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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

Wun Feather: Because so many of us want more out of life, are we no longer Indians?

I have had a few nasty messages that suggest I am not the real deal. They suggest that I am some kind of sell out, or that I am an Apple (Red on the outside and white on the inside).

Let's be completely honest about the majority of people's romantic vision of what an Indian is ... in particular, the left leaning, Liberal, social justice warriors who visualize all of us Indian men completely naked except for a loincloth, riding a magnificent stallion on the plains.

Our long hair is blowing in the wind and we hold a long sharp spear high in the air and we chase down a herd of buffalo for dinner. A bald eagle is soaring above us, and our pet wolf is running by our side.

You can probably see that image in your eyes because all of our lives, Hollywood has painted that picture for you.

The mass majority of people would never say anything negative about an Indian guy like me as long as I am living a minimalist life style as a keeper of the land.

Wouldn't it be great if we just learned our place in society and stayed that way? No one would ever argue that we were authentic! And I am saying this straight out ...

... liberal ... or conservative ... or whatever your ideology is ... many of you can accept me like that.

But what about my people who do not want to be called Indians? I totally respect that. The name has a few negative connotations associated with it, and so let's call ourselves Indigenous.

What the protesters don’t understand is that while they get to grab a nice latte on their way to work -- on the protest line -- many of my people don't even have five bucks in their pockets to spend on a latte

And what about my people who do not ride horses, or chase buffalo, or eat meat for that matter? What about them? Are they no longer "real"?

What about the Indigenous people who buy their groceries at Sobeys, and stop at Starbucks for a Latte? Are they no longer authentic?

And here my friends, is the question that I need to ask;  

What about all the Indigenous people who want to work for a living

What about the ones who strive to become educated and learn a skill-set or a trade

What about the ones who want a paycheck every two weeks so they can provide for their loved ones

From my very first sentence -- to where we are right now in this post -- when did the Indian part of the person leave their body? Because so many of us want more out of life, are we no longer Indians?

What gives anyone the right to stop us from becoming integral with Canadian resource development?

Instead of riding half naked on a paint horse, why can't I have a job running a chainsaw on a pipeline right of way? 

Instead of spearing a buffalo, why can't I be one of the survey crew, or one of the equipment operators?

Does that take the Indian out of me, because if you listen to the protesters, it sure does, and it is about time for people like me to speak out.

What hard-working Canadians need to know, is that the majority of us Indigenous people are just like they are. We want to go to work just like they do. 

We want to be gainfully employed in whatever sector we choose, without the impediments of these do-gooder social justice warriors" standing in our way.

At this juncture in my life, I do not care if being educated, being employed, or wanting more out of life causes a few stragglers to call me a "Colonialist" or an "Apple". 

Obviously, calling me names gives them a sense of accomplishment. 

Working for a living, along side my fellow Canadians, is what does it for me. Rest assured, there are many nations along the pipeline route who embrace what this opportunity has to offer.

Not only are they excited about jobs, but they can sit at the negotiating table and ask for financial assistance to build homes. Financial assistance to build water treatment facilities so the communities have fresh water! These things cost a lot of money that the bands don't have right now. 

What the protesters don’t understand is that while they get to grab a nice latte on their way to work, on the protest line, many of my people do not even have five bucks in their pockets to spend on a latte. 

Oops ... I forgot. 

If I want to remain an Indian in their eyes, I should only drink muskeg tea and chew on rat roots.

ABOUT Wun Feather ... I have literally hundreds of personal stories from the past.

I am one of the last of my generation to have actually attended residential and Indian day schools. I have lived on and off reserve, and have seen the benefits and the hardships of my people in both situations.

My, my parents taught me that any time I fell down physically or emotionally, I just needed to pick myself up, shake myself off, and continue in a forward direction. So, I cannot claim that I did it on my own. I had great Elders


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