Stolen is stolen — nothing was given up
Re: Mike Collings’ letter of Feb. 5 (‘Aboriginal Incorporated has become entrenched’):
Collins presents what would otherwise have been a logical analysis of a complicated situation, had he known the proper and pertinent facts regarding the history of this specific area, the area of so-called British Columbia.
His error lies in the fact virtually none of this particular area, unlike large parts of areas elsewhere on this continent, was ever abandoned by The People, was ever given up by The People, was ever bought from The People or was ever won by fighting The People.
Anybody who disputes this as fact should read the Memorial to Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the subsequent Memorial to Hon. Frank Oliver, which are eloquent, historic documents stating in plain language to these two dignitaries the concerns of historic chiefs of The People.
These documents are easily found online.
The original agreement between the “real whites” — the shemma-la (phonetically speaking) equalled good whites, (i.e., those who arrived here initially) — was to live as guests in the house of The People.
What is ours is theirs, what is theirs is ours; we will help each other to be great and good.
The People here are not treaty Indians and, for the most part, do not want to become treaty Indians.
Who could blame them?
It would be far easier to list the promises kept, rather than the greatly more numerous promises broken, not to mention the despicable abuses The People, these generous-hearted people, suffered at the hands of the greedy whites, the shemma, who arrived later seeking and taking gold, land and anything they could get their hands on — and often ruthlessly so.
To put it into an overly simplistic, but modern analogy, the situation is somewhat like that of which we often hear about in the news: Parents go away for a weekend, leaving the house to their responsible teenagers, who invite a few close friends over.
Those friend then invite a few of their friends, perhaps somewhat known to the household teenagers; those people then each invite other people, who each and all invite other people and so on and so on until the house is filled with hundreds of unknowns, including adults, who destroy it, throw the TV through the window, ruin the carpets, deface the walls, wreck the furniture, steal the possessions and render the house unlivable — until the parents come home and end it all, but remain yet faced with the huge problem of cleaning up the mess, repairing the house and recovering their property.
Well, guess what? The parents are pulling into the driveway right now folks. The party is over.
I am shemma-la.
I earned this title by sharing and abiding by the original deal.
I was designated shemma-la during a sacred sweat-lodge ceremony.
I live as shemma-la, sharing equally with my brothers and sisters of The People.
Heed this: Since we, my sisters and brothers of The People, share equally as above stated, the greedy white government that has stolen this land from them and then “sold” it has also then stolen from me.
What makes any thief think they are going to get away with stealing from me or anyone else here?
Bruce J. Perry