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Posts Tagged ‘Elders’

As the feather falls, my heart falls. The pain and sorrow of Algonquin Grandmother Louise Wawatie and her brother Joseph, in a video of them just released from prison, radiates off the screen. They were imprisoned for 8 days, and the Land they stood up for has been logged in the meantime.

While I suppose it is fitting they were released on International Day for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the fact they were arrested at all and held for so long is proof Canada has a long way to go when it comes to respecting Indigenous Rights.

Louise and Joseph were arrested on charges of mischief and breaking an injunction forbidding them from protesting the clear-cut logging by Resolute Forestry Products near Lac Poigan. They both refused conditions of bail, asserting their sovereign rights over their unceded territory where Resolute continues to clear-cut. The sister and brother were held in Maniwaki, Quebec, until this morning when they appeared in court and were released. The video of Joseph explaining the conditions of his release means he can’t even go home, and of Louise dropping the feathers, were shot outside the courthouse.

Louise’s brother, Jacob (Mowegan) Wawatie explains that “the meaning of the feathers falling is: Who is going to stand up for the collective nation that walks upon Mother Earth? This Grandmother is calling to all Nations to stand for the future generations. It is for the world of the future and may the youth of this world voice their own destiny.”

While our hearts sink to see Elders treated with disrespect, and to see beautiful Land destroyed, this is a call to action, not to wallow in despair. The feathers must be picked up, and we must fly together to a future where we live in harmony with the rest of Creation, a future where we can each flourish.

Will you answer this call and stand up for future generations? One small but important step: share the video and Louise’s message, far and wide.

Keep Shining,

Julie

Note: see this post for more background, and a video illustrating why they sought to protect this Land.

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In the bright Sunday sun in Strathcona park, Jacob (Mowegan) Wawatie draws maps of Algonquin territory, of his family’s territory, as rivers that branch off a main artery, just like the veins of a leaf branch from its stem. This is the land he is fighting to protect, for his family and for future generations.

Huddled in a circle on parched grass under the shade of huge Oak, we have just watched the video from the July 26 confrontation on the logging site near Poigan Lake, on unceded Algonquin land, on Jacob’s land. Mr. Dion (representing PF Resolute, a logging company from Montreal, Québec) and Sergeant St-Louis from the Sureté du Quebec, confronted the people protecting the wildlife and culture being destroyed and displaced by the company’s logging. Although the police officer claims to not take sides, it is clear in the video he is standing with the people from the PF Resolute company and mediating on their behalf, though paid by peoples’ taxes.

Eight minutes into the video, Jacob brings forward the baby hawk he found in one of the clear-cut areas: “This is the reason. How many nests have you knocked down this summer? Did you even consider that? How many other creatures have you dislodged from this territory? So what are we going to have to eat? What are we going to have to show to our children? This is why we were trying to do something about it. Its not because we are against the system. Its not because we are against your logging. We are trying to make you aware of this thing. To bring it into the consciousness of the Forestry Industry. And the government. And you that represent Justice [speaking to the Sergeant], supposedly. Now you understand our position. You see our goal. Our dream.”

Jacob told the loggers’ representative (who refused to go get his workers to see and hear Jacob in person) that they were not seeing these things, the terrible impact they are having on the Land. Insulated within their giant machines, or deafened by their chainsaws, they work on the land but are hardly more grounded in the land than the average corporate employee under fluorescent lights in a cubicle.

Jacob spoke to them, but his message in the video is for all of us who have lost our connection to the Land.

He and many others who still understand and thrive from the vitality only Nature can give are calling us to our true selves. To be human beings who are grounded in and grateful to the Land, grateful to all the other beings we share her with. Each animal and plant species is a unique expression of the energy that animates us all. Each species has a unique way of being in the world.

When we let ourselves see them, truly connect with them, feel what it might be like to be them, we open up the doors of our own perception. Can you imagine what it would be like to fly? To senses things through electricity? See through sound or with heat? Breathe water?

Will we truly SEE beyond our collective materialism and indifference? See the people and wildlife who are still connected to the Land? We may forget in our Cities, but we still depend on Nature for our life.

The baby hawk could not survive without her parents. She was named Mamwi for “Together”. Here is your chance to come together to defend this one part of the Land, part of the larger goal of shifting our relationship with Nature so that we can all flourish on this one precious Earth. Please share the video: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsimtg_mamwi-unedited-uncut-version_news

Keep Shining,

Julie

UPDATE, 9 August: Louise and Joseph were released after 8 days of imprisonment.

