The Canada most people don’t hear

Four Indigenous writers respond to what they say is a ‘counterproductive’ piece in Maclean’s


 
(Ben Nelms/Reuters)

(Ben Nelms/Reuters)

Last week, Maclean’s columnist Scott Gilmore wrote an article for this magazine called “The Canada Most People Don’t See.” In this article, he recited what we Indigenous people might call “the Litany”: the list of the latest and greatest wrongs done against us collectively or individually. Gilmore concluded his article by imploring his fellow Canadians to “imagine if they cared.”

The impetus for this article appears to have been the revelation the CBC uncovered of the actions of an Edmonton-based judge towards a First Nations sexual assault victim. Gilmore asked readers to “imagine it were their family”: “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.”

What was done to that First Nations woman in Edmonton is an outrage. But in our view, Scott Gilmore’s response to it was counterproductive, and demonstrated once again Gilmore’s and Maclean’s failure to listen to Indigenous voices.

When we see the new outrage in Edmonton we connect it to the Cindy Gladue case—a First Nations woman who died under similar circumstances, and whose vagina was cut out by the prosecution and used as an exhibit at trial. There is something wrong with what that court system did to Cindy Gladue, and it’s clear there is something systemically wrong when they abuse yet another First Nations woman. Judges and prosecutors in that system must be held accountable, and an investigation must take place into the inhumane treatment of Indigenous women.

However, in Scott Gilmore’s article, the cause of the problems in the Edmonton court system don’t get a mention. Along with on-reserve problems such as alcoholism, HIV, failing water treatment systems, the incident in Edmonton is merely one example among many of Indigenous dysfunction. While the article carefully recites the litany, Gilmore leaves out any mention of who is responsible. His only call to action is for Canadians to “care.”

And this is a problem with his work. Gilmore does not assign blame or identify causes. This does not appear to be an unintentional omission; in an interview about his article with Ottawa radio station 1310 News, Gilmore was asked why this was happening. “There are a thousand different reasons,” he said. “But I’m less interested in apologizing for all of these different things and more interested in how are we going to fix them …we’re going to have to upset some feelings, there is no way you could get one band to agree with another on every issue, so we are going to have to step on some toes … some of these communities will have to leave and move.”

The call for Indigenous people to leave their homes is older than Canada, and is at the heart of several of Gilmore’s recent articles on our peoples. It is the solution he proposes in his January 2016 article “La Loche shows us it’s time to help people escape the North”.

“The only way we can ever truly help the people of La Loche and hundreds of other remote communities like it, is to give those who want it a viable option to leave, to build lives in southern Canada, integrated into one of the world’s healthiest, safest, most rewarding societies. If we really want to end the violence and deprivation that plagues Canada’s remote Aboriginal communities, we need to help them leave these communities, forever,” he wrote.

The conclusion is repeated in his February 2016 article, “The hard truth about remote communities,” and in his April 2016 article, “The unasked question about Attawapiskat” in which he states: “The residents and leadership of communities like Attawapiskat need to consider other options, and provincial and federal governments would be morally obliged to help those who choose to leave.”

By proposing this as a solution, his articles effectively absolve Canadians and their government of blame and shift it to Indigenous people for choosing to stay in remote communities.

Gilmore’s proposal is summed up in this January 2016 tweet:

In the News 1310 interview earlier last week, Gilmore mused about withholding funds from reserves which he believes aren’t sustainable: “There are very difficult conversations that have to be had with elders in some of these communities about whether if you were going to invest $50 million in trying to make some inherently unsustainable and unhealthy community last a little bit longer, could that $50 million be spent elsewhere.”

In our view, the solutions he proposes in his articles would ultimately rob Indigenous people of their homes, their religion, their culture, their livelihoods, and their collective future—and that serves us up the same kind of assimilation that we’ve been hearing since John A. Macdonald was in diapers.

It appears that Gilmore ignores a chorus of Indigenous voices, coming from people who have been fighting for their peoples’ rights for generations. It presupposes that we have been passively enduring these injustices, waiting with bated breath for One Good White Man to stand up and save us—it removes agency from us.

Of course, as Indigenous people know, that’s ludicrous. Last Wednesday, First Nations academics and activists Pam Palmater and Sharon McIvor demonstrated that agency by testifying before the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAN) about Bill S-3, arguing that the Liberal government should finally remove all gender discrimination from the Indian Act. They’re referring to century-old laws that made it so First Nations women who married non-Native men would be forced to not only give up their legal status as “Indians,” but also to leave their reserves—and thus, their families.

