"In addition to this legislative framework, resource development is on aggressive fast forward. And their policy think tanks have said, "Make no mistake, we're going to lay those pipes and we're going to mine those minerals if we have to send in the army."
And Canadians are terrified, they have no idea what's going to happen. I think we can make a call to Canadians that we are their last and best hope of saving this planet.
But here's a fly in the ointment: in trying to rally the troops, in trying to work with First Nation leaders and community members we have a very strong and growing anti-First Nation right-wing media and they focus on some very particular sore spots to keep us divided.
One, that all of our leaders are corrupt and that their corruption is the reason for our poverty, not the 200 years of colonisation, the residential schools, stealing our land and killing our children in residential schools, and forced sterilisations of our women, or the small pox blankets or the scalping laws, no none of that's the reason for our poverty.
But it's somehow these corrupt leaders who make thirty six thousand dollars a year on average. And you know if that's the argument, if leaders aren't allowed to live high on the hog while their people suffer, why is it that Harper lives in a free mansion and homelessness is on the rise in Canada? Does it not apply to both? Think about it that way.
But what this demonstrates is how our kids are learning. Think of social media, twitter, facebook, linkedin and youtube. What are they hearing about themselves?
That we're all incompetent, that we don't know what's going on.
That our leaders are making deals.
That our leaders don't know what they're doing, they're disconnected from their community members.
That works. We now have a country full of disillusioned community members. Some rightfully so, right?
But we have all been in this colonisation project!
What do the leaders do?
They administer the Indian Act as they are told or they don't get funding for social assistance, education and housing.
Would you ask them to say, "No! I'm not going to implement the Indian Act any more",
and have their funding cut?
A First Nation did that once. They lasted three months until people had no food to eat.
We are in a situation of duress. And the sooner we all work together, leaders and community members and fight the real enemy. the sooner we're actually going to turn this ship around.
Because right now we're in crisis mode. We have a housing crisis, water crisis, child and family service crisis, prison crisis, food and security crisis - but we're only in crisis mode.
Let them do what it is they want to do and we will be in disaster management mode.
So when are we going to act? Now while we have at least some capacity? Or after when we're trying to pick up the pieces?
I say the time to act is now.
I have been saying for two years, the Conservative plan is to implement all this legislation against our wills, assimilate us into the population, repeal the Indian Act, break up reserves and cut funding.
And that is exactly what they have been doing. So the fact that we have been trying to be nice, extending the olive branch, trying to work hard and not to make waves, has not saved anybody from the funding cuts. They have more stages of funding cuts to come.
The ultimate objective is zero money for political organisations and zero money for communities. These are going to be phased in over time whether you kiss Harper or punch him in the mouth these funding cuts are coming. Would you rather be kissing Harper (ick!), or standing up for yourselves? And I say let's stand up for ourselves."
Dr. Pamela Palmater, speaking at an Idle No More Alberta event, November 2012.
It's an excellent speech that speaks to each piece of federal legislation that will adversely affect Aboriginal people. Above excerpt is from part 4.
part 1 http://youtu.be/STatNSjcrvo
part 2 http://youtu.be/uBt8yqth1n0
part 3 http://youtu.be/s4ku8vVELYs
part 4 http://youtu.be/okLmloA70zk
Radio Canada International's Wojtek Gwiazda talked to Dr Pamela Palmater about Idle No More on December 13th.
Explained simply for an international audience, it's a very good interviewhttp://www.rcinet.ca/english/daily/interviews-2012/15-39_2012-12-13-idle-no-more-indigenous-protests-and-a-hunger-strike/
Dr. Pamela D. Palmater is a Mi'kmaw lawyer and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. She teaches Indigenous law, politics and governance at Ryerson University and heads their Centre for Indigenous Governance.