More food at Stornoway


This year’s garden party at Stornoway mixed the media and MPs. Hostess Janine Krieber had the inside of the tent lined with a fluffy-looking fabric that added an elegant touch. There were food stations and a wall of bread.


There was more food served this year like this roast beef.


And circus performers.


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More food at Stornoway

  1. “…it’s okay to speak your mind in academia, if what you say doesn’t offend anyone.”

    Imagine if Coppernicus had decided to live by that axiom? Imagine if Galileo lived under that stricture…he would never have supported Coppernicus’ earlier work, which was considered heresy. Perhaps we would still think that the sun revolved around the earth. So much for free speech and free thought at Canadian institutes of higher learning.

    So is the pursuit of the truth which bloomd during the Renaissance coming to an end because of Western society’s desire to be politically correct?

    • I wonder what Ladner herself would say about the author’s summation of her views. I note the lack of an actual full statement in favour of quotes around individual words.

      What do you want to bet it was a great deal more nuanced then presented?

  2. Although I am pleased that this issue is now being brought to the attention of a wider audience, a few of the views being attributed to me are not entirely accurate. First, both the focus of my paper and the book that I co-wrote with Albert Howard, Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry, was never that “the reserve system isn’t working” since it “encourages unemployment and alcoholism”. Our main concern is the Aboriginal Industry – the group of non-aboriginal lawyers and consultants that thrives by encouraging aboriginal dependency and social dysfunction. Nor have Albert Howard or myself argued that “the best way to help natives achieve health and prosperity is assimilation” or implied that European people as a whole “were more advanced” than aboriginal people. It also should be noted that the professor who suggested that we “take it outside” last June now regrets that I interpreted her comments as a threat. Although I was alarmed at the time, I now realize that this was an incorrect interpretation of an emotional situation. In any event, this professor was not involved with the “hate speech” investigation that is being spearheaded by some members of the Women’s Caucus of the Canadian Political Science Association.

    The position of Albert Howard and myself is that, while the reserve system isn’t “working”, it should not be shut down. The focus instead should be on providing high quality education, health and housing services to the aboriginal population so that they will have the capacity to leave the reserves if they choose to do so. It is our contention that the reserves will gradually “wither away” as aboriginal people acquire the skills, values and attitudes that are needed to participate in Canadian society. This process is not “assimilation”, which demands that aboriginal people give up all aspects of their culture. It is, in fact, integration, where aboriginal people will keep those aspects of their culture that aid their survival, and give up those features that are impeding their ability to contribute to the wider society. Many aspects of aboriginal culture – artistic sensibility, noncoercive approaches to child rearing, humour, etc. – are positive and will become elements of the wider Canadian and global culture.

    The comment about Europeans being more “advanced” than aboriginal people is also misleading. It should be stressed that this concerns cultural features at the time of contact – i.e. learned behaviour – not racial or biological characteristics. What is being argued in Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry is that technological developments such as iron metallurgy, the wheel and writing systems resulted in societies that were larger, more productive and complex than those that depended upon a hunting and gathering/horticultural mode of production (i.e. aboriginal peoples in North America). Aboriginal people today have absorbed many of these developments and are therefore just as culturally advanced as people with European backgrounds. However, the Aboriginal Industry encourages the retention of tribal forms of organization and Animistic beliefs, and these obsolete cultural features are impeding some aboriginal people’s integration and participation in modern society. This is what is resulting in “unemployment and alcoholism”, not the reserve system per se.

    • Thanks for kicking pompous academic ass the first time.

      No thanks for backtracking on it now and trying to squeeze the bullsh!t back into the bull.

      The reserve system is not working, never has worked, and like so many of its apologists you propose another generation of “investing” in it with a LOT more of our tax money.

      Let’s just take “providing high quality education” as one of your points. Education is a two way street … Einstein himself couldn’t ‘educate’ students who sniff glue, drink underage, and frequently fail to show up for class. Those BEING ‘educated’ need to uphold their “paying attention” part of the equation.

      Let’s get real … how about we make a ONE TIME final payment to every status aboriginal in Canada of perhaps $250,000 …once .. FINAL payment … not a bad nest egg or career-starter … then totally abolish the Dept. of Indian Affairs (or whatever it’s called this week), and let aboriginals stand on their own two feet thereafter, like other humans the world over.

      At WHAT point does Canadian “white guilt” end? … another 50 years? … another 100 years? … at what point do we no longer need to babysit adults on reserves and send them truckloads of taxpayer money? Does it EVER end, or are we supposed to shut up and just keep sending the money?

