Traditional Indigenous And White Man’s Conflicting Rules Of Law: A Coming To Terms That Hasn’t Been Resolved Since First Contact

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The controversy now erupting throughout Canada over the issue of the construction of the Coastal Oil/Gas Pipeline & TransMountain Oil Pipeline is an old one that once again reveals a fundamental unresolved impasse that has existed since first contact in the New World between the opposing philosophies and rules of law of the New World’s traditional indigenous peoples and all the colonizers of the Old World, Europeans or otherwise, who since have arrived on the shores of what traditional peoples otherwise variously still refer to as Turtle Island, Gondwana, Azatlan and still many other ancient names.

This writer’s recollection of what, fifty years ago when he first became introduced to traditional Native American & First Nation peoples, defined the chief differences that then existed between those deemed ‘traditionals’ or ‘non-traditionals’. The traditionals were those who were chiefly wedded to ‘the old ways’, predicated more upon ‘self-reliance’ and ‘independence’ from, what they was commonly referred to as ‘the white man’s ways’ of thinking, doing and being, which had less to do with the need to ‘find a job’, because a job was simply what one did to live a well and full life, feeding and caring for one’s family and prosper, as their ancestors once did in a more inter-dependent with nature, in a different way than what ‘prosper’ means today to be beholden to an outside ‘job’ commonly reffered to then as the white man’s world & way of life. Those described as traditionals were, on the whole, those who were more pure=bloods among their people and consequently darker-skinned than their mixed-blooded relatives. The old saying back then was that ‘in the white man’s world’ they were generally said to be “the last ones hired and the first one’s fired” because they didn’t fit in as well with the modern outside world’s ways of thinking, being and doing.

With that, in regard to the current dispute between the Government of Canada and the traditionals among the hereditary chiefs among the Wet’suewet’en First Nation and their dispute over the continued construction of the Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline, this controversy brings into focus seminal issues such as: the meaning and purpose of existence, life and the future survival of all living beings, and Mother Earth herself. Once again what is revealing itself in the bush, in hamlets,, towns, cities and urban areas all across Canada are some basic issues. For starts, the name Canada, itself, is an Iroquoian word (“Kanata”) that simply means ‘Home’. This same controversy also continues to ripple around the world among Climate Crisis advocates of a diametically different way of life and thinking to the modern corporate world and a similar meaning of what HOME ON MOTHER EARTH means for them now and in the future.


More and more native and non-natives continue to be drawn to the ancient wisdoms of traditional indigenous peoples that all over the New World commonly use the traditional expression “KEEP IT IN THE GROUND” representing a world view based upon a deep respect and reverence for the sanctity of the earth and its preservation.

Of course this ancient philosophy and way of seeing life in a more constant, stable state of being forever flies in the face of those forces in the corporate world of commerce and business who represent a diametrically opposite mind-set and world view that long before the Old World’s discovery of the New World, and ever since, has advocated an opposite philosophy that believes that for the human race to perpetually grow and expand human society must constantly “MINE IT, PUMP IT & EXTRACT IT’ to keep up with an endless, unstoppable population expansion and growth model of ever greater dimensions in all its forms and shapes.  The one view believes in leaving as its legacy to their descendants in as pristine a way a possible, a world that has been bequeathed to them by their ancestors while the other view believes in the legacy that chooses to, forget the legaceis of those ancestors and otherwise believe in those ancestors who instead advocated, “Bigger is Better and More of Everything is Even Better Still”.

For over two hundred years the dialectic art of thoroughly investigating and discussing the truth that lies behind the opposite opinions of both these world views has never yet been fully aired in the general society. Nor have the courts snd legal systems of the colonizers anywhere in North and South America, or in Australia and the South Pacific, ever held a full inquiry into the fundamental contradictions between these two world views and their potential solutions, or how the actions of the opposing social, political, cultural and legal forces and concepts of each can co-exist.

But now, front and centre before Canada and the world to try to grapple with this basic issue is the impasse of the current Trans Mountain Canada Oil Pipeline between the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and the Government of Canada. The earlier Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis between the Lakota Sioux Nation and the U.S. Government was a precursor but instead of opening up this much needed dialectic instead led to more of the same kind of brutality and savagery that the Americans had a propensity to perpetrate against so many traditional indigenous peoples of previous centuries.


Th ideological war that is unfolding between the Wet’suewwt’en Nation and Government of Canada, the rest of British Columbia’s governing bodies and the world’s corporate, political and cultural concept of what the world should look like, is once again creating still more opening salvos that nations like the Lakota and others also continue to press for the sake of their own survival and that of their people. If the world will truly listen carefully to what these salvos represent they will better understand how that the battle is for them as well.

It should be a wake-up call to the world that these same issues are part and parcel of the many contentious Climate Crisis rebellions that already engulf the world. It’s a universal struggle begging the question of how much more will the leaders of the world and their followers continue to “MINE IT, PUMP IT & EXTRACT IT’ before it’s all gone and life on earth is but a figment of what it once was? They constantly call attention to such absurd hypocrisies in the mainstream world as those that pay lip service to wanting to do something progressive to positively address climate change, yet, at the same time, on every television set around the world, every minute of every day and nightime, during every sports cast, sports match, sit-com or major cultural event, and in every movie theatre around the world during every pre-show, numerous slick, sophisticated commercials continue to woo and brainwash the people to buy every larger, more expensive, more resource development driven flashy automobiles and unnecessary products that need more and more oil to produce and run.

The Wet’suewwt’en First Nation, the Lakota Nation and many others like them, along with their allies in the Climate Rebellion Movement are the point men and women showing us the way forward, if, indeed, the Survival of All of Life is what is to be the operative directive of the future. This represents the simplest and clearest example of the inflexibility of ‘the white man’, an expression still used by many traditional indigenous peoples today to describe the rapacious colonizers of whatever color, race or creed.

Jerome Irwin is a Canadian-American activist-writer who, for decades, has sought to call world attention to problems of environmental degradation and unsustainability caused by excessive mega-development and the host of related environmental-ecological-spiritual issues that exist between the conflicting philosophies of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Irwin is the author of the book, “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey”, a spiritual sojurn among the native peoples of North America, and has produced numereous articles pertaining to: Ireland’s Fenian Movement; native peoples Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Movement; AIPAC, Israel & U.S. Congress anti-BDS Movement; the historic Battle for Palestine & Siege of Gaza, as well as; innumerable accounts of the violations constantly waged by industrial-corporate-military-propaganda interests against the World’s Collective Soul




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