The Canada most people don't see - Macleans.ca
 

The Canada most people don’t see

It has an unemployment rate worse than Sudan. The infant mortality rate is worse than Russia. And the injustice is appalling.


 
Indigenous children play in a water- filled ditch in the northern Ontario First Nations reserve in Attawapiskat, Ont., on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. In many ways, Attawapiskat - population 2,100 - has all the trappings of any small town, including older folk lamenting the changing of the times. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Indigenous children play in a water- filled ditch in the northern Ontario First Nations reserve in Attawapiskat, Ont., on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Imagine your daughter, 15 years old, sneaks some booze and gets drunk for the first time. She is found by the police, who arrest and handcuff her. A male cop body searches her in public. When she asks for a female officer, he grabs your daughter by the hair and slams her head against the police car so hard it dents the hood. She is then taken to a holding cell where other officers mock her while she cries.

Imagine your spouse is kidnapped by a violent criminal. He ties her up with electrical cords, sexually assaults her, and then stabs her. She manages to struggle free, but can’t open the door because her hands are too slippery with her own blood. Against all odds, she survives, and a year later, at the trial, the prosecutor and the judge decide to lock up your wife because they want to ensure she is available to testify. She is put in the same remand centre as the man who raped and stabbed her. They share the same van to the courthouse.

Imagine the incandescent rage you would feel if this happened to your family. It’s hard to, because these scenarios are so implausible they are almost impossible to conjure. If you’re white, that is. If you’re Indigenous, these are not hypothetical horror stories—they are simply descriptions of life in their Canada.

The first incident occurred in Thunder Bay; it is taken from the testimony of an Indigenous girl named Skye Kakegamic speaking at a coroner’s inquiry into the deaths of several First Nations teens.  The mayor, Keith Hobbs, has downplayed the extent of the racism problem in Thunder Bay, arguing racism exists in all cities but what’s important is to street proof kids.

The second took place in Edmonton. Angela Cardinal (the name used by the CBC due to a court publication ban) was remanded by provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek at the request of Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes. They were both simply concerned about the victims’ mental and physical state as she testified in court, and sent her to jail for her own good.

Innes, Bodnarek, Hobbs, me, you—we all live in a country where the police are there to help, the courts are just, and life on the whole is safe and rewarding. But Cardinal and Kakegamic live in a different Canada.

Most of us don’t see that Canada. It has an unemployment rate worse than Sudan and the median income is on par with Latvia. There, the infant mortality rate is worse than Russia. The sewage systems often don’t work, and there is no fire department. Medical facilities are few and far away. Drug and alcohol addictions are rampant. TB is at epidemic levels, and the rate of HIV infection is higher than Nigeria’s. This is a Canada of broken windows in tarpaper shacks.

No, our Canada is a different place. In high school when we sneak some beer the police don’t beat us. Our wives don’t live in fear of sexual assault, and the justice system treats us with compassion. Life is good. By every measure, our Canada is one of the safest, healthiest and most prosperous places in the world. Sitting on our backyard decks, barbecuing steaks for dinner, we’re a very long ways from the other Canada.

And you can be forgiven, I suppose, for not really caring about that other Canada. How can you? You don’t see it. You don’t know anyone who lives there. You rarely hear about it on the news, and when you do, the Prime Minister or some other politician is always there to reassure us they really care and they’re making things better. There will even be a few Hoop Dancers on the Canada Day stage, because we’re very inclusive and sensitive in this Canada. So sensitive, in fact, that when someone satirically proposes a cultural appropriation prize, we are collectively incensed. Things like that aren’t tolerated in our Canada.

Meanwhile, in the other Canada, Angela Cardinal was shot and killed seven months after her ordeal in the courthouse. In the other Canada there are 89 communities without safe drinking water. A child is more likely to be sexually assaulted than to graduate high school. The murder rate is worse than Somalia’s and the incarceration rate is the highest in the world. Imagine if that was your Canada. Imagine your rage if your children lived there.

Imagine if you cared.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the mayor of Thunder Bay, Keith Hobbs, told media there isn’t a racism problem in his city. In fact, Hobbs said that racism exists in Thunder Bay and all cities.


 

The Canada most people don’t see

  1. This is the last national problem we have yet to solve…..interesting that it’s the earliest as well.

    • It not just native that get treated this way , us pagans suffer the same atrocities as natives , not only that but our lands were taken over , our lands and murdered anyone who refused to convert to the Christian faith . Its not the white man that is the aggressor , its the Christians . The Christians took over Scotland Ireland and Britain , and almost succeed in wiping all pagans off the face of the planet . less then 100 Druids survived . And even today Zionistic boss’s fire pagans , that’s why we practice our religion , and way of life in in secrete . Zionists hate anyone who refuses to adhere to their beliefs . Look it up and you will find the pagan way of life and beliefs very similar to that of the Natives . The pigs and courts are Zionistic bigots . We respect Natives as they suffer the same injustices we do . Zionists have no respect for the land or the life of other living things like we do . Respects 6/36

      • Well that’s an interesting take on it, Phantomm Legion. I had thought myself that this article isn’t an accurate representation of society, as there are other categories of people who have been treated the same way. And here you, too, like the article’s author, focus on a people who thought they held ownership of the land and seemingly, still struggle for that today. At least some do, the ones who remain. Perhaps they are the heroes, and not to be despised or felt sorry for, or misunderstood, for not leaving the past behind and trying to assimilate into the white man’s (and other colours now) world.

        So, to continue on with the story, you say the Christians took over from weaker inhabitants. And what will happen as the numbers of Muslims increase? I agree, when you say how you have empathy with the indigenous peoples. I have felt that way too, though the feeling was not mutual. We all have our own way of understanding our situation here on earth; some are more obvious to sort out a basic understanding about. Some not so easy. But for sure, the category “indigenous peoples of Canada” are not the only ones here getting the short end of the stick. There are many secretive ways of life. I’m sure the indigenous people still have their own ways, as you say Pagans do, and others in society who share a way of life but prefer not to talk about it.

  2. But, Gilmore, you fail to ask the most basic question. Why aren’t natives leaving the reserves en masse? Why are some Canadians expending fairly substantial sums- as detailed in this very magazine- to be officially acknowledged as Indians? There is a powerful dichotomy here. You can’t simply blame racism for the fact that the grandchildren of natives who went to high school in the 70’s are largely mired on reserves when the grandchildren of Vietnamese “boat people” are graduating from university as doctors and engineers, or own small businesses. You can’t blame the racism of Canadians for the broad failures of our native community in a country where Filipino’s are increasingly being known and feted for being “builders” of the communities in which they live.
    Are you trying to imply that Canada is such a racist country that natives are somehow being shut out of the mainstream of Canadian society? My observation is that the door is wide open. All that is required is to walk through it. Sure, the above stories are reprehensible. But, they’re not the norm of society.
    The most important question that needs to be asked of Canada’s native leaders is basic. What are you and your band council doing to ensure that the native children born this year will enter adulthood as full members of the broader society?

    • Bill [our resident racist] has shown up.

      • Thank you, Emily. Informing readers of the expected racism apologists helps to bypass wasted time.

      • is he really a racist? generally I think we all need to listen a little more to what’s being said.
        Bill has asked some questions. racist or not, I am actually interested in the answers/discussion and his (and your) perspective.

        I am not saying I support his views. But the diversity of opinion, perspective and discussion is powerful.

        • In a word, yes.

        • Every time…for years now… that there’s an article on natives Bill shows up to ask the same questions and offer the same solution……natives should get jobs and work the same 9-5 as every one else and everything will be hunky dory.

          The fact that natives don’t have any money or education…….and not remotely the same culture breezes right past his ears.

          What it comes down to is that Bill wants to ‘lower taxes’ and he doesn’t care about any other aspect.

          • Don’t derail the debate at hand just because you don’t want someone else’s opinion. The comparison with asian refugees is on point.