      Dave Sanderson
      Barrie, Ontario

      • Whoa Dave back up here a bit, we are shoveling a lot of bull S### here, do you know the history of how your ancestors stole our land you should read Reservations Are For Indians and see what “White ” did to “Native” As if $ 250,000 is going to fix the damage that was done by the residental system and foster care system, and government policies, you need to be educated and walk a while in our shoes and then say pay them off, no we as a society need to pony up to the table here and say yes my ancestors did a lot of damage and now how can I help, not by giving money, and then disapearing out of the picture that is not going to fix anything, unless it is in education programs for the reserves and let our people start their own businesses on the reserves, take a look a the Mohawk People they have there own industries and businesses and are a thriving society let us be the same way and we will ask for their help also. Let us have Self Government. Paying us off and then shuffling us off to the back burner is not going to get rid of us we are here forever so get educated and do the right thing, the public apology started the ball rolling , now we all need to do our part to help our fellow man, after all we are all brothers and sisters of the human race, and also of the spiritual kingdom. We also agree that Indian Affairs need to be destroyed because there are no indians in there taking care of indian affairs it is all white or others working there. Go and check it out for yourself you will not see one red face amoung them so who is taking care of Indian Affairs the white man or the Indians????? Maybe with the help of all of Canada we can heal and make a better future to hand to our children and our childrens children. Not just a few do gooders who think they know what is best for us. We know what is best for us ,let us be free, to walk the good red road. We have not lost our way completely. We knew enough to hid our teachings they are not lost, and we will be successful in our endeavors, we are the meek and we shall inherit the land that everyone took from us, we will get it back you just watch and see. Those who think they are better than us will be last , because even your Bible tells you He who will be first, shall be last. MRA.

    • First off, I absolutely support your right to publish and say whatever the heck you want to.

      But yikes, you’ve made some dubious assertions here.

      The idea that technological advances like the wheel *caused* societies to become “more productive and complex” is fairly simplistic, and difficult to support with evidence. It’s in keeping with the cultural evolutionist thinking of a century ago (in fact, Lewis Henry Morgan made the same argument about technology and cultural evolution in 1877) that has been abandonned by most scholars.

      The assumption that cultures can be ranked as more or less advanced is ethnocentric at best, and again echoes evolutionary (and often racialized) theories that haven’t been taken seriously for almost a century.

      To describe a religious or cultural system as “obsolete” is fairly offensive, and sounds more like a predetermined opinion than a conclusion drawn from careful examination of evidence Animistic belief systems are centred on the idea that all enitities (animals, plants, etc.) on earth have spirits, not just humans. It’s a worldview that downplays human supremacy over nature, and instead reinforces the interdependence of all living things. Care to explain to me how that is any more obsolete than monotheistic systems? And how it contributes to alcoholism?!

      While it’s very true that there is a long-standing “industry”, your proposed solution echoes the earliest drafts of the Indian Act, complete with the white man’s tearful nostalgia about a the plight of the once noble savage, and how it’s up to we Europeans to help these broken people become meaningful members of civiization. Thank goodness you are neither burdened by obsolete culture/religion, nor in any way influenced by a few centuries of economic and social thinking based on the ‘white man’s burden’ of dealing with the ‘Indian problem’.

      Just because theories are old doesn’t mean they are wrong, of course. But you should at least let the readers know that many of the ideas you put forward here are rehashings of Victorian-era ideas.

      • Why should she make points that you wish to make? That’s your job, which you have now done. She has no obligation to parrot your ideas: “you should at least let the readers know…” . How arrogant are you? You sound like the speech police.

        • I sound like the speech police?! Really? I take the time to rebut some of her assertions (because I happen to have some backround in relevant literature), instead of screaming charges of hate crime, and you think I’m the extremist? It was a turn of phrase, and she’s obviously free to ignore what I say. I happen to think it’s academically questionable to present century-old theories as somehow new, and to ignore the substantial debate and discredit they’ve been subject to. But that’s just me, which is why she’s free to ignore me. But I didn’t scream, I didn’t call her a racist, and I didn’t call for her to fired.

          Feel free to call me arrogant, but at least I have the balls to put my name on what I post, “sf”.

          • I am commenting on your position that she should be saying whatever you say she should be saying (“you should at least let the readers know”). That is no different than those who want to shut her up. I see no difference at all. In fact, I find your position more condescending – the position that “you can say it, as long as you say it in a way that is approved of”.

            I happen to disagree with those screaming “hate crime” as well, or those shouting “racist”. I disagree with anyone who claims she is not entitled to say whatever she wants to say, the way she wants to say it.

            I’m tired of various groups declaring themselves immune from criticism. We see it in our politics, in various ethnic communities, in various identitiy groups, it is everywhere. Nobody is responsible for their actions, everybody is a victim to everyone else.

            Reserves are an embarassment to the country – but god forbid we actually lay any blame on the people running them or living in them. It’s always somebody else’s fault.

            It’s a victim culture that we are growing here. Everybody is a victim. If you call someone on the victim card, then in return you get a backlash like no other.

            Barbara Arneil’s position is indefensible – just like you, she believes that you can only say something as long as it’s approved of (by whom? the speech police, of course – a society where we must look over our shoulders as we say something). The battle for free speech was fought centuries ago, and now people want to hand over their rights for nothing.

          • “I am commenting on your position that she should be saying whatever you say she should be saying (”you should at least let the readers know”). That is no different than those who want to shut her up.”

            For the second time, it was a turn of phrase, not a directive. If I’d thought for a second it would provoke the misguided ire of anonymous snipers, I would have gone with something different like “it’s academically disingenuous not to include….”. And at no point did I suggest she shouldn’t say what she said. Lumping me in with those who wish to censor her is wrong (or am I being a speech cop if I call you out for inaccuracies too?).

            I’m sensing that you aren’t overly familiar with the history and academic debates that are germane to Widdowson’s position. If you were, you would have recognized that most of my critique was based themes most scholars in the field would recognize (to be clear, and before you get your shorts even further knotted, I’m not claiming expertese – just familiarity).

            You’re tilting at the wrong windmill here.

