Choose – Save the World or Do Nothing

Raven by Aaron Paquette
Raven by Aaron Paquette
Raven by Aaron Paquette
Raven by Aaron Paquette

EDMONTON – This is a painting of the Raven. It’s pulling the sun up over the horizon, awakening the world. 250 years ago, there was a document signed that was called: The British Royal Proclamation. It basically stated that Canada was legally obligated to recognize Indigenous land rights. It was signed by then regent George III. 

Before that time, everyone who came to Canada basically said, “Hey lookitthat! Mine!” and then they went and wrote it on a map. Logical, right?

Don’t you wish you could get some property by doing that?

I would imagine if you tried that the folks who already live on the newly claimed land might take exception to your presumption, unless they were really nice and said, “Well, let’s try it out. I have plenty and you’re weak and hungry, so let’s share.”

(That’s sort of the story of Thanksgiving.)

Sadly, we know how that played out. 

So anyway, millions of deaths and rapes and betrayals and attempted genocides and so forth later, we find ourselves today still trying to deal with this predicament.

Only now, it’s not just an Indigenous concern.

With our oceans and waters being poisoned, the air polluted, cancers and illnesses abounding, your children and theirs are inheriting a pretty messed up planet. And it’s not the old, throw your hands up and sigh kind of reality anymore.

You will not be here for the future. You will die. But what are you sending forward? What world are you preparing for those to come? The oceans are rising, the Pacific Ocean is irradiated, the Gulf of Mexico is toxified with raw crude oil, twisting the life that survives.

And in Canada, where just a year ago we had 2.5 million protected waterways, thanks to Conservative legislation we now have 62 river and 97 lakes.

And all for the profit of someone not named you.

And they will sell you till the day is done on the claim that Everything is Okay. That they are being Responsible Stewards of the Land. That it’s in the National Interest to deplete our land of petrochemicals as fast as humanly possible instead of developing alternate sources of energy. 

But we know that’s not true. We can smell the sulphurous stench of the hellish lie.

Now, all that is sad news and sounds negative. But really, it’s just laying the cards on the table.

We’ve driven ourselves into a bit of a mess by allowing others to take the wheel.

They are people who dream of gold and who have no vision.

But we have a vision.

We dream of Life.

We dream of protecting this holy Creation. 

We dream of giving our children a future where they can live without constant fear of sickness for their babies.

The Indigenous people of this world are standing. They are extending a hand in sisterhood and brotherhood. They are asking you to join with them, to take your place in the web of life.

They are asking you to stand.

If you love God, if you love your neighbour, if you praise the work of the Creator, then stand up at last and say so. 

If you don’t believe in all that stuff, then stand, too. The logic of observation compels you.

We need to join together and proclaim our hopes and dreams for this planet, for humanity, and for the species that we are destroying at an unimaginable rate.

We are made of water. It’s the magic substance of life. And we are desecrating it, more and more every day.

What will we do when there is no more clean water and your adult child’s baby is growing in a poisoned womb?

My children will never know what it’s like to drink freely from the local river. That makes me cry.

But it’s time to laugh.

It’s time to turn the tide, to wash the old, insane and destructive ideas out. 

Our political leaders will do what we tell them. That’s their job. But we have to talk very loudly, very slowly and very clearly. Again and again.

We have to start making responsible choices.

In Canada and the U.S., the only thing standing between wanton rape of the land (euphemistically called “development”) are some very thin laws and the will of the American Indians, the First Nations, The Inuk and the Metis, the Hawaiians and all their amazing, wonderful allies. 

This is why we stand for land claims. This is why we round dance in your malls. This is why we march in the streets. This is why we ask you to care for the land and the waters, too. 

We need you.

We can’t save everything by ourselves.

We need you to help us save it for Seven Generations ahead.

How we treat the women in this world seems to be reflected in how we treat this Mother Earth.

That is why the women are leading us. That is why they are taking their place. That is why we support them.

Hope is not lost until the hearts of the women are in the ground. And they are still beating.

Beating like the drum.

Like the blood that flows through all our veins, connecting us as one people, one family, one Humanity and All Our Relations.

Around the world these October 7, 2013 events are happening. If there isn’t an event in your area, make one happen!

You have two options on October 7.

1. Do nothing and watch the planet burn

2. Change the world

Hmmm…it’s so hard to decide…

Here’s a link to find out more info:

I hope to see you. I hope to stand with you.

I hope.

hiy hiy

Aaron Paquette

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Aaron Paquette is one of Canadaʼs premiere First Nations artists known for his bright colours, strong lines and for sharing new ways of looking at age-old experiences and beliefs. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Aaron has been creating art for the past 20 years. He apprenticed and has become both a Cathedral Stained Glass artist and a Goldsmith, influences of which can be seen in the line and structure of his paintings – displayed in various galleries throughout the country. Aaron is also an experienced facilitator, trainer and engaging public speaker. He has worked with the Royal Conservatory’s adjunct program -Learning Through the Arts- as both a Mentor Artist and as the First Nations Representative and Consultant in Alberta. This experience focused on providing the skills and background knowledge for infusing differentiated learning within the general curriculum in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Aaron has collaborated with Ministries, Teachers’ Associations, and various community members and teachers, providing region wide teacher workshops and in- school experiences related to the art curriculum that also provide an FNMI perspective. Through this collaboration, he also provides student workshops, professional development sessions and artist-in- residence programs. A skilled communicator, Aaron has worked with Alberta Education in reconciliation, specifically between communities and school administration. He has worked for years with the Edmonton Public School Board with both in-class sessions and special sessions for promising young artists. The Catholic School Boards in the Central and Northern Alberta region have also enlisted Aaron in many projects ranging from elementary school visits that tie art into curricular learning to mural painting with High School students.