Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
As 2013 begins, our hearts and prayers are with Attawapiskat Chief Spence and the Idle No More movement in Canada.
Attawapiskat Chief Spence on Victoria Island
Reports out of Canada are there was drumming and singing on Victoria Island where Chief Theresa Spence is living in a teepee at midnight as 2012 moved into 2013. It was a simply ceremony to usher in the New Year.
The reports out of Canada bear out the future is unknown for Chief Spence, who has stated she is "willing to die" to bring attention to what is happening to First Nations peoples through the sweeping legislation that severely diminishes their sovereignty rights. Reports are she is very weak, but strong in spirit.
As a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, I realize a few centuries ago, some Potawatomi migrated into what is now the United States from places in modern day Ontario, Canada. Some Potawatomi still remain in Canada at various places in Ontario, such as Walpole Island and the Stoney Point and Kettle Point First Nations.
Among Native people, we understand that contemporary borders that divide the United States on the north with Canada and Mexico on the south were not our borders. So, it is understandable our First Nations brothers and sisters have been able to amass much support among American Indian tribes in the United States.
As the story of the Idle No More movement unfolds across Canada in early 2013, it is obvious the movement is set to only intensify, because the threat to sovereign rights posed by the Harper Conservative government has awakened a spirit in First Nation people that rivals what happened in America when the American Indian Movement emerged some 40 years ago.
It is quite obvious First Nation peoples are sick and tired of oppressive and restrictive actions of the uncaring Harper government.
In modern times, it is inconceivable that a caring person would even have allowed Chief Spence's current hunger strike to go into its fourth week.
The Harper government should be aware First Nation peoples are not going away. His government cannot do away with the so-called "Indian problem" by legislation. Across generations, First Nation peoples are now paying attention to his every move.
Furthermore, the world is now watching to see what fabric of man he really is.
If he is a man who believes the Holy Bible, he should remember the words Jesus in St. Matthew: "Blessed are the merciful" for they shall obtain mercy."
If he is a man who makes New Year's resolution, he should make sure he include one that includes vastly improving relations with First Nations peoples of Canada. They are dual citizens of Canada, the nation he is charged with leading.
And, he should begin the New Year by going to visit Chief Spence and conduct business as a civilized leader he should be.
Native News Network sends its prayers to Chief Spence and all First Nation peoples on this New Year Day!
posted January 1, 2013 10:40 am est