We have spoken endlessly about the necessities and cultural essentials of who we are as Haudenesaunee. So much so that the question has been posed, “What can I do to help?” So, what do we want? Some of those answers lay in very simple responses, but while the response may be simple the complexity of the response is not. We want unity. We want education, both formal and cultural.
We want a place for our children to grow free from persecution, racial bigotry and shame. We want to be able to share a world that is environmentally sound and provides sustainability for the coming faces. In short, we want all the same benefits any parents would for their children.
Our allies have asked explicitly and with sincerity how they may be able to assist us, their neighbours, on our journey.
We have spoken with many allies who have come to understand that wanting drinking water without an advisory is a basic human need. Teaching our beliefs, traditional history and schooling should be a part of every child’s necessities. Protecting our children is a natural outgrowth of parenthood.
Ensuring the resources of this earth will still nourish and support the coming generations is a responsibility all should shoulder with grace. Our journey is at one with our allies. Or it should be.
The indigenous populations of the world have all been subjected to genocide, eco-terrorism, and patronization. Imperialistic governments have sought to annihilate the stewardship of the native cultures to further their own agendas. Education in the school system clearly denigrates and marginalizes the contribution of indigenous cultures to their homelands.
We are then left with a society of uninformed peoples who believe the dribble that has been fed to them as truth. So, what do we do to combat this unbalanced and malignant information?
Fortunately, we have encountered allies who do take our concerns to heart, moreover, to action.
Despite the dogmatic manner in which the government has tried to force assimilation upon all, there exists those that have been exposed to the ambiguity and destructive nature of the “system”. Many, allied and Onhkwehonh:we have seen up close and personal the dishonest and brutal management of peaceful demonstrations.
Take for example the G-20 summit where natives, students and innocent by-standers alike were arrested and put into holding cells without bathrooms and no formal charges were ever laid. The resultant backlash from this incident openly demonstrated the lack of concern for the people or their rights.
Recently, a group of concerned members from Scarborough’s West Hill United Church have taken upon themselves the responsibility of delivering a petition to Ottawa calling upon the federal government to end the disparities between the Onhkwenhonh:we and Non-Onhkwenhonh:we people of Canada.
The petition deals with the dramatic budget cuts and caps to Indigenous education, water, housing, health care and other basic needs. The petition also calls upon the government to honour the treaty relationships with indigenous peoples. Ruth Gill, a member of the First Nations Study Circle at West Hill declared, “the caravan set out to show ordinary Canadians care about fairness and do take the treaty relationship seriously. I think we showed that.” By the time the caravan arrived at Parliament Hill the petition had acquired 3,300 signatures.
On another front the Mi’kmaq from Elsipogtog called for a day of action. The call was answered by Onhkwenhonh:we and Allies alike.
Why? We believe because people from all walks are awakening to the harmful exploitations of the government and the damaging, irreversible outcome of not respecting our resources. Is this what we want? Resoundingly, YES!
We are standing together. We are united in protecting Mother Earth, therefore protecting the future of the coming faces. The colour of the face does not matter because all children matter, as should we all. Together, we can overcome, because this is what we want.