            Please exercise real empathy with the reserves-stricken natives here : project yourself as living on one of these reserves. Beatdown house, rampant sexual violence, threats, physical and psychological violence, intimidation, no education, no security. And all this is caused to you by members of your own community. The community you’re staying in to “keep it alive”.

            Would you not run like all get out in order to protect your family and yourself? Would you not want to at least TRY to get yourself some of what “the others” have? A half decent appartment, schooling, an income, medical care? I’d run. I’d run as fast as I can. The people on reserves DO need help, they need help becoming an active part of society.

          • I think many people feel what Bill is talking about……also if education is the issue than you go get one!! my native family is 100% educated with many of them going to college etc…..wanna know why?? because we admit drunken ignorance is a choice not a forced reality!! my neice who is full blood native just got accepted to university….she did so with hard work and dedication not one free handout I am beyond proud!!

        • Yes, let’s all pretend letting a racist spreading his foolishness and one of his targets justifying their existence is some form of reasoned debate. How very Canadian of us.

          • Exactly. So many white supremacists and racists crawl out of the woodwork whenever an article on FN issues appears. You people are like rabid, seething dogs that need to be put out of your misery. Your twisted attempts to appear normal or logial aren’t fooling anyone. Get help.

            For the rest of you: stop with the White Saviour BS. Just stop. And then before you write or utter another word about First Nations in this settler state known as Canada, go read read the reports and recommendations put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

            Know that we First Nations know exactly what’s wrong in our communites and exactly who and what is to blame. What’s more, we’ve actually sat down, studied and analyzed the problems and provided all the solutions.

            The only question now is: will this inherently racist settler state open it’s ears and listen and take action on these solutions or will Canadians perpetuate the same racist, colonialist attitudes and practices that have oppressed Indigenous People for the last 150 years? Are settlers in Canada going to continue to keep Indigenous Peoples down so they can continue to plunder our resources and live their cushy lives at our expense?

          • How is any of that racist? Are facts racist now? Have you never met a native ever? Discussing the points is far more productive than screaming racist, and nobody is here to give you virtue signal points. What is wrong with people? VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE RACIST! People keep screaming it regardless of the situation.

          • If you’re calling me a racist, how very liberal of you. What avenues would you propose to solve what seems to be only made that much more intractable by the current approach? What would you change? What would you do the same?
            I would very much like to hear more of what Kathleen Klassen has to say on the subject. My guess is that she would likely make suggestions that mirror my own. The bottom line is inescapable- The status quo does not work.
            My solutions are straightforward. Identify and isolate those band chiefs and councils who are unjustly enriching themselves at the expense of their own communities and the public at large.
            Give individuals the opportunity for more control over their own destinies, and that of their family, without the overweening control of the nanny state and often corrupt band government.
            Encourage the growth of viable communities, but encourage the abandonment of non-viable ones, with the stated goal of ending the race-based social experiment that is our current native policy. That would include putting a hard date on the closure of the federal ministry responsible. I like July 1, 2032.
            That would mean that the last native child born as a de facto ward of the state is still seven years away. Do we really want to say that we cannot abandon an unsuccessful policy, frame a new one, and enact it in seven years?
            To say we can’t is to admit that I’m 100% correct when I say that government is our biggest problem.

      • I wish there could be some actual discourse on the subject. Every time someone asks questions like these, they get shut down as being a racist. At that point, we’re attacking the person and no longer discussing ideas. Let’s face it, the problems aren’t getting better folks. The government isn’t going to solve this for First Nations, that much is clear, and money alone seemingly hasn’t had a lot of impact, so where does that leave us?

        I truly would be appreciative of hearing from First Nations themselves what their experience has been with the reservation system, and if they see that being a path forward. Is there another way to maintain cultural identity without being tied to a system that essentially says “Your land and your cultural identity are inextricably linked”?

    • Bill, let me ask you a question. Do enjoy your second and seventh fundamental right as stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? ( for your convenience in case you forget http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-15.html). If you do, allow me share with you some reasons why aboriginals wouldn’t want to leave the reserves that they have been placed on and how the second and seventh fundamental right plays into this explanation.
      1. Aboriginal lands are more than just land, they hold years, no, not just years, centuries of history that help preserve identity, knowledge, and culture. If aboriginals were to leave their lands because actions weren’t taken to acknowledge, address, correct, and bring justice to the injustices that are taking place there, wouldn’t it be a direct violation of the seventh fundamental right, the right to life, liberty and security? Given that (a) their lives are jeopardized due to racism, blatant or institutionalized, daily and ones life shouldn’t be dependant on a police officers mood or racist views, and life should not be lived walking on eggshells due to fear, (b) the liberty to exercise basic human activities, such as drinking (don’t tell me you don’t know or haven’t known a minor who drank/any person who drank more than their fair share of alcohol and passed out somewhere) isn’t something that should be treated with barbaric actions such as the ones used on Skye Kakegamic, and that such actions should be deemed beyond inappropriate for such situations (plural for these incidents are not isolated) and (c) the feeling of safety in ones own country and community is compromised because of the situations that are stated in this article as well as many others (Oka Crisis, Site C Dam, Kinder Morgan Pipeline), wouldn’t you agree that they (the above reasons) are in direct violation of the seventh fundamental right? Imagine all of this happened to you, a vast majority of your cultural history had ties to where you were living, and leaving could mean cultural genocide. Would you leave? Or would you fight to make things better? To cultivate your garden (Candide, Voltaire. You should read it if you haven’t already)? To get justice?
      2. Aboriginal lands are more than just land, they are burial grounds for their families and ancestors. The same applies as did for the above. Life, liberty, security.
      3. Aboriginal lands are more than just land, they are the equivalent of a Mosque for Islam or a Church for Christianity. If aboriginals were to leave the land where there are spiritual ties specific to that place, would it not be a violation of the second fundamental right described in Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Unlike a building, where a majority of religious practices are carried out, that can be rebuilt should you need to upheave your entire life and move your religious practice to another place due to bad community conditions, land that has had spiritual significance for centuries cannot be moved, rebuilt, etc.. The land is spiritual because of its location and historical significance. If nothing was done to correct the wrongs done in the communities or to stop them from continuing to happen, to the point of the communities being inhabitable because of racism and brutality, wouldn’t moving no longer be a choice but something that is forced since no actions were taken to improve the conditions there, therefore making it almost impossible for aboriginals to practice their spiritual beliefs since it was entered around the land on which they lived which would mean that aboriginals are not subject to exercise the second fundamental right which they are supposedly allowed to exercise?

      Beyond that, why do you think the answer is to leave the land and assimilate? Why isn’t the answer provide justice for those who are subject to hate crimes and racism and extend the same resources, rights, freedoms and amenities that every Canadian has the right to? Why isn’t the answer make those who have allowed for these injustices to prevail, pay for their deplorable ways by means of losing their job or being incarcerated?
      Assimilation is not justice nor will it solve the problem at hand, it will merely continue to follow the pattern of covering up the innumerable injustices to aboriginals, and there is no justice or merit in that, is there?

      • Talia. Well-said. People who are assimilated into society like to pretend (or maybe their believe) their way is better and that they are all upstanding citizens.

        I would have responded to Kathleen Klassen but there was no Reply button. Who knows how some people move so seamlessly into another way of life. And what have they had to give up?

      • I can understand that these are ancestral lands… but let’s do a reality check here: this is like a woman staying in an abusive relationship because she thinks this is all she can get. The reservations are now dangerous to live in, both physically and emotionally. The infrastructure is so beyond repair that it would cost billions, if not trillions, to repair them all — and where do these people go while all this is rebuilt from the ground up? Countless millions have been poured into the reservations, only to promptly disappear — and the only people I see living well off that are the tribal leaders, not the people themselves. The casinos rake in tons of cash, and yet the natives see little of it.

        After a while, it just becomes a matter of common sense to ask why the FN people make the conscious choice to live in an environment that is, frankly, so unhealthy for anyone that it’s amazing anyone lives past thirty.

