Friday, February 26, 2016

Indian Voice: Looking At Ways To Be Heard.

Robert Falcon Ouellette is a Member of Parliment. He has an impressive background.  It is a good move for Canadians to have someone like him as part of the government. He has it all - smart, experienced, passionate, good looking. So good for him and us. He is pictured here holding a Pipe.

Derek Nepinak is the Grand Chief of Manitoba - Assembly of
Manitoba Chiefs. AMC has a rich history. Rich in it has been a strong voice for Indigenous people, not only in Manitoba but throughout Canada.  Derek is quite known for his fierce look. Not one to hold his tongue.

Perry Belgarde is the Grand Chief of Canada's First Nations - Assembly of First Nations. The national entity has seen its successes and failures.  Perry has an endearing quality, it is his never ending sense of optimism - his happiness. You see it shine through in the oddest of settings. He is frequently caught in a good smile or a big laugh.  You never see this in most politicians or advocates.

 Dawn Lavell-Harvard is the President of the Natives Women's Association of Canada. The  NAWC organization has a " goal of achieving equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada."

Dawn was just in Winnipeg attending the round table for MMIW.
“The Western patriarchal paradigm paints Indigenous women as vulnerable; unworthy of value or respect. We know better. We know that we as lifegivers are strong, resilient, and capable of great things. This document is proof of that. It’s time to move forward – out of the darkness and into the light. The road ahead will be grueling, but it is nothing we can’t handle if we remain focused and committed to our overarching purpose: bringing justice to our women and girls.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

So many competing voices out there. Each with a different style or approach. MP Robert sure made a splash on Facebook with his holding the Pipe picture in front of the Capital. Lot of jokes about the picture. Also some conflicted ideas and thoughts. On the surface its a "look at me I'm Indian" photo opportunity. Maybe its deeper than that and only Robert knows for sure. Still we can rationalize it and give him the benefit of sincerity. Derek has also taken part in some questionable decisions. He went on a ten day Harley Davidson motorcycle ride to raise awareness for Treaty Rights. Cool in one sense and silly in another. Whether or not it had a positive and long term worthwhile effort is unknown.  He also went on to have a public Fast in Ottawa. Perry on the other hand, has been getting pretty cozy (they say) with the new government and the oil industry. The grease needs to put on the wheel to turn it is said. Perry is following the past leaders of AFN in same style of leadership, look stoic, and have some good photo ops. Trouble is Perry has a personality of fun. So his stoic and fierce face is betrayed by his smile and laughter. He has not made any real difference in getting his voice heard or to differentiate it from past Grand Chiefs. Derek has no such problem of being looked at as fun, he has a permanent scowl.  As for Dawn, her trouble is systemic. The larger audience and media ignore them. Their voice is rarely heard. If you ask many Indians or public out there of who is the NWAC president, who would know?

So what is the best way to get your voice heard?  Get your voice heard without looking insincere, media seeking, glory hounding, stupid or just plain crazy?  

Sadly we don't seem to take notice unless it is beyond sensible. 

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