“We Are the Story…”

My primary work is for the people, lands, and waters, for the other entities of Creation, and for our future generations, so I use some of my time and energy to help my own people – Indigenous grassroots people – raise money to sustain what we do inside our own Indigenous spaces, in addition to helping some Indigenous families who might be in need. See @Indigenous Sweetgrass Roots FB Auction Group to join.

As I close our mini-auction with our little Indigenous Sweetgrass Roots raised dollars of almost 7 grand, I can’t help but think of the 40 billion dollar investments into LNG.
I can’t help but think of all the businesses and academics applying for hundreds of thousands of dollars in the name of “Indigenization,” under the guise of “Truth and Reconciliation” with many non-Indigenous people laying claim to our intellectual, spiritual, and even physical bundles to build their careers and line their pockets.

I think of SON, the Saugeen Anishinaabeg Nation whose youth rallied to amplify G’ganoonigonaa Zaagigan, @lakeisspeaking, the voice of the Water, turning down 150 million dollars and saying “No” to the plan to bury nuclear waste beside the world’s largest fresh water source.

I think of the Wet’suwet’en Grandmothers, Mothers and Aunties giving up their time, their security, their safety with their men supporting them to protect their traditional un-ceded territories to help the Earth and Waters for all our collective future generations against the government/business muscle using the guise of a police force designed to protect, not our people, but their money.

I think of our late Grandmother/Aunty Jo-Ba telling us be careful where you pick up money from, there is an energy attached to it. It is why she refused government funding/oil money for the Water Walks. It is why she moved with NO money at all, relying on the kindness of strangers, only taking enough to feed the people as did other Water Walkers like Nibi Emosaawadamajig, never taking more than they needed, like the Grandmothers and Aunties before them.

Some people will argue we drive, we use phones, we use… and it is true, we are all a part of this consumptive system; every single one of us are. No matter who you are, you are a part of this consumptive process. The story of us all being an equal part of this system, however, as Adichie states is an “incomplete truth.”

The rest of the truth is that many are benefitting from the system and some are much more greedier than others. The rich keep getting richer and the poor, poorer – except the number of people facing poverty is increasing while the number who are wealthy stays relatively the same. The wealthy look out for their own – not us and not you -unless you sell out, of course, then they might throw you a relative crumb….

Then, there are those who acknowledge we are a part of the system, but we are *actively* trying to change it, protecting and returning to our own Indigenous systems of knowing while creating and sustaining our ancestral relationships with the Lands, Waters and Creation… checking ourselves continuously to make sure we don’t transform into those greedy insatiable monster Ones.

I see us all standing…with our beautiful varying shades of Indigeneity, even some who are not from within us, non-Indigenous people who see and hear us genuinely, becoming helpers, not takers.

I see us with our feet rooted into Mother Earth with the Water wrapping around us and the Nations of Creation joining us connecting to the energy lines of the Thunderbirds, Sabe, MishiiBiziw, and all the other natural forces we know are a part of this world, standing collectively against the greenback line of wihtiko/windigo greed and consumption.

As the Earth and Waters – all of Creation – begins to respond to the continual genocide against them wrought by humans, and as environmental instability becomes the norm, more people will suffer: food will become even more scarce, water far more precious than gold, fires will rage, floods will rain down, hurricanes and tornadoes will swirl.

However, these Spirits who exist along-side us will differentiate between those using them for gain and those of us trying to stand up for them. This knowledge is in our respective Indigenous Nations’ stories, it is there for you to learn from and, as my brother Isaac Murdoch states: “…a story is happening right now. We are the story. The question is what role are you playing? What kind of Ancestor/stress are you going to be? What are the future generations going to speak about when your name is mentioned?”

We are the story for our future generations. We are the difference between their life sustaining world or a dead one. Each of us has a role, no matter how big, no matter how small; we have the power to determine what our role in the story will be and what kind of world we leave for them, for our babies, our children, our grandchildren, and future generations. 7 times 7 generations, our late Grandmother/Aunty Water Walker used to say, 7 x 7 is how far we are to look ahead and how far behind our Grandmothers and Grandfathers looked ahead for us.

There is a different way of being in the world – Indigenous people hold the keys to this understanding, like we always have. Come and be a part of our story, at least look inside of it. We promise, it will have a much better ending.

Published by Mide iskwêw (Tasha Beeds)

Tasha Beeds is an Indigenous scholar of nêhiyaw, Metis, and mixed Barbadian ancestry from the Treaty 6 territories of Saskatchewan. She is also a creative artist, a poet, a community engaged Water/Land activist, a Water Walker, and a Mide-kwe from Minweyweywigaan Lodge out of Roseau River First Nations and Wiikwemkoong, Manitoulin Island. She is also a mom to a son Dakota, and a kôhkom to two beautiful granddaughters, Harper and Aurora.

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