby was delivered and died a week later). But the Occupy activists just kept on truckin’ through all this extraordinarily depressing news that mysteriously never seems to be about white people getting put in prison, or even worse, in a coffin.

While my friends in the Occupy Vancouver movement were organizing rallies and flyers and a dizzying number of things involving printed paper, all in the name of saving the environment from a pipeline full of tar sands bursting, or an oil tanker being cut open by the hundreds of miles of jagged rocks along BC’s coast, I was standing up against pro-lifers outside an abortion clinic. In my underwear. The day finally came for a Stop Harper march and rally in the downtown east side, just days after a major collaborative effort between Occupy Vancouver and the grassroots environmental activists in one of the Coast Salish communities across the inlet. So I went. And that’s when a tall, tan Mohawk man approached me and told me he could tell why I was standing at the very edge of the street while all my friends hung out behind us listening to a concert that serves no one but themselves. In the following days, he taught me about why he gives people fistbumps instead of handshakes or high fives (except some people, who he’d rather hug). He taught me to hug on the left so that our hearts overlap when we embrace. He gave me his medicine bag to wear for nearly a week before I felt compelled to return it to him. He taught me how to smudge. He taught me to leave tobacco where ever I pick up something the Earth leaves just for me, and to bring tobacco with me if I go to meet an Elder. He told me details about his life growing up, and about his half-sister, who disappeared on the Pickton farm after Vancouver police called off all surveillance, claiming that there was no serial killer. He told me about Oka and the G20 Summit in Toronto (where, incidentally, he was filmed being thrown to the pavement without offering even a flinch of resistance, put in handcuffs, and arrested by three police officers, for the transgression of waving his hand at one of them — totally not overkill at all). We talked about the effects of trauma, about the microaggressions of racism most people don’t see taking place in Vancouver because they are only looking for racism that hits them like a brick wall. And so on.

It wasn’t all roses and he’s not a person I would call a friend, but the point is that this man, who didn’t know me from a hole in the wall the day he approached me, shared a profound amount of his culture with me, simply because I was willing to listen. He even invited me to take part in a sweat lodge for the first time (though it just didn’t work out that day for either of us). We also went together to a 24-hour burial site protest together (where I had already been multiple times and continued to come back until shortly after I had become homeless). It was being run by a local Coast Salish band (the Musqueam) whose ancestors’ graves were desecrated by a condo developer’s dig permit and heavy machinery. The condo developer just somehow magically gained permission (care of the province’s Premier) to dig on the site, which is not only at least 4,000 years old and is a known former Musqueam village site — people who once inhabited 126 villages in the area, and who were reduced from 40,000 to just a few hundred after contact — but the site has actually been a nationally protected historic site since 1933. After occupying the site for over 200 days, the remains of those four people were finally re-buried in a small, private gathering of their living descendants, but the band is left waiting for a payment that was already long ago due to them for a previous land deal, which they will be using to purchase the site. While repeatedly returning to the site to show my support, hold up a sign, and learn about the culture of these people who wanted little more than such a basic degree of respect as to be consulted before their ancestors’ intact graves were desecrated by heavy machinery, I was always welcomed, invited to take part in drumming and singing, and invited to eat and drink with them. I consider this community to be more than friends, as they have become as important to me as a chosen family. I am experiencing a repeat of the same at all the Idle No More events I’ve been attending. One Elder I met is even going to teach me to make my own pair of moccasins next month. My own blood relations never treated me this well after I turned 10.

So again, when I first heard of the very recently emerged Idle No More movement, and Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike for her people in Attawapiskat, it was through my radical grassroots indigenous activist friends. Then the news. Only, when I say news, I don’t mean any mainstream white liberal media outlet. I mean the news network created and maintained by the First Peoples, which primarily reports on news stories that have a direct impact on First Nations communities, if they aren’t also directly about them. Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network. It’s where I heard about the food crisis and Innu protests last year. You know. The ones you probably haven’t heard about unless you’re watching the same news channel. The nature of the food crisis? $12 for a previously frozen stalk of broccoli, $38 for a 2L of cranberry juice, and if I recall correctly, a whopping $112 for a 24-pack of bottled water. Combine that with the effects of global warming on the far North, as well as pollution and contamination from fishing boats and tankers taking their devastating toll on what’s left of the wildlife since the Settler hunting and fishing craze that led to shuffling Innu people around until they actually had a second shot at sustaining themselves again. Now you’re talking about an entire population of people who, through a persistent lack of consultation on the part of the colonial government and its advancing interests on their resources, are at risk of starving to death or not being able to provide for their children. It’s almost like we’ve heard this before somewhere, but I can’t quite place a finger on it—no… waitasecond. Attawapiskat. And again in late November this year, with Kashechewan. Oh yeah, and literally innumerable times previous, such as during The James Bay Project, when 83,000 km² of shoreline was flooded in the late 70s and entire communities were forcibly displaced. Guess who was living there? The Cree and Inuit!

And did you know that Attawapiskat is on a diamond mine? The company (which made a business deal for the right to take diamonds, but made their end of the deal inaccessible to the Cree) that’s taking all their resources, without paying the Cree anything for it, actually directly contributed to the state of emergency Attawapiskat declared two years ago. You know. The one Prime Minister Stephen Harper blamed Theresa Spence for when he was finally finished ignoring her and her entire community for a few months.

I am without words to express my deep-seated resentment of the colonial government, and its rabidly racist history. And I bet you’re wondering how all this (and, say, the fact that indigenous people make up 3% of the population of this country, but constitute 20% of incarcerated persons at any given time in our prison population, among many, many more shameful legacies of racism against the First Peoples) came to be. Well, here’s the most brief version ever, of what the 11 treaties between the Crown and First Nations said when the ink was still wet (note – not an actual quote at all):

First Nations: You can live here, because when you arrived, you did not show violence towards us. But you need to do so in a good way — with respect for us and our cultures.

Crown: Totes. How about if we promise to consult you before we develop any of the land, and if we do develop the land at all, we give you 40% of the profits gained from it? Plus we’ll give you healthcare, education, and hunting and fishing rights either way.

First Nations: We dig it. Check out this two-row wampum belt we made, signifying two canoes paddling side by side down a river. Two nations living in harmony with one another. It is also a symbol of balance of male and female energy, and of a harmonious relationship between husband and wife.

Crown: Yeah, yeah, that’s nice. I’ve got a railway to build!

By the time the ink was dry (i.e., 9 years later), the Crown made off with the 40% of the profits promised to the First Nations, and used all of it to build the Canadian Pacific Railway on Chinese slave labour (this is actually a major part of why we pay taxes). That 40% share still has never been paid to indigenous peoples, although countless development deals have perpetuated over the past 140 years, often without consultation or consent of the treaty nations whose ancestral territories are torn up for tar sands, oil, diamonds, precious metals, forestry, over-hunting, over-fishing, fish farms to replace all the over-fished fish with, dam projects, natural gas, and the list goes on.

