Idle on Eagles, Cranes, Turtles…
Suddenly Canadians are all racist! It couldn’t possibly be that the Idle No More “movement” is seen as yet another crass manipulation of First Nations… that thought springs to mind when reports on INM blogs contain pointed exhortations such as:
“IT IS IMPORTANT that the media does not portray this standoff as “the Canadian people versus FN militants” like in Oka.
THIS MUST BE SEEN AS A CANADIAN POPULAR MOVEMENT. A movement that is ready to demand an end to Harper’s relentless legislations that amount to nothing less then an outright assault on the fabric of this country”.
After all we trust the media so much these days!
A media release about bullying of First Nations children in schools, a supposed reaction to INM, again induced polarized responses and prompted this considered comment.
Perhaps some of the local antipathy to Idle No More may rise from disillusionment. Many would have agreed with the author of “What if Natives Stop Subsidizing Canada?”
“Indigenous nations present the best and only partners in taking care of our environment. Protecting our rivers, lakes, forests and oceans is best done by people with a multi-millenial relationship with the land.
As the people who live downstream and downwind, and who have an ongoing relationship to the land, Cree, Dene, Anishnabe, Inuit, Ojibway and other nations are among the best placed and most motivated to slow down and stop the industrial gigaprojects that are threatening all of our lives.”
And yet there is the unfortunate incongruity of local Chiefs, having signed multi-million dollar contracts with greed energy companies subsidized by the poor through FIT programs (The Auditor General 2011 Report revealed the waste of billions on allegedly “green” energy and jobs) which place an undue burden on ratepayers, out marching in a poverty parade.
Local Chiefs have been asked to hear and to present to band membership the truth about industrial wind developments but have ignored information which could counter the sales pitch of industry and the propaganda of the Province. Chiefs are obviously not listening or consulting any better than the other politicians which have their sights on “economic development” at any cost.
“The human costs are far greater; brutal tactics aimed at erasing native peoples’ identity and connection with the land have created human tragedies several generations deep and a legacy of fierce and principled resistance that continues today.”
Bill Monture would agree entirely; the traditional living Mohawk said as much in his testimony before Environmental Review Tribunal on his appeal of a massive “green” energy project in Six Nations territory:
“The original people’s lives remain closely tied to the land and adverse impacts resonate with great discord as our minds, bodies and souls are woven so tightly into this fabric we are as one cloth. Harming or cutting a hole out of the fabric we call Turtle Island is a direct injury upon our people.“
Now the sad result of his appeal having failed is the MNR-sanctioned removal of an active eagle’s nest and the ancient Cottonwood which held it. Eagles are no longer welcome in an area which has an exceptionally high density of raptors recorded by Environment Canada and which a Bird studies Canada biologist advised should be protected.
Idle No More could insist that wind development be halted until studies on the cumulative effect of this cost to the fabric of Turtle Island be studied because this is happening everywhere greed energy prevails over reason and yet remains unreported by local media. How could it not be newsworthy to local First Nations who, in Ojibway creation stories followed the crane to Lake Superior, that Whooping Cranes are in trouble, again.
“Whooping Cranes continue to face multiple threats, including habitat loss and pollution in their traditional wintering grounds, collision with utility lines, human disturbance, disease, predation, loss of genetic diversity within the population, and vulnerability to natural and human-caused catastrophes.
Concern over the near extinction of the Whooping Crane has prompted a broad range of conservation actions, including national and international legal protections; comprehensive scientific research and monitoring programs; protection of key habitats; development of Whooping Crane recovery teams and comprehensive recovery plans; and extensive public education campaigns”.
The proliferation of wind farms and the enabling transmission corridors are considered to be a growing threat, yet there is no public debate here of the lack of enforcement of legal protections and cumulative impact studies, or about the proposed industrial wind projects along the shores of Lake Superior and in the stopover for Sandhill Cranes on Manitoulin Island now being destroyed by wind development.
Idle No More could get busy and demonstrate the interest in wildlife which MNR and USFWS no longer manifest… we could then have the full environmental assessment of cultural landscape and natural heritage that this region deserves.
California protest photos courtesy of Jim Wiegand