Amplifying Indigenous Voices Is A Revolutinary Act
Published July 8, 2019
Typically, like many Canadians, this writer is deeply concerned about a lot of pressing issues in Canada and the world at large: the course and direction of upcoming federal elections; what some meekly call climate change while others, because of the dire threat it poses to the very continuation of life in the future for all human and non-human species, more correctly deem it to be a climate crisis of an unparallelled nature; a wide range of the violated historical promises that have been made to indigenous, aboriginal peoples to honour and respect their unique place in world society, as well as: the many same violated historical promises that have also been made by governments to non-indigenous peoples about a wide range of related issues, one of which especially is the pressing need for the world’s politicians and governments to demonstrably show to their citizenry that a concerted move is being made, as rapidly as can tangibly be made, to demonstrate the many real creative, innovative changes that can be realized in the near and distant future a truly petroleum-free, lower emission way of life – not by the year 2025-2030-2040-2050 or 2100 – but NOW – TODAY!
Yet this would seem to be a difficult if nigh impossible task to do when: on every commercial on every television channel, 24/7, especially during every major sporting event and cultural event, heralded in every newspaper and popular lifestyle magazine; repeatedly shown during every pre-show in every theatre across the land, or; what pop-culture celebrities and society notables demonstrably flaunt every day, 365 days of the year, about all the ever-bigger, more flash automobiles and products their brainwashed to buy that suggests to all the children and future citizens of the world; that this is what the “Good Life” is all about.
It has been patently clear, since the Paris Accord, that Canada and the world at large is far too embedded in the old petroleum-fixated life of the past to make any significant changes beyond what niggardly, half-hearted, piece meal, lip service changes have thus far been made to dramatically change anything and everything about the way human civilization is going, desires to go or conceivably can go. The modern world is too deeply locked into The Black Crude Sludge that represents the collective decayed detritous of the planet’s dprehistoric, dinosauric past that existed long before humans as a species were yet even on the planet.
Yet humans remain intent in searching in every way they can, going everywhere deeper into the bowels of the earth, to bring back to the surface of this reality in the 21st century something that it thinks will make life more desirable and yet, like every addict with whatever substance they’re addicted to, gradually and predictably is killing them and will kill all their offsprings the longer they all remain hooked.
The most recent evolution of this addictive process can be seen by what some now tout to be a progressive act to take (“Canada’s Aboriginal Pipedream that might end Justin Trudeau’s TransMountain Nightmare”, Canada News.org, 2nd July, 2019). One need only google on any search engine about the so-called: Reconciliation Pipeline or Project Reconciliation to realize the long list that exists among the number of greedy petroleum-based energy companies, native entrepreneurial enterprises and their corporate media promoters who now are jumping on the bandwagon and lionizing this latest venture towards the bottomless abyss of extinction by a perpetual petroleum-laden world.
Much is being made about the concept of Reconciliation that Canada, and the unresolved national guilt it harbours towards its historical treatment of aboriginal peoples, has anguished about ever since the point of first contact between the cultures of the Old & New Worlds and Confederation.
It’s said that the some 350 million indigenous peoples still exist in the world now hold 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. But all of them are under a serious threat to their very existence with mega petroleum-fueled corporate-economic projects like China’s Silk Road development throughout the Middle East and Africa. It’s alarming what humans continue to conceive, with megalomanical projects like the Silk Road, and what the direction of such projects portend for the future of the entire planet of non-human species, not to mention the world’s indigenous people who en mass will be everywhere evicted from their traditional territories for the sake of whatever mega development projects. The fact is that wherever incursions such mega projects now are making in the Middle East, Egypt, Africa, and, indeed throughout Europe and the America’s, indigenous peoples are the first to be evicted and the first to suffer, greviously. Not only that but the world’s total fixation on such economic initiatives means that indigenous peoples and their sacred territories especially will continue to be among the first to go under, not to mention what all the continued economic expansion and development in this direction means to the continued rape and pillage of the earth’s natural resources, minerals and non-human native life for an insanely-incessant expansionistic process to continue that does nothing more than feed insatiable human greed for ever more of the same.
