All water is living water. All living waters have rights of existence and of health that are inherent and self evident. Our First Nations community here at the crossroads of the Willamette and the CheeAwana (Columbia) Rivers made us all proud today. The Round Dance Revolution flash mob at Pioneer Place was well attended with drummers, singers and dancers in support of Canadian First Nations Peoples and the waters and lands. Waters which flow through our connected landscapes from Canada to everywhere .. including the CheeAwana.
They came together in response to the genocidal arrogance of the Harper Government in Canada and their attempt to legalize the desecration of the landscape and existing trust agreements with First Nations peoples. They came together in support of Grandmother and Chief Theresa Spence who has been on a hunger strike since December 10, 2012. She has said she is “willing to die” if the federal government ignores her call for a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Queen Elizabeth II and First Nations leaders.
This unusually brilliant and sudden show of support was organized through “Idle No More” – Here in their own words.
We contend that:
The Treaties are nation to nation agreements between First Nations and the Crown who are sovereign nations. The Treaties are agreements that cannot be altered or broken by one side of the two Nations. The spirit and intent of the Treaty agreements meant that First Nations peoples would share the land, but retain their inherent rights to lands and resources. Instead, First Nations have experienced a history of colonization which has resulted in outstanding land claims, lack of resources and unequal funding for services such as education and housing.
We contend that:
Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned – the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.
We contend that:
Currently, this government is trying to pass many laws so that reserve lands can also be bought and sold by big companies to get profit from resources. They are promising to share this time…Why would these promises be different from past promises? We will be left with nothing but poisoned water, land and air. This is an attempt to take away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples.
We contend that:
There are many examples of other countries moving towards sustainability, and we must demand sustainable development as well. We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them.
Please join us in creating this vision.
In both Canada and the United States sweeping exclusions to environmental protections have been made for natural gas fracking in which toxic chemicals are poured into the earth to force gas out. Wholesale ecological devastation is happening in Alberta to remove the tar sands oil. This legislation is yet another example of how big corporate money has taken over governments which are no longer representing the long term interests of the people and the land.
Here in the words of Canadians Working for Social Justice describing how protections have been removed from over 2 million lakes and rivers in Canada earlier this month.
“There is widespread concern about the sweeping changes to environmental legislation and removal of critical safeguards for water protection. Bill C-38, the spring omnibus budget bill, repealed and replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with a new act that eliminated 3000 federal environmental assessments. The Harper government also gutted protections for fish habitat with amendments to the Fisheries Act. With Bill C-45, the Harper government is abdicating its responsibility for 99 per cent of Canada’s lakes and rivers through the overhaul of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, leaving “protections” for only 97 lakes, 62 rivers and three oceans.
Tucked away in the changes of over 60 pieces of legislation, this second budget bill eliminates the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission (HMIRC). Bill C-45 eliminates the Commission by transferring its powers and responsibilities to the Minister of Health. Although this has failed to garner any in-depth media coverage, this change could significantly affect fracking, tar sands development and the many industries that deal with hazardous materials.”
Earth, Air, Water and Light are sacred trusts and no one has the right to destroy these foundations of life. Support existence and support the good work. Thanks again to the beautiful example of all the people who came out to the Round Dance today. The Round Dance is an inter-tribal friendship dance. It is an invitation to all to come together and sing and pray together. In the ways we have been taught – we imagine the sacred earth – the crystals – which we step over in the dance – praying for the healing and strength of the ground of ancestors we all stand upon. It is good to have felt the strong drums and songs rising up and joining the people together. It is good to feel the people dancing together. May this work be completed! Eeeee Hychka!
Click on any picture to go into the gallery of photos from the event.