Chippewa Nation entrepreneur has opened the 24/7 Spirit River Cannabis trading post at 72 Wellington St. in the spirit of “economic reconciliation.”
LONDON – A sovereign Indigenous cannabis dispensary has opened up in the heart of London, Ontario with the goal of transforming Canada’s history of “economic genocide” into a new era of peaceful “economic reconciliation” between Indigenous people and the city.
The store, which is open 24 hours, sells tax-free Indigenous cannabis products with a focus on health and medicine. To ensure the wellbeing of clients, the store has adopted the health and safety protocols of the North Shore Anishinabek Cannabis Association in the running of his dispensary.
While Provincial dispensaries are purely “recreational” and staff are not allowed to discuss or promote the medicinal uses of cannabis, the staff at Spirit River Cannabis are well versed in the medicinal uses of cannabis and have a wide range of high THC level products for sale.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/rvGeeUIIaR0?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparentChief Del Riley and Maurice French delivering letters to London City Hall and London Police.
Letters delivered to City Hall and London Police
As the store opened its doors to the public on Thursday, November 24th, Chief Riley hand delivered letters to Mayor Josh Morgan at City Hall and Police Chief Steve Williams of the London Police. The letter was written by Chief Riley, a former President of the National Indian Brotherhood who negotiated the protection of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in the Canadian Constitution in the early 1980s.
Chief Riley expressed his appreciation for the City of London’s Land Acknowledgment which recognizes the “sovereign” nature of the Chippewa Nation and expresses the City’s willingness to “decolonize.” The treaties which the city has pledged to uphold include “the Two Row Wampum Belt Treaty of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy/Silver Covenant Chain; the Beaver Hunting Grounds of the Haudenosaunee NANFAN Treaty of 1701; the McKee Treaty of 1790, the London Township Treaty of 1796, the Huron Tract Treaty of 1827, with the Anishinaabeg, and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum of the Anishnaabek and Haudenosaunee.”
Chief Riley is exercising his inherent Aboriginal Rights, which are constitutionally protected by Sections 25 and 35 of Canada’s constitution. Chief Riley’s letter concluded with an invitation for a meeting to “provide you with our nation’s understanding of our inherent rights and treaties.” The City and the Police have acknowledged the receipt of the letters, and the Mayor’s office has said a “member of my team will be in touch shortly.”
Outside the London Police station, Chief Riley explained his reasons for the venture “We need to develop our economy, and this is our traditional homeland. We’re doing it legally, and nobody should have a problem with it. We’re hopeful that this will help the First Nations economy.”
https://www.youtube.com/embed/sAjPOM58jLA?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparentChief Del Riley and entrepreneur Maurice French discuss Indigenous rights and the opening of the Spirit River Cannabis dispensary in downtown London, Ontario.
Interview with Chief Riley and Maurice French
Chief Riley and Maurice French recorded a half hour video interview on behalf of Spirit River Cannabis that is available on the Dispensing Freedom YouTube Channel. Chief Riley began the video by discussing how Canada dishonoured the treaties that Indigenous nations made with the British Crown by imposing the racist Indian Act which confined Indigenous people to poverty and economic underdevelopment on reserves.
“Today, I’m trying to help our people get out of the racist situation they’re in under Canada’s Apartheid law, the Indian Act…. When the Indian Act was made, it didn’t even recognize us as human beings. They said an Indian is anything other than a person so we had no legal rights whatsoever. They pretty much did what they wanted to, and left us in the mess we’re in today.”
Mr. French added, “We’re here today exercising our rights and fending off economic genocide against our peoples. We’re back on our traditional territory, we’ve been welcomed with open arms by the landowner, and we’re working together for decolonization – something that the City of London has been supporting.”
Chief Riley is positive about the future outcomes of this economic opportunity. “There shouldn’t be any problem because everything is operating correctly” said the Chief. “The unique thing is that you have a positive relationship between the person who owns the property and the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the partner in it. This may be a new way to approach things in the future because we have to really work on and develop an economy for our people.”
The goal of Chief Riley and Mr. French is to rebuild the original intentions of peace, friendship, and mutual benefit that underpinned the original treaty relationships. As Chief Riley said, “I’m promoting this peaceful economic transition so that our people can eventually end up with at least the same standard of living as the Canadian people living on our lands. They don’t need to be afraid of me, if anything they should welcome me. I’m going to help with everything.”’
Focussing on the goal of economic reconciliation, Chief Riley is optimistic about Spirit River’s relationship with the City. “We think London should welcome this, because our people from all of our surrounding reserves support the city by shopping in it. I’m not here to take down Canada. The way I see my role is that we have to get rid of all this racism. Canada could probably be twice as prosperous, but we’ve got to bring everybody in it together, including our First Nations people.”
The way to do that according to Mr. French is to provide a competitive and safe alternative to the OCS cannabis stores and their inflated prices. “We have the same quality if not better products than the OCS and we’re giving people the fair market value for the medicine that they need. We pride ourselves on the knowledge of our staff so we can advise our customers on what they need. Cannabis is a medicine, bottom line, and we have a right to it and to flourish economically on our traditional territory.”
Spirit River Cannabis is located at 72 Wellington Street in London, On. Sign up on their website at www.spiritrivercannabis.com for special deals and local delivery. Follow them on Instagram at @spiritriver_cannabis_. or call (519) 281-998