Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Are We Really Praying? Pt. 1

By Hector Cerda

Peace & Dignity Journeys 2012

Imagine for just a moment that you have chosen to cease from doing everything you currently are taking on in your life right at this moment. You quit your job, you left your home, community family and everything and anything you know that provides you with the feeling of being safe.  I want you to also take into consideration that with this choice you made, it will be for several months of your life which will mean that you no longer have the luxuries that you enjoy each day. The ability to log onto the internet and communicate with others or wakeup each morning and know for sure that you can walk into your bathroom and enjoy a nice warm shower to cleanse your body. With this choice you made you also have to realize that you will not enjoy anymore of the comforts that your home provides such as a comfy bed, heating or cooling at the flip of a switch or entertaining past times like hockey, football or the show some what titled “I Can Dance/Sing Better Than You” which in fact are misleading shows because I have visited many communities where traditions are still alive and let me tell you, there are hundreds of beautiful songs and dances many of you will probably never experience.

What I have just described above is a small part of what a Peace & Dignity Journeys runner will take on in the choice to carry a prayer across the continent. And I want to stress that word “prayer” which we are carrying because upon my fourth time taking on this prayer, I often ask myself “Are we really praying?” or is it all in vein. Now hold on don’t go answering this question just yet because I have a lot to say that many of you keep bugging me and all the other runners about when you ask “How are things going?” or the common “Is everyone doing well?” and the reality is hell no things are not going the way they should go, and all is not well. Usually the concern is about we as runners and our injuries and health, yet I see an even deeper question that never gets asked which if I could figure it out might be something like “Hell yes we runners are alright but its you folks we left behind in our homes which we should be concerned about….are you guys alright? And I truly mean to look at your everyday actions…are you really alright?”

So allow me to discuss in brief how this writing will be put together. First I will share with you my perspective on what I think “praying” is all about. You don’t have to agree with what I say, however if you still don’t agree somewhat with what I am sharing then I think I have failed to challenge your own thoughts on whether or not you think you are really praying. After I put “prayer” into perspective for the sake of this article, I will then discuss some very specific communities and events that have happened so far since May 1st, 2012 and although I cannot share them all, the ones I discuss are those which have led me to think about whether or not we, as people or communities are really praying. Each community I discuss will begin with a heading of the name and other details that will help you identify it and possibly encourage you to venture out on your own to research the issues I will bring up with each community. Please note that some communities have their own traditional names and I will respectfully try my best to include those names. I will also suggest other areas of research for those of you reading this if you choose to learn more of the communities I mention. Again, everything I write is of my own experience and knowledge and I challenge you to look further into the issues I discuss and educate yourself on the matters. Let us begin with:


When I think of praying I think of it in two basic ways. I think there are those of us who might pray for things we want or expect for god to give us in life. In this form of prayer we expect those things we pray for to come to us and we truly believe that they will if we live a good life and treat others well and are very giving. Sometimes I feel many of us subscribe to this form of prayer. The type where I might believe that if I pray for a car, it will fall from the heavens above and land in my front yard (not literally) or if I pray for the love of my life to fall into my arms it will happen if I pray really hard and just be patient and good (like donate to other causes and help others and so on). Then there is the other form of prayer which I am a strong subscriber to. I think that the only way to pray is to ask the creator for what it is that is being asked for and then you go into your life taking action at all you can to increase the chances of your prayer being successful. The best example I can give actually comes from preparing for Peace & Dignity Journeys. Prior to coming to Alaskawe had no vans. I had no idea where we were going to get them but I knew I couldn’t just pray for them to come from god. I had to pray and put action behind my prayer, which is something I actually did by taking a weekend to the land and focusing my energy and prayers on Peace & Dignity - asking the creator for what I needed to do to make it possible to get some vans. So with my prayer I created a strategic plan to find some vans. Yet the other challenge was…well you also gotta have money to get them. So I had to pray long and hard on what I needed to do to try to make that happen.

We eventually got two vans which are currently with us now on the west coast route and I must share that the vans were not acquired by me alone, Jose Malvido, another organizer and I took a trip to his home n Arizona to recover one van we used from 2008 run and California PDJ committees in San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Fresno, and Watsonville came together to donate partial funds towards purchase of another van. The rest of the money came from a project I worked on during my last week on the job and Ta-Da! We had two vans. The story is actually much more complicated than described yet this was a prayer and it was successful. In summary, the prayer I am discussing for this article can be summed up by doing exactly that, praying and/or meditating for what your seeking to achieve with the creators help, then taking action to go forth and make the prayer become successful. Your thoughts and actions are your prayers. They cannot be separated.

