This is the last part of Wendsler Nosie Sr.’s speech in Paris, on March 23, 2019. Please also see Part One and Part Two. Not everybody will agree with his views about the way to struggle. However, we can understand that the situation is particularly difficult for Apaches. As he says below, 90% of the Apaches have been exterminated. The survivors have been split into many small reservations. His reservation, San Carlos, has first been a prisoner’s camp, and when it became a reservation, 15 different branches of Apaches were just put together. In his – spiritual – way, Mr. Nosie is struggling for rights, for respect and, most of all, for Mother Earth.

Christine Prat

“WHEN THEY FIRST CAME TO AMERICA, IT WAS NOT TO BETTER AMERICA, IT WAS TO TAKE FROM AMERICA TO BRING BACK TO THE COLONIZERS’ COUNTRIES OF EUROPE”

Speech by Wendsler Nosie Sr.
Transcribed by Christine Prat   Français

“What we see today, is still the same as in the very beginning, when they came to our country. Which means that, when the first people came, they came for the resources, to bring back to Europe. Until those who were there realized that they could keep it for themselves. Many of the tribes in the eastern part of the United States were either exterminated or removed, forced to go west. That’s a very sad history, because those tribes tried to keep the treaties with the original countries. So, if you look at a pond of water, it is still, it is not moving. You drop a little pebble. It creates a first ring and then it starts moving out. Then, more rings are formed, they move out. So, what we are saying is that the first ring lied to the rest, they were moving out, they were coming. So, this is the part where I say about what was told to me: ‘Don’t hate’, because there was a deception. Even the people who came from Europe, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th generations, were lied to. So, as Native People, we have to educate ourselves about that.

“But some don’t like that road, they want to be tough, rude, mean. But I tell them ‘We have to be smarter’. Because the strategy of America was a good strategy for the first Americans. So, 90% of our peoples were wiped out. So, there is no way we will ever rebel. That means we have to get smarter.

“But now it comes down to leaders. Leaders can teach you different ways. But the old ones said it must be spiritual. Because they are your family too. So, the Creator has created all of us. There is only one God. And we are all his children. So, that’s the road that I walk on. And that’s the teaching I had to go with before my people. You can imagine, going before all the tribes of America! What I was worried about, was how would they feel. But what was really good to my heart, was that they are looking for the same road.

“I am really happy about, that in America, it has become a fight about water. Standing Rock – you may have heard of Standing Rock – really pushed it out for all Americans, about the importance of water. The children are speaking – and now you see many Native Americans, White Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans – young people standing together now. So, I am really proud of the young people. They are taking more responsibilities in asking questions. Because it comes back to the rest of us. Like, I tell people ‘Be honest, tell the truth’. So, for me, I tell America, the way we talk about what’s evil, ghosts, evil – we are portrayed as saying this as ‘ghost’, and ‘this is the evil’ – we are talked to look at it like this and be afraid of it. But everything changes, everything modifies. But we really have to look deep to find out what really evil is. So, with the people I met in the country, in the United States and elsewhere – I didn’t go to India but I had a chance to meet people from India, from Africa, from South America, from Jakarta, Indonesia – they are all looking too, trying to understand.

“So, I tell America, in my homeland, where I am from, we are new and we are old. A person from my people, in 1927, died as a prisoner of war. Not these World War I or World War II, he was in prison since the 1890’s, from the American War. So, where I am from, we did not start getting our voice until the 1980’s. That’s why I say ‘we are new and old’, meaning that we are new to what America has brought to the West, but then, we are old in the old ways. So, I tell the people of America – that I can honestly say from my heart – ‘I don’t hate you, but the thing you did was that you brought the oldest evil to North America’. So, I say that our young people go around saying ‘Resist, resist!’ or ‘Decolonize! We need to decolonize’, and I say to them ‘It’s not us, it’s YOU guys, YOU guys need to decolonize’. Because, if you look at history, where did slavery start? Where did words like ‘pagan’ come from? It started here, and I don’t mean to offend anybody, but it started with the kings, the first type of government. That’s why I say, when they first came to America, it was not to better America, it was to take from America to bring back to the colonizers’ countries of Europe. Because, if America is really home to you, why at Oak Flat are you still giving things to Europe? If this place is really home, you take care of what you have.

“I just want to end with what my mother told me, the very first time I came here to Europe, 22 years ago. My mother sits me down and says ‘Remember, if the plane doesn’t work, they came on boats, you can always get on a boat and come home’. She was very serious. I thought she was joking, but what she told me was ‘Son, you’re going back to the oldest people, where these people that came here in America came from. So, you’re probably going to talk to their family, please tell them to tell their families over here to behave.’

“Thank you.”

RESOLUTION COPPER, THE PROJECT

Apache Leap. The Resolution Copper site is just above, not visible from the road

Apache Leap, Resolution Copper East site and right above, the place where the crater should come

What it might become…

Both sites owned by Resolution Copper. The other photos have been taken from the road that goes around the mountain.

See also animation by Resolution Copper on their future plans.

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