Canadian Government Trembles and Not Because of the Weather but Because AIM Leader Terrance Nelson is Elected Grand Chief

Grand Chief Terrance Nelson Addressing the White Privilege Conference in Seattle April 2013

Grand Chief Terrance Nelson Addressing the White Privilege Conference in Seattle April 2013

 The Canadian government is Trembling and not because of the weather but Because American Indian Movement leader and former Roseau River Chief Terrance Nelson is elected Grand Chief Southern Chiefs Organization. He will represent 33 nations in Manitoba.33 Chiefs voted to elect a grand Chief, 33 elected Chiefs voted and the decided they needed a War Chief. 33 nations that stand in the way of white economic designs on Indian land and Indian resources.  What does this mean to you? Maybe nothing, but in Indian Country it is the shot heard around the hemisphere. 

The first time I met Terrance Nelson I was at Wounded Knee South Dakota for the 40th Anniversary of the Wounded Knee Uprising. The event was typical AIM militancy complete with young warriors carrying AK 47s and AR-15s, drumming, and of course an AIM conference was held at the Prairie Winds Casino where Terrance; along with Keith Lussier Chair of AIM from Red Lake, Clyde Bellecourt Executive Director, Bill Means of the International Indian Treaty Conference and others; addressed the eager organizers in attendance.  Terrance caught my ear as he began speaking about the need for indigenous communities to stop taking the defense and go on the offense by taking control of their own resources and begin creating a new economy. He spoke of the need to stop acting as victims and the need to begin acting as warriors.

Terry spoke of his trip to Iraq and Iran to witness first hand the devastation that was being caused by US Sanctions on both countries and how a similar  situation Canadian First Nations people have been dealing with because of the theft of resources being represented by the Tar Sands and other recent developments there were  important. I said to myself, “This no typical Indian leader this man has an international liberation perspective!” 

Grand Nelson Addressing a meeting of the American Indian Movement at Pine Ridge South Dakota during the 40th Anniversary of Wounded Knee

Grand Nelson Addressing a meeting of the American Indian Movement at Pine Ridge South Dakota during the 40th Anniversary of Wounded Knee

I got to talk to Terrance later at the health center before dinner and he immediately began to ask me questions about my capabilities and resources at my disposal to help build the movement.  He was all business. Needless to say I was, and continue to be, impressed. So impressed I arranged for Terrance to be the keynote speaker at the annual White Privilege Conference in Seattle in April. It was there I began to get to know him better.

At the conference he spoke to 2000 people gathered there from all walks of life who were there to discuss fighting racism within the progressive movement. He made his message very clear. He went over the economics of oil and how the First nations people of Canada were fighting a war against imperialist forces who were stealing their resources without paying a dime. He was critical of white folks obsessed with fighting the environmental impacts of the Tar Sands with no recognition that these resources are being stolen plain and simple and that First Nations people would have to fight to retain what is theirs by “any means necessary”. In fact he quoted Malcolm X during his speech and sounded like the American Indian incarnation of Malcolm X.

Grand Chief Nelson with Doctor Eddie Moore of the White Privilege Conference and my self in Seattle April 2013

Grand Chief Nelson with Doctor Eddie Moore of the White Privilege Conference and my self in Seattle April 2013

Why is it significant that Terrance Nelson has been elected Grand Chief of 33 nations in Canada? Try this quote on for size?

“It is time to quit being loyal Canadians, we don’t need the white man’s money. We need a share of our own wealth.” “There’s only two ways to deal with the white man. Either you pick up a gun or you stand between him and his money.”  Terrance Nelson Chief, Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, Manitoba

Well a little background is needed. For one, the Canadian Government just held Chief Nelson responsible for 10 million dollars in damages for blockading rail lines during what has been called the Idle No More uprising that erupted across Canada and much of the United States in 2012 and 2013 and is still burning today. It goes much deeper than that though. Let me explain.

