The Natives and The Settlers

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There was a stream of events.
There was a sovereign existence.
There was a reason for being.
There was a purpose in the universe.

Before 1763, Aboriginal Natives existed.
They were nations.
They held territory.
They kept verbal record alive in the longhouses
for 10,000 years.
And then, the settlers came here, running from oppression.
They wrote up a Royal Proclamation in 1763:
The Crown and the First Nations.

What happened between 1763 and 1990 at OKA????
The Crown said, “Indians could only sell land to the Crown.”
how convenient.
The Crown said, “Indians cannot vote.”
how undemocratic.
The Crown said, “Anyone acting on behalf of Indians is
subject to jail and fines.”
how unjust.
The Crown said, “More than 6 Indians in one place, at
one time is banned.”
how discriminatory.
The Crown said, “No potlatch.”
The Crown said, “No spoken Indian language.”
The Crown said, “No Indian names.”
The Crown said, “Separate off the children to residential
school prisons to suppress family life, traditional ways, traditional
diets, traditional healing, traditional spirit, traditional
harmony with nature, and traditional culture.”
The Crown said, “Art belongs in museums.”
how distant.
The Crown said, “No longhouse.”
how arrogant, how disrespectful, how oppressive.

The First Nations died…
…almost.

Now the Crown says, “Extinguish your rights to the land
if you want to settle.”
The Crown says, “On behalf of multinationals and selfish
arrogant expansion we want Stein Valley, Leyell Island,
Carmannah, Labrador airspace and OKA.”
Native Nations say, “No!”
First Nations say, “Title does not come from Proclamation
of 1763.  It comes from Inherent Occupation.”
Natives say, “We will not negotiate clear cut deserts,
we will not negotiate undrinkable waters.”
Native people say, “NO!”

I, settler, see wrong history,
I, settler, see a strangled people on damaged land,
Native Nations say, “NO!”
I, support their cause.

David L Pritchett, 1990

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