I never thought I’d regard the First Nations as my heroes.  But I am right now.

Don’t get me wrong – anyone is eligible for my hero designation.  No races, creeds, colours, religions or the now-multiple-choice genders are excluded. To me a hero is a hero.  All you have to do is stand up to bullying, tyranny and prejudice against others weaker.  You just have to be a champion.  You don’t even have to win.

First Nations have been whining a long time about a lot of things mostly justified and they have also stood up strong now and again but most of that has been in their own self interest.  They have not been the champions of others.  They don’t even legitimately have the mythical track record of defending the earth as often claimed.  At least not so far as I have been aware. But that changed with Enbridge and Northern Gateway.  The First Nations seem resolute about protecting the planet on that score.  And it is spreading to other issues as well.  Truly, they are idle no more.

Everyone said – whites and First Nations alike – that Enbridge and the oil pipeline should not travel across BC and spill poison into the sea.  But it is native land the pipeline has to cross and the industry is throwing money at them at irresistible levels.  But they are resisting.  Strongly.  And that is pretty good.  It is very good, in fact.

But that was not what tipped me off to the new aboriginal chutzpah.  That came more subtly.  Seems no one wanted herring to be fished up north for conservation reasons.  Gail Shea, the minister for the DFO (Destruction of Fisheries and Oceans) over ruled public sentiment and fishermen and ordered the fishery opened anyway.  First Nations (and the Green Party) fought back and won.  The fishery was not opened.  Gail Shea and DFO lost.  Now that is very good indeed.

And then it went even further.  Seems our own provincial government was in consultation with FN over some projects that first required consultation with FNs (and environmental studies) and yet the government went ahead and approved the projects for go-ahead by order-in-council and when the natives heard about that, they threw the provincial reps out of the meetings. Physically.  In our modern way, throwing people out of meetings is the equivalent of a punch in the nose.

Normally all you would hear is, “Well, we are going to have to sit down at the table and, at the end of the day find a way to go forward.”  Translation: give me more money.  Which is enough in itself to make me want to punch someone in the nose!

In a way, it is a revolution.  Of course, the Indians have been revolting for ages (an old phrase from literature and not intended to offend) but, as I said, it has mostly been about them.  But in defending the coast against oil spills and defending the herring fishery against a geocidal government policy, they have stepped up for all of us.  And by throwing the bastards out of meetings, they have signalled ‘enough is enough’.

Put another way: the First Nations are actually doing something to change the way the government is mishandling just about everything.  Your MLA and MP could take a lesson from them.  And they should.

If I could, I would vote for them. First Nations are my new heroes.

7 thoughts on “Heroes

  1. They are and they are not. It is and it is not. What motivates any group? It must be informed self interest. The challenging part of any analysis of the motivation of any group and any project is that it ends in an impass of reductionism. It appears that for everyone it is in a competition of economic goods. Is any group making a case for a reduction in their standard of living? No! It’s about the GDP, and who gets what and why.


  2. Well, I subscribe to the same level of cynicism (and that is why I have been so reluctant to come to this conclusion) but there is a counterpoint – and that is genuine harm reduction especially in light of the fact that all these oil projects benefit only a few. Money comes and money goes. Jobs come and jobs go. And people are starting to get that. Some mine opens and people give it concessions and they promise to employ locals forever. Ten years later they close down. That story is too often told. So, now people want none of it – not the burst of new jobs nor the promises. “Just stay away!”. The natives are going one step further – they are winning the battles they fight. They are ‘throwing the bums out!’ Cynically, that may just prove to be part of their negotiation for more cash but I hope not.


  3. News flash! Conservative government removes the humpback whale off the endangered species list! Huh! They got to be kidding.


    • Nothing about the Harper and his govt surprises me anymore.
      And to think that I once voted for that arrogant prick.
      For Harper to lose a conservative minded voter like me.
      And while I may only be one voter i have heard similar comments from likewise minded people. He’s toast in the next election.
      My prediction for May 2015. He may form a minority govt but the knives will come out and he’ll be gone.
      Hubris and the fall.
      Cant come soon enough.


      • The problem is that we believe the word ‘conservative’ that they use in their name. They are NOT conservative, they just call themselves that. It is simply branding. Liberals aren’t liberal. The NDP aren’t ‘new’. And I have yet to meet a Green who was the colour of Kermit. It is just a label, not a philosophy.
        And, anyway, how many of us aren’t conservative in some things, liberal, social and bloc-headed in others? Harper is an arrogant prick – no doubt. And Justin Bieber-Trudeau just an entitled egotist with a blank space between his ears. But they are the product of the party system. We accepedt a system that produces crap. It’s our fault.


        • True. I cringe at the thought of the winner of the “lucky sperm club” Justin Trudeau becoming the next PM ( or is it jealousy that a mere “kid” is PM and I’m NOT! 🙂 ).
          Perhaps the NDP will get my vote next election….. Either way , Harper has lost mine and only a change in leadership will bring it back.
          Nice photos of your hacienda, etc. by the way.
          Paradise found.
          On Monday morning ….
          Relax and enjoy another coffee while we plebes commute to another day at the Gulag salt mine.


          • Thanks, I will. No guilt either. Hard to feel guilty in heaven. And thanks for the pictures compliment. We’ll add a few soon…soon as the workshop is finished.


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