In no way, shape or form do I think creator just gives us what we ask for no matter how good, pure or wholesome we think we live our lives. Life is never that easy and if it was I would be the richest, sexiest and most powerful man on the planet. That is a joke by the way, you can lol anytime now.

Chickaloon Village, Alaska U.S.A.

Chickaloon is small. Matter of fact I would consider it tiny that once again I begin this prayer from yet I could also feel something massive and strong in the environment. Parts of this feeling I sensed were somewhat joyful as the Harrison bros. hosted us once again at the Chickaloon Hatchery yet at the same time there was somewhat of a tension that I knew we would learn about in our few days at Chickaloon. The Chickaloon hatchery from my understanding was started some many years ago by Chief Gary Harrison and other community members who wanted to revive the salmon in Chickaloon River. This was done by constructing a building next to Chickaloon River and creating a temporary hatching station for the salmon eggs as they would grow large enough to be released back into the river. This gave birth to a stable population of Salmon that would return each year and spawn again in the river while at the same time providing food. For hundreds of communities here in the north, salmon are the lifeblood of culture, song, dance and gatherings.

But Chickaloon and its surrounding communities have something evil lurking upon them. There is an open pit mine known as Wishbone Hill Coal Mine being forced upon the residents of Alaska. When I say forced I truly mean forced. The plans of Wishbone Coal Mine are simple: Take heavy machinery, crack open the surface of the earth and dig a huge hole in the ground for coal. The next step is to take the coal and ship it to Japan so that they can burn it to fuel their toys, electronics, bright dazzling city lights and everything else that makes them feel happy and not worry about the poison that was left behind in Chickaloon water and land.

"Open pit mines put holes in the earth where they never should have been"

And if you’re reading this and you might think there is an environmentally friendly way to have “Clean Coal” you might want to ask yourself if you’re losing your spirit. There is no such thing as clean coal. Those who advocate for clean coal must have never been to Chickaloon Alaska or any other mine for that matter. The company that wishes to poison the earth in Alaska with Wishbone Coal Mine is known as Usibelli, a U.S. based mining company. These corporate companies don’t care about your health or your food or your water. They come to the Alaskan residents pretending to be friendly and good neighbors to the local economy with the promise of jobs. It is a smokescreen. If Wishbone Hill Coal mine makes its way, it will poison the waters that the salmon use to regenerate, and the hard work of the Chickaloon community will be destroyed. The most powerful evidence that exists however that such companies like Usibelli don’t care about the well being of Alaskan residents is that they are willing to operate and continue their work without legal permits. I ask myself if there is anything I can do to help Chickaloon and surrounding communities to fight against the sick corporation that is waiting to poison their land and water. I can pray. Yet what does that mean I can pray for Chickaloon? If anyone reading this feels they can do anything more than just pray and wish them luck, it might be a good thing to research who is Usibelli, who owns this corporation and where do they live? Why do they want to send our land and resources to Japan? Is there really anything I or we can do other than just simply pray to help Chickaloon and save the salmon? Keep reading because I think the residents of Chickaloon are doing quite well at protecting their resources….as are other communities…..oh and I ask you this, are you praying yet?

Tanacross Village, Alaska U.S.A.

Allow me to pull way from the discussion of land and water and share with you about culture. Each passing I have made through Alaska, no other community has stood out when it comes to culture the way Tanacross has for me. Tanacross welcomed us with strong prayer, not the type that is met with holding of hands and asking the creator for blessings, but the prayer of song and dance. If anyone has been praying it is the men, women, children and elders of Tanacross. Arriving to this village has always been met with great food and entertainment that puts “dancing with the stars” or “so you thin you can dance” to shame. By the way, in case you are one of those persons, you are all wasting your life away watching others dance and out do each other for points just so that you can wait to hear them be told “that was great” or “that was the most awful thing ever” by some judges who get paid millions of dollars to sit there and promote poison to your mind and body.

