Pikangikum

Canada & State of Emergency

Warning: This post might anger some.

Here are other posts that I previously written about State of Emergencies occurring in Canada at various times and in various regions:

Thanks to a friend on facebook, I came across this link: Pikangikum Declares a State of Emergency. This is due to drinking water. Water is being flown in. Can you believe that! In Canada, water is being flown to people, and pending weather conditions.

To me this is outrageous. It is even more outrageous that this type of thing has gone on for years. It is even more outrageous that it is rarely addressed in major news sources like Globe and Mail. I did a basic search from the main site google search with the key words “State of Emergency” (Simple enough, right?) and up came more than a 100 searches. Here is a screen shot of the first page only.

State of Emergency

I just have to say I am not impressed. I will tell you why I am not impressed. This past winter a state of emergency was called in Southwestern ON. They needed to rescue Canadians from a winter snow storm. Yup, rescue Canadians from a winter snow storm. A snow storm these people decided to drive in, or that they accidentally were caught in. One man died in this snow storm because he decided to abandon his car and walk in the snow storm. I don’t mean no disrespect to anyone, but really…Who drives in a snow storm? And even worse, who walks in the middle of nowhere in the snowstorm? THIS is Canada people, expect snow storms and expect to stay home because of the snow. What we shouldn’t expect is for hundreds of individuals living in Canada to go without drinking water during cold months, and for days or even weeks on end.

THAT is outrageous.

Yes, I warned you that this post might anger you…and if it has angered you because I just wrote that, then you are experiencing the anger I feel and countless other First Nations people feel across Canada because they live in “State of Emergency” almost everyday, for weeks, sometimes weeks on end (I have never experienced living in a State of Emergency, but I have met other First Nations people who have and have had friends who did live in these states… it’s not something that Canada should be proud of)

This makes me wonder where Canada’s priorities are especially after attending a Liberal party rally in London ON, where I asked Michael Ignatieff, the following question:

You mentioned internet access for all Canadians earlier, seeing that more than hundred First Nations in Canada still have water potability issues, why not drinking water for everyone?**

**You can read the full post with that question and my experiences at the rally by clicking on the full quote.

This is an important time for First Nations people to not only speak up and vote, but to also fight for change because of the current political happenings and the elections. I hope that First Nations people can fight for change beyond just voting, and make their voices heard in whichever way possible.

This is why I started this blog, and I hope others can make their voices heard in a similarly positive way.

I encourage everyone and anyone who feels that they have a cause to be listened to and heard of to speak up.

Like I said in another post, titled Election 41 or #elxn41, if you think you are just one in one million–that is a good thing, because that is a lot of chances for someone to be thinking the same thing you are. Just speak up, or ask someone to speak up for you! Trust me, you are not alone and someone will listen…

Just look at what this one girl did: Shannen’s dream. This is an amazing story, yet so sad that the girl’s life ended early… It is great to see that her fight for her community lives on–it is sad that her community had experienced this (both the school and the loss of a strong, young Aboriginal female).

But always remember people, this post and its information shared here are happening TODAY and in Canada… this isn’t 10, 20, 50, 100 years ago.

This is today, and it needs to change!

Outcomes

I know it may be too soon to actually comment on this case (because I feel without a doubt the “hypersensitive,” a word used by G&M, will probably try to fight to overturn); now even I know that is something blatant to say about something so freshly decided. HERE is the link relating to G&M article.

Yes, these problems may have been going on for a long time for First Nations but I feel the bigger problem is we as First Nations pick fights without “thinking ahead.” Yes, we need to stand up for what is rightfully ours and rightfully of every Canadian citizen: heat, home, and clean water. But, as First Nations, we need to look at the bigger picture in its entirety and how it will impact the future nations. Only then will we might be able to take steps forward! Not only that, if First Nations continue to exhaust fights against any legal, political, social system, and are not fully aware of the impact their present day decisions might have on future decisions to be made, then First Nations will be severely limiting themselves (and their step forward).

For example, take the phrase “third party management.” This phrase was used when I first found out about changes to post-secondary funding (which was not too long ago, and then swept under a rug somewhere–maybe it will reappear after this article) Everyone and everything said “third party management.” What if THIS outcome on the phrase and its use/interpretation of “third party management” and “co-management” impacts the future decisions on post-secondary funding? All because the court felt they meant “co-management” and that they followed protocol! Then, that case dismissed. More resources exhausted. More relationships burned. More political and economical strife for a few more years.

First Nations need to be made fully aware of the decisions they make and the fights they choose before actually proceeding. The decision to dismiss in lower court and if affirmed in a higher court, will just affect future “third party management” or “co-management” issues: similar situations will be decided alike! THIS IS EXACTLY WHY FIRST NATIONS NEED TO BUILD BETTER POLITICAL RELATIONSHIPS! THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER (with each other and with other organizations).

Then again….Maybe the issue isn’t that we don’t know how to work together, it’s that we don’t know how to recognize “real” help when it’s needed or accept “real” help as it is suggested. As First Nations in today’s country, I believe we have all the resources we need to help us get better. We just have been “ill” for so long, we forgot how to ask for help to get “better” and to use the help we have presently have. We don’t need more of whatever we already have: we just need to learn how to use what we have (isn’t it after all that Indigenous people are the ones who never use more than we need and never ask for more than we need?). We need to help the ones who are worse off than others, instead of expecting government help or waiting for government decisions to be made. I believe First Nations can better allocate the use of their resources, if we are taught how to. We need to RE-LEARN how to survive in Canada TODAY!

NOTE: This blog post isn’t for or against Pikangikum case. Prayers sent out to those on Pikangikum and every First Nation in need of a little prayer this holiday season.