Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let Us Be

The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations claims that those who find fault with the current system of aboriginal existence and entitlements in Canada speak falsely. That those who criticize Canada's and more specifically the Government of Canada's - generation after generation - continual submission to the demands of First Nations Chiefs are racist. Racist in their studied opinions that it would far better benefit First Nations people to accept the present rather than languish in the past.

It is one thing to honour traditions, the majesty of memory, the culture that was once so resonant in the lives of Canada's aboriginal populations. It's quite another altogether, and magnificently self-defeating, to claim that the preference is to live as their ancestors did, genuflecting at the imagined practicality of living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, as noble First Nations people, honouring the land and their inheritance thereof.

The simple fact is, few First Nations people still live as their ancestors did, and few would wish to, despite their allegiance to memory and tradition. Those who insist on living in the 'traditional' way, on reserves throughout the country live, for the most part, disjointed, ineffective, unrewarding and miserably dysfunctional lives. Addicted to government handouts, living in squalor, unwilling to muster an iota of self-reliance and pride, and submitting to the blinding allure of drugs and alcohol.

In the process remaining dissatisfied adolescents, complaining about the inadequacy of their lives, with no opportunities for decent employment, adequate education, and ignoring the needs of the children they raise. Phil Fontaine and his brothers in aboriginal administration chafe at the inadequacy of government funding for First Nations needs, but the truth is no amount of funding will enable First Nations people to recover their pride and self-reliance.

The chiefs are content enough with matters as they are, raging against the indecency of the situation, the lack of attention and care, and forever urging that greater sums of money be thrown at what has become a simmering, intractable human tragedy. They have the prestige of their positions, they are honoured as representing the best interests of their people, and governments at every level hasten to do their bidding, or at least seem to.

But they have accomplished next to nothing to alleviate the dreadful burden of apathy and disequilibrium, the abandonment of self-responsibility, the willingness to remain dependent on government funding. And corruption that has wheedled its way into the institutionalized structures of aboriginal self-government continues rampant, eating further away at the entitlements and advancement of First Nations communities.

Mr. Fontaine rages against the blight of historical colonization, land theft, cultural discrimination that his people - and Canada's - have suffered. There comes a time, however, when any self-respecting groups of people; inclusive of the more than 50 First Nations peoples in Canada, must determine it is time to forge ahead and finally advance their opportunities and their way into the future. Mr. Fontaine and his fellow enablers cannot hope to dine out forever on historical grievance.

While First Nations peoples were at one time forced onto reserves, that is no longer the case. They remain there as a matter of choice, preferring to live geographically isolated, in their 'ancestral homelands' rather than move to the country's urban areas and meld with the pluralist communities there, taking advantage of better educational and occupational opportunities. Availing themselves in the process nothing but grief.

It is past time for things to be turned around. For the Government of Canada and those of the provinces to finally put paid to the treaties still under negotiation. And for Canada's valued and downtrodden aboriginal populations to join themselves to the multitude of other Canadians struggling to find their place within the greater society and finding and valuing their place there.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet