Logic tells us that people will worry about what’s going on in their own backyards before thinking about the trials and tribulations of others. But once again, thinking logically, if people show interest in others’ troubles, then they would probably become concerned with their own.
We can go back through history and see that all Native Nations’ problems parallel one another—right through modern times. Old wars and struggles our ancestors fought were over land and the almighty dollar—and they continue today.
The governments of this Turtle Island forced our grandparents onto lands that were of no use to them back then but now, due to a wealth of minerals, are extremely valuable in today’s world. So, once again, the First Nations of Turtle Island are in the way of “progress.” And, once again, the governments of this land are attempting to make each First Nation’s struggles an individual argument. But everything that affects our Mother Earth—such as the redirecting of waters in the southwest that left many Native lands without life-giving water—affects all of us.
One of the beauties of our cultures is that we have our grandparents’ experiences to guide our way. The bodies and bones of our ancestors are feeding these lands and we walk upon them every day—which is one of the old teachings: “Walk Softly Upon The Mother, The Earth.”
Every Native struggle, from Aamjiwnaang’s pollution battle, to protecting the manoomin (wild rice), to the Black Hills battle, affects every one of us. And it is our very duty as the grandchildren of our peoples to continue to fight for this beautiful Mother Earth as our Ancestors did. They fought to the death for all of our relations.
We, the grandchildren of these heroes, are in a unique situation because now we have scientists, lawyers and politicians. Physical battle is no longer an option. Now the fight goes to the halls of the governments and we have relatives educated in these dominant society ways, educated in their laws and lines of thinking. But, once again, the governments have the upper hand because of the old wartime policy: “divide and conquer”!
Look on the maps. Even today, Native “reserves/reservations,” are separate and far apart, and there are military installations placed close by (remember 1995’s Ipperwash crisis?) But we have the Internet and cell phones; we can communicate with one another in solidarity!
Throughout the Indian Wars, our leaders and heroes were attempting to unite the Nations as one voice and one power, and I see it as our duty to continue this path—which is why my wife (who is a Sundancer) and I decided to begin this group: United First Nations Of Turtle Island.
We, as a united group, need as many members as possible, and we need to take an interest in all goings-on across the length and breadth of these lands—just as the original instructions from The Creator given to Original Man said it was our responsibility to do.
We can make a difference as long as we use our gifts and education, guided by the wisdom of the elders and the old ones.
Here are a couple Facebook.com groups created to combat pollution and the big corporations…
“Protect Our Monaoomin (Wild Rice)” is a group attempting to fight mining in The Great Lakes. The sulfates from the mining are deadly to the sacred rice, which was given to the Ahnsihinabek Nation by The Great Mystery at the Beginning, and now is in danger of being replaced by “hybrid” species of rice, that is able to survive the pollution of the sacred nibi (water).
United First Nations is a group begun by my wife Donna and me, in continuation of Grandfather Chief Tecumseh’s unification of all Native Peoples and Nations across the length and breadth of our beautiful Turtle Island. So, we as Unified Native Nations, can speak out as one voice, with one purpose, to serve and protect our Mother Earth and our respective Native Peoples until the seventh generation, as is the traditional teaching.
In this day and age, we must stand together in unity—Natives and non-Natives—and we Natives can share the beauty of our cultures with these “newcomers,” in the hopes that perhaps these teachings will awaken a far-distant memory of when The Creator came to them and gave them their original instructions on how to live in harmony and love, in this awesomely beautiful creation called Mother Earth.
Don J. George is from Kettle & Stoney Point Band, Ahnishinabe Nation. He is self-employed and interested in uniting all Natives across Turtle Island back to following The Original Instructions Of The Great Mystery.