Our Indigenous ways never involved money. We don’t need more discussion. More research. More studies. More endless handouts of base funding that leaves us as supplicants in our own lands. All our teachings and healing and life comes from the land. This land. Our land. And it’s all free.
And yet we collectively, as hundreds of Indigenous nations across this land making up some six percent of the overall population, including all those who privately have ownership in land not on reserves and all reserve territory, own less than 0.3% of all the land here. That doesn’t change with a population perpetually marginalized and financially vulnerable in a place where even rentals are unaffordable. We can’t go live in the ever diminishing forests or grasslands, because it is all now owned.
Our way of life revolved around sustainability. Around community. It was the green way before it ever was popular. We had agreements and relationships with the land, the water, the rocks, and all the other beings that prevented and kept in check the greed and exploitation seen by current populations. That prevented poisoning our own existence and that of many other beings into potential extinction. We didn’t need government actions plans for wellbeing and belonging, because our way of life was communal, with every person not out for themselves.
With land, we can heal. We can slow and repair the exploitation of the land. We can not rely on handouts anymore.
This doesn’t mean throwing out all settlers or making others suffer. Or living in tents on the margins barely getting by with no modern conveniences. Restoration of land means our leadership in land planning and use. Our input and design in processes and regulations. It means returning spaces that are available to allow for different types of communities to exist here that can be nomadic or sustainable with the environment around them. That do align more with our values and traditions. It’s not a black and white this is our land, get out. It’s a compromise and respect and understanding. And understanding that there are not straight lines of borders. There is no one way or understanding of what returning the land really means. My vision will be different from my other relations of different nations and experiences and teachings. Of meshing what works and discarding what doesn’t. Of looking closely at what we consume and how we discard it. Of how we organize the way we live and interact with mother Earth.
We don’t need your pity. We don’t need your handouts. We need LAND.
Vast amounts of money owed to our people sits in trust paying for much of the infrastructure and building that made Canada what it is today. Only the interest on that money is returned in the form of perpetual handouts. And that’s what it will look like until we have land. Its honestly the MUCH cheaper solution in the long run to give land, but it seems that prevention and self sufficiency has never been the real end game for them.
You want to go “green” in your business and have climate strategies and such in government? Hire Indigenous experts and consultants, let them lead and listen to them. Don’t just do some green-washing marketing scam. That doesn’t help. It makes you feel good, but does nothing for the actual environment. Consider willing any property or assets you have to Indigenous communities when you pass.
But most of all. GIVE BACK THE LAND.
Please and thank you. That is all.