A Cree Village in James Bay, through referendum, decided against the holding of a traditional Pow-Wow on its territory. *1
Mao Tse Tung said, “True revolution can only be accomplished through a cultural revolution”.
Conversely how to better colonize a people than by taking away its culture, its beliefs, its rites and religions?
In Canada, the Pow-wow, these traditional dances, were repressed by the government for decades. The 1880 amendment to the Indian Act prohibited Native Americans from organizing, participating in, or even attending a traditional ceremony called Potlatch, or a dance called Tamanawas, under penalty of incarceration. *2
Some indigenous peoples continued practicing their dances secretly, and were thus able to keep their tradition.
Waskaganish has a population of 1800. It has 5 churches of various religions. One could accuse these villagers of being traitors to the memory of their ancestors and the thousands of children who were abused in orphanages.
“This is the result of the fear which was instilled in the minds of our people for so many years. They do not know that freedom of choice now exists: they still think that we have to do the right things or else we will go to hell.”
“There was a time when people in Waskaganish couldn’t even celebrate their marriage with a [traditional] dance”, said Pow-wow organiser Ms. Esau. She blames the boarding schools for natives for having laid the fears of traditional religions in the minds of many of her fellow citizens.” *3
It would be important to teach that peoples having suffered such genocide must rid themselves of everything that comes from the colonizers, in order to rediscover their culture, their spirituality, their religions, and their dancing and chanting during their Pow-wow.
The ancient peoples, whether in America or Africa, knew how to communicate with the spirit of trees, the spirit of animals, the Great Spirit. These are in fact values close to the Earth, close to the life of this little planet.
“All the old religions, I repeat it and say it once more, were atheists; just as the North American religions were originally atheists. They spoke of the spirit.
The spirit is something else! What is it? It’s the DNA! This is what makes each plant, each animal have a part of consciousness. Laboratories are beginning to discover that if one gives love to plants, if one communicates with them, if one plays them music, they grow, they grow faster, and they are more beautiful! And what does this mean? It means that we are able to communicate telepathically with plants, with animals” *4 [Raël]
The Pow-wows must keep their original meaning and not be turned into tourist attractions.
It is now the turn of the colonizing people to listen, to understand and especially to feel life through dancing and chanting.
This is about the well-being of our planet, its ecology, its survival.
Let’s rediscover the wisdom of the celebration of life.
Columnist for the Canadian Raelian Movement.
*2. Wendy Moss et Elaine Gardner-O’Toole, « Les Autochtones : Historique des loi discriminatoires à leur endroit », sur Publications du Gouvernement du Canada (consulté le 14 mars 2012).
*3. Susan Esau, du comité organisateur *3 du pow-wow