Transcript: Taiaiake Alfred on Native Self Government | May 14, 2005

Taiaiake Alfred stands in a university auditorium and addresses an unseen audience. He's in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short black hair. He's wearing glasses, a purple pinstripe shirt, and a brown checked tie.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Taiaiake Alfred. University of Victoria. Wasáse: Indigenous pathways of action and freedom. University of Toronto. March 21, 2005."

Taiaiake says I WANT TO
TALK ABOUT THE BOOK, BUT I
THINK WHAT I WANT TO DO FIRST
IS TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE KEY
CONCEPTS AND THE KEY IDEAS THAT
ARE INTERWOVEN, NOT ONLY IN
THIS BOOK, BUT IN THE WORK THAT
WE'RE ALL DOING, TOO.
AND UH, ALSO IN THE WORK THAT I'M
TRYING TO DO OUTSIDE OF MY
ACADEMIC ROLE, IN THE COMMUNITY
AND TRYING TO REALLY GENERATE A
MOVEMENT THAT'S DIFFERENT THAN
THE PATHWAYS OF POLITICS AND
THE PATHWAYS OF CULTURAL
POLITICS THAT ARE DEFINING WHAT
IT IS TO BE FIRST NATIONS IN
CANADA TODAY.
SO I COME AT IT FROM A VERY
CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE, BUILDING
ON PEACE, POWER, RIGHTEOUSNESS,
WHICH WAS A VERY CRITICAL
STATEMENT AND CRITICAL IN THE
KIND OF NEGATIVE WAY, IN THE
SENSE THAT IT'S A CRITICAL
STATEMENT ON THE CORRUPTION ON
THE COOPTATION AND THE
NEGATIVITY SURROUNDING A LOT OF
THE WAYS THAT OUR POLITICS IS
PRACTISED IN OUR COMMUNITIES.
IT WAS A CRITICAL STATEMENT,
BUT WHAT I FELT, AFTER WRITING
THAT BOOK, AND WHAT I FELT
AFTER HEARING THE REACTION AND
LIVING WITH THE BOOK FOR, HOW
LONG IS IT NOW, SIX YEARS,
ALMOST SIX YEARS, IS THAT THERE
NEEDED TO BE A POSITIVE VISION
COMING OUT OF THAT.
THERE NEEDED TO BE A STATEMENT
OF WHAT IS THE PATHWAY, THE
[Speaking First Nations
Language], THE REAL INDIGENOUS
WAY, OF GOING--
IF I'M GOING TO BE CRITICAL OF
THE WAY THINGS ARE, I BETTER
HAVE SOMETHING TO BACK IT UP IN
TERMS OF A STATEMENT AS TO WHAT
IS THE ALTERNATIVE.
AND SO THE WORK I'VE BEEN DOING
SINCE THEN IS TO TRY TO
DISCOVER THAT ALTERNATIVE FOR
MYSELF.
THE WAY THAT I WRITE, LIKE ALL
WRITERS AND GOOD WRITERS THAT
ARE ROOTED IN COMMUNITY AND
HAVE SOMETHING REALLY GOOD TO
SAY, AND USEFUL TO THE PEOPLE
TO THE SURVIVAL OF OUR NATIONS,
IS THAT IT'S AN ORGANIC
PROCESS.
IT'S A PROCESS OF REALLY COMING
TO UNDERSTAND THINGS FROM A
PERSPECTIVE ROOTED IN OUR
COMMUNITY, ROOTED IN OUR
NATIONS, NOT SO MUCH DRAWING ON
THE KNOWLEDGE THAT EXISTS IN
THE UNIVERSITY, NOT SO MUCH
DRAWING ON KNOWLEDGES THAT
EXIST IN OTHER REALMS, BUT
EMERGING ORGANICALLY FROM OUR
COMMUNITY.
AND THE WAY THAT I DO MY
RESEARCH, SO TO SPEAK, IS
BASICALLY JUST TO GO TO PEOPLE
AND TALK TO THEM ABOUT WHAT THE
MAIN ISSUES ARE, AND LOOKING
FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE HELD
IN HIGH ESTEEM IN THEIR OWN
COMMUNITY.
I GO AND LOOK, I LOOK FOR THOSE
PEOPLE, AND I ASK PEOPLE IN THE
COMMUNITY, WHO I KNOW AND
TRUST, WHO ARE THE REAL
WARRIORS, WHO ARE THE REAL
LEADERS, WHO ARE THE PEOPLE
THAT ARE DOING IT RIGHT?
WHO ARE THE ONES THAT EMBODY
WHAT IT IS THAT YOU CONSIDER TO
BE ONKWEHONWE, OR WHATEVER THE
WORD IS IN YOUR LANGUAGE.
AND THOSE PEOPLE ARE POINTED
OUT, BECAUSE THEY ARE GENERALLY
PEOPLE THAT EVERYBODY RESPECTS.
AND THEY'RE GENERALLY PEOPLE
THAT EVERYBODY KNOWS ARE DOING
IT RIGHT, AND HAVE THAT WARRIOR
ETHIC.
AND SO THE RESEARCH FOR THIS
RECENT BOOK IS BASICALLY A
SERIES OF CONVERSATIONS THAT I
HAD WITH PEOPLE THAT I RESPECT
AND ADMIRE.
NOT ALL THE PEOPLE I RESPECT
AND ADMIRE, I SHOULD SAY,
BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT SITTING
HERE, FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES.
BUT PEOPLE THAT I THING WOULD--
AND I HOPE PEOPLE AGREE WHEN
THEY READ THBOOK, EMBODY T
TYPE OF POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT
WITH COLONIALISM THAT TODAY, IN
MY MIND EMBODIES WHAT IT IS TO
BE A WARRIOR.
AND SO THE RESEARCH THAT I DID
WAS ASK THEM -- WHAT IS IT TO
BE A WARRIOR, WHAT IS IT TO
MAINTAIN YOURSELF--
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO MAINTAIN
YOURSELF AS ONKWEHONWE TODAY,
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES.
WHAT ARE THE KNOWLEDGE SOURCES
THAT YOU'VE DRAWN ON FROM YOUR
TRADITION, FROM YOUR CULTURE,
WHO HAVE BEEN YOUR TEACHERS?
AND CAN YOU HELP ME UNDERSTAND
HOW TO TRANSLATE THIS KNOWLEDGE
FROM YOUR HEAD TO MY HEAD TO
THE YOUNGER GENERATION OF
PEOPLE.
AND THIS BOOK WAS REALLY
WRITTEN FOR THE YOUNGER
GENERATION OF PEOPLE TO INSPIRE
THEM AND TO MOTIVATE THEM TO
BEGIN TO TAKE ACTION.
SO WITH THAT SAID, THE MAIN
ISSUES THAT HAVE EMERGED IN
THESE CONVERSATIONS ARE PRETTY
CONSISTENT AMONG ALL THE
DIFFERENT NATIONS THAT I'VE
TRAVELLED TO.
AND IN MY POSITION, ONE OF THE
LUXURIES THAT I HAVE AND ONE OF
THE ADVANTAGES THAT I HAVE, IS
THAT I GET TO TRAVEL AROUND,
AND I GET TO SPEAK TO PEOPLE,
FROM EAST TO WEST, IN THE
CENTRE, ON THE PRAIRIES, UP
NORTH, INTO THE UNITED STATES,
IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE, I
GET TO TALK TO A LOT OF
DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
AND WHAT STRUCK ME IS THAT
THERE REALLY IS SOMETHING
CALLED THE INDIGENOUS
CONSCIOUSNESS, THAT THERE
REALLY IS SOMETHING CONSISTENT
AMONG ALL OF OUR PEOPLE.
A LOT OF TIMES IT'S DISPARAGED,
PEOPLE SAY OH, IT'S PAN-
INDIANISM OR IT'S KIND OF...
IT'S WATERING DOWN WHO WE
REALLY ARE, IT'S NOT REAL
MOHAWK CULTURE, IT'S NOT REAL
CREE CULTURE, IT'S NOT STOLO,
IT'S SOMETHING, IF YOU IMAGINE
THAT WE'RE THE SAME AS OTHER
PEOPLE, THAT WE HAVE THAT BOND,
THAT IT'S SOMEHOW DENIGRATING
YOUR OWN.
BUT I'VE FOUND THAT TO BE THE
FURTHEST THING FROM THE TRUTH.
I FOUND THAT WHEN YOU GO AND
YOU TRAVEL TO THESE
COMMUNITIES, NUMBER ONE ON THE
ISSUES THAT THEY'RE FACING, ON
THE CHALLENGES THAT THEY'RE
FACING, THE PROBLEMS THEY HAVE,
ON ONE HAND,
ON THE OTHER HAND, ON THE SOURCES OF
KNOWLEDGE AND THE DEEP ROOTS OF
THE SPIRITUAL TRADITION IN
THESE COMMUNITIES, THERE'S A
REAL BASIC COMMONALITY.
AND THAT'S A HOPEFUL VISION.
IT'S A HOPEFUL VISION, BECAUSE
WHAT THAT MEANS IS THERE IS THE
BASIS FOR UNITY OF OUR PEOPLE.
AND SO WHAT I'VE TRIED TO DO IS CONSTRUCT A
STATEMENT ON WHAT IT IS TO BE
INDIGENOUS.
I KNOW THAT SOUNDS GRANDIOSE TO
SOME PEOPLE, THEY'RE SITTING
HERE SAYING, HOW PRETENTIOUS,
WHAT AN EGOMANIAC TO COME UP
HERE AND SAY -- TO HAVE THE
GALL TO STAND UP AND THE
AUDACITY TO SAY THIS IS WHAT IT
IS TO BE INDIGENOUS.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?
I DON'T REALLY FEEL THAT WAY.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues I DON'T FEEL ARROGANT.

A woman says something inaudible.

