The Media Co-op

Local Independent News

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!

What if Natives Stop Subsidizing Canada?

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Barriere Lake community members block logging machinery on their territory. Photo: Pei-Ju Wang
Barriere Lake community members block logging machinery on their territory. Photo: Pei-Ju Wang
DeBeers' open pit mine near Attawapiskat.
DeBeers' open pit mine near Attawapiskat.

by Dru Oja Jay

There is a prevailing myth that Canada's more than 600 First Nations and native communities live off of money -- subsidies -- from the Canadian government. This myth, though it is loudly proclaimed and widely believed, is remarkable for its boldness; widely accessible, verifiable facts show that the opposite is true.

Indigenous people have been subsidizing Canada for a very long time.
 
Conservatives have leaked documents in an attempt to discredit chief Theresa Spence, currently on hunger strike in Ottawa. Reporters like Jeffrey Simpson and Christie Blatchford have ridiculed the demands of native leaders and the protest movement Idle No More. Their ridicule rests on this foundational untruth: that it is hard-earned tax dollars of Canadians that pays for housing, schools and health services in First Nations. The myth carries a host of racist assumptions on its back. It enables prominent voices like Simpson and Blatchford to liken protesters' demands to "living in a dream palace" or "horse manure," respectively.
 
It's true that Canada's federal government controls large portions of the cash flow First Nations depend on. Much of the money used by First Nations to provide services does come from the federal budget. But the accuracy of the myth ends there.
 
On the whole, the money that First Nations receive is a small fraction of the value of the resources, and the government revenue, that comes out of their territories. Let's look at a few examples.
 
Barriere Lake
 
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have a traditional territory that spans 10,000 square kilometres. For thousands of years, they have made continuous use of the land. They have never signed a treaty giving up their rights to the land. An estimated $100 million per year in revenues are extracted every year from their territory in the form of logging, hydroelectric dams, and recreational hunting and fishing.
 
And yet the community lives in third-world conditions. A diesel generator provides power, few jobs are available, and families live in dilapidated bungalows. These are not the lifestyles of a community with a $100 million economy in its back yard. In some cases, governments are willing to spend lavishly. They spared no expense, for example, sending 50 fully-equipped riot police from Montreal to break up a peaceful road blockade with tear gas and physical coercion.
 
Barriere Lake is subsidizing the logging industry, Canada, and Quebec.
 
The community isn't asking for the subsidies to stop, just for some jobs and a say in how their traditional territories are used. They've been fighting for these demands for decades.
 
Attawapiskat
 
Attawapiskat has been in the news because their ongoing housing crisis came to the attention of the media in 2011. (MP Charlie Angus referred to the poverty-stricken community as "Haiti at 40 below.") More recently, Chief Theresa Spence has made headlines for her ongoing hunger strike. The community is near James Bay, in Ontario's far north.
 
Right now, DeBeers is constructing a $1 billion mine on the traditional territory of the Āhtawāpiskatowi ininiwak. Anticipated revenues will top $6.7 billion. Currently, the Conservative government is subjecting the budget of the Cree to extensive scrutiny. But the total amount transferred to the First Nation since 2006 -- $90 million -- is a little more than one per cent of the anticipated mine revenues. As a percentage, that's a little over half of Harper's cut to GST.
 
Royalties from the mine do not go to the First Nation, but straight to the provincial government. The community has received some temporary jobs in the mine, and future generations will have to deal with the consequences of a giant open pit mine in their back yard.
 
Attawapiskat is subsidizing DeBeers, Canada and Ontario.
 
Lubicon
 
The Lubicon Cree, who never signed a treaty ceding their land rights, have waged a decades-long campaign for land rights. During this time, over $14 billion in oil and gas has been removed from their traditional territory. During the same period, the community has gone without running water, endured divisive attacks from the government, and suffered the environmental consequences of unchecked extraction.
 
Sour gas flaring next to the community resulted in an epidemic of health problems and stillborn babies. Moose and other animals fled the area, rendering the community's previously self-sufficient lifestyle untenable overnight. In 2011, an oil pipeline burst, spilling 4.5 million litres of oil onto Lubicon territory. The Lubicon remain without a treaty, and the extraction continues.
 
The Lubicon Cree are subsidizing the oil and gas sector, Alberta and Canada.
 
What will Canada do without its subsidies?
 
From the days of beaver trapping to today's aspirations of becoming an energy superpower, Canada's economy has always been based on natural resources. With 90 per cent of its settler population amassed along the southern border, exploitation of the land's wealth almost always happens at the expense of the Indigenous population.
 
Canada's economy could not have been built without massive subsidies: of land, resource wealth, and the incalculable cost of generations of suffering.
 