      • ah yes, all cultures are equal, no belief systems are obsolete, as that is ‘offensive’. Based in your posting I presume you are not a ‘progressive’ (the irksome term Liberals and Dippers choose to describe themselves), as that would imply some sort of improvement, or advance. If that is the case, I wholeheartedly agree, ‘progressives’ are offensive.

      • Sean, Dubious assertions? Did you read the book? Have you ever visited a reserve? Victorian-era ideas? Frances and Albert have the “balls” to question our policies towards Aboriginals and you question their “assertions”? Seems to me they cited fact after fact and then interpreted the facts as they see them. What is wrong with that? A healthy debate free of political correctness is what is needed. Visit the N’kmip reserve near Osoyoos, BC and speaking the Chief Louie. Methinks he would agree with the Frances and Albert!

      • really? The wheel’s contributions are difficult to support with evidence? REALLY? That explains a lot.

    • Prof Widdowson,

      Thanks for clarifying your ideas. Your thesis sounds like a perfectly reasonable area of inquiry and discussion. That it provoked such a violent reaction in some quarters is, sadly, not much of a surprise.

    • Professor

      Your definition of assimilation is faulty. Assimilation does not require thesurrender of any cutural heritage. it merely means that the Aboriginal people be treated by the Government in the same manner as everyone else. This means that they are free to do what they want. But the Government should resist the idea that it has any role to play in determining what Aboriginal culture is or how it should be preserved. Culture is a question for society, not Government.

      We in Australia have had many of the same problems as you, though our Aboriginals were even less advanced than the Canadian indigenes. For 40 years or more the bleeding-hearted liberal view has mostly prevailed in relation to the treatment of Australia’s Aborigines. What we have seen is a dramatic growth in the grievance industry and the expenditure of an enormous amount of taxpayer dollars. The result has been catastrophic for the Aborigines. On every measure their lives have become worse. Yet the left cannot admit its error, and still thinks white ‘racism’ is somehow the problem and that if we all talk enough and spend enough (on beareaucrats) somehow all will be well.

      But the myth of the noble savage dies hard on the left. Hence, the constant blather we get from academics about Western culture not being superior to stone age mores.

      You, Professor, sound as though you are half -way along the route to epiphany. Even though you sprout some of the hasckneyed left-wing platitudes, you have realised that left-wing ideals are hopelessly wrong and in fact harmful and wicked. Hopefully, as time goes by, you will appreciate that, as Margaret Thatcher once said, “the facts of life are Conservative.”

      • pretty lame to use the outdated but revealing term “noble savage” and the “grievance industry”? wow

        i suppose you subscribe to Darwinian evolution too then? after all on the human ascendancy scale: 5. gorillas, 4. aborigines (too high for you?), 3. negroes (another outdated term that Lindsay Lohan used to describe Obama with), 2. asian (honourary white), 1. caucasian

        and to paraphrase Darwin’s title: it’s not survival of the “fittest” but of the “most deserving” race.

        i could use the loaded term “racist” but i think “self-serving elitist” is better to describe the disdain i see dripping from your commentary and which likely describes your world view of the other “races”.

    • I fully expect that despite your reasoned discussion, including this “clarification” of what was indeed a biased presentation in Macleans, you will continue to be viewed as beyond the pale and on the rabid fringes of polite academic discourse. It runs totally contrary to what the “industry” has spent years cultivating, and offends what progressive academicians have been simultaneous cultivating for easily as long.

      I wish you well in attempting to open a much needed dialogue on this persistent and expensive issue – but I don’t hold out a great deal of hope…

    • I only have one question for you: Why did you pick native people? Don't you see that your views have done more harm than good? Your comments do nothing for the native person. How come you don't publish a book on the good that we have done? We have successful people in such positions as doctors, judges, but no, we cannot write about those people, we have to discuss only the "bad" things! How come you didn't pick black people? Write about how the effect a black president is having on the U.S. and the black population? Is it because you think native people do not have the ability to defend themselves? Perhaps you should go back and study your roots to find out at what point in time your race was decidely the superior and better one. You do nothing for the betterment of native people and this "work of art" only serves to reiterate to the canadian and international readers what they believe all along about the inferiority of the native person. I wish I could say "all the best" but then my voice doesnt count for much and I wouldnt want to give you fodder for another earth-shattering article and lift you higher on the soap box.

  3. Tough critique or hate speech?

    Neither. Bad scholarship.

  4. of course ghettoizing ppl doesn’t work. neither does demonizing them so you can justify stealing their land; you gotta do this to appear righteous; but the chickens always come home to roost.

    • just as she is allowed to speak freely, she is also open to criticism and backlash if her comments are insensitive, inappropriate, etc etc. i for one like to know what ppl think

  5. At WHAT point does Canadian “white guilt” end? … another 50 years? … another 100 years?
    Interesting that we cannot drop the Holocaust guilt but Canada’s native people -no guilt required??

    Perhaps you might focus on native success stories –
    or the tribal groups wiped out by white civilization or the evil of residential schools -families broken up -or the land on which some reserves are located or mercury in water etc

    • there would have been no need for guilt if guilty things had not been perpetrated against.

    • I wonder how long we would survive in those conditions….crap; we get upset when milk goes up a penny.