Taiaiake laughs and continues
AND PEOPLE HAVE READ THE BOOK,
AND PEOPLE HAVE READ THE BOOK,
YOUNG PEOPLE, OLD PEOPLE,
WOMEN, MEN, ELDERS, NON-NATIVE
PEOPLE, NATIVE PEOPLE, AND THAT
DOESN'T COME THROUGH BECAUSE
THE TRUTH OF IT IS, ALL THE
VOICES THAT YOU SEE IN THIS
BOOK, ALL THE VOICES THAT COME
THROUGH IN THE VOICE THAT I'M
TRYING TO PUT OUT, ARE VERY,
VERY RESONANT WITH EACH OTHER
ON WHAT THESE ISSUES ARE.
SO TO SAY THIS IS NOT TO SAY
ANYTHING OUT OF LINE WITH
REALITY.
IT MAY BE GOING AGAINST THE
INTUITION THAT WE HAVE NOW IN
OUR CONTEMPORARY CULTURE, BUT I
THINK IT HEARKENS BACK TO A
REALITY AND A COMMITMENT AND A
BELIEF THAT WAS EXISTENT IN OUR
ANCESTORS' CULTURES AND IN OUR
ANCESTORS' MINDS, WHICH IS THAT
WE'RE ONE PEOPLE AT ROOT, WHO
LIVE DIFFERENT CULTURES AND
LIVE IN DIFFERENT TERRITORIES.
AND I THINK WE NEED TO START
THERE.
WHAT I'M SAYING IS THAT--
THIS BOOK OFFERS A VISION OF
WHAT IT IS TO BE INDIGENOUS,
BASED ON ANCIENT SPIRITUAL
TRADITIONS INTERPRETED FOR
TODAY BY THE PEOPLE THAT I
SPOKE TO.
SO MY CONTRIBUTION IN THIS BOOK
ALL THIS IS A LEAD UP TO
WHAT I'M GOING TO SAY RIGHT
NOW.
MY CONTRIBUTION IN THIS BOOK IS
NOT AN ORIGINAL STATEMENT.
IT'S NOTHING THAT'S COMING FROM
MY HEAD.
IT'S MY VOICE INTERPRETING WHAT
I BELIEVE TO BE THE KNOWLEDGE
AND THE WISDOM AND THE
TEACHINGS OF OUR ANCESTORS AS
THEY LIVE IN THE CULTURES AND
COMMUNITIES OF OUR PEOPLE
TODAY.
AND I THINK THERE'S GREAT POWER
IN THAT, BUT THAT'S ALSO A
GREAT CHALLENGE.
BECAUSE MOST OF THE KNOWLEDGE,
MOST OF THE INSTITUTIONS, MOST
OF THE IDEAS THAT WE HAVE
EMBEDDED INTO POLITICS TODAY,
AND INTO OUR CULTURE TODAY, ARE
NOT REFLECTIVE OF THAT.
MOST OF THE KNOWLEDGES THAT WE
HAVE AT PLAY TODAY IN OUR
LIVES, WHETHER IT'S
INSTITUTIONALLY IN POLITICS,
CULTURALLY, SOCIALLY, OUR IDEAS
ABOUT OUR SELVES, OUR
IDENTITIES ARE COLONIAL
CONSTRUCTIONS.
SO IT'S A GREAT CHALLENGE TO
COME TO SOMEONE AND SAY, YOUR
BELIEF ABOUT YOURSELF, WHETHER
YOU THINK OF YOURSELF AS
ABORIGINAL OR AN INDIAN, OR
EVEN IF YOU'VE CONSTRUCTED AN
IDENTITY THAT'S DE-COLONISED TO
A CERTAIN EXTENT, AND YOU CAN
SAY YOU'RE ANISHINAABE OR
ONKWEHONWE, IT'S MORE
REFLECTIVE OF A COLONIAL
MENTALITY THAN A REAL
ONKWEHONWE MENTALITY.
THAT'S A HARSH CHALLENGE TO A
LOT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE PUT HARD
WORK AND HAVE PUT A LOT OF
STRUGGLE INTO TRYING TO REMOVE
THEMSELVES FROM COLONIALISM IN
WAYS OF IDENTITY AND CULTURE
AND POLITICS.
SO I WANT TO SAY WITH RESPECT,
OKAY, THAT'S MY STATEMENT OF
RESPECT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE PUT
THE WORK IN.
NOTHING THAT I'M SAYING HERE IS
MEANT TO DISPARAGE THE WORK
THAT'S GONE INTO DECOLONISING
OUR MINDS AND DECOLONISING OUR
COMMUNITIES.
THAT WAS ME FIVE YEAR AGO.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues OR THOSE OF YOU WHO REMEMBER,
MAYBE NINE YEARS AGO.
I WAS A LOT MORE BRASH, I
THINK, AND A LOT MORE FINGER
POINTING.
I WAS YOUNGER, BASICALLY,
RIGHT, THAT'S WHAT THEY SAY.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues SO I WAS YOUNGER.
WHAT I'VE COME TO APPRECIATE IN
THE MEANTIME, IS THAT WE ALL
STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF
PEOPLE WHO'VE COME BEFORE US IN
THE STRUGGLE -- IS THAT ALL OF
THOSE EFFORTS HAVE LED US TO
WHERE WE ARE NOW, SO THAT WE
CAN SIT HERE TODAY AND BE
PASSIONATE AND INFORMED AND
COMMITTED ABOUT DOING SOMETHING
DIFFERENT.
THE REASON WE'RE HERE TODAY IS
BECAUSE OF THE EFFORTS OF THOSE
PEOPLE WHO HAVE STRATEGIES THAT
WE MAY NOT WANT TO AGREE WITH
TODAY.
AND IT'S NOTHING TO DISPARAGE
THEIR INTEGRITY OR WHAT THEY'VE
DONE.
IT'S SIMPLY TO SAY THAT IN THAT
TIME AND THAT PLACE, THAT
STRATEGY MAY HAVE HAD AN
EFFECTIVENESS AND A RELEVANCY
AND AN APPROPRIATENESS, BUT WE
LIVE IN A DIFFERENT TIME AND
PLACE.
AND OUR TIME AND PLACE IN
HISTORY DEMANDS CREATIVE
THINKING ON OUR PART, AND IT
DEMANDS A NEW WAY OF MOVING
FORWARD BUILDING ON WHAT WE'VE
LEARNED FROM THE PREVIOUS
EFFORTS.
AMD THAT'S IN TERMS OF CULTURE,
SOCIAL MOVEMENT AND POLITICS.
IN THE PAST I'VE TENDED TO
FOCUS ON POLITICS IN MY OWN
WORK, AND I STILL, TO A CERTAIN
EXTENT, FOCUS ON POLITICS.
BUT WHAT I'VE COME TO REALISE
ALSO IS THAT YOU CANNOT HAVE A
REAL POLITICAL MOVEMENT WITHOUT
IT BEING, NOT ONLY INFORMED BY,
BUT ROOTED IN THE SPIRITUAL AND
CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR
PEOPLE, AND THE SPIRITUAL AND
CULTURAL TRADITIONS BEING THE
FOUNDATION OF THIS MOVEMENT, I
THINK IS WHAT'S GOING TO GIVE
US POWER AS A POLITICAL
MOVEMENT, AS OPPOSED TO ANOTHER
KIND OF POLITICAL MOVEMENT.
THEY MAY BE INSTRUMENTAL TO A
CERTAIN TARGET, BUT IS NOT
GOING TO REPRESENT OUR PEOPLE
IN THE WAY THAT OUR ANCESTORS
WOULD HAVE HAD US REPRESENTED.
AND THAT'S THE REAL, CRUCIAL
DISTINCTION, I THINK, BETWEEN
THE KIND OF PHILOSOPHIES, THE
KIND OF UH... IDEAS, THE KIND
OF STRATEGIES THAT EMERGE FROM
THE CONVERSATIONS IN THIS BOOK,
AND THAT I'M TALKING TO YOU
ABOUT NOW.
THE REAL...
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THOSE
AND THE MAINSTREAM AGENDA IN
FIRST NATIONS POLITICS, IN
ABORIGINAL POLITICS IS THAT WE
HAVE THAT FUNDAMENTAL
COMMITMENT, AND I SAY WE,
SPEAKING FOR THE PEOPLE THAT I
REPRESENT IN THIS BOOK.
AND THE PEOPLE THAT I ASSOCIATE WITH IN
THE MOVEMENTS THAT I'M INVOLVED WITH.
WE HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL
COMMITMENT TO THE VALUE OF THE
AUTONOMY AND THE FREEDOM OF OUR
NATIONS, AS DISTINCT PEOPLES.
WE VALUE THE WAYS OF LIVING,
THE PRINCIPLES, THE TEACHINGS
OF OUR ANCESTORS AND OF OUR
CULTURE.
WE OPPOSE THE SURRENDER OF
THOSE THINGS, THE OBLITERATION
OF THOSE THINGS FOR AN
INTEGRATION WITH COLONIAL
SOCIETY.
WE WOULD RATHER DEFEND THOSE
THINGS THAN HAVE AN EASY CO-
OPERATION WITH THE COLONIAL
SOCIETY.
AND SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT
FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES IN
INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY, IT'S ON
THIS FUNDAMENTAL DISAGREEMENT
BETWEEN THOSE WHO WOULD RATHER
CO-OPERATE AND HAVE THAT
COEXISTENCE IN A COLONIAL
SOCIETY WITHOUT QUESTIONING THE
PILLARS OF THAT COLONIAL
SOCIETY AND FIND A PLACE WITHIN
THAT COLONIAL SOCIETY, AND
THOSE WHO WANT TO STRUGGLE AND
SACRIFICE THAT COEXISTENCE,
THAT EASY COEXISTENCE TO
PRESERVE WHAT ARE THE OLDER
WAYS OF THINKING ABOUT BEING AN
ONKWEHONWE.
THAT'S A FUNDAMENTAL
DIFFERENCE, AND IT'S A
DIFFERENCE THAT IS, ITSELF
DIFFERENT THAN THE ONES I
REFERRED TO IN EARLIER VERSIONS
OF MY OWN WORK.
LIKE, YOU MENTIONED I HAVE TWO
PREVIOUS BOOKS, AND IF YOU
THINK ABOUT IT, THE CHALLENGE
IN THE WAY THAT I'VE WRITTEN
ABOUT IT HAS CHANGED.
I'VE KIND OF SHIFTED MY VIEW OF
WHAT THE REAL CHALLENGE IS.
AT FIRST WHEN I STARTED
WORKING, IT WAS SIMPLY A MATTER
OF US GAINING CONTROL OVER THE
INSTITUTIONS OF OUR SOCIETY, SO
SELF-GOVERNMENT, BASICALLY,
RIGHT, THE SELF-GOVERNMENT
MOVEMENT.
SO MY FIRST BOOK WAS MY
DISSERTATION, AND IT WAS A
STATEMENT ON HOW TO GAIN
JURISDICTIONAL AUTHORITY, HOW
TO GAIN CONTROL OVER THE LAW
MAKING INSTITUTIONS THAT ALLOW
US TO MAKE THE RULES AND CREATE
INSTITUTIONS FOR OUR
COMMUNITIES WITHIN THE OVERALL
STRUCTURE OF THE COLONIAL
SOCIETY.
I WOULD HAVE SAID NEVER IT BACK
THEN THAT WAY, BUT REALLY,
THAT'S WHAT IT IS.
AND IN ESSENCE, THAT'S WHAT
SELF-GOVERNMENT IS, REALLY.
THE WHOLE MOVEMENT FOR SELF-
GOVERNMENT, AND IN THE
DISCUSSION PERIOD, WHICH WE'LL
HAVE PLENTY OF TIME FOR, BY THE
WAY, WE CAN TALK ABOUT THAT,
BUT IN ESSENCE WHAT PEOPLE ARE
LOOKING FOR IS JURISDICTIONAL
AUTHORITY, JURISDICTIONAL
CONTROL WITHIN A SYSTEM THAT
WAS GENERATED OUT OF THE
COLONIAL HISTORY OF THE
INTERACTION BETWEEN NATIVES AND
NON-NATIVES.
AND SO MY FIRST BOOK WAS REALLY
ABOUT THAT.
WHEN YOU'RE INVOLVED IN THAT
MOVEMENT, AS MANY OF US ARE OR
HAVE BEEN, AND ESPECIALLY WHEN
YOU HAVE THE LUXURY OF SITTING
BACK THINKING ABOUT IT FOR
YEARS AND YEARS, YOU BEGIN TO
REALISE THAT IT'S NOT THE
ANSWER TO OUR PROBLEMS.
IF YOU HOLD OUT FOR THE
ORIGINAL DEFINITION OF WHAT THE
PROBLEM IS, NATIONHOOD, THE
LAND STOLEN FROM US, UNHEALTHY
LIFESTYLES LIVED BY OUR PEOPLE,
BASIC INJUSTICES, THOSE KIND OF
THINGS.
IF YOU HOLD OUT AS THAT, AS A
DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM,
SELF-GOVERNMENT IS NOT THE
SOLUTION.
SELF-GOVERNMENT SOLVES A
PROBLEM FOR THE OTHER GUY.
IT SOLVES THEIR JURISDICTIONAL
INCONSISTENCY WITHIN THE LAWS
OF CANADA.
AND IN EFFECT BY ACCEPTING THE
OVERALL SUPERSTRUCTURE AND
FINDING A PLACE WITHIN IT,
WE'RE LETTING THEM OFF THE HOOK
FOR COLONIALISM.
MEANWHILE OUR PEOPLE CONTINUE
TO SUFFER.
AND THIS ISN'T AN ANALYTICAL
CONCLUSION, I HAVE TO SAY.
I WISH I WAS THAT BRILLIANT, TO
BE ABLE TO SAY, YOU KNOW, I'VE
ANALYSED THE SITUATION, AND AS
A POLITICAL SCIENTIST, IF I
PROJECT INTO THE FUTURE, I CAN
SEE THAT SELF-GOVERNMENT
INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE IS NOT
GOING TO HAVE ANY MEASURABLE
EFFECT ON THE HAPPINESS
QUOTIENT OF THE AVERAGE MOHAWK.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues I WISH I WAS ABLE TO DO THAT,
BUT I'M NOT.
IT'S LIVED EXPERIENCE, OKAY?
IT'S LIVED EXPERIENCE IN
KAHNAWAKE, IT'S LIVED
EXPERIENCE IN, I DON'T WANT TO
SAY MY NEW HOME, BUT MY KIND OF
ADOPTED PLACE OF BEING WHERE I
LOVE, ON THE WEST COAST.
[Laughing]
WE HAVE SOME WEST COAST
NATIONALISTS HERE IN THE
AUDIENCE.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues SO IN THE WEST COAST, IN THE
NORTH, PLACES WHERE I'VE
TRAVELLED, BASICALLY TROUGH
OBSERVATION AND INTERACTION,
AND THROUGH SIMPLY BEING AN
ONKWEHONWE AND LOOKING AT LIFE,
PEOPLE'S LIVES, SELF-GOVERNMENT
HAS DONE NOTHING TO AFFECT
THEIR HAPPINESS QUOTIENT, TO
STICK WITH THAT PHRASE.
SO THEN WHAT DO YOU DO?
WELL IF YOU REMAIN COMMITTED,
AND I KEEP SAYING THAT, REMAIN
COMMITTED TO THE ORIGINAL GOAL,
WHICH WAS OUR ANCESTORS' VISION
OF OUR OWN LAND, OUR OWN LAWS,
OUR NATIONHOOD FULLY DEVELOPED,
BUT THE HAPPINESS OF OUR PEOPLE
AS WELL, AND JUSTICE ACHIEVED
IN THE PROCESS, WELL THEN YOU
HAVE TO SHIFT STRATEGIES, AND
MY SECOND BOOK IS A SHIFT IN
THAT REGARD.
IT'S TO ADD SOME KIND OF
QUALITY, A STATEMENT ON QUALITY
TO THAT MOVEMENT FOR SELF-
GOVERNMENT.
SO IF THE FIRST ONE WAS SIMPLY
INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT THAT
DIDN'T REALLY CARE ABOUT THE
QUALITY OF THE LIFE LIVED, SO
JUST, SAY MOHAWK POWER OVER
KAHNAWAKE, PERIOD, OKAY?
AND AGAIN, I'M REMINDING PEOPLE, I'M NOT
PUTTING DOWN WHAT OUR
FOREFATHERS DID IN THIS
MOVEMENT HERE.
AT THAT TIME, THAT WAS THE
FIGHT.
GAIN POWER, GAIN CONTROL, STOP
THE WHITE MAN FROM SENDING RCMP
AGENTS AND INDIAN AGENTS INTO
EVERY GATHERING OF MORE THAN
THREE INDIANS, AND MESSING WITH
PEOPLE'S LIVES, STOP THEM FROM
TAKING KIDS SENDING THEM
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL AND ALL
THOSE TYPES OF THINGS.
JURISDICTIONAL CONTROL WASN'T A
TRIVIAL THING BACK THEN.
IT WAS IMPORTANT, BUT IT DIDN'T
END THE PROBLEM.
IT DIDN'T END THE STRUGGLE.
AND FOR ANYONE TO SAY THAT
SELF-GOVERNMENT ENDS THE
STRUGGLE, AND THAT WE SHOULD BE
SATISFIED WITH SELF-GOVERNMENT,
THEY'VE ABANDONED THE ORIGINAL
PURPOSE OF THE MOVEMENT TO
BEGIN WITH.
THE NEXT ONE IN THE BOOK THAT I
WROTE, THE SECOND ONE, IS
REALLY TO TRY AND GIVE IT SOME
CHARACTER, BASED ON WHAT OUR
TRADITIONAL TEACHINGS ARE.
WHAT IS THE KNOWLEDGE, WHAT IS
THE ETHIC, IF YOU COULD SAY,
THAT COMES OUT OF RESPECTING
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE, AND HOW
CAN WE APPLY THAT TO
GOVERNMENT?
THAT WAS IN ESSENCE WHAT I
TRIED TO DO IN THE SECOND BOOK,
AND IT SHOWS YOU HOW LITTLE I
KNEW BACK THEN, BECAUSE IT'S
ONLY LIKE, 110 PAGES LONG.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues RIGHT, I DIDN'T KNOW VERY MUCH
SO IT'S A VERY SHORT BOOK.
AND I THINK WHAT IT DOES DO IS
EXPRESS FRUSTRATION AND I WILL
TAKE SOME PRIDE IN THAT IT SEES
THROUGH A LOT OF THE B.S. AND
IT SEES THROUGH A LOT OF THE
LIES AND IT PROBLEMATIZES
THINGS, AND IT REALLY LOOKS AT,
WELL IF SELF-GOVERNMENT IS
PROPOSED AS THE ANSWER, IT
BETTER HAVE SOME QUALITY THAT
WE CAN IDENTIFY AS BEING AN
INDIGENOUS WAY OF LIFE TO MEAN
ANYTHING.
AND SO IN THE BOOK, I TRIED TO
ELABORATE SOMEWHAT, LIKE I SAY,
IT'S NOT A FULLY ELABORATED
STATEMENT, BUT I TRIED TO
ELABORATE WHAT THAT WOULD LOOK
LIKE, AND I DREW ON THE
MOVEMENT THAT WAS TAKING PLACE
IN THE COMMUNITY, THAT HAD
TAKEN PLACE AND THAT WAS STILL
UNDERWAY AT THAT TIME.
IT WAS WRITTEN IN THE MID '90s.
AND IT WAS WHAT I WOULD LABEL,
FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD,
TRADITIONALISM, WHICH SAID,
LET'S GO AND RESTORE.
LET'S GO AND RESTORE OUR
TRADITIONAL FORMS OF
GOVERNMENT.
SO IN KAHNAWAKE, IT WAS LET'S
TAKE THE LONG HOUSE AND THE
CLAN SYSTEM, AND ALL OF THIS,
AND LET'S BRING IT BACK TO
LIFE.
AND THE METAPHOR IN THE BOOK,
THE CONDOLENCE RITUAL WAS
CHOSEN VERY, VERY POINTEDLY FOR
THAT PURPOSE.
IT'S ABOUT RAISING UP A NEW
CHIEF.
IT'S ABOUT THE RESTORATION AND
THE REKINDLING OF A FIRE, OF AN
EXISTENCE, WHETHER AN
INDIVIDUAL OR A COMMUNITY, SO
IT WAS ABOUT THAT.
BUT AGAIN, THINKING FROM
EXPERIENCE, REFLECTING ON
EXPERIENCE, THINKING ABOUT THE
EFFORTS THAT HAVE GONE ON IN
OUR COMMUNITIES OVER THE LAST
TWO GENERATIONS, CULMINATING,
SAY IN THE 1990s AND THE
STRUGGLES THAT WENT ON THERE,
IT'S NOT SO EASY TO SAY LET'S
JUST RESURRECT AN OLD WAY OF
DOING THINGS.
IT'S A HARD LESSON TO HAVE TO
ACCEPT TO SAY, THAT WE CAN'T
JUST RESURRECT THE CLAN SYSTEM
THE WAY IT WAS PRACTICED 200
YEARS AGO, WE CAN'T JUST GO TO
THE BIG HOUSE AND DO THINGS THE
WAY THEY USED TO DO IN A
POTLATCH BEFORE.
IT'S DISAPPOINTING, AND IT'S
KIND OF HEARTBREAKING AT THE
TIME, TO REALISE THAT EVEN OUR
TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS NEED
RETHINKING.
THAT'S WHERE I FOUND MYSELF AT
IN TRYING TO COME TO THIS BOOK
HERE, IS TO SAY THAT WHEN I
LOOKED AT THE ALTERNATIVE TO
SELF-GOVERNMENT AND THE AGENDA
THAT THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT
WAS PUTTING FORWARD, IN MY MIND
IT WAS THE TRADITIONALISM.
BUT THEN I FOUND THAT THAT IS
NOT CAPABLE OF SUSTAINING US
EITHER.
AND YOU KNOW, THE NUMBER ONE
REASON WHY, IS NOT BECAUSE OF
ANY FLAW IN THAT SYSTEM.
IN MY MIND, IN THE WAY I
UNDERSTAND IT NOW, AFTER
TALKING TO ALL THESE PEOPLE.
IT'S BECAUSE OF US.
WE'RE NOT THE PEOPLE THAT OUR
ANCESTORS WERE.
IT'S LIKE WE'VE DE-EVOLVED.

