Moving our history forward

geraldCherokee Nation will return — Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Tensions between Canada’s First Nations people and government have been riding the waves of turmoil since this land was “found” hundreds of years ago, and the crest is on us again. Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawipiskat First Nation has now turned down a meeting with the prime minister with the probable goal in mind of getting some more money into the Indian industry. Bad move—made her look petty.

Despite lavish salaries to chiefs, band administrators and nepotistic hiring policies, First Nations politics have generally garnered little attention other than negative reviews of improvident personal expenditures of the connected class and the embarrassingly primitive living conditions of more than some people on the average “res.”

The recent audit into the financial affairs of Attawapiskat found that $104 million was spent there in the last six years, but there’s nothing to show for it except salaries, fees, and expenditures. No infrastructure. This sad story of federal largesse to “nations” dependant mostly upon remittances has produced a $12 billion per year federal bureaucracy which allocates $8 billion to hundreds of “nations” in an inelegant welfare scheme. Now that scheme is designed to force the (fewer than ever) actual taxpayers into perpetuating a sinkhole of funding dependency, using failed policies as the requisite, for obscenely high suicide rates, alcoholically skewed mortality figures, third world hygienic conditions, and widespread diabetes.

With Canada trying to look like the good guy supplying the world with energy, commodities and general niceness it appears that our relationship with our First Nations are actually better than in most of the world. So, when the more strident threaten to “shut down the economy” by blocking a rail line for a few days, the rank and file constituency is undoubtedly cringing. Any person, native or not, must realize that cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face achieves little.

First Nations, as well as all other Canadians, need to realize that the world’s a rough place; we all need to take a step back and realize we can’t change the past but can rationally address the future. Let’s keep working on it.

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