Update: Trail of Tears 2006
September 27, 2006
Lonefighter Leader Milton Born-With-A-Tooth
(Peigan Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy)
from One Warrior to Another ––
The Lonefighter Leader continues his travels from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, collecting Waters from the "scene of the crime" – the places where the criminal invasion of colonization began.
After reaching Salish territory, he will head back to the Oldman River, in his home Peigan Tribe territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy. As described in TOT Bulletins #1 and #2 in particular, the Peigan Tribe recently received a settlement of $64M for loss of culture and way-of-life from the damming up of the Oldman. Even more recently, they were put under Third Party Management, due to outside consultants' swindling money that was earmarked for housing, welfare, and other community needs. INAC approved the flow of these funds for the economic development projects the consultants had promised, and then INAC punished the Peigan with Third Party Management when things went wrong. Milton is demanding a full and fair Public Inquiry into how all this happened.
Milton has reached Thunder Bay, Ontario, where the offices of the Nishawbe Aski Nation (NAN) are located. The NAN is the Political Treaty Organization that represents almost 50 First Nations spread across the north of Ontario region from the Manitoba border to James Bay. For the first few days of this week, the Lonefighter Leader is in meetings with NAN Chiefs and staff. Isolated and fly-in First Nations have particular challenges not faced by other communities. They can be especially vulnerable to Indian Affairs' interference in their internal affairs. Near-north community leaders are interested in the research gathered by the Trail of Tears 2006 about Third Party Management and similar modern-day INAC policies of cultural genocide.
This week Milton is also doing some media work, so you may be hearing more about the Trail of Tears campaign through your radio or TV. Let's hope the word is finally getting out that this policy needs to be examined carefully!
Towards the end of the week, Milton hopes to travel to Grassy Narrows, a small community whose People continue their peaceful campaign to protect the land and all who live on that territory. This community has endured volumes of tragedy and pain as a result of Ottawa's policies and then further as a consequence of their courage about speaking out against these policies. Milton will to pay respects to them on behalf of the Trail of Tears 2006 campaign..
Grassroots reports continue to come in from areas already visited by Milton. People from one community (no names will be used as there are fears of reprisal) experienced Third Party Management for a couple years. All that happened is that the entire community resented the intrusion of INAC. As a protest vote against INAC's heavy handed imposition of federal control, the same bunch of incompetents got re-elected. When INAC left, no skills for better management were left behind, and nothing changed in how the band was being administered by the local leaders. In a couple other communities, it seems that Third Party Management was put in place because of social issues rather than financial ones.
Meanwhile, Canadian taxpayers and voters continue to be hoodwinked into thinking that Third Party Management policy and program is like the Knight in Shining Armour on a White Horse, rescuing the Native Peoples, and helping them have a better life ever after. In fact, what we are learning is exactly what the Canadian government's own Auditor General has said (see our Bulletin #4) – that Third Party Management policy does not ultimately help anyone! This pattern of imposition and then abandonment brings up memory of every broken promise made in every Treaty. More particularly, it brings up memories of the 1920's takeovers of FN governments by the federal government. The difference is that then it was done with RCMP force, with alcohol, at gunpoint.
We will have more to say about all this in our next TOT Bulletins – coming soon to your computer! All our Bulletins are posted on our website: http://trailoftears2006.blogspot.com You can leave your comments on the website. Check it out – at the bottom of the introduction is a place you can click to write in what you are thinking. If you do not want to receive these communications, just email us to say "no thanks." On the other hand, we ask that you pass this message on to anyone who may be interested in Lonefighter Leader Milton Born-With-A-Tooth's Trail of Tears 2006 Spirit Journey.
Trail of Tears Campaign
Ann Pohl, M.Ed.
Four Directions Communications Bass River, New Brunswick E4T 1H3 (506) 785-2998 firstname.lastname@example.org
"By looking at the questions the kids are asking,we learn the scope of what needs to be done." -:- Buffy Sainte-Marie*****************************