Overall numbers are difficult to pin down, but consider the following: Canadian governments received $9 billion in taxes and royalties in 2011 from mining companies, which is a tiny portion of overall mining profits; $3.8 billion came from exports of hydroelectricity alone in 2008, and 60 per cent of Canada's electricity comes from hydroelectric dams; one estimate has tar sands extraction bringing in $1.2 trillion in royalties over 35 years; the forestry industry was worth $38.2 billion in 2006, and contributes billions in royalties and taxes.
 
By contrast, annual government spending on First Nations was $5.36 billion in 2005 (it's slightly higher now). By any reasonable measure, it's clear that First Nations are the ones subsidizing Canada.
 
These industries are mostly taking place on an Indigenous nation's traditional territory, laying waste to the land in the process, submerging, denuding, polluting and removing. The human costs are far greater; brutal tactics aimed at erasing native peoples' identity and connection with the land have created human tragedies several generations deep and a legacy of fierce and principled resistance that continues today.
 
Canada has developed myriad mechanisms to keep the pressure on and the resources flowing. But policies of large-scale land theft and subordination of peoples are not disposed to half measures. From the active violence of residential schools to the targetted neglect of underfunded reserve schools, from RCMP and armed forces rifles to provincial police tear gas canisters, the extraction of these subsidies has always been treated like a game of Risk, but with real consequences.
 
Break the treaty, press the advantage, and don't let a weaker player rebuild.
 
Idle? Know More.
 
The last residential school was shut down in 1996. Canadians today would like to imagine themselves more humane than past generations, but few can name the Indigenous nations of this land or the treaties that allow Canada and Canadians to exist.
 
Understanding the subsidies native people give to Canada is just the beginning. Equally crucial is understanding the mechanisms by which the government forces native people to choose every day between living conditions out of a World Vision advertisement and hopelessness on one hand, and the pollution and social problems of short-term resource exploitation projects on the other.
 
Empathy and remorse are great reasons to act to dismantle this ugly system of expropriation. But an even better reason is that Indigenous nations present the best and only partners in taking care of our environment. Protecting our rivers, lakes, forests and oceans is best done by people with a multi-millenial relationship with the land.
 
As the people who live downstream and downwind, and who have an ongoing relationship to the land, Cree, Dene, Anishnabe, Inuit, Ojibway and other nations are among the best placed and most motivated to slow down and stop the industrial gigaprojects that are threatening all of our lives.
 
Movements like Idle No More give a population asleep at the wheel the chance to wake up and hear what native communities have been saying for hundreds of years: it's time to withdraw our consent from this dead-end regime, and chart a new course.
 
» Read more: Idle No More coverage

Socialize:
Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.

Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon

About the poster

Trusted by 24 other users.
Has posted 120 times.
View dru's profile »

Recent Posts:

picture of dru

dru (Dru Oja Jay)
Montreal
Member since January 2008

About:

Writer, organizer, Media Co-op co-founder. Co-author of Paved with Good Intentions and Offsetting Resistance.

1319 words

Comments

The cat

It wasn't a good day for her. She meowed the entire time. There wasn't a way to keep her warm as she only sits in the backseat and I didn't know to bring a blanket unfortunately.  The heat was on but it doesn't work that well. The start and stop driving, jerking her body everytime was really hard on her. She's ok with the car when you are actually driving but start and stop driving like this was awful for her.

gettokittyz

i can't belive your useing your cat..to try to get sympath for your pathetic life.

 

Coercive troll

Glad you not only think coercion is ok, you think cruelity to animals is as well.

Creating new profiles so you can troll is really evident of a small childish mind.

This thread...

...is just amazing. The surreality is blowing my mind.

And your approval of corercion

is amazing as well.

Its not ok to coerce people into compiling with your wish and its not ok to trap people and hold them against their wishes.

You want people to respect your goals but you don't think others need to be treated with respect. That's your problem. Other people actually believe in the whole 'do unto others as you have done on to you'. And yes we get upset when you treat us badly. So as shocking as that is to you, its not shocking to real people with a real conscience.

This Cat Thread

... was my gift to you.  Enjoy!

hhuz!

woow. i'm not sure what you goin on about, i lost my passpowrd, and updated my handel. buttt. thezzy bee my name in just about all newsforms, threads, twitter, etc. sooooo. followupz.

Cruelty to animals!

I cant believe im the first person to ask what the heck you were doing with a cat roaming about your car on the highway in the first place, poor thing!  My cat has a nice comfy warm cat carrier if ever I am required to take missy for a ride.

Sorry ignorant person

My cat is special needs and goes into panic attacks if she is in a cat carrier or cage.

She's also a car kitty- she's incredibly well behaved in the car. You should really get a clue and stop being so closeminded and judgmental because lots of animals can be trained to behave properly in the car. If you actually knew anything about anything and did some research, you would know that. Your definition of what you think is animal cruelty is pretty ignorant, biased and selfmotivated.

But it was rough on her to be forced to participate in their unethical and corrupt protest. And she was stuck in the car for over an hour because of it. Because of the selfish people who think coercion is ok. i was worried about her but I was trapped and had no choice but to be there because this group was holding me, and the cat, against our wills.