  6. As disgusted as I am with her opinions regarding the “superiority” of scientific analysis and the European way, I don’t believe in regulating free speech. I’m of the opinion that academics are all too often detached from the real world and are often childish in their thinking, but prosecuting hate speech leaves one of our fundamental rights open to all kinds of regulation, which will be dictated by whatever faction happens to be the dominant ideology at the time. She should be free to express her opinions without being hauled before a pseudo justice-system (the human rights tribunals) and we should be free to think she’s an idiot.

    Or we could always create laws against hate thought.

    • Before you get all disgusted and self righteous, you should probably read the book instead of some biased news article that wants to sell a story. Good job doing your research.

    • 1984 ???

  7. I think it egregious that Ms. Widdowson should be put through such an ordeal. It never ceases to amaze me that when someone stands up, and dares to state that the emperor has no clothes, all those around her scream bloody blue murder. So much for academic freedom.

  8. I believe in free speech. Ms Widdowson can say whatever she likes and take the consequences. She is now taking the consequences for her ignorance and condescending attitude. So be it!

    She revealed the crux of her disdain for Indigenous Peoples on TVO-The Agenda: It was explained to her that Indigenous culture is a spiritual connection with the land, caring for the land, and their connection to the land is recognized and respected in law.

    Widdowson’s testy atheist response was “Spiritual? What’s spiritual? I don’t have that! I don’t need that! Why do you need that!? You say you have it and I don’t? That’s not fair! That’s … (sputter sputter)!”

    Well no, perhaps she doesn’t have spirituality … but Indigenous Peoples do. It is clear that her strident atheism is at the root of her contempt for Indigenous cultures and people. This is unprofessional and inhumane, and a violation of their freedom of religion to boot, and certainly lousy scholarship.

    I suggest that Ms. Widdowson confine herself to studying topics within the atheist sphere, as she is incapable of studying anything with a spiritual component, nor does she respect freedom of religion.

    Yes, I see you backtracking above. Doesn’t fool me!

    Some people will go to great lengths to avoid the truth: The condition of Indigenous communities today is because of the 500 year campaign of genocide Britain/Canada have waged against them, stealing their land, stealing, abusing, murdering their children, murdering their traditional leaders, outlawing their governance and religion, forcing them onto ‘reserves’ with starvation-level ‘handouts’. We continue to build on their land without consulting them today – ie, the land theft continues and has ramped up to warp speed in recent years. The number of children who go missing ‘in care’ is as big as it was in the residential schools.

    • Granny:
      Your tired rhetoric is well known. I am glad to hear you believe in fundamental rights to free speech. I agree that Widdowson’s atheism affects her thinking on this, but I don’t see how this really undermines her arguments. You have been drinking too much of the Aboriginal industry Kool-aid. The problems of FN people are not due to centuries of alleged genocide and murder. Please prove this assertion.
      The social dysfunction continues because it is tolerated on reserves. Corruption/nepotism are aspects of tribal kinship reciprocity that need to be purged. Wife assault is a cultural aspect of FN cultures that needs to be given zero tolerance but is not. This is not Whitey’s fault, these practices were around at contact. Read the primary source Jesuit Relations, when the French were shocked at the wide acceptance of wife abuse.
      I am Aboriginal (Metis), but until our FN people accept that these problems exist b/c they allow them. Read Once Were Warriors from New Zealand. It’s time we Aboriginals took responsibility for our bad acts and stopped listening to White liberals, like those from Canadians for Aboriginal Rights, who would prefer to hate their own ancestors than propose anything meaningful.

      • hey Joe Q do you even understand the impact that trauma has on ppl’s lives? and how it’s perpetuated generationally without proper coping mechanisms to help break the chain? you sound like you live in the house and have the master’s whip in your hands. stop hating who you are; have a little compassion for your ppl.

        • Way to go LeenieJ
          Further, I have just started reading the book, but already, I sense racism, hatred and intolerance for FN peoples but I will comment further when I am done reading. I only bought the book to see how far the non-aboriginal community will go to attack, undermine and discredit the FN people.

          • ” I only bought the book to see how far the non-aboriginal community will go to attack, undermine and discredit the FN people.”

            Well, then, chances are that you’re only going to find what your bigoted eyes allow you to see…

    • ok granny, the whole continenent was stolen. Now, go give your house back to the local natives and move back to wherever your ancestors came from. Byebye.

    • “perhaps she doesn’t have spirituality … but Indigenous Peoples do.”

      What racist nonsense…

  9. The current state of affairs for most aboriginal Canadians is unacceptable. The approach of successive Canadian governments and aboriginal leaders has not worked. I would think that aboriginal Canadians would appreciate a range of ideas, even ideas that they find personally offensive or that collide with their politics. In the interest of bettering the lives of aboriginal Canadians, everyone should put aside their differences of opinion and their hurt feelings, and get back to solving the problem. There is nothing to be gained by trying to shut down debate which is what is intended by charges of “hate speech”. That’s such an old, tired trick and to think that “academics” would use it is rather surprising.

  10. Ah, the reserve system debate…brings out all sorts of harsh voices on either side.

    While I do not agree with this ‘academic’, I certainly don’t agree with trying to make this a criminal issue. She is an academic and thus, she probably has some data and an interpretation that should be given at least the chance to be heard…free of physical violence threats and pending criminal charges. I’m not saying that anyone has to agree with what they are being told and anyone is free to criticize the ideas until they are blue in the face. But getting the state involved in suppressing or punishing for the presentation of the idea and you will find a government that is one step closer to banning junkfood and criminalizing dirty looks.