Let me share with you what happened in Tanacross. We arrived, and we were fed by people from the village who also believe in the power of prayer. They just didn’t tell us they would pray for us, they put action behind their words and prepared a good meal, then they energized us by pulling us out of our chairs and sharing their dances with us, but that was not just it, they invited us to dance and we danced. This is the way creator made life, to share and dance and sing together for one another. This prayer was brought to life where the exchange of cultures between the people of Tanacross and we the runners, truly had meaning. There was no competing for who can be the most beautiful, graceful couple, or who could get the most txt votes. None of that mattered and it should never matter ever to anyone. I think that when we ourselves allow our lives to get such pleasure out of this type of entertainment, we are losing the prayer.

Think about this for a minute…..there are shows that exist to pull you away from the sacredness of life. People come out on a stage and compete to see who the best is. During breaks your mind is bombarded with tons of messages of what you should buy, what you should eat and what you should drink. These are obviously not gifts from the creator, they are fake products made from toxic materials, for you to buy. You are bombarded over and over to buy these things that were mined, exploited or transformed from their original form into chemically transformed products that will poison you. Now the break is over and you are back to see who is the best on the show….but you are reminded again, look behind the stage, the company of the soda pop that is telling you to buy their poison, and as the judge tells America whether or not the dancer or singer sucks, you are reminded one more time to buy the poisonous water if you look closely at the judges cup. Look closely, you are being told what to buy.

Come back to the prayer. In Tanacross this village knows how to pray. They have not allowed such corporations that bombard us every day with what to buy and who we should be to break their tradition. Their prayer is powerful and I ask myself or better yet I ask you who are reading this… do you now the song and dance of your people? Not just know them, but do you really know them? How often do you share those songs and dance with your family and friends? When the youth of our homes are allowed to spend more time practicing to kill people on video games (and believe me they are practicing to kill people) or using this computer to “learn” things and “communicate” I think there is lack of prayer. I have had my share or such video games and favorite shows in my lifetime and it was a waste of time. In fact it had no prayer or meaning to it. I was not using the gifts that the creator blessed me with. I think in Tanacross I realized that we runners are doing fine as we are hosted by such communities. How are you all doing back home? Are you ok? Are you praying?

Kluane First Nation, Burwash Landing - Yukon Canada

There is a conversation that resonates in my heart that I will never forget took place in Kluane First Nation. We were well received by the Chief and her family, given food and a nice place to stay at their gym and community center. It was not any of those things that are the reason this community is being mentioned. I will tell you why in just a bit.

Most runners had gone to shower or were in the other part of the building where we were going to rest. I chose to stay behind in the gym area where it was cold and dark. After some time had passed a short dark skinned native man with short black hair came walking in. He saw me and waved hello and walked towards the main gathering room where the other runners were, then after about 5 minutes he came over into the gym for reason that I think the other runners were just not too into talking with community members (that happens a lot at the start of this journey where runners seem to forget to engage with community). So then this man walked over to the Gym and said hello to me and started asking questions about the run and what we are doing. I shared with him we are doing a prayer run and this time around it is for the water, etc. etc. you know the usual Peace & Dignity FYI. This time it was different. This man said to me, “Let me ask you something since you say this is a healing run also to heal nations…” and I thought for a minute and said, “Sure go ahead.” and he said, “I always ask people this and I like to see what kind of response I get and I heard you mention the word healing so I thought I would ask you….what is healing to you, what does that mean to be healed?”

I told this man, “Wow you caught me off guard there, and no one has really asked me that in the way you are doing, but I will tell you what my thoughts are.”

“Ok let’s hear it.” he said.

“For me healing begins when the person who is suffering from whatever it is they are having a hard time with, first admits and identifies that they are hurting and that the person is in pain, then there is another part after that where the person not only figures out that they are hurting but they admit it and speak up about it and they share it with someone and finally, healing can only begin when that person ask for help or seeks help to that pain. Only then do I think that healing can happen. That is how I see it.”

The man stared at me and said, “That is very good…let me ask you, have you ever heard of the name Willie Blackwater?” I was not sure why he asked me this, cause it was very familiar and I connected it with residential schools in Canada (I may be U.S. born but I’m not ignorant to Canadian First Nations History) but I didn’t know why he was asking me this. So I said “Well not really, like you mean do I know him?” he said well my name is Willie Blackwater and I was the first one to come forward and talk about the damage that many of us went through in Residential schools here in Canada.”