As for “education”, innumerable indigenous children were abducted from their natal homes, removed from their greater communities, and forced into extremely abusive boarding schools run by the Catholic and Anglican churches, where they were forbidden to speak their traditional language or observe any aspect of their culture of origin. They were called residential schools, and most of the children who entered the residential schools were physically, sexually, and emotionally abused, as well as severely reprimanded if they were brought back alive after an attempted escape or if they were caught practicing their cultural traditions. Many children who did make attempts to escape, died alone and exposed in the wilderness, as the residential schools were often in remote locations. Many, many children who were detained in these “schools” were buried in unmarked graves without their traditional burial rites being observed. The last residential school in Canada only closed its doors in 1996. Many children were not even addressed by name, but were given a number and referred to by it alone. Most were assigned an anglicised name once they arrived, and very poor records were maintained, thus making it impossible to account for exactly how many children were put through this experience. The residential school system was created with the explicit intent to “kill the Indian in the child”, and this was coupled by the drafting of the Indian Act, which was created to “kill the Indian in the Indian” by literally criminalizing many aspects of indigenous culture, and treating status “Indians” as though they were all abandoned children whose guardian is the federal government of Canada. The Indian Act is still in effect today.

Access to healthcare has been and remains a persistent problem on reserves, as a distinguished lack of doctors and other healthcare providers are willing to live and work in these frequently remote locations. Although, the Canadian government was particularly proficient in forcibly sterilizing indigenous peoples, too. I guess it just depends on their priorities at any given time, whether or not First Nations communities get to see a doctor. Children living with disabilities on reserves are suffering the most from this distinguished inability to serve the basic healthcare needs of indigenous peoples.

Then there are the hunting and fishing rights which are compromised by unrelenting land and resource development. The James Bay Project alone killed 10,000 caribou as they drowned when the flooding happened. The flooding also had the effect of increasing mercury levels in fish. And how about fishing where the water has been contaminated by fracking, tar sands, oil, sewage dumping, or other toxic pollution from mining or pulp processing, among a thousand other ways perpetual resource development has spread waste into rivers and lakes across the country? Mmmmmm, om nom nom nom!

Oh yeah, and then in 1948, when the United Nations defined genocide to include much of what has actually occurred for several generations within indigenous communities, the federal government of Canada in its infinite wisdom decided upon a narrower definition, so that it wouldn’t be able to prosecute itself for perpetrating an absolute atrocity while it carried on doing it (and even escalated its efforts the following decade).

Indigenous peoples haven’t been sitting idly by this whole time, while the Earth is opened up without respectful consultation or consent, and the lives of indigenous peoples steamrolled by industry and corporate interests. Yes, there is an upsetting proportion of indigenous people who currently struggle with addictions in highly urbanized areas across the country. But would they be that way if their parents and their grandparents hadn’t spent up to ten years in what amounts to a concentration camp while their languages and cultures were systematically demolished by the federal government? I’m not a scientist, but my guess is probably not. For those who have been involved in radical grassroots resistance movements for the sake of the environment, it hasn’t been a self-serving effort. It’s actually been a part of their culture for thousands of years. To treat the Earth and all the life that depends upon it as their siblings, and to tread lightly, knowing that many of their ancestors are under foot everywhere they walk. Idle No More isn’t a jack-in-the-box finally popping out of a pressure cooker because of Bill C-45. But briefly, about Bill C-45: a primary issue is that reserve lands can now be sold out from under the people living on them, without their prior knowledge or consent (it only takes three band members agreeing to it in a meeting, basically, whereas before it would take a minimum 51% of the band). Another primary issue is that it declassified millions of rivers, lakes, and streams across the country, as protected waterways. That means that corporations and land developers don’t have to demonstrate what measures they are taking to prevent contamination of these waters, before ploughing forward, with no legal recourse in the event of a toxic spill. But back to Idle No More, which is neither just about Bill C-45 nor just about Chief Theresa Spence currently coming up on 30 days without food while she waits in the shadows of Canadian Parliament for a meeting with the Prime Minister, First Nations Chiefs, and Governor General about these unfulfilled treaties.

If it isn’t clear by now, it should be: Idle No More is a massive uprising against indigenous genocide within Canadian borders; against rampant unchecked racism towards the First Peoples; against worship of money over respect for people, culture, or the environment; and against the continued destruction of the Earth — which with the passing of Bill C-45, effects all Canadians. The fight is about everyone’s future. It’s about your continued access to drinkable tap water, and your children’s and grandchildren’s tap water. Indigenous people have been engaging in this struggle for their right to exist since Christopher Columbus was found lost at sea, looking for people to force into slave labour, in 1492. Idle No More is just its most recent namesake. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll join a flash mob, a railway blockade, a drum circle, a highway blockade, a round dance, a pow wow in your local community, a sweat lodge, a Facebook group for Idle No More in your city, or even make up a sign that says “Idle No More” with your city’s name on it (take a picture with your webcam and post it on Twitter with the hashtag #idlenomore or post it in an Idle No More Facebook group). Hell, even share this blog post or another one that tickles your heart chambers, if you don’t like me. Just do something to show your support. January 11th is the global day of action, but if you’re at work, you can still post a photo from a computer or cell phone on your lunch break.The more involved you can afford to get (and the more you’re willing to listen and defer to the judgment of people whose parents and grandparents have been preparing them for this moment their whole lives), the better.

Now is the time! Idle No More!

Read more about who I am and why I’m involved (or personally invested, if you prefer) in this movement here.
As hippy-dippy-trippy as this is going to sound, read about me experiencing visions prior to taking part in my first Idle No More rally here (my first of many) and here (where I talk about multiple visions* over consecutive days and the courses of action I took).
Read about how I felt after the second rally I attended here. I have now attended 7 and am preparing to participate in a march this coming Friday morning, which is followed by a rally and then a flash mob outside a major white liberal news media outlet, just before their evening news segment.
*About those visions — I don’t want to hear about it if you think I’m off my rocker or a complete fucking weirdo for saying it on a blog dominated by an atheist readership. I am and always have been a spiritual person (though not a religious one), and I’m not here to justify that to anyone.

Follow Jamie on Twitter! Or don’t! Your choice!

Crommunist’s note: I am exercising my editorial prerogative heavily here. Any new posters who don’t include an answer to the following question will have their comments summarily deleted. The question is as follows: “What would be meaningfully different about the substance of this post if Jamie had not mentioned visions in the post-script?”

UPDATE: I probably should have specified. Your answer to the question has to not be stupid – C

Comments

  1. johngreg says

    Visions. You’re talking about having visions, a thoroughly wooish, unscientific, unverifiable, skeptical-free, critical-thinking-free, supernatural-based psychological phenomenon, and you insist on no criticism of same because we must take your word for it and believe based on nothing more than your say-so, and you’re doing all this on a blog hosted by a guy who claims to be a scientist and a skeptic? My head is spinning. Do you happen to own a pink, fire-breathing, invisible dragon living in your garage?

  2. says

    Visions. You’re talking about having visions

    Actually he’s NOT. The only reference to visions happens in the post-script of the post that you clearly didn’t bother reading. So I dunno, go fuck yourself and your manufactured outrage?