  11. So, per Barbara Arneil, free speech is less important than having enough First Nations people in political science careers.

    Could someone point me to solid scientific evidence that demonstrates conclusively that racial diversity is “integral” to the study of political science?

  12. I don’t believe we should have hate speech laws so it sounds like a tough critique to me. I think reserves should be abolished, they are a form of apartheid, and it I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the only ethnic minority to have its own Gov’t Ministry is also the most disadvantaged/screwed-up group in Canada.

    I do not know anything about this controversy except for what I read here but it seems like the people angry with Ms Widdowson are not happy because she a) wants to talk about how dire Native situation is b) went against lib/progressive orthodoxy. It seems like a lot of libs think Canada is full of knuckle dragging racists and any discussion that might lead to reinforcing beliefs of ‘racists’ should be discouraged, at a minimum. I think it’s a colossal mistake to try and paper over the catastrophic situation and we should be discussing these issues much more. Having, and enforcing, societal norms is a good thing but Natives are for some reason exempt from these types of discussions and that’s a huge mistake.

  13. I doubt anyone wants to change the system because it has become an industry in itself for all levels of government. In my opinion the Aboriginal issues have been studied to death, and the problems, which are evident, have not been resolved.
    People only succeed when they are self directed, and good for the professor for speaking out.

    • So self direct yourself back onto the boat…buh bye!

  14. Professor Arniel’s statement,

    ‘The right to free speech, she says, isn’t about the right to say “anything,” but the right to say what’s respectful. In other words, it’s okay to speak your mind in academia, if what you say doesn’t offend anyone.’

    is by far the most offensive thing I read in this article. Given that pretty much everything offends someone, this philosophy would have nobody say anything. Academia is one of the places where the tough questions should be asked, the sacred cows challenged and the emperor told he has no clothes.

    Disagreement with an academic point of view should be met with an alternate point of view, not a call for the lynching of the presenter. I had thought our bastions of learning should be above this kind of behaviour.

    • I agree. In fact, I believe in the statement that “the right to free speech” is synonymous with “the right to offend”.

      • yeah until somebody brings up the topic of racism as it applies to you perhaps; then it’s not free speech is it?

        the US’s AG is correct about the cowardly way in which race is approached; i personally think it’s elitism expressed in a colour-caste system. as usual the few benefit from the many until the many wake up.

  15. The thing of it is, when one justifiably criticizes the obvious and accurate shortcomings of sacred cow groups in this country, it’s labeled as racist,bigoted and subject to Human Rights Court of Star Chamber appearances.

    The Americans are absolutely right in their assessment. In trying to construct a Utopian atmosphere, the
    social engineers (staffed largely by those claiming to be historically downtrodden) have constructed a
    totalitarian state.

  16. I think the reserve system is an industry, run by greedy bureaucrats who sit on their fat asses collecting their own glorified welfare, waiting for their pension like potbellied pigs wait for their slop. After these leaches get paid, whats left is for the “indians” to fight over, But to lump all reserves in this assessment, is racist, Is their any mention of the fatcats who get fatter in ottawa? Most reserves are on land that the white man didn’t want, it’s easy to disguise hate speech and call it criticism. I’m sure there is a fair degree of hate speech on stories such as this, just like on cbc.ca

    • ” whats left is for the “indians” to fight over” … and do you think the colonial elitists are finished? the “empty land” applies to the rest of Canada too right now. Canadians as a whole are beginning to suffer similar treatment: divorced from our land as owners or enjoyment of our own resources.

  17. Ever since we were involved with the European we’ve been viewed as “less than human” and this from people who were mostly oblivious to their own had huge problems.
    For sure today, too many of us are perpetuating the hard line look towards us because we are not evolving in fully functional and sustainable way.
    Yet, there is a growing number of those who conveniently claim to being “part-time-Indian or is it part-Indian” – anyways it is hard to figure this out unless you hear them speak or write and how they behave or act around real “reserve Indians”. These people will usually claim depending whatever race or group is in power at the time and what it is safe to be at the time.
    Again like the two central people here, the ones who say that they are like us, they say things first to actually denigrate, belittle, and show an ugly disdain for A REAL SOLUTION and in a humanitarian way.
    They will say things so the others will accept them and they will try to make us all believe that they are only saying it to help end the dysfunction and suffering of the real “Indians” – not the “halfs or the quarters or other quantums ones”. They will mimic the manipulative rhetoric of the colonizers.
    Sadly, it is usually because they had a difficult time growing up, partly seeing and hearing about all those bad “Indians” and all their self-perpetuated problems… and in harsher terms than here.
    From my first-hand experience – They usually are these ones who are “not-outright-visible Indian-looking” and they usually suffered some lateral violence for being “a part and apart” from and of this troubled people. They usually grow up doing the same lateral violence that was done to them growing up, being constantly reminded that, they are part of a race of people who are a dredge on this society and country.
    The solution is to clean up your own disturbing and distorted approach to relating about the solution. Sure it has a lot of emotions and this includes disturbed values and beliefs and the hows and whys we came to this time and place and all that is hidden and causes us to be ugly with the other.
    Write the problems and then write the solution.
    Oh, and find a good whole person to help you resolve your personal problems, if you have any, that is. Model for us, how its done, please, the solution that is. And don’t just sit on the fence and complain or do manipulation or threat or degrade. We been there and done… or do that!