        • Sean Stephane Martin

          What makes you think our society outside the reservation is any healthier to live in?

          You, know, we’ve been looking at this in terms of indigenous peoples vs non-indigenous, whereas the real dichotomy is class-based, whether on the reservation or off it. The ones on the reservation who have money will generally be better off than the ones with less or none, and the same holds true for anyone off the reservation, in Canadian urban or rural society.

          Wherever women live, domestic violence is a risk. Getting out of it is only the first step. There is violence and abuse everywhere. Ask yourself, where are the support groups for women and children abused by the medical system. even though we know it happens. It is as well-protected as the reservation schools were. And in other areas of society, abuse is hidden, unless you think it is only the Catholics that engage in it. Or comedians. Just as in traditional Canadian society, the problem – the main problem, is based on class – economic class, and social class. Those at the bottom will be treated badly, and those closer to the top will be treated with more respect, for no other reason than the fact they have money and thus power – on and off the reservation – whatever their colour, whatever their religion.

          I know you would find it hard to believe (or hard to acknowledge), that our society is not equally fair towards all people, no matter wherever they live. Ask yourself why so many people are treated as though they are intelligent when it is obvious they are not. It’s because our society and the people in it like to treat the wealthy with respect and the rest as though they deserve little or nothing. I’ll just bet you think our healthcare system is as good to any of us outside the reservation as it has been for you.

  3. What a powerful description of the problem. Any suggestions on solutions?

    • There have already been numerous solutions and answers proposed by the Indigenous communities ad nauseum, via RCAP, the TRC Report, all the requests that the treaties be lived up to, to the Indian Act obligations being fulfilled – finally, even the Cdn Auditor General had specifics in 2011, etc. etc. etc.

      Those agreements and obligations were spelled out in ‘perpetuity’. So, the Cdns continue to rip out the resources and land in perpetuity, but grossly and unfairly renege on every deal and obligation to the Indigenous. The average Cdn. lives a far cushier lifestyle literally off the backs of the Indigenous while deliberately sidestepping every word of proposal, solution, requirements made by them. Canada, hasn’t changed much for it’s celebrated 150th. Way to live it up.

      • It’s vital to point out that the paragraphs that contain the phrase “in perpetuity” also include the phrase “as the Crown sees fit.” The Crown answers to the electorate, which means that the resources allocated can be very, very small amounts “in perpetuity.”
        What if the electorate asks the Crown to reduce the cuurent levels of support? We have the legal right to do just that, while still honoring the treaties.

        • Yes, it’s quite revealing the number of paragraphs that were added after the fact by ‘the Crown’. Incredibly low brow indecency, eh?

  4. Wait you give an example that happened in Edmonton. Okay most people in Southern Ontario don’t see it, how is that? I live in downtown Calgary it’s right outside my door. If you live in the prairies it’s something you sadly get very used to. If you want to write about some remote reserve you need to fly to as a hidden poverty example, you should do that. But something happening I Edmonton isn’t hidden. Unless you are in Toronto.

  5. There have already been numerous solutions and answers proposed by the Indigenous communities ad nauseum, via RCAP, the more recent TRC Report, all the requests that the treaties be lived up to, to the Indian Act obligations being fulfilled–finally, even the Cdn Auditor General had specifics in 2011, etc. etc. etc.

    Those agreements and obligations were spelled out in ‘perpetuity’. So, the Cdns continue to rip out the resources and land in perpetuity, but grossly and unfairly renege on every deal and obligation to the Indigenous, while they forget their collective history of the Indian Act that forbade the Indigenous from making a fair living, forbade them from deciding even what crops could be grown on reserves, forbade them from being able to hire legal help, forbade them from not having a vote in anything until 1950, to not even being allowed to create a will without gov’t approval. That’s only a small part of the fun facts easily turned away from the prying consciences of Canada. Funny how much this part of the Cdn success stories leave out the Indigenous cost for their success, which by the way, includes paying for all those new immigrant stories too.

    The average Cdn. lives a far cushier lifestyle literally off the backs of the Indigenous while deliberately sidestepping every word of proposal, solution, requirements made by them. Canada, hasn’t changed much for it’s celebrated 150th. Way to live it up.

    • While there is a lot to be said for the article and the comments, I can only make mine on the basis of a few years experience flying into such communities and flying out tubercular Inuit and Indians from the areas discussed – Northern Ontario, the Barren Lands Labrador, Baffin Island and the higher Arctic. I also lived right next door to a BC reserve for 14 years – as well as observing one down the road a few miles.A few observations and questions.

      Observation 1: While most of the FN do little to help themselves, The Inuit do. I observed a FN reserve that has been much in the news where the drinking water was polluted. The sewage outfall was upstream from the water intake and it would only take three or four men with shovels to rectify the problem. They claimed they were waiting for the government to bring in a bulldozer.

      Observation 2. The chief of the reserve next door was drunk at least 50% of the time. He bragged to me that nobody missed the band funds that were used to keep most of the males (and some females) in a drunken stupor most of the time while kids barely had clothes and enough to eat. Fortunately it was not an area with a harsh winter climate – miserable, but not harsh. I heard and saw the drunken men beating the women and teenage girls. . When I called the RCMP they rousted a few but it was the same the next day. The very worst (the pariahs) were relegated to a corner of the reserve a couple of miles away. The RCMP picked up a few and some of them were knocked around in the jail awaiting court. I did not report it after that.

      Observation 3 The FN habitations in the North were filthy and rundown. TB was endemic at that time and we (RCAF) flew out planeloads (Indians from Northern Quebec to Parc Savard Hospital outside Quebec city, Inuit to Queen Mary in Montreal for treatment. For years I am told that nobody ever came back until an intervention program started (a ship took X-Rays of all they were in touch with leading to evacuation. One day we returned a young Inuit boy who had been cured. It was like magic in the community (Pangnirtung)

      Observation 4. While certain of the Inuit showed some spirit and ambition, several leaving and going to high school and University down South, the FN just did not seem to give a dam – perhaps it was effect of residential schools, although I notice over the years that several of those who have led the activities against the residential schools have managed to become lawyers so I guess there was some merit in the program.

      Observation 5. The so-called highway of tears between Prince George and Prince Rupert is often patrolled by big strong FN men in pickup trucks who on my own experience hassle tourists and elderly persons, not to mention young FN women and girls. I have also heard this being experienced by other travellers. Hearsay, but perhaps there is something in it.

      Observation 6. IT is not all bad. THE FN reserve in Osoyoos BC is a going concern. The leader is an accountant who arranged to hire expert in various fields to help them set up a business plan for several facets to their operations. What had been a desert beside a lake now has destination accommodation, and RV site, a campground, a boat launch, a golf course and not to mention a first class winery. Admittedly, they have the benefit of water, sunshine and fertile desert soil but the point is that they did it.

      I wonder 7. Why don’t more FN leave the reservation for proper schooling and the development of an economic career for themselves? And why are some of us encouraging “native studies” and other such stuff that has no relevance to today’s world and leads the away from reality . Can they make a living beating their drums and singing? Is the taint of residential schools that strong and bad that it makes them turn away and stay on the reserve?

      Summary: While there are certainly things that can be done – get rid of the reserve system and create an environment that moves the FN from the tyranny of their leaders, reliance on fishing and hunting? But are we doing them a favour by funding the Department of Indian Affairs with until recently a lack of accountability? Maybe we should distribute the money directly to the mothers who are trying to feed and clothe their families on the condition that any one who spends it on booze or drugs would be cut off and place in a remedial program????.

      Personally, I don’t feel guilty over the situation the FN find themselves in. If they really want, the solution to their problems is within their grasp with our help.

      Don’t feel guilty because of this article; I sure as shooting don’t.

      • Well, of course you wouldn’t feel guilty. You’ve fully embraced your colonialist leanings which includes absolutely ignoring the history that created these atrocious consequences.

        Yep, way to celebrate an entire system built to break an entire race of people and when it did, it ran off with all the tools for healing, while yelling back, “hey yeah, have fun with that mess we made of ya and also, get over it”. How nice for you to be able to live in that level of privileged ignorance.