The cat did swear something mighty at them when we finally got to the corrupt people.

Another person who thinks that they can do anything to anyone in support of their cause, including coercion and corruption. Nice.

chortle!

I can't even recall which side of this debate CW is on but the whole navigating special needs 7th-level-blackbelt talking cat element really helps me savour the repeated misapplcation of words like "coercion", "corruption", and every blog comment debater's favourite... "sociopath".

Blocking highways has been pretty standard fare for first nations' protest pretty-much since the invention of the automobile.  Since the only contact most of us have with aboriginals is when we pass their reservations on the highway, it's a rare opportunity to stick it to us.  

Is it right?  No.  Would I express my anger at them if they caught me up in a traffic jam?  You bet.  It is, I suppose, a reminder that many issues are unresolved... a tax on our conscience.  And as far as the issues First Nations bring to bear are concerned?  Probably does more harm than good.

.. but it is hardly worth pulling out the thesaurus over.

 

I smell a trolololol ;)

I smell a trolololol ;)

Ass U Me

See what happens when  you assume something?  This blog isn't run by the right wing media so dissenting opinions are allowed in a lively discourse such as this.
As for you taking their blockade personally, i see that as an unfortunate side effect of this type of protesting.  I've said all along these guys are going to piss someone off, but surprisingly the angry ones are but a few.  Most people understand and seem to enjoy being caught up in the moment and end up thinking about what is going on and why.  

It is sad that the only way the government gets off their lazy butts and gets back to the table is when the Natives are restless.  They need to blockade roads and railways and prove tha they cannot be ignored.

You are a dumbass

You are such a simpleton you have to use a cliche. Just like your other brainwashing that contains no credible or original thought. Just a closeminded ignorant.

Responding to stuff in an article is not assuming anything. People are responding to what was written. The only people assuming and making prejudicial generalisations seem to be supporting the IdelNoMore (CorruptSomeMore) campaign.

And you are saying corercion and corruption is ok.

Which is damaging to your cause.

You are loosing support for your cause because of your unethical and coercive actions. Only people without a conscience think bullying is ok.

Clearly you deserve it because you are unable to take your head out of your arse and even consider what constructive campaigning is.

Another troll without even a basic conscience.

 

 

 

Ok i give!

Corruption and coercion runs countries and economies.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  Idle No More is not going to grab the international attention by holding a sit in at some nice little park, well out of you and your cats travels.  Whatever utopian dreamland you exist in must be on my list of places to visit in this beautiful country.  
By the way, visit the idle no more facebook page and/or twitter feeds and you will see that you are wrong about Idle No More losing supporters.  Actually let me rephrase that, Idle No More is quite clearly gaining far more supporters than its losing.  It is now global in fact.

So much racism comes from

So much racism comes from people thinking Natives get mad amounts of money for nothing. I'm Metis who is 3/4 Native and people look at me and assume their money paid for my truck, even the clothes on my back. People have made comments to which the simplest response is "It's rent money". Cause lets face it I don't have time to argue with rubes. But every dollar I've ever earned or spent has been taxed the exact same as any tax payer in Canada (if not more since I have the bad habit of smoking). I don't have subsidized dental, medical or a tax card either. Everything I own I bought with hard earned money that has been taxed to death by the government. This isn't a new thing either. My family has been paying taxes like everyone else for generations. I've been to different types of Reservations and met different First Nations people and I'll be damned if ALL Natives and their forced living quarters are getting all this "free tax money" that people think. People should look outside the box on their own accord instead of willingly accepting radical right-wing garble as truth. But on that note if I don't mind paying taxes and paying my rent when I'm 3/4 native other people shouldn't either.

Time to step in.