The reason Pam Palmater and Sharon McIvor were in Ottawa was because that so-called solution to what Duncan Campbell Scott infamously referred to as “the Indian problem” failed, and put First Nations women at risk.

FROM PALMATER AND McIVOR: The people left behind in Trudeau’s promised nation-to-nation relationship

The reason Bill S-3 is being addressed now is not because of people like Gilmore. It’s because of women like Sharon McIvor of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, who has been battling the Indian Act’s gender discrimination in courts since 1985. It’s because of men like Stéphane Descheneaux, a father of three from Abénakis of Odanak First Nation in Quebec, who filed litigation in 2011 to argue that the Indian Act’s continued gender discrimination was unconstitutional. Descheneaux was fighting for his daughters’ rights to their identities, for their rights to live in their community.

In our view, this must be truly perplexing for Gilmore, who has boldly proclaimed on Twitter that the cure for Canada’s continued Indian problem is to “shut down the reserves, repeal the Indian Act, and help Canadian Aboriginals escape ‘the land God gave Cain.’ ’’ Why would any woman want to be considered an Indian and live on barren, lawless land when she could instead become a good Canadian in the city? Besides the fact that living in the city as an Indigenous woman means you have to interact with police officers who can physically and sexually assault you before you’re categorically dismissed, as happened in Val-d’Or, Quebec. Besides the fact that off-reserve means “Aboriginal people have to get arrested to access public services,” as Tanya Sirois, head of Quebec’s Association of Native Friendship Centres, testified during an inquiry into the relationship between Indigenous people and the justice system in Quebec. How will mass migration to cities fix that?

Any attempt to address these issues needs to look at the root causes; after all, if you don’t pull a weed out by the roots, it simply grows back. There are thousands of pages worth of documents that have looked at these causes, from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, to the more recent report from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, to any of the numerous inquiries into why the Canadian justice continually fails our people.

With real, viable solutions we can begin to address issues such as unemployment rates, which require that government obey court orders and provide equal funding to Indigenous communities; safe drinking water, which means adequate water treatment systems as in the rest of Canada; access to culturally relevant care options, which would begin to treat addiction; MMIW and Indigenous deaths in Thunder Bay waterways, which demand attention and reflect the desperate need for police to protect all citizens as well as conduct thorough investigations.

Indigenous people have spoken loudly and clearly, should Gilmore choose to listen. All of these reports focus on the legacy of Canada’s colonialism, specifically its flawed policies of assimilation. Many leading voices on Indigenous issues in Canada have been blocked on social media by Gilmore during attempts to articulate the nuances of the ongoing colonialism problem in Canada and thus the current state of our communities. One would figure that if Gilmore was trying to search for answers, lived experience and its context would be essential to this ongoing impulse to lead these types of conversations in the public discourse.

Indeed, the word “colonialism” has figured only once in a Gilmore article, where it was cited as just one contributing factor among many. “Assimilation” has also appeared in only one; Gilmore used the word to address—and dismiss—criticism from Indigenous people. His writing does not address how we got here; after all, he has said: “I’m less interested in apologizing for all of these different things and more interested in how are we going to fix them.”

How can Gilmore possibly offer solutions to issues when his writing on the subject does not address their causes? What qualifies him to speak on Indigenous issues in the first place? How does he engage with Indigenous people who challenge his authority to speak about them and their communities? And, perhaps most importantly, why does it appear that publications like Maclean’s are more comfortable asking white men like Gilmore to write about Indigenous issues than Indigenous people themselves?

Following the Battle of the Little Bighorn, in which the U.S. cavalry was defeated by a combined force of Sioux and Cheyenne militia, two Cheyenne women passed over the bodies of the dead Americans, and used long needles to pierce the ears of General Custer. They did this in order to help him hear better in the next life. Refusing to listen to Indigenous voices has a long tradition on this continent. By ignoring his critics online, and not including Indigenous voices in his writing, Scott Gilmore is practiced at this.

Gilmore’s articles on Indigenous issues are met with condemnation and scorn by Indigenous people on social media. Very rarely does Gilmore reply to this, and when he does it is often with a belittling tone, as demonstrated in a conversation with respected CBC journalist Waubgeshig Rice, who said on Twitter: “I refuse to read columns that argue for simply leaving ‘troubled’ reserves. These pundits clearly don’t understand a relationship with land.” Gilmore responded: “Do you also refuse to speak to the majority of indigenous Canadians who have already left reserves, they don’t understand either? And how to do you explain your own decision to live in a city? Are you also unable to understand a relationship with the land?”

