of the land


Of The Land, 2017

I need and love the land I was born and raised on. Many people find meaning in different things in life. Native people find meaning in the land. They need it.

Sometimes you stand on the shore of  a lake, you see high waves rolling onto shore, and it’s pushed by winds you can’t see. Soon it’s all calm again. In the winter you see flowers, trees, rivers and streams covered with snow and frozen. In the spring it all comes back to life. This has a strong meaning for my people, for me. We need it.

Hay River- Ray Sonfrere

This land: It is just like our blood because we live off the animals that feed off the land. That’s why we are brown. We are not like the white people. We worry about our land because we make our living off the land. They white people: they live on money. That is why they worry about money.

Fort Good Hope- Louis Caesar

I don’t think I will ever end up living like a white man or act like one. The white people, they always have money in the bank. I will never have any money in the bank. The only banking I could do is something that is stored in the bush. That is my bank. That is my savings account, right there.

Some people said to me, “Why don’t you put the money in the bank and save it for the future?” I should have told him at the time, “The north is my bank.” But I never did.

And I just thought of it now.

Bertram Pokiak of Tuktoyaktuk talks about the fur trade, 40 years ago

It is very clear to me that it is an important and special thing to be an Indian. Being an Indian means being able to understand and live with this world in a very special way. It means living with the land, with the animals, with the birds and fish, as though they were your sisters and brothers. It means saying the land is an old friend and an old friend your father knew, your grandfather knew, indeed your people always have known … we see our land as much, much more than the white man sees it. To the Indian people our land really is our life. Without our land we cannot – we could no longer exist as people. If our land is destroyed, we too are destroyed. If your people ever take our land you will be taking our life.

Richard Nerysoo of Fort McPherson


Northern Frontier, Northern Pipeline: The Report of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry

Thomas R. Berger, 1977


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