A woman from the audience says
EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

Taiaiake says EVERYWHERE
IN THE WORLD.
YOU KNOW, THOSE SYSTEMS OF
GOVERNMENT WERE HIGHLY
DEVELOPED AND DEPENDENT ON VERY
INTELLIGENT, STRONG, CULTURED
PEOPLE, AND THE SAD REALITY IS
THAT WE'RE NOT UP TO THE
CHALLENGE AT THIS POINT.
AND I DON'T MEAN TO INSULT
ANYBODY, I'M NOT POINTING
FINGERS.
NOTICE I'M GOING LIKE THIS WHEN
I GO LIKE THAT.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues WE'RE NOT UP TO THE CHALLENGE,
AND THAT'S A HARSH REALITY TO
HAVE TO DEAL WITH, BECAUSE THEN
YOU'VE GOT BOTH YOUR UH...
YOUR PROBLEMS, AND NO SOLUTION.
BECAUSE IN THE SELF-GOVERNMENT
STRUGGLE, WELL EVEN THE CRITICS
COULD SAY, WELL YOU'RE A SELL-
OUT, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE GOING
WITH THE WAY OF THE GOVERNMENT.
YOU'RE TRYING TO BUILD
SOMETHING IN CANADA.
I HAVE TRADITION, I HAVE THE
LONG HOUSE, I HAVE THE LODGE, I
HAVE THE PIPE CEREMONY, I HAVE
THIS.
THEN YOU FIND OUT, AS A MEANS
OF GOVERNANCE, OF GOVERNING A
PEOPLE, AND AFFECTING PEOPLE'S
LIVES, AND CREATING AGAIN, THE
HAPPINESS AND THAT CONTROL OVER
TERRITORY AND THAT UNITY THAT
WE NEED TO SURVIVE AS A PEOPLE,
IT'S NOT DOING IT.
SO WHAT'S NEXT?
THEN I TURNED TO ALL OF THESE
PEOPLE, TURNED TO ALL OF THESE
PEOPLE AND SAY, WELL IF I GO
AROUND IN SAMPSON CREE NATION,
IF I GO AROUND IN SASKATCHEWAN,
IF I GO IN THE WEST COAST, IF I
GO TO SIX NATIONS, AND I ASK
FOR SOMEONE WHO'S STILL A REAL
ONKWEHONWE.
THEY POINT ME TO YOU, AND I SAY
WELL HEY, TELL ME.
HERE'S THE PROBLEM.
YOU KNOW, TRADITIONALISM IS NOT THE
ANSWER, SELF-GOVERNMENT IS NOT
THE ANSWER, WHAT IS?
AND THEN I GOT A WHOLE BUNCH OF
DIFFERENT IDEAS.
AND WHAT--
WHERE I'M AT IN MY THINKING ON THIS IS
THAT DECOLONISATION IS NOT SO
MUCH A LARGE PROCESS, IT'S NOT
SO MUCH A SET OF INSTITUTIONS,
IT'S NOT SO MUCH A BIG BAD
WHITE MAN COMING AND STEALING
ALL OF OUR LAND.
THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS BEFORE.
RED COATS WITH MUSKETS, ARMIES
IN 1990, COMING AND TRYING TO
TAKE OVER OUR COMMUNITY AND SO
FORTH.
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS, PRIESTS,
INDIAN AGENTS -- COLONIALISM IS
OF COURSE THAT, IN A HISTORICAL
SENSE.
BUT WHAT IS COLONIALISM TODAY?
WHAT IS KEEPING US TODAY FROM
BEING THE PEOPLE THAT OUR
ANCESTORS WERE IN TERMS OF
THEIR STRENGTH, AND THE QUALITY
OF OUR LIVES.
IT'S OUR OWN IDEAS.
IT'S THAT WE'RE ON AUTOPILOT
FOR COLONISATION.
WE DON'T NEED AN ARMY POINTING
A GUN IN OUR FACE TO TELL US TO
MAKE COLONIAL CHOICES.
WE DO THAT ON OUR OWN, EVERY
DAY.
WE DO IT ALMOST NATURALLY NOW.
IT'S LIKE COLONISATION HAS
BECOME NORMALISED IN OUR LIVES.
SO IF THAT'S THE PROBLEM, AND I
REALLY DO BELIEVE THAT'S THE
PROBLEM, I'M STATING IT REALLY
KIND OF QUICKLY AND BLUNTLY
HERE, BUT I'VE SPENT A LOT OF
TIME IN THE BOOK RATIONALISING
THIS CONCLUSION.
AND IF THAT IS THE PROBLEM,
THEN THE PROBLEM SOLVING BEGINS
WITH EVERY INDIVIDUAL.
THE PROBLEM SOLVING BEGINS WITH
THE SELF.
AND I HOPE NO ONE'S
MISINTERPRETING ME TO THINK
THAT I'VE TOTALLY GONE OFF THE
RAILS ON STRUGGLE.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues ON POLITICAL STRUGGLE AND
SOCIAL STRUGGLE.
BECAUSE AS I SAY, THE PROBLEM
SOLVING STARTS WITH THE SELF,
BEFORE I EVEN FINISH THE
SENTENCE, LIKE NOT WITH A
PERIOD, WITH A COMMA -- SELF-
GOVERNMENT STARTS WITH THE
SELF, AND THAT NEEDS TO BE
TRANSFORMED INTO A SOCIAL AND
POLITICAL MOVEMENT.
OKAY, SO TO ME, THEY'RE ONE AND
THE SAME, AND THAT'S WHERE
WE'VE BEEN MISSING THE BOAT
BEFORE.
WE THOUGHT THAT WE COULD SOLVE
OUR PROBLEMS WITH BIG
INSTITUTIONAL SOLUTIONS.
LAND CLAIMS, SELF-GOVERNMENT,
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, IN
CENTRAL AND LATIN AMERICA,
REVOLUTION.
WE THOUGHT THAT ALL OF THESE
THINGS COULD SOLVE OUR
PROBLEMS, AND MAKE OURSELVES
FREE, AND LET US LIVE
INDIGENOUS LIVES OF HAPPINESS
AGAIN.
BUT ALL OF THESE THINGS HAVE
BEEN PROVEN TO BE WRONG.
SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE.
I DON'T HAVE THE ANSWER, OKAY?
I'M NOT HERE TO GIVE ANYBODY
THE ANSWER.
I'M NOT HERE TO TELL ANYONE,
THIS IS THE MODEL OF HOW TO
DECOLONISE.
I'M HERE TO GIVE ALL OF THESE
PATHWAYS -- THAT'S WHY I
SUBTITLED THE BOOK, PATHWAYS OF
ACTION AND FREEDOM.
WHAT I CAN DO IS REFLECT ON, IN
A CRITICAL WAY, SOME OF THE
MAIN IDEAS THAT HAVE BEEN
FLOATED, AND OUTLINE THEIR
FLAWS, AND THEN SET OUT SOME
DIRECTIONS THAT PEOPLE HAVE
TRIED, AND THAT OFFER SOME HOPE
FOR RECREATING, RECONSTITUTING
COMMUNITIES THAT ARE
AUTHENTICALLY INDIGENOUS, AND
TO GET THERE, A STRATEGY OF
POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ACTION TO
MOVE US IN THAT DIRECTION.
SO I'D JUST LIKE TO SPEND A
COUPLE OF MINUTES OUTLINING THE
THREE MAIN PATHWAYS THAT I
THINK ARE, IF NOT DEAD ENDS,
HIGHLY PROBLEMATIC FOR US RIGHT
NOW IF WE WANT TO REMAIN
CONSISTENT TO LIVING LIVES THAT
ARE REFLECTIVE OF THE VALUES
AND THE GOALS OF OUR ANCESTORS,
IN LIVING AUTHENTIC INDIGENOUS
LIVES.
THE FIRST ONE I'D LIKE TO POINT
TO IS ALMOST THE MOST OBVIOUS
ONE TO PEOPLE HERE IN CANADA,
ALTHOUGH IT WOULDN'T BE OBVIOUS
TO PEOPLE IN CENTRAL AND LATIN
AMERICA -- ARMED RESISTANCE,
OKAY?
ARMED RESISTANCE IN TERMS OF
DEFEATING THE STATE.
OKAY, WE'VE HAD A NUMBER OF
EXAMPLES ALL OVER THE WORLD AND
IN THIS HEMISPHERE, OF MOVEMENT
THAT ATTEMPT TO CREATE JUSTICE
BY DEFEATING THE IMPERIAL POWER
THROUGH THE USE OF VIOLENCE.
OKAY, THAT'S ABOUT AS CLEARLY,
I THINK, AS IT CAN BE STATED,
AND THERE'S ALL KINDS OF
VARIATIONS ON PHILOSOPHIES OF
RESISTANCE OR OF REVOLUTION IN
THIS WAY.
FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF OUR
ANCESTORS, AND LET'S NOT
FORGET, WE HAVE TO HAVE A FRAME
OF REFERENCE THAT'S CULTURAL TO
US.
OUR ANCESTORS BELIEVED IN THE
[indiscernible]
WAMPUM, FOR
EXAMPLE, AND A LOT OF OTHER
IDEAS THAT ARE BASICALLY
SIMILAR, WHICH IS COEXISTENCE.
SO FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE, WHICH
IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM EJECTING
THE COLONISER FROM YOUR
TERRITORY, WHICH IS DEFEATING
AND CRUSHING THE COLONIAL
OPPRESSOR, AND ALL THAT
LANGUAGE, IT'S UNJUSTIFIABLE,
BASICALLY, AND ARMED
REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY.
THERE'S THAT ARGUMENT.
THE SECOND ARGUMENT IS THAT IT
HAS NEVER WORKED.
YOU CAN TAKE THE EXAMPLE OF
VIETNAM AND CUBA, BUT THOSE
WERE CONDUCTED IN THE CONTEXT
OF A COLD WAR AND COMPETING
BLOCKS OF IMPERIAL POWERS WHICH
INTERFERED AND MANIPULATED
THOSE SITUATION IN ORDER TO
ALLOW THOSE VICTORIES TO
HAPPEN, IF YOU CONSIDER THEM
VICTORIES FROM YOUR POLITICAL
PERSPECTIVE.
BUT NONETHELESS, THE LIBERATION OF
THOSE COUNTRIES FROM IMPERIAL CONTROL.
THE DYNAMICS, THE POLITICAL
DYNAMICS, THE GLOBAL SITUATION,
THE REALITIES ON THE GROUND AND
SO FORTH ARE SO DIFFERENT THAT
IT MAKES IT ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE
TO EXTRAPOLATE FROM THOSE
EXPERIENCES TO A SUCCESSFUL
STRATEGY HERE ON THIS
CONTINENT.
BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON,
I THINK FOR DISAVOWING AN
EXPLICITLY VIOLENT ARMED
REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE AS AN
EXAMPLE OF INDIGENOUS
LIBERATION, IS THE FACT THAT
THE ENDS ARE ALWAYS CONSISTENT
WITH THE MEANS IN THIS SORT OF
MOVEMENT, WHICH IS TO SAY IF
YOU USE VIOLENCE, TO ACHIEVE
YOUR LIBERATION, SO TO SPEAK,
YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A VIOLENT
SOCIETY, CHARACTERISED BY MEANS
OF CONTROL USING VIOLENCE.
AND SO THAT'S NOT THE VISION OF
OUR PEOPLE, OUR ANCESTORS, OUR
TEACHINGS.
SO EVEN IF I COULD JUSTIFY IT
IN STRATEGIC TERMS, IT WOULD GO
AGAINST THE VERY BASIC
TEACHINGS OF WHAT IT IS TO BE
ONKWEHONWE, RIGHT?
SO AGAIN, THIS IS ELABORATED IN
THE BOOK.
WE COULD HAVE A DISCUSSION
ABOUT THIS AS WELL, ABOUT THE
RELATIVE EFFECTIVENESS OF ARMED
STRUGGLE.
IT'S NOT SO MUCH AN ISSUE, I
REALISE, IN NORTH AMERICA, BUT
IT IS-- AND I DO WANT TO WRITE
FOR AND HAVE CONNECTIONS WITH
PEOPLE IN OTHER PARTS OF THE
HEMISPHERE, SO I DO WANT TO
DEAL WITH THAT.
THESE NEXT TWO WILL BE MORE
FAMILIAR TO PEOPLE HERE IN THIS
PART OF THE WORLD.
THE OTHER STRATEGY, OR THE
PATHWAY THAT'S BEEN ATTEMPTED,
IS OBVIOUSLY RIGHTS BASED
CREATIONS OF REGIMES OF LAW
THAT GIVE US RECOGNITION WITHIN
THE SOCIETY AS A WHOLE.
OKAY, SO WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT
HERE ARE THE COURT STRUGGLES,
THE STRUGGLE FOR RIGHTS AND THE
STRUGGLE FOR RECOGNITIONS
WITHIN THE CONSTITUTION OF
CANADA FOR A STATUS WHICH
APPROXIMATES JUSTICE FOR OUR
PEOPLE.
SO BASICALLY I'M TALKING ABOUT
THE ENTIRE FIRST NATIONS AGENDA
AS I SPEAK RIGHT NOW, WHICH IS
TO SAY WE'RE GOING TO DISAVOW
POLITICAL AND SOCIAL STRUGGLE,
WE'RE GOING TO ENGAGE IN
NEGOTIATION.
AND WE'RE GOING TO ENGAGE THE
COURTS TO ELABORATE A CONCEPT
OF ABORIGINAL RIGHTS AND TITLE
WHICH REFLECT JUSTICE AND
NOTIONS OF JUSTICE FOR OUR
PEOPLE, AND THEREFORE WE CAN
CONSIDER OURSELVES TO BE
DECOLONISED WHEN WE HAVE A SET
OF RIGHTS WITHIN CANADA WHICH
ALLOW US TO BE SATISFIED WITH
OUR EXISTENCE IN TERMS OF ITS
SECURITY AND THE JUSTICE THAT'S
ACHIEVED.
OKAY, THE PROBLEM WITH THAT, IN
A VERY BASIC SENSE IS THAT THAT
BETRAYS THE BASIC PHILOSOPHICAL
PRINCIPLE OF ALL OF OUR
NATIONS, AND WHAT ALL OF OUR
ANCESTORS FOUGHT AND DIED FOR.
ALL OF OUR ANCESTORS DID NOT
FIGHT AND DIE FOR CITIZENSHIP
IN CANADA.
ALL OF OUR ANCESTORS DID NOT
DIE FOR ABORIGINAL RIGHTS AND
WHITE JUDGES SITTING THERE
DETERMINING WHAT OUR IDENTITY
WAS, AND WHAT OUR CULTURE WAS,
AND HOW THAT WAS GOING TO BE
ADJUDICATED, AND WHETHER OR NOT
WE CAN PRACTICE HUNTING AND
FISHING ON TERRITORIES WE LIVED
ON FOR 10,000 YEARS.
THEY DIDN'T FIGHT AND DIE FOR
THAT.
THEY FOUGHT FOR THEIR NATION,
AND THEY FOUGHT FOR THE FREEDOM
OF THEIR NATION TO LIVE BY
THEIR OWN LAWS, WORSHIPPING
THEIR OWN GODS ON THEIR OWN
TERRITORY.
THAT'S ALMOST A DIRECT QUOTE
FROM TESKAHE'S TOMB DOWN AT SIX
NATIONS DOWN IN FRONT OF THE
LONG HOUSE THERE.
SO AGAIN, IT'S A MEANS, ENDS
CONSISTENCY IF YOU THINK ABOUT
IT.
BY STRUGGLING WITHIN THE SYSTEM
FOR RECOGNITION IN TERMS OF
RIGHTS, WE FORGET THAT RIGHTS
ONLY ADHERE TO CITIZENS.
AND THAT IN GAINING RIGHTS,
EVERY TIME WE GAIN
INCREMENTALLY IN TERMS OF
RIGHTS, THE COLONISER IS
GAINING INCREMENTALLY, TOO,
BECAUSE WE ARE BECOMING MORE
AND MORE CITIZENS, AND LESS AND
LESS MOHAWK OR CREE OR DENE.
SO AGAIN, JUST LIKE ARMED
STRUGGLE, IT CAN BE
RATIONALISED, AND IT HAS A VERY
SOUND LOGIC IN AND OF ITSELF.
BUT IT ONLY WORKS IF YOU CUT IT
OFF FROM THE ROOT.
IF YOU CUT IT OFF FROM THE
ROOT, WHICH IS OUR TEACHINGS
AND OUR EXISTENCE AND OUR