        As for using the old and very tired e.g. of Oosoyoos as the paramount of Indigenous virtue, yes, if only all the people who were pushed onto reserves of ever-increasing dismal value, had the advantages of a band in the middle of a huge swath of unceded, rich territory with exceptional gov’t intervention.

        By the way, no one gives a damn about your guilt. Who would want that? No, what the calls have been for, are far more practical and enriching. If you can’t be a part of Cda’s honour system, let’s hope you stay out of the way of those who are.

        • I read what Blacktop asked and, while I don’t agree with some of his inferences, I understand what he says. What I’d like to hear from you Robyn is a few lines summarizing all you apparently know that would actually address this mess. It makes me gag that we throw so much money over the walls of the reserves and nothing positive ever seems to result.
          And from my experience working in both the reserve in Armstrong Ontario and then the one in Lac La Ronge Saskatchewan, good paying jobs being available doesn’t seem to help. In Armstrong, the people were quite poor but courteous and quite civil. In La Ronge, the majority worked in the diamond mines and made good money but the number of drunks each night and the number of women being beat up by the men was atrocious. It was almost like a contest to see who could amass the largest number of charges to be heard by the circuit judge when he rolled through town every two weeks.

          • I direct you back to the insights, solutions, and recommendations already put forward by various years of work by Indigenous community leaders:
            the very recent 94 recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Report, the records in the RCAP, and of course myriad statements that speak directly to your points and beyond within the 2011 spring and fall reports of the Cdn Auditor General. In that report alone you will learn that at most, the percentage of Indigenous funds that actually make it reserves is approximately 30% of what is announced in the annual budgets.

            These anecdotal tales are merely anecdotal tales. They are not the story nor history.

        • But Robyn, the reality is that you can’t lay this at the feet of the white man.
          For starters, 19th century natives were essentially stone age tribesmen. The advent of Europeans brought 10,000 years of advance in a short period of time. You can’t begin to list the benefits that brought. The racism of the early interaction between Europeans and Indians has to be viewed through 17th, 18th, and 19th century lenses for proper context and understanding. Frankly, of course they thought the natives were inferior. At a time when Sir Christopher Wren had designed and built magnificent cathedrals, Canada’s natives had no written language.
          In that same vein, you can’t claim that Canada’s riches have been acquired “on the backs” of natives. A people who had no concept of iron or copper ore, or oil, would not have mined and smelted it.
          You can’t blame racism, because the facts on the ground don’t support the claim. In my city, visible minorities own scores of successful small, and not so small, businesses. Their customers are anybody who walks in the door. Hundreds of businesses employ thousands of visible minorities. Nobody gives a rats ass about the color of skin of the guy who did the alignment on the minivan.
          I’ve worked with scores of people who have endured and risen above serious setbacks and trials. Many newcomers to Canada cannot believe all the things we do to try and bring our natives mainstream, to little avail.
          I grew up in a little town with no future. So I left. Yet natives stay in droves in hell holes like Attiwapiskat or Kashechewan. Why? Cripes, if we’re hiring kids from China to work in the Tim Horton’s, why can’t we fill those jobs with kids from LaLoche? At least they know the language.
          Then there’s the violence question. You can’t simply throw up your hands and blame whitey for the fact that Indians beat and murder their women and children at a rate multiple times higher than the general population. This isn’t merely a product of the Residential Schools, because the number of people who had positive outcomes from those schools is pretty high. There’s something else at work in that.
          You also can’t blame whitey for the chronic and well documented misuse of funds. When you have chiefs of 200 and 400 member bands drawing several hundred thousand per year in salary being a common native occurrence, a picture begins to emerge.
          The picture that emerges is one where the native community in Canada has evolved to be its own worst enemy.
          Until I see more native leaders encouraging – loudly and publicly – members of their bands to emigrate to and embrace the broader society for the future good of their children, I’ll assume that the unbroken path of self destruction is intentional.

          • I’ve heard your argument(s) borne in complete and willful ignorance far too many times, Bill. Time for you to take a class or something. Ciao.

          • It is interesting to read what people have to say.

            I watched the R.C.M.P. take children at gun point from their parents, on reserve to be put in residential schools.

            That was in the 1960s.

            Later on in the early 1970s

            I listened to a Government employee talk about the “Native child” they were adopting and how the child’s “Status” as a native would be cancelled and they would be “their” child……I thought at the time “This is not right”.

            I watched and was powerless to prevent it.

            I have seen how the “powers that be” spend countless $$ to make the common Canadian believe that something is being done. Meanwhile people buy into the pictures of the “drunken Natives”

            I worked along side them and know better.

            So much for the support they get. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

          • “For starters, 19th century natives were essentially stone age tribesmen.” Your a bone head. One might find it instructive that when midnight raiders roamed upper NY state i.e. thugs paid by land speculators to drive out established farmers and take over their land, they couldn’t tell the difference between Quakers and Mohawks. Perhaps you should read the journals of George Copway or John Norton before you jump to a conclusion about aboriginal achievement.

          • The Blacktops of the world and their supporters never quite make it to the point of actual study of historical records or the ones of current fact. Isn’t rather sad the extents these poor people go to continue to sweep their ugly histories under their carpets? How sad to want to continue to live off the venom that literally decimated a culture for their own wonton wealth. Let’s hope their God has indeed been taking the notes that they willfully, and in far too many cases, literally shoved down the throats of Indigenous peoples. What a terribly soul killing cretinous way to live.

        • Sad, Robyn but you are just mouthing the same nonsense. I quoted the Osoyoos example because they got off their rear and did something. and they did not have a large swath of land but assessed what they could do with what they have. My last information is that not only are their own people all employed in the venture but men and women from other bands.
          I tried to stick to observable evidence from my own experience which includes a good part of Canada but you just seem to wallow in recrimination of others and self pity.

        • Sad, Robyn but you are just mouthing the same nonsense. I quoted the Osoyoos example because they got off their rear and did something. and they did not have a large swath of land but assessed what they could do with what they have. My last information is that not only are their own people all employed in the venture but men and women from other bands.
          I tried to stick to observable evidence from my own experience which includes a good part of Canada but you just seem to wallow in recrimination of others and self pity.

          • You know, if you are too dumb to remove a duplicate post it really detracts from your argument.

          • Absolutely right, Blacktop. Worth repeating.

      • Re I wonder 7. – many do but the problems are many. 1) who can imagine sending their adolescent children hundreds of miles away from home to attend high school or, in some cases, senior public school? This is really residential school version 3. 1a) Because the feds are cheap, these students may only be transported home once a year – who wouldn’t expect their 13 year old to be home for Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. 2) public school boards of course need funding which is largely on a per student basis and since the feds are cheap most school boards have a limit on the number of aboriginal students they’ll admit. As a consequence there are over 10,000 high-school age children with no one to take them. 2b) many of these placements include busing running to several hours as busing is school boards’ common means of balancing enrollment. 3) Obviously primary school is preparation for future education – the sorry state of grossly underfunded primary education is part of the problem. 4) By and large school boards are reducing support for ESL students but have never recognized aboriginal languages as not being French or English.
        In my day I experienced a fine example of the ‘system’: two of my grade 9 classmates were native; they were 16 as the local Catholic board had kept them on in public school until their funding expired; the were placed in a school that was 90 minutes away by bus in good weather, up to 2 hours in winter; they were placed in an English language public school even though English was their third language and they had previously been educated in their second language, French (The local residential Catholic high school wouldn’t take them.); their education ended when they turned 18 (grade 10) after which no government would fund them. And that was that: we should be proud of ourselves. Another female classmate visibly lived in fear of every white person – I never learned why but one might imagine what hell she had been through.

    • Robyn, I think some of us need you to spell it out for us, as we’re not familiar with these reports. What are the solutions proposed by Indigenous communities? What are the barriers you see that are keeping them from being implemented? How does living up to treaty obligations, which typically deal with land claims, address the social issues that are at the heart of the problem? Your claim that we’re living off the backs of First Nations – honestly, I think everyone wants there to be a better solution but we’re just not seeing a path forward. I guess if there were an easy answer it would have been done long ago.

      • Ryanlm

        I don’t see that living with chaos is necessarily a bad thing. It is the normal way when one is trying to muddle through an unfamiliar situation. But who should we be directing questions to?

        Robyn says “These anecdotal tales are merely anecdotal tales. They are not the story nor history.
        ROBYN L.
        ON JUNE 5, 2017 AT 11:19 PM”

        I believe she means the author’s comments on the lives of indigenous people as being the “anecdotal tales,” preferring the more structured, policy-oriented, western approach to the situation. However, there is an entire body of work explaining the narrative approach to sociological research, and many examples of how it works in the academic environment, as a way of exploring the lives and cultures of many people whose lives otherwise would be left out of Canada’s history. That method is often put down because it isn’t scientific, but in this case I don’t think it is science we need, or that the indigenous people need. And policies are only part of the solution. there are many paths forward, not just a single path.

  6. Natives have a very different culture than whites………none of you seem to be aware of that.

    • Different cultures beget different outcomes. You don’t seem to be aware of that.

    • That still doesn’t explain the discrepancies between the successful integration of Chinese, Japanese, or Filipino immigrants into mainstream Canadian society and the unsuccessful non-integration of natives.
      That something else is the culture of dependency that we have created. But, dependency can become independence. It will not, however, be painless.
      But, here’s how it’s going to have to work. The feds have to lay down the law on the bands whose chiefs and councils are raiding the piggybank. Band chiefs and councils are going to have to accept federal oversight and restrictions on pay. That’s the first step, and it has to be mandatory for further federal funding.
      Then, every band in the country has to be compelled to look inward. If the only economy of the settlement is federal support payments, then it’s not a viable community. It doesn’t do society, or the children of that community any good whatsoever to exist solely to receive federal funding. Then, a timeline for dispersal of the residents has to be created. There is obviously nothing in Kashechewan. There are no jobs, no commercial activity, no economy. Ergo, there should be a closing date on a calendar in the band office. It can be ten years out, or five years. It cannot be more than twenty. In fact, it should be roughly 18 years maximum. Any more than that means the adults of those non-functional communities have made a choice to condemn their children to life in a non-functioning community.
      Every native should be granted the right to divorce themselves from the band, and take the per capita equivalent of federal funding with them. That funding should be allowed to stay in place for a certain fixed time period. It should be reduced annually, on a sliding scale, after a certain period of time, and also be based on employment income. Work can be incentivized but not punitively so.
      Criminal activity would result in immediate loss of funding.
      This is just a start, but simply doubling down on what we already do, that already doesn’t work is full blown stupid.

  7. This article could have been written, and was written, several decades ago, and it’s no more enlightening. I don’t really agree that most people are blind to these issues. I think there’s been an extraordinary amount of media dedicated to them. If people don’t know, they probably don’t pay attention to lots of things around them. It wouldn’t kill us to turn the conversation a little more analytical.

    These stories are terrible, to be sure. But the key is to be alert to the now, to be in the moment. As in, don’t be that prosecutor who asks the judge to put the victim in jail. Don’t be that judge. That’s one story. One terrible story. Does telling it move us forward to a better moment? I don’t know, it gets noisy in there, when you pile the stories together in one big stew. Which way do you want me to look?

    I’m really not sure it’s fair to blame an amorphous mass of people “not paying attention”, many of whom, contrary to conventional wisdom, could well be equally at the mercy of a court that clueless. I suggest it’s not empathy that’s lacking, but focus.

    • “This article could have been written, and was written, several decades ago, and it’s no more enlightening.” Exactly. Scott Gilmore, this self-appointed White Saviour, is just spouting the same assimilationist BS that cretin Chretien and Trudeau did in their so-called White Paper almost 50 years ago.

      The bottom line for these types always boils down to blaming and pathologizing Indigenous Peoples. And we see this sentiment parroted in mainstream settler media. Their “solution” to the “Indian problem” is always some variation of extermination or assimilation; that’s how it is with settler states.

      Whiteness and racism are byproducts of this line of thinking; they’re tools by which settlers oppress Indigenous Peoples and keep them down so they can continue to extract (i.e. steal and plunder resources). The end game is to force Indigenous populations off their lands, away from their culture and communities, to abandon who they are and forget their birthright and legal titles to their homelands (i.e. which, if we’re being honest, is most if not all, of present day Canada). This greed, this exploitation, this callous inhumanity is what’s at the heart of colonialism and what drives settler state policy.

      • Sylix, I actually don’t believe this to be true. Well, certainly not for everyone. I think there are an awful lot of people that would like to see a solution to the very real problems we are seeing on reserves today, but don’t know how to go about it, and part of that is because these conversations have become so politically loaded and confrontational. As I’ve posted elsewhere, it’s not politicians that are going to solve this problem – it’s the people who have to lead on this one.

  8. So my question is… now that these incredible injustices are being brought to light… what are we as a society going to do about it? I ask the government what are they doing to help or change these situations? What can we as the regular citizen do to help?
    My son in law and my grandson are both first nations, and there are days that I fear for what the future might hold for them if attitudes do not change.

  9. Canadians need to learn why natives are the way they are, and that can’t happen without unlearning all the lies, and distortions that have lived in the minds of those who make judgments based on their personal value systems, and without an historical context. Every possible heinous crime has been committed against the people on whose land we reside. Trauma is inter generational. The problem is our problem – we’re the problem. Unless we release ourselves from the bonds of our ignorance, we will continue to see it as “their” problem – they are drunk, lazy, stupid, and refuse to help themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our wonderful culture that we want them to assimilate to is leading us to the brink of the destruction of the planet.
    Maybe we should shut up and listen for a change. There are excellent books and courses one can take to dig oneself out of blind ignorance. It’s clear that the majority of people who have posted here would rather live in their ignorance. Shame!

    • Exactly. Well said. I wish more people were this enlightened. And I agree with your point about how this capitalistic culture is bringing us to the brink of destroying the planet and by extension, human civilization as we know it. Pre contact Indigenous civilizations thrived for thousands and thousands of years on Turtle Island and somehow managed not to destroy Earth in the process. Indigenous knowledge, practices and traditions should be preserved, studied and implemented now more than ever, not destroyed or erased by a dominant settler society which seems bent of destroying us all. Last time I checked, there’s only one Earth.

    • I heard a very enlightening comment from a gent when I asked him if he was a native Canadian. His reply was “Hell, I’m no more native than you are, we just got here earlier”.

      • Very sad effort there, Jerome.

  10. Does anyone really believe that reservations that are in isolated parts of our country will have good education, good health care, good drinking water? If you do, I have a bridge I want to sell. How many good doctors, good teachers want to move and live in isolated communities?
    Somehow, and on a voluntary basis ,those isolated reserves have to be moved closer to area that make it easier for the children to assimilate if they choose.
    Gilmore, you will notice always identifies obvious problems but never answers.

    • I think we are missing tons of success stories. There are thousands and thousands of Indigenous people in universities and colleges. When I first started my career in education in the north our division had 2 teachers identifying as indigenous. When I retired at least half of the professional staff were indigenous and almost all the support staff were from the local communities. Reserves such as Norway house, Pequis and others have paved streets, malls, pharmacies, restaurants etc that are staffed by trained professionals from the First Nation.

      • They don’t want to hear about or celebrate Indigenous success stories, growth, prosperity or our amazing, culture because it undermines their credibility and narrative. A parasitic, hegemonic settler society needs to pathologize and destory Indigenous society in order to maintain it’s power and control over same. That’s all that matters in the colonizer paradigm.

        • You Sylix and Robin are the ones who believe there are no success stories by your very assertions re the plight of indigenous people!!

