Miigwech to our Elders

Thanks to Elders of Turtle Island: Shirley Horton-Kampa and Agnes Grover, of the Rainy River First Nations. Photo: Robert Animikii Horton

This is a sincere and humble message of appreciation and acknowledgement to the Elders who have made a difference in my life as teachers, counsellors and mentors.

To all those who have brought their strong and resilient voices forward in the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

And, respectfully, this piece is dedicated to ALL our Elders across Turtle Island.

This is for all the Elders who we told how much they were appreciated; and all the Elders who we didn't remind, or who we don't remind enough.

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Privatizing First Nation land would be disastrous

A debate that has been swirling around in Indian Country has gathered more speed recently.

The issue revolves around Indian land and its ownership status. Should it be privatized or should it stay as a part of a collective? The question about what to do with Indian land has always been on the table.

In the early part of the 20th century, after most of the available land was opened for settlement, land speculators cast greedy eyes upon Indian land. We were considered a vanishing race at the time, with much more land than we needed.

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Privatization of reserves promoted by liberalization gurus

Peruvian economist and World Bank poster child Hernando de Soto Polar visited Vancouver in October to speak in favour of the establishment of individual property ownership ("fee simple") on First Nations Reserves in Canada.

The First Nations Property Ownership (FNPO) conference -- hosted by the First Nations Tax Commission -- paired de Soto with a select roster of indigenous leaders, lawyers, economists, and scholars from across British Columbia and Canada to promote a proposal that would allow fee-simple title on reserves.

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Why activism matters to me as a First Nation person

As an outspoken activist, I'm often confronted with the question by people from a multitude of backgrounds, as well as my fellow First Nation people: why do I feel the need to talk about, speak about, and write about activism and political and social justice.

"You're not in poverty, why do you care?"

They say.

"I really don't think you should talk about it so much."

They say.

"Why can't we all forget about it and just live and let live?"

They say.

"Rob... why is it SUCH a big deal?"

They say.

Why is it such a big deal? And why do I care?

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An Anishinaabe dream for the future

An Anishinaabe dream: Writer and activist Robert Animikii Horton. Photo: Joseph 'J.R.' Shebagegit
I have a dream that one day in our traditional territories coming generations will scarcely recall the time when sacred agreements of partnership and brotherhood faltered.

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