WHY ARE VIRTUALLY ALL MAINSTREAM MEDIA IGNORING OUR INDIANS?
by Merv Ritchie
The Cree, the Mohawk, the Apache and the Iroquois have nothing to do with the descendents of Demalahamid, Temlaham. Nor does; the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), the AFN (Assembly of First Nations), the Idle No More Movement or Attawapiskat Chief, Teresa Spence.
None represent the Tsimshian, the Gitxsan, the Haisla or the Tahltan. It would be difficult to find anyone in Ottawa, Indian or otherwise, speaking for any of the Nations of Northwest BC, the Sacred Circle.
Indians living elsewhere in Canada, or anywhere else in BC outside of the Northwest, have virtually nothing in common with Damelahamid.
The Northwest Coast was, and is, an identity all to itself. The first explorers and traders, followed by the missionaries, all described these people as having a unique, but similar ‘Tsimshian’ language. This unifying tongue is still spoken and taught today.
The general population, except for those living directly in Northwest BC, reference the totem culture only with the Haida Indian and Haida Gwaii; the islands most still call the Queen Charlottes. They think Emily Carr and the group of seven! Almost none know of the peoples residing on the land west of the Omineca Mountain range through to the Pacific Ocean; the people of Damelahamid.
Most do not even know where the Nisga’a territory is yet there has been a signed modern day treaty for twelve years.
The area is so remote if you were to ask residents of B.C. about a lava bed from a volcano anywhere nearby, 99 percent would laugh and excuse this as a ridiculousness notion. This stands true even for some living within 100 miles of the Nisga’a Lava Memorial fields.
As this location is a full eight hour drive west-northwest of Prince George, remote is almost an understatement. The highway into the territory is named the Highway of Tears after the numerous accounts of missing and murdered women from the Nations of Damelahamid along this often deserted stretch of road. To add to the tragedy for these people it was primarily the women of the Sacred Circle who were taken off the streets of Vancouver by Willie Pickton to be murdered on his Pig Farm, Piggies Palace.
It is difficult to unite in common purpose as the wounds are still raw, the emotions still at the surface.
Less than a generation has passed since some lived without roads or electricity. Yes, even in BC, Canada, not 30 years ago some tribes had no direct link or contact routes. It was only 150 years ago when this region was even entered to explore.
Maybe this is why the Tsimshian, Haisla, Gitxsan, Wet’suwet’en, Tlingit, Haida, Tahltan and Nisga’a are ignored; as long as no one knows this special place exists their territories can still be quietly stolen.
It is specifically about these peoples lands the Canadian Government passed its recent legislation, Bills C38 and C45. They did this to justify their continued assault which began with the deliberate genocide of these peoples by germ warfare.
The Canadian government wishes to conduct a final genocide on these people for the Mining and Petroleum industries.
While the Cree, Mohawk, Sioux, Apache, Iroquois, with the AFN, the UBCIC and others achieve media prominence, the Sacred Circle genocide and social dysfunction continues.
Still today these people are relegated to the shadows, their tragedies ignored. While Indians across Canada stand up and demand recognition for the harm done over the course of the last 300 to 400 years, the harm in the Sacred Circle is so fresh it remains difficult for the surviving elders to speak of it. Those who had their children abducted, their villages burned, their daughters raped and murdered, are still alive living with the pain right now.
It remains an ongoing tragedy which the efforts of the Idle No More movement east of the Ominica Mountain Range does not come close to addressing. The genocide continues today. These are not; Cree, Sioux, Apache or Iroquois. They are the people of Demalahamid, Temlaham. They are the; Nisga’a, Tahltan, Gitxsan, Wet’suwet’en, Haisla, Haida, Tlingit and the Tsimshian. The once most respected and admired traders in the Pacific Northwest. A unique totem culture based strictly on a Matriarchal, Matrilineal hierarchy with government structures based on feasting and decency. Something the British and Canadian governments abhorred and continue to destroy today.
The only reference to address the source of the women in the recently released Government report on the missing and murdered women from the Vancouver Downtown Eastside, was encouraging a transit bus system along the highway of tears. These women were the potential authority, the matriarchs. A bus? The government offers these women who had their children ripped from their arms, their communities burned, their ancestors graves disturbed, a bus?
The systemic tragedy continues as the government leaders continue to claim there is no money, even for the bus. It seems alright, still today, to not only rape pillage and plunder the land and resources, but also the people.