Derek Bailey in Native Condition. Discussion »
I was driving the other day from my office in Peshawbestown along the west bay of Grand Traverse Bay which is connected to Lake Michigan in a state of two peninsulas surrounded by inland seas which now are called "Great Lakes." I marveled at the way the sun was hitting the bay and the radiant beauty that is created in a land that I now live.
Chairman Derek Bailey
My Odawa ancestors and elders were part of this land and water, made their lives, raised their children, and taught them our ways of living. Their teachings still exist today as our children experience the land, the water, and the nature that surrounds us - not only in this beautiful area, but also this small blue island in the cosmos that we call "Earth." Our Anishinaabek ancestors and elders, from generation to generation, taught about making decisions in the light of the next seven generations. Perhaps best expressed in our language, Anishinaabemowin, "Neegoniwabungigaywin" or the "ability to see into the future." It is so important for us to see into the future to make sure that the land, the water, and the places that we live are treated in such a way that our grandchildren's grandchildren will know this place like we do, or better yet, they did.
To see into the future, in this time and place, requires us to make all our decisions in such a way that the next seven generations will honor us in the way we kept the land, the water, and the places dear to us for the sake of them in that time. We must make all of our decisions with the best information that we have, relying on what we have been taught about preservation of this Earth of land and water. We must be "eternally vigilant" that short term decisions or economic gain does not affect our planet to destroy what we have been given so the seventh generation may live as we do. We must be vigilant that decisions made in one place will not adversely affect the land and the water in another.
Each time and each place will have its own challenges to the land and water. When faced with those challenges we must be vigilant, we must raise our voices, and we must do the right thing. In my day and age in my place we face an invasion of an invasive species of the Asian Carp fish that will threaten the very livelihood of our tourist based economy and could destroy fish habitat in the Great Lakes. Proposals have been to create barriers preventing further migration of a serious threat to our Great Lakes ecosystem.
As I have said in a previous Native News Network article, the current litigation in Chicago federal court is not the answer, because courts cannot compel Congress and the States to expend the funds required to create the physical barrier between the basins. In the long run, it will be a sound investment, much less than the costs of doing nothing according to the studies cited above. But it takes a political will that is sorely missing today in our political leaders.
Protecting the Great Lakes basin is not a liberal-conservative, red state-blue state issue. The Great Lakes are our lifeblood. We must have the vision, the strength of character, and the political will to solve this problem instead of continuing to embrace the status quo. It's past time for merely studying the problem; the answer is apparent; it is time to act. We should not be afraid to commit the resources of this great nation for a sound long-term investment in our future.
The Asian Carp is an example of this day and ages' need for eternal vigilance. There have been in the past and there will be in the future threats to our Earth, which will threaten to destroy the land and the water and the life it provides us. For the sake of the seventh generation, whenever these threats occurs, we must lift up our voices, become involved, talk and listen, come together and make sound decisions for the preservation of our places.
Sometimes your voice will need to be heard at meetings. Sometimes your voice needs to be heard with tribal and governmental leaders. Sometimes you must take action that will lead you into places you have not been before but you have to for the sake of our earth. Sometimes we need to raise our voice to teach what we have been taught by our ancestors and elders to give our informed point of view of what needs to be done to preserve our land, our water, and our lives.
Eternal vigilance is one of the reasons that I am running for Congress in Michigan's First District. It is a district bounded by three Great Lakes, two peninsulas, and an international boundary. The water and land is the very life blood of the region or Mother Earth, creating economic opportunities, and making a way of living of many people.
Our ancestors and elders call to me and you to preserve what they have given to us so that we can give the Earth to the seventh generation and beyond. What type of Ancestor will we be?
Derek Bailey is seeking the Democratic Party'' nomination in Michigan's 1st Congressional District. He is completing his term as tribal chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, based in Peshawbestown, Michigan.
posted April 21, 2012 7:50 am edt
Thank you for visiting. We are loading the new Native News Network website. Visitors always come first, so if you click on a link only to find the corresponding page is unavailable, please use this link to contact us here ».
Then, tell us how we can help you.
I will contact you personally.