I was astounded; I was actually having a discussion with Willie Blackwater. I only heard of the case but never thought I would meet the man. He went on to add that what I thought was my way of starting the healing process was a good way to look at it however he added something more powerful than I could imagine yet simple. He went on to share that when he came forward with all the suffering he went through in Residential Schools, he had to go through that process and identify those things that were hurting him, and ask for help and come forward. And he did. Willie Blackwater came forward and started the movement in Canadafor all those who could not come forward. It only took one to come forward and Willie Blackwater was the first case against the abuse, violence and sexual assaults that took place on thousands of native youth across Canada while attending residential schools. Willie Blackwater closed the conversation with this one important ingredient during our talk about what is necessary for healing. He said he had to forgive the people that hurt him.

Forgiving the people that caused him so much pain was the final step Willie said would heal him. He shared with me that he came to realize during all of the court hearings and the testimonies, that no lump sum of compensation would heal him, in the end he had to realize that his life was going to continue and the people who hurt him could either remain a pain to dwell on and let life pass him by, or forgive those persons as they too might need healing, and he can then go on enjoying his life knowing that he has to live his life for himself and not anyone can do it for him.

If you are reading this here is a clear message to you from me. If you have ever been a victim of sexual abuse, violence or any form of pain in your life, only you can choose to heal or not. If you want to be happy in your life but a pain from your past continues to resurface, you must first identify what that pain is and who caused it to you. If you now know what it is that is causing you pain, the next step is to choose whether you want to seek help or not and to do so you must talk about it to begin that healing. Finally, as I learned from my discussion with Willie Blackwater, you must forgive that person. Truly forgive that person and let them go so that you can continue to live your life the way creator intended it to be. Only then do I think someone can heal themselves. It was an honor to meet Willie and I hope this message stays engraved in your mind, whoever you are!

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Haines Junction - Yukon Canada

I mention this community because this was the next community after leaving Kluane First Nation where I met Willie Blackwater; I saw the exact process of the healing we discussed. As the runners arrived, we were hosted in the village community hall which was a place for healing and others who were trying to recover from substance abuse. One man in particular came to our closing circle and as comments were being made from the local community members, one man very thin slender but also very stern looking, spoke up a bit and said he wanted to talk and share some things too. He said it very confidently and then hesitated… he was quiet for a long time then began to look about the room and look up and around and took a deep breath. He then looked at all the sacred staffs and continued to do this and again mentioned there is a lot he wants to say but there is some things he cant talk about…he was very quiet for a long time and out of respect we all stood there in silence but also I could sense that he had been through a lot of pain. I could also sense that this man wanted to heal and he was doing that by trying to talk about it but he couldn’t….then he almost wanted to cry and said, “Ahh forget it.” and he walked away from the circle, some of the people in the circle encouraged him to come back but he went outside and walked away from the circle.

It didn’t matter that this man walked away. That was his strength. He was trying to heal and talk about it but he couldn’t arrive to that place yet. After our ceremony was over I went outside to greet him and said that he was a strong person for at least speaking up and sharing that he is hurting…he then said, “Can we talk about this somewhere else not here but like in private?” and I said “Sure.” which only meant take a few more steps away from the door. He said that he is still having a hard time from all the things done to him in residential school. Later this man found it in himself to come spend time with us, have dinner and just enjoy the evening talking and laughing. He is on this path to healing.

Good Hope Lake, British Columbia - Canada

Good Hope Lakeis a place where mining seems to be the general norm. There is an open pit gold mine that has already made parts of the landscape look ugly, but even worse is the contamination that has been left on one of the rivers, where the salmon will not come back. This community used to have a school back in 2000, I remember we slept there. Now it is closed down because the lack of students attending so it had to shut down. This I believe is part of a genocide method used by corporations. Good Hope Lake once had many people living in the community, but  just like all of us, we need money to make income to survive, and the only available jobs made available to the people in this region is mining. This forces families to move to larger cities and thus less people in the village means less children to teach the traditions of living on the land. There was an important prayer that we were asked to share in Good Hope Lake.

One day the goal is to bring back the school and protect those springs in the region that are still clean. Some of the watersheds are already contaminated but the community members are trying their best to produce well minded leaders that will assist in protecting those lands but it’s hard without a school. Multinational corporations are just waiting to bring jobs to the community at the cost of poisoning the region in Good Hope Lake. I learned that some of the mining done in the region and the one that stood out to me the most was mining for gold. Can you imagine that? How many of us purchase gold? How many of us have gold rings? Gold watches or just love gold in general? Is gold necessary for all of this technology and computers that we think is the future? If gold is so necessary for our future, then why must the extraction of it consist of destroying the land and especially contaminating the water? When I left Good Hope LakeI told the members of that community I would pray for them and they said they would pray for us. I know that many of you reading this believe in this prayer and prophecy. I just wonder if I am really praying for Good Hope Lake and should I take action and focus my prayer on purchasing a big screen television or supporting aerospace technologies that are supposed to be the future for children yet to come. Don’t take my word for it, but research for yourself. How much of our everyday purchases and actions are actually supporting the destruction of our resources. You may not see it, but we runners do. We see the open pit mines and clear cut burning forests, we pass by many lakes and rivers that look beautiful and precious but hidden within the chemical composition of those waters are toxic substances known to cause cancer. How many of you at home enjoy the luxuries you do without knowing that it is literally killing people, communities and resources in a place that is closer to you than you think? I will ask you again, are we really praying?

Iskut First Nation, British Columbia - Canada

Before I begin to discuss Iskut, I want to say that if you really want to buy something, don’t buy smokes, coffee or those DVDs. Buy a book called, The Sacred Headwaters: The Right to save the Skeena, Stikine and the Nass. It is a book by a man named Wade Davis and contains some of the most beautiful landscapes of what the Peace & Dignity runners encounter when we run through northern B.C. and keep in mind this book is not costly. It is about $30 and it can be ordered online. I am not trying to make anyone rich by promoting this book; I am merely trying to make the land of the Tahltan Territory stay rich in resources and animals that are interconnected with this region. The Sacred Headwaters is just the beginning of telling a story that is more ancient that anyone alive I know.

Iskut is a name everyone who cares to protect the land should know about. In 2004 we ran through Iskut and we were well received. The youth all ran with us through their village and community. It was like nothing ever before I had seen this far north. In 2008 I expected to see the same type of community involvement but I was taught a hard lesson. 2008, there was no community to receive us in Iskut like before because there was a major stealing of the land that was taking place. Shell Gas & Oil was making an attempt to drill for gas in the traditional region of the people of Iskut. This drilling would pollute the sacred headwaters, bringing in the salmon from the ocean all the way to the people so they can harvest for food. Not only do the people depend on the salmon but so do bears, eagles and many other animals and creatures we take for granted. In 2008 we were told this was happening and that a large group of elders known as the Klabona Keepers created a blockade. They literally dressed up in their traditional regalia, brought their drums and blocked the road from heavy trucks and equipment trying to make their way to destroy their traditional land. Much has changed. Iskut is still fighting the same greedy corporations this time one called Imperial Metals. Imperial Metals is based in Canadaand their Red Chris Mine poison project is proposed to take about 1.218 billion tonnes of copper, gold and silver. Their financial report for 2011 also boasts that they made a net income of 48.7 million dollars in 2011. This is where this company focuses their prayers.

Their action and energy is spent on calculating how much money they will make per year, by the amount of tonnes (1 tonne =1000 Kg) of metals they can dig out of the ground, which does not include the tonnes of dirt rock and gravel they will tear out of the earth to get to it. Did I also mention the water they will use to wash and clean the metals and then take that water and dump it into the watersheds that surround Iskut? When we arrived to Iskut I was reminded of the Chickaloon community fighting to keep a dirty coal mine out of their territory. A company such as Imperial Metals comes in and promises riches and wealth and great things, but in reality, they are only replicating the same lies since the landing of Christopher Columbus.

When the Peace & Dignity runners arrived to Iskut in 2008, an elder name Bertha Louie asked us to pray for her community, after telling us the story of the blockade against Shell. I honored my prayer by making sure I never purchased Shell gas which I am guilty of doing only twice in the past 4 years. When we arrived to Iskut this year for 2012, Shell was gone but another threat is alive in Iskut, that is the Red Chris gold and copper mine owned by Imperial Metals.

It was meant for us to be there at the time we arrived because those members of the Iskut community that still want to protect the sacred headwaters, were having a potluck at the site of the blockade and all I knew was that we could possibly camp out at that location, and we brought hope back to the community. The staff from 2008 has run across the continent and I have shared the story of Iskut with many. Just as we were celebrating in ceremony together, there was a loud machine noise outside of the wooden house made at the blockade campsite. It was a huge truck bringing in a bulldozing machine to take up the road to start the mine. Also later that day a huge gas tanker arrived that would fuel the machines in their journey towards destruction of the earth. All of this happened while the members of Iskut community thought their own elected officials were representing them well to protect the sacred headwaters and their traditional territory. In the 2011 annual report of Imperial Metals,  J. Brian Kynoch writes his President’s Message to show how much success and money they have made over the year. His letter includes comments such as;

“The mill throughput was maintained near the 2010 record level of 21,629 tonnes per day” or others similar comments “At the Red Chris property, 102 shallow reconnaissance drill holes and 14 diamond drill holes totalling 16,500 metres were completed in 2011.”

These are merely smokescreen words, sugar coated phrases in order to refrain from telling the truth. The actual translation of these words results in the fact that this corporation is tearing down mountains, clear cutting trees, poisoning communities and literally destroying precious resources. Towards the end of his letter he also writes that;

“These operations and developments would not have been possible without the efforts and support of our many employees, suppliers and stakeholders.”

Did you get that? Stakeholders are the key persons for such evil doing to our communities. People like you and me. People who invest and put their money towards these projects and expect a higher return each year for their money being put at stake, thus the term stakeholders. Stake holders are what makes a corporation function and in regards to Iskut and other communities that do not want mining to poison their community, stakeholders who guilty of putting their money into such investments and funding the destruction and contamination of the land and water. How do you think these stakeholders are praying? Are they praying to destroy and kill communities? I think they are. How do you as a person reading this, think the people at Iskut are praying? How about you? Do you feel communities like Iskut should have their water poisoned and way of life destroyed so that a small group of stake holders can get rich? I ask you again, are we really praying?

Gitxsan First Nation, Old Hazelton - British Columbia Canada

Nothing is more powerful than a group of hereditary Chiefs exercising their sacred and traditional right to tell a corporation known as Enbridge, NO! I will come back to this in a bit but for sake of sharing the history of Gitxsan First Nation, I recall the first arrival here in 2000 to a campground known as ‘Ksan. It is the location of an ancient gathering place between the Skeena and Bulkley rivers. I recall meeting a woman in 2000 who was married to a man from Jalisco Mexico and together they had two boys. These boys were trilingual and learning English, Spanish and the Gitxsan language. At that time, Gustavo was leading the Peace & Dignity Journeys. I recall us staying there about 3 days and meeting a lot of folks. In 2004 we stayed there again and two staffs were entrusted to us to pray for community members. We returned them in 2008 and we received a beautiful black and red button blanket which was meant for the eagle staff bundle. To this day the eagle staff is still wrapped in that blanket. As we arrived for 2012, we were again received well by the hereditary chiefs at the ‘Ksan campground yet there was a different prayer taking place. Many members unified to call themselves the Gitxsan Unity Movement. We were blessed to be received by them. Similar to other communities that have mentioned in this writing piece, it seems there has been a lie among the corporate media in Canada. According to Canada’s news sources they say that the Gitxsan Nation has signed on and accepted an equity deal, which simply means that the Gitxsan Nation will take money in exchange for the destruction of their land and water so that Enbridge can construct a $5.5 billion dollar twin pipeline project through Gitxsan traditional territory.

These news sources are also good at spreading their lies. The Gitxsan Unity Movement is the Gitxsan people, and non-native people who wish to preserve the land and water. It seems that Enbridge is making back door deals with the supposed elected leadership of the Gitxsan but the elders, the traditional chiefs do not support this as I think they know what would happen to the land if it is allowed. There is power in this Unity group saying NO! to Enbridge because when they say NO! they are telling Enbridge, their President and stakeholders that they do not want to gamble the sacredness of the land over a bet on who will give in and who will not.

Remember that stakeholders are people like you and me, maybe a bit more rich with money but they too are human. When these stakeholders are buying stock from Canadian based corporation know as Enbridge, they are playing a game with your life. They are making a bet like in a casino that the money they put at stake to Enbridge will be used to do whatever it takes to poison that land and construct a pipeline, and if it happens they win the bet and receive their rewards while the losers receive the toxic oil runoff into their water and food. The way I see it, Enbridge is no different than the first colonizers that came from Europe. It is a war, and the winners get the gold and riches if they can loot the community of Hazelton and the Gitxsan Unity Movement to give up and allow this rape of the earth. Yet they say NO! What will the stakeholders do ensure they win their bet?  Well I will leave that up to you to research that, but I can assure you that the Enbridge commercials I see here in Canadaof multicultural families looking happy and secure in their homes if the communities allow Enbridge to come into their land is a fallacy.