ANCESTORS AND EVERYTHING THAT
THEY DIED FOR, IT DOESN'T-- IT
MAKES SENSE.
IF YOU'RE CONNECTED TO THAT
ROOT, YOU'RE THE ONE GOING OFF
THIS WAY.
AND SO FROM
THE PERSPECTIVE THAT I'M
PUTTING FORWARD AND I'M ROOTED
IN, ARMED STRUGGLE IS NO GOOD,
ASSIMILATION, AND I NAME THIS
WHOLE PROCESS HERE
ABORIGINALISM.
IT'S ONE OF MY GOALS TO MAKE
ABORIGINAL A DIRTY WORD.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues OKAY, BECAUSE ABORIGINALISM, AS
I SEE IT, IS THE IDEOLOGY OF
SURRENDER.
IT'S THE CREATION OF A FALSE
CONSCIOUSNESS BASED ON
SURRENDER, BASED ON IDENTITIES
THAT ARE INSTRUMENTAL TO THE
WHITE MAN ASSUAGING HIS GUILT
AND US ACCEPTING A SUBSIDIARY
STATUS TO RELATIVE NEWCOMERS IN
OUR OWN HOMELAND.
IT MAKES ME SICK TO THINK ABOUT THAT.
AND IT SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD WORD,
ABORIGINAL.
LIKE, IT'S BETTER THAN RED SKIN.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues OR IT'S BETTER THAN A LOT OF
OTHER WORDS.
IT'S BETTER THAN INDIAN IN A LOT
OF PEOPLE'S MINDS.
BUT IT'S A TYPICAL LIBERAL
SLIGHT OF HAND.
LIBERALS ARE GREAT AT STABBING
YOU IN THE BACK AND MAKING YOU
THINK THAT THEY'RE GIVING YOU
SOME MONEY AND PUTTING IT IN
YOUR POCKET WHILE THEY'RE DOING
THAT.
ABORIGINALISM IS THE IDEOLOGY
OF ASSIMILATION.
THAT'S, I HOPE A QUOTE THAT
COMES OUT OF THIS BOOK, AND
PEOPLE REMEMBER BECAUSE IT
REPRESENTS THIS WHOLE APPROACH.
AND I TALKED ABOUT IT IN PRETTY
HARSH TERMS HERE, BUT AGAIN I
WANT TO SAY, NO ONE WOULD KNOW
THESE CONCLUSIONS, INCLUDING
ME, IF PEOPLE HADN'T GONE
THROUGH THAT PROCESS AND
FIGURED THAT OUT, RIGHT?
SO NO ONE COULD LOOK WITHOUT
THE EXPERIENCE AND SAY THIS IS
THE WAY IT WOULD HAVE PLAYED
OUT.
SO WE HAVE TO GIVE CREDIT TO
THE PEOPLE WHO PUT THE WORK
INTO ELABORATING THIS, BUT WE
ALSO HAVE TO HOLD THEM
ACCOUNTABLE, AND SAY NOW THAT
YOU KNOW WHERE IT'S HEADED,
WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON.
ARE YOU GOING TO CONTINUE ON
THE ABORIGINALISM AGENDA AND
WORK TOWARD THE ASSIMILATION OF
OUR PEOPLES AND THE GRADUAL
EXTERMINATION OF OUR
NATIONHOOD, OR ARE YOU GOING TO
RECOGNISE WHERE WE'RE AT TODAY
AND RECOMMIT YOURSELF TO THE
ORIGINAL PRINCIPLES AND REFORM
YOUR APPROACH.
NOW WHEN WE SAY THAT, A LOT OF
PEOPLE SAY, DAMN RIGHT, YEP,
THAT'S IT, YOU KNOW, I
RECOGNISE NEGOTIATION IS NOT
THE WAY TO GO YOU KNOW, IT'S
ALL ABOUT ASSIMILATION AND SO
FORTH, SO WHAT I'M GOING TO DO,
IS I'M GOING TO CREATE ECONOMIC
INDEPENDENCE FOR MY PEOPLE, AND
THEREFORE YOU GET THE NEXT ONE,
WHICH IS CAPITALISM, BASICALLY,
WHICH SAYS, YOU KNOW, IT'S ALL
ABOUT MONEY ANYWAY, ISN'T IT?
ISN'T THAT WHAT POLITICS IS ALL
ABOUT?
IN POLITICS, IF YOU WANT TO
FIND OUT WHO'S IN POWER, YOU
JUST -- IF YOU HAVE A NOSE FOR
MONEY, YOU JUST FOLLOW THE
MONEY TRAIL AROUND, AND IF YOU
FIND A BIG POT OF MONEY, YOU
KNOW WHO'S IN CHARGE.
WHOEVER CONTROLS THAT PURSE,
THAT'S THE BOSS.
AND SO THERE'S A RATIONALE
THERE FOR PEOPLE TO SAY, HEY,
YOU KNOW, IF WE WANT REAL
INDEPENDENCE IF WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT FREEDOM, IF OUR ANCESTORS
WERE TALKING ABOUT FREEDOM ON
OUR OWN LAND, FIRST OF ALL
WE'VE GOT TO BUY THE LAND.
SECONDLY WE'VE GOT TO HAVE
INSTITUTIONAL POWER AND WE HAVE
TO HAVE TOOLS IN ORDER TO LIVE
THE KIND OF LIFE WE WANT TO
LIVE ON THAT LAND.
THEREFORE WE NEED MONEY.
THEREFORE WE'RE OPENING A
CASINO.
AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A
CASINO AND WE'RE GOING TO BUY
MONEY-- WE'RE GOING TO BUY
LAND, WE'RE GOING TO BUY
POLITICIANS, WE'RE GOING TO BUY
KNOWLEDGE, AND YOU CAN SEE THE
WHOLE LOGIC AND RHETORIC AROUND
THIS.
I'M KIND OF MOCKING IT AT THIS
POINT, BUT AGAIN, THINK ABOUT
IT WHEN IT FIRST CAME UP AND
THE POWER IT REPRESENTED IN
TERMS OF A POTENTIAL.
HERE'S WHERE I START TO SOUND
LIKE A BROKEN RECORD.
THE ENDS ARE CONSISTENT WITH
THE MEANS.
IF YOU TAKE A CAPITALISTIC
STRATEGY TOWARD LIBERATION, YOU
BECOME A CAPITALIST.
WHEN YOU ENGAGE SOMEONE IN THAT
STRUGGLE, YOU ARE TRANSFORMED,
JUST LIKE WHEN YOU BECOME A LAW
STUDENT AND A LAWYER AND A LAW
PROFESSOR, YOU ARE TRANSFORMED.
WHEN YOU BECOME A POLITICAL
SCIENTIST, YOU ARE TRANSFORMED
BY RELATING TO THESE PEOPLE.
AND SO YOU HAVE TO HAVE A REAL
CLEAR EYED PERSPECTIVE ON THE
COMPROMISES THAT YOU MAKE AS AN
INDIGENOUS PERSON WHEN YOU
ENGAGE IN ANY ONE OF THESE
PATHS HERE, OKAY.
AND SO FOR ME, THE ARMED
STRUGGLE, TO BECOME A
MILITARISED SOCIETY IN THAT
REGARD, IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
TO BECOME A CANADIAN CITIZEN
AND TURN MY BACK ON MY
ANCESTORS IS NOT AN OPTION, AND
TO BECOME A CAPITALIST IS TO
TURN MY BACK ON MY ANCESTORS,
BUT ALSO TO BREAK SOME VERY
BASIC ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
THAT I THINK ARE SHARED BY A
LOT OF PEOPLE, NOT ONLY
INDIGENOUS IN THIS REGARD.
SO THOSE ARE THE THREE MAIN
PATHS, AND I HOPE I'VE GOT YOU
THINKING, AT LEAST PLANTED A
SEED AS TO THE FLAWS IN THESE
PATHS, AND HOW THEY'RE
PROBLEMATIC FOR ANYONE WHO
CLAIMS TO WANT TO MOVE FORWARD
AS A NEW GENERATION AS AN
INDIGENOUS LEADER AND THE
INDIGENOUS MOVEMENT AS A WHOLE.
WHO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
WELL LIKE I SAID, I DON'T HAVE
A MODEL, BUT I KNOW ONE THING.
I DON'T CLAIM TO BE AS SMART AS
HIM, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT
EINSTEIN SAID IT RIGHT WHEN HE
SAID THAT YOU CAN'T SOLVE A
PROBLEM FROM WITHIN THAT
PROBLEM ITSELF.
YOU HAVE TO THINK OUTSIDE OF
THAT PROBLEM.
YOU CANNOT SOLVE A COLONIAL
PROBLEM BY DRAWING ON THE
COLONIAL KNOWLEDGE.
YOU CAN'T ESCAPE COLONIALISM BY
USING THE COLONIAL TOOLS,
THAT'S A MYTH.
YOU CAN'T CHANGE FROM WITHIN,
SORRY.
YOU HAVE TO LOOK OUTSIDE, AND
WHERE'S OUR OUTSIDE?
OUR OUTSIDE IS RIGHT AT HOME.
OUR OUTSIDE IS OUR HERITAGE AND
OUR CULTURE.
AND WE HAVE A REALLY BIG JOB AHEAD OF US,
TO FIRST OF ALL BEGIN TO LEARN,
AGAIN, TO RESPECT THAT
KNOWLEDGE.
TO SHED OURSELVES OF THE
COLONIAL PREJUDICES THAT HAVE
BEEN IMPLANTED IN OUR BRAINS
AND INSIDE OF OUR HEARTS.
FOR US TO BE AFRAID OF OUR OWN ANCESTORS,
TO BE AFRAID OF OUR OWN
LANGUAGE, TO BE AFRAID OF OUR
OWN WAYS OF SPEAKING AND
KNOWING AND LIVING, TO BE
AFRAID OF THAT IS THE MAIN
THING THAT CONTROLS US.
ONCE WE GET THROUGH THAT FEAR,
ONCE WE SHED THAT FEAR, THEN WE
HAVE A WHOLE WORLD OF KNOWLEDGE
THAT'S OPEN TO US, THAT IS
KNOWLEDGE THAT HAD CREATED
SOCIETIES THAT WERE
SUSTAINABLE, THAT WERE
EGALITARIAN, WHERE WOMEN HAD
POWER, WHERE MEN HAD RESPECT
FOR EACH OTHER, WHERE PEOPLE
HAD FUNCTIONS AND ROLES, WHERE
PEOPLE LIVED HEALTHY LIVES,
PHYSICALLY AND CULTURALLY.
THAT'S THE KNOWLEDGE THAT
EXISTS IN OUR OWN TRADITIONS.
AND ONCE WE BREAK THROUGH THE
FEAR AND THE PREJUDICE THAT
HAVE BEEN PLACE IN OUR HEADS BY
COLONIAL SOCIETY AGAINST THAT,
WE CAN BEGIN THE PROCESS OF
TAKING THAT KNOWLEDGE AND
REGENERATING IT.
AND I USE THE WORD REGENERATION
VERY CAREFULLY, BECAUSE THAT'S
THE MOST APPROPRIATE WORD FOR
WHAT I'M SAYING HERE.
I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT RECOVERY.
I HATE RECOVERY, BECAUSE THAT
MEANS WE'RE THE PROBLEM.
YOU KNOW, THERE'S AN INDIAN
PROBLEM.
I SAID THIS TODAY, I'LL USE IT
AGAIN, HERE'S--
THE INDIAN PROBLEM I USUALLY
THOUGH OF AS, THE INDIANS ARE
SUFFERING FROM SOME KIND OF
DISEASE, MENTALLY OR SOME KIND
OF EFFECTS OF COLONISATION --
NO, THE INDIAN PROBLEM IS THE
WHITE PEOPLE CAME HERE, AND WE
HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO LIVE
WITH THAT.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues AND IT'S NOT US THAT HAVE TO
HEAL SO MUCH AS US THAT HAVE TO
REGENERATE OURSELVES AND BEGIN
TO JUST RELATE TO THEM AS
EQUALS AND BEGIN TO HAVE THE
DIGNITY AGAIN TO STAND UP AND
SAY, THIS IS OURS, THIS IS
MINE, AND I'M GOING TO RELATE
TO YOU WITH RESPECT, BUT IF YOU
DON'T GIVE ME RESPECT, THERE'S
A PRICE TO PAY.
THAT LAST THING THAT I SAID,
THAT'S WHAT'S MISSING FROM
NATIVE POLITICS TODAY.
AND I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT
PULLING OUT A GUN AND SHOOTING
PEOPLE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
POLITICALLY, CULTURALLY,
SOCIALLY, THERE NEEDS TO BE
SOME SORT OF SANCTION AGAINST
DISRESPECTING NATIVE PEOPLE
AGAIN, AND THAT'S WHERE I GET
THAT WARRIOR ETHIC, THAT'S
WHERE IT COMES IN.
THE WARRIOR ETHIC BASICALLY IS
WHAT, FOR ALL TIME AND ALL
CULTURES, IT'S SOMEONE WHO IS
ROOTED AND STRONG IN THEIR
CULTURE, WHO IS SACRED IN THE
SENSE THAT HE OR SHE SEES
THEMSELVES AS A SPIRITUAL
BEING, AND SOMEONE WHO TAKES A
POSITION OF DANGER AS HIS OR
HER ROLE IN SOCIETY, TO SAY,
I'M GOING TO STEP OUT OF MY
COMFORT AREA, OUT OF MY
VILLAGE, OUT OF MY COMMUNITY,
AD I'M GOING TO CONFRONT THOSE
THREATS TO THE EXISTENCE OF OUR
PEOPLE.
IF WE DID THAT ON AN INDIVIDUAL
BASIS, AND CERTAINLY IF WE DID
IT ON A COLLECTIVE BASIS,
THINGS WOULD BE VERY DIFFERENT
IN THIS SOCIETY.
THERE ARE PEOPLE DOING THAT,
BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT OUR
POLITICS IS CONSTRUCTED FOR.
OUR POLITICS IS CONSTRUCTED FOR
TAMING THAT INSTINCT OF THE
WARRIOR AND CHANNELLING IT INTO
THE INSTINCT OF A BUREAUCRAT,
AND SAYING, HOW DO I MANAGE MY
OWN PAIN AND DISCORD IN MY OWN
COMMUNITY?
SO WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT.
AND THE RESTORATION OF THE
WARRIOR ETHIC I THINK, IS, THE
SOLUTION IN THIS REGARD.
AND AGAIN, REMEMBER WHAT I'M
TALKING ABOUT WHEN I SAY THE
WARRIOR.
WHAT I JUST SAID, SOMEONE WHO
IS ROOTED, STRONG SACRED AND
COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO PUT HIM OR
HERSELF IN A PLACE OF DANGER,
BETWEEN THAT DANGER AND THE
PEOPLE.
YEAH, SOMETIMES THAT MEANS
PHYSICAL, BUT I SENSE THAT MOST
OFTENTIMES IT MEANS A LOT OF
DIFFERENT THINGS OTHER THAN
PHYSICAL CONFRONTATION WITH
GUNS AND CAMOUFLAGE AND SO
FORTH.
IT'S BEEN PROVEN IN THIS
SOCIETY THAT IT COMES DOWN TO
THAT SOMETIMES.
1990, THERE'S INCIDENTS ALL
OVER THE PLACE WHERE THAT'S
HAPPENED.
BUT ON A DAILY BASIS, AS A
MOVEMENT, I THINK THAT THERE'S
A LOT OF THINGS THAT WE COULD
DO TO FORCE A RECALCULATION ON
WHITE SOCIETY'S PART, IN TERMS
OF THE DISRESPECT THEY SHOW OUR
NATIONS AND HISTORY AND OUR
CULTURE AND OUR PEOPLE, BEFORE
WE EVER HAVE TO GET TO, OR
BEFORE WE EVEN SHOULD EVER GET
TO ARMED REBELLION, OKAY?
THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT
WHEN I TALK ABOUT THE WARRIOR ETHIC.
AND WHAT I
MIGHT DO IS LEAVE YOU WITH THAT
THOUGHT, IN TERMS OF MY OWN
EXPLANATION OF THE WORK, AND
JUST READ YOU SOME EXCERPTS,
SOME VERY SHORT EXCERPTS AND
SHARE WITH YOU SOME OF THE
VOICES THAT I HEARD AS I WAS
DEVELOPING THIS STRATEGY OR
THIS VISION HERE OF WHERE WE
NEED TO GO AS A PEOPLE.

