Thursday, August 15, 2013

The headache that won’t go away We have ceased to say what we mean, and mean what we say.

The collective consciousness of the 19th and 20th century; is placing a heavy burden on the multicultural ethnic society that represents Canada today.
Canadians are incapable, and unwilling to shoulder the consequences of racist policies made on their and their descendants’ behalf.
It is Canada’s contention to posit the argument that European “manifest of destiny” and subsequent occupation of indigenous lands in nearly 500 years can lay legitimate claims to its territory.
In modern terms, it is a quandary. The collective Canadian consensus to outstanding issues in regards to First Nation’s agreements made 150 years ago-to be a thing of the past.
Worse yet, the notion of the “Indian” as being less deserving of equal rights under Canadian law was still a reality a mere 60 years ago.
To understand the issue, is to be cognizant of history; and not too many Canadians are aware of the genesis of this country’s true beginnings.
To argue the case ad nausea is not my intention. However there is still this persistence among Canadians that regardless of the contextual historical data, it is time for First Nations to accept and submit for the greater good-become Canadians yourselves.
This has always been the message; from the McDonald administration to that of Prime Minister Harper’s.
Have we past the point of no return?
Is there still such intransigence among non-indigenous Canadians and newly arrived emigrants to see justice done?
Is the supposition that treaty entitlements are no longer valid; in fact past its due date-does it benefit all who reside in Canada?
Many argue that it is so; and for that we have to thank not one but several Canadian institutions. It is still wrong.
We have in this country, tried to beat, starve, kill, murder, indigenous peoples since the late 1960’s.
We have allowed federal governments to dictate what is best suited (in terms of assimilation programs) and tolerate the Indian Act as a pact in efforts to “wash away” the responsibility to care for these people.
It remains pertinent to reflect that under no circumstances an “urban” reserve ever be permitted within a city.
It was, and is valid to this present day, that paying for the privilege of not being in proximity to a reserve-a necessary evil.
Now there are exceptions to the rule, and one cannot bring about a conclusion (which would give the impression) that the existing treatment of “Indians” living on reservations to be completely useless.
Why are these people so ...damn stubborn? Why can’t they just be more like us?
After all, didn’t successive federal governments “give” them enough concessions?
In this day and age you will have mainstream non-indigenous Canadians purposely convey “politically correct” point of views in the media.
Basically there is one official version of what it is that we really think...and then there is the un-official one.
We have ceased to say what we mean, and mean what we say. Seldom do we see anyone steadfast in their convictions, and have the courage to bring into question policy which is detrimental to us all.
Canadians have become more concerned about keeping their jobs, maintaining their standard of living; not rocking the boat.
Those that do so are scorned, labelled and identified. A yes, those that advocate on behalf of the environment....yes those people are definitely UN-Canadian. protested against the G-8 summit meetings? How dare are standing in the way of progress...UN-Canadian.
You support David Suzuki and the likes which continue to create such barriers for the Conservative government agenda?
You are definitely on Harper’s enemy list, number one and NOT a Canadian.
Optics, how is it going to look? What’s the spin? What’s the angle?
What about whether or not it is true?
 It is clear that if you look closely enough, very rarely do we see anyone put into print the unvarnished truth; the warts, the issues which makes us less than stellar.
If you do, protect that individual because if you do not they will suffer the consequences of doing so.
I have witnessed this already in The Pas, and frankly it smells of hypocrisy.
 If the media’s sole purpose is to control the “message” and no longer present the facts and different points of view on any issue...what is the purpose of having freedom of speech protected under the Charter?
We are deserving of successive federal, provincial, municipal governments if we no longer attribute the validity of speaking up for those who cannot, for those who have experienced injustice, for those who continue to be under the yoke of prejudicial, and racist treatment.
If there is a problem, if there is an issue, it behooves us all to discuss it. To be in the wrong does not make you a bad person.
So here we are, in 2013, still having to address an issue that should have been rectified long ago.
Yes the statute of limitations for some is a valid argument to wipe out all treaty agreements.
Residential Schools? We paid for that already... not enough you say? Too bad.
Reserves today serve no purpose. They are isolated, and do not offer economic advantages. Restructure them into municipalities and make “Indians” relocate once again.
The days of having Indian Status Cards is over. We’re done paying for status... have the same rights and opportunities like the rest of us... The buck stops here.
Well in fact the buck does not stop here. I’m afraid that from past Supreme Court rulings Indigenous Treaty Rights are valid and they need to be reflected within Canadian culture....that is essentially what it means to be Canadian.
We can no longer afford to treat indigenous persons as idiots, less aware of their inherent rights, in continuing to accept that their way of life is not congruent to that of the rest of us.
We should not continue to believe that the passage of time, or that what occurred under previous federal government policies void our collective responsibility towards the indigenous peoples of this country.
To do any less is know the ending already; why don’t you change it once and for all.

Whoa...what gives?