Terrance Nelson was once the chief of the Roseau River nation.  He was the chief there for 5 terms, and reelected each time. Ever the militant, he had pissed off the Canadian Government to no end while he was chief and so they had him removed. They hauled him in to Canadian federal court and paid for the lawyers of the hand picked Indians they wanted to replace him with and they paid the two most expensive law firms in Manitoba to represent the case of the sell outs. They successfully had him removed. Why? He doesn’t take any shit off the white man that is why.

33 Indian chiefs angry at Chief Nelson’s removal, angry at the cuts in resources, angry at the theft of land, came together to elect new chiefs, one of whom would be Grand Chief of their nations. Those chiefs elected Terrance Nelson, Vice Chair of the American Indian Movement, former and ousted Chief of the Roseau River Nation, a devout militant, and ally of the people of the Middle East fighting US and Canadian military involvement in their affairs, and a intelligent and wonderful man. This has the Canadian government trembling for good reason.

Chief Nelson, with whom I spoke this afternoon Saturday, January 11th, 2014, is planning to revolutionize how the nations of his people deal with the Canadian government. Top on his list? Creating 5 urban reserves in Winnipeg to bring his people into the mainstream, economically and politically. He asserts that over 400 million dollars of economic development would be gained for First Nations people by creating these reserves. That they would also gain jobs and a place in mainstream Manitoba. He wants to stand up to the Canadian government to demand economic and environmental justice. He wants an end to the wholesale theft of his people’s land and resources. He wants police to treat his people humanely. He wants to send North Americans a message.

Chief Nelson inspires the best in me and in many other people in Indian country. He has the message we want to hear at a time we need to hear it. The most important thing is the message will be heard whether North Americans are ready to hear it or not. There is a sort of Intifada happening in much of Indian country and Terrance Nelson’s election is in my opinion a validation of that Intifada.

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26 Comments

  1. I agree totally that the feds are shaking..Ahhh sweet justice!
    It’s a sign of the times, a pivotal point in time, to see the election of a strong and well-honed leader who does not back down from the feds & provincial governments in pursuit of justice in regard to our lands, resources & our peoples rights (Treaty and inherrant).
    We so need strong leaders like Terry Nelson in our midst to slam-dunk the Conservative Harper agenda.
    Terry Nelson is definitely one of those to watch in the next 12 months because it will not be business as usual!

  2. I stand with my people to die for them and our land for freedom

    • The rule of law is written in favour of the true Indigenous people..But it is impossible to be independent as “Canadian Indian act first nations”…First nations cannot be effective in the international arena….they are not legally capable, as long as they are “under” the government of Canada. So it will be interesting to see how Nelson intends to proceed. The Canadian government and the first nations are usurping the jurisdiction of he hereditary or true Indigenous people in this country.

  3. Wow fantastic,long live the American Indian Movement!

  4. Wow awesome.

  5. I metTerry in Ottawa,and he is TRUELY a Warrior for ALL indigenous People. I think if anything he should be representing all of us and sit next to harper and educate the immigrant of what SHARE means!!!!

  6. Good ones !!

  7. i agree with you . i wish i lived where you are or visit even good luck and blessing to you all xxxxx

  8. alrighty then…………its time………….about time too. someone with guts to stand up to the Canadian govt

  9. What can I do to help the cause?

  10. Its time for the governments on both side of the border to be worried.For too long we have stood silent to the injustices of what they decide is right for us .These treatys were signed by our grandfathers grandfathers and the governments of today are reneging on promises that should not change.When i go to cross the US border i have to deal with gun carrying people with attitudes .,the same thing when i cross back to my homeland.The medical rights that were promised are being denied on a regular basis,the prescription needs of our seniors are being denied after making people wait for them to make a desision .My grandfather proudly served this country in the second world war and was disenfranchised by the powers that be .Remember residential schools and indian agents,and today the welfare system that reduces people to a number rather than a human.Thank you for standing tall for all the one who cant,AND REMEMBER THE RED MAN WILL TAKE CHARGE OF HIS DESTINY .