  18. Professor of the White Society: I have a few words of wisdom that you should hear from me. I am an Indigenous person, educated and emotionally intelligent and who is working towards justice for my four beautiful grandchildren. I offer my services as a Legal Advocate for NIsga’a Nation and surrounding areas. We need this service as our people don’t know too much about the white man’s laws and regulations. We did not ever need it before and now that our people are exploited into the mainstream society, one way or the other, they don’t know their rights and need direction and representation. We are an awesome people and we cherish our idenities, at least I do.

    Last May I received 2 degrees from University of Northern British Columbia, degree in Political Science and BA in First Nations studies. I also received 13 scholarships and I am very fortunate not to have you as one of my professors, I would have dropped out of the course, if this happened.

    Just who the hell do you think you are? What name are you trying to achieve? I feel that you think that you are better than us, you are one of the settlers on this land that once belonged to the Indigenous peoples. If you have something good to say, say thankyou.

    The Treaty process in Canada is illegal and I lodged my violation of Indigenous rights with the United Nations Officer of the High Commissioner. It is a long story but I will briefly explain. In 2000, Canada, British Columbia and Nisga’a Lisims Government signed the Nisga’a Treaty. I voted NO but elders were bribed to sign yes. They were paid $300 a day to sit at some meetings and they were warned not to say one word of protest. Well, on June 1, 2008, we pay GST in our community which once was protected under the Crown, 2012, we pay property taxes and we are no longer who we are. The three levels of government surrended all of our rights under the Treaty, without our knowledge and consent. I will sacrifice everything in order to get justice from around the world as our Human Rights Commission has your holier-tan-thou attitude and I told them, we have no JUSTICE in Canada. Your book can be brought forward to this organization for discrimination. Don’t discuss what is none of your damn business. We also need to pay property taxes in 2012 and if we cannot make payments, our entitlement is up for grabs and I hear that this is what the Federal and Provincial governments want to see, to EXTINGUISH the Indians altogether. From now on, I make my mistakes and I make adjust ments to my own life, no Indian Act or Band Council will decide what is best for me.
    In closing, shut up or give your books to Charity, they are not worth a dime.

    • Hear hear, this comment says it all. the governments, especially the harper regime, are out to distinguish our rights, harper has a big hate for “indians” him and his regime haven’t made it a secret their disdain for the native peoples of this country, and this is our “leader”. And I use the term loosely. He’s more like a grand poobah. Or what ever they caal the klan leader.

      • I apologize for jumping the gun on this one, I tend to defend our rights, a natural thing for me. A friend from England who really cares about our affairs emailed me and told me that she is stating what I have always believed is really happeing.

        I am listening to her radio talk show and here is the link http://www.fcpp.org/main/media_file_detail.php?StreamID=1107

        She is telling the truth, most of our monies go to consultants, high priced lawyers and for speaking out, one of Nisga’a Government’s lawyer recently threatned to sue me for defamation of character. I said, Go ahead, she me, open up the books.

        I feel that everyone would benefit from her story and she talks about corruption, the truth and reality of dysfunctional society we live in these days. Good work from a non-Aboriginal observer. Go to
        Her issue is of no importance, have better stuff to accomplish. Enjoy your days off.


    • unfortunately it seems this is being done to all of Canada now; not that many realize it yet; but soon they will.

      my family is international; it is disgraceful to realize that this type of amorality is occurring even now. the sanctimonious manner in which the vulnerable in our society is being treated by govt officials and related on one hand, demonized on the other, and straight up cheated/swindled altogether, is absolutely unacceptable. this is depraved indifference, imo.

      those in favour of this may find themselves in jail or on the receiving end of such treatment. the Golden Rule/Karma actually exists. and International rights of indigenous ppl exists too. i believe it can also be applied retroactively if proceedings against such ppls, mostly vulnerable, have been conducted in a deceitful and illegal manner.

    • Tahoe! From Mi'kmaq territory

    • It sounds to me that Sylvia has a legitimate beef with the aboriginal industry that WIddowson describes. She may have more in common with Frances than she realizes.

    • Right on Sylvia! As a Nisga'a Nation member raised "away" due to the 60's scoop I see the struggles and also am fighting the "land deal" the nisga'a were railroaded into signing. Just listen to all my family at gingolx and talk to my auntie mercy thomas and support the process in court. The world should know what has gone on in the land deal and how the wolf tribe of the gingolx village lost all their heriditary land.
      stone bear, nisga'a nation gingolx

  19. I have no idea whether what Widdowson claims is true or false, or whether her argument is strong or weak, or whether it’s obnoxiously ethnocentric. And frankly, I don’t much care. What bothers me is that people can be legally intimidated into shutting up when they say something non-pc.

    You can’t have a free society while forbidding offensive speech – it’s incompatible. Like my grandfathers, I’d put my life on the line before giving up the free society I was born into. Do leftists have any idea what kind of pot they’re stirring here?? (judging from the insights of the usual paid leftist commenters, the answer seems to be no.)

