NO THANK NO GIVING NO SURRENDER

BY: JOHNNY HAWK

This past week many on Turtle Island either celebrated Columbus Day or Thanksgiving which mirrors a perfect example of how mainstream society and a majority of people within our own Anishinabek communities continue to tokenize the real relationship and historical events between our Anishinabek Nations and the Settler Nations. This genocidal day of celebration is yet another make believe fairytale where our people are ready to sellout and swallow what they feed us just because we are starving.

One positive outcome of this Thanksgiving however was that I got the pleasure of cooking for my Anishinabek people in the community of Asubpeechosewagong Anishinabek Territory also known as Grassy Narrows First Nation. They not only shared their food with me but fed my spirit with the many smiles and that old fashioned Anishinabek humor that is always present within our circles. While cooking all day I reflected on the many reasons behind Thanksgiving and why so many of our people are starving. We are the landlords of these lands and live where there are still bountiful resources and in my eyes there should be no reason why our children go hungry.

Whether Thanksgiving or Columbus Day I think those who are reading this all know that Columbus initiated Genocide on our Peoples and celebrating this day for our people for those who have morals and a conscious or can think for themselves is not such a good day for us to be celebrating. Whatever side of the imaginary bullshit border you reside on, Thanksgiving Day symbolizes where the Anishinabek Nations saved the Settler’s asses by sharing our resources in the name of peace, non-interference and co-existence, then were killed right after which continues up to today. What I am trying to say is why are we celebrating? Why do our own people marginalize our own stories, tokenizing who we are, just to allow HIStory to be told? Why do we allow ourselves to be starving within our own homelands? Do we believe his story so much that we forgot who we are?

Earlier this year the community I come from decided to accept a settlement offer from Canada in regards to a Land Claim Settlement between the Chippewa Tri Council and the Crown. It is for $307 Million dollars and pertains to the 1830- 36 Coldwater Narrows Reserve Experiment which was the first trial of the reservation system in Upper Canada. We were turned from a nomadic hunting and gathering people living free to a farming people where we also prospered as farmers but had that reserve taken away and then pushed on to more remote and desolate reserves. The Chiefs at the time thought they were signing documents that acknowledged our peoples title to the lands and autonomy but was an illegal fraudulent surrender of the lands we occupied. Today our people have been asked to surrender their title to those lands in exchange for money which ultimately legitimizes the authority of Canada over our Nation. There has been no relinquishing of illegal foreign policies that are enforced upon our Nation within this offer where those thieves not only stole our lands but enforced their will on us. Our people are ready to surrender everything we are including the land because they are starving.

A Nation is not a Nation without title to their Lands. Me and my Brother opted out of this Settlement and are repossessing our traditional territories and made an encampment within a Provincial Park to uphold our sacred Nation to Nation agreements our ancestors made. We see the value in our teachings and in the land which does in fact provide for us where we will not go hungry. We set up our camp in April but since July I have been in Grassy Narrows and other parts of our Territory trying to unite grassroots people ready to uphold who we really are and it is in this community where I found love. Something I have been looking for, for a while. I am ready to head back to camp but it is this Thanksgiving which reminds me of where I need to be.

While baking pies for the community, I reflected on why are we starving when our communities are surrounded by water to fish, animals to hunt and people to work together where we can create cooperatives to work together to make sure we never go starving. I know Grassy Narrows was poisoned by Industry where the waters and fish were contaminated with mercury and Industry is raping their forests of timber but in general all of our communities are being contaminated and poisoned by Industry and Corporations but we still have resources that are untouched and us as people to work together where we can find solutions. In many of our communities we are still hunting and fishing. Why are we starving? My heart melted as I saw smiles of gratitude as I served the people, I too was in need and in their same place. I reflected why do we continue to look at our own reserves as our own Nations and our own communities, we are all Anishinabek, Why are we starving? It seems as I travel and reside in many of our Anishinabek Communities and Urban Centres the struggles are the same. Why are we starving? We are accepting another peoples way of life, their days of celebrations, accepting who they tell us we are, forgetting what we are and where we come from which is the lands, where we are ready to Surrender everything we are just because we are starving but fail to realize that it is the land that provides for us but many say we don’t want to live like that, it’s the modern era. Well the choice is yours! Continue to starve or Feed yourself and take back what is rightfully yours!

NO THANKS NO GIVING

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