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National Day of Action: First Nations Not Giving Enough?

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The AFN (Assembly of First Nations) has proclaimed a National Day of Action, an event meant to draw attention to what University of British Columbia history professor Arthur Ray has called "Canada's biggest unresolved human rights issue."

Though Canada ranks among the wealthiest nations in the world and is often touted as one of the best places in the world to live, Canada's First Nations communities continue to live in third-world conditions in our own country. Indeed some, such as the Center for World Indigenous Studies, realizing that the plight of indigenous peoples is often worse because they are largely invisible, prefer the term 'fourth world' — "Nations forcefully incorporated into states which maintain a distinct political culture but are internationally unrecognized."

A National Post article I came across yesterday left me feeling truly disturbed and angry. In "Indian give and take", Peter Shawn Taylor writes that, though "there have been some dark corners in Canada's relationship with the First Nations… a fair assessment of the entire legacy requires at least some recognition that most government policy in Canada has been motivated by the urge to protect and improve the native condition." He claims that at one "time the British Crown of Canada was a refuge for North America's natives," and that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 by King George III "deserves as much attention from Canadians as the Declaration of Independence gets from Americans." He goes on to paint Canada as a benevolent safe harbour for beleaguered American natives. And furthermore, Canada vastly outperforms the United States in negotiation and abiding by treaties. The gist of the article seems to be that Canada's indigenous peoples need to stop whining about 'past injustices', stop ignoring Canadian governments' 'good faith efforts', and to stop asking for so much — "It's all take, no give."

HeaderI would not have been surprised to hear Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, or even radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh spew this kind of insensitive, hot-headed, and, quite frankly, racist drivel. But I suppose I'm not quite used to this kind of unsympathetic, elitist, imperialist and utterly arrogant stance printed in one of our major newspapers. That the peoples whose land was invaded and forcefully wrested from them, whose populations were decimated not only by overt acts of war, but also by germ warfare and systems of forced assimilation, economic dependence and ethnocide, and whose treaties and land claims continue to be largely ignored or neglected, should learn to be quiet and give more is outrageous and unconscionable.

To gather other perspectives, I looked for articles published around the same time and on the same topic by several of our other major news sources and papers — CBC News, the Toronto Star, cnews Across Canada, the Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Sun. Most focused mainly on Prime Minister Harper's announcement, and how his plan may expedite land claim negotiations, currently extremely slow. Even the Toronto Sun, part of a family of papers that often caters to the lowest cultural denominator in its reporting of social and cultural issues, had a reasoned and sympathetic response. The National Post's decision to publish this imperialist rubbish says a great deal about the paper itself and its targeted audience.

The National Post article did one thing for me though, aside from inciting anger and outrage — it inspired me to wake up and read up, and to be engaged in supporting not only the particular issues surrounding the National Day of Action, but also other social and environmental justice issues. I thank the National Post for that. I hope others will be as stimulated by this as I to get out there and combat the wave of conservative, imperialist thinking that is projected by the current American administration and copied and adopted by various elements around the world, leading in many cases to the re-labeling of indigenous, or fourth world struggles, as terrorism.

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About Abram Bergen

  • Doug Hunter

    Who cares about this lame crap? Sure, if I was of a special protected race of whiny victims I’m sure I’d sign up for some free reparations too. Thanks to kowtowing by effiminate liberal pussies their trapped in a permanent poverty stricken victimhood status begging for crumbs to fall from the masters table. Keep offering them the mirage of additional help and ‘special’ third world inside first world status and they’ll remain the way they are. Now that’s something only a real racist [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] would be proud of.

  • Shelley

    I read that story with dismay as well. What these people that say “get over it” it’s in the past don’t understand is that it’s not in the past, we continue to feel and live the effects of the past each and everyday! Our communities didn’t get dysfunctional on their own, but only after years of abuse suffered at the hands of residential schools, which is cyclical, not to mention the shame and anger that goes along with it! Generations that suffered abuse and genocide in the name of assimilation, we still live it today: why you may ask??? Because the assimilation process has never stopped! When will Canada realize we choose to be who we are and not Canadians who conform to the norm?????

  • http://www.newtfn.com Indigent vagabond

    If you are sincere about getting to the root of problems ask the grassroots at http://www.newtfn.com!

    We have been asking nicely for a forensic audit on our finances for years now to no avail because it will expose the truth about everything.

  • moonraven

    As someone who belongs to the Mohawk Nation, I can say that NOTHING is in the past and that nobody has any inclination to “get over it”.

    The fact that I do not even live there–nor in the US where apartheid is also still alive and well–in some very real aspects speaks for itself.

    Perhaps the obvious racism displayed by some posters on this site is nothing but a symptom of guilt.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Do you actually have a Mohawk hair style?

  • moonraven

    No, kid, I do not.

    No one over 13 wears a Mohawk, giggles and says chill out.

    Busted again, pipsqueak.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Whatever you say, Gran’ma.

  • moonraven

    I am not a newspaper in Cuba, either, zitface.

  • moonraven

    How much are you paying blogcritics to be able to call yourself a monitor/censor and post your silly Brit pibble?

  • Clavos

    “I am not a newspaper in Cuba, either, zitface.”

    A newspaper which was named for a POS boat, which was named for TA-DA…

    A granma!

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    But Granny, there is no such word as pibble…

  • moonraven

    Chris,

    I am glad that you saw my point–that what you write does not exist in the common reality plane called linguistic space.

    A baby step out of ignorance, but better than nothing.

  • moonraven

    Clavos,

    Not being a specialist in trafficking Cubans to south Florida, I do not know what a POS boat is.

    However, Granma was a yacht.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Linguistic space is a common reality plane? Only when you think pibble is a word!