I think it is time as Americans to expand our domain. Our oil reserves are depleting. We go half way across the world for resources when a vast majority is just a step away. It seems from some of the comments there is no problem with eminent domain or expropriation as they would call it. From what I read these people would be fine with this expansion and loss of economy, resources, and way of life. War would be a fraction of the cost of what we spend overseas. They seem to say that bending over is acceptable, so why not bend them over? They force the indigeonous to suffer for lack of a military. Human rights are violated. These things are acceptable? Why not make them accept it? Surely we could capture it within a year. With the spoils of this victory not only do we ensure a continued sustainable resource, we will have the ability to pay off our vast amount of debt. Let them bow down to true power and see how quickly their arguement turns.Growing up I always thought Canada was a refuge for the indigenous people of this continent. I believed they paved the way for human rights. The existance of Canada is based on a peoples who wished to build a state away from tyranny. It is sad to see that they have accepted as such. The vision of the flying eagle has fallen into anouther pack of dogs. Maybe we should assert who is the big dog. Let their mighty fall to be humble as they have made this sect of people. What we spend in one year to buy their reserves, could be used to conquer these reserves, to be used for free indefinately. Just my thoughts on the "age old" arguement. We are all human. To use a persons choice of life in this world, a native in this case, to exploit them is a major fumble. It seperates who we are and the reason why we are here. We have chosen to come to this place, called earth, to live "this life". Most of us are trapped here in this play called "life". We built families, we surround ourselves with friends and families. We do not leave for the sake of these things, no matter how bad it gets. The greed of a few destroys what we could really make of this earth, this life, this grand play. We will all carry the experience we have gained here into the next life. I am native. I have chosen this blood, this lifestyle. This was the experiece I needed to see, to gain. The extream saddness, the death, the violence, the social ills, the relentless persecusion, all was my choice. The experience I needed to grow. We will all leave these bodies. But part of being "here" is to make it a better place for those to come. I can break my back moving concrete for an hour. If I get asked for a little help, I give. It does not kill me....or make me less. It feels good. It is just a small part in helping with the greater good. I look around I see the high and righteous people...I feel sad, not because I am poor, but instead because I know when the time comes, they will be as children. They have not the skills to hunt, fish, gather, or even start a simple fire. The struggles of the poor have ensured their survival. If the boat sinks no amount of money can save you, but he who can swim will survive. You best hope his heart is forgiving, that he may save your blood.

land

i've visted reserives all across the county. some of them where worse off them the gettos in south mexico i saw.

some #3rdworldshit....

To CW

Hey, did you really write:

"ITS NOT OK TO TRAP PEOPLE SO YOU CAN COERCE AND BULLY THEM. Morally and ethically wrong."

??

And I presume putting people on reserves is a kindness of some sort?

Oh, Canada (Kanata)...

So you round up all the Natives that you can find, you sign treaties that you don't honour, you steal their children and beat and rape those little ones to "kill the Indian in the child", you threaten to kill or imprision Natives if they practice their religion, culture or dare to step off the reserve without permission...

And there are many more atrocities than these that occured.

But making one sit with their cat in a car for an hour? Now that's "morally and ethically wrong"...

 

Oh the troll with the multiple handles can double post

Oh goody, a troll with yet another handle. Lookie I can double post too.

When you assume that I am responsible for those behaviours because of my race, you are being a racist. Any assumptions on a human's behaviour due to their race is racist. You are racist.

And holding someone against their will to force them to achieve your goals IS COERCION AND IS JUST AS WRONG. Sociopath.

And its not just sitting on a highway. It was sitting on a highway for over an hour IN WINTER and COLD. With a cat who did not have a fur coat adequate for the cold and who was tortured by the starting and stopping.  Thanks for trying to tell me that I have no right to have feelings or rights. I understand that you think your world trumps all my rights but you don't actually have the right to tell me what to think or what I should be concerned about. Stop forcing your closemined and ignorant views on me.

Really doing great for your cause IdelNoMore (CorruptSomeMore?)- pull out all your closeminded sociopathic corrupt wingnuts to tell the readers about the quality of this cause. Smart move editors.

 

Assumptions??

CW, I wrote:

"Oh, Canada (Kanata)..." not "Oh, CW..."

The "you" I was referring to was Canada, not you personally, CW.

 

 

 

dissasociative techinque.

I wrote a "crude" article about metis indian dissasociation and a potential itinerate in which they are not recognized by the 1867 Constitution Act as Indians. Perhaps it is time to break these barriers down and collectively figure out each native indian community on a case-by-case basis, and allow them to choose to associate or dissasociate from each other, in-law. 

If you are interested in a methodical approach to this, legally speaking, I am the man for the job.

Here's a short summation of an idea that might work:

http://lgoe.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/metis-indian-1867-constitution-act-...

Thank you

Hi there,

I wanted to thank the original poster for this article - turns the conversation upside-down, or right-side-up.

I also wanted to apologize for the absurd and ignorant reactions it has generated in the comments section. It's hard to be shown where you are implicated in an historic and continuing injustice, that you might have benefitted from another's pain, that they have a legitimate claim from you for compensation and a new relationship which involves your giving up power and wealth and your unjust deserts. It's just easier to deny it and any role you might have in improving things. It's easier to turn that painful understanding outward, to undermine the truth-teller, mischaracterize what they are saying, to turn the conversation to YOUR hurt feelings when you saw something unpleasant in the mirror they were holding up for you.

My family has been in Canada for generations. We have benefitted greatly from unfair and incomplete treaty negotiations. I, for one, am ready for a new relationship. Even if it means a little (or a lot) less for me.

In gratitude,

Mark Munn - Vancouver

Thanks

Thanks, Mark. I think there are a lot of Canadians ready for a re-grounding of the relationship, but there need to be a lot more.

