Canadian Indian women "are tired of what's happening"

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Thu Jan 4 10:38:34 MST 2001



-----Original Message-----
From: Macdonald Stainsby [mailto:mstainsby at tao.ca]
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2001 12:35 AM
To: marxism at lists.panix.com
Subject: Re: Canadian Indian women "are tired of what's happening"



----- Original Message -----
From: alan maki <vavbred at yahoo.com>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Wednesday, January 03, 2001 6:09 PM
Subject: Re: Canadian Indian women "are tired of what's happening"


> So what is being said? What is the alternative right
> now, today? Go tell the same thing to the labor
> movement, etc? In all reality... if not the NDP.....
> who? I think some people on this list are afraid of
> reality! That is what I think.
>
> Alan Maki

this is precisely the problem, Alan. The NDP in both  provincial and federal
districts has positioned itself as the only "left" party of any serious
impact and
proceeded to do some unacceptable things on the basis of themselves being
the only
alternative. By positing themselves as "the left" they get to define it, by
giving up
demands on the means of production or nationalising the banks, for example.
They
would never say something seemingly so "radical" as the signature on your
email about
the full-text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does by
mentioning it.

They can screw homeless people, sell out unions and allow environmental
destrction
and then turn to the working-class and say "So what are you going to do? Put
those
other guys in power? They will truly attack you!" So long as they can play
out this
blackmail, they will keep people sheepishly saying "What is the
alternative?"

There is a reason I posted the url for the "rebuilding the left" groups.
Because
there is no *current* alternative to the NDP. But their simply *must* be one
soon.

Macdonald

Response:

I think Mac has put it well here. At present, there is no
valid/non-compromised NATIONAL movement in Canada or the U.S. of Indigenous
Peoples and Nations in my opinion. What is happening, however, is that
within the Bands, Tribes and whole Nations, traditionalists, activists,
never-before-activists are rising up against corrupt Tribal Councils and the
minions/cronies/relatives they place on the Tribal payrolls. In the U.S.,
the Democratic Party has been at the head of feeding/reinforcing/benefitting
from Tribal Corruption and the Republicans have tried to make their own
opportunistic forays into Indian Country, divide-and-rule much in the same
way as the Tories and Reform have tried to make their own opportunistic
alliances in Canada. The fact remains that in Canada and the U.S. all of the
"mainstream" parties have forged alliances and policies that have furthered
the present ongoing genocide of Indigenous Peoples.

Further, the term "Chiefs" in Canada is the official government term used to
refer to Tribal Council Chairmen (to give them an ego boost and boost in
standing they don't have among the people). The real Chiefs, those
acknowledged and retained through tradtional institutions, are known well by
the people (even the corrupt ones and the sell-outs) although the
mechanisms--traditional--for establishing and recognizing the real Chiefs
and Elders were abolished in Canada in 1924 in order to create the present
system of "accepted" (read controllable) and externally-imposed "leadership"
among First Nations.

We have the same problem in Indian Country as the oppressed groups have: the
real leadership, you will not find touted as "leaders" on CBC/CTV or
NBC/CBS/ABC. Real leaders do not go around crowing "I am a leader"; they
just do what they do, and by their example, what they do and not just what
they say, and by the extent to which they are servants of the People as
simple members of the People, rather than purporting to stand above or in
celebrity status from the People, there you will find the true leadership. I
could give a long list of names among the Blackfoot of such real leadership
and activists, but I do not want to aid and abett the RCMP and FBI who would
love to know who is on that list.

For Mr. Maki, I question your knowledge of what is going on in Indian
Country from the content of what you write--it is clearly incorrect and
reflects a lack of understanding of the basics. The fact that you use the
Canadian Government term "Chiefs" when referring to the Tribal Council
leadership shows that you are using the "official" terms and taxonomy for
the "official" leadership. And I say you are a tourist in Indian Country
because knowing who's who and who does what in Indian Indian Country in the
U.S. and Canada is easy to find out if you are on the inside. But I don't
question your enthusiasm or desire for real revolutionary change. And I make
no comment about how you earn your living as some kind of evidence of your
having sold out and working for "the Man".

Just for the record, in over thirty years of activism related to Indigenous
causes, I have never received a grant of any form or money from anyone for
my activism. On occasion I have been invited to speak, and in each case I
asked for no fee only for help to pay my way because I do not make much and
most of what I make gets spent on activism and to support those Blackfoot
less fortunate than I am. But I do not knock those who have received grants
or who have worked for the likes of AFN because among them are very solid
and very committed people (like Roland Chrisjohn) who tried to do their best
within constraints that ultimately forced their leaving these
organizations--they nonetheless left their mark in high-quality scholarship
and activism that formed the broad shoulders on which activists have stood.

I hope that adds some information to this discussion. The real leadership
and the real activists of the various First Nations are linking up and
perhaps a real, non-corrupt, viable national organization of First Nations
Peoples will result. but the "official" and "designated" Tribal Councils
(although some good people have served on the Tribal Councils) were set up
to make the forced assimilation and destruction of First Nations final and
irreversible--aided and abetted from the "inside".

Jim Craven





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