Concerning the article in the Winnipeg Free Press titled “Peguis Negotiating New Deal with Enbridge for $7.5 Billion Pipeline Project” dated April 20, 2016, Chief Cindy Spence has issued the following statement:
“Peguis is protecting and asserting our rights across Treaty one territory. We have an active Treaty Land Entitlement and a right to select land which must be respected.
Our rights are priority rights according to the Treaties and protected by Section 35 of Constitution of Canada.”
Chief Cindy Spence
Peguis First Nation
Peguis First Nation, Chief Cynthia Spence (Transcript, Volume 4, Lines 1449, 1453, and 1454)
PFN members understand that the Creator bestowed upon the Anishinaabe the responsibility to safeguard the environment as protectors. This responsibility includes strong advocacy and environmental stewardship over the land and waters of Turtle Island:
1456. Our panel members will share the Anishinaabe knowledge that the Creator bestowed upon the Anishinaabe, the role of stewards of Mother Earth. One of the negotiating Chiefs for Treaty 1 reminded others that the land cannot speak for itself; that the Anishinaabe people have to speak for it. It is part of our role as a people to ensure that the — that we speak in regards to the environment and the issues surrounding it.
1457. As a result the Anishinaabe have a word that means protector, and that Peguis First Nation word is ogichidaa. The ogichidaa have to regain the role of protecting or looking after the environment as warriors. The people that we see here today that brought the water drum, the pipe, and the traditional teachings that they’ll share with us are all considered to be part of the ogichidaa, along with the Anishinaabe people as a total. Our panel members that are seated here today will speak more on this responsibility. Sorry about that.
Peguis First Nation, Chief Cynthia Spence (Transcript, Volume 4, Lines 1456 – 1457)
PFN members understand that the Creator is manifested in all parts of the environment. As stewards of Mother Earth, PFN members are responsible for protecting all components of the environment:
1524. The Anishinaabe and their teachings were advised to be the stewards of Mother Earth. As protectors they were given the title of ogichidaa. The ogichidaa were protectors of all living things and all living things have a spirit which was given to them by the Creator. The Creator is everywhere and is manifested in our environment.
1525. I just want to do a quote here from Flying Down Thunderbird: “The Creator sleeps in the minerals, awakens in the plants, walks in the animals, runs in our veins and the rivers, flies with the winds and the winged ones, and thinks in Anishinaabe.”
1526. The spiritual connection among all living things created a universal bond or kinship and the Medewiwin [sic. Midewiwin] Society use relative terms such as grandfather to refer to plants and grandmother to other plants, but also to Mother Earth, the moon, and certain drums. When an Anishinaabe person receives his or her spirit name, that creates a stronger bond to the messengers such as the eagle and the thunderbird, and ultimately, the Creator.
1528. One final element of the Anishinaabe world view is the use of medicines, or mskiki [sic. mashkiki], for healing. These medicines are sacred to the Anishinaabe, and some medicines are used for ceremonies such as cedar, sage, sweet grass and tobacco. Other panel members will speak more on this subject.