November 16, 2010
Imagine a sheriff offering the head of a criminal gang the following deal: ‘If you agree to stop stealing from your neighbours for three months, I’ll give you cutting edge weaponry and block any efforts by other law enforcement authorities to restrain your criminal activities.’
October 14, 2010
This is going to be short & to the point, watch this documentary.
Experimental Eskimos is a very powerful indictment of the Canadian government and society in general. But more importantly it’s a very moving account of the high human costs & consequences of Canada’s assimilation policies.
Consequence that continue to reverberate throughout the Arctic, & Indian Country,and sadly will for the foreseeable future.
You can catch it on APTN tonight.
September 9, 2010
I was deeply heartened to learn this weekend that in South Dakota women of the Yankton Sioux/Ihanktonw Oyate nation have revived the traditional Isnati coming-of-age ceremony for girls: four days after the onset of a girl’s first menses when adult women of the community nourish, bathe, teach, and rename girls and guide them in rituals of self-reliance like gathering their own medicines, making their own ceremonial foods, and erecting their own lodges. Young boys too play a role in Isnati, by keeping fires burning in the camps day and night.
After decades when traditional indigenous religious ceremonies were banned by the federal government or punished and disrupted by government boarding schools, the revitalization of traditional ceremonies and indigenous languages has been a key part of the agenda to restore indigenous well-being and sovereignty.
September 2, 2009
Having followed native issues & politics since my high school years I believed my understanding of the issue(s) was fairly well informed. On treaties I assumed that if followed (on part of the government) things could be put right fairly quickly.
But after reading , Making Native Space;Colonialism,Resistance & Reserves in B.C ,by Cole Harris and J.R Miller’s Compact,Contract Covenant;Aboriginal Treaty-Making in Canada ,I have had to think again.
Indeed I have arrived at the conclusion that my basic view on treaties was hopelessly naive,my faith in what I thought of,as the somewhat honorable intentions of the government,was totally misplaced . When in fact what was written into these treaties, more often than not,was not what indigenous peoples had agreed to.
This through no fault of indigenous leaders,most of whom were very adept and understood the consequence and importance of treaties and consequently took pains to ensure that all their concerns were dealt with,i.e autonomy,resources,jurisdiction,etc etc.
During negotiations,treaty commissioners,who usually had been instructed to avoid making ‘outside promise,’ gave chiefs ringing assurances of non-interference with indigenous ways of life,but the government’s written versions of the treaties always contained qualifying clauses that severely limited those undertakings.
So not only are most written treaties suspect, if challenged most are not worth the paper they are written on. More a kin to a motherfuckin shell game.
I find it very ironic how many downplay the worth and importance of the oral tradition as opposed to the written,yet in many cases the oral is the more accurate, relevant and truthful for that matter.
All said the situation is not hopeless,albeit it will take a government of vision,leadership,and one scrupulously committed to rebuilding a new & honorable relationship with Canada’s indigenous peoples,opinion polls be damned, before much of anything changes to the better.
Unfortunately given the recent actions of the Conservative government in regards to indigenous peoples. Past actions of Liberal governments,the caliber & self-serving nature of many Liberal politician’s(Iggy included) & Premier’s of all stripes, such a government at this point in time,indeed in the foreseeable future is but a pipe dream.
On top of all that there is that ubiquitous and corrupting undercurrent of racism that informs the opinions & views of much of the Canadian population in regards to indigenous peoples and issues.
If you have doubts about the level of racism in this country,read the comment section,indeed even some of the op-ed pages,of any of the mainstream newspapers that happen to publish articles discussing indigenous peoples/issues. The toxicity still manages to sets me back on my heels, and this “old dog” has been around the proverbial block to many times to count & on both sides of the track.
August 19, 2009
Reads a very good line from Marie Wadden opinion piece published in the Globe & Mail.
Although I did ditch the inappropriate “aboriginals” for Indigenous peoples(with a capital I),will these journalist ever get it right,anyway I digress.
Much is being made of arctic sovereignty these days,in fact some are even using at as an excuse to dress up like a dorky Commander guy. The narrative goes that if Canada does not assert her sovereignty in the arctic some foreign power/bogey-man will.
I always find these arguments informative for what they do not talk about,the Indigenous people that live in the arctic,i.e the Inuit ,the people who’s lands we are talking about. Gawd,will we ever learn ?
As Marie Wadden points out…
There’s a new colonial era unfolding in Canada’s North. The troops stationed in the Arctic will create a social challenge the Inuit are ill-equipped to meet. That’s because they’ve not had time to get over all the other challenges our colonial actions have created….@
Beside isn’t possession nine- tenths of the law ? O yeah I forgot that only applies if you are white Indigenous peoples are shit out of luck. Sure they might have lived on the land and made use of it for thousands of years,but that doesn’t really count. Particularly when some white guy(s) wants their shit.