We now have our own version of Standing Rock here in Canada, involving real people who live as they have for millennia on unceded territory in British Columbia.
Under the Indian Act, it was decreed that there would be elections on reservations etc., to run those reserves and those who won the brass goose would be called elected chiefs. Problem is that like almost every politician in North America, they are subject to the bribes or threats of the corporate powers whose only interest is money. These elected chiefs in Wet’suwet’en, for whichever of the above reasons, fell in line with the power structure (read corporate right and profit versus peoples’ rights) and here is where the whole problem arises.
The elected chiefs are there to run their reserves as businesses and in accordance to the scraps given them by federal and provincial money, and even smaller scraps by corporate powers plundering their lands.
The Hereditary Chiefs are there to ensure that the way of life, the land, the waters and the air are not irreparably damaged for those yet to come. They too are the keepers of history and tradition and that includes sacred lands where their ancestors are buried.
The Hereditary Chiefs are not bound by threats of less money or the promise of more money as that is not their way. Their way is the way of the land as it has been for thousands of years. Because of their stewardship of the land, air and water it is all still there for their people and they are trying to make sure that it will be next year, next decade and next century. Don’t try and tell them they can’t get by without money, for money is only a new imposition upon them since the foreigners attacked and stole some of this land a few centuries ago and introduced them to European ways of treachery.
Under the leadership of the Hereditary Chiefs, there are still animals to trap, water to drink and clean air to breathe and life experiences to be taught to the young people; that is all under attack by corporate greed with elected people from Canada and BC in full agreement.
Only when the last tree has died
and the last river has been poisoned
and the last fish has been caught
will we realize that we can’t eat money (Native American Proverb)
So what is happening in the unceded territory of the Wet’suwet’en is an affront to all those who agree with and have signed on to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Can you imagine the outcry if the Algonquin territory upon which our capital is built, was to be taken back and turned into a massive amusement park? Oh, actually I suppose it has already if you have a twisted sense of humour, for it is becoming more and more difficult to differentiate between politicians and willful children pretending to have fun.
If this is what it means when the PM reiterates over and over again that the most important relationship the government has is with our First Nations, Inuit and Metis, then we are in a period of time travelling with Alice through her looking glass.
What have we become Canada?