Thuth first

My teacher Campbell Papequash talks about the seven sacred teachings of the Anishinabe people.Thrut, Faith, Honor, Generosity , Jjustice, Humility and Fortitude. These simple teachings the stories around them and our experience with them could use a little light in the established media, so that people could see how it can work in Canadian life and governance. In Peace and Healing Glenn

Forgive my ignorance I am

Forgive my ignorance I am looking for a deeper understanding.  In regards to Barriere lake... do the first nations people not have a choice as to what is build on their land i.e a hydroelectric damn or logging... and would they not recieve a portion of the profits and likely be entitled to a percentage of the workers hired being from the native people on that land?

 

perhaps this is too

perhaps this is too idealistic of thinking.. I understand there would likely be enormous pressure to accept a government proposal to build something like this on their land...but what percentage of royalties are they typically entitled to?

 

Trilateral Agreement

Currently, they don't receive any of those things. They forced the two governments to sign the Trilateral Agreement in 1991 which did grant those on a limited basis. But because it provides a way out for communities to maintain rights to the land (which the government wants to abolish), the governments renegged. You can read more on the Barriere Lake Solidarity page.

That is the right question

Finally!  Now if you research your question you will find out why everything the media is telling you is a lie.  You will aso realize how lazy they are when you can find this information so easily debunkingin every PMO sponsored article.  

Start with the Indian act, "monies held in trust" includes the royalties paid.  No taxpayer dollars are necessary to manage the reserves.  If they are being used, the questions should be directed directly at the government including questions like "what did you do with their money and why are you using MY tax dollars to cover it up?!"

Okay...a little off topic but...

K...I know that this is a little off the topic of subsidizing Canada, but I think that with all of the racial talk I need to voice my opinion. 

 

Just so it's on record, I'm a blonde haired, green eyed white male.  I have lived in British Columbia all of my life, except for some brief times spent with the Canadian Forces.

 

I have always lived in small towns, with high populations of Native peoples.  I have seen, closely, wealthy resevations and poor reservations.  I have seen proud people and shamed people.

 

I grew up the son of a social worker who is married to a domestic violence counsellor and I have risked my life for the well being of other people.  I served with the military and civilian emergency services and I have never questioned that what I was doing was the right thing...not just for myself or my patients, but for Canada.

 

Anyone that has actually taken the time to get to know me knows that I am not a racist...I hate all people equally.  White, brown, red, black, yellow...whatever. In fact, it could be said that I "hate" more white people than any other race.

 

That said, I must point out a few things. 

 

I have actually had to defend myself from racial violence.  Not because of a stupid comment or a stated political view, but because I was a white guy.  And this was not an isolated incident. 

 

I have even been called a "racist honkey" literally while performing CPR on an elderly woman while on a call to one of our local reserves...turns out by the woman's grandson.

 

I have been told that I didn't work as hard to extinguish a house fire on a reserve as I would a fire in my own neighbourhood, even though I was reponding only because the members of the reservation based fire department did not turn out for the fire...at all.

 

I have been threatened and harrassed because of my race.  My personal well-being and physical safety have been put into question based purely on the fact that I am white.

 

I know that this was the motive as it was pointed out by my attackers in many unpleasant ways.

 

I don't hold these attacks against any race.  These were incidents perpetrated by groups of individuals who chose to take these actions. 

 

People that actually know me know that I am one of the first people to stand up for the defence of the unprotected.

 

Now...I am going to make a few points. 

 

Some reserves have issues.  Some of these issues are brought on by outside forces such as our government and corporations, but just as many are brought on by internal corrupution and mismanagement. 

 

This is a fact of life in a society.  You look at any city, town, village, province, state or country, in any historical era, and you will find similar predicaments.  There is no magical "fix" for this and there will always be communities with issues.

 

Some bands are run efficeintly and with enough foresite that any of the children from the band have access to post-secondary educations and even greater opportunities.  Some bands are able to house and furnish all of their members.  Some can not even afford the basics such as running water and electricity.

 

As an example...I watched several people receive settlement cheques for wrongs prepetrated by former Canadian govenments.  I watched some use the money productively for things such as home renovations, family vacations and savings for their futures.  I also watched several drink, smoke, gamble, huff and shoot their money away. 

 

If anyone thinks that this would only happen on a reserve they need to get their heads out of their asses and look at it objectively.  This happens with any individuals or groups of people that receive windfalls.  Some use it well, others piss it away.

 

The question should not be in the past but in our future.  OUR FUTURE.  We all live side by side whether we like it or not, and the arguments about racial equality and what is "owed" are only driving the various peoples involved farther apart.  We need to remember the past so that we do not repeat it, but we also need to get over it.

 

Today, I removed three "friends" from my Facebook account.  Now, while it's true that all three of the people are Native, that is not why they were removed.  They were removed because of statements that basically told me that if I didn't agree %100 with their "informed" opinions that I was a racist and against all Native rights,

 

I will not be told what to believe, (expecially when so many people seem to have trouble with "facts"), and I will certainly no be told that I "owe" anybody anything. 

 

I choose to read and listen to the views and form my own opinion and if my back is against the wall it will only stregthen my resolve.