    My head is spinning

    Which must mean that your asshole is clean as a whistle by now.

    It’s a remarkable coincidence that every time Jamie posts something, I get a sudden breakout of Slymepitters. Jamie – I’m a bit jealous. None of my fans come anywhere near the level of pathetic, panting obsession that yours do.

  3. Valde says

    To anyone reading this blog post, I strongly suggest you find the time to watch this documentary:

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/unrepentant-kevin-annett-canadas-genocide/

    The United Fucking Church all-out-murdered Indian children.

    I am absolutely disgusted by this. So watch this movie, and learn about how Canada did NOT treat it’s native people with any sort of respect.

    re Crommunist question: Nothing about the meaning of the post would change if Jamie had or hadn’t said a thing. I usually don’t even read postscripts for that matter.

  4. says

    Slympitters: Yes, I imagine it is unfathomably difficult to not address the only thing that I explicitly stated is not under discussion in this particular blog post, because I am only obliquely mentioning its discussion on my personal blog. Equally strenuous to address any of the other content in the blog post at all. I am as sympathetic to you as I am both literal and completely serious (spoiler: this is 100% sarcasm).

    Thank you for the documentary link, Valde. I’ll be checking that out soon myself.

  5. Valde says

    HG: the documentary will make you cry, but it’s worth it.

    After watching I wanted to run down to the local United Church and hand out copies of the documentary while screaming “MURDERERS.”

  6. johngreg says

    Crommunist asks:

    “What would be meaningfully different about the substance of this post if Jamie had not mentioned visions in the post-script?”

    What is meaningfully different about the substance of this post is that when Fish claims to believe in and to personally experience such wooish nonsense as visions, and refuses to entertain even the slightest incredulity or criticism toward such a claim (just ’cause he says it’s true), doing so renders his credibility, and hence reliability and trustworthiness thin, to say the least.

    In short, what is meaningfully different is that because it becomes meaningfully difficult to trust what the Fish has to say, it renders the post itself untrustworthy, potentially specious, and certainly opens up the possibility that it is as groundless and mystically-woo as his beliefs. Refering to the tenets/principles of rhetoric, pathos; logos; ethos, Fish’s credulous beliefs render his logos and ethos rather moot.

  7. says

    Which is a fancy way of saying “nothing, but I’m SUPER angry about the fact that he mentioned having visions”

    Is the substance of the argument presented in this post predicated on the visions? No.
    Is the substance of the argument presented in this post predicated on ANY of Jamie’s personal experiences? No.
    Is this objection based solely on selective outrage and an ad-hominem-based standard of “credibility” that you’ve just invented and have never applied to anything before in your entire life? Yeah I’m pretty comfortable concluding that it is.

  8. punchdrunk says

    If you refuse knowledge from every religious person, or person who has had a ‘religious experience’, your base of information is going to be incredibly narrow.

  9. says

    Personally, I don’t trust ANYTHING that Newton wrote. How can we REALLY be sure that an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by another force? He might have just been told that by Jesus!

  10. says

    That I obliquely mentioned (at the end of the post) doing some writing (on another blog) based on a private, subjective experience that I found powerful (and am not justifying any further) and which moved me to take direct action in relation to the issues I have written about here, has no bearing on the reporting of historical fact around genocide, systemic racism, or grassroots resistance to the same.

    I also experience extraordinarily powerful dreams, which sometimes (at random intervals) turn out to have freakishly prophetic properties, while other times I am simply processing my emotions and chipping away at a lifetime of repressed trauma. That has no bearing on the reporting of the 3,000 words of historic facts that preceded the postscript of this blog post, either.

    I’ve got news for you: my “credibility” is irrelevant where you can turn on your television, look at a Facebook group of 50,000 members and growing, click on a particular hashtag on Twitter and literally be flooded with information, or navigate over to APTN’s website (I even provided a link to get you started), and observe for yourself, a movement of global proportions often attracting hundreds or even thousands of people to flash mobs that are essentially putting the local economy on pause for a couple hours at each event.

    Or do you live in some sort of alternate universe, where skepticism contradicts the notion of even looking for evidence of these enormous mobs of people all across North America and the globe, or even for the data in a history book (if hundreds or even thousands of people drumming and singing together makes you shit your pants)?

    I’ve gotta tell you, this argument I explicitly requested comments not get into, because the content you take issue with isn’t even on this blog, but my personal blog (where I’m also not justifying my experiences any further than to say I found them powerful to me personally), has no bearing on the widespread ignorance about treaties, land rights, taxes, and genocide.

    Don’t you think doing something to take a stand against GENOCIDE is a mite bigger priority than someone saying “I had a vision” in the post-script on a blog?

  11. says

    Yii. Derail, derail, derail, that’s all this argument about “visions” is. I’m not really a fan of the it myself, but it seems like kind of a small point next to the much larger issue of native communities being horribly, horribly screwed, and maybe a movement happening that might finally popularize their issues enough to get some positive action on that for once. Does anyone know if any U.S. native groups are on this bandwagon, and, if so, what similarities and differences there are in their approach?

    Also, can anyone point to a good reference that might explain (for us non-Canadians) what the legal significance is of all these different terms that I see floating around this issue like “status Indian”, “unregistered Indian”, “Inuit”, “Metis”, “First Nations”, etc.? It seems like there are a lot different ways to be a native person in Canada, which are difficult for me to sort out as an outsider.

  12. So says

    For Anne:

    This would be a good place to start: http://www.nonstatusindian.com/terminology/definitions.html

    the gist is this:

    -Fist Nations: they are what used to be called “Indians”. Once we started listening, and once we got informed, we started using the words they used to identify themselves. They are the people of the nations that were here before we came. And they are all different nations – hence the plural (Atikamekw, Iroquois, Cree, etc.)
    -Indian Status: if you are registered with the federal government, then you have Indian Status (although a new ruling by the federal court- new from a few days ago – widened the definiton: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/canada/367863/les-metis-et-les-indiens-non-inscrits-sont-des-indiens-tranche-la-cour-federale – could not find it in English, apologies ). The idea is that if you are registered, then the federal governement has certain “responsibilities” towards you (health care, education, etc) which, for non First Nations, are usually under the purview of the provinces. It is important to note that some Nations have agreements with their province, thus, do not fall under this category. And if the court ruling stands, then no First Nations person will be “unregistered”.
    -Métis: what is termed “mixed race”. So the child of a First Nations individual and of a person that is not First Nations. There was this law that created different statuses, based on nothing more than sexism (in my opinion)…if the child was from a First Nations woman, then it had no status, if it was from a First Nations man, it had status. Again, the court ruling would change that now.
    -Inuit: What used to be called “Eskimos” (again: before we listened!). A nation from northern Canada.

    Maybe someone else can chime in with more precise knowledge.

