Ch 15 & 16

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First Nations Studies
FNST 101
Rudy Reimer

Chapter 15 – The Hearing Summer:  Summer camp on reserve  Intense heat = inactivity = “Summer is a time for resting” September:  Quarry and Bluestone?  Time to build up meat supply, fat marmots, caribou, etc  Blueberry Reserve evacuated because of a gas leak  temporary tents a few miles east of the Alaskan Highway  Rumours of upcoming oil and gas drilling on the Reserve o Overshadowed by talk about Alaska Highway Pipeline and hearings for it in the soon-to-be affected communities  Employee of Northern Pipeline Agency (definition: page 259) visited the reserve and left papers at the Chief’s house  Weeks later  terms and conditions about pipeline construction was delivered  Notice on meeting hall door about a public hearing concerning these terms and conditions  Nobody read these documents at Joseph’s camp “The construction project that developers had hailed, and environmentalists bewailed, as the largest and most significant in the history of free enterprise was little more than a vague and distant enigma to the people who were supposedly to be its first and absolute victims.”  Page 259  The two traditional positions/rivalries  Quote demonstrates the two key positions of the pipeline (White vs. Indian) Chiefs and Northeastern representatives met with parliamentary subcommittee (Ottawa) one year before to speak against the pipeline  White officials said the papers were very important but Indians seemed more concerned about the autumn hunt  Sure, they need food, but the pipeline can potentially ruin their future food supply Hearing:  NPA’s words were not translated into Beaver  Beaver language was translated (poorly) into English  Disrespectful  Treating FN’s like they are lesser, not concerned about their opinions “Our purpose in being here is to listen to you so we can set the best rules possible, but at the same time, recognizing that those rules have to be reasonable.”  Page 265  Patronizing attitude toward FN’s  Pipeline people say they are there to listen, but they act like it is their land. They pretend to consider the FN’s rules, but it is ultimately the pipeline’s rules that count. The pipeline people are there for their JOB that will affect the LIVES of the Indian community (page 265)  “West Coast Transmission and the Northern Pipeline Agency men came as employees of remote organizations to discuss a pipeline. They were on a business trip, doing a job. The men and women of the Reserve spoke of their homes, their lives and, moved to do so by profound apprehensions of the future, they struggled against language barriers and nervousness.” The pipeline representatives were packing up by 2pm when they started at midday! ONLY 2 HOURS! Chairman and associates were tired and satisfied, wanted to leave. The Indian atmosphere was “convivial” or friendly. They were having a feast.  “. . .here was a feast to reassure everyone and, in its way, to give special emphasis to the importance of what the Indians had said.” Page 266  Convivial (“friendly”) BUT the chairman and his associates were eager to leave, they were satisfied, hearing ended  The formal business of making statements and placing them on the record was over Whites completed their work + eating Indian food + talking to each other without formality  hearing could get under way on the Indians’ terms  Aggan and Annie brought a dream map made of a thick layer of hide o Discovered in dreams o Explained which areas would be most affected o It is wrong to unpack a dream map unless it is very urgent  the hearing was important, the Indians’ needs had to be recognized o Elders spoke of how their lives our changing, how frontier developments damaged their lands o Would young people be able to use the skills of dreamers? o Most of these thoughts weren’t on the official record  Their lives depended on traplines  Logging should be carried out in a way that would leave habitat for squirrels and marten  Sport hunters should be banned from Indians’ hunting territories  Alaskan Highway pipeline shouldn’t be built at all, or built so that it would not drive away the moose  Oppression in the past, disregard for their interests in the present  Page 268 “They took part in the outsiders’ hearing and used it to explain their point of view, but they also prepared moose meat stew and showed a dream map. Despite a century of experience that might urge them to do otherwise, the Indians took the hearing seriously.”  Visitors left, leaving Indians puzzled since the meeting was just getting under way! Some stayed to listen to drumming, then left. o Page 269 Visitors: “From their point of view, the meeting had ended more than an hour before” o Indians let them go  “Perhaps they were no longer surprised by this demonstration of the white man’s haste and incomprehension.” Next morning:  Atsin led them to the bear den; killed, skinned, and butchered it; set off for moose hunt  Sports-hunting season was over but they found a sports hunter’s equipment cache and old campsite! o “Atsin declared over and over again that white men had no right to hunt there, on the Indians’ land. When Joseph heard about the cache he said: ‘Pretty soon we’ll fix it all up. We’ve made maps and everyone will see where we have our land.” Page 270 Chapter 16 – A Possible Future 5 weeks before the northeast BC hearings  author went with Joseph, Atsin, and several young men to hunt at Copper Creek  White sports hunter asked Joseph where deer can be found  Joseph said “West. All over there to the west.”  Hunter said “Oh, you think I should try farther towards the mountains?”  Joseph “Deer, moose, chickens, cattle, pigs, everything gone to the west. Pretty soon everything will be gone. All the meat. Then the white man will understand what he has done.” Joseph oscillated
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