He picks up a book and flips through the pages as he continues
AND I'M JUST SELECTING THESE SORT OF RANDOM.
I BENT THE PAGES BACK, BUT I
DIDN'T REALLY THINK ABOUT THEM
IN ANY OTHER WAY, OTHER THAN I
LIKED THE WAY THEY SAID WHAT
THEY SAID RIGHT HERE.
SO IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY FIT
INTO ANY PARTICULAR STRATEGIC
NICHE IN TERMS OF THE IDEAS I
WORKED OUT HERE.
THE FIRST ONE IS THE HEAD OF
THE WEST COAST WARRIOR SOCIETY,
AND I'M STARTING WITH A
STEREOTYPE.
I'M STARTING WITH A STEREOTYPE.
THIS IS A GUY, HE LIKES TO WEAR
CAMOUFLAGE, HE LIKES TO WEAR
THE OLD ARMY FATIGUES AND ALL
THE GETUP, THE GEAR, ALL THAT
STUFF, AND THEY LIKE TO BE
INVOLVED IN CONFRONTATIONS.
AND THE GUY'S A FRIEND OF MINE,
AND LIKE I SAID, THERE'S A ROLE
FOR PHYSICAL DEFENCE OF
COMMUNITIES AND I WANT TO JUST
SHOW YOU SOME OF THE RATIONALES
THAT GO INTO SOMEONE TAKING
THAT DECISION, OKAY?
SO, I'LL JUST SET THIS UP AND
I'M JUST GOING TO READ A SHORT THING.
I ASKED HIM, YOU KNOW, WHY IS
IT THAT HE CHOSE TO BE A
WARRIOR, HOW IS IT THAT HE CAME
TO HAVE THIS WARRIOR
PERSPECTIVE, AND WHAT'S HIS
MOTIVATION FOR DOING-- I SOUND
LIKE AN ACTING COACH, EH?
WHAT'S YOUR MOTIVATION?

