United League of Indigenous Nations formed

United League of Indigenous Nations formed

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John Ahni Schertow
August 13, 2007
 

Last Month I posted an article about a gathering to discuss the terms of a Treaty to form a United League of Indigenous Nations.

Well the gathering occurred as planned. In total, about 200 people representing 40+ Tribes (mostly from around the US) were in attendance. The gathering however, went a little different from what was expected. Early on, everyone decided not to go over the terms of the Treaty. Instead, they revamped it and finalized it for immediate ratification.

According to the article on Indian Country, this course was prompted when Oren Lyons, Traditional Faithkeeper of the Onondaga, told everyone “The ice at the polar caps is melting as we are standing here talking.”

At the end of the conference, delegates from 11 Nations signed the final version: “Lummi, Sucker Creek Cree First Nation 150 A, Te Runanga O Ngati Awa (New Zealand), Ngarrinderi Nation, Douglas Village of the Tlinget Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Akiak Native Community, We Wai Kai Nation, Makah Tribe, Songhees Nation and Hoh Indian Tribe. ”

There will be a formal signing and ratification meeting sometime later this year.

Questions and Concerns

I realize I’m not position to say whether or not this is a good thing, if only because I know little to nothing about the above-mentioned Nations, but even so I find there are alot of unanswered questions here.

Initially I was deeply concerned about the involvement of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) — because while many assume the AFN is a representative body for Indigenous People ‘in Canada,’ it is in fact a liaison for the Federal Government: in a matter of speaking, a bridge that allows Canada to freely enter the backyards of Indigenous People to do whatever they want.

Those behind this gathering might just as well have invited The Government of Canada itself to sit at the table.

Beyond this, the questions and concerns I see are with regard to intent of the ULIN. According to the article on Indian Country, the ULIN’s goal is to create an international Indigenous economy and to work together to ‘fight global warming’.

The biggest question is: who is this economy for? It is for Leadership or is it for the People? Is it for profit and power, or is to meet community needs, address poverty, and help with self-empowerment?

With the example I see Leadership setting on this land, I can’t imagine this economy is something that will exist independent of mainstream business—for the purposes of needs fulfillment.

Some more questions:

Well, these are questions that can only be truly answered through actions (not words)—so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Whatever the answers turn out to be, one thing is certain: there is a clear need for a true indigenous economy, especially since Nation States like Canada and America have long since used our lands and resources to get rich and keep us in a perpetual state of dependence.

With that said, our economy should exist outside of the mainstream economy, altogether outside of colonial Society.

That doesn’t just mean making money on our terms, and moving around or selling the products we make, and being able to invest in massive projects to save the world because of other people’s stupidity.

First and foremost, our economy is one that must ensure that all the People’s needs are met.

If it can’t do that, or for that matter end poverty and the dependence (or rather strangle-hold) States have on Nations, then what’s the point?

Living is, after all, more important than surviving.

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