This famous line is from The Hunger Games. The story is about a zero-sum contest for survival among youth in a dystopic post apocalyptic world. Lift the lid off the story and we see an inner conflict for human dignity, amidst government tyranny and exploitation. I am shocked by a recent State of the Nation Address by Metis National Council President Clem Chartier. This address along with other recent posts on their MNC website offer an unsettling window into the colonized mindset. Judging by their recent language, they are shifting toward a negative nationalism accompanied by a belligerent form of false patriotism. According to Chartier, “The stakes are too high.”
In a bizarre form of doctrinaire sloganeering, MNC president Clem Chartier reminds me of a fundamentalist preacher with his words, “there can be no backsliding.” He labels people as “outsiders.” Mr. Chartier refers to people who “have never been part of our nation” that “betray who we are.” He talks of those who are “historically and culturally inaccurate.” They talk of “consolidating our citizenship and our boundaries.” Chartier repeats the words “a path” over and over. Apparently, there could never be more than one path. One history. Wrapping themselves in the language of patriotic heroes of the Metis nation, they are obsessed with enshrining and defending a myth of national unity and distinction to usher in order and cohesion. Apparently, the word “Métis” is their word, and it only means what they want it to mean. They push for distinction, but the idea of distinction is subtly employed to restructure. To control. It asks you to give up or vilify one identity to serve another. It obliterates nuances by employing a streamlined methodology. Their identity has become standardized, frozen to look and act a certain way for political purposes.
They “remember” their past and “safeguard” their future in a way that places Métis people into their dominant national storyline. Stories function as mechanisms to shape thinking to conform along a very certain way of life. The strategy is that these stories began to take on a heightened credibility in a bid to foster identity cohesion and social purpose. In their world, it’s intoxicating for Metis people to simply belong. Within this ideological mindset, knowledge becomes a commodity, fit to be owned, controlled, manipulated, bought and sold in a competitive manner.
To the MNC, there is apparently no need for a functional nuanced memory for Metis people. The authorized MNC historians, technicians and experts will give us the dispassionate facts, and in the process become agents to serve ideology. The public conversation, the imaginary and creative place where engaged citizens with different perspectives share ideas and possibilities or challenge national myths is stopped up like a dam. It becomes irrelevant for average Métis citizens to be critically informed or to agree on any shared consensus.
In utter denial, the MNC pretend that they are progressing with government and industry. The irony is that all the while, current governments they look to are named in human rights complaints against Métis people they are charged to protect. Corporate interests have infringed upon Métis people and their relationship to the land and these leaders turn a blind eye.
To read the MNC article go to LINK