Being a foreign born Canadian I like to think I can see the plethora of issues between Canada and the First Nation people who’ve been colonized and almost destroyed from a neutral point of view.
But let’s get real – how could any normal person in good conscience look at a once proud people, who are now a ghost of their former selves, and side with the colonial power? It is a undeniable fact there has been a systematic and deliberate attempt to destroy First Nation people’s identity, with some disgustingly sickening crimes (such as chemical experiments on Aboriginal children by German scientists in the 1930s)1 committed under the watch of Canada.
Sadly I’ve found the only people who simply don’t care are those who don’t want to lose the benefits from 200 years of deceit. They always seem to be Caucasian people who complain about taxes while whining profusely about what First Nations get that they don’t. Acting like an entire race of people are a burden is sickening. Many do it.
Strangely I never see them complaining about things like that during approximately 1996 – 2006 on-reserve school funding increased 19%, but provincial schools funding increased 45%… or that First Nation education institutions receive an average of $2000 less per student than provincial run institutions. Or that the Aboriginal student dropout rate before Grade 12 is 51% !!!2 What kind of person gives a shit about taxes when one racial demographic has more than half dropping out of school?
What’s the solution?
One option is for Canada to fairly fund First Nations in the same manner they do provincial governments. For instance – Health Canada a while back told a local First Nation that their health care funding was going to be kept at a set amount regardless of population growth. Would Canada ever do that to a municipal town or city? I think not.
It could also fund First Nation schools at the same percentage, and raise funding at the same percentage as provincially run schools.
Canada could also bring in legislation that would withhold funding payments to schools for Aboriginal students that didn’t graduate. This would stop a repeat of a situation that happened a while back in Kenora. Local schools were accepting Aboriginal students from remote communities, trying every trick in the book to keep those children who are out of their element, in school past the guaranteed funding threshold. Many of these students from remote communities had never left them, were constantly around family, and surrounded by their own culture. So when they would come into town, they would experience culture shock. Culture shock was creating a situation where the Aboriginal students from remote communities needed more help than students who lived in Kenora, but were afraid/embarrassed to ask for help. The schools were found to be giving every effort to help the struggling students right up until the date the school was guaranteed funding, and then would simply stop trying to get the kids to stay in school, and wouldn’t help the kids who clearly needed help but were too embarrassed to ask for it.
Another option is for the Government of Canada to, with immediate effect, announce full and complete recognition of the sovereign independence of each First Nation within Canada (something the Lunatic Party of Canada has in its manifesto).
That would require each First Nation to establish systems to effectively manage their own citizenship, policing, judiciary, banking, and national defence. Some might say many of these things are already being done – but could it really be done once the cord has been cut between Canada and First Nations? Would Canada be fulfilling its duty to First Nation people in First Nations where there is a hereditary Chief system, for instance? Hereditary Chiefs are chosen through bloodline, and are not democratically elected.
Many people might say that’s not for Canada to decide. But on this issue, I believe that it definitely is for Canada to decide. It’s spent the last couple of hundred years screwing things up so badly for Aboriginal people that going back to ways and systems which present day Aboriginal people have no experience of would be a recipe for disaster.
I believe that if First Nations had complete and full sovereign independence from Canada and were separate nation states, many First Nations would simply become failed states in short order. However that goes against the dreams of many.
Perhaps there is no solution?