Canada’s reconciliation will continue to fail

Canada the settler state, that exists because of the International treaties signed between the U.K. Crown and the First Nation people; has a distorted view of reconciliation.

Placing the original people on reserves was an archaic act of reconciliation.

Placing the original people’s children into residential schools was an act of reconciliation.

Legislating the original people under the Indian Act was and continues to be “an act of reconciliation.”

What does reconciliation mean to the settler state? It means paternalistic controls, policy and legislation that will continue to dictate the lives of the original people.

What does reconciliation mean to the original people? It means an ongoing relationship between two parties where the original people continue to exist as they have for generations on this island.

The idea of a relationship with equal say on two sides continues to present problems for Canada the settler state. Canada has become the recipient of a state where original treaties were made to share the land. Whether the original people are from the Eastern door or the Western prairies, the original people do not have a concept of land ownership. They have spiritual obligations that exist in language, ceremony and blood memory. The land is tied to these processes; therefore the existence of the original people is dependent on a land base.

Canada currently is pushing a rights recognition framework onto the original peoples, again without consideration for the spiritual relationship to the land. Successive settler governments have attempted to force the original people to give up their sacred places using dishonesty and outright theft.

If the settlers who make up Canada value property or the commodification of land so much, why are they so unwilling to pay for their “freedom”? This land, as the original people understand was gifted to all the inhabitants including the four-legged, winged, plant and water animals. This land was not made solely for the non-natives who ventured from across the great waters seeking freedom from tyranny and aristocratic rule. This is why the original people continue to take an adversarial position with this upstart settler state. The animals and plants that also form Creation need a voice because this is also their land.

If you study western science, settlers have compartmentalized disciplines so that they can lay claim to expertise over some area. The areas of “expertise” do not cross into each other’s area of study so they are limited in their thinking and application. This has been done by design of the settler system.

When the original people explain our sacred areas or places, we look at western science and see many papers, books and research that have been written from a view with only one focus. This scientific method of narrowing focus is in fact limiting the view of the interconnectedness.

The original people see the big picture. They see the interconnectedness of all life. They have expertise because they are open to new ways of thinking and seeing life. Does this now make sense?

Does it make sense that the original people would welcome the newcomers recognizing that they were created for a purpose? Does it make sense that the original people would be receptive to learning and sharing with the newcomer?

Contrast this openness of the original people with the actual mindset of the settlers fleeing tyranny and oppression. They were trying to flee from autocratic control but the only system they knew involved structure, hierarchies and compartmentalization.

The newcomers were happy to learn survival “tricks” from the original people but they quickly looked beyond the simple existence and saw opportunity to take and take – thinking only of themselves. Indeed this individualistic thinking still directs settlers who think in terms of “me” or “I” and not of others.

As you are driving, or lining up to make purchases, there are always people who are pushing themselves in front. It is as though the world and all others are servants to their entitlement. Now if you take this individualistic thinking and the entitlement that accompanies it, you will have a very shallow existence and no concern for others. This is Canada.

How does Canada, then purport to “forge a new relationship” with the original people? Has the Canadian government put aside the Charter of Rights that guarantee individual rights? Is not the Charter a staple of Canadian values and what makes up this nation?

The predominance of individual rights directly opposes the original people’s views, which include the “rights” of the animal, land, and waters to live freely. How can Canada repeatedly state publicly that they are forging a “new relationship” when their laws and policies are individually based with man as a supreme entity?

Canada does not understand the worldview of the original people. They continue to implement policies and legislation that will “recognize” or “implement” when these words are public relation or marketing phrases meant to assure global audiences that “the Indians are under control”.

We see the effects of Canada’s short sightedness in the KinderMorgan development happening in western Canada. Canada has taken the stance that they will complete a pipeline desecrating sacred places, water sources and the land of the original people. Canada ignores the boil water advisory that exists for many original nations who have little or no access to clean drinking water while paying billions for outdated assets in a dying technology. Canada has chosen to ignore the original agreements that gave their ancestors access to this land. The settler state knows better. The settler state believes they can learn nothing from the original people.

Economic development is an act of war, not of reconciliation. This act of war seeks to destroy the land and waters of not only the original people, but of the plant and wildlife that also live on this island. Individualistic thinking and supporting corporate individuals to remain in power sounds like the autocratic control which the original settlers were fleeing when they came to this land. If this is reconciliation, and the settler state continues to harm the land, is it not prudent for the original people to take up arms to protect their sacred places? Can we now see that the bigger picture is interconnected therefore the original people are standing up to steward this land so that all life may continue? The original people know their roles, even if it means protecting settlers from their own settler government. There can be no reconciliation when some life is valued more than all life.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with everything you have written, but I would add two things. First science is no longer "western science" (if it ever was), and it has begun to recognize more adequately the interconnectedness you speak about. Specifically quantum phenomena and cosmology lead this way. Second I think you are being too polite when you write that the settlers who came from Europe were only seeking freedom. Their main motivation, starting with Columbus, was always imperialist: expropriation and exploitation.

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