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Water Today Title October 16, 2019

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Noeline Villebrun - Federal Intervention on sovereign native plants

[00:00:06] My name is Noeline Villebrun in English, in Denne I'm called (inaudible). That means the Yellowknife woman in Dene. AndI live in Yellowknife Northwest Territories and I was raised by my grandparents wh taught me through their values and their practices and traditions that we do not sell our medicines. Our plants. The Creator put. Everything on this earth. For a reason and that's to help heal our illnesses that we have. So when I hear both you know the potential profits that the government is going to make from their recreational use and they're not talking about the medicine aspect of it, it does concern many of us in the community.

[00:01:11][65.0] [00:01:12] And we know from the past for example that the United States and Canada outlawed it because they could not control the plants, and basically they were told by the world that you know you people are not sovereign to that country for you to control those sovereign plants. So what they couldn't control , and the United States is famous for that. What they can't control, they outlawed. That's the same way they couldn't control the tribal people there so they they put them on the reserves when it wasn't supposed to be. I see it no different than any other process that I've been either participated or helped the process. For example I sat on the residential school working group, there too.

[00:02:07][55.6] [00:02:08] I'm also sitting on this with the working group here to help the government identify the barriers. We're not here to approve this process or to agree with the government on their legislation. We're here to help. Identify the barriers for our people. I see you you know free trade as a barrier. If we can't cross the United States border that they put up and freely trade our medicines as we always have. That's a barrier. [00:02:45][36.7] [00:02:49] If we can't if they will not sell a license to individuals individual people, that's a barrier because when you look at it our traditional healers go out and they pick medicines, they pick plants to help heal the people. They haven't for example talked about that in our relationship to the land and the plants is nowhere in the dialogue and that's why I realize we are only talking about recreational profit and the way Denne values are, we cannot profit from that from our medicines. You know it's bad enough there's profit being made by industry and partnerships through diamonds and gold and all these other resources that they're extracting from the land. So when you look at those partnerships, how many are really meaningful or respectful? There's very few. Industry and government the institutions are just that, they're institutions. It's the people they hire that do not understand. And when I hear people that are on employment contract for the federal government come in here and saying Oh we gotta look at more policies. Well I look at you as a demise to reconciliation and this government is pushing reconciliation. Well I don't see it. I still don't see reconciliation because our people are still going to jail, are people are still dying because they don't have access to the proper medicines and if they do, they become addicted to opioids. And that's the painkillers. And we have natural medicines for pain too. We even have medicines that will cure the cancer. But there's that industry out there that makes money and that's called pharmaceuticals. They're the ones that are pushing these legislations hiring these people. So for me this government this institution does not speak for the tribal signatories because we did not cede nor surrender. And if they are getting people to see it and surrender it's done under false pretenses. So therefore in the eyes of many of our people at the grassroots level, It's a false process. But yet if we question they will send they will send the RCMP they will send the army. And it's happening in our country. Our people have been have been pushed up against the wall because they're standing up for certain rights. So this process is no different except it's smaller scale they look at it a smaller scale. But the bottom line is these plants are our medicines. They were here before anybody else was here. And it's our responsibility as tribal people to protect our medicines and our plants because we're dying from the processed foods, we're dying from the pharmaceuticals were dying because of the addiction that our people have to go on the streets to get the opiates because of their addiction. The mind over matter we would like to see the federal government not create any legislation.

[00:06:34][224.6] [00:06:35] We've already got our own laws in our languages. There was Dene law. There is there is Ojibwe law there is Cree law. It was all given to us in our language. And what we have here is interference from a English law which is the Canadian law. And by rights and international law. We supersede domestic law. But as long as we are registered to the federal government and our tribes and our names are held in trust they can continue to legislate us, they can continue to enforce policies and they can throw us in jail because we are members of this corporation, willingly or not. And that's our demise. So I want to see the federal government back up. I would like to see our people come forward freely and say OK. And our traditional healers. We can't forget them. [00:06:35][0.0] [381.9]