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Haughty: difficult, bold, blatantly and disdainfully proud Churlish: not easily managed, resistant, independent, not easily persuaded, stubborn, difficult to work with or deal with, unruly, wilful, intractable Proud: feeling or showing pride, having proper self-respect, marked by stateliness Arrogant: proud, presenting an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions. Resisters: noncompliant, actively oppose policy they do not agree with Defiant: a disposition to resist, willingness to contend or fight, to challenge what is perceived as unjust These were all terms used derogatorily by Europeans when they first encountered the Kichesipirini Algonquins in the early contact period. I guess the Europeans thought that as Indigenous peoples we were making presumptuous claims. The Europeans had great difficulty dealing with the Kichesipirini because the Kichesipirini were adamant about controlling their inherent Aboriginal national rights to territory and jurisdiction, especially the practice of stopping all passage on the Kichi Sibi, (Ottawa River), and demanding tolls from all that travelled, European and native alike. The Kichesipirini defiantly exercised self-determination when it came to rights and proper political protocol. They had clear understandings of territory, jurisdiction and economics, as they should, being the community operating in leadership responsible for international diplomacy and trade throughout a vast territory for centuries through the sophisticated hereditary governance system of the Anishnabe. It was the designated role of the Kichesipirini to lead and specialize in systems of governance and business. The Kichesipirini were doing what they were born to do. Strategic positioning on the largest islands in the busiest and most important economic trade and cultural exchange route of that time assured respect for the Kichesipirini throughout the vast allied territories. The acquisition of surplus goods also meant that through the traditional laws of sharing the Kichesipirini could continue to maintain proper social positioning and peace by serving their friends and allied nations with gifts. But the strategic position also attracted disdain and rivalry. For centuries the Kichesipirini have struggled to survive various forms of genocide in attempts to remove them from their inherent place. Through both overt genocide by violent attacks and covert genocide by administrative erasure from the record native, colonial and capitalist oppressors anxious to avoid the legal duties owed the Kichesipirini tried to rid the world of them. Steadfast families of the Kichesipirini have remained clinging, unnoticed, to their territory and refusing compliance with compromising domestic policy for centuries.
Maintaining the two pillars of Anishnabe traditional laws of genealogy and geography, they stayed, determined….and bided their time. Anticipating change we readied ourselves for new opportunities that would finally offer justice regarding the long struggles and bloodless genocide of the Kichesipirini and the other traditional Aboriginal nations. We continually drew attention to the facts that all domestic Canadian Aboriginal policy abrogated and derogated inherent Aboriginal rights, and through the use of sophisticated demographic manipulations and population transfers, has committed genocide against the original Aboriginal nations, replacing them instead with contemporary “changelings”. We have continued resisting domestic policy; even successfully internationally highlighting the blatant corruption and historical fallacies entrenched within all of it. We have continually pointed out the excessive use of contrived divisiveness that now facilitates internalized oppression and racism within the Aboriginal community; which completely immobilizes and sabotages the people. Within parts of the Aboriginal community we have been often seen still as being haughty, arrogant and churlish…..and maybe rightfully so. But maybe that is what is necessary to reverse the oppression, to wake everyone up. We have been waiting, believing that in time, that by honouring our past we could determine our future, as a nation, again. With the recent passing of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples we recognized our time. The Kichesipirini, true to our nature, now challenge certain social rights groups professing support of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People to put the principles of the Declaration into practice. If you talk the talk you have to walk the walk if you are sincere. There needs to be effective implementation of the principles of the Declaration if it is to be a living document. It cannot be allowed to collect dust like other documents. We must constructively seize the opportunity in ways that will have practical benefit. The time of protests and arrests, speeches and sit-ins are past. We don’t need attention….we need action that leads to measurable Justice, Restoration and Reconciliation…in that order. The Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation, Kici Sibi Anishnabe, have asserted their inherent rights to establish the Pimadiziwin Centre, Kichesipirini Kichi Sibi Anishnabe Community Centre and Independent Institute of International Indigenous Justice Studies, Pembroke Ontario, within unceded Kichesipirini territory and jurisdiction. The community centre will provide community service offices, recreational facilities, an art gallery and store, library and learning opportunities. The Pimadiziwin Centre will be run completely independent of government monies and it is hoped that we will develop a new model of Indigenous communities, able to freely exercise inherent rights and identity without interference. Only those entities completely and openly committed to the principles of the Declaration will be included in the development.
The Greek origins of the word kairos describe holy or God-given time; a time set aside with meaning and choice. Wisdom recognizes kairos as a special time to act for justice, now. Kichesipirini has therefore entered into negotiations with KAIROS, Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. KAIROS unites eleven national churches and church organizations in faithful work for social justice and human rights and have repeatedly asserted their support of the Declaration. We now challenge the
members of this organization to put their good intentions into real practice. Members of the
group hold unique areas of specialization in social justice and community development work. We are anticipating that in good faith these groups work in partnership with the Kichesipirini to develop concrete actions that will meet the immediate and long term needs of the Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation, including ensuring that we are equipped to again fulfill our rightful leadership role with our friends and allies. Because of our unique legal position outside of domestic policy and our adherence to our traditional identity and non-discriminatory citizenship the Kichesipirini can begin to access independent resources leading to sustainability. We also insist that international implementations be released to further the practical application of the Declaration. It has been a difficult road, but walking the walk, should lead to genuine reconciliation for all involved. October 31, 2008 Paula LaPierre Principal Sachem Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation