It's the kind of facade that's necessary for colonial regimes to...perpetuate in the minds of people an illusion that Indigenous peoples and oppressed peoples of the world are, in fact, honoured and respected. We say it is all a joke and that it is done as a smoke screen. I say that it has to be one of the most blatantly hypocritical documents that could come out of a body called the United Nations.
First of all, we don't even see the United Nations as a body that's designed to resolve world conflict through peaceful measures (according to its own charters).
We see it as a social club for fascist-imperial powers from 179 member-states around the world. [The U.N. Security Council] and all of its encroachment into the land of Indigenous people worldwide...is the heart of the so-called New World Order, which we call the Same Old Stuff.
To say that this is the 1993 Year of the Indigenous Peoples is really basically a slap in our faces. How can you say that after 100 and some million people are being slaughtered in the name of development, in the name of greed, and also in the name of so-called divine providence.
How can you possibly give us a year out of 501 of outright genocide?
The United Nations itself should be standing trial because it's the UN that initiates policies that are enacted right now in Central and South America. They've got the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund...financing the removal of Indigenous peoples by the millions. [They do this] for the trees that exist there, for the uranium that exists there, for the natural gas and for the oils that exist there.
Let's get really specific, let's get really real. If there has been any change, with the lands that we hold, and our ability to sustain ourselves economically, politically, and even culturally and spiritually...[if we have the ability to act as sovereign nations] it exists because we have standing warrior societies to defend ourselves against outside aggressors.
It exists because we refuse to relinquish ourselves to the handouts given out by governments to the Uncle Tomahawks in our own nations.
It exists because we took stands like we took in Ganienkeh in 1973/74, almost 25 years ago. I was there when 800 of us armed ourselves and took back our land that was stolen from us.
The United States government and all the ruling oligarchies and institutions of power there have been created off the theft, murder and rape of Indigenous peoples. Until white America, white Canada, or white anything comes to grips with that reality we are living in illusions.
I have a lot of relatives whose land has been encroached upon by the government and all of its policies, by all of your standing armies. We never advocate policies of aggression against any other nations or any other peoples. But we do advocate the necessity for a standing Native army to defend ourselves against aggressive societies.
We [must] come to grips with things like institutionalized racism and manipulation by the media, who create the images of a people who are destitute and subjugated. We [must] begin to reverse that and make contact with one another and understand our commonality. [We are] resisting the effects of a system that is based on exploitation, it is based on a few having all and most having none.
Any time anybody rises up and exposes that truth, any time we rise up and defend our own way of life we become targets. A great many of us have been shot, beaten, or imprisoned for our stand to be an independent sovereign people. We will continue to make this fight, we will not stop! I can tell you that 80 to 100 million Indigenous peoples allied into one great confederation will be a power that they will be unable to dominate any longer. We are saying to the colonial powers of the world that your numbers are up, your death machine needs to come down, and you need to relinquish the power or the people are going to bring you down. That is our position.
The American and Canadian governments, to us, are nothing but managers for the rich. All of our lives are right now dictated by the interests of boardrooms of major corporations. We are just the victims of the greed of those few that control the world's resources. [They dictate] the rapid pace of the destruction of the forest in these lands throughout Canada and the States.
Not only is [our water] being polluted, but the governments have already made agreements in the interests of corporations, like the water diversion scheme of NAWAPA (North American Water and Power Alliance). It's a consortium of over 250 multinational utility and energy corporations that intend to take all of Canada's water and divert it to the United States.
NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], when passed, has already decided that Canada does not own its water and it becomes the next biggest gold rush in the world. Your water is going...right down to the north of Mexico to keep the industrial machine alive while they are exploiting thousands of Indigenous Indian peoples for two or three dollars a day.
I believe in one thing: when the resources go, your privileged status will mean nothing.