A Message from Grand Chief Eastman, Chief O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi
Treaty 2 Territory – Today we wake up defending a territory that we know is rich in lands, water and many resources. For 147 years now, other governments continue to tell us how to run our lives. The relationship with these governments has been one sided, even though we established a Treaty partnership on 21 August 1871. We have a choice, we can either continue this way and carry on with the domination of the settler governments and become a municipal state, or we reclaim our Right to be self-determining. On June 12, 2018 the First Nations leaders resolved that they would no longer accept being dominated and oppressed and chose to form a temporary government that would invest and protect our people, nation and Territory.
As with anything, it will take time to rebuild our nation and reclaim our Rights to our territory, one step at a time and one acre at a time. We have many files that the temporary Government of First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory (FNiT2T) is working on. However, the wellness and prosperity of our territory is of vital importance and we must stand together to address what the Province of Manitoba is doing to our natural world; the world we kept pristine before the immigration of the settlers and their ways took domination.
At the time of the Treaty in 1871, Manitoba was a small postage sized stamp located south of our territory, and it wasn’t until 1881 and 1912 that it was expanded to include our territory. Why didn’t the First Nations resist the expansion or agree to the development of a province? The historical story of the imposition of the Indian Act and its oppression and genocidal plans for assimilation tells that story. Nonetheless, then and now there was absolutely no consultation, and no consent given. But we are stronger today, no longer are we weakened by the ways of the settlers. We are reclaiming our Rights as they should have been honoured at the time of the Treaty in 1871. No longer will we “ask” for consultation, we are asserting that anyone who wants to consult with our Nation and Territory must be given consent, not the other way around.
The time of following is done and its time to lead our way back to our nationhood as it was 147 years ago. Our people have suffered and have paid a heavy price with their lives so that the settler nation could immigrate and settle in our lands; we continue to honour the Treaty relationship, but now it is no longer a one-sided story. We will no longer tolerate trivial consultation or allow development without us fully involved and without our consent. We are the original keepers of this territory and we are reclaiming that Inherent Right granted by the Creator, not another government.
Nothing about us, without us, in unity we remain….
Last modified: December 1, 2018