I encourage you to research who Enbridge is and learn what they will do with the $264 Million they earned as reported in the Enbridge 2012 first quarter report for shareholders.

The project Enbridge is proposing is known as the Northern Gateway Project. Of all the billions of dollars this corporation claims to spend on its projects, why is there no one willing to actually create and produce sustainable clean projects? Does every way of gathering material have to include a process where we poison the land thus poison ourselves? The status of the Gitxsan Unity Movement was to board up the Treaty office and hold setup a blockade to the Gitxsan Treaty Office. A fire has been lit outside and the hereditary Chiefs and other members of the community seem to be keeping guard. By doing this I think they have exercised their traditional and sacred right to tell corporations such as Enbridge, that they are not welcome and that Gitxsan Treaty Office does not support Enbridge at all. So If you read anywhere that Enbridge is supported by the Gitxsan Nation, you are being lied to again and again. You ant make deals when the office is closed and we runners have witnessed this first hand. Saying NO! to Enbridge is sends a clear message that the Gitxsan pray for the land and that they choose the way of love and care for the gifts given by the creator. When we ran through this community, we felt the power that is on the side of those who stand up against such evil corporations. That feeling is the feeling of god! It was very clear to me that the Gitxsan Unity Movement is praying for us and for the land and water; they proved that to us by their actions. They refuse money in exchange for poison. How about you? Are you aware of the poisons being dumped or proposed to be dumped in your community? Are you supporting such destruction? Are you sure? Think again. Are you really praying?


To close this portion of this writing I want to say that i am not sure if I will give another update. It is not easy to maintain so many things on the Peace & Dignity Journeys but I will say that if another update might depend on the feedback I receive.

If this reading makes you think, i am glad it did. I wanted to give a different perspective on how we are doing and what we encounter as Peace & Dignity runners from another lens rather than the cut and dry, “Oh we are doing great running lots of miles” cause that is the obvious. What I am realizing as time passes is that I am wondering how you are doing back home in civilization. Of all the things I mentioned I wonder who the people are that are leading these sick, evil projects.

How sick are some of these decision makers that they have to be told by those below them that the decision they are making is sick and destroying the water?

The way of life as we enjoy it is generally infested with sickness and I ask you folks reading this…..why do you continue to subscribe to it? Why are you so happy with your smokes, alcohol, drugs and poison infested lifestyles that it is literally killing us? Why do we not go back to the ways of living in the bush? Dancing and singing in ceremony the way we were reminded in Tanacross. Why do we cling to this electronically connected, gassed up, supersize, drugged up, Timmy Horton/Starbucks caffeinated, dependent lifestyle?

I personally want to be free. I want to paddle the rivers and lakes by canoe. I want to run the trails that connect us to each other for sharing of song, food and dance. I want to fish for food, hunt for my meat and be by the fire and water.

I can live without the computer, the cell phone, the 9-5 job, the loud city, and the disgusting trash filled civilization. The question is... can you do the same? Can you do the same if it means saving the earth and preserving the land and water for all the communities I mentioned and even more? What is your prayer? If many of us are still addicted and can’t live without many of sicknesses I mentioned above, then what are you really praying for? Again I ask you whoever you are reading this….are we really praying?


  1. Excellent brother, the end is especially poignant to me as I rarely meet others who feel the way I do, the way you do, why are we so brainwashed in the present ignorance that we cannot see/don't want to see the wisdom of the past? When I return to my tribal lands in South America and shed my clothes, pick up my bow and go live off the land like my Great grandfather used to...the only thing I feel is FREEDOM.
    Some say I waste my life trying to be faithkeeper for my semi-westernised people, but something tells me NOT to give up, to keep doing and I say and saying as I do, that in the end, others WILL realise that what today sounds silly/crazy/wrong to their ears....will FEEL right to their soul....if they just take the time to re-discover it in the first place.

  2. It is good to share with others our stories. Like you, I need not IMAGINE running in this good way and sharing it in prayer in the tradition of the people of the Turtle Island. Your life stands distinct after that experience. There was a time before the run and and the time after it.