    • I network with other Indigenous peoples and we are on the same page, dealing with dysfunctional governance of First Nations..right now, Phil Fontaine is on the radio talk show and this author has fuffled their feathers, which is a good thing. She could be our Aboriginal Ombudsman (woman) as she knows the truth.

      This is an excerpt from a recent email from a supporter:
      The AFN with it’s some 600 chiefs plus lawyers and other hangers-on receive around
      $10 BILLION ANNUALLY, intended for various aboriginal reserve programs, yet we continue to get more and more reports of abysmal third-world conditions on reserves.

      Internet is a useful tool as in the dark ages, we had no contact with the outside world, now I know what happens, up to the minute, with Google alerts..
      You must listen to the talk show to understand, too bad I missed the coverage, I would have been her number one supporter. Good luck!

  20. Aaaaaaand here we go again with a horrifically written article (are the scare quote words intended to mean anything when they are entirely out of context) causing the Constantly Outraged to believe they have the first clue what was actually said at the presentation and therefore foam and spit appropriately.

  21. “Aboriginal Problems” Hate Crime or Brave enough to talk about it.
    Thanks Frances Widdowson for speaking up if we spoke up we would be called rable rousers or trouble makers. But too few want to hear the truth about the reserve system, we agree it is not working but to say that the answer is to assimilate us is ridiculous, and impossible. Why don’t you ask us what we want, we don’t want to be assimilated, we are not white, caucasion, we are People of This Land we are the caregivers and we are being stopped from caring for the land because of government policy and society not believing in our way of life, as many people as there are in the world that is how many ways there are to reach Great Spirit,(God), we all have our own cultural teaching that guide us, there is not only one way, that is self absorbtion and wanting to be right(white is right) NOT. People have the opinion that we are all drunks and they are wrong, I was in a taxi one day the driver asked me if I was native I said yes and he said oh really, you don’t look native, the only natives I know are the drunks on the street, I said that’s funny because the only Natives that I know are all doctors, teachers, social workers, lawyers, business owners and many others, and I really don’t know any drunks. Is this how the majority of the people see us, I think it is about time to educate the people about our history and how we arrived in this position in the world. We are not less than you, in Great Spirit’s eyes we are all equal, and the way I was raised was that first we are Spirit and then we are human. We are Spiritual Beings on a Human experience and we have spiritual lessons we were sent here to learn from being human. You all seem to convenently forget this is our land, you are tenents of our land and we do not see you taking very good care of her, you keep destroying everything in your path, there will be nothing left to pass onto the grandchildren and future generations. What are you leaving behind unto seven generations. I was taught to live a life that will be remembered unto 7 Generations????? PS Talk to us, we know what we want. Thanks M.R Aubichon. This is only my opinion but thought it should be heard.

    • Thank you…well said. No need to say more. Tahoe! Mi'kmaq Territory

    • miigwetch!! Well said!

      Agree or don't agree with Widdowson – there are points that strike close to the heart that raise defencive voices. There is also much ignorance and sadness in her writings. She spoke the truth from her heart – for that we have to respect her. That is part of our grandfather teachings. Don't agree with her, that is ok. We are talking and this is good.

      • I do not agree with her either but it is true, we are all entitled to have different opinions. I guess the only appropriate response is to publish academic writing and provide public education that directly challenges what I believe are the ethnocentric and racist writings that she publishes. I am deeply saddened that someone that has these beliefs holds a position in a public education institution in Canada but at the same time I am not surprised.

  22. i'd like to know what credentials make Widdowson an expert on traditional indigenous ways of life, ways of knowing, and worldviews.

    people ought to speak and write about what they know best. based on the culturally biased and ill-informed statements i've read thus far, it seems that Widdowson's understanding of Canada's FNMI peoples is limited, and mere opinion at best.

    • I would like to know as well. I have looked at her profile on the Mount Royal website (which is the school at which she teaches and I assume also does research) but it does not give a very extensive biography or profile.

  23. It must be a slow day in academia, they can't find anything else to write about. I think this is all a ruse to get notoriety for herself. She was probably not being taken seriously as a educator and decided to pick the native issue again, breathe some life into a already overly-studied facet of the world of academics. There are a lot of native people who have and are still attending Mount Royal College, did she think about how these comments would affect the student body? I wonder how much of her comments are presented in her classes? Is it no wonder that we as Aboriginal people have not progressed past the "do you still live in teepees?" stage? Why don't you spend a couple of weeks on one of the reserves and get an actual insight into the Aboriginal way of life, we are not all addicted to drugs and alcohol!!! Shame on Mount Royal College.

    • Im sorry ahead of time if I say anything that offends thats not my intent. Ok now where is it in her job description that she has to only say thing that make everyone happy its her opinion it doe's not have to be yours or mine. Heres a quick thought. If the author( a white woman) were to go spend some time on a reserve how would she be treated overall? obviousley if she did now that would be redundant but before hand. Do you think that she would be generally accepted or maybe even guided and shown what she doe's not know. Or more likely experience racism herself? Most caucasians that have commented are angry about tax dollars going to social programs. Most aboriginals are angry because its not enough. Unfortunately when the strongest emotion is anger nothing gets solved. and In this day and age there are success stories from all races and creeds and just as many sad cases. There are both caucasians and aboriginals that are fine examples of human beings, there are both that also have nothing. Mistreatment and disadvantage are universal.

