Editors Note: No we did not make this one up, it was really found online in the Castanet News in the Okanagan’s Discussion Forums by a man who uses the username of Wun Feather. To the best of our knowledge he is a legitimate member of a First Nations Band. Our reason for selecting this letter is that in many ways it could have been written by one of hundreds of local Wet’suwet’en who just want to be left alone, be allowed to work for a living, and not have to fight with the bums (protestors) in order to earn a decant living.
The intent of the letter seems to indicate it should be begin with, Dear Protestor……
This post is gonna hurt some feelings. (sorry)
I am good with that.
I am totally tired of people who say stupid things like “Give us back our land”.
I like to look them in the eyes and say:
“Ok. If you had your land back, what would you do with it?”
I will wait for the answer.
Have you ever taken the time to use google maps and look at the huge tracts of Federal land that are not being used for any purpose at all?
No one is trapping any beavers on the land.
No one is hunting wolves or coyotes, or any other fur bearing animal on that land.
Very rarely do you ever see anyone hunting anymore.
If we compare that land to the land owned by the Hutterite Colonies, you would *bleep* yourself if you saw what they are doing on their land.
They have hay and oats and barley and grain, and they run large herds of livestock and flocks of domestic geese and chickens.
Well, ever since I was 18, I have owned my own home.
I bought my first mobile home in Fraser Lake BC and darn it all, it was mine.
Nobody gave it to me.
I never held my hand out for it like a pet monkey in a zoo.
I earned it.
And I have never, ever, EVER been without at least one house on land ever since that day.
I guess you could say that I am the kind of Indian who just goes to work every day, and buys my own piece of land with the money I earn at my job.
I have every single right that anyone else in Canada has.
But because I am a status Indian, (I am non Treaty.) That means even though I am Status, I am not bound by any treaty agreements or obligations.
I have WAY more rights than most Canadians.
Firstly, I have the right to be free.
I have the right to become educated if I want to.
I have the right to freedom of speech, and I have the right to every single privilege that any other Canadian has.
But that is not where it ends!
I can hunt and fish and trap and do significantly more than all my non Indigenous friends do.
No one has ever stopped me from trapping animals for subsistence on crown land.
No one has ever stopped me from hunting for subsistence on crown land.
No one has ever stopped me from gathering medicines, plants, fungi, berries or roots for traditional or ceremonial purposes.
So if I can do all those things like my ancestors did before me, why would I want to have that land back??
Isn’t it actually already mine to use anyway??
Only, unlike the land that I have bought for myself over the years, I do not have the burden of paying property taxes on the land where I harvest my moose.
I just drive out there, walk a few miles along a river amongst the red willows, and when I see a bull moose, (I don’t take cows because they make baby moose), I decide if it is the right one for the freezer.
Here I am with a couple of wolves in this photo.
I can use the meat, skin and tan the hide, and I can use the fur to make a nice blanket or for the top of my moccasins.
Yep. I still have those too!
You will never hear me say that you owe me any land.
As Canadians you have already given me the most important things.
And that is the freedom to carry on my Indigenous culture and traditions on Crown Land.
I don’t want my land back.
I already have purchased my own, and I have the rest of the Canadian Boreal forest to do anything else I want to do.
Thank you Canada.
That is more than enough for me.
Oh. Just one more thing.
Thanks for not standing in my way when I go to work each day.
That would really suck if you did that.
And I promise not to stand in your way either.
That’s what us real Indians call “A GOOD TRADE”
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Stunning representation of what it means to be happy with what we have in our lives without being greedy.
Thank you Wun Feather for sharing your thoughts.
He is real. He is a real indingenous person. His voice speaks true. His voice needs to be heard. As someone I know who knows him says, he’s a really nice guy and a level headed individual.
An interesting chat/article with Chief Clarence Louie from Osoyoos, BC. He offers somewhat the same perspective as Wu Feather in his attitude. Refreshing and positive words to hear… considering the angst and rhetoric we are being forced to listen to coming from around these parts lately?