  13. says

    HaifischGeweint
    Like you, I did not learn about this through the news, but through personal connections. In my case, it was my First Nation cousins. Their Facebook feeds are alive with Idle No More, but none of my Stateside acquaintances have ever heard of it. I’d love to get involved, but as far as I can tell, there’s nothing going on locally yet, and I’m a)not sure I’m up to organizing something myself, and b)not sure if it would be a good idea anyway, what with me being as white as they come. I’m very much afraid that it would come off like the Occupy concert you were describing.
    P.S. :For any Yanks who might be not be aware of it, the U.S. Government’s history with the First Peoples isn’t any better, and may well be worse. Every abuse Hafisch describes happened here too, and I could probably come up with a few atrocities he missed, too.

    Anne C Hanna
    All I can find with a casual googling is a bridge closure by Mohawks in New England, but I’m at work now and my internet access is limited, so that doesn’t prove anything.

  14. says

    Anne:

    Yes, indigenous people south of the border (and in Alaska and Hawaii) are “on the bandwagon”. A few hundred Semiahmoo met with the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Haida, and even Kwakwakwa’wakw recently at the Peace Arch border crossing, along with Cree, Dene, Innu, Metis, Anishinaabe, Apache, Mohawk, and the list goes on. There were at least a thousand people there (I attended too), from both sides of the border. What virtually all of these groups have in common (or certainly most of them) is that the Canada/USA border cuts right through their ancestral territories, essentially dividing their families and communities rather arbitrarily. Even one Coast Salish speaker at a previous flash mob spoke of being stripped of her aboriginal status when she came to Canada from Alaska. The borders also spliced up their traditional trade routes with neighbouring communities. And in the states, there was quite a long period of time in which an indigenous person couldn’t smudge (i.e., burn sage or sweetgrass for ritual cleansing purposes) if they were put in prison, because it was considered “contraband”. It’s not like you get high off of it.

    A recent Seattle flash mob attracted a whopping 1300 participants, all of whom were given a 24-hour ban from the shopping centre. Another flash mob at the Mall of America was asked to disperse almost as soon as they arrived, but the flash mob still happened, and pictures began circulating the same evening of the mall’s advertisement spaces (where a written request for the flash mob to immediately disperse was displayed), calling for a boycott. People have begun picketing the Canadian Consulate in multiple countries worldwide, and flash mobs, highway blockades, and border blockades, have been happening all over the United States. The same day of the Peace Arch gathering, dozens of border crossings were shut down by flash mobs.

    In Canada, “status Indian” means that to the Canadian government, you are a certifiable indigenous person and are entitled to certain hunting and fishing rights, to live on a reserve and participate in the indigenous government the Canadian government has structured for your band, etc. It also meant about a month ago that when there was a rather suspicious healthcare card “database error”, that you didn’t have access to universal healthcare. I don’t know how long that lasted or if it’s still in effect. It also means that you are subject to the restrictions and constraints placed upon you by the Indian Act, care of the federal government, in your day-to-day activities and political endeavours. It means things like APPARENTLY not being able to take your concerns as an indigenous person directly to Canadian Parliament, because you are REQUIRED to go through the Assembly of First Nations in order for the government to hear you — at least that’s what the… oh… 4,000 people who showed up on Parliament Hill to burst in on Canadian Parliament were told when they were pushed and locked out, wampum belts, flags, and all, after just 10 seconds inside the building. I’d have to check my date for that one.

    Being “status Indian” also means, in theory, that you are entitled to access special education rights (the “free” education you get for being a survivor of genocide), healthcare programs exclusively for Aboriginal peoples, and so on. Whether or not these things actually come to fruition depends on how effectively your band can be heard by the Assembly of First Nations. “Status Indians” are also entitled to rights that are further specified in two sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as they have to do in part with the promises of the treaties. I’m not very optimistic about what that means in theory compared to what that looks like in practice, because it seems to me that police generally take the “status Indian” card as a golden ticket to serve tax-payer-funded beatings, to badger and antagonize indigenous people when they are doing nothing extraordinary or criminal, and to ignore them when something criminal happens to them (case in point: look up Robert Pickton some time — it’s a national disgrace made even more disgusting by the recent release of the Missing Women’s Commission & Inquiry final report). However, police are being directly decent and respectful in relation to the Idle No More movement. I just hope that’s a sign they are going to do some improvements to the rest of the work they do.

    I haven’t personally seen people use the term “unregistered Indian”, but my guess would be someone who is indigenous and does not have status, or who lost their status either as a result of who they married (or even who their children married — that’s ACTUALLY a part of the Indian Act) or moving out of the country (which apparently is punishable by “no more treaty rights for YOU). I imagine I haven’t seen this a lot, simply because “Indian” doesn’t refer to indigenous peoples. It refers to people from India.

    Inuit is both a people (when referring to them collectively) and a culture, that is linguistically and traditionally distinct from both Eskimo people (who are referred to as though Inuit and Eskimo are synonyms even though they’re not), and which originates in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. When referring to an individual person from Inuit culture, you refer to them as Innu. Most people just don’t bother looking for this kind of information, I guess. Nunavut is the part of the Northwest Territories that was never ceded by one of the 11 Crown-First Nations treaties — i.e., the Crown and Inuit never formed a treaty to give up their lands. What’s called the Northwest Territories was ceded, however. And that’s a pretty big deal, because that somehow means that the Innu are not “status”. So often, people actually say “First Nations, Metis, and Inuit”. Boy, that’s getting confusing, huh?! I don’t even know much more about it beyond that. This stuff is complicated.

    The Metis are people who descended from indigenous peoples who married and had children with French Settlers, way, way back before the formalized formation of what is now Canada (for all intents and purposes, that happened in 1867). Their culture is distinct from neighbouring cultures such as the Cree, Mohawk, and Anishinaabe, because of the nature of how their culture formed — peaceful coexistence and harmonious marriages producing many children who were well cared for, not colonization, slavery, and rape. Because of this unique culture, they also have their own set of history (including a massive revolt that ended utterly horribly) that is fairly unique to them. Can’t really comment on whether or not Metis people generally elect to become status Aboriginal or not, or even if they can, but from what little I know about this particular point, it’s possible. I just don’t know if it’s generally seen as desirable, or why (i.e., what possible complications apart from being systematically assimilated by the federal government, there could be).

    First Nations is a political acknowledgement that a) indigenous cultures are enormously diverse — there is no “pan-Indianism”, and b) indigenous people were here for thousands of years prior to European contact, and had their own system of government, law, and basically everything that was supplanted through the past 500 years of colonization and genocide. It was one very small but necessary step towards truth and reconciliation, as the term “Indian” not only connotes someone from India, but in Canada’s history in particular, someone who was seen by the federal government as legally a non-person. I generally only use the term First Nations when referring to indigenous peoples within Canada’s borders as a collective, because it still connotes a colonial relationship that is presently marked by continually attempted genocide and enormous, blatant disrespect and racism. It just sounds nicer than saying “Indians”.

    I still encourage you to fact-check everything as much as possible, but that’s how I understand these many, many terms.

  15. says

    Dalilama:

    Where in the states are you hailing from? Maybe I can find someone to connect you with, or put a shout out on Twitter or do something random that will help spread the word. I’m surprised, but not at the same time, that there are indigenous communities south of the border who are unaware of what’s going on. Most people who are involved here are involved by virtue of already actively taking part in their traditional ways and culture. Just being indigenous doesn’t automatically endow one with prior knowledge that what was called the American Indian Movement in the 70s is surging forth again.

