By Marivir R. Montebon
“…To live in peace, friendship, and harmony on Mother Earth, the place that gave us birth…” – From Idle No More, by Alex Jacobs, a Mohawk and a visual artist.
New York — Cree Nation leader Sylvia McAdam told her audience in New York City that Alex Jacobs one time approached her and asked what he can do for the ongoing movement of indigenous peoples in Canada who were voicing out to respect their lands against corporate encroachments.
“You know, one cannot underestimate the youth. I told this young person, just do whatever you can,” Sylvia, a lawyer, intimated.
“Two weeks later, he approached me, and showed me his poem, Idle No More. His search is over. As a young person, he knows he has to add his voice to our call to save Mother Earth. The poem has become the name of our movement to save Mother Earth.”
In the city that never sleeps, the Saturday of May 25, 2013, was one of those deep, meaningful gatherings I attended, to listen to two speakers from Canada, feisty and gracious women leaders in the indigenous people’s breaking of silence.
“There is such thing as acquiescence in Canada, meaning your silence is taken as a consent. But the indigenous peoples were never silent. They were silenced,” says Journalist Kerry Coast who wrote the book “Colonial Present”, a documentation of legal and social conflicts that hound the indigenous peoples of the Turtle island (the indigenous name of Canada), the Canadian government, and giant corporations.
Kerry and McAdams alternately pitched on the situation in their land, which they said, had been wrongfully reported by the press.
“I chose to be the media for my people, because the press in Canada has not reported the truth. In Turtle Island (Canada), many prayers are being said. Mother Nature is suffering. We are struggling to protect our lands for our children, and for seven generations more. We are taught that way,” said McAdams.
Coast said that they hope to eventually translate the people’s movement into a political electoral voice. The First Nations say that an impending law, Bill C-45 impinges on the daily lives of the aborigines and disrespects all treaties and aboriginal lands. They also want to quash the FIPPA, an investment law, which grants corporations massive authority over resources.
The messages were compelling enough that immediately someone from the audience asked, “how can we help here in America?” The conference room of the National Writers Union – NYC where the forum took place, upon the initiative of the women’s group AF3IRM NYC, naturally turned to an assembly of fired up and enlightened citizens.
“There is every reason to take action and raise our voices together, because the water of Canada, for example, goes downstream to the US. There is too much toxicity and death of our rivers,” said McAdams.
One from Hawaii opined that peoples all over the world must rally around the implementation of the International
Indigenous Sovereign Law, and oppose the ongoing genocide of peoples and the devastation of sacred resources.
McAdams points out, “We have the technology for renewable resources to do that and live harmoniously with nature.
The multinational corporations don’t want that, they want fast money without regard to the effects on people and the
American indigenous leader Patricia Anne Davis of Choctaw-Navajo from Arizona shared a reflection: learn to use the power within us. “We are all currently living in a parasite system, a global system in the world. But the age now is breaking silence, because in the tribal language, submission-domination does not exist. And it has been proven that the win-lose situation that is being propagated right now does not last long, it creates imbalance. We break our silence by using the power within us.”