Often times we as indigenous people tend to focus on issues within this hemisphere, and more specifically within the country we reside in.
That’s understandable, but we shouldn’t forget that indigenous issues are global in nature and policies seem to have a universality to them- that abuse is abuse regardless of it’s location, characterized by a long and sustained history wherever we are to be found.
Change is affected by numbers, unity, self awareness, and visibility-an issue that can be successfully addressed and resolved in one location can set a precedent, an example that will lead to remediation elsewhere.
An approach, a program, instituted by a people in New Zealand for instance can become a role model such as the one the Maori began to reclaim their heritage and language from the ground up beginning with children.
Aboriginal people in Australia, long victims in their right are on the move and doing likewise-we should all be encouraged by this.
The key to success in such efforts is grass roots-to begin and be sustained within the communities themselves. There are words to describe such an approach-words like independence, self respect, and sovereignty.
These efforts must be communal in nature and allow for the input of all-the great failure of AIM was that it never allowed this-that it was purely a “leadership” centric organization, and remains so to this day as it’s criminal past catches up with it.
We have alternately been viewed as a threat, a problem, an encumbrance, and a hindrance to securing resources, but seldom if ever as a viable people-and yet we are.
We have a rightful place on the world stage and it is ours to reclaim.
We can only hope to achieve this by being a strong people-strong in all those things that have and should define us.
Alcohol, drugs, rape,abuse, and gangs, can never accomplish that-and rather than existing in a state of denial or refusing to openly address them we should drag them all out of the closet and as communities confront them.
The game here is to characterize any attempt to do so as seeking to be a pet of the establishment, I say the opposite is true- to avoid confronting them is to be a pet of the establishment, to further the stereotype of being the “Indian problem” by refusing to address the issues and in turn perpetuating them.
What is the solution, to fuel the problems through avoidance or wait for yet another government program- to write more grant applications that will probably be skimmed and leave it for others to attend to? That hasn’t worked and will not.
Hollywood is in full swing-we are warriors one and all, stoic, granite faced and steely eyed, built to endure and sustained by a spirituality.
Yet there is little of this made evident in our communities where problems abound-our children and women are awash in their own tears-they await a re emergence of something more than youtube warriors and vacant claims to that effect-they await something more than a lying, murdering band of misfits who call themselves AIM leaders and warriors.
They await the true warrior who tends to his loved ones, his community, and places their welfare above all others. The true warrior who will do without so that the needs of others may be met. The true warrior who is honor bound to speak and act truthfully-to be what Creator made him….a man.
We need to mount up as a people for ourselves-not for AIM, not for the one percenters they are. We need to show some love for ourselves.