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A Moral Offence Against the Nation

Wednesday March 19, 2014

One time a trapper came to the blockade at Grassy Narrows to report his entire trap line had been clear cut.

He had been away from it for Christmas time. An Anishinabe logger has made his grandmother angry with him because he destroyed the trees on the land of their family memories.

Our relatives, before we turned into Indian Act chiefs, once passed, “the Great Earth Law.”

Manito Aki Inakonigawin proposes to protect, “ the entire environment of the Anishinabe as it affects them and the exercise of their rights and responsibilities and includes the spiritual, social, physical, ecological and economic environment.”

Section 39 says,” a proponent who without honest reason fails to respect this law commits a moral offence against the nation.”

Is clear cutting not such a moral offence? What if the proponent is Anishinabeg?

Section 40, titled Community Right, says:” for greater certainty, nothing in this law affects the right of a community to be consulted about and to give or withhold its consent to any development or activity which may affect it.” Suppose an Anishinabeg created logging outfit decides to clear cut another community’s territory even though that community has not given its consent?

A chief of one such community showed up to demand Grassy Narrows protestors leave a bridge at Separation Rapids. When they refused, the OPP moved in to make multiple arrests.

Years ago we asked an ex-national chief how he felt about signing an agreement to flood their territory? He went into an anger laced rant about how it was the best deal his people could get.

Why couldn’t he address the essence of the question? How did his spirit feel as the flooding actually happened? What of the spirits of that land itself?

Can human beings take it upon themselves to wilfully offend sacred responsibility? What happens when we try?

Don’t the legends tell us we were all destroyed when the Creator had enough of our collective insolence?

Are we already paying that price? Isn’t the only ‘honest reason’ to ‘fail to respect this law,’ to,’commit a moral offence against the nation’ all shooniah related?

Isn’t the blindness that led the Quebec Cree to flood themselves not the same one that fills the Walmart on payday Friday nights here? Didn’t that materialism once cause our ancestors to denude eastern Turtle Island of fur bearing animals for trade goods?

Is that what we are now, is that what we always have been…capitalists ourselves?

Are you yourself a willing participant in a market place driven economy that destroys Creation and is built on a permanent underclass of poverty? Are you yourself a member of that underclass of women, indigenous and already poverty stricken?

It’s sadly funny that the people of the communities who support Miisun and Mitigook don’t know that non-native contractors will do the actual cutting in Grassy territory starting in April. Most of the benefits will again pass them on the road, on the backs of logging trucks, ignoring them and their community.

Once all the chiefs of the Grand Council met to listen to what Grassy was saying. Afterwards they all agreed to have support blockades across the entire treaty area. They agreed to contribute 500 bucks to assist Grassy with its costs.

Neither of these things have happened yet. Instead other reserves took advantage of the political pressure created to start clear cut logging companies themselves.

What can the Grand Council do to, ‘protect, promote and enhance the treaty’ which is still its mandate?

Has the oral understanding of, the spirit and intent of Treaty 3 ever been ratified by the British Parliament? If not, does Canada exist- politically, legally, corporately or otherwise?

The decision in the trapper’s court case will be, who can extinguish treaty rights – either the federal government or the provincial government, together or alone.

Malcolm X said you need to speak the language that is being used. If that language these days is greed and power, symbolized in money, then should we stuff oppression’s ears with it?
If Ontario wants into the treaty – it is not at this point a signatory to it – let it pay its way in, including the invoices unpaid by the federal government.

Have the Grand Council compile the cost of every tree, every river, every human impact incurred since Europeans appeared in our territory.

When they refuse to pay, keep calculating those costs, keep making those public so they can never forget how they built themselves, what their coat of arms really stands for.

Can the Great Earth law withstand divide and conquer from within?

Or is it time to cease calling ourselves nation and get on with destroying the planet along with everyone else? Shall we do so though without having given ourselves the opportunity to restore and revitalize ourselves as other indigenous, poor and women are doing around the world?

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