Get Out & Vote
This is my last opportunity to reach out to Nbisiing Anishinaabeg to reiterate the importance of getting out to vote.
Your vote is your power.
- If you like the settlement and want to see the community benefit from a significant infusion of new funds… Vote Yes.
- By all means, if you don’t like the settlement and don’t want to resolve this long-standing dispute with the government… Vote No.
- If you want to make use of the settlement funds and establish a new, more comprehensive Community Trust. Vote Yes to the Trust.
- Also, if you don’t like the direction Council is taking us by resolving the boundary dispute, you can vote for new leadership in 2015.
- Finally, if you don’t want this Chief, Deputy Chief and Councillor on the Community Trust, you can vote for new candidates in 2015.
Please get out and vote tomorrow, Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Polls open at 9 a.m. in Duchesnay and Garden Village.
Sadly, many of our people are still clouded by mistrust. And because of how we continue to be treated by the government, it’s not getting any better. We’re all so mistrustful of government, Prime Minister Harper, the Department, and even our own Band Council and staff. We want to stand up and fight and make things right by our own actions. We want to call upon that near-dormant Ogitchidaa spirit in all of us.
To be vocal empowers us. To rise-up empowers us. To stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the front lines of political idealism and civil disobedience empowers us.
At the same time mistrust clouds us. Anger clouds us. Frustration clouds us.
This is not our way. We shouldn’t be jaded by those that seek to hurt us. We only serve to hurt ourselves. We need to be living by the way that was given to us by the Creator, Gzhemnidoo. It was through that kindness, gentleness and intellect that we as Anishinaabe are able to see things clearly and make good decisions for the benefit of seventh generation.
The only way we can ascend from this despair is through Unity and Nationhood. We will also need our own lands, our own economy and means of sustainability. Ultimately, this settlement will mean purchasing more reserve lands, funding to establish our own constitutional governance structures, funding to support community health, culture and youth programs.
What if I vote “no”?
It’s great to say “Idle No More” and turn around and vote “no”. It’s quite empowering. Sure, you will have stuck it to Council. You’ve stuck it to the government. You’ve stuck it to the man! You get to go home with your head held high.
But sure as the sun rises, you’ll wake up the next morning to the same lack of opportunity, mistrust and lack of outlook that you’re living with now.
The Anishinaabe, particularly the Nbisiing Anishinaabeg, have chosen intellectual empowerment over aggression. Our history talks of how our ancestors used our strategic relationships, the Confederacy, traditional knowledge and spiritual power to overcome challenges to our sovereignty. We have always used negotiation to defend our interests and benefit our community. Even during the 1850 Robinson Treaty, only the Nbisiing and Okikendawt head-men stood up to the Treaty Commissioner and said what was offered wasn’t enough. As a result, our two First Nations received additional benefits that is written directly into the Treaty.
Our Chief and headmen also journeyed to Ottawa to support their fellow Chiefs long before there was a road through our territory.
Even after we were massacred and driven from our homelands, it was our skills as diplomats and allies that led us back to our homelands. Other nations, were driven from their homelands forever.
Sometimes, negotiation and settlement provides us more benefit than mistrust and opposition. In this case, the opportunity and intellectual empowerment, once again, significantly benefits the Nbisiing Anishinaabeg. Benefit and opportunity that we will see for generations to come.