  16. says

    Thanks for the info, Haifisch and So. I did know that “Indians” is not the greatest term to use when referring to the descendents of the original inhabitants of the Americas, but I was curious about how the different terms were being used in a Canadian legal context. We have our own poorly-named “Bureau of Indian Affairs” here in the U.S. too, but I don’t really hear U.S. native issues being discussed in terms of categorizations like First Nations/Inuit/Metis. It seems to be just “Indians” (or “Native Americans” if one is trying to be slightly less obnoxious, although I’ve read explanations for why that term is somewhat suboptimal as well) who are members of various tribes, and people who have some Native ancestors but are not members of any recognized tribe. So I appreciate the explanation of what these distinctions mean in the Canadian context.

    ——–

    On a side note, I just ran across another thing about the posting interface that seems to have changed for the worse since the NWO was put in place. I had composed a whole previous version of this comment, and then I clicked “submit”, and I guess I was unknowingly logged out, because it dropped me to the “You appear to be impersonating someone!” page. Now, that page has never included anything like a button to hold my comment while I log in and then post it, like, IMO, it should. But I always used to be able to hit the back arrow, and my comment would still be there in the text box. I could then open a new window, log in in the new window, and then go back to the window with my comment and click “submit”, and the comment would go through. But under the NWO, my comment is gone when I click “back” and I have to retype it. I’m using Firefox, if it matters.

  17. says

    Another thing this post made me think of, although perhaps it’s a bit off-topic… It seems like it’s very common for indigenous issues to be discussed as if they’re inextricable from spirituality/religion, even more so than is often done with regard to the concerns of the American black community. I’d be really interested to read someone who can dissect these issues from a secularist indigenous perspective. I don’t tend to hear a lot about indigenous atheists, but it seems like they must exist, and they might have important things to say, if I knew who they were.

  18. says

    (Oh, and, no slur intended against your reporting, Haifisch. I appreciate what you have to say, it’s just made me think about other things I’d like to hear too.)

  19. lirael_abhorsen says

    I just got an email (through Occupy) that my city is having an Idle No More solidarity action tomorrow, and I am going to go.

    The communications about it have been an interesting example of racefail and subsequent attempt to address that racefail. The original email told everybody to bring a drum. The follow-up email explained that organizers had been in dialogue with Idle No More, that Idle No More is bothered by Occupy co-opting their stuff at US events, and could participants who are non-Native please NOT bring drums, with links to indigenous writing about decolonization and solidarity. So hopefully people will respect that.

  20. says

    Anne:

    More or less, to declare oneself First Nations or Aboriginal in Canada is to say that you are satisfactorily complicit with the system designed to erase you out of existence. Likewise, to declare oneself “Native American” in the United States is to say that the identity attributed to you by the colonial government, which it seeks to destroy over the long term, is how you personally identify. It’s not who you are if you are an indigenous person. It’s a bunch of pixels on a plastic or laminated card (same goes for Settlers, too, really). So when I say “radical grassroots indigenous activists”, I mean radical. People who want no formalized relationship with the colonial government (i.e., abolish the Indian Act and let indigenous peoples assume self-governance), and would be happy to see it taken apart so that indigenous law can be established as the rule of the land. It’s the only conceivable way to stop the destruction of the land for non-renewable resources that when extracted, produce devastating and long-lasting damage that disproportionately affects the First Peoples all across this continent.

    To these radical communities, Idle No More stands on the very brink of grassroots, as the four “founders” are all middle class lawyers (and one in particular loves to boast about how she controls the flow of information about Idle No More rallies, uses her time as an appointed “spokesperson” to express a dissenting opinion about certain tactics instead of explaining why some people are inclined towards those tactics, and so on). That is, Idle No More is a few place markers over from where they are standing, waiting for the revolution they’ve kept going to finally pick up some steam and radically overhaul the current systems of governance and law.

    I ally myself with the radicals on this one, and speak mostly in terms of indigeneity and indigenous people(s) rather than First Nations, Aboriginal, or Native American, for that reason. The Canada/USA border is a blockade. Settlers were the first welfare recipients. Etc.

    Can’t speak to the issue with the comments section. I somehow always magically stay logged in on Chromium for Ubuntu (and when I was on a Windows computer, was using Chrome).

    I also wish to address the point you’ve brought up about indigenous issues being inextricably linked in most discourse to some form of spirituality/religion. There’s actually a reason for this. When an indigenous person is actively participating in their culture of origin, this is an act of decolonization. When an indigenous person is not actively participating in their culture of origin, they often than not participate in the culture of faith-based communities, such as Catholic communities (see: irony). This is arguably an act of giving in to colonization, as the Catholics want nothing more than to fully eradicate indigeneity as an identity or race of people. A lot of Black and Latin communities were also colonized by Catholics, and they resisted by syncretising Catholic symbols into their culture of origin, so that it looked superficially like the colonizers were successfully eliminating the culture they were attempting to supplant (and thus, could be left alone, because they were all being “good Catholics” and “civilized”), while in practice, religion became a means of active resistance and transmission of culture and heritage.

    I’m still learning, and probably will be learning for most of the rest of my life from this point on, but what I’ve learned about indigenous spirituality is that it is a complex that would be described through a Western lens as a hybridization of ancestral worship, animism, and Paganism (i.e., Earth worship), all under an over-arching structure of monotheism (i.e., belief in and prayers to Creator). I mean… it’s complicated.

    But what I do understand is that this is the underlying principle (or… are the underlying principles, if you prefer) behind the desire to establish a radical democracy that acknowledges the Earth, air, water, flora, and fauna, as equal members of society for whom consideration in every political decision should be weighed. Our present system of “democracy” in practice sees all of these things as disposable.

    Now, I personally don’t believe in Creator, and take a diverse and somewhat complex approach to the idea of prayers, ancestral worship, and animism. I think indigenous people themselves do, as well, perhaps to a lesser extent than I do as a Satanist (it’s a particular form of atheism). So when I bring my shaman drum to a rally, I do so with a huge amount of respect for the fact that the beats of my drum are a fairly critical aspect of the spirituality and culture I am participating in. And when I’m singing along to the songs I do know, I do so fully aware that every indigenous person singing the same songs is praying to their ancestors and to Creator. I keep this in mind at all times while at these rallies. And when all of this is happening all around me, within a group of four or five hundred people, and the floors or pavement beneath us is shaking to the beat of our drums, I’m also conscious and respectful of the fact that this is a cultural tradition that was passed on through thousands of years over previous generations. These songs are how the culture has been transmitted since the beginning (it was how Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey were passed on from generation to generation, too, until it was finally written down). It is in a metaphorical sense then, that I acknowledge the ancestors among us. They are literally buried beneath our feet and their unmarked graves covered in pavement, but their wisdom and knowledge has survived long past their lifetimes.

    Are there indigenous atheists? Maybe? They may not be participating in their culture of origin if they are atheist.

