It was good to see the number of people who came out to cast their ballot at the Advanced Poll for the Alcohol Referendum on Sat. Jan. 10.
There was about 20-25 of The Men’s Fire and their supporters crowding in the hallways. Terri Lynn Brant and Lester Green staged a sit-in. They went into the polling station and sat at polling booths and stayed there. No one attempted to stop people from voting. That would have been a direct violation of a person’s human rights. We all have the right to make our own choices.
Why am I supporting a Six Nations Alcohol Law? There are three reasons: Unbeknownst to many there is a current court challenge questioning whether the Provincial Liquor Act should or does apply at Six Nations. At present the Six Nations Police do enforce the provincial act. If the court rules the Province’s liquor act does not apply at Six Nations and we don’t have our own Alcohol Law our community will be left lawless when it comes to alcohol and to alcohol-related offences. Is this what we want for our elderly, our young people and our children?
I am concerned about the safety and well-being of our citizens. Last summer a mother called me concerned about the safety of her family. She said a building in her neighborhood where dances and parties were held still had people partying come morning and some of them were shooting guns off. What’s council going to do about this she asked?
Another mother called me with concern about the bars or bar-like buildings that were operating in the territory. What’s council going to do about this she asked?
Still another mother complained about a bootlegger who sold her 15 year old son alcohol shortly before he got into an ATV accident. What’s council going to do about this she asked? These are community members asking Council to do something about the alcohol.
On the other hand organized sport expenses increases yearly. The business sector is inundated with groups and teams asking for donations or sponsorships.
Many people have asked to have alcohol at the community hall for fundraising dances, weddings, Buck & Does etc. Hockey teams, lacrosse teams want to have a Blue Line Club to raise money for their teams. I heard a restaurant owner wants to be able to sell alcohol in the restaurant. The list goes on.
Last summer I recommended to council that it was time to revisit the alcohol issue which has lain dormant for 27 years. I was fully prepared to honor a 1988 resolution that says alcohol wouldn’t be brought up again. But the more time I’ve had to think about it I now question if another Council has the right to hogtie a community issue like alcohol forever. I don’t think so.
For me it’s not about the brewery. The reasons above are why I was pushing council of the need to develop a Six Nations Alcohol Law.
As for the Confederacy Council’s “unsigned” released statement I am thoroughly disappointed. In their statement they don’t support “the manufacture or retailing of alcohol or drugs….” Well sorry fellows but alcohol and drugs are already being sold here. The Confederacy Council should be working with the Elected Council never mind sitting back and pointing fingers of criticism. What good is that going to do for our community? Amy Lickers, Community Planner, asked to get on the Confederacy Council’s agenda to do an information session and she was refused.
Then we have the people who say “I don’t vote” and then complain because their voices aren’t going to be heard. This has been going on for years yet no one has sat down at a table and worked on an acceptable to all community decision making plan.
About eight years ago I raised this very issue at the Main Table land talks and still nothing has been done.
Anyway I want people to know why I think it important and critical for our community to deal with the alcohol issue. I feel for the frontline workers who have conducted the information sessions over the past ten weeks. Not only were they abused and insulted, Ms. Lickers had to endure attacks on her character and integrity at the information sessions and on social media. I commend the staff for their professionalism and their personal commitment to keeping the community informed. Too bad the actions of some cast such a negative light on our community.
I propose that each nation create and build a microbrewery and microdistillery. Other nations have opened themselves to the wine industry, and expanding on this method could bring employment, and much needed revenue to the nations. Not only will the profits be a boost to the band, but the sudden dive into the politics of the Alcohol production, distribution, sale, and consumption would catapult the issue front and center, with the complete topic discussed.
The revenue model can be included to have educaiton/informational amongst the nations. The model can also include dedicated harm reduction, and cessation programs that would be funded directly by the industry.
As long as the product is created and maintained a high quality, there would be massive interest outside the aborigional community for quality products as well.
In Ontario, the monopolies need to be broken up, and the prejudicial practices around this stereotype can be directly opposed by full participation in all aspects of the alcohol industry, including educaiton, harm reduction, and dependecy. The non-aborigional manufacturers may suprisingly welcome the entrance, and advocacy.
It would only be one way to break the stereotype non-aborigionals have about alcohol and indigenous peoples, but perhaps it is a starting place.
Look like Helen is only out to attack the Confederacy Council. My question is why she wasn’t at the meeting to vote on the motion to overturn 1988 resolution. 1/3 of council was missing from that meeting.
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