Shé:kon sewakwé:kon kanehsatakehró:non,
we want to give you a more in depth look into the vision we have for our community. In essence, it is straight forward our vision is for our people to be the driving force of governance in our community and in order to do that, we must be engaged, we must participate and we must be FULLY informed regarding important issues. Our platform and commitment is anchored in the facilitation and promotion of dialogue, participation of the people and also the importance of understanding the matters being discussed. There are many issues of importance to our people and that in and of itself needs to be discussed in order to determine a direction. Prioritization is important to efficiency because if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
Here is an introduction of our team. We decided to run together because we share a common vision of openness and promotion of popular participation in politics. It was the way of our people as far as we can remember and it contributed to our political strength and resilience. That being said, in line with this principle, we are open to work with any member of council in equal standing and as equals, members of the our community. We are not seeking title, power or authority but rather offering our services to continue working for the betterment of our people.
Teiawenniseráhte Jeremy Tomlinson ióntiat’s, wakskeré:wake’. Kanehsatà:ke kanà:takon kí:teron nektsi ohén:ton tkiterón:tahkwe ne kanitské:rakon. Karíhton watió:tehkwe nek tsi ó:nen kateweién:stha ne onkwawén:na kanien’kéha tsi Ratiwennahá:wi immersion. Ne wahi ó:ni watió:te akeweientéhta’ne ne onkwehonwehnéha. Wa’onkátken’se akatá:ti ne Kanien’ké:ha tánon ne iakorihwatshénrion ne Intermediate level. I am the son of Gabrielle Lamouche, born and raised in Kanehsatà:ke where I am living with my Kanien’kehá:ka wife and raising our children. I studied and worked in aerospace as an aircraft maintenance engineer, followed by a 17 year career in policing which has given me experience and expertise in critical incident management and intervention, major case management and investigation, tactical operations and training as well as management of other important projects. These skills and experience are highly transferable to any professional endeavour such as a position on council. After facing serious issues relating to systemic racism and unfair treatment of indigenous people, I decided to leave policing. Since 2019, I have been studying Kanien’kéha at Ratiwennahá:wi immersion, learning our ways and volunteering in Kanehsatà:ke including at Rotiwennakéhte school teaching traditional singing and stories to our children. I have been advocating for our community and trying hard to bring important political matters back to our people. On council or not, I will continue to dedicate myself to the service of our people.
There are so many issues ahead of us but we believe that the only way to tackle them is together. We don’t mean together as a united council or together as in council and the people. We mean all together, members of council are first and foremost community members of equal standing. A position on council should not set one apart or above any other community member. It rather carries public service responsibilities and in carrying them out we can be facilitators to the engagement of our people in finding communal solutions to our most pressing issues. Here are a few of the issues we feel are important and current but it will be up to our people to decide together where to invest our efforts!
The level of disenchantment in our community is very elevated and the idea that there is no use in being involved with council matters because things will never change and that keeps us in a never ending loop. After a while, it seems that every new council dies on a ledge of broken promises that they would be the ones to change it all. We believe that no individual or even small group of individuals can change our situation. With increased community involvement and engagement however we can work toward something that is stronger and more efficient. We want to be facilitators of community participation and empowerment in order to promote accountability. In collaboration with the community, we want to ensure the development and implementation of accountability mechanisms. (i.e.: Ethics council, elders council, youth council, other, etc…) that can be put into place in order to ensure that the elected council and future councils can be held accountable if there is deviation from their roles and responsibilities. Together, we will explore the revision of the Electoral Code as well as determine clear roles and responsibilities of Council members to set guidelines and measures to help ensure accountability and efficiency moving forward. There is more than a need for ongoing community involvement in governance, there is a requirement. We want to facilitate this involvement through frequent people’s meetings, online platforms, focus groups, family meetings, etc… We will implement quarterly reporting on portfolios by mail or meetings. Implement a mandatory minimum public meeting schedule held every 6 weeks; further meetings may be called when necessary. These are examples, a starting point, from here we can build a vision of accountability and transparency measures that are suitable to our people.
Lands is one of the priority issues because it is intrinsically linked to our sovereignty, our culture and our existence as onkwehón:we. To begin a series of meetings will be convened as soon as possible to inform community members of the specific claim negotiation’s status as well as on the claims process. It is very important that our people understand the process we are involved in as well as all its implications. Beyond this we need to plan and develop a strategy moving forward that can see us gain a stronger position on this front rather than to keep seeing the erosion of our land base. All processes will be conducted with openness and in collaboration with our people. Together, with as many of us as possible we can come up with solutions that can work better for us all. Surrounding this issue, we will look at facilitating important dialogue surrounding governance and land use. It is widely known amongst our people that we have been here since time immemorial and as such it is important that we share this knowledge with each other. Our traditional governance practices are sophisticated and founded on strong core values. Respect, peace, responsibility and accountability are front and centre of a system that saw our people influence European settlers to move away from monarchy and toward democracy. Our language, culture and traditional practices are what make us who we are as Onkwehón:we and we would like to be facilitators of these important discussions and promote education as well as knowledge sharing in order to bridge the gap between us which will only strengthen our position moving forward and allow the next generations a better chance to live the culture that the colonizers have put so much effort in destroying in order to separate us from the land they wanted to acquire.
Language and Culture
Our language is directly linked to our identity and it is currently endangered in Kanehsatà:ke let us not be the ones who let it disappear but rather those who will ensure its revival. We have some hardworking community members who have dedicated the majority of their lives toward ensuring the survival of our language. More often than not, they have had to make unreasonable efforts for barely adequate funding. These are realities that they have had to endure and often, their path being further complicated from within our community. We are truly appreciative of the work that they have done and continue to do but time is running out. One of our top priorities is to make important investments in the revitalization of our language as well as offer much needed support to those involved. In collaboration with our language educators we want to set the stage for a strong language program that will allow us in the short term to offer the much needed relief for our current teachers and in the mid and long term to develop a sustainable strategy that would see first language speakers being raised in Kanehsatà:ke once again. But our teachers and language holders cannot do this alone, we must come together and highlight the importance of our language and identity by supporting and investing our time, interest and financially in revitalization efforts.
We believe that the cannabis industry is a solid economic development opportunity for the people of Kanehsatà:ke. It can also be a good way to exercise our sovereignty but we must come together with industry operators to establish a system that is controlled by Kanien’kehá:ka, socially responsible and economically beneficial for the entire community and those yet to come. We would like to see an indigenous seed to store process with our people involved at all levels. Unfortunately, the current administration has grossly mismanaged this situation and were negligent in their duties which has left our community with a less than ideal situation. Some of our people saw the economic opportunity and being ignored by council decided to move ahead on their own which created some success but also a fair load of issues. That being said, following community involvement with this matter, some industry operators have started coming together to work toward a more socially acceptable operation of the industry. This is progress and we believe we must continue on this path, working with community industry operators as well as community members develop a plan and strategy to continue our participation and development in the lucrative Cannabis market but in a way that is more responsible and beneficial to our entire population. We would like to see development and participation of our people in all levels of this market, from seed to store. By legitimizing on our own terms the participation of our people in the cannabis industry, we will be in a stronger position to defend our interests in this regard. Having a bigger piece of this billion dollar industry could also offer us a great stepping stone toward a more prosperous collective future.
Environment is anchored in our traditional ways and there is serious work to do in our community. We will empower the Ratihontsanontstats department to carry out its mandate and work with the people of Kanehsatà:ke to put together an environment strategy that will seek to renew this important responsibility.