Talk to the Ahmiddiyah Muslim Convention, August 24, 2019
Welcome to the sovereign land of Tsuu T’ina. I would say about 99% of you have never been on our land. We are a sovereign nation. Canada exists within all First Nations’ land. We allow that to happen.
I’ve worked with, and talked with, many Muslim brothers for the last few years. And I, along with my mentor, saw the importance of carrying on this dialogue, which the future demands of us. We come from a different covenant. That covenant is about the land, the water, and the air. That’s what we are responsible to, and that’s why we fight so passionately about what needs to happen.
I extend to you a hand of friendship to continue this journey with us, and it’s not going to be easy. When the first wave of colonization came, they taught us how to pray. So we closed our eyes and prayed. When we opened our eyes, we learned about prayer, and they took our land. That’s our legacy.
I talk to truths like this because as new visitors to our land, you need to know these things. We speak with it, with an open heart, so the dialogue can happen. Because the future demands that of us and it demands it of you. Our responsibilities for the future go well beyond human rights. Because human rights are very arrogant. It goes beyond civil rights. Because civil rights is very ignorant. We talk about the natural rights. The rights to exist. Because the land will take what belongs to it. And the water will take what belongs to it. As well as the air. And if they decide they don’t want to make human beings on this earth, they’ll take it. And there’s nothing we can do about that. So we learn to live with the land. We learn to live with each other.
We are faced with issues. The legacies that are left by residential schools. The realities of what the ‘60s scoop did to our young men and women. School bussing. And even the idea of giving us education to be like everybody else. That may have been our downfall.
We must prosper, and we must prosper together. None of us know who our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren are going to marry. Maybe we’re going to decide to marry someone from the Muslim world. We don’t know that for sure. But we have to go with the approach that we’re creating understanding for all of us here.
I invite you all to be part of this journey. You see the effects of what the history has done to us, because you all walk down the streets. You see our brothers and sisters struggling. Some of you may have taken advantage of them. I hope not.
This is the time for change. Change is what has to happen, or we will cease to exist as people, as nations, as humanity.
Like I said before, you’re on the land of Tsuu T’ina. This is not Canada. We won’t allow Canada to exist within our realities. When you go across 37thStreet there, then you’re in Calgary, in the land of Treaty 7, of the Blackfoot Confederacy, of the Stoney Nakoda, and of us. And if you go to any other part of the land, you’re in the land of the people who it belongs to – whether they’re Crees, or Mohawks, or Blackfoots, Ojibway, all those across the land. And we’re here to share what we have. And we did not give up any of our rights. So we’re not asserting our authority, we’re just reminding you and clarifying what that authority is.
So I want to welcome you all for being here on Tsuu T’ina. And if you see me on the road, or on the street walking, it’s okay for you to come up to me and say, “Chief Crowchild, I heard what you said, and it’s really good. So good I want to take you to McDonald’s and buy you a hamburger.” (laughter) Or a Tim Horton’s coffee will work.
So for all my brothers and sisters who come from different parts of the land, welcome, welcome to Tsuu T’ina. And I hope you will always come back. You are always welcome here. To my brother, Rick McIvor (Minister of Transportation), I don’t know if you’re still here, welcome. We have a good working relationship.
Tsuu T’ina’s future is bright. We have political knowledge. We have economic aspirations. And we have social commitments to change things. To change things for the better. I always maintain that if I talk more than three minutes I’m going to be running out of things to say. So this is my three minutes. I want to thank you all for being here. Thank you to the young men who are serving me water, I appreciate that. Siyisgaas.