There’s a protest being organized by In Support of All Defenders of the Land for next Wednesday in Vancouver.
I was going to go until I saw that Bill C-10 is being lumped in. The issue of the tobacco trade and other “economic activities” has divided my community and nation since some of our people took to that in the late 70’s/early 80s.
I’m from Kanesatake and I can tell you that the occupation in the Pines started as a defense of our land, period. As time progressed and more people got involved, however, that agenda went off track and became muddy.
It soon became apparent to me that, for many, it was about cigarettes, high-stakes gambling, drugs, etc. The Pines has become Ashtray Alley. Most of the smoke shops fly the warrior and Hiawatha flag.
The Hiawatha flag has come to be a symbol for the Rotinonsionni Confederacy (the Longhouse) but most of the people who own those shops used to spit on me when I was kid because I was Longhouse, because I was one of “those feather dancers”.
Makes me sick to see that.
The former mayor of the village once warned that our people would destroy the land if we got it back. Turns out he was right.
There are those in my community (relatives) who have actively destroyed parts of our territory. A once productive farm is gone (the building destroyed) and the top soil scraped up and sold off. Sand pits have been excavated and trees cut down where that didn’t happen before.
There are two main schools of thought dividing us today: one that uses traditional concepts to justify “the new economy” and the one that I subscribe to: that you don’t rebuild a healthy nation by exploiting the addictions of not only our neighbours but our own people.
I see the dysfunction that has resulted from the destruction of our cultures in residential school. I also see how nobody wants to deal with that legacy.
I see the resulting cultural confusion reflected in the environmental destruction of Kanesatake.
I see it in news stories about hundreds of Eagles being killed to supply the Pow Wow industry.
I see it in those who seek to join Canada in exploiting our territories through resource revenue sharing.
There are many other examples but I’ll stop here before my blood boils any further.
As I said at the top, I was going to go to this event but won’t now because I don’t support the “new economy”.
I’ll stand with Creation instead.
Indigenous unity is an illusion today. We should just call it what it is and be done with it…