Since at least the year 1688 visitors to the Americas from across the Oceans have tried to claim ownership over us – the ‘Gwahon:we’ indigenous peoples. Perhaps it was just a regular European ritual that we were unaware of. It goes like this: Show up somewhere, plant a flag, claim the land, and do your best to claim the people living there as children.
But in an epic exchange, the Haudenosaunee told the European visitors in 1688: “We will not be like father and son but like brothers.” It seemed very straight forward but even this statement could be interpreted differently within the Eurocentric mind. The Haudenosaunee had no way of knowing that amongst European royalty it was common that brothers would frame, discredit and in some cases even try to kill each other.
And so it continues. Indigenous men and women are going missing and being killed daily as the words of 1688 reverberate in 2015. The neo-colonial attitude is reflected in such “innocent” statements from Canadians such as “I am not racist, I love our aboriginal people”. Or other “harmless” tropes such as “Our aboriginal people are so much more advanced than Australia’s aboriginals.” These objectifications are so “low level” that they fly just under the radar. But to indigenous people they stick out like a sore thumb. We are not property. If mother earth could speak only she would be entitled to such bold and sweeping statements as that. The Queen is not our Creator.
We do not belong to Canada. No one controls us – for each man has his own free will. And further to that – we will not be manipulated. As we remember our identity and assert our authority as indigenous peoples – many colonial institutions and authorities will be challenged. People will be offended.
The Haudenosaunee have proven our commitment to the ancient paths of peace, but when we speak the world will listen. White settler guilt skyrockets into overdrive when the true landlords stand up and speak out but it should be obvious by now that we are a just and loyal society.
If the Queen’s Privy Council handed over the reins and Stephen Harper dismantled parliament in favour of Haudenosaunee governance what do Canadian’s think that we would do? What are they afraid that we would do? They are fearful of the violent savage they colonial pop culture created in their minds. Maybe they are afraid of receiving what they deserve. But one thing is certain, we belong to no one. #imnotyourindianbro