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues SO HE DESCRIBED IT AS WELL.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE
POLICE IS HOSTILE, BLAH-BLAH-BLAH.

He reads and says
I SAID, "SO YOU USED THE WORD
HOSTILE, IS IT ANGER THAT MOVES
YOU TO ACTION?"
HE SAYS, "THERE'S A SPIRIT
AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY THAT
IS MOTIVATED BY HATE AND THAT
IS MOTIVATED BY ANGER.
THERE'S A BIG SENSE OF
INJUSTICE COMING FROM OUR YOUNG
PEOPLE.
WE'RE PISSED OFF BECAUSE WE'VE
BEEN SHIT ON AND WE'VE BEEN
ABUSED.
IT'S LIKE WAKING UP FROM A
SLEEP AND THEN NOTICING THAT
YOU'VE BEEN MESSED WITH, YOU
KNOW?
AND WHEN YOU WAKE UP OUT OF
THAT SLEEP, YOU'RE LIKE A BEAR,
YOU'RE F-ING ANGRY.
BUT IN TERMS OF OUR APPROACH, I
WOULDN'T WANT TO USE THE WORD
REFINED HERE, BUT IT IS A
RESPONSIBILITY TO CARRY ON AND
CONDUCT OURSELVES PROPERLY.
WE'RE ALWAYS BEING WATCHED BY
THE PEOPLE, EH?
SO YEAH, THERE IS HATRED, ANGER
AND DESTRUCTIVENESS ALL COMING
FROM OUR SENSE OF BELONGING IN
HISTORY AND OUR SENSE OF WHERE
WE SEE THESE CONFLICTS COMING
FROM.
IT ALSO COMES FROM A SOBER
UNDERSTANDING OF OUR
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CANADIAN
GOVERNMENT.
WE DON'T BULLSHIT OURSELVES
INTO BELIEVING THAT CANADA HAS
THE BEST INTENTIONS FOR OUR
PEOPLE.
WHERE DID THAT UNDERSTANDING
COME FROM?"
HE SAYS, "WE UNDERSTAND THAT
CANADA HAS, UNDER NO
CIRCUMSTANCES, EVER TRIED TO
EXERCISE ANY GOOD FAITH WITH
US.
THEY HAVE NEVER, AT ANY TIME OR
AT ANY MOMENT IN HISTORY
EXTENDED ANY PEACEFUL MEANS
TOWARD US, ASIDE FROM WHEN THEY
NEEDED OUR MILITARY HELP TO BE
ALLIES IN WARS AGAINST THE
FRENCH OR AMERICANS."
I SAY, "YOU'VE HAD A GOOD
READING OF HISTORY."
HE SAYS, "I'VE IMMERSED MYSELF
IN IT, AND I'M PRETTY HAPPY
THAT IN B.C. THERE'S A KEEN
SENSE OF MILITANCY AMONGST THE
YOUNG PEOPLE."
AND I SAID, "WELL WHY IS IT
THAT NOT EVERYBODY WANTS TO
JOIN YOUR MOVEMENT THEN?"
HE SAYS, "WELL NOBODY HAS TO.
YOU CAN LIVE YOUR LIFE ENTIRELY
PROVIDED FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT.
YOU MAY NOT BE TOTALLY CONTENT,
BUT YOU WILL BE PROVIDED WITH
WELFARE OR WHATEVER.
LIVING RIGHT BESIDE THE ENEMY,
HANGING AROUND THE FORT, LIKE
YOU SAID, HAS ITS BENEFITS."
[Laughing]
SO THAT GIVES YOU A SENSE OF
THE SPIRIT OF REBELLION,
YOUTHFUL ANGER AND REBELLION
THAT GOES INTO CAUSING SOME
PEOPLE TO MAKE THE KIND OF
CHOICES TO BE WHAT YOU WOULD
CALL RADICALS.
THE NEST ONE I WANT TO READ
IS...
WHO'S THIS ONE?
OH, THIS WAS A PERSON WHO WAS
THE CHIEF OF HER BAND IN A
SMALL COMMUNITY IN THE NORTHERN
PART OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
A PERSON WITH ROCK SOLID
INTEGRITY.
IT'S A COMMUNITY CALLED
AHOUSAT, IN THE NUU-CHAH-NULTH
NATION.
AND SHE WAS A-- SHE...
SHE WAS LIVING OUTSIDE OF HER
COMMUNITY AND SHE CAME BACK.
SHE FOUND OUT AGAIN WHAT IT WAS
TO BE NUU-CHAH-NULTH, AND SHE
FOLLOWED THOSE CULTURAL
PATHWAYS BACK TO HER COMMUNITY
AND BECAUSE OF THE KIND OF
PERSON SHE WAS, SHE WAS GIVEN A
POSITION OF RESPECT, AND SHE
BECAME CHIEF ALBEIT THE BAND
COUNCIL CHIEF OF THE COMMUNITY,
BUT SHE WAS PUT IN A POSITION
OF RESPECT AND LEADERSHIP
THERE.
AND I ASKED HER, I TALKED WITH
HER A BUNCH OF THINGS, BUT
ASKED HER HOW IT WAS THAT SHE
PREVENTED HERSELF FROM BEING
CO-OPTED, BECAUSE SHE TALKS
ABOUT, IN THE INTERVIEW, HOW
GOVERNMENT TRIED TO GET HER TO
BE THE PRESIDENT OF THE FOREST
COMPANY, TO SIGN AWAY THE TREE
LICENSE IN EXCHANGE FOR A JOB,
AND THIS AND THAT, AND ALL THIS
KIND OF STUFF THAT YOU KNOW
GOES ON.
AND SO I SAID, "WHAT WERE SOME
OF THE THINGS THAT THE
GOVERNMENT PEOPLE THREW AT YOU
TO TRY TO CORRUPT YOU AND TURN
YOU INTO A REGULAR OLD CORRUPT
POLITICIAN?"

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues NO BIAS ON MY PART.
UM...
SHE SAID, "WELL, THEY JUST
TRIED TO GET ME TO COZY UP WITH
THEM YOU KNOW, LIKE STOP BY AND
LET'S GO FOR A COFFEE SOMETIME.
SERIOUSLY, YOU KNOW, THEY TRY
TO TREAT YOU JUST LIKE YOU'RE A
REGULAR PERSON, AND SAY THINGS
TO ME LIKE WOW, YOU'RE A WOMAN
CHIEF, THAT SAYS A LOT, AND ALL
THIS OTHER STUFF.
IT WAS JUST SO PHONEY.
IT DIDN'T APPEAL TO ME AT ALL,
IT WAS ALL POLITICAL.
THEIR WHOLE THING IS THAT THEY
WANT YOU TO CO-OPERATE.
THEY WANT TO BE ABLE TO SAY, WE
CAN RELY ON HER NOT TO BLOCK
THAT ROAD.
TO ME, THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL
ABOUT.
I SAY THAT BECAUSE IT WAS ONLY
WHEN THEY WERE CUTTING DOWN ALL
OUR TREES THAT I MET THE
PREMIERE OF THE PROVINCE, SO
THAT'S WHEN THEY WERE TRYING TO
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS.
AND IT WASN'T VERY OFTEN AT
THESE THINGS THAT I'D ACTUALLY
SEE OTHER INDIANS.
AS THE BAND CHIEF, I WAS THE
TOKEN PRESIDENT OF THE LOGGING
COMPANY THAT WE HAD PARTNERED
WITH, SO I WOULD GET INVITED TO
ALL THESE FANCY DINNERS" AND
BLAH-BLAH-BLAH.
I SAID, "DID YOU HAVE TO GO
HOME AND PUKE AFTERWARDS?"

