By Myeengun Henry and Stephen Svenson

CHIPPEWAS OF THE THAMES TERRITORY – Last weekend was a busy one for Chippewas Solidarity. Saturday there was an Honouring Ceremony for Rachel Thevenard who ran the length of Line 9 to protest the tar sands oil flowing in Line 9 and the Federal Government’s failure to honour Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. Sunday many of us gathered for the People’s Injunction, organized by Laura Hamilton and our friends at Divest Waterloo, where we took the government to task for its failure to keep its promise to suspend or cancel the reviews of the Energy East and Trans-Mountain pipelines. In the afternoon, about 35 people came to Wilfrid Laurier University to see the film, One River Many Relations and to hear Myeengun Henry speak about COTTFN’s Supreme Court Challenge.

Approximately 125 people from Kitchener-Waterloo, Six Nations, Niagara Falls and Chippewas of the Thames First Nation gathered to see Rachel honoured with a Water Ceremony at COTTFN Community Centre on Saturday, January 23rd. Chief Leslie White-Eye welcomed the visitors and gave some context for the ceremony – the struggle against the National Energy Board and Enbridge and the need for the Federal Government to observe its duty to consult. Councillor Myeengun Henry stressed the importance of allyship. He introduced  Dr. Stephen Svenson of Wilfrid Laurier University and Dan Kellar of Waterloo Region Against Line 9 who offered words of friendship and solidarity.

Six Nations Seedkeeper and elder Terrylynn Brant spoke and expressed gratitude and solidarity on behalf of Six Nations for the work that COTTFN are doing in protecting Mother Earth. Members of the Oneida Warrior Society were also in attendance lending their support. Councillor Myeengun Henry introduced the ‘Brotherhood Wampum’ belt that documents the longstanding friendship between the Ojibwe and Haudenosaunee people.

After watching a portion of One River, Many Relations, the Honouring Ceremony took place. First, the Perpetual Peace Project from Niagara Falls played their song ‘Ways of the Water‘ to honour the Chippewas of the Thames for their commitment to protecting the water for future generations. Next those in attendance bore witness to a Water Ceremony that honoured Rachel for her run as well as brave land defenders, Lindsay and Vanessa Gray from Aamjiwnaang First Nation. For her courage, Rachel was presented with an eagle feather, the most sacred honour that can be bestowed upon an individual. After the ceremony Rachel was congratulated by the attendees in a receiving line.

The afternoon concluded with a feast of bread and vegetarian and moose meat chili prepared by friends from Kitchener-Waterloo and COTTFN Minor Hockey.

To stay in touch with solidarity efforts in support of the Chippewas of the Thames please email chippewasolidarity@gmail.com.