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Editorials and Press Releases


By Drew Hayden Taylor, Windspeaker Columnist

It’s been said that you can’t please everybody. That is true. And as a professional columnist, I have, over the passing years, pleased many, annoyed a few, and downright pissed off a handful.

This column is about that last subsection of the population. There is a person out there named Alexander who is quite miffed with me. According to a posting he placed on my Web site, I am a racist. I was quite surprised to find that out, but then again, who wouldn’t be, excluding those with red necks (not red skins) and white pointed hats and gowns.

But first, some background.

Several months ago, I was on The Next Chapter, a CBC radio program about authors hosted by Shelagh Rogers. The theme of this episode was canoes in Canadian literature. I told one of my favorite stories, about how, when I went white-water canoeing, I discovered the true difference between Native and non-Native people.

Picture a river, and 100-metres downstream is lots and lots of white water and sharp pointy rocks. Now place in that river two canoes, one filled with white people and the other filled with Native people. What does each canoe do? The white canoe starts paddling as fast as they can towards the sharp pointy rocks and turbulent white water. What do the Native people do? They go for pizza. Or they drive further downstream and put the canoe in the calm water, after picking up a pizza, of course.

In reality, portage is not a French word. It’s actually an Aboriginal word that means “Do you know how much I paid for this canoe?” I always considered this a simple and funny story. Alexander did not. He wrote:

“I sincerely demand an apology from you for the racist, ignorant and vile comments you have stated during that interview, directed at European settlers of America. As the definition of racism states that if one derives attributes, differences, and characteristics on the basis of race then the person in question is a racist, and thus Mr. Drew Hayden Taylor due to the fact that you have clearly associated “white people” or “People of the dominant” culture with counter-productivity, and that you have clearly stated that the difference is between white and Native (or red skin), you by definition is a racist…. Anyhow, all I demand is a satisfactory apology for your comments and acknowledgement that they are racist.”

I responded. Very politely, I might add. In reference to his apology, I told him I was sorry that my comments upset him but that was as close to an official apology as I was willing to give. As a humorist and satirist, we have a certain amount of leeway to play with social constructs and political perspectives than most people. Chris Rock and Richard Pryor have said more controversial things about white people then I have and probably ever will.

I also had problems with Alexander’s definition of racism. Admittedly, I am no expert on the subject of racism, so I consulted somebody who was. Alok Mukherjee, chairman of the Toronto Police Services Board, and former acting chief commissioner and vice-chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He is a far smarter Indian than I am on this issue without a doubt.

“For me, racism is an ideology of superiority practiced by the group that sees itself to be superior to an Other on the basis of race. That is to say, skin color, physical features, hair, culture, social status, etc.

The key word is “practiced,” that is to say, the ability or the power to act on the belief of superiority to exclude, diminish, hold back, oppress, deny equal status, etc. to the Other who is considered to be inferior. [Emphasis mine]

Let us reverse the equation. Women sometimes make nasty remarks about men. Are they being sexist? Black people use sarcasm when talking about/to white people. Are they being racist? People with physical disabilities rail against those who see themselves as “normal.” Are they being able-ist? In each of these cases, the criticism, the sarcasm, the fulmination may be an expression of frustration, a critique, anger, helplessness, etc.

A final point. It is a characteristic of dominant group membership that the privilege that comes from such affiliation is not seen or recognized by the member, though the Other is acutely conscious of it.”

So there, Alexander. I am not in a place of privilege, power or superiority. If so, I would surely dress better. So, to quote the words of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, and the American Indian Movement, I’m rubber, you’re glue etc.

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Exposing Ego and Hypocrisy within Social Change

By Johnny Hawke  ACTION

Within our Social Movements a common phenomenon that we all experience is the “Walking Ego” syndrome.  Some of the People at the forefront of attention and movements seem to fall victim of their ego. These selfish people forget they are representing their supporters and comrade’s and discredit not only their own reputation but others involved and the movement by nurturing their Hypocrisy and Ego. They are the cause of why support is lost and future good intentions do not get off the ground. They become Walking Ego’s so full of shit that they can’t fly.

Elizabeth Brass Elson of Anishinabek Nation Martin Clan has been active for many years incorporating her own business, Seventh Generation Management INC an initiative for the protection and resource management of her people’s resources. Elizabeth along with another Anishinabe Kwe, (Women) helped to start a weekend sacred fire vigil in the spring of 2009 on the proposed Simcoe County Site 41 Dump construction site near her Nations Territory.

Elizabeth Brass Elson Ojibway Martin Clan, and of ACTION blocking Roads with Sage

The proposed Dump Site 41 was sitting on top of a pristine underground water aquifer which serves local wells and when polluted by the dump would’ve contaminated the surrounding waters and Georgian Bay, Anishinabe Territory.

After their weekend vigil fire keeper Johnny Hawke decided not to leave and that exercising Anishinabe Sovereignty, Two Row Wampum, 1764 Niagra Covenant Chain Belt and challenging the Government of Canada’s illegal Indian Act with its stipulation which Canada gives itself the Fiduciary Duty of Indian Lands was very much needed to be spoken about and acted upon. So he told the women he was staying in which the rest of the camp followed.

