MNN. July 22, 2023. Kahionhatatie Cree 13, an Onkwehonwe from the Kanienkehaka territory of Kahnawake, was denied access to play with her soccer team “Eastern Door and the North”, at the North American Indigenous Games in Halifax this week. She trained all year, then a provision was made that athletes required a COVID19 vaccination upon registration in December. I submitted a letter for exemption based on our traditional standing. At 10 pm on July 22, six hours before her bus was to depart to Halifax, Jessie Messier, phoned me informing me that my daughter could not go to the games and if she did she would be given a bus ticket and sent home. She then apologized.
When I got the call, I was in Listigui meeting with Indigenous peoples from the surrounding regions of Gespe’gawa’gi. I was heartbroken for her. The time and effort she put into her training and team building was deflated. The excitement for her long awaited, first solo trip with her teammates was crushed. I could not be there to comfort her nor break it to her father, Garrett Cree, who volunteers ALL his free time to kids in sport. we were angry.
The Mi’gmaq at the meeting were in complete disbelief. They reached out and made statements to whomever they could contact. One person stated that North American Indigenous Games is one of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Another said that the vaccine is no longer mandated. Many thought it was disrespectful to not honor our uses of our medicines. Most were disappointed that they would do this to a child.
The Health Services Manager who called and told me of my daughter’s ineligibility said that it was decided that day in a Halifax court. Lawyers spent five hours pleading for an emergency injunction.
The dorm would not accommodate her, Dal.ca/summerhousing. even though there is no vaccine mandate requirement there.
The job and volunteer positions posted on the NAIG 2023 website listed no vaccine requirements.
The HALIFAX Jazz Festival taking place now until Sunday, July 16th showed NO VACCINE MANDATE requirement.
What does Fiona Fitzpatrick Parsons have to say about this fact denying my daughter a right to take part in NAIG?
Was the board involved in this decision? What were their thoughts?
Who are these games really for?
Is NAIG helping the colonial institutions of Canada to continue to deny the existence of the only true natural people of turtle island and our ways?
What was the reason behind Judge Peter Rosinski’s decision to deny the injunction?
Was she singled out? By whom?
My daughter and my people are not invisible. We need answers!
When I returned to Kahnawake, I spoke to my family for guidance. I was reminded that I am Kahnistensera and my duty is to protect and care for my children. She is ALL children.
Kwe’ti:io – Kahnistensera
Deep Purple said it right with “Sweet Child in Time”:
Sweet child in time You’ll see the line The line that’s drawn between Good and bad See the blind man Shooting at the world Bullets flying Oh, taking toll If you’ve been bad Oh, Lord, I bet you have And you’ve not been hit Oh, by flying lead You’d better close your eyes Oh Bow your head Wait for the ricochet
Sweet child in time You’ll see the line The line that’s drawn between Good and bad See the blind man Shooting at the world Bullets flying Oh, taking toll If you’ve been bad Lord, I bet you have And you’ve not been hit Oh, by flying lead You’d better close your eyes Oh Bow your head Wait for the ricochet