Richard Wagamese – We Need Warriors

We Need Warriors

by Richard Wagamese on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 9:33am

There’s nothing cultural or traditional about a native gang. That’s just the plain truth of it. There’s nothing in the lifestyle that promotes Native pride of puts forward any agenda other than greed, violence and mayhem. No matter how much they try to assert it – they’re not warriors.

When a stray bullet pierces the wall of a house and kills an innocent child, it’s not intimidation. It’s cowardice. It doesn’t take a warrior spirit to fire rounds at a darkened house. There’s no bravery and there is no honor in taking a life of someone you’re supposed to defend.

As soon as I heard about the death of a child in Hobbema, I wanted to cry. See, more than one life got lost in Alberta that night. We lost the child’s and we lost the shooter’s because no amount of justice will ever make that right, square the balance, empower our circle.

Essentially, we lost the life of a community too because as long as the so-called leadership allows gangs and gang lifestyle to be a fixture in their community, there is no community. We need real warriors now. We need leaders who are chieftains to step up and say no.

We need leaders who are unafraid to gang up on gangs. They need to step away from the erroneous sense of entitlement that comes from being a pawn in an Indian Act government and work for the betterment and security of their people. That’s what real warriors do.

Chieftains were selected in traditional times for the examples they offered of living principled lives. They were chosen for their courage, their vision and their utter dedication to the lives of the people. Hobbema needs them now. So does Canada.

Because every innocent life lost to natïve gangs is a testament to how much we lack leadership. Nowadays they rely on nepotism, rhetoric and grandiosity to lay claim to the chief’s chair. It used to be that they relied on spirituality, honesty, humility and courage.

We actually did have gangs in our cultures. Only we called them bands. We called them tribes. We called them nations. We need warrior chiefs now. We need leaders who know that the light of incredible possibility in a baby’s eyes requires our entire commitment. That every life is sacred and needs our protection. Any less is loss. Always.


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