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The Last Battle of the Cree Nation

The Last Battle of the Cree Nation

Chris Hedges

The Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Treaty No. 6 Area, Canada—I am driving down a rutted dirt road with Eric Lameman, a member of the Cree nation.

“Over there,” he says, pointing out where he was born in a tent 61 years ago.

We stop the car and look toward a wooded grove.

“That’s the mass grave,” he says softly, indicating a clearing where dozens of Cree who died in a smallpox epidemic over a century ago are buried.

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The Cree will lose and organized money (on all sides of the political spectrum) will win–but not with a veto proof majority (or in Canada coalition). Welcome to the world of irrelevant current events chit-chat!

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Athabasca continues to be RAPED. Until the petrodollar ceases to terrorize the Planet, I am afraid nothing will change.

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The only thing you can really count on is that things will change, maybe not in a good way. It is hubris to think that mankind can control this type of behavior even if they can see the destruction. Hum, a million acres, slow learners I guess.

I think Chris has gone to the source of this, I’m glad I didn’t miss it. Thank you.

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A while back I commented that my commenting days were over…but…there is a circus in town and it’s on going, never ending, if there is news to be read that will keep you informed and maybe sane, it comes from Chris…the key is his lines of…
“The more the Cree recover their traditions to defy the capitalist mantra of hoarding, profit, exploitation, self-promotion and commodification of human beings and the earth, the more their life has an intrinsic value rather than a monetary value. This recovery is the antidote to despair. It grounds the Cree spiritually. It permits transcendence. It at once estranges them from reality and brings them closer to it. Resistance is not only about challenging the extraction companies in court, as the Cree have done in trying to block the tar sands industry and the pipelines from their traditional land; it is about holding fast to another orientation to reality, one that we all must adopt if we are to survive as a species. It is about the recovery of the sacred. The white exploiters seek not only to steal the land and natural resources and commit genocide against indigenous communities but to wipe out this competing ethic.”
We all need this…“take this brother, may it serve you well”, Easy Rider.

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You mean the Koch Brothers, etc. etc. …in Canada, the U. S. and soon, Venezuela?

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The Alberta Tar Sands are an excellent example of how Western media pollutes the mindset of the average person living in Alberta. Even though the tar sands only represent 10,000 jobs in the province, it is considered political suicide for a politician to run in Alberta on a platform to shut down oil extraction. Most Albertans are convinced that if oil extraction is halted or even interfered with, it will cause a massive depression and the entire collapse of the economy there despite knowing that to continue the extraction will mean the acceleration of the sixth mass extinction and all of human kind with it.
When other Canadians urge Alberta to shut down the tar sands, Albertans threaten to leave Canada and join the U.S. as if this would somehow be an improvement in their standard of living. Albertans are led to believe that anyone who promotes the end of the tar sands extraction project, are their enemies. They view indigenous communities there with disdain and contempt. The Great Western Narrative is embraced by all of the recent immigrants to this area, as the promise of jobs eclipses all the other pieces that forms our collective souls.
Screw the planet! Screw those bleeding heart Liberals who want to steal our jobs! Screw the no-nothing environmentalists who depend on carbon based fuels for their rich lifestyles! Screw the drunken Indians who live on hand outs with their “special privileges” and screw everyone who sympathizes with them!
This angry rhetoric is commonplace and the rest of Canada is unsure of how to proceed. To make matters worse, corporate Canada is silent and corporate America will do whatever is necessary to extract every last drop of oil from these scarred lands.
This is precisely why the CEO’s of these companies and their paid lackies in the halls of Congress must be tried as war criminals and strung up from the nearest tree. Unless these madmen are removed from the politics of the governed, our future truly is dire.

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Not exactly, you can examine/learn from something by where you are looking from, in this case seated next to a Cree elder. If you have taken such a ride then what you know is different. Everyone brings their own experience to the issue. It is pervasive.

I grew up alongside the Cree peoples. My fathers side of the family had a good relationship with the First Nations peoples and we visited them a lot as kids on their reserve. My Mothers side was not so much so as they tended to feel they were “dirty savages”.

I remember grade 1 distinctly as I was one of the smallest children in the class. I had an older brother and cousins who in our extended family would get into scraps with other boys and these other boys would track me down and take their frustrations out on me.

A Cree boy named Martin came in to the class one day and hauled this bully off me and laid a licking on him. He warned that bully if he ever bothered someone smaller then him again he would do the same to him. I was left alone after that.

I recall this kid distinctly. He was always in a crisp clean white shirt with a black bow tie and black pants. He was certainly cleaner and better dressed then I was yet was forced to sit in a row separate from “the white kids” because “indians have lice”.

When talking about those Residential schools and the impact it had on children , people of European Origin always say “That happened a long time ago. They just have to get over it”. I do not think they understand how LONG it takes to “get over” something like that. The culture was all but extinguished. The family structure was attacked and broken down. Peoples lost parenting skills and traditions that helped keep relationships healthy. I would not pretend to understand the full scope of what occurred or for that matter offer the First Nations peoples advice as to the best course forwards but it my personal feeling that the way out for them is to maintain and regain that Spiritual attraction to the land. The land will save them and as such they should act to preserve it.

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This is like a real life enactment of “Avatar!” The ugliness of this whole oil extraction process is beyond belief and beyond humane. An immediate halt of all tar sands activity needs to happen. It won’t. Despair is the only word I can come up with right now. Horrible despair.

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Who is a large funder of these tar sands?
Who owns the refineries of Venezuelan heavy crude, not quite like bitumen, but requiring further processing. Have you any experience working with these products or studying them for any length of time?
I watched Hedges interview with Ben Norton on Saturday. Did you happen to view it?
Just curious

I was particularly interested in this juxtaposition of natural resources and modern economy from a historical level and personal level that Hedges brings to his writing. I know the industry is far reaching and involves some of the wealthiest people here and around the world. Venezuela has a significant political interest and history. I don’t work with these things or study them. Incredible. did you watch the YT video link in the article, the buzzwheeler? I didn’t see the Hedges interview. Did you, if so what did you think of it? Did you notice a transformation in this article, just curious too?

The song can tear you up.

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Thank you, Chris, for going where most journalists do not bother to go, and for reporting what they are unwilling or afraid to report. It is ever more clear that the inherent and unrestrained greed of Capitalism will be its destruction, and that it will ultimately destroy
everything and everyone in its path. We are all destined to be at the point at which the Cree find themselves now. If nothing changes, this is inevitable.

The worship of profit, the commodification of all life and the systems that support it,
and the prioritization of private property above everything, is insanity writ large.

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U.S. corporate imperialism continues to have its way without regard for environmental or social consequences, to the shame of Canadians.

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…and they cut my hair…

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Thanks for the report and taking the time to be where the issues are most pressing. This issue needs much wider reporting and in-your-
face coverage.

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“I need my people,” Eric Lameman says. “I need the ones that know our history, our language, our spiritual practices and our culture. I rely on them to pass it on to me so I can pass it on.”

This is what really resonated for me in this article. I too find that I absolutely need to be with my “tribe” - my neighbors that tie me to this small patch of Earth. It is my place that gives me strength and comfort. This is my place and my tribe with a history and a memory of its own that my father and aunt passed on to me, and that I will pass on to the next generation. It is all about caring for place and the people in it. Everything good can emanate from those in true community. It’s a wholeness that radiates inward as well as outward to other communities.

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