Snapshots

Indigenous Liberation

I just finished reading Brotherhood to Nationhood by Peter McFarlane, the biography of the legendary First Nations leader and world indigenous organizer, the late Grand Chief George Manuel from British Columbia. As the principal strategist and spokesman for the self-determination of Canadian Indians from the 1950s to the 1980s, it's hard to overstate the key role he played in changing the relationship between Ottawa and the hundreds of Indian bands, as well as the public understanding of aboriginal rights worldwide.

Suffice to say that the voice the Maori, the Saami, the Bushmen, and the Basques now have in bodies like the UN, are in no small part due to his efforts. The fact that he gave his life to this cause is well-known; the fact that he was willing to die to preserve the Indian way of life perhaps less so.

Few likely recall that in the early 1970s, extermination of indigenous societies in North America was still the agenda of all three federal governments, forcing Mohawk, Lakota, and Maya warriors to literally take up arms in defense. As the premier leader of the liberation struggle in Canada, Manuel had to take into account the possibility of going underground should the Canadian government escalate its violence toward the First Nations movement.

FULL ARTICLE: Indigenous Liberation.

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