Under A Northern Sky – 2017 Will Hold Surprises

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ATTAWAPISKAT – Here we go into a new year and it really looks like 2017 is going to be full of surprises. I know that for First Nation people all across Canada, 2016 was a glimmer of hope considering that we had a new government that was much easier for my people to deal with. A lot of positive changes have happened in this past year as many of the changes the Trudeau government had promised us took place. There are still many other commitments the Liberal government made to Aboriginal people and hopefully they will happen in 2017.

We are all going to have our hands full dealing with the repercussions of the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States. I am not at all sure he actually really did win the election as there seems to have been lots of questions about voting results in many states. It also seems like there was some kind of back story that involved other levels of the United States government that affected the election. The big question is what it will mean for us as Canadians as we are such close neighbours.

Things could go kind of crazy this year if the super powers keep playing chicken with each other. The United States, China and Russia are butting heads on so many levels and in many places around the world. It seems like we have returned to a cold war period where all kinds of unintelligent and unsafe situations are happening. Instead of trying to view the world as Mother Earth where we are all connected and depend on each other for survival, we are getting told once again that we should mistrust and hate one country or another. Too many of us are falling for it and that presents us with a very dangerous world climate that could lead to major skirmishes and even a Third World War.
We as Canadians have joined with western alliances and been involved in wars in so many Middle Eastern and African countries over the past 30 years and that has resulted in a very unstable world. Thousands of civilians have been killed in the name of our interest in control and resource domination. Cities and lands have been destroyed by arms and bombs made right here in Canada.

Many countries have also not been working very hard to deal with climate change and that has put us in danger. We are rapidly experiencing many changes to our climate and conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic are causing the melting of huge ice sheets and glaciers. That has an enormous impact on the Aboriginal and Inuit people of the far north and also of the creatures that have lived in that frozen environment for thousands of years. Under the new right wing government in the United States it seems that the climate change deniers will be in power under the rule of giant oil companies so I am not counting on a lot of good news for Mother Earth.

How will our Liberal federal government be able to deal with all of the pressure we will be getting from our neighbours to the south to continue to go to war and move away from protecting our land, water and air? How will Justin Trudeau’s government stay the course and find some balance in satisfying the money controllers while still protecting and supporting it’s people and our Mother Earth? Sadly, I believe we are moving into a very risky year and one fraught with danger. I suppose it is easier and more comfortable to just ignore all of these things that are staring us in the face. However that kind of apathy is causing us huge problems world wide and people are ending up with very right wing and fascist governments. Already, I am hearing racist, bigoted and hateful rhetoric as more right wing groups and organizations push to follow the lead of the United States government.

I love reading history and in my travels all over the world I have been so happy to visit the many beautiful historic sites in so many countries. However, much of my research in history and my visits revolve around the reality that war and conflict has always been prevalent right through the ages. It almost always revolves around the very wealthy few wanting more control and money at the expense of people, creatures and our Mother Earth. This has resulted in such terrible tragedy in the past and now that we have a world where many countries have so many nuclear weapons our future is compromised to say the least.

I believe that a Happy 2017 will rely on each one of us taking an interest in politics and making sure that fascism and right wing governments do not take over our country. This is a trend that is being driven in many countries in the world right now and we have to be on guard, aware and involved if we want to keep our democracy in place.

A Happy 2017 will depend on us.

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Under The Northern Sky is the title of a popular Aboriginal news column written by First Nation writer, Xavier Kataquapit, who is originally from Attawapiskat Ontario on the James Bay coast. He has been writing the column since 1997 and it is is published regularly in newspapers across Canada. In addition to working as a First Nation columnist, his writing has been featured on various Canadian radio broadcast programs. Xavier writes about his experiences as a First Nation Cree person. He has provided much insight into the James Bay Cree in regards to his people’s culture and traditions. As a Cree writer, his stories tell of the people on the land in the area of Attawapiskat First Nation were he was born and raised.