  11. He’s right about the economics. People need to separate themselves from what he calls “the white mans money.” People need to separate themselves from the federal corporations period, and start doing for themselves. Divestment. People can either have rights or privileges. You can’t have both. People give these gov corporations (US, Canada, etc) their rights in exchange for privileges. In world history, things have always rolled down hill. People have always gone from having rights, to privileges of citizenship, and then to ruin. With the internet and our ability to communicate ideas, this may be the first time in all history where the people have a chance to reverse that trend of decay. And I urge people to see that this is not a white brown black yellow issue. Looking at it that way will only succeed to divide and conquer. That is what they want to happen.

    • 😥 So true…

  12. Terrance Nelson, he promised he will work with the chiefs of Manitoba. He may have a history with AIM, however, he has to make history with us in a good way. We have a responsibility to our youth and future generations by educating First Nations people of these treaty rights. That should be foremost on all Aboriginal leaders agenda. As for the government, they tremble from mainly greed. I am open minded to see how he contributes to ‘Canadian’ First Nations.

  13. I did approve your comment sir.

    • My humble apology,

  14. Finally someone to lead our ppl in the right direction!!! A REAL CHIEF, one that won’t be BRIBED with PAPER!!! Now if we could all be on the same page…ANISHINABES UNITED, is the only way we are gonna get anywhere♡♥

  15. I’m friends with Terry but we disagree on one major issue, the indian act. The indian act is apartheid and it has to be abolished. Under it, all of our lands are held in trust, including the U.S. native people have been assimilated into believing that the reservations belong to the “indian”. This is a lie. All lands, including reserves set aside for use by indians, are held in trust by the federal governments. Trust conditions are set out and used when dealing with children, animals and the mentally incompetent. Which one are you? Indians, indigenous, First Nation and aboriginal are terms used by the government to justify the trust conditions. To the government, Indians grunted and ate berries and needed protection. Like I said, Indians are the product of assimilation. The government has you and my brother Terry believing they are Indians. We had to get rid of the indian act if we are going to have any economic prosperity. If you are having trouble believing me then there is a simple test. Go to the tribal office and ask to see a copy of the title to the your reservation land.

    • I just watched an interview where Terry said the Indian Act was being used to destroy indian nations by making them dependent on the government. I don’t understand. Here is the interview. http://aptn.ca/news/2014/01/16/face-face-grand-chief-terry-nelson/
      He specifically says “People keep wanting to depend on funding from the government”, “We cannot be independent nations until we assert our claim to the land, they are on our land.”
      Do you disagree with that?

    • I don’t believe I am an Indian, I believe I am Anishinabeg.

  16. This approach,I’d inspires Canadians ,its with a heavy heart to think lines that could be drawn may migrate into the manipulation on behalf of the federal and provincial powers to segregate the common solidarity that’s awakened so many supporters for the environment,may this grand chief be weary of lessons of the past and not be so proud to embrace the traditional teaching of one a circle of brothers and sisters …in brave new front united with common goals that include this circle of one .. Kudos Grand Chief …i agree it time to no longer be victims ..of politics and developments that give foreign control to homeland ….a place all Canadians call home Canada

  17. Yeah, Terry does have some great ideas for Native people and is sure to get the main stream politicians and their security on their toes. Be careful of sharing too much information. I am sure you are watched for sure. Anyone who goes against the government is on a list. CSIS has Aboriginal people on their watch list and has done it for years. They are hiring our own people to spy. Jim Wolf was an example… see Ipperwash. The strength of the people like Terry is for them to have feet on the ground. People who will stand with him. That is what is needed if there is a call. That’s what will make a difference in diplomacy, even if it is gunboat diplomacy.

  18. If not you than who.we all need to stand up for the mother.

  19. I am Canadian but really wish I was native. I have a granddaughter who is native and we are so close. I am glad that there is someone of higher power voted in to look after things..I stand behind First Nations against the Canadian Government for all the havoc they have caused the native people and the rest of Canada.

  20. I believe aboriginal should be in power and should run the country. we got the numbers I believe. But then, got to clean the white mans mess to. Try to go to live the way the land was there before. no money respect.

  21. We are inspired and motivated…..


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