        • Who’s “they”? I’d love to hear more about what those people who have gotten extremely well-educated are doing. I hear them speaking all the time, and they’re incredibly articulate, as you are. In love with words, really. More in love with words than actually communicating. Personally, I wouldn’t expect anything to shift if I strung together a lot of multi-syllabic insults. Or if I spent my time strengthening the neurons that trigger rage. I often wonder, “what is your job?” Not a dig, to be clear, just, really, what do you do? Not “you”, personally, but all these incredibly articulate people who mostly seem to use it in an attempt to get terms like “white settler” to be a thing.

          Angela Cardinal — it occurred to me about a minute before Anna Maria Tremonti asked the question — where was the support? It seems to me there used to be squads of women supporting rape victims — in fact I know there are programs that have followed victims through the process. Maybe few and far between, but isn’t that a pressing need? Doesn’t the incident cry out for that need? Is it more important to call for the judge’s head, to spend the energy marshalling such very articulate … heckling? Should we dismiss the fact that the reason it got attention was another judge focused on it in his decision? That a journalist thought it mattered? Not everything fits into the paradigm of “things Canada doesn’t notice”.

          Why can’t people be directed to talk about solutions? About, for example, why there doesn’t appear to be any organized, effective movement to actually attend to situations like Angela Cardinal’s? Surely when so many speak so articulately about social injustice, there’s a few who can string together a case for funding. Perfect is the enemy of good.

  11. I’ve read both Bill Greenwood’s input as well as Robyn L.’s. It would appear that Robyn, like most liberals, doesn’t want to hear any other view than her own. Bill wins this debate hand’s down!!

    • It’s a tired tactic of the hyper-partisan Left (and Right as well though to a lesser extent and in different ways) to dismiss any argument other than their own. Usually accompanied by the words “bigot”, “xenophobe”, or other word that no longer carries any weight due to its overuse.

      • It’s a tired, transparent tactic of fragile, privileged, white settlers to dismiss anyone calling them out for what they are.

  12. Macleans has become the “alarmist racism” magazine with yet another misleading characterization of Canadian communities. If this “community” you speak of has a worse infant mortality rate than Russia, then it’s close to the rate for the USA as well. If Canada is so horrible, then why would anyone in Sudan be happy to leave their country to be living anywhere in Canada? Again a misleading comparison. Crime rates? Our worst communities are not even close to the most violent communities in the USA. Using Latvia as a poverty comparison is ludicrous. Latvia is ranked 28th by UNICEF for child’s well being based on poverty statistics. The USA is 26th. Poverty rates in Canada hover around 20%….almost the same in Latvia! They seem to do more with less money. The rest of the piece is just as misinformed and ridiculous. Try comparing apples to apples next time.

  13. It’s ironic, as someone who has traveled extensively in the north, and lesser traveled parts of the country, is that the vast majority of native people see themselves as doing relatively okay, and have a philosophical approach to life. There are pockets of dysfunction, and natives are aware of that, and just like any other humans if someone offers up some money or other benefit, they tend to take it. Things are getting better over all. I know this won’t convince any leftists, who are in some kind of hysteria-spiral right now, due to not getting their way, but it’s true.

  14. I grew up in Northern Ontario before moving to the Greater Toronto area in the 70;s and I can tell you that the natives I knew that left the reserve for the most part lead normal lives and most prospered. The hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money that are spent on Reserves year after Year for the most part are greatly mismanaged by the Chiefs and Councils on the Reserves…There are good stories such as Membertou and Rama however the majority of the funds for most reserves benefit few people mostly the band council members….These bands must be held accountable for these taxpayer funds as any town or City would be across Canada.As a taxpayer I want my money spent on the people that need the help not paying council members exorbitant salaries. A lot of kids that run away and come to the large cities lack social skills,have alcohol and drug abuse issues that are the fault of the reserve life they have left.This writer should interview retired RCMP or OPP officers and EMS paramedics that have worked these reserves to find out the truth and yes the truth will hurt but has to be told. To blame this mess on the Government is short sighted.

    • Well said, Stan.

      • Yes, Blacktop! Thank God at least some of them have been able to adjust to living normal lives, “normal” being Stan’s description.

    • “As a taxpayer I want my money spent…” And as an Indigenous person, I want settler squatters off my land or to start paying their rent plus all revenue generated from stolen natural resources. How about that, Stan? Are you even remotely aware of the fact that you live, work and play and benefit off of stolen land and resources? Go read a book.

      • Okay. Which is it? Do you want us “squatters” off your land, or do you want rent? Choose one.
        If you want the squatters gone, does that mean you are prepared to go all 1492 on us? Before you say yes, that means you lose all the tangible and intangible benefits that come with modernity. You live exactly as you did prior tomEuropean incursion. Along with the benefits of modern medicine, you get to go back to the days of inter-tribal wars and slavery. Good luck with that.
        Or, let’s imagine who might fill the void in the absence of our nice British system. Think about how considerably worse your life would be if the Russians or Chinese chose to fill that gap. Last time I checked, residents of the Anglosphere enjoy, on average, qualities of life vastly superior to those folks who live in places the Royal Navy never set the flag.
        Frankly, if the society we offer you is so reprehensible, there is literally nothing to stop you from setting up camp somewhere in the complete absence of modernity. The only obvious signs you’d have to deal with are jet contrails and satellites in the night sky. It’s a big country, so why haven’t you done it already?
        So, let’s go the other way. You already get rent. Last time I looked, the federal government was spending well over $10k per year for every native man, woman, and child in the country. How much rent do you think you should get? Name your number. But, you have to bear in mind that you could jack the rent up too high and drive the cost of the resource above the market value. Then the rent would be a big fat zero. While we’re on the subject, I’d really like some native to explain to me how they expect to get rent money from projects that they continually oppose.
        You see, it’s kind of a whole hand or none deal, here. We have a great society here. It’s based on a powerful and historically successful set of ideals and principles. It works. Can you honestly say that about native society and culture? Be honest.
        So, it comes down to choices. Are you in or out? But, if you’re out, you’re all the way out. No revenue from oil or industry. No protection of law, no contracts, no medicine, no modern tools. If you eschew the society, you eschew the products and benefits. Do you want that? I don’t think you do. I’d bet your kids don’t either.
        So, are you in? Great. I think you should be. But, let’s be real. We already know that simply giving Indians rent money isn’t working for either of us. If it was, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’ve long advocated for a plan to get natives off reserves and fully into the main of society where they can be full partners instead of mere rent takers. You can reject my way, but the words of Warren Miller apply here. If you don’t start this year, you’ll only be that much older when you finally do. How many more native children are you prepared to commit to a life of misery before you decide that there’s a way out and the road map looks a lot like the one I’ve drawn?
        Ball’s in your court.

        • sylix … you who …. sylix … where are you? lots of rhetoric … but no balls ….

      • By comments like that it just shows some Natives can not have a meaningful dialogue on what troubles their communities and what they can do to improve the situation. Like I said I want my taxpayer dollars going to the people on the reserve that need the help and not to be used by the band councils to pay very high salaries and benefits .Until that is done Natives will continue to live in poverty on many reserves across Canada.

  15. And after yet another trip around the Mulberry bush…..most of you come back to
    the same old mantra.

    They are, in fact the same things said about blacks, white slum dwellers

    the poverty stricken of the world…..anyone we don’t like.

    • She snipes from her hysteria-spiral.

      • Adding sexism to racism doesn’t improve things Blacktop.

        • Why is that sexism? You are what you are. For all I know you are whatever. Nor am I racist, just calling the shots as I see them. There are a lot of cruddy whites in this world too. But Robyn’s ideological nonsense isn’t racist? The big bad white man? Come off it. MacLean’s does no service with this kind of article.