The concept now of yet another pipeline, albeit this time by Aboriginal, First Nation entrepreneurs, that will triple the capacity of the crude to be transported through the sacred territories of so many unwilling indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, and play an integral role in the Juggernaut’s journey down the road towards extinction, is an odious one. It flies in the face of Canada’s original promise made to all Canadians at the Paris Accords to take speedy and significant steps to switch from a non-sustainable petroleum-based economy to a truly green sustainable one. If Canada’s native peoples are to become the new petroleum king pins through such so-called Reconciliation Pipeline Projects how does tripling the crude from the Alberta Tar Sands that feeds and fuels this road towards extinction fit into this shift to a green economy? How is continuing to suck every last drop of the pure, clean, sacred ancestral waters that lie below the province of Alberta, that must continue to be contaminated and destroyed forever, that is turning Alberta into a virtual national sacrifice area, represent whatever country’s cowardly refusal to make the kind of hard decisions and choices needed for the future well-being of all our children and their children seven generations hence? How is this ever going to become a template for the future if, by being more concerned with not breaking further promises to Canada’s indigenous peoples it now simultaneously breaks the governments promises made to all Canadians to work towards a greener, brighter, healthier future? If other governments and indigenous peoples in the world were to do the same, and become kissing cousins and co-partners with the dark operatives of the world’s Juggernauts, how does that make them any different than all the other OPEC players among the marauding Jack boots marching throughout the world? The UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples is attempting to play its own part this incessant march throughout the world, through a recently-held Global Landscapes Forum in the Bonn Climate Change Conference that presented to the world an Indigenous Rights Approach Solution to the Climate Change Crisis.
This writer’s own whole life as an activist, going back to what some refer to as, “Those early Spiritual Wild West Days” in the world – that first began during the occupation of Alcatraz, and later with the traditional Dakota and Lakota elders at places like Crow Creek and Wounded Knee and, more recently, during the dispicable Dakota Access Pipeline debacle – served as formative years in the spiritual responsibilities and revolutionary acts required towards life that began to amply the voices of traditional indigenous peoples. Many who were present during those earlier and more recent times quickly realized how much the teachings they’ve received from the elders represent so many solutions and answers to give about life, beauty and health of humans and the earth.
More recently, this writer carried this responsibility one step further by generating the article, “water not oil battle cry of the blue planet”, that seeks to amplify the voice of Giindajing Guujaaw, a traditional chief of the Haida Nation who has what is one of the soundest criticisms yet heard about projects like the Reconciliation Pipeline PipeDream and the way we all must conduct ourselves in the future as responsible citizens of the world.
It’s important at this point to refer back to an earlier quote cited in “Water Not Oil Battle Cry of the Blue Planet” made by the Haida traditional spiritual man Guujaaw when he spoke out about the oil juggernaut in Canada and the world. Gurrjaaw said, “An Indian pipeline would be a business venture as any other and is not “reconciliation”; rather an infringement and a threat”. Guujaaw went on to say, “There is none among us of any colour or creed that can claim a right to disregard the neighbour downstream, or who can calim a right to neglect life. There is none amongst us with the right to harm the great killer whale or the little barnacle.”
A further important question to be simultaneously asked and answered begs to know, “Is Canada’s indigenous pipe dream being put forward real reconciliation or some kind of cynical blackmail-guilt trip-payback notion of reconciliation?
In searching for their own answers, every Canadian and citizen of the world now needs to clarify for themselves, their loved one and their own people what are the real issues at hand.
Jerome Irwin is a freelance writer and author of “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey” (www.turtle-island-odyssey.com), a three volume account of his travels as a spiritual sojourner, during the 1960’s, 70’s & 80’s, among Native American & First Nation peoples in North America. It encompasses the Indigenous Spiritual Renaissance & Liberation Movements that emerged throughout North America during the civil rights era. In addition to being a long-time political activist and organizer, Irwin has authored over the years a number of environmental, political, cultural, spiritual articles with special emphasis on Native Americans, First Nations, Australian aboriginals, and native peoples of Israel, Gaza, Palestine and Syria. Irwin also is the publisher of The Wild Gentle Press.