Is he a genius? Insane? Over his head? To be honest, I am really not sure. On the one hand he has certainly appeared to secure a “soapbox” unlike any other to get his messages across on a global scale. I would not disagree with some of his rhetoric, particularly concerning the ownership and wealth sharing of this country’s vast natural resources. I also think that the lack of real response by Canada to seriously deal with the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women is shameful and complicit. While I don’t blame anyone for thinking that this shows a blatant disregard for First Nations people (Where is Kanye West when you need him?) Yes Canada’s historical treatment of the indigenous population in so many ways has been considerably less than stellar, I am not sure that there are current active efforts by Canada to exterminate First Nations People.
If this strategy is indeed about being outrageous, then I cannot imagine a better time or a better country in which to put that plan into action. Just in case you weren’t aware, Iran is a dictator ruled country with some pretty heinous and continuing human rights abuses of its own, has threatened to wipe Israel off the map, (Israel has threatened to use its own nukes pre-emptively against Iran). Iran has also threatened to disrupt the global oil supply and attack US bases, while actively developing its own Uranium enrichment program. In response the US has apparently sent warships into the Iranian region to “protect trade interests”. As you can see, defcon 1 seems like a weird situation in which to insert an indigenous rights message into.
Meanwhile Terry Nelson says that he is hoping to secure agreements to develop First Nation natural resources with Iranians, it doesn’t seem clear how that will happen since Canada has severed diplomatic relations and imposed economic sanctions legally preventing these types of arrangements. The futility of this particular goal along with Terry’s assertion that Iran was the only government that responded to his pleas, says to me that this whole thing may only be about desperation to get out a message…one that might be heard around the world, but ignored due to the way in which it was arranged, timed and delivered.
So what is the best possible outcome of all of this? I really don’t see much in it for Terry himself unless he is interested in moving to Iran and becoming a Shia Muslim. Upon his return to Canada it seems likely that most Canadians, including prominent Iranian and Jewish Canadians are going to think that he is just plain foolish and without much credibility. As a First Nations person, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. That he is just looking take the struggle for our human rights/indigenous rights to a different playing field. I can’t help but wonder if the Indigenous People of Canada are now going to be regarded by citizens of the world as collaborators of controversial dictators and other individuals of questionable character.
It seems like only a remote possibility the global audience may be willing to overlook the medium and certain parts of the message in order to be reminded of the injustice, trials and struggles of our indigenous peoples. I cannot imagine what is next in the playbook of Terry Nelson