Coming back from Seal River, I had to check out The Nation like everyone else. As I opened it, I thumbed through to see what it “looked” like.
Reading Romeo’s article (“To Vote or Not to Vote,” last issue, page 10) hit me pretty hard. It hit me in a way where I had to search my feelings towards the Provincials and feds, in terms of participating in elections and other things.
Some of the language disturbed me, especially after being on the land. It made me think; I had to re-read it a couple of times. I began to see where he was coming from, but it left me wanting. I needed answers to questions that he gave rise to within me.
So then what? Where do we go from here? Have Crees ever had an impact? Can we have an impact? Do we want to have that impact? Do we want to participate? If we want to participate, how? If not, what do we do? Do we continue to be wards of the state?
Well, you see what I mean. It is hard enough that we as individuals can’t participate in the AFN elections. It is even harder to know that the way the present “system” is set up, we don’t even count, no matter which way.
The upcoming referendum is truly historic for us as Crees. The referendum on the political status of the Cree Nation which was mandated at the Annual General Assembly (see News, page 5) needs some levelheaded thinking (liyuu-ditaitimuun definitely). Explore the options of the different outcomes—stay with Canada, go with Quebec if it separates, or go as a Nation. (We here at The Nation will try to help you sort through all this.)
If we are truly indeed a Nation, then let’s start acting like one and stop waiting for someone to “grant” us the right. The coming years are crucial to us as liyuuch. It is a time for definition—a time to define ourselves as people of the land. People who have lived from time immemorial on a land which provided everything that was needed.
If we start acting like a Nation maybe we can start addressing issues as basic as the helicopter (without any markings) that was flying around Seal River which nobody in the surrounding area knew about. We were talking about the game wardens—they were either too busy or at the office (there are a couple for the James Bay area). To setting up a constitution for ourselves and how we as a Nation interact with the system. The gripefests uh, General Assemblies are a good start. But it can’t be just once a year. It has to be every day.
Because whatever we decide will stick for a long, long time. Any ideas?… Anyone?