‘It’s … insulting’: Mi’kmaq warrior chief says of Canada’s 150th celebration

No Justice Stolen Land logo‘The First Nations are struggling,’ says John Levi. ‘We’re pretty much living in Third World countries.’

By Oscar Baker III, CBC News, Jan 25, 2017

As Canada celebrates its 150th year of Confederation, Mi’kmaq Warrior Chief John Levi says First Nations people are still struggling with poverty and he’s made a call to action to remind the country of its shortcomings.

“Where we are right now, like the frustration with Canada, we are struggling,” said Levi, from Elsipogtog First Nation. “The First Nations are struggling. We’re pretty much living in Third World countries.

“It’s kind of insulting to me and … I imagine all the First Nations also

“While we are struggling here and the government is spending millions of dollars on celebrating 150 years, think about the First Nations that are struggling and going without.”

Levi said equal resource-sharing would go a long way in helping to solve his community’s problems, a goal the community set out to achieve by filing a rights-and-title claim for more than one-third of the province in New Brunswick’s Court of Queens Bench on Nov. 9, 2016.


John Levi, Elsipogtog warrior chief, says Canada should focus on improving life for First Nation children rather than spend million on fire works. (Denis Calnan/CBC)

“With all the resources here in New Brunswick, speaking for us in New Brunswick, we should have a share of the resources,” he said. “We wouldn’t have to rely on their money with all the resources in New Brunswick.

“We wouldn’t have to rely on their money if they gave us the equal share.”

Call to action

Over the weekend, Levi put a call out for all First Nations to have a day of action on Canada Day.

He’s calling on Indigenous people and their supporters and hopes a powwow will be a reminder that not everything about Canada’s history is worth honouring.

Levi said the history of Canada being celebrated includes a history of rights violations and environmental degradation in First Nations territories, including his own.

“Look at it this way, we were here thousands of years and just within the last 500 years of the Europeans, pretty much our water is contaminated, the land is contaminated and it didn’t take long for them to do it,” said Levi.

He remembers as a child drinking from lakes and rivers, but today the water is contaminated, he said.

“Our children here on the reserve, like a lot them, go to bed at night hungry and drink poor quality water, and some of them barely have a roof over their head and Canada should think about that first, instead of celebrating 150 years,” said Levi.

New Brunswick reaching out

The government of New Brunswick said it will be reaching out to First Nations to participate in the 150-year celebrations.

“Government is committed to building a positive and respectful relationship with First Nations and working collaboratively with the chiefs,” said Valerie Kilfoil, a spokeswoman for the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture.

“Nation-to-nation reconciliation with Indigenous people is a key theme of Canada 150 celebrations and the province is reaching out to New Brunswick First Nation communities.”

The federal Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs hadn’t responded to a request for comment by late Tuesday afternoon.

Get Aboriginal perspectives

Jessica Christmas from Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia said that as Canada marks its 150th anniversary, she would like to see non-Indigenous people taking time to learn more about Indigenous people.

“They can educate themselves, they can take our workshops that we provide, like powwows or sweats,” she said. “Like non-natives, they can get Native perspectives by attending these things,” said Christmas.

And Christmas was also concerned about the loss of Indigenous languages.

Julia Augustine, a Mi’kmaq woman from Elsipogtog, said she hopes Aboriginal people will one day be seen as equals by non-native people.

“The fact that we live in reservations and they’re poor —  lives are not great here,” said Augustine.


Posted on January 25, 2017, in Decolonization and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Dear Chief:

    With the BILLIONS of dollars that FN tribes receive, why do so many of them cry poor?

    Personally, I just can’t take this whining seriously UNTIL we have a completely transparent accounting for the money!


    • Because the Indian Act chiefs and councilors learned how to be corrupt greedy pigs from the residential schools and their political masters: the federal government. There is already a FN Transparency Act, maybe you should turn your dull intellect to your own government system and look at the corruption there. Personally I’m sick of idiots like you whining about Indigenous people’s poverty when you live in one of the most privileged apartheid countries in the world.

  2. There always has been transparent accounting. Each band has been required to submit their books to INAC several times a month for longer than Hank has been alive. The transparency act was an attempt to lead you by the nose, and it worked. I find it boring to give colonials accurate information. It is far more amusing to say that we are in the process of bankrupting their state. Having trouble paying your bills Hank, fuck off back to the Bavarian cave your ancestors fell out of.

  3. John Levi’s a fraud… Ask anyone on the res… he has nothing to do with the warriors… He’s been caught red-handed collaborating with RCMP and SWN behind everybody’s back, I swear to god whenever I see him rocking the mic, fronting as the war chief… it just makes my goddamn fucking blood boil.

  4. Don’t believe me, Gord? Why don’t you get in touch with Suzanne Patles, the spokesperson for the MWS and ask her about Levi. She’s not hard to contact. What the warriors have in… you know… warriorship, and keeping a low profile, John Levi has in jumping in front of the cameras claiming these goddamn titles that aren’t fucking his. John Levi, besides being a fucking collaborator, basically represents the ultimate in the Canadian states’s attempt to recuperate warrior culture into something more akin to white liberal protest culture. Like someone once said: “everybody wants to benefit from the image and reputation of calling themselves a warrior… until it’s time to warrior up and do some warrior shit.”

    Stop posting shit that has anything to do with him up on here, because it’s misleading people around the world who follow your website into backing the fucking wrong people. Fuck John Levi.

    • Thanks for the comments, as far as John Levi goes I have never met the man and have no idea what his relationship to your community is. If what you say is true than by all means pass that info along, it’s you and your community’s responsibility to inform people, including me.

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