Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 2, 2011

Mike Bruised Head: Another Dark Day in the History of the Blood Reserve

Another Dark Day in the History of the Blood Reserve

by Mike Bruised Head
( Ninna Piiksii Chief Bird)

St Paul's School/Blood Reserve
This morning which is Sunday October 2, 2011, I woke up with the same sad feeling I had yesterday when a relative of mine was instructed by his boss for us to take our rented tent down and for all of us to clear out or he would call the police on me and all of the other  people. Saturday was set-aside for a prayer day and drumming for the safety of all human beings in southern Alberta and in Alberta. The name for the day that the planning group came up with was ”Drumming for the Earth Gathering”. People from the Blood Reserve who were coming out were elders from all the different districts and communities on the Blood Reserve. There were going to be people from all of the different sacred societies coming out to pray. Also, coming out were drum groups to perform during the day and to all go home peacefully by 4 pm. People who have been having bad dreams since the fall of 2010 were also going to come out and tell their story and offer tobacco the earth.

What was most disappointing is that I received in good faith from the Blood Tribe Chief his approval and to honor his request for the elders to pray for the people of the Blood Reserve. It was also most disturbing when we were told to leave at approximately a little after nine am when the messenger informed us that his boss and committee had given him instructions and that the Manager of the Potato Farm was also going to come out to make sure were left. The manager of the potato farm is a non-native permitted to farm on the reserve. We questioned, if the Chief had been over ruled by some members of council or the administrative department who over sees the ranch and farm economic development operations of the reserve. I thought who is running this reserve, there seems to be so much fragmentation in the whole Blood Reserve-governing system?

The elders and people already in attendance could not comprehend that the Blood Tribe Ranch Lands were and have always been considered Tribal Lands where people have always hunted, fished and traveled about. I felt as if I was a foreigner on my own lands and that I could not pray and put tobacco on the ground without being charged. This I will never forget. We were all somewhat shocked  at the turn of events. The messenger waited on us until we left . I made the decision to just leave because I did not want the elderly and the very young children traumatized or injured should the police be called to start handcuffing people. I went to prayer site with the most peaceful mind that I could carry in my being. There were never any intentions of confronting the drilling site, to shout at anybody or to go against the law.

Many more people arrived at the prayer site after the initial group had left. I received so many calls last evening from people upset that a few people can shut down a prayer gathering. They questioned the integrity of those responsible.

Going back to the early morning on Saturday,  My mind went back to the days of the Indian Agent, the Residential School period and Dictatorship happening in other parts of the world and yet I was standing on the grasslands of the Blood Indian Reserve. I asked my self “how can a few people totally disrespect elders, women, children, and sacred society people who only wanted to pray and come to a peaceful resolve in this whole drilling matter”. All the people wanted to do was to pray that no one gets sick from the out come of drillings. They only wanted to pray that the Blood Reserve lands don’t sink in and gases not to evaporated into the air and last but not least that all the communities will have safe drinking water for centuries to come. That was all, there was never any negative thoughts to anyone. It would have been the most peaceful day since the announcement of the oil and gas agreements.

Unfortunately, all has been lost because of the threats to call the police by the messenger. I will continue to pray at home and ask the elder spirits who came to me one night during the summer to get the people together. I honestly with a peaceful heart attempted to just to that. I will continue to pray to the old people who have gone before us to forgive me and to protect me. I will never forget Saturday October 1, 2011, it was a very sad day.
Also see: Traditional Drumming Gathering Halted

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