2 August: Please SIGN & SHARE this petition to free Louise and Joseph Wawatie: http://www.avaaz.org/fr/petition/Free_Louise_and_Joseph_Wawatie_without_conditions/?cKQhPab

1 August 2012: Sureté de Québec arrested Elders who were standing for the Land. Grandmother Louise Wawatie and Joseph Wawatie were arrested this morning.

I will keep updating this blog post when we know ways you can support Jacob and everyone protecting the Land. Meanwhile, PLEASE SHARE the petition and the video, and you can see more shorter videos over several days at the Standoff here: http://www.youtube.com/user/CDurare. For Jacob’s speech alone, see http://youtu.be/r5TuHM9AE2w

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This song was inspired by the South March Highlands and those fighting courageously and creatively to stop it from being clear-cut & blown-up next week.  There is something beautiful and powerful about the Forest we can’t quite explain, but it fuels our ability to work tirelessly (or despite being tired!) to save it.   And people keep coming forward to help us, as my friends Stefan, Ogui, Jessica, Michael, and Ed did to get a rough version of this song recorded before the Jan 8 rally.

Rough Cut: Beaver Pond Forest Song

So much noise out there

It can be hard to hear your own voice

So much power used against us

make ya feel you have no choice

We may each feel small

But together we stand tall

So wake up and raise your voice

Go on and make your choice

Who’s gonna fix this

If we back down

Who’s  gonna save

Our sacred ground

Its an old story

We don’t have much time

To stop the chainsaws

To stop this crime

A beautiful forest

Home to many species

Bit by bit

Cut into tiny pieces

No one paid

To take the long view

Except developers

Makin’ profits for the few

The rich play golf

While the forest crashes down

Basements get flooded

Can we turn this around?

Where is Ottawa City Hall?

Where’s the NCC?

Where is the province?

Why is it just you & me?

Why do humans use our power against life

Against life

Against life

And that is our fight

for life

that is our fight

for life

that is our fight

for life

Beaver Pond Forest

took centuries to grow

A week to destroy

This is our chance to show

That we’ve become wiser

That we fix mistakes

That we value life

That we’ve got what it takes

Will we listen to our Elders?

Which path will we choose

This is a key time

Not a moment to lose

So get up and raise your voice

Go on and make your choice

Who’s gonna fix this

If we back down

Who’s  gonna save

Our sacred ground

Vote with your dollar

picket Urbandale

prove this is the wrong way

to make a sale

Cut through the busy

You know its right

Save Beaver Pond Forest

Please join our fight!

So get up and raise your voice

Go on and make your choice

Who’s gonna fix this

If we back down

Who’s gonna save

Our sacred ground

Light  your candle for hope

Don’t give in

The truth will rise,

we can all still win

Light that candle

Don’t give in

Truth will rise,

we can all still win.

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GOAL
This is a rally to invite Urbandale/KNL to halt all cutting and blasting of the Beaver Pond Forest at least until spring. This is for ecological, archaeological, cultural and humane reasons. The City could halt development based on new evidence that the archaeological assessment needs to be redone. But the City refuses to put its foot down. The City isn’t taking responsibility. The province isn’t taking responsibility. The NCC isn’t taking responsibility. So we are going directly to the company that owns the land. We need to convince them it is better for everyone that they spare the most ecologically sensitive part of Ottawa. We need to prove it is more profitable to do the right thing.

PLAN
– Assemble in public parking lot next to All Saints High School at 1pm (5115 Kanata Avenue)
– Bring your own signs, we also have dozens made, including some which will be used in a subsequent Activist Art show
– March to Urbandale Sales Office (503 Remnor Avenue, half block away)
– Be loud, but musically (bring instruments & noisemakers!)
– Main Message to Urbandale: Do the Right Thing or Lose our Business

MORE INFO

FB: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=169031313140224

Google map link: http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=45.322173%2C-75.927628&spn=0.004813%2C0.013797&z=16

song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZBcLvtcJBY

on the Forest: http://www.ottawasgreatforest.com/
http://www.southmarchhighlands.ca/
Details on inadequate environmental assessment & storm waster management plans: http://renaud.ca/wordpress
community voices:http://the5thc.blogspot.com/
Petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Do-Not-Cut-Beaver-Pond-Forest-or-SMH/

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