The 1st Part of the problem I see with reconciliation is that neither the government of Canada nor any of its non aboriginal people are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish it. This is a typical example of how (a)the right thing to do, (b)the easy thing to do and (c) the quickly accomplished, are often made into, (a)the hardest thing that one could ever be expected to do (b)that gets turned into an unnecessarily long drawn out process, (c)designed to ensure that the objective is never accomplished, without ever saying no? In the context of this post this means that the Canadian government cannot bring itself to, (a) tell the truth, (b)give back that which it has stolen from the First Nations by virtue of not fulfilling their end of the treaties and land agreements, or (c)start honoring treaties and land agreements they signed with First Nations and finally (d)get beyond sincerely apologising for what they have done and make finding a mutual agreeable solution to this mess arrived at though sitting down with First Nations (the injured party in all of this) to resolve the problems the governments of Canada has created over the years by not doing a, b, or c a priority.
The 2nd part of the problem is the non aboriginal Canadian population who readily admit that they could careless about what they see as the whining of the Canadian First Nations. I believe this group represent the majority of non aboriginal Canadians. These segment of Canada’s population openly and unreservedly admit that they will not concede anything to the First Nations and feel that Canada has done nothing wrong in its past and is doing nothing wrong today in its treatment of its indigenous people. This leads this group to conclude that aboriginals are lazy bunch of drunks, whores and junkies by choice, who want to live on welfare. To this end this group of non aboriginal Canadians are insisting that all First Nation support, social or otherwise should be cut off and what they consider to be ungrateful drunken savages forced to work for a living like they have to do, before they bleed the Canada dry financially. These people unfortunately believe everything they have been taught, but it is not all of their fault. This racist untrue stereotype has been reinforced by the only evidence that most of them will ever see with their own eyes and that is the staggering amount of aboriginal males and females wandering around on their streets filthy dirty, drunk, or high on drugs, begging whoring and living on the streets. How and why this is, is not important to this group, it just helps to reinforce the racist propaganda and the spin that has been forced fed their parent’s parents and passed down to them by the government since the 1st European colonisation party formed a government here in this land to justify the need to erase all cultural, religious, linguistic presence from Canada.
The 3rd part of the problem as far as I am concerned are the non aboriginal Canadians who claim to support the First Nations. We are their real problem and here is why I feel this way. We are guilty of giving the First Nations false hope, by pretending to understand what is they are seeking and creating the illusion that we are willing to do whatever it takes to set things right, when I reality we have pre-set limitations on how far and for what we are willing to go in that support. For example We all love to suggest what someone else can do to improve the plight of Canadians First Nations, but if our support was put to the test, I believe that not one so-called supportive non aboriginal Canadian would give up what they now own to right the wrongs of the past. I believe that this is truly why nothing will happen any time soon to write the wrongs of the past. There is simply no support for what it takes to make things right from non aboriginal Canadians that goes beyond attending rings of fire, taking part in protests marches, and other forms of sabre rattling.
The 4th part of the problem as I see it is the First Nations themselves, because they do little if anything to try and change the perception that non aboriginal Canadians have been taught by the Canadian government and have come to believe in as gospel for years. For the most part I find that First Nations would like to have it both ways and by this I mean that:
- First Nations wish the support and understanding of the non native population of Canada, but do little if anything to help change the perception of the stereotypical savage that is not interested in living in peace and harmony with non aboriginal Canadians, but rather are really seeking to set up a 2 state solution where they are in total control of the natural resources of this country and thereby Canada’s economy.
- First nations do all that they can to stop non indigenous Canadians from learning about them first hand, unless they need their support. Have you ever tried to drive onto a reserve and just take a look around like you would in any other community in Canada. It is impossible if you are not a politician, or a member of the press to gain access to a First Nation reserve and see things for yourself, because the damn roads leading to First Nations communities are marked for residents of the reserve only. I would not suggest you take out a camera and take pictures either. It is hard to see and get a real sense of the poverty and the deplorable 3rd world conditions everyone claims so many of these reserves are in, from the roadside cigarette shop, golf course, or casino, but yet this is what First Nations expect us non aboriginal Canadians to do.
- There are approximately 600 First nations in Canada and it is impossible to get a clear answer in a unified manner from them. I do not think that there can be 600 and 1 individual governments all running Canada in an independent fashion, all getting their way and there not be total chaos and yet that is what is being asked for in reality by First Nations.
- Kahnawake’s, ‘Marry out stay out policy is a prime example of First Nations continuing effort to promote and support racist policies of their own designed to prohibit inclusion while demanding inclusion and equality within Canada by no aboriginal Canadians for themselves.
Although this in itself will not solve the problem on its own, but I would like to see every day non aboriginal Canadians being allowed onto reserves to visit, live and work, like aboriginals are allowed to visit, live and work in non aboriginal cities, towns and neighborhoods, but I doubt that will ever happen. I think that being able to see things for themselves and not on the news might make the non native Canadian more aware and unable to ignore the problems facing Canada’s indigenous people.
A few more reasons that forced me to accept the fact that not one non aboriginal Canadian is willing to go beyond acknowledging the serious wrong doings inflicted on Canada’s First Nations in the past or continues to do today:
- The majority of Canadians do not care about the suffering any minority in this country has been made to or is now suffering at the hands of the Canadian governments on all levels. Canadians of European ancestry seem untouched by the suffering of Blacks, Asians, Orientals and any other racial, religious or cultural people who were forced to endure the same suffering in past or present day Canada so why would they get all worked up about the plight of First Nations.
- I heard the prime minister of Canada play down the Conciliation Report.
- A news reporter today on CBC say that what happened in the residential schools was not cultural genocide, because the intent of those responsible for the forced assimilation was not to wipe out a whole race of people.
- The day of the reconciliation ceremony I heard a Holocaust survivor, refuse to acknowledge that what happened at the residential schools could in any way be compared to the horror of the holocaust.
I feel that something needs to be done, but like most Canadians aboriginal and non aboriginal, I honestly do not know what to do to fix things. Inclusiveness, trust and yes even reconciliation will only come when (a)both sides practice what they preach and (b)begin to do unto others what they would have others do unto them. It is not easy to forgive and move on, believe me I as a black man know that, but I do not know of any other way to rid one’s self of the anger, hurt and pain of the past or present that is necessary if a person, a community, or a nation is to do their part in the healing process and move towards a peaceful coexistence grounded in an environment of mutual respect.