From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It sure doesn't look like disarray to me

Many have looked at today's events and said that the AFN Chiefs look divided and in disarray, I couldn't disagree more. What I saw was a healthy debate between diverse groups of people trying to find the best way forward. Too many view the First Nations as a homogenous group which couldn't be farther from the truth. as Hayden King pointed out in his brilliant column We natives are deeply divided. There’s nothing wrong with that "The point here is that while we share a lot of important traits, there is also much that differentiates us. This fact, or the fact that there are 60-odd unique indigenous nations in Canada (scattered across 600 communities) is lost on Canadian punditry, media and most of the public generally."

So while the Executive of the AFN and some Chiefs will be attending tomorrows meeting, many will not. There is no right or wrong answer here, there are pitfalls to both options. However listening to the Chiefs as they spoke on this matter there wasn't a whiff of dissension, they may disagree on whether to attend this meeting or not but they are united in what needs to happen in order to repair the relationship between First Nations, governments and the people of Canada.

Harper may be rubbing his hands in glee believing his trap to have worked and of course his cronies in the media will pontificate on how the movement has ended in disarray but they will be proved wrong and in the most forceful of terms. You see the Chiefs realize something Harper and the media don't, they are not the movement #IdleNoMore is and if they as Chiefs wish to maintain their status as leaders they must hold fast for a better deal and make significant progress towards bettering the lives of their people.

So you see the First Nations leadership is highly motivated at the moment knowing that they either lead or get left behind, to date Harper hasn't been so, however I get the feeling that will change very shortly. We need to stand with our partners in this great land and make sure Harper starts to feel the heat and comes to the table prepared to treat all participants and the process with respect.

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