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South Okanagan

Drummers amass at border crossing

“We’re put on this earth to take care of one another,” were the words of Poncho, a traditional knowledge keeper and one of the last of the Okanagan River Salmon Chiefs.

“It has been prophesied by our ancestors that this day would come for the betterment of mankind.”

Close to 100 members of various First Nations groups from around the area gathered Saturday afternoon at the Osoyoos border crossing to protest alleged abuses of treaty rights by the Harper government.

It is only the most recent event inspired by the nationwide movement known as ‘Idle No More’.

"This is about raising the awareness of the injustices that remain between the Canadian state and our indigenous governments and I further cannot forget the hunger strike of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence," said Pauline Terbasket, executive director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

"So we are supporting the local organizers of these events."

There were no rifles or weapons, only drums, dancing and prayers.  Organizers stressed that this was not a political demonstration and instructions were issued not to affect traffic at the Southern Okanagan/USA border crossing.

“The only boundary we have is language,” said Poncho, “so we are using drums to inform our white brothers that he’s being irresponsible.” 

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