  16. yeah, well very much sensationalist! mostly true but partially from one perspective i would say. ( cops grabbing her by the hair and denting the hood of the police car…its at least one version of the story that sound to be amplified). Infant mortality worse than russia… where in russia, country side or urban moscow? Infant are from 0-28 days and yet most of the community have a health care center, and the pregnant women if no midwife available are flown out around 36 weeks to the hospital if no complications. So communities refuse to train skilled birth attendant.
    For the TB, yes its the disease of the poor, tend to spread within crowded houses, isolation and poor hygiene facilities . However, good and effective program are in place to eradicate the diseases…. the challenges consist of a 6-9months antibiotics treatments not easily followed by any individuals.
    Sudan unemployment rate was 19.5 in 2014 and 18,5 for the first nations, but that is considering people that live on reserve, isolated, most of the time without a road access.
    no doubt that their living conditions are too often similar to third world country on many different level and that is not fair at all. We as Canadian have a lot to do when it comes to empower first nations and Inuits. Part of the responsibilities to get better though, need to come from the first nation and Inuits leaders themselves. As long as they remain passive nothing will change they need an endeavor to get out of this cycle.The leaders, Inuits and firsts Nations should work and promotes a better future for the children as well as a better quality of life adapted to our time.

    As for the workers. The majority i know ,care about the population and give their best in sometimes very harsh conditions; that include cops , who get to be bullied, mistreated ,swear and spat at and for the most continue and give all they have to help their respective community. Most of the Inuits community refuse to hire and train local people to be cops and go through kativik police in northern Quebec. Just their you would decreased unemployment and maybe it would increase client satisfaction… would it be?

    Also , why no or very few journalist emphasis on the bright sides the increase peoples awarness of these very nice neighbor yet unknown to the citizen of the south. What about the fact that most of the first nations and Inuits are nice people with lots of thing to teach us and good value. They share a strong community spirit and will feed you if you don’t have anything. Inuits are one of the most welcoming nation i have encounter so far and most of the story i have to all are positives.

    maybe it would be nice that someone show the bright side and pick people s interest to these cultures so we can evolve together and learn from each other but at the end of the day, the most important part for their development should comes from the first nations leadership.
    did you know that Peawanuk northern Ontario refused well fare and self manage most of their community, eat healthy and ;lives according to their traditional background ( fishing , hunting, respect of the nature), it was a community decision.

    • Russia country-wise has about same infant mortality rate as the US. The author simply had no idea about the stats and used Russia as placeholder for an emotial trigger for a “bad place”.
      Also, first nations in reserves have about the same infant mortality rate as Russia (and hence about the saem as in the US, country-wise), but innuites have it 3 times worse. It is totally unclear what the author wanted to say.

  17. Police are almost never there to help, even in the Canada that most people know. Maybe there’d be less police corruption if we reinstated capital punishment… but just for crooked cops.

    That said, the way our Indigenous population is treated is disgusting. Trudeau needs to stop showboating his shirtless self and actually do something to support the MMIW inquests, stop oil pipelines, and take our shitty justice system to task for a complete overhaul.

  18. The very first two sentences make immediately no trust into anything written afterwards. Somali has unempleyment rate 54%. First nations have unemplyemnt rate between 10% and 23%, depending on the province https://work.alberta.ca/documents/labour-force-stats-2016-01-aboriginal-package.pdf. Russia has about the same infant mortality rate as the US (this is no Somali and they have free health insuarnce, unlike the US). I understand that, probably to having no real knowledge or stats, you just used two countries as emotial triggers/placeholders for presumably “bad places” (which you anyway know nothing about), without even thinking on what for you use them for. Do your homework. Use real numbers, not emotional triggers.

  19. I wanted to thank @Sylix for pointing out the Truth and Reconciliation report and the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples.

    While it depicts an accurate assessment of the living conditions of many areas of First Nations communities, this article grossly misrepresents the root of the problem. Any community that someone wants to live in is built by and cared for by it’s members. It’s not something an outsider can do with any lasting impact. To insinuate that once the RCMP figures out how to police places and people with no self-respect, then the communities can develop is preposterous. Lasting and worthwhile communities are built by the people living in them since they are the ones who should care more than anyone else. No fire-department? Make one. No healthy food? Grow some. Don’t know how? Learn.

    The ‘incandescent rage’ that would be felt by a parent who has a daughter in that situation should be offset by the realization that the parent failed to foster a community that would keep their 15 year old daughter safe let alone failed to teach their daughter how to respect herself and keep herself safe! My rage towards parents who care nothing about their children stands alongside my rage towards abuse of power.

    There is blame to be placed on individual members of the RCMP, certainly. But a one-sided depiction of reality will not help anyone. This is a poorly representing article.

    • No healthy food? Grow some. Don’t know how? Learn.

      spot on…why doesn’t some gov’t dept fund a pilot project on a reserve in which a greenhouse is constructed..a group of native people could be brought on as apprentices to learn construction techniques and another group could be trained on how to run the greenhouse and grow healthy veg for the community…

  20. A friend of mine who, like myself, worked up north for a number of years near reserves in communities that served them, so both of us have a first hand account of what these folks are living with…anyway, he proposed an interesting solution…Cancel all the treaty agreements moving forward in exchange for a monthly payout to each status/reserve living native person …it would go like this
    those aged 75+…. 5000/month till death
    65-75…3500/month till death
    55-65…2500/month till death

    and so on…Cap the program for anyone born after Jan 1/2019…they would receive nothing.

    It would get the money directly into the pockets of the people and allow them to spend the money on rent, save for a house, etc…they could supplement their income with a job, should they wish.

    That’s it …after that , no more money…hopefully, by then, most natives will have moved off the reserves and taken a proud place alongside the rest of canada as productive citizens and more importantly improve their own self esteem…a concept the latte crowd on bay street and rest of southern ontario doesn’t seem to be able to grasp…

    • Gump- Sounds like a sensible plan to me. There’s a delicious irony in this thread. Robyn, Sylix, Sue M, the incredibly stupid Emilyone, and a couple others all strike me as being people who would almost invariably vote NDP or Liberal. In other words, they lean left. The irony is that the left loves to proclaim themselves to be “idea people.” Despite that, not a single one of them has put forth an idea regarding a potential solution to the native issues.
      Every single one of them has hewn to a basic line of “more of the same, only harder and faster.” What part of “the same ain’t exactly workin’ here” is lost on these people? Where are these “ideas” of the left?

      • Bill, That’s a great way of responding personally to several commenters at once. Sounds very political to me – and probably the way the gov’t responds to the indigenous people.

        I think that, while stepping in for serious matters on the reservation, the best thing to do is nothing. It isn’t as if the progress of the indigenous has not changed, at least for some.

        How can one bring together the past and the present for these peoples, who are not like the Europeans in their history or what they hope for (I’m generalizing but still . . . . . . ). Trying to keep one’s past and protecting it for future generations must be difficult. For any of us, whose personal property (land) changes over the years from being in the middle of nowhere to being in a built-up subdivision, or who sees the school they used to go to changed into apartments, the awareness must surely be there of the pain of change in one’s environment.

        We don’t all have huge amounts of land that we are trying to hang on to, that hold special meaning for us and our extended family. But if we did, we would probably want to keep it. And the situation of the people who were here before the Europeans came have an even greater attachment to their land. The kings and queens of Canada before it was Canada.

        Some native peoples have left home and are successful. Some may not be all that successful. In fact, they are not all that different from Canadians with European background. One can’t expect all of them to leave and assimilate. One can expect that it will take time and there may be some who just hang on and on and on. All one can do is reach out to them, to let them know the offer holds when they are ready. So work towards fairness economically for them, and rescuing those who are ready, but operate with a policy of non-interference in general. It’s white people who are trying to rush things and who are impatient.