Elizabeth and the other founding Woman of the vigil both held positions that required them being impartial. Elizabteh was a Councillor of her First Nation and her friend was employed by the Canadian Government and both felt pressures to be silenced on expressing their responsibility as Anishinabek Woman to protect the Water. So they allowed another Anishinabek Kwe to be the voice of the Camp whose name we’ll give respect and won’t mention but refer to as “Walking Ego” or the Warden of Beausoleil First Nation.

Warrior Hawke Brothers directed by the Women to fullfill the First Law of the Land

The Camp was located across the construction of the Dump Site on a farmer’s field which by permission of the Farmer was made into the main Camp. The Fire Keeper John Hawke who is an active member of a certain society like the two women felt the need to practice humility, an Anishinabe virtue and remain silent when Media was present. So the voice of the Camp was represented by one person, “Walking Ego.”

During the encampment support grew and fellow “aboriginal” people came responding to a Call-Out and working with the settler community of farmers successfully shut down the illegal Dump Site which broke Ontario’s Environmental Laws. The Settler Community of Farmers empathized with the struggles First Nations face daily by themselves being called Criminals, seeing Government break their own rules for profit, and being arrested for exercising their rights.

Anishinabek and White Settler Communities Unite against Government

“Walking Ego” caused many divisions by making uninformed outlandish comments to the media which represented all people involved. Media attention caused her ego to explode which caused more divisions amongst all parties involved. Anishinabe Spirituality kept the group together ignoring “Walking Ego” which led to Site 41 success. This Site was in the works for 20 years and it took the devotion of six months of Direct Action started by a Clan Mother and a Warrior to win this fight. Even though somebody’s Ego caused division Unity still prevailed. (Thank you to my Brother Gavin for those words RIP.)

This Past 2010 my best Friend and Cousin and Warrior and Firekeeper of Site 41 Gavin Jameison drowned in the water he fought for along with Elizabeth Elson’s son Matt Elson. It was a sad time for our Community. We had a sacred fire which I watched until their bodies were found and continued it untill after the funeral.

Ojibway Warrior Gavin Jamieson Blocks S41 enterance, RIP

“Walking Ego” got up during the wake and funeral services and talked about her invovlment of Site 41in which turned into a shameful self promotion, while Elizabeth and I wept by our beloved lost family members.

“Walking Ego” is now the Union of Ontario Indians Southeast  Commissioner for Water representing the Union of Ontario Indians due to her “alleged” starting and victory over Site 41. She is also an initiate of the Three Fires Midewiwiin Lodge which she also speaks on behalf. She has made her self known recently for publicly announcing by email that only qualified Anishinabe Midewewiin should conduct any Aboriginal Ceremonies that is requested in Southern Ontario. She has hurt many other Indigenous people of other Nations particularly Mohawk Environmentalist and National Aboriginal Achievement Award recipient Danny Beaton who was apart of the Site 41 struggle before the Anishinabe were even involved. She has publicly slandered his name commenting that he his not even aboriginal and has no business conducting ceremonies in the area and that qualified Midewiwiin people have that right.

She has upset many non-native Allies and Politicians in the settler community for her Egotistic and Nazi-Spiritualist behavior. She is now representing the Union of Ontario Indians and the Three Fires Midewiwiin Lodge and is making these institutions come off as Dictatorships in this Region.

ACTION condemns this hypocritical behavior and ACTION has no ties to “Walking Ego” just because ACTION was an influence on the successes of SITE 41 and is located in Sovereign Anishinabek Territory an area which she claims for the Union of Ontario Indians and Midwewiin under her strict Cultural Rhetoric.

ACTION recognizes this territory belonging to Anishinabek allies, the Wendat Nation our trade partners and allies during pre-contact. We have continuously defended this territory for them from the British Crown, USA and recently Ontario Government and Simcoe County. Also ACTION recognizes that the Haudenasaunee People who we also have alliances with and share territory in what is known as Southern Ontario.

ACTION exercises its alliances with other Indigenous Nations and therefore respects their freedom and the freedom of practicing spirituality anywhere one desires and condemns this Dictatorship Behaviour of “Walking Ego” and the organizations she Represents.

I have also come across an online “Aboriginal United” group who’s “leader” presents himself as a “Warrior” and advocates for our Aborginal Women, Elders and Children exercising Non-Violent Direct Actions.  This is another “Walking Ego.” He has made it known by his actions that his groups is all about waving signs and marching and thumbing their nose at authority and posting it online for sake of ego.

His reputation in our circles is becoming well known and it’s becoming tarnished along with his group which has 4000 people online. Recently an Anishinabe sister was treated unjustly by this “Leader” due to his Ego.

ACTION condemns this group because its leader does bot respect our First Law of the Land which honors our women. He has disrespected a sister within our Nation and Warrior Society and as a Warrior who respects the First Law of the Land and who gets my authority and direction by Women I condemn his Group, which out of respect won’t mention.

