Manitoba Grand Chief Nepinak Encouraged by Partnership Potential
WINNIPEG – ANISHINABEK – We are standing at the cusp of a watershed moment in the history of our relationship with non-indigenous governments in Canada. I say this not to draw a line between our experience as indigenous peoples with those who have come here from other parts of the world. I say this because there is an inherent right to be self-determining peoples in our ancestral lands; regardless of the application of a Canadian Constitution Act that governs the majority of those who touch down in our beautiful homelands.
The inheritance we are waking up to is the beautiful gift of life in a place that we will always call our home. A place we did not travel too, but a place we have always been. A place that holds our stories, that holds our future and a place that no one else can claim as their own, no matter how long they attempt to push paper policies or laws that would have us fall into their municipalities or legislative regimes.
The implementation of our renewed sovereignty does not look like a Disney movie with two people holding hands and strolling off into the sunset. It starts with the awakening, then the empowerment, which includes the resolve to say ‘NO’……. Its not an easy transition to dislodge complacency and entitlement from its perch. At times along this path it will cause many to think that something is broken. And it may appear broken at times because we stopped agreeing to being exploited… We stopped agreeing to allow governments to be willfully blind to our treaty relationships. We stopped agreeing to the denial of our self-determination….This is what we are witnessing and although the empowerment is happening, it is happening in such a way that many can’t even see it happening. If you thought Idle No More was nothing more than an inconvenience on your morning or afternoon commute, then you didn’t feel the earth energy coming through the drums and the voices and the people and you missed it.!
I applaud the men and women in the new partnership. I know many of them and I know them to be reasonable, capable and proven leaders with track records that go deep into the history of Constitutional reform and the establishment of our current First Nations political constructs. I trust they will promote a positive dialogue, a dialogue that will challenge what many thought was the truth and I trust they will endeavour to do these things because the governments of this day will not…..
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs