Posted by on Apr 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Chief Walks Out on Crying Youth

By:  Colby Tootoosis

On April 26, 2012 in Poundmaker Cree Nation, two youth were denied the opportunity to share their input in regards to their Nation’s circumstance.  With the tension of the Nation’s election weeks away, citizens of Poundmaker have been gathering in regards to election procedures and issues of accountability.   The policy for governing some of Canada’s First Nations is called The Indian Act.  Poundmaker is Band Custom; meaning Poundmaker, “selects its leadership in accordance with its own leadership selection process.”

In spite of the Nation’s independence from Canada’s colonial grip, it still struggles with its process of decolonization.  An evident solution to the crisis’s Indigenous Nations face in terms of leadership is the resurgence of our young people.

Bryton Chickeness raised his hand wanting to speak in the meeting.  In spite of people raising awareness to the presence of the young people intending to speak, Chief Duane Antoine closed the meeting and immediately walked out of the building along with one other council member.  After the event Chickeness questioned, “Why would the leadership walk out on the youth?”  He said, “Our young people need to stand up against the leaders that promote dictatorship.  Today I feel like a leader!  But then again we are all leaders, we weren’t born to follow.”

Miss Chelsea Weenie standing to the right of Bryton shared, “All I want is for the future generations to be heard and to be spoken for right now.  No one knows Rez Life [better] than the people who actually live on the rez.  Young people need to be heard, and I encourage other young people to speak up too and stand together as one.”

Duane Antoine, who is currently Chief of Poundmaker, was not available for comment.  Antoine, along with 7 others, pled guilty to theft charges in connection with an investigation into the use of the band’s Treaty Land Entitlement funds on April 18, 2012.

Writer’s comment:

Exposure and Freedom go hand in hand.  The intention of this article is to highlight the resurgence of a legion of leadership that is becoming prominent throughout our nations.  It is to encourage our young people to stand up and speak, because when they do, our ancestors smile and continue to pray for every one of us.  Compassion and forgiveness is vital for our nations to become strong again, and it is important to remember growth and evolving will not happen so long as we continue to identify and label people as their mistakes.  Circumstances such as this is not a “bad thing,” rather it can be part of the process of Decolonization. -CT.