    Do you have to take everything they say literally, about their spirituality, and embrace it as if it were your own religion, in order to show due respect for their existence and for their right to continue to pass on their culture to future generations? No.

    I wouldn’t even call indigenous spirituality a religion. There’s no demand for people to adopt the faith and incorporate it into their own lives. There’s no attempt to propagate their spirituality through every means necessary like with Catholics, and there’s no attempt to guilt trip, shame, or insult people who aren’t taking part in it. There’s also no attempt to exclude people on the principle that they are defined as abominations to Creator’s law. These are things that I find tend to characterize religions, but do not characterize indigenous spiritualities.

    Can you be an atheist and still respectfully engage with these cultural traditions and beliefs? Well, I for one think the answer to that is yes. Even if I believed the act of prayer to Creator and to the ancestors was just a serious case of bullshit, there is still a very literal sense in which, living on their ancestral territories as I have all my life, everything I breathe, eat, and drink contains traces of those generations before me (whether it comes from this land or from Mexico or China, the same is true). There is still a literal sense in which, for generation after generation, for thousands of years before contact, and even since contact, a core value of indigenous cultures has been to leave the Earth in such a state that the following 7 generations will be provided for and will experience it just as they did. That includes me and every other Settler on these ancestral territories. And they knew we were coming (because they had already been to Europe and had kicked the Viking’s asses out of the Arctic), but still kept working to make sure that we would be taken care of (they also knew all races would one day begin to unite to defend indigenous cultures). You can be an atheist and still respectfully engage, simply by acknowledging their right to exist and continue to participate in their respective cultures. Even better yet if you offer your gratitude, such as by challenging racism/imperialism against indigenous peoples, working on decolonizing yourself and others around you, or participating in Idle No More.

  21. says

    lirael:

    Srslyz. I doubt most Occupiers have any idea what a drum means to indigenous peoples, let alone what their songs mean. I’m glad the one person from Occupy stopped showing up with a floor tom. Now I just have to get my friends who have actual hide hand drums to come out and use them.

  22. says

    Daliliama:

    You can still post an Idle No More solidarity picture during your lunch break. That you have any desire to participate at all is more meaningful than you may realize, even if you can’t be there in the flesh.

  23. says

    Haifisch,

    Thanks for the additional info. I’m still a bit uncertain on a few points, however.

    For example, when you say this…

    …happy to see it taken apart so that indigenous law can be established as the rule of the land…

    what exactly does that imply for those of us who were born here, through no fault of our own, but are of non-indigenous descent? Does this vision involve people from different cultures finding a way to coexist equitably and harmoniously in the same spaces without either assimilating the the other, or something else? If the former, what do these more radical communities consider necessary for equitable and harmonious coexistence? If the latter, would we non-indigenes also be required to live under indigenous law? And what would that mean for all the rights, freedoms, and scientific/technological advancement we take for granted? I’m not asking to be hostile, I just want to understand what’s being proposed here — hopefully some kind of positive-sum game, where we keep what’s good from both cultures rather than entirely sacrificing one set of goods in favor of an alternative set?

    Also, as for the spirituality question, it seems to me (forgive me if I’m misunderstanding) that you’re presenting the indigenous cultures as being, at some level, intrinsically spiritual. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Does this mean that atheism, secularism, freethought, etc. are seen as belonging only to the “colonial” culture and can’t be (or at least aren’t being) appropriated by the indigenous cultures for their own purposes? It seems to me that the general atheism+ish vision is that these are ideas that can, at least potentially, belong to, benefit, and help unify all of humanity. This seems like a rather important principle to me, so I’m a little leery of any construction of this situation that has the potential to leave some groups out in the cold because “it’s not their culture”. Is there room for cross-cultural alliance on this, or are the two constructions of reality just too alien to each other?

  24. says

    Anne:

    I can only speak to what I’ve learned through the process of engaging with members of these communities, so don’t take my answers to speak for every radical’s voice.

    Does this vision involve people from different cultures finding a way to coexist equitably and harmoniously in the same spaces without either assimilating the the other, or something else?

    Equitable and harmonious coexistence requires being grounded in who you are and who you descended from. Personally speaking, that means five different cultures in my case, all of which have been systematically erased through the immigration process, multiple generations of transgenerational violence, alcoholism, child abuse and neglect, and so on. Of those five different cultures, two are directly responsible for either colonizing these lands or attempting to (one had their asses kicked). But we were all tribal at one time, and that’s where I find myself looking for my starting point. I’m not going to have children and have no remaining relationships with my blood relations. I have less to lose from gradually culturally assimilating into indigenous culture here than someone who still has a family, and who is raising their future generations. For those whose families are still intact, and especially those with children, full assimilation is just an inversion of what happened to indigenous peoples here. A better solution would be to teach those children the histories of where they come from as well as their relationship to this land. Like the Metis, who exposed their children to both sides of their culture and history. That is really what’s necessary to achieve reconciliation.

    And what would that mean for all the rights, freedoms, and scientific/technological advancement we take for granted?

    I imagine step one would be acknowledging those rights and freedoms for the first time, instead of continuing to take them for granted. Like I’ve tried to say in so many words before, indigenous law takes the land, air, water, flora, and fauna into account as equal members of a radical democracy, whose concerns should be weighed just as anyone else’s. That may mean things like future boycotts, especially of massive corporations like Wal-Mart or McDonald’s, which not only poison the Earth, but poison people too, in their mind, body, and spirit. I sincerely was anticipating a complete black-out of the entire BC power grid on December the 21st. It didn’t happen, and I’m happy for that. But we will have to take a second look at where our energy is coming from, with or without an indigenous revolution. We will have to look at where our food is coming from (that already started long ago). Each of us will have to look at our personal habits and think long and hard about the far-reaching ripple effects of things like buying a new iPad every time a new upgrade is released, or drinking something from Starbuck’s every day, or even where the clothes we wear came from.

    I’m not asking to be hostile, I just want to understand what’s being proposed here — hopefully some kind of positive-sum game, where we keep what’s good from both cultures rather than entirely sacrificing one set of goods in favor of an alternative set?

    You didn’t come off as hostile at all, actually. Have no fear. Most people don’t even bother asking, because they are afraid of “sounding racist” or because of the answer they are going to receive. But most indigenous peoples want an opportunity for open dialogue, where they currently don’t have one.

    Does this mean that atheism, secularism, freethought, etc. are seen as belonging only to the “colonial” culture and can’t be (or at least aren’t being) appropriated by the indigenous cultures for their own purposes?

    I don’t see how any of these ideas contradict indigenous spirituality in any way. One of the things I’ve learned about the way children were educated in these cultures prior to contact is that it wasn’t a highly confrontational organization of bodies into a physical space, where all minds were treated as the exact same, and measured against the same standards even when differences were readily apparent. Education was (and in some communities, still is) much more intimate (i.e., one on one, or just a few people with one “teacher”), self-guided, and personalized. Many children may have been raised with the same values, but were taught those values in different ways, according to their personal strengths. Many children may know the same songs and dances, but everyone plays a different role — someone has to hold the drum beat, after all. It seems to me, though I would probably be guessing more than anything here, that if a child simply doesn’t profess a belief in Creator, it would not be forced down their throat until they do. If a child asks really deep questions, they will be encouraged to think deeply. And so on. Contributions of humanists, atheists, secularists, and freethought…ists? are just as respected as those that are inspired by the belief in a higher power. It’s not like lack of belief in this higher power somehow negates one’s capacity to love, and I don’t see indigenous people arguing otherwise.