 

Look...what happened to the Native peoples of North America was tragic.  It was horrible.  I would not wish such treatment on my worst enemy.  It went on for far too long, (any length of time is too long), and should be remembered so that it doesn't happen again.

 

That said, these transgresions were not committed by me.  I am not responsible for the actions of others, nor am I responsible for their inactions.  I did not bring aboriginal people Small Pox infected blankets.  I did not place children in residential schools.  I did not negotiate anyone's land rights nor have I stolen anyone's land. 

 

So.  Let's talk racism for a second...no...let's talk equality. 

 

Oooh...there's a sharp word...

 

Everbody is equal...some are just more equal than others.  Quite the statement.

 

If people are going to scream and yell, rant and rave and generally demand equality...well...let's do it. 

 

Personally, I have no problem with equality.  I know that if by some magical means everybody was suddenly equal on all terms that my life would probably take a hit.  I would lose some advantages and gain some as well. 

 

The simple fact that we even discuss this is appalling.  It should be a given.  We are all equal...

 

Until...well...real life sets in...

 

We are not all the same.  Some need medical treatments to maintain a healthy life, some are bigger than others, some weigh more.  Some people have higher intelligences and some have mechanical aptitudes.  We need people that can live in the cities and run the big businesses and we also need the people willing to live where medical treatments and education are sparse.

 

Here's an example.

 

A few years back our provincial forest service was hiring its seasonal fire-fighters.  The members of these crews have minimum physical requirements designed to ensure that the fire-fighting is done quickly, efficiently and safely. 

 

A young woman took the tests and failed, and if I understand it correctly, was re-tested - and failed.  She then sued the forest service claiming that she should have been tested on a different scale because of her sex.

 

As a fire-fighter, I can tell you that sex has nothing to do with it. 

 

If I am injured on a fire-line, I don't care if the members of my crew are male or female, I want to know that they are capable of helping me get to safety without further endangering my crew not to mention that the members of my crew have to be able to complete the task at hand.

 

She wanted an equal system that gave her basically a statistically equal chance at the job rather than an equal opportunity based on the services she would be required to render.    Basically a lottery draw for the position.  She was a smaller woman so she should not have to carry as much weight as far or as fast as the others...specifically the men on the crew.  

 

I'm all for equality.  And I think that the service should have hired her, if she could do the job.  When it was determined that she would not be able to perform the job to the minimum standards that were required, she was eliminated from the competition.

 

I'll ask you this.  If you are in a car accident and are dying, do you care if your paramedic is a black man from Uganda?  Does it matter if the rescue personal are female?  Really...I'm pretty sure you wouldn't care if the doctors were all blue skinned hermaphrodites as long as they can do their jobs.  (And, if you really do have an issue with it you always have the right to refuse treatment)

 

Equality is the root of most of the issues discussed in this forum, and consequently racism is being fueled by all sides.  Not everyone, but a few that are poisoning society.

 

Fact is, equality is just not %100 possible. 

 

There are jobs that some people just can not do.  I can not perform brain surgery, so I probably shouldn't be given the opportunity to try.  I'm a big guy so I'm probably not the best guy for the job if the task is to climb into confined spaces.  There are people who are much better suited for many jobs.  We want everyone to have the same opportunities but it's just not practical.  Race has nothing to do with it though...unless you are looking to hire someone than will blend in with an arctic background...in which case call me.

 

How do we fix it?  I don't know.  How 'bout we start by eliminating some of the petty crap.

 

Here's one.  All Native basketball tournaments.

 

If I were to start an all white volleyball weekend, the whole world would be up in arms in a matter of seconds.  But, in today's world it is absolutely encouraged to have an all Native tournament.  Complete with rules forbidding white teams.  I'm not sure what would happen if an all Asian team tried to join.

 

Or how about employers that only hire women in order to take advantage of incentive programs?  While not entirely legal this sort of profiling is common.  

 

Just to be clear, I can cite "white" companies as well, I know of at least one that gives preference to Dutch decendants over others.  Or how about companies such as Hooters...if you're a fat white guy, chances are you probably won't be getting a call-back for the server's position...although I kinda understand that one.

 

So why do we allow these things to be discussed.  Simple disussion places us all in a position to point out our differences and wrongs perpetrated by all sides, which consequently puts all sides on the defensive. 

 

Here's a thought.  Let's just drop it altogether.

 

In an interview conducted by Mike Wallace, Morgan Freeman made a point that made me think about how we all view each other...I have thoughts like this now...

I don't think of my sister-in-law as a Native woman.  I think of her as Michelle. 

I don't think of my friend as an Italian man.  I think of him as Tony,

I didn't think of my grandfather as a Danish man.  He was Grandpa.

 

There.  Sex and race eliminated.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

That said, I always find it a little fishy when people who benefitted from 400 years of violence and dispossession all of a sudden want to erase the differences and start from scratch. In my experience, the effect of that is the opposite of its stated intention.

