[ SkipToMainMenu ]

Wahbung: Our Tomorrows

Hon. Mary Jane McCallum: Honourable senators, the following excerpts are taken from the prologue and message of the Grand Chief in a document called Wahbung: Our Tomorrows written by the Indian Tribes of Manitoba in 1971:

The four Indian tribes of Manitoba — the Cree, Ojibway, Chipewyan and Sioux — by united effort through the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood, present to the Canadian people through their government our position on policies necessary to achieve a just and honourable and mutually satisfactory relationship between the people of Canada and the Indian people of Manitoba.

We, the first people of this land now called Manitoba, are the people of indomitable will survive, to survive as a people, proud, strong and creative.

During the centuries in which we lived on this land, we faced many times of struggle, for the land is not always kind, and our people like any other people had to find ways to adapt to a changing environment.

These last hundred years have been the time of most difficult struggle, but they have not broken our spirit nor altered our love for this land nor our attachment and commitment to it. We have survived as a people.

Our attachment means that we must also commit ourselves to help develop healthy societies for all peoples who live upon this land. But we will not be able to contribute unless we have the means first to develop a healthy society for ourselves. Since the signing of the Treaties one hundred years ago, we have been constantly and consistently prevented from doing so.

Three fundamental facts underlie this paper and are reflected in all aspects of it.

First, we are determined to remain a strong and proud and identifiable group of people.

Second, we refuse to have our lives directed by others who do not and cannot know our ways.

Third, we are 20th century people, not a colourful folkloric remnant. We are capable and competent and perfectly able to assess today’s conditions and develop ways of adjusting positively and successfully to them.

Other Canadians must recognize these three facts.

We ask you for assistance for the good of all Canada, and as a moral obligation resulting from injustice in the past, but such assistance must be based upon this understanding. If this can be done, we shall continue to commit ourselves to a spirit of cooperation.

Only thus can hope be bright that there might come a tomorrow when you, the descendants of the settlers of our lands, can say to the world. Look, we came and were welcomed, and then we wrought much despair; but we are also men of honour and integrity and we set to work in cooperation, we listened and we learned, we gave our support, and today we live in harmony with the first people of this land who now call us, brothers.

We hope tomorrow will come.

Chief David Courchene

Grand Chief of Manitoba

Back to: Statements