Mainstream media is selling the idea that the Indigenous have been spoon fed by various levels of governments and now seek to stop the economic development of the entire country.
It seems the Indigenous are without hearts. They do not care for the eastern provinces that need propane or foods delivered via rail services, otherwise they would not be blockading train routes. Worse, some wayward faction of Indians started these terrorist measures. They are also trying to undermine duly elected representatives in their tax-free communities so that democracy dies a slow death on reserve.
It is justifiable that everyday Canadians have surfaced calling out these freeloaders and driving through their blockades shouting patriotic messages.
This is the drivel that is flooding mainstream and social media. This one sided narrative is seen in reporting, op-eds, and in the comment sections following Indigenous stories where a racist free for all is amping up Wi-Fi use across the country.
Why is there a divide greater than continents between what Canadians think about Indigenous people and the actual facts?
Canadians learn this tainted history. Enterprising explorers, who were joyfully sailing the seas happened upon an unoccupied continent. If there were any people on this continent, they were savages – barely human therefore the taking of lands was a justified action.
Now when there are national crises involving First Nation Indigenous, the stereotypes and misconceptions rise in mainstream reporting, and are strengthened in the House of Commons or on social media feeds of elected officials. Further to the racist headlines, speeches and rants, the one compromised Indian who supports pipelines is paraded out to spew his ignorance.
Where are the true voices of the First Nation Indigenous at this time of Canadian crises?
True voices are in their communities, living daily crises for survival. When they do speak, the narrative is quickly shifted back to show that there are “good Indians” who are supporting economic development and assimilation.
What is so threatening about the First Nation Indigenous that they must be kept subjugated and subservient? The original colonizers put bounties on scalps. When Canada formed a country under John A. Macdonald, his primary goal was to exterminate the Indian. He did not succeed.
The original peoples have kept going, despite termination agendas, genocidal policies and dehumanizing laws. The question should be why are these same agendas, policies and laws continuing, today in 2020?
First Nation Indigenous are writing and speaking, trying to educate the Canadian public on the real issues and happenstance of institutions having vested interests in controlling the real narrative of the plight of our people. These viewpoints are seen as borderline terrorism and certainly treasonous to the myths that Canada continues to toss around like universal truths.
The facts remain the facts. Canada as a young country with nothing more than some writ from Britain, sought to bring harm to the Indigenous partners that allowed Canada’s existence. Canada wanted to see the First Nation Indigenous gone to clear their consciences. They also sought unfettered access to Indigenous lands, resources and riches.
The latest Canadian debacle with the British Colombia Wet’suwet’en demonstrates collective guilt. It is not remorse; that would require morals. Canadians cannot admit that the Indians were here first with governance systems, languages, territories and successful ways of living in harmony with the land.
Canada’s existence began in 1867, and alongside this existence came the Indian Act. The Indian Act has been the most racist legislation that dictated the lives of the First Nation Indigenous from reserve land passes, to all other aspects of “Indian life”. In controlling the Indian, Canada found it necessary to break the collective and hereditary or self- determined way of governance of various nations. Canada replaced the governance systems with “democracy”.
Democracy on reserve does not exist. Why? Simple. In provinces, cities or nationally, one man, one vote drives the idea that one has a say in government. Canadians can venture from city to city or province to province, listen to platforms and vote on whatever their hearts desire in an elected official – lower taxes, better access to health, lower interest rates, whatever. But on reserve, the demographics of the voters do not change. The pass system in itself restricted First Nation Indigenous from leaving their reserves. If First Nation Indigenous did leave the reserve for work or schooling, the Indian agent on reserve deemed them competent – they were no longer Indians but stripped of their “rights” or “enfranchised”.
So on reserve a large family or factions of families can control the vote. This leads to dissention and infighting on reserve. This is the situation playing out in Northern British Colombia. Mainstream and commentators are vehement that the elected leaders must be heard. This idea of only listening to elected leaders works for the rest of Canada but it may not necessarily work on an Indian reserve.
Now to understand why elected officials are creatures of the federal government, one only has to look at their limited mandates. They are allowed administrative control of underfunding for their people. It has taken Cindy Blackstock and other Indigenous to bring the inequality of on reserve programming to light. Ms. Blackstock has proven her stand but Canada has yet to comply with its own Human Rights Tribunal ruling.
Some First Nation Indigenous had resources on their reserves and they have helped in fighting the federal government’s annihilation agenda. It was the oil and gas First Nations from Alberta that lobbied England for inclusion into Canada’s 1982 Constitution Act. The leaders in First Nation Indigenous communities had been the hereditary or selected chiefs. They were the great leaders who stood together for rights advancement of all their people.
Today, colonization and the glorification of mainstream models of leadership have taken our leaders with collective hearts and replaced them with leaders who have the most family votes or supporters on reserve. This is why reconciliation is dead. Canada cannot reconcile all the wrongs they have inflicted on First Nation Indigenous peoples. No international inclusion of aspirational documents, or recommendations from countless commissions will ever reconcile that Canada is built on a lie.