  24. It must be a slow day in academia, they can't find anything else to write about. I think this is all a ruse to get notoriety for herself. She was probably not being taken seriously as a educator and decided to pick the native issue again, breathe some life into a already overly-studied facet of the world of academics. There are a lot of native people who have and are still attending Mount Royal College, did she think about how these comments would affect the student body? I wonder how much of her comments are presented in her classes? Is it no wonder that we as Aboriginal people have not progressed past the "do you still live in teepees?" stage? Why don't you spend a couple of weeks on one of the reserves and get an actual insight into the Aboriginal way of life, we are not all addicted to drugs and alcohol!!! Shame on Mount Royal College.

  25. Ok heres a question for everyone that has commented. Why is it that no one seems to be able to speak about any of it from an unbiased view the author as much as some may dislike her views seems to have done this. Right or wrong isnt the question. No one knows exactly what any author means. Her writings are interpreted individualy. The issue is supposed to be simply should she be censored? There are more then a few things said on both sides of this long debate in the comments that are far worse then hers. everyone needs to stop blameing each other maybe then a solution might be found. no most caucasion people do not know all the details. but neither do the indiginous. Things have happened in the last three hundred years that have to be dealt with I agree. Unfortunately i wasnt there on either side to do things differently on either side. so why is it that I have to pay for my ancestors mistakes. the indiginous can cry racism and so can the caucasian. thats the funny thing. Both sides are just as angry and pointing fingers at the other. We should all be equal. This cannot happen until both sides stop blameing one another and take responsibility for their own actions and futures. I apologize if any of my comments raise ire. Yet causeing ire bringing questions and discussing the issues are the only way to solve them is'nt it.

  26. We are still reeling in Cree/Treaty 6 territory over her words a couple of weeks ago…she is lacking in personal insight, spirituality and especially a kind heart. It was the kind hearts of my ancestors that allowed visitors to stay on our island – these visitors forgot to go home. Any young child knows the definition of visitor; so how come the people who don't come from this land "they" called North America, have not left to go home? I say this with a kind heart. My children are being raised as princesses and princes, to borrow words from a language that is still foreign to me and mine. They are taught to be proud Cree people – NEHIYAW. It's time to recognize what the Creator is still trying to tell us….that we are all of a land and we need to take care of what we were given. I applaud the Jewish people for returning to their homeland amidst the chaos as they have chosen to recognize where they come from and where their people still are, living and caring for their own.

    • ” It was the kind hearts of my ancestors that allowed visitors to stay on our island – these visitors forgot to go home.”

      That’s a bunch of nonsense…

  27. Is there a dysfunctional Aboriginal industry preventing self determination? Yes some lawyers, consultants, academics etc who bleed communities of their resources and traditional knowledge and do not have responsibilities to the communities. Some don't even realize they are part of this industry that keeps many in a state of dependency.

    Is the reserve system working? No its akin to concentration camps and is a left over attempt to segregate a population that wont assimilate like "good little Indians". Traditional lands -that is a different story.

    Is spirituality ignorance and archaic – no Professor Widdowson, its ingrained in EVERY society in the world – you just have to see it or believe in it. Ask an Anthropologist.

    Why as an academic I cannot bring in spirituality into academic discourse – becasue academia is a western patriarchal system biased in favour of old world systems.

    Is traditional knowledge ignorance and archaic? No – corporate social responsibility, environmental stewardship, community protection, generational strategic planning etc etc ALL are our traditional teachings! Other businesses are just now catching up to Indigenous businesses! We have been doing business for thousands of years – get used to it. The government has done everything to prevent economic sustainability and yet we prevail and are getting stronger by the day! Our innovation is strong – we have to be to figure out ways around the road blocks that the government places in front of us.


  28. This is not hate speech. Nor is it a tough critique. It is terrible terrible scholarship. Any serious Marxist can see, reading this book, that the authors are not well versed in the political theory they ascribe to and rely on heavily for their arguments. Moreover, take a scan through the footnotes, and look into the sheer volume of SELF citation (and in some cases, citations of papers that were presented at conferences, as opposed to properly peer reviewed), and also reliance on non-academic sources such as media, etc. The questions they pose are legitimate – no academic would argue that – the manner in which they are dealt with – just bad scholarship. Nothing more.

  29. This not academic writing, this is just the same racist kkk rhetoric you would expect from Gary Mchael or any of his goons. Anyhow your victimizing yourself which is (Pathetic.) OH your rights are being violated now? Look at the Indigenous issues and how long have they been ignored? You are a disgust to Academic's and by the way Karl Marx was influenced by the Iroquois and so was the United States, :O

  30. these racist thugs (as opposed to those who do not do this) harass, intimidate, abuse, discredit, and try to shut up anyone and everyone who dares speak up about this issue. It’s a SELF INFLICTED “perceived” victim hood that they use to be the perpetrators. I have had gang rape threats, death threats, and for 10 months an insane cyber stalker gang have pursued me to the point of criminal harassment. WE MUST STOP ACQUIESCING TO THIS RACIST BULLYING FROM THE ABORIGINALS! They attack anyone who addresses this issue and they go out of their way to demolish them, and make sure everyone is afraid to talk…and that is what Hitler’s Brown Shirts did. We do not have to succumb to this..it’s racism and it’s bullying and it’s wrong. The aboriginals have NO right bullying our country and peoples. END RACE BASED LAW.

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