He has made one of our Sisters feel insignificant because she wasn’t waving enough placards for his satisfaction. There are more ways of helping the movement then waving flags, everybody plays a part and every action counts. Even if it is not in your “activist groups” region and how insignificant it may seem every action helps. Reading his site it comes off as another Dictatorship, fighting for social freedom and suppressing the ones he’s fighting for. He represents 4000 of you online.

It is time to put the drama away, humble the ego with our Teachings and Beliefs and unite. Remember the teachings of the Warrior Flag and our own Nations teachings. We are not making  this movement a Religion and it is not all about the messenger but the message and practicing it.

I am Kai Kai Kons, Little Screaming Hawk, John Hawke, you have my commitment and on good authority I am not a “Walking Ego” To some of us our movement is not about waving flags and getting on television.

” Unity Shall Prevail” – Gavin Jamieson Ojibway Warrior Turtle Clan

In Memory of Matt Elson and Gavin Jamieson

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INAC Chiefs exploit their own Culture By Johnny Hawke

Toronto Cartoonist Donato inspired by Norval Morriseau comments artisticly on the recent disclosure of INAC Chiefs outragious salaries

Sunday December 12 2010

Toronto Sun Cartoonist, Andy Donato inspired by the famous Ojibway artist Norval Morriseau satirically comments on the recent media reports that have disclosed salaries of 82 INAC Band Chiefs by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

A majority of people in the Indigenous community feel that the Chiefs are abusing the imposed Indian Act system and that cartoonist Andy Donato hit below the belt in his recent opinion in Sundays Toronto Sun.

“This is in the Toronto Sun commentary pages today, that piece of garbage newspaper. I’m not in favour of any Chiefs making outrageous salaries while the people most in need go without. But this, this goes too far and mocks an entire culture! Using a Morriseau painting at that.” explains an active First Nations women.

INAC Chiefs advocate for their Sovereignty harping about “Nation to Nation Relationships” while continuing to embrace the Indian Act which is illegally imposed by Indian and Northern Affairs of Canada and breach’s the Canadian Constitution the Royal Proclamation which affirms First Nation’s Sovereignty and Rights

AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo acknowledged in an interview that many chiefs have come to the conclusion that the best way to respond to the controversy is to provide full disclosure.

“I’ve had a good number of calls from chiefs saying, ‘You know, there’s every reason why we should just confront this directly,’ and they will be bringing a resolution forward,” he said. “In speaking with chiefs, there’s a great concern that the public discussion, the information that’s come out of the [Canadian Taxpayers Federation], has really painted all chiefs with a broad brush. It just isn’t true that all 633 chiefs are corrupt or are receiving pay that isn’t acceptable or are not accountable to their citizens and their communities. It’s just simply not the case.” explained Atleo

Chiefs and their Chief Organizations preach Sovereignty but when threatened by the Canadian Tax Payers or Government they always back down which contradicts our Sovereignty which they are paid substantially well to protect.

Chiefs exploit Sovereignty and Cultural Teachings and Symbols and only seem to use it to for photo opts and to sugar coat funding proposals.

Shawn A-in Chut Atleo is a Herditary Chief of Ahousaht First Nation along with the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.  By representing INAC elected system he his dishonoring the authority of his Clan Mothers and responsibility as a Hereditary Chief.

Herditary Chief, A-in Chut of Ahousaht First Nation and AFN Chief Shawn Atleo Parliament in the foreground

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are currently exercising their Sovereignty reestablishing their Traditional Governance while Atleo and AFN hide behind their eagle feathers and headdresses.  Our Afro American brothers and sisters called this Uncle Tom today we can call this Uncle Tomahawk. This is the real Exploitation of our Culture.

“The Canadian and Quebec Governments are shamefully treating our community like criminals for peacefully protecting our inherent right to govern ourselves according to our customs,” says Tony Wawatie community spokesperson for Barrier Lake. “The Canadian government is attempting to unconstitutionally abolish our traditional leadership selection. They claim imposing this regime is a democratic move, but the overwhelming majority of our community members are opposed and want instead to maintain our own system of government.”

The Six Nations Confederacy, with their Warrior Societies, Hereditary Chiefs and Clan mothers are another one of the few Indigenous Nations in Canada that does not acknowledge AFN, Chiefs Organizations and the Indian Act. They have participated in many Actions that exercises their Sovereignty and never back down from threats by Canada or their Tax Payers.

Andy Donatos cartoon is brilliant. Some in the “aboriginal” community feel he has exploited our culture by mimicking Norval Morrsieaus woodland style of art. However it is just a comment on how Chiefs are the real culprits when it comes to exploiting aboriginal culture.

If First Nations people wish to lash out at this artist we then lash out at our own freedom of speech becoming hypocrites and dictators just like the Chiefs.

Casino Rama or Rama First Nation, what are you really dealing?

Assembly of First Nations the real culprit of Cultural Exploitation

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