Ahh...but I never said we

Ahh...but I never said we need to erase the past, in fact I said we need to remember it so that it doesn't happen again.

 

I don't know you, nor do you know me.  I'm pretty sure that I have never wronged you or that you have wronged me.  So why would you assume that I am up to something "fishy"?

 

As for the clean slate...I think of it as a painting that everyone has been working on for centuries.  Unfortunately, this piece is turning out wrong, so we start again....

Not about you

I just generally find it fishy when someone suggests that we "drop it altogether" concerning historical and cultural differences. You're right that people get on the defensive, but the answer isn't to erase differences, but to create the possibility of people understanding each other.

Weighing in

Alright, for all of you out there participating in tthe discussiion.  I'd like to make a few points to consider, it might just illuminate the subject a little for some of you out there. 

First of all imagine you're trying to start a business for yourself or your family.  Because you're living in a rural location you have limited options as far as human resources and investors, you decide that you're going to apply for a loan.  Now, you're education is limited to the few years you had to spend in a school where not only did you not fit in, but -- for no other reason than the school budget increases significantly -- the administration does everything in it's power to place you in special education programming so they can accumulate the full four years of high school funding assistance with reduced fear of you dropping out, plus the fat bonus they recieve for the increased "special needs" students. 

So you apply, but because your application's in the same pile with three or four thousand other entrepreneurs with the same idea, the application sits on a desk for a few years while the moneyholders decide how to go about distributing the funds.  Now because there are so many applications, a management team is put together to figure out how to dole out the funding.  Each member of the team recieves $400 (which comes out of the allotted small-business budget) every time they meet. 

Finally, after a couple years worth of meetings (subtracting $400 for each representative per meeting), the management team sets up a system of distribution.  The money starts to filter down to the applicants, but the distribution team needs a cut for the work they do as well, so they take $200 a day (off the budget) for the clerical work, not to mention the operating costs of such an undertaking.

Now you (the entrepreneur) start to see the money start to roll in, but instead of the full amount you were promsed, you recieve the agreed-upon amount minus the management costs and the clerical costs.  But what you didn't know was that the whole time, 3 members of the management team were skimming a percentage off the top for a golf course they had partnered up to build on the side. 

So now  you recieve a fraction of the startup money required to build the infrastructure, but have no idea where to start.  To solve that problem you call in an independent contractor who flies in on a private jet and pays himself $1000 a day, plus a couple of assistants to get him coffee and  drive him around, neither of whom falls under the $1000 a day the contractor recieves. 

Long story short, you're left with a brilliant professionally developed plan that you have neither the finances nor, thanks to the aforementioned education system, the human resources to realize.  Now you have some idea of where the "billions" we get from the government goes.

Now to tie all of this in to the Idle No More movement.  The whole time the moneyholders are patting themselves on the back and conducting daily press conferences congratulating themselves on "the giant leaps being made in" small business relations.  All the while, in the shadowy back rooms, the same management team that was hired to distribute your "small business alottment" is working a deal with industrial companies to make the forests into paper and the mountains into jewelry, Ford Mustangs, and the latest batch of "smart-bombs" sold to aid the next crusade in the Middle East. 

choosing the right topic

It is of course important to realize how much money is at stake when talking about native land claims and use of land.  The article touches on this, and wants to dispell the notion that natives are somehow parasites. Fine so far as it goes. 

But we know the money mentioned in the article is small potatoes compared to the money that will be splashing around when Harper and his government get the oil and gas industry expansion in high gear and build the delivery systems that they require.  This unprecedented expansion is right at the heart of controversial bills brought forward, and the subsequent reaction which we have seen. 

It seems strange to me if not down right ridiculous to spend much time and energy talking about whether one native chief is a legitimate voice for a hunger strike or whether there may be corruption in band councils. All the better of course for the government if it is so becuase the ad hominum still rules politics it seems, but in truth this issue is basically irrelevant.  The real issue that looms will not be discussed on the six oclock news.

This government is ready to run right over all public opposition to expansion of oil and gas in all its forms and it is has signalled that it wont let a little thing like treaty rights or Supreme Court rulings slow them down. If the first nations draw a line in the sand on this issue, and how could they not, the more interesting question is going to become how many people will die before this all gets sorted out. You may think this is extreme or unrealistic but the stakes are so high for each side. The establishment is now signalling they are ready to greatly escalate their propaganda machine, and pander to racists when expedient. Win at all costs is their position. I hate to say it, but I can envision events that will make Oka look like a very minor little spat indeed. 

 

no difference

It seems to me that Canada is no different than the USA. Both built ont the blood and hertiage of the people that where there first. It's a terrible crime for these atrocities to still be happening to the native people. It's an even bigger crime that we are allowing the government to force the native way of life to dissapear forever because I belive it is that way of life that will save us when the one we live under wich is built on greed and a hunger for power will turn to dust leaving us in kaos. Every empire falls. It devoures itself  from within by the crimes it commited to make itself, by all the murder and lies it commits to maintain itself. These acts kill the spirit of the people that live within it and anything that has no spirit falls and becomes nothing but dust. SO it's up to you to fight for the things that will set thses crimes right and bring justice to the people that are used and abused by the empire you live under and fight to regain your spirit to be a good people with values that respect life.

