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Was it worth the 15 minutes of fame?

imagesAn insightful blog posting by Angelina Pratt –  a beneficiary of Neil Young’s 2014 Canadian tour and member of the First Nation Athabasca Chipewyan.

She has mixed feelings about everything that happened with Neil and the tribe and publicity and treaties and the anti-oil message. She expresses herself in a way that brings new perspective.

She writes: “The title of the benefit concert series was ‘Honouring the Treaties,’ although the organizers ought to have titled it ‘Canada’s Hiroshima’ because our Treaty was not the main focus. There was no real conversation on the Treaty, certainly not in any meaningful way, because the emphasis was placed on what Neil was saying.”

“However, Neil didn’t seem to know enough about the Treaty to speak on this subject, so he talked about what he knew, and his message was overwhelmingly anti-oil and anti-industry. Even our Chief deferred to Neil.  Like the large wooden Indian that occupied Neil’s stage, our Chief, who was on stage for all of the pre-concert press conferences was virtually silent. It appeared to those of us on the sideline that it continues to be acceptable to allow well intended non-natives speak for a Chief, even in the 21st century.”

 “Neil pulled no punches at his first press conference at Massey Hall, in Toronto, Ontario, where he repeated his earlier analogy of Fort McMurray’s oil sands industry to that of Hiroshima. The intent was to be provocative and controversial, and it was that and more. “
“I am of very mixed feelings about the tour. On one hand, I am very proud that our Chief was able to gain the attention of and partner with a high profile celebrity to draw attention to our plight and to raise much-needed funds for litigation.  In my immediate family, Neil Young has always been held in high esteem for his musicianship and songwriting.  Last Christmas, long before Neil became involved with our First Nation, I bought Hubby a very expensive set of Blu-ray discs that are the first instalment of Neil’s Archives as well as Neil’s book Waging Heavy Peace.”

“On the other hand, I also feel cheated and duped. I feel that the response to Neil’s celebrity and his flamboyant rhetoric overrode our First Nation’s interests and the balanced message our Chief started out expressing. Clearly, the entire tour was on his terms, or at least the media coverage of the tour gave that strong impression. One of the organizers admitted as much, that it was Neil who decided who was on stage with them when an appeal was made to include Dene elders at the press conference.  When I recommended that the message be clarified and moved to a more balanced one, away from the virulent anti-oil and anti-industry position, I was told that Neil’s publicists and the inner group didn’t want to appear they were backing down.  At that point, it became clear that the tour ostensibly about Treaties, was really about anti-oil at all costs.”

The blogger states  her intent is to stay true to her core being.

“What this means to me is to stand in integrity,” she said.

Read the entire blog post at:

http://thedestinywithin.blogspot.ca/2014/01/was-it-worth-15-minutes-of-fame.html?m=1

 

 

Reader Feedback

One Response to “Was it worth the 15 minutes of fame?”

  • bnbrainer says:

    A great differentiating blog post by Angelina Pratt. The issue is not just black and white. Thanks for this.
    .

    I think one of the important things was/is that Neil raised awareness for the treaties problem, the oil sands and that of The First Nations. With that it was advantageous that he’s a celebrity. He could take the brunt and people still had to liste to him. And given the hatred and venom the pro-Big Oilers spilled out against him, Neil and his camp had to use also strong and sometimes reduced simplified arguments.
    .

    If you want to support the First Nation’s interests, you might consider to sign the Chiefs online petition at AVAAZ:
    .

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/neil_young_vs_big_oil_d/
    .

    “As citizens concerned about the unchecked expansion of the Oil Sands, we call on you to reconsider your approval of Shell’s “Jackpine” project based on the significant environmental damage which you admit it will cause, and the fact that the project violates Canada’s treaty with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. We ask you to pursue the economic benefits of the Oil Sands responsibly, and to live up to Canada’s commitments to the ACFN and other First Nations.”
    .

    They link the Big Oil issues to violating the Treaties.

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