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Atikamekw Chief Sipi Flamand proposes a mirrored image on the way forward for Indigenous peoples

Sipi Flamand has each ft firmly rooted in her neighborhood. Filmmaker and occasional pow-wow dancer, he’s additionally, at 32, the brand new chief of Manawan, one of many three Atikamekw communities in Quebec. He simply printed an essay, Nikanik and itapian. A “decolonized” Indigenous futurea piece wealthy in reflections and confidences.

This well-known determine of the Atikamekw, whose nearly predestined conventional title Miaskom Sipi means “the place two rivers meet”, was elected to the band council final August with the promise of bringing a breath of contemporary air. His arrival has certainly coincided with a altering of the guard inside his neighborhood.

“The inhabitants needed to offer the prospect to a brand new type of governance, extra dynamic and reactive”, explains Sipi Flamand, in an interview with the To need to. “I accepted this duty to get issues completed. »

The publication of his essay can be a part of the younger activist’s method to supply a mind-set free of institutional shackles by which Aboriginal points, but additionally self-determination and the popularity of ancestral rights, can be put on the forefront. plan.

“The title of the ebook means, in Atikamekw, ‘wanting forward’,” he says. I don’t suggest a political program. It’s extra a mirrored image on our future. How will the youthful generations have the ability to [ou pas] make their voices heard? »

No to a one-sided reconciliation

That the readers don’t belief the variety of pages of the work – lower than 100 – introduced as a pamphlet. As a result of as brief as her essay is, Sipi Flamand shares a private, deep and highly effective discourse on the situation of indigenous peoples within the period of reconciliation.

“I acknowledge the therapeutic steps which can be being taken in relation to reconciliation, particularly what occurred on the time of residential colleges for aboriginal individuals. The very fact stays that the reconciliation that we’re being provided is sort of a form of one-way imposition. We’re requested to overlook the previous, whereas we’re requested to be listened to, to have our rights acknowledged. »

Earlier than talking of reconciliation, the creator proposes the restoration of “indigenous political thought”, the institution of recent authorized views with the intention to “decolonize consciences”. Above all, he advocates openness and a important spirit, as a result of solely a paradigm shift is critical to revive, in his personal phrases, “a good, equitable and respectful surroundings”.

“Regardless of the methods which have been imposed on us over time, we have to change our approaches and our relationships with the authorities. This may be completed collectively in a number of methods. I recommend establishing an actual sovereign Aboriginal confederation that may change the stability of energy with the totally different ranges of presidency and society usually. »

The creator remembers that a number of political buildings that also exist, corresponding to band councils, reserves or the Indian Act, stay “colonial creations”, designed by the federal authorities and which, in line with him, typically contradict the First Nations values, philosophy or modes of governance.

“Elders, girls and younger individuals should take their place in discussions and selections that contain communities,” he stated. In Manawan, for instance, I took the initiative to prepare a discussion board to advertise the participation of the inhabitants in neighborhood life. »

Sipi Flamand doesn’t name for confrontation, however moderately depends on dialogue, hoping for the openness of political authorities and the involvement of younger individuals from the communities. “It’s by way of negotiations that we will agree. The foundations are there, they exist. The time has now come to behave to defend our traditions, in order that they’re restored, but additionally revitalized. »

Utopia and dystopia

Whereas drawing on Aboriginal mythology and cosmogony, the creator questions a number of modern challenges, corresponding to environmental safety and sovereignty in ancestral territories, Nitaskinan for the Atikamekw. “Canada was based on the lands of the primary peoples. Our elders have distinctive data of the territories. With regards to exploiting our assets, we’re solely consulted on selections which have already been made. »

Nevertheless, Sipi Flamand sees no enchancment with out the popularity of indigenous data and ecological cooperation. He returns to the “Seven Fires prophecy”, an idea widespread to all Aboriginal nations in North America, which states that earlier than making a call, the communities are referred to as upon to mirror on the results it could have on future generations. “Think about if the world’s governments took this philosophy under consideration; the world can be completely totally different as we speak. »

The essay is each utopian and dystopian by imagining numerous eventualities, some optimistic, others pessimistic. What can be our future in 10 years, 25 years or 50 years? asks the creator. He hopes, amongst different issues, that the indigenous nations can be acknowledged as founding peoples, that the languages ​​of the primary peoples can be taught in all the faculties of the nation. “Sure, I permit myself to be a bit of dreamy,” he says. However nothing is written, every part is feasible. »

The worst can be envisaged, he mentions, including that there can be selections made by Canadian and Quebec society that would go in opposition to Aboriginal rights. “First Nations may make unfavourable selections about their very own well-being. Because of this we should plan and check out as finest as doable to foretell the instructions we need to take. »

Nikanik and itapian

Sipi Flamand, Hannenorak Editions, Wendake, 2022.80 pages

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