    Is there room for cross-cultural alliance on this, or are the two constructions of reality just too alien to each other?

    There’s plenty of room for cross-cultural alliance. On this belief/non-belief issue and in many other manifestations, such as showing up in full Scottish regalia at a flash mob, to show your ancestral pride (in the event you are Scottish). Most indigenous peoples descend from a mixed background at some point in their history. As long as what you’re carrying into these conversations and actions is a respect for the people whose history, rights, and cultural traditions you’re trying to defend, you’ll be welcomed to take part.

    The only problem I see with the vision of Atheism+ you’ve just described is that the drive for unity drives people apart. The more people you attract to a movement, the more impossible unity becomes. Just look at the history of feminism if you need an example of why that is. Even Idle No More is seeing that happen, and as such, many people are encouraging a respect for diversity of tactics — we’re all fighting in principle for justice and respect for indigenous peoples, but where the disunity is emerging from is what exactly that’s supposed to look like in the end.

  25. lirael_abhorsen says

    Update: I went to the rally. It had about 35 people and was roughly evenly split between indigenous people and non-indigenous, with a few of the former category and nearly all of the latter being from Occupy (this is not an area of the US with many indigenous people, but our Occupy has always had a surprising number of indigenous people for an area with very few of them). People respected the request that only indigenous people bring drums. One white woman (who shows up at a lot of protests here, and who I have all sorts of problems with) used the speakout to blather about how Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes contain GMOs. Two people immediately called her out for it, which was good. There was also an incident where someone called out an indigenous man for loudly interrupting an indigenous woman who was participating in the speakout. But on the whole it seemed pretty respectful to me.

  26. says

    Awesome. I’m really glad you made it out, and I’m glad to hear that there is a more respectful dialogue happening there than it may seem has previously taken place.

    Thanks for the update! :o)

  27. Slyder says

    Just to stop the spread of some misinformation at least… bill c-45 doesn’t allow the sale of reserve lands, nor does it affect “environmental” protection of rivers.

    Said best on this Blog in a three part series… (it only involves “leasing” the land, not the sale, was requested by BC first nations):

    http://abearsrant.com/2013/01/the-misconceptions-that-sparked-idle-no-more-part-one-reserve-lands.html

    part 2 (The NWPA isn’t environmental legislation… it’s Navigation legislation):

    http://abearsrant.com/2013/01/the-misconceptions-about-bill-c45-that-sparked-idle-no-more-part-2-navigable-waters.html

    Here’s a link to the actual Bill:

    http://parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=5942521

    I’d also suggest the idle no more movement come up with real, measurable solution they can present to the powers that be, so they can be acted upon. Screaming out we want equality, we want our lands, we want sovereignty doesn’t lead to solutions (and neither does skipping out on a meeting you hunger strike for, for more then a month).

    Oh yeah… and Chief Spence… she’s got $8,000,000 shares in Apple, Enbridge… you know.. the oilsands in Alberta… the land destroyers, Goldcorp, another mining company and wait for it… China Mobile. See this link from her financial statements (p.13)

    http://www.attawapiskat.org/wp-content/uploads/2011-Financial-Statements-Attawapiskat-Trust.pdf

    I would suggest while native may not be getting their fair share, they have to come in with a plan to let the powers that be know what their fair share is. Every interview I’ve watched or read with native chiefs speaking about meaningful consultation ended with resource sharing. Greed has been in Canada long before the white man came. It’s time to move on, stop blaming everyone around you and move forward with your people and your community.

    I’d also like to add the Harper Government’s plans to repeal the Indian Act (yes… they want to repeal it understanding it’s paternalistic nature… and they are Conservatives at that)…. has met huge resistance with the AFN…. I wonder why that is?

    http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/10/18/harper-government-unveils-path-to-repeal-indian-act/

    Oh and since I’m a new poster…. well… I guess this is my third post… to answer the question… I suggest people have bias based on what they know about the person writing something. If someone thought people who have visions were crackpots, they might take what you have to say less seriously, for example.

  28. says

    You seem to think all of this is happening in a vacuum, far separated from Stephen Harper pushing pipelines for the sale of fossil fuels under treaty lands to China. You’d be wrong.

    That bill is more than 400 pages long and contains 30 pieces of legislation. It is a direct violation of the democratic rights promised to every person in this country. It’s also a direct violation of the treaties between First Nations and the Crown.

    The meeting that was demanded by Chief Spence’s hunger strike was to take place between Harper, the chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations, and the Governor General. The Governor General was refusing to attend that meeting, and therefore, Harper insisting on having the meeting even in the face of resounding dissent from First Nations chiefs, means that Chief Spence’s demands weren’t met. She actually met with the Governor General without Harper, who refused to be in attendance at that meeting, and this also did not meet her demands.

    No one “skipped out” on the meeting. They boycotted it and demanded that Grand Chief Shawn Atleo and a minority of Indian Act chiefs who insisted on going, also boycott it with them, to show solidarity with Chief Spence. They protested at the building where this meeting was to take place — perhaps you’ve seen images of THOUSANDS of people forming a barricade around it?

    You also seem to think that a) Chief Spence isn’t allowed to have stocks or personal investments and savings, and b) no one would ever ever ever attempt to buy her out. You’d be a fool at best if that’s the case. I’m not answering that any further.

    Why do you think it is, that despite the fact that the treaties essentially promise the right of First Nations to veto entire industries to protect long-term sustainability, it never happens and winds up in, as you say, “resource sharing”? Could it possibly be that maybe the treaties aren’t being honoured, but just seen as standing inconveniently in the way of corporate interests?

    I sincerely doubt that you have any idea what you’re saying when you declare the existence of greed on these territories prior to European contact — territories which weren’t “North America” or “Canada and the US” prior to European contact, or even prior to the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the subsequent formation of the nation of Canada in 1867.

    Harper wants to repeal the Indian Act and the AFN resists. Maybe this is because Harper wants to do this without consulting First Nations communities at all about how and when that is going to take place, how Aboriginal status is to be defined without the Indian Act, and how a number of rights concerning land title, inheritance, and marriage, that are written into the Indian Act, are going to be determined without it? Maybe it’s because the treaties are already not honoured at all, and seeing as how treaty rights are written into the Indian Act as well, it’s fairly fucking important to consult the people whose lives are prescribed by this piece of legislation, before putting it through the shredder?

    First Nations communities want it repealed too, but they are going to do it on their own terms and determine how to protect their existing rights in its absence by consulting with each other first — some white guy who wants to sell the land right out from underneath them isn’t going to be the person who pushes that change.

  29. Slyder says

    Put your blinders on all you want. Chief Spence is incompetent at best, but more likely a criminal. The evidence is pretty claim and she is the last person who should be representing First Nations issues or action. Comply oblivious to any sort of self criticism and always pointing the finger.

