Chief Clifford Morgan from Gitwangak has developed this thought.
If we are committed to making change and achieving justice for our people we need to alter our strategies and tactics to present more of a serious challenge on the ground to force the federal government to engage our movement and to respond to us in a serious way.
I believe that what our movement needs is a mobilization of people on the basis of indigenous nationhood, led by traditional chiefs and clan mothers, medicine people, elders and youth, to start acting on our inherent rights on the land and to demand respect for our traditional governments.
In practical terms, we need to go beyond demonstrations and rallies in malls and legislatures and on public streets and start to reoccupy indigenous sacred, ceremonial and cultural use sites to re-establish our presence on our land
In doing so we would educate Canadians about our continuing connections to those places and how important they are to our continuing existence as indigenous peoples.
If we do this we can, once again, make the Assembly of First Nations, the mainstream media, the opposition parties hear the true voice of indigenous people in this country and if we are strong and tenacious in demonstrating our commitment to these goals, we can force the federal government to take us seriously.
Now is the time to reoccupy, rise as original peoples. It is a strong and well thought out idea. Our villages own the land base. Signs should be put out that this is Indian land around the perimeter.
In the case of the Gitxsan people, a short term forestry agreement” made by the Gitxsan Treaty Society with the B.C. government proved the parameters of our territory.
Certainly the ownership of each parcel of the territory is questionable by the people, but the government can’t dispute Gitxsan ownership since they negotiated on the mapped area.
The Tahltan people and other tribes should do the same. “No Fracking” signs should also be displayed.
The non-Indian population of B.C. and Canada will eventually realize that we are saving their rivers and lakes from being polluted as well, since our Indian land is at the head end of these same waterways. Their quality of life is at stake as well.
The federal and provincial governments have to find different ways of making money or at least stop wasting it on wars in other countries.
Ron J. Sterritt,