First Nation Indigenous struggle with pandemic like circumstances every day in their fight for survival. The attacks to the original people are not openly visible unless you understand the enormity of threats attacking the original peoples on different levels, relentlessly.
Canada is a government that publicizes propaganda to Canadians that paints the relationship between the First Nations Indigenous and mainstream as somewhat troubled but progressing. Following some politically correct verbiage about reconciliation, Canada releases enormous budgetary numbers. Surely if Canada is throwing $150 million at a First Nation Indigenous problems, then their needs are being met!
Canada fails to tell the Canadian public that the 150 million is divided over 10 provinces and 3 territories so it is closer to ten million per territory or province and then further divided dependant on the number of First Nations in the province or territory so in Saskatchewan this $150 million becomes an $11 million split between 74 First Nations who likely receive $150,000 at the community level. Further to this, the money is administered by Indian Affairs who take the first administration fee and this follows down the disbursement so the actual reserve receives a piddly amount of “help.”
Canada, through the Indian Act discouraged economic development for First Nation people on reserves. Canada made the methods to obtain loans or assistance so onerous that First Nation bands were unable to develop their resources even if they had timber, oil and gas, gravel, or other mines or minerals or resources at their disposal.
Canada has now made it a requirement for First Nations to cede their land if they want economic development. The First Nation Land Management Act is willing to turn First Nations into municipalities if they want to exercise a Canadian definition of “self-government”. This Canadian definition is for sovereign leaders of the original nations who ruled for thousands of years to be regulated into mayors of reserve communities or in the parlance of the federal government – collectives.
Why does the federal government insist on redefining First Nation Indigenous’ sovereignty?
Canada is a nation-state, a successor state, and a squatting nation sitting on stolen lands without consent. If Canada continues to obstruct and promote harm in First Nation Indigenous communities, the actual owners of Canadian lands, waters, and resources will have no choice but to join the Canadian mosaic of lost people or lost tribes.
Canada has been conducting this erasure and genocide for over one hundred and fifty years. The Indian Act restricted movement, made residential schools mandatory and disallowed the Indians the right to legal guidance if they found this unfair.
It is much like wartime concentration camps except that these concentration camps called Indian reserves still exist. How are they trapped settlements?
In the past, First Nations would sit together as clans and seek spiritual guidance to conduct their day to day lives. These lifestyles were inclusive without a one percent or ten percent elite directing the camp. These lifestyles respected the earth and waters so that harvesting or hunting was monitored so that there would always be continuous life. This is in contrast to distorted European history that teaches that the Indians here were savages killing each other and expending all the plants or wildlife in one area, hence the nomadic nature of the Indian peoples.
It is safe to say that the misunderstanding of First Nation Indigenous peoples happened because the European thought processes were laden with greed and guilt so the altruistic nature of the Indians has never been understood.
White people came into this kind, giving and spiritual society and thought they knew better. Through the Indian Act, the federal government controlled the governance. The age old ways of mentoring a leader were lost to the First Nation peoples. The Indian Act election – a system of “democracy” was foisted on the Indians in their concentration camps. But inside the reserves, there are big clans or families who can control the vote for leadership. This is not the leader raised by the people who was selfless, humble and kind. This is families bullying one another, anxious to get the positions that offer better pay and access to limited jobs so only specific families will have jobs or security over other tribal members.
This colonization and corruption of the original spiritual systems has led to the election of some of the most inept people in First Nation communities. In turn these inept leaders must rely on consultants or non-natives to “run the reserve” which is like running an urban centre without the budget, infrastructure or capacity.
Therefore, there are inept leaders relying on non-native consultants or legal advisors in First Nation communities. What are their priorities? Maintaining power is one priority. So, a chief and council elected through the Indian Act system has to maintain the appearance of being a “traditional governance” system and talking the necessary treaty rhetoric or deferring to women, children and elders, while doing everything to keep their own gravy train rolling.
This is a constant struggle for many Indian Affairs councils. The Ministers and bureaucracy of Indian Affairs know there are situations ripe with corruption – where families, mother, elders and children are calling, texting, emailing and documenting complaints. These cries for help fall on deaf federal ears. These cries for relief also go out to Indigenous media sources, with grassroots people desperately seeking help in their everyday lives.
Why do Canadians hear nothing about these stories?
Canadians say Indians don’t pay taxes and then get angry when Canada announces a big budget. Canada fails to say most of the money will be used internally by the department of Indigenous Affairs which has primarily non-First Nation Canadian public employees. So, who is running the First Nation Indigenous peoples into the ground? Is it really fair to say “get over it” or free money” when in fact, Canada controls the “governance” systems on First Nation Indian reserves that continue are failing the original people even now in 2021?