Friday, September 23, 2016

Historical Alliance: First Nations sign treaty to block tar sands development

           At simultaneous signing ceremonies in Vancouver and Montréal, Thursday, September 22, 2016, the autumnal equinox, a (potentially) historical alliance was forged.

"The document, called the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, commits its signatories to assist one another when called upon in the battle against oilsands expansion, and to work in partnership to move society towards more sustainable lifestyles. By aligning themselves with other Indigenous nations across Canada and the northern U.S., participants hope to ensure that dangerous projects are not able to "escape" by using alternative routes."

"As sovereign Indigenous Nations, we enter this treaty pursuant to our inherent legal authority and responsibility to protect our respective territories from threats to our lands, waters, air and climate, but we do so knowing full well that it is in the best interest of all peoples, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to put a stop to the threat of Tar Sands expansion.
We wish to work in collaboration with all peoples and all governments in building a more equitable and sustainable future, one that will produce healthier and more prosperous communities across Turtle Island and beyond, as well as preserve and protect our peoples’ way of life."

          This is interesting news - to say the least! To take it at face value, after five centuries of colonization, ethnocide and forced cultural assimilation, aboriginal peoples around the world are rising, phoenix-like from their ashes. What it all means in the long scheme of things is anyone's guess. One can speculate, based on historical precedent, of course. It may simply be that, living on the margins of the dominant European culture, aboriginal peoples are more attuned to the ongoing implosion of that culture. We, non-aboriginals, living in the cultural epicenter, are more fully "hypnotized" by the dominant culture's narratives and glitz. It is easier for the aboriginal than for us to "jump ship", to search for viable alternatives to Nonsustainable "Development". They, the marginalized "natives", were never fully part of our crew in the first place, never fully assimilated and yet never fully severed from their roots. We are perhaps now discovering that those ancient spiritual, cultural roots are still alive, still capable of drawing nourishment from earth, water, air and fire (the sun). 


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