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake says SHE SAID,
"I WENT HOME AND HAD A LONG
SHOWER, THAT'S FOR SURE.
I WENT TO THREE OF THESE
EVENTS, AND I'LL TELL YOU, ALL
OF THEM WERE PURE TORTURE.
I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY I WENT BACK AFTER
THE FIRST TIME, WHEN I DIDN'T
HAVE TO TRAVEL ANYWHERE.
AFTER THAT, THEY WERE IN
VANCOUVER, AND IT WAS ALL SUCH
A PHONEY ATMOSPHERE.
YOU HAD ALL THESE POLITICIANS
AROUND, YOU HAD ALL THE LOGGING
COMPANY REPRESENTATIVES, AND I
COULD TELL THERE WERE PEOPLE IN
THAT ROOM WHO WERE THREATENED
BY INDIANS, YET THEY KIND OF
WANT TO BE NICE SO THEY CAN GET
YOUR TREES."
I SAID, "WHAT KEPT YOU GROUNDED
THROUGH IT ALL?"
SHE SAYS, "WELL WHAT CAN I SAY,
I'M INDIAN.
I'M NOT LIKE THEM, YOU KNOW
WHAT I MEAN?
I HAVE PRINCIPLES AND VALUES
THAT THEY DON'T HAVE AND THAT
THEY PROBABLY NEVER WILL HAVE."
SO THE STRUGGLE IS NOT SIMPLY
ONE OF A WARRIOR, AND IT'S NOT
SIMPLY OF THE CLASSIC
STEREOTYPICAL WARRIOR.
THIS WOMAN IS A WARRIOR HERE,
IN MY VIEW.
SHE'S A PERSON WHO'S OUT THERE
PUTTING HERSELF ON THE FRONT
LINES OF THAT CO-OPTATION
BATTLE, AND IF SHE WALKED IN
THE ROOM NOW, NO ONE WOULD SAY,
OH THERE'S A WARRIOR, WELL
HOPEFULLY AFTER THEY READ THE
BOOK THEY WILL, BUT NOW, NO ONE
WOULD SAY, THERE'S A WARRIOR.
SHE'S VERY CALM, VERY QUIET,
VERY SORT OF SELF CONTAINED
POWERFUL, BUT AS YOU CAN SEE,
SHE CAN'T BE PUSHED AROUND.
I ASKED HER AT THE END OF THE
INTERVIEW IF SHE'S OPTIMISTIC
IN SPITE OF ALL OF HER
EXPERIENCE, BECAUSE SHE ALSO
GOT STABBED IN THE BACK A LOT
BY HER OWN PEOPLE, AND IN THE
END, SHE'S NOT THE CHIEF ANY
MORE BECAUSE THE SITUATION
THERE IS JUST SO DYSFUNCTIONAL
IN HER VIEW.
SHE'S TRYING TO HAVE AN
INFLUENCE IN THE COMMUNITY, BUT
NOT FROM THAT POSITION WHERE
EVERYBODY IS POKING AT HER ALL
THE TIME.
SO I ASKED HER, "ARE YOU AN
OPTIMISTIC PERSON?"
SHE SAID, "PEOPLE ALWAYS USED
TO SAY I WAS OPTIMISTIC, BUT
I'M REALLY FRUSTRATED BECAUSE
OF THE DIVISIONS AMONG OUR
PEOPLE.
THERE ARE SOME OF US WHO
BELIEVE SO STRONGLY IN THE
CULTURE AND OUR VALUES, BUT
THEN THERE ARE OTHERS THAT WANT
TO SELL OUT OUR RIGHTS,
THINKING THAT IT'S GOING TO
RESOLVE ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS IF
WE JUST OWN LAND AND PAY TAXES
LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.
I DON'T REALLY WORRY ABOUT IT A
LOT THOUGH, BECAUSE I BELIEVE
THAT IF YOU JUST DO WHAT YOU
CAN DO TO MAKE THINGS HARDER
FOR THE GOVERNMENT, YOU'RE
REALLY DOING SOMETHING.
THAT'S WHAT I LIKE TO DO, MAKE
THINGS DIFFICULT FOR THEM.
WE STARTED DOING THAT AT HOME.
BUT THEN WE SORT OF FELL DOWN,
AND NOW I'M SORT OF FRUSTRATED.
BUT MAYBE WE'LL GET GOING AGAIN
ONCE WE GET A REAL LEADER IN
THERE AT HIGHER LEVELS INSTEAD
OF THE ONES WE HAVE IN THERE
NOW WHO ARE JUST IN IT FOR THE
MONEY AND THE STATUS."
SO SHE'S HOPEFUL IN SPITE OF
BEING STEPPED ON A LOT.
THERE'S A WOMAN, THIS IS IN THE
NUXALK NATION IN BELLA COOLA.

A woman from the audience says something inaudible.

Taiaiake says IN BELLA COOLA.
AND I WAS REALLY IMPRESSED BY
THIS PERSON BECAUSE SHE HADN'T
RECEIVED A LEVEL OF RECOGNITION
OF OTHER PEOPLE YET, EVEN OF
THE ONES I'VE SPOKEN WITH IN
THIS BOOK, AND YOU KNOW, THERE
ARE SOME PRETTY PROMINENT
PEOPLE THAT I'VE SPOKEN WITH.
EVEN THE PEOPLE WHO WERE BAND
COUNCIL CHIEFS, THEY HAD A BIT
OF RECOGNITION.
THIS IS THE KIND OF WARRIOR
THAT HASN'T GOTTEN ANY
RECOGNITION YET.
BUT STILL GETS UP EVERY DAY AND
DOES WHAT SHE NEEDS TO DO TO
FOLLOW THROUGH HER VISION OF
UNIFYING NOT ALL THE INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE OF THE AMERICAS, BUT HER
OWN COMMUNITY.
SHE WANTS TO HEAL THE RIFT
BETWEEN THE PEOPLE IN HER
COMMUNITY AND EVERY DAY SHE
DOES SOMETHING AND SHE'S
CONSTANTLY AT WORK. SHE'S
PERSISTENT, LIKE, DOGGEDLY
PERSISTENT IN MAINTAINING HER
OWN ADHERENCE TO THE OLD WAYS,
AND TRYING TO BRING THE PEOPLE
TOGETHER.
AND THEY HAD A LONGING DISPUTE
THERE A FEW YEARS AGO, IN A
PLACE CALLED [Inaudible]
IN BELLA COOLA, AND ALL THE
DIVISIONS IN THE COMMUNITY WERE
QUITE APPARENT THERE.
SO I JUST-- WE WERE TALKING
ABOUT THE DISPUTE AND
EVERYTHING, AND HER ROLE IN IT,
AND SHE'S WITH THE TRADITIONAL
GOVERNMENT, AND TRYING TO
OPPOSE THE LOGGING AND SO
FORTH.
SO IT TURNS OUT SHE TALKED
ABOUT THE DIVISIONS, AND IN THE
END, THE BAND COUNCIL ACTUALLY
SUPPORTED THE LOGGING COMPANY,
OVER THE NUXALK PEOPLE WHO WERE
THERE PROTESTING.
SO I SAID, "WHY WERE THE BAND
COUNCILLORS SO STRONGLY AGAINST
WHAT YOU WERE DOING?
SHE SAID, "WELL THERE WERE
ABOUT SEVEN NUXALK LOGGERS WHO
WERE SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING IN
THAT AREA.
THERE IN THIS OCCUPATION, THE
LOGGING COMPANY INTERFOR HAD
MOVED ALL THE WHITE LOGGERS
AWAY AND TOLD ALL THE NUXALK
LOGGERS TO GO IN THERE.
INTERFOR TOLD THE LOGGERS, IF
WE DON'T LOG THIS AREA, YOU'RE
NOT GOING TO GET ANY MORE WORK.
THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED."
"SO THEY WERE THREATENED, TOO?"
"YEAH, THEIR JOBS WERE
THREATENED, AND A LOT OF THIS
HAPPENED BECAUSE A FORMER
COUNCILLOR HAD HIS OWN IDEAS
ABOUT PUTTING A PULP MILL IN
THERE."
"DID THE SITUATION EVER GET
RESOLVED?"
"IT DIDN'T, IT GOT LOGGED.
THEY THREW OUR HEREDITARY
CHIEFS IN JAIL, AND THE STRESS
WAS SO MUCH FOR THE HEAD
CHIEF'S WIFE THAT SHE DIED.
THEN THE GOVERNMENT MADE
LAWRENCE (WHO IS THEIR HEAD
CHIEF) SIGN A PIECE OF PAPER HE
WOULD NEVER HAVE SIGNED
OTHERWISE, A COURT DOCUMENT
SAYING THAT HE WOULDN'T BE
INVOLVED IN ANY MORE PROTESTS.
THEY MADE HIM SIGN THIS PAPER
SO THEY COULD GET OUT OF JAIL
AND GO TO HIS WIFE'S FUNERAL."
"IT MUST BE HARD TO SEE THIS AS
ANYTHING BUT A DEFEAT FOR YOUR
PEOPLE," I SAID.
SHE SAID, "I BELIEVE THERE WAS
SOME POSITIVE IN IT, THOUGH,
BECAUSE IT DID BRING US A LOT
CLOSER -- A LOT OF US CLOSER
TOGETHER.
THERE WAS A LOT OF STRENGTH
AMONG THE PEOPLE WHO WERE
INVOLVED."
THEN I ASKED HER, "DO YOU THINK
THE REACTION WOULD BE THE SAME
IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE ANOTHER
STAND AGAINST LOGGING OR
DEVELOPMENT TODAY?"
SHE SAID, "YEP.
SO I SAID, "WHAT ARE YOU GOING
TO DO TO MAKE SURE THAT THE
SAME THING DOESN'T HAPPEN ALL
OVER AGAIN?"
SHE SAID, "MY PLAN IS TO GO
DOOR TO DOOR, LIKE THAT OLD
HEAD CHIEF USED TO DO, AND FIND
OUT WHERE OUR PEOPLE STAND.
I'VE BEEN TO ONE HOME ALREADY TO TALK
ABOUT A PROPOSAL TO BUILD A
MIN, AND IT'S JUST BEEN ANGER.
ANGER AT ME FOR BEING."
[Speaking First Nations
Language] THAT'S THEIR
TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENT.
"THEY SAID, YOU'RE GOING TO TRY
AND STOP THIS, AREN'T YOU?
BEFORE I LEFT, I GAVE THEM ALL
A HUG ANYWAY.
THE NEXT TIME I SAW THEM, THEY
JUST TURNED THEIR FACES AWAY
FROM ME, BUT I HAVE BEEN TO
OTHER PEOPLE'S HOMES AND I HAVE
FOUND THAT THERE ARE LOTS OF
PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN WHAT WE
BELIEVE IN, AND WHO BELIEVE IT
BUT DON'T SPEAK OUT."
I SAID, "THAT'S A BIG QUESTION.
HOW DO YOU GET PEOPLE TO STAND
UP FOR THEMSELVES AFTER THEY'VE
BEEN BEATEN DOWN FOR SO LONG."
SHE SAID, "FOR ME IT'S A
SPIRITUAL WAR.
IT'S A WAR BETWEEN GOOD AND
EVIL WITHIN OURSELVES."
HER NAME'S SIMINA.
HER NATIVE NAME IS SIMINA, FROM
BELLA COOLA.
YOU CAN GO ON MY WEBSITE AND
THE PICTURES OF THESE PEOPLE
ARE THERE, AND YOU CAN SEE SOME
QUOTES.
I'M JUST GOING TO DO ONE OR TWO
MORE AND THEN FINISH IT OFF.
A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW WHO RAY
HALBRITTER IS, AND FOR THOSE OF
YOU WHO DON'T, HE'S THE VERY
CONTROVERSIAL AND SUCCESSFUL
HEAD OF THE CASINO ENTERPRISE
OF THE UNITED NATIONS OF NEW
YORK DOWN SOUTH HERE.
HE WAS FORMERLY INVOLVED IN
GRAND COUNCIL AND REPRESENTING
ONEIDAS, AND FORMER WARRIOR
SOCIETY GUY FROM THE '60s AND
'70s, STRUCK OUT ON HIS OWN
FROM THE COMMUNITY AND
BASICALLY FOLLOWED THIS PATH OF
CAPITALISM THAT I OUTLINED.
I HAVE TO PREFACE WHAT I'M
GOING TO SAY HERE BY GIVING HIM
HIS DUE.
YOU KNOW, HIS DUE WAS THAT THE
COMMUNITY HAD 32 ACRES OF LAND
OUT OF THE MILLION OR SO THAT
WE HAD BEFORE.
HE SAW HIS OWN FAMILY BURN UP
IN A HOUSE WHERE THE WHITE FIRE
DEPARTMENT REFUSED TO COME AND
SHUT OUT THE FIRE, AND HE
COMMITTED HIMSELF TO PAYBACK,
THAT'S WHAT I BELIEVE.
FROM TALKING TO HIM, HE
COMMITTED HIMSELF TO SAYING,
WE'RE GOING TO BE BETTER THAN
THOSE PEOPLE.
WE'RE NEVER GOING TO BE IN A
POSITION WHERE ANYBODY IS GOING
TO HAVE TO SUFFER THE WAY OUR
PEOPLE SUFFER, AND IF THAT
MEANS ME GOING OVER TO THE
OTHER SIDE, AND BUILDING UP A
FORTUNE SO THEY CAN BUY THEIR
POLITICIANS OFF, AND US EMPLOY
THEM, THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO
DO.
AND I CAN'T SPEAK FOR HIM, HE
GAVE HIS INTERVIEW, BUT THAT'S
THE SENSE I HAVE AFTER MEETING
WITH HIM AND SPENDING SOME
TIME, TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT
HE'S ALL ABOUT.
BUT THERE'S AN EXAMPLE HERE OF
THE RATIONALE THAT GOES INTO
CONSTRUCTING A POLITICAL
PROGRAM BASED ON THIS APPROACH.
AND I ASKED HIM -- HE GAVE A
REALLY GOOD INTERVIEW,
ACTUALLY.
HE MUST HAVE BEEN THINKING
ABOUT THIS FOR WEEKS AND DAYS
OR YEARS, AND I JUST HAD TO ASK
A QUESTION, AND BOOM, THREE
HOURS, HE WAS JUST LETTING IT
GO.
SO I KIND OF HAD TO INTERRUPT
AND ASK A QUESTION EVERY NOW
AND THEN.
SO I ASKED HIM A BUNCH OF
QUESTIONS AND THIS ANSWER THAT
HE'S ABOUT TO GIVE ME, IS
WHAT'S THE -- AGAIN, THE
MOTIVATION AND WHAT ARE SOME OF
THE OBSTACLES WHAT ARE SOME OF
THE CHALLENGES HE FACES, AND
DOES HE ENJOY THE CHALLENGE?
HOW DOES HE THINK THROUGH SOME
OF THE CHALLENGES OF RESTORING
THE POWER OF THE NATION
ACCORDING TO HIS VISION?
AND SO I SAY, "WHAT ABOUT
COMING FROM THE STATE, THE
FEDS, THE LOCAL WHITE
POPULATION, ARE THERE OBSTACLES
FROM THEM?"
BECAUSE WE HAD JUST FINISHED
TALKING ABOUT ALL THE INTERNAL
DISAGREEMENTS AND STUFF.
AND HE SAID, "WELL THAT'S
DIFFERENT.
I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.
THE PEOPLE THAT I MEET WITH
FROM THE LOCALS AND THE NEW
YORK STATE GOVERNMENT, THEY
THINK I'M ARROGANT.
I'VE NEVER VIEWED MYSELF THAT WAY."

