Do the souls of the hundreds who lay long buried beneath the Plains of Abraham toss and turn in an unquenched quest for nationhood? It’s doubtful. Nationhood was the exact opposite of the competing cries upon that battleground almost 250 years ago. Rather, it was the glory of imperial France or imperial Britain that were rallying the troops, be they garbed in red coats or blue.
Nationhood is the cry these days in Quebec, however, even if it has long been denied to the indigenous brethren who stood with both armies at a time their nationhood was still honoured.
The recent motion passed almost unanimously in the House of Commons bestowed the status of nation on the Québécois (however you define that term). It’s a concept that is not unknown or indeed unconsidered. For is not Puerto Rico a protectorate state within the United States of America? Not part of it fully but yet within its union?
It is still able to control its destiny and its future and is this not what all peoples wish?
Then why does the stroke of a pen render the First Nations less than those who were conquered so long ago? Do we have to pick up the tools of war and force violence upon those we willing shared a future, a territory and now a dream with?
It is a war we will lose but will that give us the right to demand a destiny truly ours? Is the biblical belief of the meek shall inherit the Earth become the precedent of proof of meekness if you have tried force and lost?
Can we not grow beyond the limitations of our darkest truths or beliefs?
The limits we place upon our societies and our peoples will haunt our children for generations. Life is a circle but the circle can become a spiral where it is possible all can grow. The founding fathers could never have founded this nation without the participation of the First Nations. Is it not time to acknowledge we too have a desire to control our future, our ways of life, our culture, our language and our destiny?
As Crees we have no desire to deny others their destiny but wish that the same respect and choices be given to us. No man, no woman, no people can deny these things to another while claiming them for themselves. In all cultures live men and women who believe and live by these concepts. We have all met them and listened to their words. We would all like to believe they are governing forces but know the politics of the day deny their existence in reality. For to accept all of that would mean that all must take responsibilities for the actions of those who have gone before. Therefore the injustices continue and accumulate, adding yet another chapter of denial.
Denial of compensation, denial of resources, denial of genocide, denial of the knights in shining amour we would all like to be and were brought up to believe in. Thus the manipulators can walk in and form public opinion. No one wants to believe they were wrong and their forefathers took what was willing shared without sharing in return.
And that, my friends, no matter who you are, is why First Nations will not be recognized as one of the founding Nations of this country called Canada. Nor will Canada ever accept a United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights akin to the rights they possess.