  • moonraven

    I DON’T think pibble is a word. Nor have I ever. Lewis Carroll I am not (I hate brits).

    But YOU had to look it up.

    So, how’s that new zit remedy working for you?

  • moonraven

    I can see that you have contributed SO much knowledge of First Nations cultures to this thread.

    Congratulations!

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    I’m amazed that someone so addled can see at all. As to the zit remedy, it’s working as well as your industrial strength exfoliating cream!

  • Clavos

    A POS is a Piece Of Shit, mr.

    And it was more submarine than “yacht;” they barely made it to Cuba before she sank.

    Just because Fidel calls it a yate doesn’t make it so, mr.

  • Clavos

    “…the common reality plane called linguistic space.”

    Classic pretentious academic gobbledegook.

  • zingzing

    moonraven: “I can see that you have contributed SO much knowledge of First Nations cultures to this thread.”

    um… you haven’t added any either. and really, all you ever do is insult people and take offense at everything. you rarely make any constructive additions to any threads. well, it’s far less rare than you just going around insulting people and calling this place a “shithole” or whatever. strange that you even bother to come by, much less find yourself atop the leader boards.

  • moonraven

    I come by precisely to insult you.

  • moonraven

    Clavos was there and saw grandma with his own beady little pigeyes. Right.

  • Clavos

    “Clavos was there and saw grandma with his own beady little pigeyes. Right.”

    Didn’t have to be.

    Che (an eyewitness who rode on the old tub) wrote about it.

    And, actually I HAVE seen it, in it’s cute glass display case.

  • zingzing

    moonraven: “I come by precisely to insult you.”

    me, personally? because you’re not doing a very good job of it. as far as today goes, 75% of my comments have been about you… so it looks like i come by just to get on your ass. take that how you will.

    if the “you” in your statement was more general than just me, well, i think you speak the truth for once.

    i do stand by my statement that it’s funny that you spend more time on this site than just about anyone, and yet you claim to hate it. you must be getting something out of it.

  • zingzing

    but i must admit that there have been several lengths of time where i refuse to engage you in any conversation or debate because i know you will just try to insult me.

    so go ahead, because i KNOW you love it, sick lady.

  • moonraven

    YOU, plural.

    Unless you’re even crazier than you appear to be from your last few convoluted posts, I doubt that even you see yourself as being plural.

    But then you do say you stand by your statements–so who knows?

    I really could not care less about you, actually.

    I just post here while I am doing other stuff on other sites.

    When right wing creeps stop posting obscenities and harrassment on the progressive sites, I will leave you creeps in peace.

    Or whatever sewer you choose to inhabit.

  • moonraven

    BTW, I am not flattered that 75% of your posts are about me.

    After all, there are no other interesting people here BUT me.

  • zingzing

    yee-haw!!

    “YOU, plural.”

    nice to know.

    “Unless you’re even crazier than you appear to be from your last few convoluted posts, I doubt that even you see yourself as being plural.”

    me crazy? what for?

    “But then you do say you stand by your statements–so who knows?”

    i’m sure you know.

    “I really could not care less about you, actually.”

    sigh… you don’t even remember my name…

    “I just post here while I am doing other stuff on other sites.”

    no, when you are posting here, you aren’t doing stuff on other sites. you post here a lot.

    “When right wing creeps stop posting obscenities and harrassment on the progressive sites, I will leave you creeps in peace.”

    this isn’t really a right-wing site. is it? i don’t really go to progressive sites. lots of back-patting. i do go to a few conservative sites though, just for a laugh. over there, they just let go.

    “Or whatever sewer you choose to inhabit.”

    i think you missed a sentence.

    “BTW, I am not flattered that 75% of your posts are about me.–After all, there are no other interesting people here BUT me.”

    i wouldn’t expect you to be flattered. and you are certainly interesting. in a poop-joke sort of way.

  • Clavos

    “”I really could not care less about you, actually.”

    sigh… you don’t even remember my name…”

    LOL!!

    Props, zingzing; that’s funny!

  • moonraven

    When you guys stop jacking each other off maybe you can do something else–like find out what the topic is….

  • bliffle

    Pardon me for returning to the topic, but one must admit that what the early settlers did to the natives they found here was dreadful. Successive generations of settlers and immigrants, such as my own parents, sought to justify the horrible excesses of their predecessors by constantly demeaning the natives to create some sort of legitimization by reducing the perception of native americans to subhuman status. That’s commonly called racism.

    But if one puts aside the pervasive racism that one inherits from a racist society, one is appalled and inevitably changed. John Steinbeck once related that an old southern man he met told him “we were taught to think of them as subhuman, because if we thought of them as people we would have wept”.

  • moonraven

    The US is one of the most blatantly racist societies on the planet! Who are you kidding?

    The entire house of cards is built upon the basis of genocide, and as a Native American I have no intention of letting you get away with saying that you’ve changed.

    You haven’t.

  • Clavos

    “The US is one of the most blatantly racist societies on the planet!”

    Nice hyperbole.

    Yaaaawwnn.

  • moonraven

    No, gusano, FACT.

    But then you don’t believe in the existence of FACTS.

    However, you manage to spew your racist and misogynist shit at me at every opportunity.

    Sort of like that old logical squirrel: Mushrooms are poisonous, but I don’t believe it.

  • Clavos

    “However, you manage to spew your racist and misogynist shit at me at every opportunity.”

    Actually, I’m more of a misanthrope than a misogynist, mr, but you’re beginning to convince me I should give misogyny a shot…

  • moonraven

    I believe that women are included in the category of people, hence a misanthrope by definition has to be a misogynist as well.

    But, of course, one can be a misogynist and not a misanthrope [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor].

  • Clavos

    I knew it was too good to last.

    I’m speaking of your intention not to “dialog” with me that you expressed on this thread.

    Sigh.