Guujaaw shames federal government

  • Jul. 28, 2014 8:00 p.m.

Guujaaw and several other First Nations’ members from northwestern BC shamed the federal government over its troubled relations with them, in a ceremony Sunday on Parliament Hill. The ceremony involved breaking a traditional copper shield in a traditional rite that was revived only last year by Namgis artist Beau Dick. Guujaaw, former president of the Council of the Haida nation, said two pieces were removed from the shield. One stayed in Ottawa, the other is returning home to Haida Gwaii. Of the shaming ceremony, Guujaaw said “he deserved it” of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “Everybody here is feeling good about what we did,” Guujaaw said, adding there was a good turn-out of Haida who live in Ottawa and others who had visited Haida Gwaii over the years.”People were coming over I hadn’t seen for a while,” Guujaaw said. There has been no response from Mr. Harper or the government, but Guujaaw said that’s not important. “It doesn’t really matter.Our deed has been done.You harbour those kind of feelings.It’s now upon them. It’s off our shoulders,” he said.This following is the statement Guujaaw and the others gave at the shaming ceremony on Sunday.On this day we invoke our culture bringing forward a copper ritual, seldom seen outside of our homelandsWe bring this copper from the great Pacific where it was washed and touched by many hands and then in a journey across this land touched by elders and children, washed in the rivers and lakes, blessed in sundance and ceremonies, carried by pow-wow dancers and touched again by the people of the land. It has been cleansed with smoke and brought here to be broken.The copper symbolizes our wealth and everything that is dear to us, all of our most precious holdings including life itself and all that the great nature provides with this in mind, we break this copperWe break it at the doorstep of the government of Canada with a great sense of celebration because, though they have killed us Â…we live, they put us down Â…. yet we stand they deny Â…but there is truth, we break this copper not as a slight to Canada or an insult to Canadians who have shown us nothing but support and encouragement.In breaking this copper, we confront the tyranny of the government of Canada who has forsaken human rights and turned its back on nature in the interests of the almighty dollar. Guujaaw returns home to Haida Gwaii on Thursday.

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