A Dance of Complicity: Mining and Powwows
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A Dance of Complicity: Mining and Powwows

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February 26, 2013

Songs and Dance are Our Soul-Spirits Made Visible” ~ Endaso-Giizhik

Dance has been a part of the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island for thousands of years. Many dances and songs were gifted to our people through dream-visions. Today, dream-visions continue to shape and form the regalia of dancers and the songs of singers. Our dreams have never left us. We continue to express our dreams in song and dance.

Traditions form an integral part of the powwow. Traditional drums, healing songs, eagle feathers, eagle fans, eagle whistles, are all part of the powwow today. They, and many other things, are part of the sacredness we give expression to in the dance circle. In the dance circle, we connect to all those who have left their dance steps before us – those who have passed homeward to the Spirit World. Gathering over the arbor, the center, the manidoog dance with us.

We know about the Four Orders of Life. Ashkaakamigokwe (Mother Earth) is the First Order of Life; Gitigaanan (Plants) are the Second Order; Awesiinhyag (Animals) are the Third Order. Last are the Bimaadiziig (Human Beings). The other three orders can exist without us, but we cannot exist with them. Therefore, we have a responsibility and duty to take care of them. Balance and harmony of the Four Orders of Life are part of the Original Instructions given to us by Gichi-Manidoo (the Creator).

Today, we live in a time of great struggle to maintain the Four Orders of Life. Extractive resource colonies continue to rape, pillage, and destroy Ashkaakamigokwe. TransCanada, Enbridge, PolyMet, Rio Tinto, Twin Metals, Glencore are but a few of many names with an agenda of ecocide.

TransCanada has become the focal point in the struggle against the Wiindigoog that seeks to destroy Ashkaakamigokwe in the name of greed and profit. They are the eco-terrorists that intend to literally divide Turtle Island in half through their pipeline and pump their poison through our lands.

Part of the efforts of TransCanada is to separate and divide indigenous communities. One example is their sponsorship of the Thundering Hill Powwow hosted by the Nekaneet First Nation in Saskatchewan. TransCanada Pipeline is listed as the Platinum Sponsor. This contest powwow is offering top prize money to lure singers and dancers. First place in the drum contest is $15,000. For dancers, there are 30 dance categories including Old Style Fancy Shawl – $5,000, Men’s Chicken – $5,000, with 1st place prize money for Adults – $1.200; Teens – $800; Jr. – $400.

It’s a common practice for mining companies to invest money into local events and enterprises. One common tactic is donating money to local school funds for school supplies, or donating money to local food shelves. Such donations help to establish local support for donors – in this case, TransCanada seeks to present a public image that is acceptable within the community it is attempting to establish a relationship with. Considering the fierce indigenous opposition that faces TransCanada, such an attempt mollifies a segment of the indigenous population. After all, sponsoring a powwow is, from TransCanada’s standpoint, good public relations.

However, a much larger segment of the indigenous population recognizes this tactic and is vocalizing opposition to the Nekaneet powwow. And with it, TransCanada has already accomplished part of its strategy – to separate and divide. There are those who vehemently oppose this intrusion on what is basically a culturally shared institution – the powwow. And there are those who overlook the manipulative agenda of TransCanada and see no harm in TransCanada’s sponsorship. Thus, the lines are being drawn.

So it becomes an issue of complicity. Complicity, in this case, of supporting TransCanada. In other words, by competing in this powwow, individuals essentially approve of an extractive resource company in its rape, plunder, and destruction of Mother Earth.

Is money so important that the Original Instructions are forgotten? Does one compromise traditional principals for profit?

We are in the time of the Seventh Fire. According to the Seven Fires Prophecy: It is this time when we will be given a choice between two roads. If we choose the right road, then the Seventh Fire will light the Eighth and final Fire, an eternal fire of peace, love, brotherhood and sisterhood.

In regard to TransCanada and the Nekaneet powwow, which road do you choose?

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