Same old, Same old.
I would be interested to know the cost of all the various chiefs and their delegations descending on Ottawa this past weekend on an issue that’s none of their business in the first place. Oh sure, “Idle No More” was propelled into the news by Theresa Spence, chief of the Attawpiskat Reserve by way of her “hunger strike”. But who in the end are the protesters; certainly not the chiefs? They are the ordinary people on and off reserve, who are the ones affected by band and government mismanagement. The protesters are mostly young people caught between a rock and a hard place. And who can blame them for being pissed off?
In the first place, Ms. Spence’s “Hunger Strike” is basically an extreme diet with no particular danger to her personal health – but fair enough, she got the business started and invigorated the young people into action. But how many chiefs and counselors are marching and dancing and performing at these protests? Not too many, I’m willing to bet.
What was abundantly clear though, was the dissention among the different reserves. What the hell were they thinking: to get together on the battlefield to come to a consensus as the opposing army was already in full gallop? The ancestors just laugh at their incompetence while today’s children cry out in pain and anguish at the hopelessness of their situation. Who ever heard of trying to decide what you’re upset about while the enemy is charging down your throat? Have they never heard of the saying: “United we stand, divided we fall”? These people were mowed down like ten pins in a bowling alley. And poor Shaun Atleo was left there with his face hanging out. What a mess! Then of course, the government leaks information about mismanagement of Attiwapiskat’s spending habits and accountability just at the right moment and nobody can adequately defend against that.
These people are supposed to be chiefs? Chiefs of what I’d like to know. It takes more than a big mouth to be a chief. I don’t suppose it’s occurred to any of them that they have an obligation to their band members first and foremost and as such, they have an obligation to the AFN and the Grand Chief. If they are to speak with one voice, they want to get over the fact that it’s not their own voice that should be heard, but that of all the Indian nations. I don’t know – perhaps there are a few Indian wars that haven’t been settled yet. They ought to get on that first.
But these are the days of the young people, not the old roosters who have one house on reserve and another in a swanky part of the city. The Idle No More movement is apt to turn inward and there may be sweeping changes if the old boys aren’t careful. Social media are the new form of moccasin telegraph and it’s just a matter of time before the young people show them how it’s done. The people of the seventh fire will be written off and soon the eighth fire can be lit. For my money, it can’t come soon enough. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.