        • Sue-Part of the problem is the inconsistencies from the native community. For example, the concept of ownership of land did not exist prior to European incursion. Now, we’re expected to pay rents based on the idea that they owned every square mile of the country, including areas they rarely, if ever, set foot on.
          Again, there is an expectation of largesse from a system that many wish to obstruct, and claim to be illegitimate.
          There is a common insistence upon receiving the benefits of a society that they claim to disdain.
          As I’ve said before, there is little to stop someone from living as their ancestors did in the pre-Columbus era. However, one of the roadblocks also seems to be the knowledge that we are now here. Apparently it’s very hard to turn your back on a society that is very, very benevolent. The lack of desire of natives tongo back to living a short, hard, and brutish life is akin tomthe environmentalists who claim to hate oil, but refuse to live an oil free life. On both matters, deeds not words.
          Then there is this constant refrain of “the past. ”
          Yes, the past is important. But it’s also important to not live in it. The past is for lessons. That’s why knowledge of the past is vital. For any North American native group, the past is only recorded back to long after the arrival of Europeans. No native can claim ancestry beyond a few generations, as even family histories are strictly oral,constructs, which are horribly unreliable. That also means territorial claims are essentially specious, and can only be partly supported by archeology. In other words, they need to quit clinging to an unreliable historical narrative and get on with joining the broad strata of society.
          Language? My ancestors spoke Russian, German, possibly Yiddish, and English. I don’t lose sleep over my lack of Russian language skills.
          Ancestral lands? Mine are somewhere east of Iceland. I’m pretty sure I’ll get over losing those pieces of my heritage.
          Injustice? Life’s not fair. It really isn’t. But, there is an endangered expectation in our society that we accept and move on.
          I’m not against helping our natives. I am opposed to helping them remain mired on the fringes of society, and I’m even more opposed to looking past the all too common Indian-on-Indian violence in search of a white man to blame.
          We have the ability to end it in a generation.

      • Bill you said it best! I am a conservative, and I feel conservatives are far more compassionate than these lefties, who just continue to pledge other people’s money to fund their personal ideals of compassion.

  21. If anyone thinks the courts are just, they are delusional , police are policy enforcers and revenue collectors with guns. It is All Surety and Accounting, nothing about protecting the population, especially the true allodial owners of the land. The public servants have assumed the role of superior over the men and women they are supposed to serve, you all let this happen, glance at police aggression/killing stats, far more dangerous than any alleged terrorist …..and getting worse.

    • Power Manyhats
      People who live conformist lives can go through life believing the courts are just – I agree. Those who live outsides on the margins of society, may well have a different experience, though try convincing others of that. It is impossible. And I think it is not just public servants who try to keep others down. Anyone with a small amount of power can use their power in negative ways – to destroy others, deny them their rights. It’s what makes the world go round, people struggling for power, and for security in their lives.

      I wouldn’t doubt what you say about police stats, as far as aggression goes. People die in prison. In fact, they die of unnatural causes in care homes for the elderly too. We seem to be lacking in any ethical approach to our lives and the lives of others. And the system doesn’t help because it pits one man against another – the binary system. In order for me to maintain my lifestyle, I am set up against another person. So its not just about violence and aggression. It is also psychological tactics that those in power use, to keep people quiet about complaining about injustice. The results can be devastating when others join in to keep one person or one segment of society down. Then we have scapegoating and blame where it is not deserved. It is not so great out here in the world of the non-reservation either. I can understand why many indigenous people would decide to stay put. Not all can be accepted in the work outside, just as not all women can be included in the world of feminism, and so on. There has to be people at the bottom of society, so the ones at the top can feel good about themselves for being so clever to be able to have gotten ahead in their lives.

  22. Someone commented that they observed kids being removed at gunpoint from their parents by the RCMP in the 60’s. Does anyone have evidence of this? This was well after cameras were available.

    • Marty,

      I don’t know the answer to what you say, but I think in today’s world, off the reservation at least, it is most likely to be the medical system (social workers alternative home) that removes children from their parents. I have seen it happen, in a hospital, and it is a devastating thing to watch – a mother separated from her children.

      • But Sue, all that angst doesn’t excuse the fact that a native child fostered to a native home, has a dramatically higher chance of suffering some sort of violence in foster care than a native child fostered to a non-native home.
        In spite of strong evidence in that vein, our social agencies insist on cooperating with the native community’s demands that native foster kids get placed in native homes. Most of us call that kind of wilful blindness reckless endangerment.

        • “our social agencies”? Isn’t that part of the problem?

          I meant to indicate, in my comment, that removing kids from their family home happens everywhere, with either physical or psychological violence, and it is probably often very traumatic.

  23. Your story on Northern First Nations communities is only scratching the surface of the suffering that has been going on for decades. The Federal money that is allocated every fiscal year to the Indian Bands Chief and council. There is no accountability of where the money is actually spent. You have to understand the tribe is a cast system, one is the Chief and the band council and the balance is it’s members which are considered to be the lower class of humans. The Conservatives under Stephen Harper finally realized the problem was that the funding didn’t make its way down to the lower band members. The Federal Conservatives wanted to send in a auditor every year to review where the dollars are being spent. The Chief and Council of the Bands refused to allow a Federal Auditor to step on their land. After much discussion over the year, with no positive results the Federal Conservative Government threatened to cut off all funding until Auditors were allowed to audit the books. The Council finally gave in. The Chief and Band council all drive fancy trucks, have nice homes, snow machines, quads etc. The low cast of members are living in deplorable Conditions, no running water, damp and mold in the buildings, the children being constantly sick. The bands cannot run themselves properly, the solution is simple put a Federal employee into every tribe to monitor where the funds are being spent properly. Part One of many problems solved, now look to the next major issues to address, and believe me there is lot’s.

  24. With a combination of learned helplessness (whatever you do to make your life better, we will smack you down) and PTSD from constant trauma beginning with European settlers’ abuse of indigenous people, these people are suffering. Moving, policing, $ thrown at the issues willy-nilly, are band aids at best. It will be individuals, both indigenous and non-indigenous, working together who will make the difference.

    • Yes, Tracey, there surely are people who will put them down, probably on the reservation as well as off it. But these people are probably capable of putting anyone down who gets in their way. It isn’t just the indigenous people who are being abused. And it isn’t just non-native people who are doing the abusing out here in the real world. Some of them can be just as bad. We try to find patterns of behaviour but in my view, their population is in the middle of flux, possible chaos in some respects, as they try to find out where they belong or how they can belong. Teamwork is always nice, but generally, it’s politics that makes the difference in people’s lives.

      • As far as putting people down most of the people put down is occurring on the reservations themselves….In the past 30 to 40 years outside attitudes have changed towards FN people and the vast majority of the people on the outside want to see positive changes on the reserves and accountability for their hard earned dollars that are going to those reserves…We want to see children being looked after properly clothed, fed and educated.We want to see clean and sanitary conditions on those reserves and tax dollars not going to band councils living a much higher lifestyle than the people they are representing..

  25. Perhaps it is time to dissolve the idea of reserves. Reserves keep the aboriginals separate from other Canadians (different schooling, poor sanitary conditions, lower expectations of living and school, and different tax entitlements). We want all Canadians to assimilate throughout the country, yet aborginals expect to be left in isolation and then complain that they don’t have the services other Canadians feel are a basic right. If we dissolved the reserves, Aboriginals would probably feel free to migrate to other communities for school, health and sanitary conditions. It might also give them a new outlook as there are better job opportunities and the children are exposed to educational potential that they would not see on the reserve. I believe reserves were made to maintain an aborginal lifestyle; however, aborginals do not want their lifestyle. They want tv, modern clothing, big trucks, houses, etc. Many of the aboriginals I know prefer not to live on the reserve, but they want the extras from belonging to a certain reserve such as tax-free job, free education, $40,000 to put toward a house not on reserve, and other minor benefits. Many only want the Aboriginal label for the financial benefits, but are not willing to live the Aboriginal lifestyle or culture on a daily basis or monthly basis for that matter.

    • Barbara, So they have a safety net. Many of us out here in the real world don’t have that. Who can blame them, when we understand the plight of the world we live in? Making them lose their reservations would be a bad idea, if it does not come from them.

      • The reservation system is killing the Natives. Canada should stop funding the reserves so the Natives are economically forced to leave to join Canadian society. This would be good for everyone, regardless if it’s their idea or ours.