Our First Nations Peoples – Failed Attempts To Be Us?

If the current Environmental Assessment Act is sufficient to protect all lakes and rivers, why did the government deem it necessary to include a small list of both key and posh waterways in the new Navigation Protection Act for special attention?

Even the Oldman River’s process and final ruling was ignored by the Alberta government, who pushed through the building of the dam in 1992 under the watches of Don Getty, Ralph Klein and Brian Mulroney – big “C” Conservatives all. I do not blame the Conservatives alone, federally, though they have to carry the can for Alberta, having been in power there for soooo long. The fact sadly remains that, no matter what Punch and Judy show we have going on in Ottawa for the amusement and seduction of Joe Couch Potato, the environmental legislation we have now has not succeeded broadly enough in protecting the environment against powerful domestic and, increasingly, foreign interests.

If the Athabaska River flowed south to Calgary instead of north, it would have been protected because of, frankly, the non-native electors who live there. Continue reading “Our First Nations Peoples – Failed Attempts To Be Us?”

First Nations Treaty Rights – The Last And Best Defence

“Native Peoples’ treaties – our last, best defence…” Pamela Palmater interviewed on Al Jazeera.

My last post after a civil dialogue with bloggers on abearsrant.com

So where does it go from here? More of the same colonization (now of all Canadians via punitive trade agreements)? “Whores of wood and drawers of water” to the highest international payer? We don’t put the value added into any of the stuff we dig up, frack with, draw or chop down. That is submitting what traditional First Nations consider our sacred geography to outside forces. That is being colonized. It has been pointed out that, given the sad state of Canadian eco-consciousness, Native treaty rights are the last, best defence against what is happening. Bills (C-38 and C45, especially) are Harper pushing his puppeteers’ weight around for them. Idle No More has given an old cynic like me a smidgeon of hope. It’s about where the movement goes, not who started it. Hope the momentum grows. If Idle No More fizzles like the White Man’s fireworks that momentarily drowned out the native drumming in Brampton on New Years’ Eve, believe me there will be later, more formidable, challenges as more Canucks are roused from their slumber. I’ll give you and or Peggy the last word. Thanks for the civil dialogue.

Idle No More

Frustrated with a lack of consultation on treaty problems and seemingly unilateral federal government decisions on natural resources and the environment, indigenous peoples are suddenly saying they will no longer sit idly by while these things are being pushed through.

We are witnessing a fast-growing, grassroots movement from First Nations people across Canada that is gathering world wide attention. The above quotation is from an article by CBC reporter Waubgeshig Rice that you can find on the CBC website here. In it he interviews Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiscat First Nation located in Northern Ontario. They are the James Bay Cree. Rice’s article is very thoughtful. What Chief Spence lacks in articulation she makes up for in guts. She is in day 9 of a hunger strike.

The movement started in Saskatoon and, to give you a good idea what it looks like at its most enthusiastic in a place with good acoustics, here is a YouTube clip from a mall in central Saskatoon today.

Continue reading “Idle No More”