Official Statement From #OccupyINAC Winnipeg
Friday April 15, 2016
INAC Office, Winnipeg
Written by consensus from the collective
In the spirit of peace, love and solidarity with our relatives at #OccupyINAC Toronto, we have been peacefully gathering since yesterday morning at the Manitoba regional office of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, a department which derives its mandate from the racist colonial legislation called, The Indian Act.
We acknowledge the recent states of emergency declared in our communities in response to crises of suicide, including Attawapiskat Ininew Territory and Pimicikamak Ininew Territory, and have resolved to take action in support of our suffering relatives.
These crises are not new and do not exist in isolation. Suicide has long plagued our communities due to centuries of colonization and its effects: crushing poverty, substandard housing, imprisonment, child apprehension, and lack of access to health care, nutrition and clean water. The resulting destruction of identity, lack of self worth and cognitive imperialism are the roots of suicide in our people.
This issue is inseparable from the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women; the legacy of residential schools; the 11,000 and counting children in care in Manitoba; and the theft, pollution, and exploitation of the land, water, and air. The violence perpetrated against nature reflects the violence perpetrated against our women, our men, and our youth..
These conditions have existed in our territories for centuries and the so-called government of Canada administers and benefits from it. These are acts of war, oppression, and treason against our ancient treaties. Immediate response is called for.
We are asserting our authority and sovereignty in this land and in recognition of the ancient treaties, we call upon the so-called Government of Canada, the so-called Chiefs and Councils, and all the representatives of the Queen, to honour the obligations of the following ancient treaties: the Wampum Belt, the Peacepipe, and the Canes of Authority. We command the Crown to honour the oath and sacred responsibilities derived from these ancient treaties. We will continue to work with our traditional communities and value our sacred responsibilities, therefore we command the Crown and agents of the Crown to not interfere with our sacred laws, way of life, and ancient tribal governance systems. Our ancestors speak through our voices for the children and those yet to come.
The youth of Attawapiskat and Pimicikamak, and across our territories have commanded:
Youth centres; Parenting centres; Traditional teachings; ceremonies; knowledge of their chants, their songs and their skills for surviving on the land; better education; an end to the plague of drugs and alcohol; recycling systems; dry land; sports activities; shelters; recreation facilities; libraries; cinemas; mental health response and treatment; to represent themselves on Youth Councils; and to meet with Justin Trudeau.
Furthermore, we command:
1) The abolition of the Indian Act, the reserve system and the numbered Treaties, which are systematic violations of the sovereignty of our people — the sovereignty we have always retained and always lived, but which has never been honoured by the colonial state, from the beginning of their invasion under the lie of terra nullius.
2) An end to the denial of adequate healthcare, housing and education in our communities, and undenied access to our own unpolluted traditional foods and clean water.
3) For the so-called Chiefs and Councils and everyone in our communities to restore the culture and spirituality we have lost: to allow and encourage our traditions, ceremonies, teachings, songs, languages, and ways of knowing.
4) For the people of the colonial state to respect these lands and water, starting wtih the discontinuation of the destruction and pollution caused by the colonial corporations which exploit and deplete the resources of Mother Earth that we all need to survive.
5) An end to the Two-Spirit discrimination causing much of the suicidal crisis our youth are facing, which exists in our communities as a result of colonial ideology and cognitive imperialism, in addition to the damage of everything previously mentioned.
We will continue to assert our sovereign right to occupy this space until the Crown, so-called Government of Canada, and so-called Chief and Council, acknowledge this statement and the commands within.
For all the support we have received we say, Chi Miigwetch. We extend our Chi Miigwetch to the Creator, Gichi-Manitou, and all our relations, Ndinawe Maginaw.
With peace, love and solidarity,
— #OccupyINAC Winnipeg
The decendants of our ancestors
According to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Government of Canada's official twitter page, INAC regional offices in Toronto, Regina, Winnipeg and Gatineau.
To stay up to date on the occupation of INAC offices in solidarity with Attawapiskat, follow #OccupyINAC on social media.