Gilmore’s response to Rice about living in a city is one of the more offensive ways in which he replies to Indigenous critics. Like many diaspora communities, there is a deep insecurity and shame that many First Nations people feel for living away from the reserve. It’s a feeling echoed in the words of Jewish writer A.D. Gordon in the early 20th century when he reflected on what he saw as the impoverishment of Jewish culture in their diaspora: “We in ourselves are almost non-existent, so of course we are nothing in the eyes of other people either.” Gilmore’s words to Rice feel, to us, like rubbing salt into an open wound.

Rice, spurred by his confrontation with Gilmore, wrote an article in which First Nations people talked about why they had actually left reserve—with very few citing the reasons Gilmore gave.

But we believe the greater fault lies with Maclean’s magazine. This magazine lately has a troubling relationship with Indigenous people—perhaps best exemplified by its editor, who was among the group of white Canadian media figures who pledged money to help fund an appropriation prize, a tone-deaf proposal that’s very suggestion willfully ignored the painful, ongoing history of colonialism, racism and sexism in this country. While an apology followed, it doesn’t erase the slap in the face that Indigenous writers felt then—or the slap in the face Indigenous writers feel now reading decontextualized articles like Gilmore’s.

As Indigenous people, we have to ask how it is that Maclean’s can’t hear the Indigenous voices imploring this magazine to give a fair representation of our people, and to stop giving a platform for Gilmore to so unfairly represent us in support of his failed solutions. In spite of all the evidence, it’s hard for us to imagine that the editors of Maclean’s don’t care about Indigenous people. So as Scott Gilmore has asked us all to do in his article, we will imagine you cared, and accordingly, we will expect you to do something about it.


 

The Canada most people don’t hear

  1. Thank you for this.

  2. Hear, hear! Thank you for this and let us finally put to rest all the condescending voices who constantly repeat the mantra that the Indigenous have no understandings or solutions to ‘their issues’. Of course we do, what we don’t have is the collective ear of a country who enjoys having benefited greatly at our expense, but willfully turns away from the inconvenient ugliness of the consequences of taking those benefits; a country who willfully turns away from the voices that bring the answers because they force a look in the mirror that reveals a very disturbing core.

    We’ve had the apologies – step one in a 5 step process. Listening to the Indigenous peoples from the grassroots onward is step two. Incorporating the recommendations from within this article to RCAP to the recent TRC Report fully is the real work. Repairing the damage vigorously is required. Never repeating the ugly history of Canada’s systemic racism would be the final step. Don’t go bleating about country pride and honour until Canada has finally, truly, and honestly lived up to honouring it’s promises, obligations, and debt to the Indigenous.

    • Well said Robyn. Four excellent young Indigenous writers give ole Scotty Gilmore a well deserved bannock smack.

      • Thank you. I am a fan of properly applied bannock slaps.

  3. How long before Maclean’s publishes the next article from Gilmore? HOw quickly will our voices disappear into silence?

    • Your voices are never silenced. We hear the narcisstic voices daily looking for the same old attention, see money going out and not much improvement!! hmmmmmmmmmm

      • As we see yours in article after article projecting on the daily. Sad.

      • You’re obviously the same “Glen F Cruikshank” who comments on the Rebel Media Facebook page: “Ezra, please do a documentary on the Aboriginals in Canada which concern me as much as Islam does…” and then you continue your hate speech to rant about “aboriginals” and how “the Arian (white) race” knows the truth about us. BTW, it’s spelled A-r-y-a-n. Anyway, here’s the thing, Glen: normal people don’t think like this, okay? Those with good souls and sound minds know it’s hateful, ignorant, racist, voices like yours, desperate to promote and preserve white supremacy and hegemony, are the ones that need to be silenced. What you preach is repulsive to normal thinking, feeling human beings.

