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Native flag flies above Canada's Parliament. (Image: Tigana/cc/flickr)

Why I Voted In Canada's National Election

The government of Canada and the Crown has not lived up to it or other treaties they have made with the First Nations people of Canada. This is why I voted.

Marlana Thompson-Baker

Over the last couple of years an urgency has invigorated Turtle Island.... a call to action that has awoken all the First Nations. Idling no more against the destruction of our mother earth. Rallying against broken treaties and fighting to secure the future of our seven generations.

First Nations’ peoples have been standing up across Canada. Both the government’s and big oil’s attempt to frack the earth to pump oil up and pipe it across Canada, all in the name of making a dollar, shows no thought to the devastation it would cause. It will poison the soil, the water, the air, the plants and animals, and the people.

Being a traditional Mohawk mother, who grew up on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation, I have always fought for the earth and our way of life with the rest of my nation. We have fought against the big companies Domtar, GM and ALCOA—corporations that surround our reserve and pollute the St. Lawrence River and the land. The pollution has been so bad our farm animals either could not reproduce or their offspring were so deformed they would have to be put down right after birth.

Currently, I live in British Columbia with my Squamish nation husband, actor and lacrosse player Wayne Baker. I’ve just done something I never thought I would do: I voted for the first time in the Canadian federal election. Many people I know will ask why I went against my beliefs and the teachings of the Two Row Wampum belt: “In our canoe we have all our laws, culture, and beliefs and in your vessel you shall have all your laws, culture, and beliefs, traveling side by side through life as equals never enforcing or interfering in each others affairs as long as the sun shall shine the grass shall grow and the rivers shall flow this will be everlasting.”

But since this belt was made, the government of Canada and the Crown has not lived up to it or other treaties they have made with the First Nations people of Canada. This is why I voted. Who I voted for is no secret. After months of listening to election promises and looking at past track records of the candidates, and after the press conference the NDP had on the Enoch reserve that was broadcasted live on APTN, I VOTED NDP with great hope that all Tom Monclair’s promises to First Nations and to our environment are true.

With so many first-time indigenous voters, I hope 2015 will bring a change for the good. I hope more treaties will be honored and the quality of life on reservations across Canada, particularly those that have third-world conditions, will improve. Most of all I hope our Mother Earth is able to recover from the destruction wreaked on her and that she is able to sustain our future generations.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Marlana Thompson-Baker

Marlana Thompson-Baker is an Akwesasne-born Mohawk Designer. She now lives in Squamish, BC with her Squamish Nation husband, actor Wayne Baker, and her 3 children.

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