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues SOUND FAMILIAR?
"WHEN THEY FIRST CAME OVER HERE
300 YEARS AGO AND SAW OUR
PEOPLE STANDING ALL PROUD AND
STRONG, THEY MISTOOK THAT FOR
ARROGANCE.
IT'S NOT ARROGANT, THAT'S JUST
A FREE MAN, THAT'S JUST A MAN
WHO'S NOT AFRAID OF YOU.
WE ALL HAVE BELIEF IN OUR
SOVEREIGNTY, OUR PEOPLE
PROBABLY FIGHT HARDER THAN
ANYONE ELSE FOR IT."
HE'S AN IROQUOIS NATIONALIST BY
THE WAY.
"FOR IROQUOIS PEOPLE, IT'S NOT
EVEN A FIGHT SO MUCH AS A
BELIEF.
OF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO OUGHT TO
HAVE BEEN BEATEN DOWN BY NOW,
IT OUGHT TO BE OUR PEOPLE.
THEY CAME TO OUR SHORES JUST
ABOUT FIRST.
WE'VE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH THEM
SINCE THE 1600s.
WE'RE STILL HANGING IN THERE.
IT'S ONE THING TO BE SOVEREIGN,
BUT IT'S A LOT OF
RESPONSIBILITY.
IT'S SELF-SUFFICIENCY, THAT'S
WHERE MONEY COMES IN."
I SAID, "BUT ISN'T THAT JUST A
MADE IN THE USA DEFINITION OF
SOVEREIGNTY?"
AND HE LOOKED AT ME AND HE KIND
OF SMILED, AND HE SAID, "WELL
POWER DOES WANT ALL THE POWER.
NOW WE'RE TWO COOKS IN THE SAME
KITCHEN.
WE HAVE TWO SOVEREIGNS
OCCUPYING THE SAME PLACE.
THE UNITED STATES, BECAUSE OF
PUBLIC OPINION, CAN'T JUST COME
IN AND WIPE US OUT, THEY CAN'T
DO IT THAT WAY.
WE'RE NOT HIGH ENOUGH ON THE
RADAR SCREEN TO REALLY GET
GOING AT, BUT THEY KEEP NIPPING
AND CHIPPING AT US, AND PRETTY
SOON, IT'S GOING TO ALL GO.
THEY TRY TO GET YOU ALL SCREWED UP."
OR THEY TRY TO GET US TO DO IT TO
OURSELVES."
THAT'S WHAT I SAID.
HE SAYS, "TO BE ABLE TO SAY, WE
DIDN'T DO ANYTHING, THEY KILLED
THEMSELVES OFF, FOR THEM,
THAT'S THE BEST POSSIBLE SITUATION.
I'M TRYING TO TAKE THEIR RULES AND USE
THEM AGAINST THEM, TO BEAT THEM
AT THEIR OWN GAME."
I SAID, "WELL LOOKING AROUND
THIS PLACE, IT SEEMS TO BE
WORKING FOR YOU IN ONE WAY."
IT'S A HUGE CASINO, AND IT'S
JUST -- HE'S GOT ALL THESE
WHITE PEOPLE WORKING FOR HIM,
AND HE SAID, "WELL, WE HAVE
14,000 ACRES BACK.
WE'VE MARCHED THE CLOCK BACK TO
THE EARLY 1800s.
WE'VE GOT THAT MUCH LAND BACK
AND WE'RE STILL GOING.
WE'VE GOT A FEDERAL COURT
RULING, WHICH SAYS ALL THE LAND
WE POSSESS COMES UNDER OUR
JURISDICTION, OUR SOVEREIGNTY,
AND IT'S NOT TAXABLE."
SO YOU KNOW, THAT'S A POWERFUL
MATERIALIST ARGUMENT.
HOW CAN YOU ARGUE WITH 14,000
ACRES, MORE THAN THAT NOW.
THIS WAS DONE IN 2001.
THEY HAVE A LOT MORE LAND THAN
THAT NOW, THEY HAVE A LOT MORE
POLITICAL POWER.
BUT AGAIN, I TALK ABOUT IT IN
THE BOOK, YOU HAVE TO
PROBLEMATIZE IT IN THE SENSE
OF, WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO
THEIR CULTURE TO GET THINGS
LIKE THAT?
I COUNTERBALANCE THE
PERSPECTIVE OF RAY HALBRITTER
WITH ORIN LYONS, WHO A LOT OF
YOU WILL BE FAMILIAR WITH, WHO
HAS A BIT OF A DIFFERENT VISION
ON INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY, AND
OF COURSE I HAD TO BRING UP RAY
HALBRITTER IN THE CONVERSATION.
BUT BEFORE THAT I ASKED HIM,
YOU KNOW, HOW IS IT THAT YOU
ENDED UP THE PERSON THAT YOU
ARE POLITICALLY.
WE DIDN'T TALK ABOUT HIS
PERSONAL LIFE TOO MUCH.
BUT YOU KNOW, POLITICALLY
YOU'RE VERY PROMINENT, YOU'RE A
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SIX NATIONS
AND SO FORTH, HOW IS IT THAT
YOU CAN BE WORKING IN AN AD
COMPANY IN MANHATTAN WHEN
YOU'RE YOUNGER AND END UP THIS
PERSON?
AND I SAID, "HOW DID YOU TURN
AWAY FROM THAT LIFE AND BECOME
THE PERSON WE ALL KNOW?"
HE SAID, "I HAD A GRANDMOTHER
WHO CALLED ME BACK.
I WAS ALSO BRINGING UP MY OWN
CHILDREN, AND I COULD SEE VERY
CLEARLY THAT NEW YORK AND NEW
JERSEY WERE NOT PLACES FOR
BRINGING ANYBODY UP.
AND I WAS ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT
THIS PLACE, I'VE GOT TO GET
HOME, I'VE GOT TO GET HOME.
SO I LEARNED A LOT IN NEW YORK,
I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT PRINTING
AND PRODUCTION AND GRAPHIC
ARTS, BUT I NEVER MISSED A
CEREMONY HERE IN ONANDAGA.
YOU KNOW, WE'D JUST GET IN THE
CAR AND COME BACK."
HE GOES, "YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT
IDENTITY, AND I REMEMBER WHEN I
GRADUATED FROM SYRACUSE
UNIVERSITY, I FELT PRETTY GOOD,
I HAD THE ORANGE KEY AWARD FOR
SCHOLASTIC AND ATHLETIC
ACHIEVEMENT,"
HE WAS AN ALL AMERICAN
GOALTENDER IN LACROSSE.
"I HAD A WHOLE BUNCH OF AWARDS,
YOU JUST NAME IT, I HAD A BUNCH
OF THEM.
AND THEN ONE DAY, THE OLD MAN,
HERB POWLISS, SAID TO ME AFTER
A COUPLE OF DAYS, LET'S GO
FISHING.
I USED OT LIKE FISHING WITH
HIM, BECAUSE HE KNEW WHERE THEY
WERE, AND HE HAD A BOAT.
SO I WENT UP TO HIS LAKE AND
GOT OUT THERE ON THE LAKE AND
SETTLED IN FOR SOME GOOD
FISHING.
HE WAS OVER THERE ON THE OTHER
END OF THE BOAT, AND HE SAYS,
JUST GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, HUH?
AND I SAID, YES.
AND THEN I ALSO SAID TO MYSELF,
UH-OH, THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE
A GOOD OPENING REMARK FOR A
CONVERSATION.
SO ANYWAYS, HE SAID, THAT'S
GOOD, SO YOU KNOW A LOT OF
THINGS, HUH?
AND THEN HE'S SHAKE HIS HEAD
AND SAID, WELL THEN YOU MUST
KNOW WHO YOU ARE THEN.
HE SAID, YEAH, SURE, I KNOW WHO I AM.
AND HE WENT THROUGH THE WHOLE
THING, THE INDIAN NAME, CLAN,
EVERYTHING I COULD THINK OF,
AND ALL HE KEPT SAYING WAS,
THAT'S IT, HUH?
THAT'S ALL?
SO I JUST SAT THERE, HE HAD ME
CORNERED, I WAS IN A BOAT.

[Audience Laughter]

Taiaiake continues AND HE HAD THE MOTOR ON THE
OTHER END.
SO THAT WAS IT, I HAD NO PLACE
TO GO.
AND HE LAUGHED, YOU KNOW.
I TOUGHED IT OUT FOR A WHILE,
YOU KNOW, BACK AND FORTH, BACK
AND FORTH, AND EVERY TIME, HE
WOULD SAY, MM-HMM, THAT'S IT?
THAT'S ALL?
I FINALLY HAD TO SAY, ALL
RIGHT, I NEED SOME HELP.
GOOD, I'LL HELP YOU OUT, A
LITTLE BIT HE SAID.
THE WAY WE'RE SITTING UP IN THE
BOAT, WE COULD SEE A CLIFF THAT
CAME RIGHT DOWN INTO THE WATER.
ON THE TOP SIDE OF THE CLIFF,
THERE WAS A TREE, A NICE PINE,
NOT A BIG ONE.
THEN HE SAYS TO ME, YOU SEE
THAT TREE?
AND I SAID, YEP.
WELL, HE SAYS, YOU'RE THE SAME
AS THAT TREE, YOU'RE NO
DIFFERENT.
YOU SEE WHERE THE ROOTS ARE?
WHERE THE ROOTS GO FINDING THE
EARTH?
THAT'S HOW YOUR ROOTS ARE TOO,
HE SAID.
YOU'VE GOT OLD ROOTS THAT GO BACK A LONG WAY.
I KNOW YOUR FATHER, AND I KNOW
YOUR GRANDMOTHER, AND I KNOW
YOUR SISTER, AND HE WENT ON AND
ON AND ON.
OLD ROOTS, THAT'S WHO YOU ARE,
HE TOLD ME.
THE EARTH WHERE IT GOES IN, THAT'S YOUR MOTHER.
THAT'S ALL YOU HAVE TO
REMEMBER.
CAN YOU REMEMBER THAT?
I SAID, YEAH, I'LL NEVER FORGET
IT NOW."
SO STORIES LIKE THAT
COUNTERBALANCE--
ACTUALLY, I'M GOING TO LET YOU
GET THE BOOK AND READ THE OTHER
ONE WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT RAY
HALBRITTER.
I THINK I SET YOU UP FOR THAT ONE.
A LITTLE BIT OF A PROMOTIONAL
TOUR HERE FOR THE BOOK AS WELL.
SO UH, I'LL LEAVE IT AT THAT,
AND THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR
ATTENTION.
I KNOW I WENT JUST ABOUT AN
HOUR HERE, AND THAT'S A LONG
TIME TO LISTEN TO SOMEBODY
TALK, SO I APPRECIATE YOUR ATTENTION.

[Applause]

Watch: Taiaiake Alfred on Native Self Government