        • id hate to run into sylix at night in a dark alley … he is one angry guy

  4. “This magazine lately has a troubling relationship with Indigenous people—perhaps best exemplified by its editor, who was among the group of white Canadian media figures who pledged money to help fund an appropriation prize, a tone-deaf proposal that’s very suggestion willfully ignored the painful, ongoing history of colonialism, racism and sexism in this country.”
    Baloney!! This magazine took your side and caused the ugliest rift because of Indigenous interviews re: racism between those who are not Aboriginal/indigenous and those who are, with little regard to racism, discrimination, alienation segregation and hatred that those who are not Aboriginal/indigenous face almost daily from many Aboriginals/Indigenous. Now this article has enhanced the distrust and uncertainty of a true truth & reconciliation. We are bombarded daily about the “poor” Indigenous who are so hard done by and blaming Whites and colonization and anything but taking their own lack of responsibility for being accountable and being part of Canada. With all the complaining about , nasty remarks, blame etc that is tossed at the Whites, how do they expect to be listened to, have respect and empathy for? If you whip a dog long enough, they will attack and fight back rather than give you the results that is required. So it is with the Whites being bombarded, as I said, daily with the poor me/blame the Whites/hate/living in the past scenario. I tried the help/compassion/understanding/whole respect thing but time and experience have a darn good teacher and the bleeding heart just dried up!!

    • Sounds like this article hit a nerve. Another person getting upset with uppity FN who can’t keep quiet and stay in the back of the bus.

      • It’s sad, it’s truly sad and gross how desperate these types are to hang onto their hegemony. It’s like they know deep down they can’t hack it on an even playing field. It’s so obvious they feel threatened by strong Indigenous voices being heard. I imagine this is how some men reacted when women’s liberation and female empowerment started to spread in the sixities. Or how some white people acted when apartheid was overthrown in South Africa and the civil rights movement began in the US.

    • Okay Glen, let’s stop blaming and fix the problems:
      For starters, the Canadian government can obey court-ordered funding that is based on inflation and population. This is recognized by courts but the government does not follow through. Similarly, Indigenous children are underfunded by 22 and 34 per cent, compared with provincial rates. Access to clean drinking water would also be great – build, operate, maintain, and monitor water and wastewater systems as in the rest of Canada. Is it okay if we have access to what the rest of Canada has, would that be acceptable for you? Would you like your child to wake up every morning and have to shit in a bucket and then drink contaminated water? Or… If you’re okay with us having equal services – social, economic, medical – then I guess we can move forward. Or are you saying that we don’t deserve what you have?

      • Oh and give us back our land. We’ll let you buy a piece or rent. As you prefer. Same as you do now. When a people is systematically erased in every way by another people, your attempts at the “whole respect thing” are ridiculous, at best. It’s not a blame game Glen, it’s reality. Wake up and educate yourself. We are here. We’re not going away. And we’re going to make people uncomfortable because we’re sick of being treated worse than second class citizens. That’s finished.

  5. One should be careful when casting stones: intolerant comment is not much of an answer to intolerance. Also the strident put down of some individuals who choose to go their own way i.e. indigenous people who happen to live in cities, is uncalled for and disrespectful. It seems many these days are caught up in trolling: why spend so much time pulling down Mr Gilmore and so little on constructive criticism; that’s not to say Mr Gilmore is more than an opinionated scribe who gets paid to fill a page. One should be careful when attempting to hold the high ground exclusively: many Canadians have a relationship with the land and there is no racial basis for a predilection for small town living and remote places. Also, the suggestion that culture is a racial attribute which then gives one permission to make racist comments is mistaken on many levels. Is there room for a Cree sculptor that makes Tlingit totem poles or a Chinese craftsman that makes canoes in your universe?

    • The put down of Natives who live in cities is done by Macleans writer Scott Gilmore, not by us. Read carefully. Re: race, you’re the only one mentioning it, shame on you.

  6. First Founders.

  7. As I understand it we owe the FN because we stole their land. I paid heavily for the little piece of the land I live on, so does that mean I shouldn’t have to donate further? Just asking.

    • As I understand it you and your brethern still live off the backs of Indigneous folks today (i.e. stolen “donations”). You paid a fellow squatter and thief for the land you reside on. That’s how settlers settle. Learn your history, Butch.

  8. Scott Gilmore has only one life experience, that of white male of privilege. This naturally informs his view of the world, through eyes that are innately blind to the racism and ignorance that has been part of the Canadian reality since before Confederation. It is so easy for any white person, particularly those who are part of the establishment in this country, to dictate solutions that are in perfect harmony with the purpose of colonization and its natural result: the complete elimination of all indigenous cultures in Canada.

    As a white woman whose child is half Native, my five years of life on a reserve was a harsh awakening to the realities that my daughter will have to face for the rest of her life. Primary among them is her invisibility within Canadian society, secondarily a legacy of colonization and generational trauma that Scott Gilmore simplifies into non existence, focusing instead on the economics and the question of sustainability of communities decimated by a government that is hell bent on total destruction of First Nations people.