    I have never done anything wrong… it is you who did this to me.

    Also, there is nothing undemocratic about the democratically elected government tabling, voting on and moving forward with budget bills. It’s why we havegovernemtn and why

  30. Slyder says

    …as I was trying to post… before proof reading…. hahaha. Sorry…. that is unreadable. Moving on lets start this again.

    Yes, yes, yes. I’ve seen this all before…. Evil Stephen Harper and his agenda to…. what exactly? Trade Canada’s natural resources with other countries, and receive trade in return. Isn’t that what people do in a global economy.. you know to ensure countries have enough products to continue their ways of life?

    As far as politicians go, good old Steve has a bunch of policies I don’t agree with, a bunch I do… but he’s been actually moving ahead… and making change… particularly with consultation and land settlement claims with first nations.

    http://cruxofthematterblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/some-harper-govt-achievements-for-first-nations-since-2006/

    Hmm… he seems like he’s actually been a lot more active then his predecessors to try to meet the needs and requests and rights of first nations people. This kind of action doesn’t seem like it’s coming from a guy who’s trying to repress First Nation’s interest in the interest of big business… you know… unless you are into unverifiable conspiracy theories.

    In any case the glove and mail give a great outline of the issue

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/first-nations-dont-have-a-pipeline-veto-but-they-do-have-options/article547673/

    There is absolutely a requirement to consult.. you know should things actually go though, because I don’t know if any agreements have even been made in principle (just a small item that this is in the planning stage and may not even move forward!) But should first nations really be against it, they will likely have the ability to tie up the project in court for so many years that it won’t be economically viable and Enbridge will pull out.

    You know.. pesky democracy and the law of the land (which include treaty rights, signed and unsigned as described) getting in the way of corporate domination of goverment and back room deals.

    Conspiracy – The government is pushing through the interests of pipeline!!! Reality.. not so simple…. or black and white… but used so often by this current movement. As a skeptic.. you may have heard of this sort of logic.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

    Also… send me one link… just one link of Chief Spences demeand that she and harper and the GG need to meet in the same room…. prior to Harper actually agreeing to meet with her. Just one.

    Moving the goal posts… this corrupt woman is covering her own ass…. imo…. maybe she’s just incompetent… but she knew about this audit since august… and another bill table in early December right before she decided to “hunger strike”

    http://openparliament.ca/bills/41-1/C-27/

    I’d say this has way more to do with anything then the Escalade driving, Enbridge investing native 1%er who watch as her people live in squalor while her, her boyfriend and he close friend live large on money meant for her people. People need to stop defending this hack. It’s there.. it’s all there. Audits are not racist. They don’t care if you are black or white. This audit would have the mayor of any other city under the investigation of the RCMP. Why not Ms. Spence?

    After all this how can people still support this crook… this abuser of her own people?

    Please provide me with one shred.. one shred of evidence that the current Harper Government isn’t consulting with First Nation’s when projects are moving forward or treaties are involved?

    You talk about the obligations of the government.. what about the obligations of the first nations:

    From treaty 9

    “….The Indians were informed that by signing the treaty they pledged themselves not to interfere with white men who might come into the country surveying, prospecting, hunting, or in other occupations; that they must respect the laws of the land in every particular, and that their reserves were set apart for them in order….”

    Additionally as for the Act.. you didn’t read the article because now where in it does it say

    “because Harper wants to do this without consulting First Nations communities at all about how and when that is going to take place, how Aboriginal status is to be defined without the Indian Act, and how a number of rights concerning land title, inheritance, and marriage, that are written into the Indian Act, are going to be determined without it”

    What is does say is:

    “The Conservative’s “path” to eventually replace the Indian Act was revealed in Clarke’s speech delivered during first debate on the bill. The path was dubbed by the acronym “ARRC,” which stands for amend, repeal, replace and consult”

    See the last word.. consult… oh.. and it was tabled by a First Nation’s member.

    Your indication that

    “First Nations communities want it repealed too, but they are going to do it on their own terms and determine how to protect their existing rights in its absence by consulting with each other first — some white guy who wants to sell the land right out from underneath them isn’t going to be the person who pushes that change.”

    Is what we call a:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

    Making up fake position to argue against doesn’t support your position.

  31. says

    What’s hilarious is that you don’t even seem to have the faintest clue what the Indian Act is, why it was written to begin with, and what bearing it has on as-of-yet-unfulfilled treaties.

    Until you get a clue, and until you can finish venting your despise of Chief Spence (not an arbitrarily chosen target at all, I’m sure), I’m not going to bother with you any further. You’re on the wrong side of history, and I’ve already spent an enormous amount of effort trying to show you and anyone else reading this particular post, why that is.

    There is no One Representative of the “native community” as you say, and Chief Spence’s hunger strike is just a drop in the bucket that is Idle No More, but apparently you didn’t even read the original post and just came here to cast aspersions.

    So whatever dude. Hope you can type fast, so that actually didn’t take as long as it looks. Otherwise, you’ve wasted an awful lot of your time that could have been better spent spewing racism all over the comments field on any article Ezra Levant has recently written.

  32. Pierce R. Butler says

    I neither know nor care about Jamie/HaifischGeweint’s “visions”.

    My question concerns this allegation:

    … George Zimmerman was allowed to keep all his Nazi regalia company in the privacy of his own home for weeks…

    A quick online search indicated that the only Zimmerman/Nazi link seems to be that a latrine of them (well, what is the proper collective noun?) demonstrated on his behalf after he was arrested. This tells us some things and implies more, but so far I know of no evidence to back the claim that GZ collects fascist kotchkes.

  33. waterfall says

    If you didn’t know, DGR succeeded in violating their own “Indigenous Solidarity Guidelines.” They sent white people in to native communities to order native people around, and the white people intruded on ceremonial activity, including taking photographs and posting them for other white people to see on facebook. They raised money for a white man to lecture natives while elders where freezing to death on the reserves. When natives asked them wtf they were doing, their comments were deleted from DGR’s FB pages, including the DGR POC Caucus page, that was run by a white man.

    This is the woman who they took the “Red Roots” thing from. They continued to use her image after she broke all ties with them:

    DGR FAILS AT SOLIDARITY WITH INDIGENOUS ON DGR SPONSORED TOUR http://ancestralpride.ca/?p=232

    And this one where they got all kinds of things wrong, but at least admit it about the white dude:

    Statement from Saba Malik Regarding False Accusations from TR McKenzie: http://bendittilitbreaks.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/statement-from-saba-malik-regarding-false-accusations-from-tr-mckenzie/

  34. says

    Yeah, I have to say that I pretty thoroughly regret this blog post as of about a year after publishing it, when I found out about Lierre Keith’s statements on trans people, which included the claim that they are all doing physician-assisted self-mutilation if they seek sex reassignment.

    Extra regret for the title I’ve given this post, which isn’t just problematic in relation to Xhopakelxhit’s work (I’m sure I just spelled that wrong), but also because of the bullshit protest industry that Idle No More became.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>