The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) took drastic measures this Monday, November 30th when it disabled comments for indigenous related stories on its website. Earlier this year the Brantford Expositor made similar changes by disabling their comments section for local stories as well – many of which were Six Nations stories with indigenous content.
The sad and sobering fact is that every single news story about indigenous people received an overwhelming response of hatred, racism, and ignorance. Just by our very existence we indigenous people remind the general population that they are a nation of visitors and refugees on our land and although we are peaceful and accommodating this can bring out the very worst in people.
CBC, the largest media company in Canada said, “We believe our comment section helps answer our mandate as a public broadcaster to reflect the country and its regions to itself.” So we can assume that Canada as a nation has much more growing to do when it comes to understanding themselves and their relation to the host peoples such as the Six Nations and the other 500+ nations who originated in this continent.
When people say that racism doesn’t exist in Canada, what they might mean is that overt racism against black people doesn’t exist. Maclean’s Magazine wrote that “By almost every measurable indicator, the Aboriginal population in Canada is treated worse and lives with more hardship than the African-American population.”
Indigenous people aren’t even on the radar yet. In the faceless internet comment section even moderates will defend anti-native rhetoric as cold hard fact because the education system in Canada has failed us all.
There are teachers who are making these horrible comments. Brad Badiuk a high-school teacher from Winnipeg was put on leave after tweeting ““How long are aboriginal people going to use what happened as a crutch to suck more money out of Canadians?” He went on further and said “Stop the hand outs!! The benefits the aboriginals enjoy from the “white man/Europeans” far outweigh any wrong doings that were done to a conquered people.” How many more in Canada’s educational system think baseless thoughts such as these but don’t say it out loud in public?
It’s funny that a non-native man is talking about hand-outs just after American Thanksgiving.
If you are still in doubt, take a look at the CBC story “Uncivil dialogue: Commenting and stories about indigenous people.” As Editor in Chief Jennifer McGuire calmly explains their rationale for disabling comments specifically about indigenous people she is ironically met with racist comments about the tax burden of reservations and other ignorant garbage condemning her as too politically correct.
This announcement generated 1125 comments many of which come from people who are angry that they can no longer use their Indian Strawman as a punching bag from the safety of their homes. The tax-burden Indian is a figment of their own imagination and the government of Canada has helped perpetuate these myths by failing to tell the real story.
According to the Indian Act we seem to have exchanged millions of square miles of land for dubious benefits. Our people say it was a lease. Either way we got the short end of the stick – most of us would rather have our country back than an 8% tax exemption at Walmart.
Can you as a Canadian imagine if Syrian refugees took control of your country in exchange for an 8% tax cut? And then you are called a burden? That’s what is happening to us, right here and right now. We weren’t defeated in a war, we fought on the same side and afterwards betrayed.
We applaud CBC for taking a stand and doing the right thing. Now they are left with the responsibility to produce educational news stories that accurately reflect the true history of their nation and their relationship with their host nations.
The CBC said “We find ourselves with a unique situation when it comes to indigenous-related stories.” This is a good step forward and hopefully Canada as a country will realize just how unique their situation really is.