Corner Brook -
A Mi'kmaq artist from Stephenville Crossing made a stand for aboriginal people across the country in Corner Brook Friday. Jordan Bennett set up a teepee on the lawn of the First United Church on West Street and spent the day etching the words of the Indian Act around it. The aboriginal lodging was shut with the Canadian seal, signifying how the aboriginal people have been trapped by the Government of Canada's rules since 1876.
"This is just my way of letting the people of Newfoundland know, the people of Canada know, there is concern for aboriginal people all over," Bennett said, of the art project he did in conjunction with last week's Aboriginal Sovereignty Week.
"I want people to be aware of what these rules entail and how aboriginal people have been treated over the years and how they are still being treated. ... It's just the rules are so messed up that people need to be aware. A lot of people in this area are Mi'kmaq, a large portion of people where I am from are, and the majority of them probably don't even know what goes on in the Indian Act."
He wore a head piece of feathers and a bandana on his face, which he said represented the early aboriginal warriors portrayal of strength and unity. He said the bandana in no way was to hide his face, but for people to realize it wasn't a personal statement, but one for aboriginal people as a whole.
Bennett shook his head as he wrote the words of the Act on the paper covering of the teepee.
"I am reading and writing it out, and I am confused," he said. "Let alone in 1876, when a lot of aboriginal people couldn't even speak English."
He chose the church yard on West Street for its beauty and central location, but also because he said it represented the western society's moving in and taking over the aboriginal people's land - which he said wasn't anything personal against the church itself.