Chief Clarence Louie, Osoyoos BC speaking in Northern Alberta :
Speaking to a large aboriginal conference and some of the attendees, including a few who hold high office, have straggled in.
‘I can’t stand people who are late, he says into the microphone. Indian Time doesn’t cut it. ‘
Some giggle, but no one is quite sure how far he is going to go. Just sit back and listen:
‘My first rule for success is Show up on time.’
‘My No. 2 rule for success is follow Rule No. 1.’
‘If your life sucks, it’s because you suck.’
‘Quit your sniffling.’
‘Join the real world. Go to school, or get a job.’
‘Get off of welfare. Get off your butt.’
He pauses, seeming to gauge whether he dare, then does.
‘People often say to me, How you doin’? Geez I’m working with Indians what do you think?’
Now they are openly laughing ….. applauding. Clarence Louie is everything that was advertised and more.
‘Our ancestors worked for a living, he says. So should you.’
He is, fortunately, aboriginal himself. If someone else stood up and said these things – the white columnist standing there with his mouth open, for example – you’d be seen as a racist. Instead, Chief Clarence Louie is seen, increasingly, as one of the most interesting and innovative native leaders in the country even though he avoids national politics.
He has come here to Fort McMurray because the aboriginal community needs, desperately, to start talking about economic development and what all this multibillion-dollar oil madness might mean, for good and for bad.
Clarence Louie is chief and CEO of the Osoyoos Band in British Columbia’s South Okanagan. He is 44 years old, though he looks like he would have been an infant when he began his remarkable 20-year-run as chief.. He took a band that had been declared bankrupt and taken over by Indian Affairs and he has turned in into an inspiration.
In 2000, the band set a goal of becoming self-sufficient in five years. They’re there.
The Osoyoos, 432 strong, own, among other things, a vineyard, a winery, a golf course and a tourist resort, and they are partners in the Baldy Mountain ski development. They have more businesses per capita than any other first nation in Canada.
There are not only enough jobs for everyone, there are so many jobs being created that there are now members of 13 other tribal communities working for the Osoyoos. The little band contributes $40-million a year to the area economy.
Chief Louie is tough. He is as proud of the fact that his band fires its own people as well as hires them. He has his mottos posted throughout the Rez. He believes there is no such thing as consensus, that there will always be those who disagree. And, he says, he is milquetoast compared to his own mother when it comes to how today’s lazy aboriginal youth, almost exclusively male, should be dealt with.
Rent a plane, she told him, and fly them all to Iraq. Dump’em off and all the ones who make it back are keepers. Right on, Mom.
The message he has brought here to the Chipewyan, Dene and Cree who live around the oil sands is equally direct: ‘Get involved, create jobs and meaningful jobs, not just window dressing for the oil companies.’
‘The biggest employer,’ he says, ‘shouldn’t be the band office.’
He also says the time has come to get over it. ‘No more whining about 100-year-old failed experiments.’ ‘No foolishly looking to the Queen to protect rights.’
Louie says aboriginals here and along the Mackenzie Valley should not look at any sharing in development as rocking-chair money but as investment opportunity to create sustainable businesses. He wants them to move beyond entry-level jobs to real jobs they earn all the way to the boardrooms. He wants to see business manners develop: showing up on time, working extra hours. The business lunch, he says, should be drive through, and then right back at it.
‘You’re going to lose your language and culture faster in poverty than you will in economic development’, he says to those who say he is ignoring tradition.
Tough talk, at times shocking talk given the audience, but on this day in this community, they took it and, judging by the response, they loved it.
Eighty per cent like what I have to say, Louie says, twenty per cent don’t. I always say to the 20 per cent, ‘Get over it.’ ‘Chances are you’re never going to see me again and I’m never going to see you again’ ‘Get some counseling.’
The first step, he says, is all about leadership. He prides himself on being a stay-home chief who looks after the potholes in his own backyard and wastes no time running around fighting 100-year-old battles.
‘The biggest challenge will be how you treat your own people.’
‘Blaming government? That time is over.’
Maybe someone should get him to talk to Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.