The Huron-Wendat Nation farmed and governed Springwater Township lands sustainably for centuries

July 8, 2012

A new documentary film called Curse of the Axe premieres on History Television on Monday at 8 pm.

Produced by yap films in association with Shaw Media, Curse of the Axe is narrated by Robbie Robertson. It chronicles the story of a Stouffville, former first nations community called now The Mantle site (see below).

At it’s zenith the settlement was:

  1. 9 acres in size,
  2. 2,000 inhabitants
  3. farmed 80 square kilometres (an area larger than downtown Toronto),
  4. 98 long houses,
  5. 3 rows of defensive palisades, and
  6. 60,000 trees cut down with stone axes to build this community.

Mary Ormsby writes about it in the Toronto Star today.

Mr. Luc Lainé of Wendake, Que. is the charge d’affaires for Huron-Wendat Nation.

…hopes it helps educate Canadians and dispel stereotypes “that we are lazy people and like to take advantage of the taxpayer.”

“I hope this will show. . . we had a very sophisticated society and were well organized from a political and social point of view and (people) will see us with different eyes.”

Skilled farmers. Expert businesspeople. Wise political leaders spanning centuries.

Curse of the Axe trailer (1:34)


His ferocity of spirit remains a guiding light for all who seek lives of defiance.

July 2, 2012

Chris Hedges writes at the amazing Truthdig.com.

His latest is about the first nations called Time to Get Crazy.

Native Americans’ resistance to the westward expansion of Europeans took two forms. One was violence. The other was accommodation. Neither worked. Their land was stolen, their communities were decimated, their women and children were gunned down and the environment was ravaged. There was no legal recourse. There was no justice. There never is for the oppressed. And as we face similar forces of predatory, unchecked corporate power intent on ruthless exploitation and stripping us of legal and physical protection, we must confront how we will respond.

The ideologues of rapacious capitalism, like members of a primitive cult, chant the false mantra that natural resources and expansion are infinite. They dismiss calls for equitable distribution as unnecessary. They say that all will soon share in the “expanding” wealth, which in fact is swiftly diminishing. And as the whole demented project unravels, the elites flee like roaches to their sanctuaries. At the very end, it all will come down like a house of cards.

The English philosopher John Locke defines when an out-of-touch political elite declare war on their own people:

Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience.

Our own Simcoe County, Huron-Wendat first nation builders (The Heritage of the Circle):

…redistributed wealth to gain respect, and in which those who hoarded were detested, upheld a communal ethic that had to be obliterated and replaced with the greed, ceaseless exploitation and cult of the self that fuel capitalist expansion. Lewis Henry Morgan in his book “League of the Iroquois,” written in 1851 after he lived among them, noted that the Iroquois’ “whole civil policy was averse to the concentration of power in the hands of any single individual, but inclined to the opposite principle of division among a number of equals. …” This was a way of relating to each other, as well as to the natural world, that was an anathema to the European colonizers.

Crazy Horse, Tekoomsē (Tecumseh)


Huron-Wendat governance produced unrivalled prosperity and security until the Old World arrived

March 28, 2012

There are almost none of them incapable of conversing or reasoning very well, and in good terms, on matters within their knowledge.

The councils, too, held almost every day in the Villages, and on almost all matters, improve their capacity for talking; and, although it is the old men who have control there, and upon whose judgment depend the decisions made, yet every one who wishes may be present, and has the right to express his opinion. Father Brébeuf, 1636

Back page:

Wendake was the name that the five confederated Wendat [pronounced: “one dot” ed.] nations gave to Huronia, the Ontario territory described by the French in the 1600s. Samuel de Champlain was the first to use the disparaging term Huron in naming the Wendats,  which until recently was the most common way of referring to them. In this book, Georges Sioui, himself Wendat, redeems the original name of his people and tells their history, providing readers with a fascinating look at Wendat society and its rich legacy for Canada and the modern world.

Sioui first reviews the Wendats’ Creation mythology and explains their origins, migrations, theology, ethics, philosophy, oral literature and sociology, as well as their role in Amerindian geopolitics. He then looks at archaeology and its role in combating centuries of negative attitudes toward Amerindians. He concludes with a detailed description of Wendat society from an Amerindian viewpoint over the span of the last 1,000 years, concentrating on the period between 1615 and 1650 and drawing on traditional ethnographic documentation in the reports of missionaries and early French explorers. Underpinning this entire discussion is the Wendat notion of the Sacred Circle of Life, which forms the foundation of their world vision. The Wendats believe that there is a sacred circle of relationships among all species on earth.

Finally available in English, this remarkable book presents a vivid picture of a once vibrant, thriving, sophisticated Native culture. The compelling story it tells will appeal to anyone interested in the history and culture of Canada’s First Nations and in the Canadian Native legacy.

Huron Wendat: The Heritage of the Circle, Georges E. Sioui, UBC Press, 1999.


Hustlers of the world, there is one Mark you cannot beat: the Mark Inside.

February 29, 2012

The mark of a basic shit is that he has to be right.

Quotes:

Junk is the ultimate merchandise. The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise, he degrades and simplifies the client.

The way to kill a man or a nation is to cut off his dreams, the way the whites are taking care of the Indians: killing their dreams, their magic, their familiar spirits.

I am not one of those weak-spirited, sappy Americans who want to be liked by all the people around them. I don’t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. My affections, being concentrated over a few people, are not spread all over Hell in a vile attempt to placate sulky, worthless shits.

William S. Burroughs 1914 – 1997


Land speculation and other confidence games have always relied on human weakness.

February 14, 2012

Speculation buys up, in a very practical way, the intelligence of those involved.

Environmental Defence asked me to write an article about my take on what’s happening in the Village of Midhurst lately. It was posted yesterday.

I start off Midhurst Secondary Plan: Village to grow 10 times? with:

Midhurst has been a favoured spot to live for several thousands of years. There are 54 documented first nations’ settlement sites within south Springwater Township.

The Midhurst Secondary Plan, MSP, calls for the irreversible, greenfield growth of 10,000 new homes and 28,000 people (currently 1,100 homes, and 3,500 people), the loss of up to 1,300 acres of farmland, and 6 million gallons of wastewater going into Minesing Swamp per day. These changes can happen as quickly or slowly as the developer wants.

I highlighted 7 concerns I hear repeatedly from my neighbours:

  1. Stealth Mode
  2. Public non-Notice
  3. Wastewater worries
  4. Taxes
  5. Farmland loss
  6. Who works for whom?
  7. Litigation

Dr. Paul Fleming and David Strachan of the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association (www.FriendsofMidhurst.ca) are also mentioned.


Ontario has had human occupation for 12,000 years

February 5, 2012

European history covers 4.2% of that time (500 years).

The Oka and Ipperwash crises and Grand River land dispute (Caledonia) have to differing degrees involved Aboriginal burial sites.

Image: Studying old bones — preservation or perversion?, Mary Ormsby, The Toronto Star, October 9. 2011


Career Limiting Move, CLM

January 25, 2012

Definition:

  1. Something that you do at work, that will get you fired, or end your career very soon. Urban Dictionary
  2. (euphemistic, humorous) An act that is likely to result in the actor’s demotion or loss of employment. Wiktionary
  3. jargon Any action endangering one’s future prospects of getting plum projects and raises, and possibly one’s job. Dictionary.com

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