I clearly wanted to remove myself from this issue, but I find it impossible to ignore.
 On August 3,2013 Winnipeg Free Press reporter, Carol Saunders  wrote an article bringing to the forefront the plight of “Aboriginal” demographic explosion, and that of the rise in high school rate drop-outs.
Here we go again, if the majority of you feel like tuning out already, I do not blame you.
There comes a time where enough is enough and there needs to be a period of introspection instead of the increased pressures from needless conjectures, which does not bring any benefit. 
Saunders brings to light the rapid growth rate of First Nations, and therefore the increased numbers of children on schools nominal roles.
It is suggested that the rate of aboriginals is rising and therefore increase the overall numbers of aboriginal students not completing a high school diploma.
“Manitoba’s aboriginal population is booming, and unless there is major change, so will the number of school dropouts who are more likely to be jobless, poor, have kids in care and abuse substances, experts say,” commented Saunders.
All right, another allusion to “Indians” being at risk of becoming  dumb, stupid, drunks and drug addicted people copulating like rabbits.
Saunders explains that the ideology of Wayne Helgason (who testified on behalf of the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg (ACW) has merit. Helgason is also the former head of the ACW.
“The problem is, despite best efforts and more spending, the education system still isn’t working for aboriginal people,” said Helgason, a long-time advocate for an aboriginal school division.”
Saunders does bring to attention that First Nations receive less funding per student on reserve-as compared to what the provincial government spends in matters of education of on reserve aboriginal students.
It may be common knowledge in some circles, but I doubt anyone believes that this is the core distinction of deficits as to why indigenous students fail to obtain a high school diploma.
Saunders illustrates many findings stemming from the Sinclair Inquiry; she also emphasizes Helgason’s credentials as an authoritative “expert” capable of speaking on behalf of all First Nations in regards to education and indigenous people.
“…Métis man, who was one of Winnipeg’s first aboriginal in school child-welfare workers 30 years ago, has run aboriginal agencies and headed the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.”
Very good for Helgason, and Winnipeg but I fail to see how the correlation between Helgason and his crusade of having an aboriginal school division will bring about the necessary measures to reverse the tide of chronic fiduciary deficiencies of the federal government.
In addition to constant jurisdictional bickering as to who is responsible foot the bill and how in the world would such a division would take shape outside of Winnipeg.
I am sure the Sinclair inquiry has good recommendations as how best to mitigate the lack of accountability in regards to children like Sinclair who has fallen through the cracks.
Recommending that education be the keystone in reversing trends in cases such as Sinclair’s is apparent; what is less demonstrative are the what, who, when and where such a division advocated so strongly by Helgason could achieve any real prognosis in terms of increasing the success rate of indigenous students.
Saunders herself does not offer any information on the matter. Instead, she argues programs such as the Community School Investigators (CSI) to be far more effective.
“That’s why the retired educator (Strini Reddy) and a colleague founded the hugely successful CSI program to help kids in poverty-most of whom are aboriginal-have better chances of staying in school and having happy, productive lives.”
CSI may create opportunities for First Nations students living in Winnipeg. Saunders does not in fact attribute actual numbers of indigenous students enrolled in the CSI program; but the benefits to northern or even rural First Nation reserve communities are minimal-negligent even.
Helgason is convinced that establishing an aboriginal school division similar to what the Division Société Franco-Manitobaine (DSFM) currently administers to a population of 5000 students throughout the province; to be the Holy Grail for First Nations.
“It’s almost like a school division should be a slam dunk-the francophone school division is quite successful and a whole department in the government supports system. Anyone who wants to deny the aboriginal community the dame thing, in my view, is hedging on racism.”
Helgason, in my opinion is bordering on the idiotic. He is forgetting that the mandate of the DSFM is upholding the rights of francophone families to have their children taught in their first language; which is protected under the Manitoba provincial legislation.
He also seems to be ignorant of the fact that establishing such a division contradicts the mantra of individualism, which exists in First Nation communities.
As clearly, stated by Saunders and Helgason in matters of funding, who then would be willing to subsidize such a division?
There seems to be more question than answers. At face value, indigenous people living off reserve in Winnipeg theoretically would or could envision such a structure.
“We were very shocked, actually, at the very low functioning level of those who come from northern communities.” –Helgason.
Helgason’s vision is short sighted. It also does articulate a plan, which encompasses all First Nation educational needs in the province.
In fact, bringing attention to the lack of instruction from Indigenous youths migrating from the north to Winnipeg should illustrate the need to acclimatise, buffer, and properly ground our youth into larger centres.
Furthermore, it does not coincide with the efforts of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) in maintaining a uniform political, and services issues designed to strengthen First Nations on and off reserves.
“Key issues and challenges in FN education continue to be adequate, predictable, and sustainable resourcing for all aspects of education,” asserted Grand Chief Derek Nepinak.
“Manitoba First Nation students continue to stress that there is insufficient resourcing to cover the increased demand for student support, rising tuition and living expenses.”
A piece of advice for the editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, if you are intent on publishing such an article, make sure you have the proper representational ethnic persons who are referred to in the article. Having Reddy surrounded by Caucasian children is not what I deem a source appropriate picture.