It’s a sad day in Canada when First Nations elders and leaders are put in the position that fasting and self-sacrifice are the only avenues left for them to communicate with the Canadian government. As Amnesty International points out:
The Canadian constitution affirms the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Treaties that they entered into with Canada. Canadian courts have called the protection of Indigenous rights “an underlying constitutional value”, “a national commitment”, and a matter of “public interest”.
Governments in Canada are supposed to act as guarantors of First Nations’ rights. Yet that is the opposite of what the current federal government is doing; instead they are actively working to dismantle the rights of Canada’s First People (see Russ Diabo’s “Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan: As Negotiating Tables Legitimizes Canada’s Colonialism”). Elder Ray Robinson of Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba is currently on his 6th day of consuming no food or water, hoping to get the Government of Canada to show respect for First Nations Treaty Rights and way of life; he is putting his life on the line. Elder Robinson wrote this yesterday:
I am not demanding anything from anyone; this is a spiritual fast. I am refusing the necessities of life; food and water. I am praying and meditating constantly for the creator to show mercy and compassion to the people of the world of all colors and races. I am praying to bring down all the préjudices, and all the boundaries that have separated the people of this world.
I am seeking intervention, mercy, and compassion that the differences that are arising from these treaty relationships between First Nations and the Crown be restored.
I am praying that the two nations of Canada; First Nations and the Crown start seriously working together on a Nation-to-Nation basis. That is what I pray for on this fast. It’s a spiritual fast.
As a Grand Elder have a duty and an obligation to always live by the sacred teachings that have been handed down by the First Elder, our Creator; I pray for people regardless of race, creed, or belief. I pray that people work together for the stability and cohesiveness and well being of all common men and women. I pray for this world to aspire to work together. And that is what I’m doing on this fast without food and water.
I encourage everybody to always aspire to come from the same respect, to always come from the natural laws of life; for that is the real red road. These natural laws are; respect, honor, humility, honesty, truth, courage, and wisdom. These seven natural laws are intertwined, they are in balance. One cannot go without the other, they must always come as one, for when you break one, you break them all. Not only do you break them with the creator, but we also break them with ourselves, with Mother Earth. So I encourage you to always come from that respect.
This video was posted on Saturday:
Communities across Canada are holding candlelight vigils for Elder Robinson – click here to find out about one happening close to you, or about how to organize one in your own community. If you are on twitter, use the hashtag #RayofHope when spreading the word.