As the environment is being destroyed and the planet continues to be raped for fossil fuels and natural resources, the effects of global warming are becoming more and visible worldwide. Although we may soon be reaching the point of no return Western governments and corporations continue to ignore this problem, which may lead to the very death of our planet and all of us. One group of people, the American Indians are doing what few others are, they are fighting to save the land and the planet they love and respect, like no other people’s on the Earth. Dr. Daniel Paul spoke with John Robles on this issue which is important to all of us.
Hello! This is John Robles, I’m speaking with Dr. Daniel Paul. He is an Indian historian and a Mi’kmaq elder. He is in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Robles: Hello Sir! How are you this evening?
Paul: Very good, thank you.
Robles: It’s a pleasure to be speaking with you again. Can you give our listeners a little bit of information about the protests that have been going on up there in Canada?
Paul: Well, actually the “Idle No More Protest, has not only been going on in Canada, but has been going on in the United States and it is to do with the environment, some pipelines and what have you, that are being built across North America, and one from Alberta down to Texas and the Gulf Coast.
And that created quite a stir, quite a controversy actually because people were upset that perhaps it might have some very detrimental effects on the environment. And so, that was part of the protest. And I guess the unilateral actions of the government with no consultation and all the rest of it, that is another issue that was propelling the controversy.
So, it is still on the go, it is not as pronounced as it was before but some people are still protesting.
Robles: How does that affect the Indian Nations in Canada and in the United States? Why is that important?
Paul: The environment mainly, that the people are concerned with, it’s all these different things that are being built, being developed, such as the oil sands in Alberta and again the pipeline that is supposed to be built from Alberta to Texas, and the chance of maybe a spill that would poison parts of the environment.
Fracking is going on in both countries at this point in time and a lot of people are very concerned that may affect the water supply in various areas and contaminate the water supply.
It is various, I guess an overview of the things that are concerning people in Canada, and in particular it is the perception by the First Nations’ people that the Canadian Government isn’t negotiating in good faith and maybe have a hidden agenda.
Robles: What might that be? Can you give us some details on that?
Paul: I guess what a lot of people are thinking is that perhaps the Federal Government is working towards the elimination of the First Nations in Canada and not working in good faith towards self-government and expanding the land base and Aboriginal rights and things of that nature.
Robles: Now, these pipelines, are they going to be infringing on Indian lands?
Paul: Well, in many cases they will be infringing in the sense that a great deal of that land in between Alberta and Texas is still up for negotiations.
Aboriginal rights have not been extinguished and the settlement is sort of somewhere down the road.
And what the people are looking at I believe is that perhaps the environment worldwide is not something that is causing great many people to be very concerned.
I know myself I have some shots from Antarctica and the penguins are not hatching as they used to.
So, global warming is beginning to concern a lot of people. And I think in this case the First Nation people in Canada have took it upon themselves to begin to do some protest about the march to world extinction if we don’t begin to become to, maybe, come to terms to what we are doing to the environment.
Robles: Well, they’ve been pretty much in denial I think about global warming for at least 10 years.
Robles : Here in Moscow, in the winter now, you can pretty much just look out the window and see the results of global warming. Why is that important to the Indian people?
Paul: Well, it’s not only important to the Indian, the indigenous people of the Americas but it is also important to everybody across the world, including Russians and Germans, and English and so forth and so on.
And what is the point of no return? If you poison the environment enough, we will create a world that will not sustain life any longer. You know, how far down the road can we go before we begin to realize that perhaps we’ve gone too far. And when you’ve gone too far it’s a little too late to begin to turn back and to try to fix things.
Robles: Why do think people are not paying attention to this, in particular the US authorities, I mean they have all the data, they have all the information. I’m sure they know where things are headed. Why do you think they are ignoring the dangers?
Paul: Well, the world has one God, besides the God in heaven, or wherever people believe the God should be, but there is a God that’s universal and it crisscrosses all religions, and it is “greed”.
People are greedy and they will continue to go down a certain road and do what they do, and have no appreciation of what the consequences may be.
Robles: What are some of the effects of the global warming that you are alarmed with, that you’ve seen?
Paul: Here in Nova Scotia at this point in time, all winter long, I think we haven’t had more than five, perhaps 5 or 10 sunny days. It’s been nothing but cloud and drizzle, and fog, and snow, and all the rest, and it’s not a normal type of winter we have here. And it is warmer, a lot warmer.
Robles: How much warmer than normal?
Paul: If you are looking at Fahrenheit, we used to have 10-15 below zero which would be equal to -32 Celsius I suppose. And you can notice the difference, winters don’t come on, last winter we never had any snow until latter part of November.
And it just seems like the seasons are shrinking. And other parts of North America are suffering a great drought at this point in time. And things seem to be moving in a way that… it’s being predicted, that if we don’t begin to clean up our acts, violent weather is being created, unheard of blizzards are going on right now across North America, they seem to be coming one right after the other. And things of this nature just seem to be getting out of balance.
Robles: Kind of the same thing here in Russia with the winters. Normally it was like -20 -25 Celsius for most of the winter, now sometimes there is a couple weeks of that weather. It’s visible.
Paul: The weather that’s happening here is not happening elsewhere and vice versa, and new things are beginning to occur in other areas also.
It seems to me in Tornado Belt in the United States there are far more tornados beginning to occur and some are very early and some are very late in the season now.
Robles: Thank you very much Dr. Paul. I really appreciate you speaking with me.
Paul: Very good, and nice talking to you always. And I hope you’ll have nice and warm summer there in Moscow and we have a good one, get some sunshine here in Nova Scotia for a change.
You were listening to an interview with Dr. Daniel N Paul. He is an elder with the Mi’kmaq Tribe.
Stay tuned to the Voice of Russia for part 2 of this interview.
You can learn more about the Mi’kmaq and American Indians by visiting Dr. Paul’s website at: www.danielnpaul.com