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(en) Canadian aboriginal governance students mix philosophy with action*

Date Sat, 24 Jun 2006 13:42:00 +0300

Aboriginal governance students like Ryan Bruyere and
his colleague who publicly goes by the name Warrior Spirit are out to
shake things up. One theme is consistent in their activates,
regardless of whether they are staging demonstrations, taking on
Winnipeg police, or talking of issuing report cards on Manitoba's
First Nations leaders - they believe things must change.
"As future leaders, we want to bring up our people with us," says
Bruyere, an Aboriginal governance student at the University of Winnipeg.
"Years ago the chief would be the poorest person in the community,"
chipped in Warrior Spirit, who doesn't want his legal named in print.
He said he isn't afraid of any type of retribution, but instead he
wants to remain anonymous because he wants attention focus centres on
the group rather than himself.

When told that newspapers like to identify people who make
comments, Bruyere agreed to use his name and said he had been
given the right to speak for the Aboriginal Self-governance Students
Association, which began with U of W students but has been
expanded to take in Aboriginal governance and administration
students for the University of Manitoba, Red River College and
Yellowquill College.

"We try not to be restricted by the walls of the institutions," says

There's a bit of back-to-the-future in their approach. Traditional
values, consensus decision-making and a "circular" organizational
structure based on a clan system have been adopted.

"We see our group moving forward as a group that involves
everybody moving forward - that was our tradition."

The association intends to develop an alumni link so that students
can return to the association after they have moved on to their
post-student lives. It would not only be good for future students, but
it could also serve as a refresher - reminding alumni of what they did
in the past.

They both talk about the importance of the common good, rather
than individual selfishness. Greed is not part of the traditional
"The capitalist system is totally foreign to us," says Warrior Spirit.
"Individuality is the opposite of collectiveness," Bruyere adds. "We
have to start investing in co-operatives … to get away from

"The only way for us to move forward as First Nations is to move
forward with the traditions," contends Warrior Spirit. "…The values
of the people who signed the treaties."

Although they talk in philosophical terms, Bruyere, Warrior Spirit
and other members of the students association have shown
themselves as people of action - and they are promising more in the

In March they staged a demonstration outside the Manitoba
Legislature and indicated they would be doing their own
investigation this year into abuse and brutality by Winnipeg police.
Some of them also either helped prepare for or participated in a May
demonstration in support of the Six Nations Mohawk blockade at
Caledonia. Also, Breyere said, the organization is looking at doing a
"report card" on the performance of Aboriginal organizations in the
province. This report card would be released to Aboriginal people.

Bruyere said that some Aboriginal politicians have adopted
non-native values. "Our leaders are policy pushers and that has to

The say a network of activists is developing across the country:
people who are willing to protest and take other measures in support
of causes. If the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper
moves forward with an anti-Aboriginal agenda, they will respond,
Bruyere warns.

"To the Conservatives thinking of twinking of the Indian Act - be
cautious because we are prepared and we ready for a fight," Bruyere

He said that action is the key. His Ojibway language is filled with
verbs - action words - and it is that language that guides him.
Sometimes he even takes action by refusing to take action, he said.

"I am proud to have never voted in my life. I am a proud
non-Canadian," said Bruyere, who also refused to participate in the
Canadian census, most recently taken in May, 2006. "I am going to
challenge my fine," he said, speculating on whether the government
would ever try to charge people for not obeying the requirement that
everyone must be counted in the census.

As a symbol of his stance, he recently tore up a census form at the
Manitoba Legislature.
Copied from infoshop.org
* They are realy antiauthoritarian anticapitalist initiative
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