Friday, December 28, 2012

Cam Broten's Response to Phone Campaign for Settlers in Solidarity with Chief Spence

By the time Michael was done his movie and was coming to bed last night, I was in full hate of almost everyone and everything. I hate this, I hate that, and I'm so helpless and at the end of my rope, and what good does anything do anyone anyway. Michael listens and supports and I fall asleep realizing that we are all called to the battle in front of us, and Chief Spence has been prepared for the stand she is taking, she has the support around her that she needs, and I can keep praying and calling from my distance, but I must respect my limitations.

It's late Friday afternoon. I've been off computer, email, facebook, phone, and technology all day. Moira brings me the phone.

"Hello, Sheena. It's Cam Broten. Sorry I've taken so long to get back to you."

He asks how my Christmas was and if I had lots of family home. I ramble my responses while wracking my brain trying to remember how I know Cam. He seems so familiar.

There's a lull in the greetings. "So, I sent you a message last week, right?" I say.

"Yes, you emailed and left a message at my constituency office."

Okay, game on, I think, resisting the temptation to feel really stupid for not even recognizing his name.

"Thank you for returning my call. I'm following up with our provincial leadership, asking what we're doing to support Chief Spence."

Cam talks about how he is spreading the word in Saskatoon, rallying people within his connections in support of Chief Spence. He notes that his federal NDP colleagues are on the ground in Ottawa, in solidarity, some having met with Chief Spence themselves.

"Let me ask you a question," says Cam. "What else do you see that I could be doing?"

"Well, are you utilizing any contacts that you might have in Ottawa, like an Auntie who lives near parliament hill, or what about cross party contacts, people with whom you may have an ear, in Ottawa or provincially."

Cam figures he'll be able to bring this up with people cross party boundaries, especially as the situation is intensifying.

"And another thing I believe we need to address provincially is funding of First Nations education. For example, I live in Fort Qu'Appelle, but kids going to Chief Ben Pasqua First Nation School and Standing Buffalo School, just down the road are funded two thousand dollars less than my kids in the provincial system. That's just wrong. I am proud of my province, but I'm tired of us pointing the finger at Ottawa saying, 'that's their responsibility' when those are my neighbour's kids we're talking about. I think we should be topping up Saskatchewan First Nations education."

Cam listens and adds his own insights, how he is very encouraged by the grass roots engagement of young people and people of all nations adding their voices. He says the flash mobs in Saskatoon have been great, getting awareness and solidarity. He thanks me for phoning and engaging. He says this is encouraging.

I thank Cam again and bring up the topic of public service, that our elected officials are servants of the people. He agrees. We offer Happy New Years and the conversation is over.

Somewhere in our conversation I had started taking notes because I'd messaged that I'll be tracking response on my blog. The last thing I have written on my note sheet is a quote from Cam about Idle No More. "This thing has legs," says Mr. Broten.

Thank you, Mr. Broten, for your public service. Your phone call has gotten me back on my legs.

May the Idle No More legs grow in strength and wisdom. Amen.

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