We need much more of this

We need much more of this kind of info!

Right On

This is the best post I've ever read on this site. This is spot-the-fuck-on, and the concluding paragraph I couldn't agree with more. It's time to completely re-negotiate, human to human with priority for and deferrence to the oppressed indigenous people of Canada. So far, human to human hardly characterizes any relationship, official or unofficial, between white Canadians/Canadian government and First Nations peoples of Canada. Time and time again, "first" is the furthest thing from the status afforded the rightful heirs of "our home and native land", as the song goes. 

Attawapiskat and De Beers

"Royalties from the mine do not go to the First Nation, but straight to the provincial government".

Completely false.

I used to believe this too. Then I went onto the Attawaspikat website and saw for myself. The De Beers mine generates about 2 million per year in royalties to the Attawapiskat Trust:

2011 Receipts:

De Beers Canada Inc. - IBA

 2,050,000 2,000,000

De Beers Canada Inc. - Environmental and Lease

Source: http://www.attawapiskat.org/wp-content/uploads/2011-Financial-Statements-Attawapiskat-Trust.pdf

 

explain this

what happened to those 42 million people over several hundred years? all lot happened. Jamestown happened, the natives slaugthered a white settlement and killed everyone there then the indian war started and hundreds of thousands died in combat. Most indians were killed by pathogens brought over by europeans since natives were more homogeneous racially(they inbred more) their immune systems didn't have the antigens to kill these new pathogens so they all died out like it was the black death, In fact the black death was one of the major pathogens that killed off natives along with typhus not to mention more recent outbreaks that killed millions such as the spanish influenza outbreak of 1918 which killed one in every six canadians(natives were more prone to dying from influenza due to their weak immune systems compared to all other races). Every race of humans on the planet are growing in population except for one, whites. The white population is experiencing slavery and genocide right this very second but it's not public because of political correctness. In 1950 there were 1.3 Billion whites in the world, today there are 1.1 billion. WHERE"d the 200 MILLION people go in 50 years? there wasn't a pandemic. There wasn't a major war that claimed more than a few thousand white lives so where'd 200 million people go in 60 years? the lower birth rate alone isn't enough to account for the missing 200 million nor does it come close even with war, famine and natural causes. Then theres the issue of slavery, We like to think that we've ended slavery forever but that just isn't true. we just ended black slavery in the americas there is still slavery all around the world. Africa isn't the only continent that slavers have pillaged and raped. Right now in Eastern Europe millions of men and women are bought and sold in slave markets but we dont call it that anymore we call it human trafficing so it doesn't sound like what it is, they want to downplay it as not being as serious as slavery since they didn't call it slavery but it's slavery never the less. Are we equal? are all humans equal? then why does one group deserve to get paid for a "genocide" that lasted hundreds of years and only killed 42 million. It wasn't genocide at all, First lets assume EVERY one of those 42 million natives were killed directly by white men with guns or whatever. 42 million dead over 500 years is not a genocide , genocide is the deliberate attempt to exterminate another group of people. If whites wanted to exterminate the natives they wouldn't've killed 42 million over 500 years they would've killed 50 million within a few years. The Aztecs killed 1.5 million of their own people and those of neighboring tribes from 1491 to 1521, they sacrificed 250,000 people a year to their gods. all in all the white man didn't kill you. 80-90% of the entire native population was killed off by one disease alone(small pox) Whites litterally only ever kiled about 30,000 natives in all of their history directly.Did you know that by the end of the 19th century there was less than one million natives alive? Do yo know what that means now that you have 8 million people? IT MEANS YOUR PEOPLE ARE THE MOST INBRED PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. get a job, stop stealing from white communites, buy your own fucking house or build it in one of your so valued traditional ways and don't fucking dare complain that the white man isn't giving you enough money, you have more rights than any group on the planet and we're supposed to give u money unti lthe end of time for a genocide that never even happened. You died because of your isolation, if you were smart enough to build ships and sail around the world and establish trade with other counties then you would've been able to build up an immunity to the same diseases we did but you didn't so you died. the end .fuck off.

Join the media co-op today
Things the Media Co-op does: Support
Things the Media Co-op does: Report
Things the Media Co-op does: Network
Things the Media Co-op does: Educate
Things the Media Co-op does: Discover
Things the Media Co-op does: Cooperate
Things the Media Co-op does: Build
Things the Media Co-op does: Amplify

User login


Google+
Subscribe to the Dominion $25/year

The Media Co-op's flagship publication features in-depth reporting, original art, and the best grassroots news from across Canada and beyond. Sign up now!