[Slick Double Talk Fails Aboriginal People ]
Let’s not attempt to apply lipstick to a pig. Talk, talk, talk amounts to excuses, excuses excuses when it comes to Aboriginal issues.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission tabled its findings, sealed them into secret files and a few financial scraps were handed out. Business went on as usual and life became progressively harder for Aboriginals in Canada.
Next on the Lieberal agenda will be the performance a perfunctory attempt to understand how it is that so many Aboriginal missing are murdered and missing.
Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has created a database of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. According to their numbers, there were over 582 missing women as of March 31, 2010. That number has continued to grow each year and is more than likely over 1,000 now.
One of the bright lights in our culture is Cindy Blackstock. I give her much respect and tend to accept that she knows what she speaks about. Cindy Blackstock defines things with a cold honesty when she coined the phrase “incremental poverty”.
In my exhaustive travels among “my relations” – First nations, Metis and other Aboriginal Communities, I came to precisely the same conclusions but had failed to attach such a apt description to what has taken place here since long before Confederation.
The Politics of Divisiveness
Divide and Conquer has been the tactic/strategy used to destroy an entire race of people here in this land since first colonization days. Simply described, it amounts to handing out small assistances to one tribe or band or one community while ignoring the overall picture. In the process, a few get less than substantive help while, overall the rest are neglected.
How difficult can it be to establish one single standard for suitable housing; equitable health care and absolute fairness in education for all people;main stream or Aboriginal, immigrant or natural born? How difficult can it be to understand that the funding for fairness among Aboriginal people is readily available? That funding already exists in the billions of dollars of royalty payments flowing into Provincial coffers from multi billion dollar mineral and resource corporations that are regularly extracting immense fortunes from timer and minerals being harvested on lands to which many tribes/bans already possess Treaty Rights? How difficult can it be to objectively review hundreds of disputed claims under the microscope of fairness and reasonableness? How many of those questionable land claims would meet the litmus test of Commercial law?
Dr. John Long did an exhaustive study of one such single Treaty (Treaty No. 9). Long’ research work encompassed actual journal notes as made by government agents that travelled extensively throughout 1903-1904 and 1905 in order to create a treaty that spanned a vast region from North Bay into present day Manitoba.
I have seen the two copies of this original-pristine parchment document and it is safe to say that there are no signs of negotiation or revision. The markings appear as they were (probably) made though not one of them indicate consent by any of the hundreds of clan mothers who (in fairness) ought to have signed – had they agreed.
I have great doubts that any court of law, upon reading the diaries of the government agents of the day could conclude that the legal basis of lawful contract took place or that the parties were “ad idem” (of the same mind).
But’ let’s not digress into arguments in law. It is doubtful that an unbiased court could be found today that would decide such a case fairly.
It all Gets Lost in Words Created to Confuse
I have grave issues with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) acting as “agents” for all Aboriginal People in Canada. AFN is an assembly of First nations tribes that had signed treaties. It is not a bona-fide representative of “NON-TREATY TRIBES” (those tribes that resisted signing of treaties simply had their land rights removed). Nor is AFN the legitimate representative of Inuktitut (Inuit) nor the Haudenosaunee (The Iroquois Confederacy).
Listen carefully to speeches made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who constantly uses a term that has no meaning: “the Metis Nation”. As a “nation” there simply is no such thing. In my travels, I have visited over 200 such nations/communities of Metis people. They are wide spread and diverse. Some (in Manitoba) have a distinct language (Michif is a mixed language that uses French nouns with Cree verbs and Cree grammar) while the majority are melded into hundreds of mainstream urban communities. It is over simplification by Mr. Trudeau to attempt to find a single government that has consent or permission to speak on behalf of all Metis. Moreover, such an attempt to trivialize flies in the face of hundreds of landmark court decisions that established harvest rights.
And yet, each time that lip service is paid to addressing problems, Trudeau (and each of his predecessors in the Office of Prime Minister) has travelled along the same tired and pointless path.
Truth and Reconciliation
I say no more than to ask a simple question that begs answer. The “Commission” identified thousands of cases of criminal wrong doing – how many individuals (perpetrators) were named and brought to court as felons?
The concept of incremental poverty is best evidenced by the 2016 Federal Budget. This new budget promised to spend $8.4 billion over five years on indigenous communities. At the same time, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs (Carolyn Bennett) also confirmed that is her plan to increase assistance to the welfare agencies that are still removing young Aboriginal boys and girls from their communities and sending these young kids into urban centers where they far too often end up as “as street kids”, child sex workers and as missing women.
Madam Minister, you may be funding the fox to mind the hen house.
$8.4 billion over five years is but a pittance of the fortune in mineral and timber royalty payments made annually to the various provinces.
Who Should Speak for Aboriginal People?
The obvious answers are NOT the Assembly of First Nations which represents less than 30% of Canada’s Aboriginal people. Similarly, it is not a mythical “Metis Nation”.
In considering what has taken place with the 38,000 Syrian immigrants being settled in Canada in recent history, a reasonable bench mark for funding of housing, health care and education has been established.
The logical voice to speak out against the wholesale genocide being inflicted on Aboriginal persons in Canada is YOU and ME. We must adapt fairness wherein one single standard (housing, health care and education) becomes our measuring stick.
“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” – Mahatma Ghandi.
Copyright Thunderbird Rising 2016
The above article is copyrighted. You may use, copy or distribute this article conditional on attributing your source (Thunderbird Rising) and the author (Lloyd Fournier)
 John S. Long, Treaty No. 9, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010 (ISBN 978-0-7735-3760-6)