Browsing the archives for the Sacred Fire tag.

Ottawa Citizen Declares Native Protest Horse Manure!

Canadian Politics, Civil Rights, Political Reality

The National Post chose to run a highly inflammatory opinion piece written by Christie Blatchford on Dec 27.  The next day the Ottawa Citizen’s editors decided to run the same article on the front page of their newspaper in a premier headline slot.  Most reputable newspapers reserve the front page for news and choose instead to publish commentary and opinion on the interior pages, usually near the editorial page or in a Comments section of the paper.

What is disturbing about the Ottawa Citizen’s editorial decision is that this offensive opinion piece denigrates the aboriginal spiritual practices of tobacco offerings and smudging ceremonies as “hideous puffery and horse manure”.   Why would the Citizen’s editors try to present such seemingly racist views as news?  Have they lost all journalistic professionalism?

The spiritual indigenous traditions of offering tobacco to show respect, smudging with sweetgrass & sage to purify and renew the spirit, and prayer at a Sacred Fire are no more “horse manure” than the Euro-Canadian traditions of offering gifts at Christmas, taking communion to renew the spirit, or praying at an altar in a Cathedral.  So how can Blatchford’s ridiculous pronouncement even remotely be considered newsworthy?

Incredibly, Blatchford also suggests that there isn’t enough aboriginal culture left to be worth recognizing First Nation treaty rights.   Presumably by Blatchford’s perverse reasoning, Jewish people should have abandoned their culture after the Holocaust, let alone dream of an Israeli nation.

Having abandoned both common sense and logic, Blatchford concludes her piece by insinuating that the peaceful protest by Chief Spence might somehow be perceived as  an act of “intimidation, if not terrorism”.  It would seem that Blatchford is easily frightened by democratic dissent.

This perspective marks a new low in missing the point of a situation.  First of all, the suffering of Canada’s indigenous communities has finally reached a breaking point where people at a grass-roots level simply are not going to take it any longer.  To suggest that their protests are some kind of a side-show requires an Orwellian perspective in which everything is the opposite of what it actually is.

Secondly, hunger strikes, blockades, marches onto Parliament hill appear to lead to madness (by those who fear democratic dissent) only because they are a symptom of a greater underlying madness that those protesters are trying to change.

It is a sign of governmental failure when people take to the streets in protest.  Something is broken in our social contract and the protesters are visibly calling attention to that problem by exercising their democratic freedom of expression.

When a person starts a hunger strike, willing to die rather than let the status quo continue, they are telling us that something is very seriously broken.  When that person is a leader, she is telling us that only the leaders can fix the underlying madness that is causing the problem.

So who is the terrorist?  Is it the Prime Minister for knowingly perpetuating a shameful system of colonial “governance” that promotes chronic poverty, substance abuse, abnormal youth suicide rates, and other suffering within indigenous communities? Or is it the woman sitting in a wigwam asking that Harper takes responsibility as a leader and engage in meaningful dialog to find ways to end these very serious problems?

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Sacred Fire at Queen’s Park

South March Highlands

We are gathered here in unity of common purpose and with a spirit that has a common Voice:

  • We speak on behalf of the Great Forest that cannot speak for herself.
  • We speak for the Life in that Forest and for all the Lives that are touched by it.
  • We speak for the South March Highlands and all the Forests like her across Ontario and across Canada.

When people form coalitions so that they can speak louder it is a sign that their government isn’t listening.

When people take their government to court it is a sign that their right to fair government was violated.

When people take to the streets in protest it is a sign that their government is failing them.

  • We have done all of these things and yet still the Forest cries in pain because the government does nothing.
  • How is it possible for any responsible government to knowingly allow the destruction of the most bio-diverse area in their city and in their National Capital?

The true measure of a Leader is how they react to something that is so obviously wrong.

  • Do they hide behind the mistakes of others, or do they assume responsibility?
  • Do they pass the buck, or do they work to resolve the wrong?
  • Do they have the vision to work towards a better outcome?

These are the questions that we ask the Government of Ontario today.

But we must also challenge ourselves too because our governments are just a reflection of ourselves.

The true measure of a Person is taken when they are confronted with something that is so obviously wrong.

The wrong that is being perpetuated in the South March Highlands causes us to question our very relationship with the Land.

  • Do we care about Mother Earth and our relationship with the environment?
  • Do we ignore what is going on, or do we speak out against it?
  • Do we allow the destruction to occur, or do we work to prevent it?

We speak not only for this Great Forest, but also for the new Voice of Canada.

  • A voice that says that the protection and preservation of native heritage is important because the First Canadians can teach us many things about this Land.
  • A voice that says that we too are an integral part of this natural ecosystem.  We do not walk on it, we exist within it and we are only alive because of it.
  • A voice that says that our society must return to a “sustainable relationship” with all living beings – regardless of colour, creed, and culture, and with respect for all species of life.
  • A voice that says that greed is no substitute for responsibility.
  • A voice that says Leadership means taking responsibility to resolve problems through meaningful consultation with ALL stakeholders.
  • A voice that cries out for Leadership to protect our wild heritage because it is that very heritage that defines us as Canadians.
  • A voice that says that we have lost too many great Forests and that it is now time to draw the line.

If we cannot save the South March Highlands,

  • a land with over 20 species-at-risk in it,
  • a land that contains immense cultural heritage,
  • a land that is integral to the ecology of our National Capital,
  • a land that is Sacred to the descendants of the Anishinabe people,

what Hope is there for any other forest or natural place?

The time to act is NOW!

It’s NOT TOO LATE to DO THE RIGHT THING and we ask our Premier do the right thing!

Paul Renaud

Feb 13, 2011

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