Friday, January 23, 2015

HIstory of racism in Canada

What do we blame for First Nations poverty and dispossession, asks Scott Gilmore in the powerful study of Canadian racism in the current Maclean's:
Our justice system, unable to even convene Aboriginal juries? Band administrators, like those in Attawapiskat, who defraud their own people? Our health care system that fails to provide Aboriginal communities with health outcomes on par with El Salvador? Politicians too craven to admit the reserve system has failed? Elders like Chief Ava Hill, cynically willing to let a child die this week from treatable cancer in order to promote Aboriginal rights? Aboriginal people themselves for not throwing out the leaders who serve them so poorly? Police forces too timid to grasp the nettle and confront unbridled criminality like the organized drug-smuggling gangs in Akwesasne? Federal bureaucrats for constructing a $7-billion welfare system that doesn’t work? The school system for only graduating 42 per cent of reserve students? Aboriginal men, who have pushed their community’s murder rate past Somalia’s? The media for not sufficiently or persistently reporting on these facts?
His options are: either native people themselves for being crooked and weak (the bolded examples) or else Canadian authorities for not being paternalistic enough (the italicized ones).

He doesn't even raise as an option the fact that if Canada lived up to its existing treaty obligations and accepted aboriginal land titles and land rights, the First Nations of Canada would almost immediately cease to be one of the poorest demographics and become one of the wealthiest. And all the other problems he mourns would begin to be solved.

He doesn't even consider it an option. Boy, do we have a long way to travel yet.
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