The National Post today apparently unknowingly catches Stewart Phillip, Grand Chief of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, in a fine bit of unintended irony.
Responding to Jean Chretien's recent suggestion that some people in Attawapiskat First Nation might be better off if they move, Phillip responds, “We're not bison. We shouldn't be herded around on the whims of a racist nation.”
This serves as a timely reminder. The Cree were in fact historically a nomadic people. They had no fixed settlements. Moving from place to place was their way of life.
Moreover, the Cree, meaning individual Cree in many cases, spread over the past few centuries from an original base near Attawapiskat to as far West as the Peace River. Once on the plains, they indeed moved just like the bison, for they were literally following the bison as their source of sustenance.
If they really value their ancestral culture, what are they doing sitting there in Attawapiskat in front of their wide screen TVs? Why aren't they going where the jobs, today's game, are? Are they no longer worthy of their ancestors?