    FAE and FAS, along with domestic violence, sexual abuse, suicide and addiction are not specific to tribal people but whenever an article is published or a book is written about Indigenous people, this is without exception, the focus. This distortion of reality angers me because it implies that these issues are somehow more common among Indigenous people, while in truth, white society has always carried these societal burdens. They eventually brought them here, ultimately using them to destroy the first people of this Continent. But zeroing in on Native communities as somehow prone to poverty and abuse, is just another way to denigrate and destroy the image of Native people, to transform a stereotype of chronic dysfunction into fact for the non Native public to devour and use as an excuse for bigotry. The truth is far more complicated but the root of the problem is the founding of this nation and those who made the decisions that have been lethal for Tribal people. We must remember that a cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing took place here and has never ceased, it is ongoing. People like Scott Gilmore exist to promote this evil as rational and necessary to a non Native public who more concerned with their bank accounts than accountability by their elected officials.

    There have been so many people like Scott Gilmore over the past one hundred and fifty years, agents of a government that understands perfectly well what they are doing. The dismantling of tribal identity, communities and families by full integration into multi cultural urban society, may indeed be the desired end solution for Scott Gilmore and his ilk; however something tells me that they will have a fight on their hands, a battle that they may lose given the growth in ecological literacy among Canadians who can see the impact of environmental abuses on this planet. White people and other immigrants who have landed on these shores, have had a deficit in understanding that this earth, the land itself is not something Indigenous people live on, it is part of them. It is this one clear and obvious truth that may be the deciding factor in the destiny of First Nations people, regardless of economics and those who promote abolishing an entire race of people.

    I lived on the rez long enough to learn that the bond between families and by extension a spiritual connection to the land is stronger than non Indigenous people would suspect. The legacy for my daughter and all Native Children is an inherited strength and pragmatism to endure despite the odds against it and to prevail so that future generations will be here to tell it like it was and is.

    • One would expect that from your comments the utopian life would be the reserve with the least interaction with the establishment.

      I would contend that reserves need to take more responsibility for their society.

      The main reason being that whenever the government tries to step in and help it always ends in a complete disaster.

      • You clearly have zero reading comprehension ability and even less knowledge about the historical relationship between Indigenous peoples and this settler nation. So much ignorance, so little time.

        • I toured extensively with The National Defense College of Canada in 1984 and visited every province and territory as part of the program. I was assigned to a group which was required to write a report at the end of our nine months to the government with our suggestions for improved social policies.
          One of our stops in Northern Canada was to meet with a group of elders representing 20 different native groups. Our question to them was, “If the Federal Government could do one major thing to improve the well-being of Native Canadians, what would that be?” After a very few minutes of discussion, the elder chosen by the others to speak said, “Gradually withdraw all financial support. We were a proud, independent people who could live off the land, but our people have become lazy and complacent and lost those skills.” I think they were right.

          • The money sent to reserves isn’t a gift, it’s the same federal transfers that are sent to every government to operate basic services. Reserves aren’t allowed to tax the corporations that take resources from Native land – only the feds can do that. They then send 99% of those funds to Toronto, Vancouver, Newfoundland, and 1% back to where it came from. For which you begrudge the people the feds just mugged. We put money into elementary schools and hospitals in Calgary each year but still toddlers can’t do taxes and cancer patients drop dead – it’s an unsolvable problem, we should cut them off. That’s your argument. Money will always go to reserve as it always goes to towns, territories and provinces, because one level of government has most of the taxing power. How you make that racial is amazing.

          • Rjjago: What you’re saying about transfers simply isn’t true. Municipal governments fund most services through property taxes. Federal equalization is paid through income taxes, so many communities are paying more than what they receive. Most small communities do not have anything like a chief and council that are full time elected positions, they couldn’t afford them. Provincial governments have essentially the same taxing power as the the Federal government. Governments do, in total, take in more from natural resources than they spend on First Nations residents ($27 billion to $8 billion), it’s a far cry from 1% and communities benefit directly from projects as well.

      • The reserves which are doing best are those which are most free of the Indian Act. That would be correct. Distant federal bureaucrats running your life and preventing you from doing business make things worse – this shouldn’t be a controversial statement.

  9. This article is just another example of the hopeless state of discourse on First Nations issues in Canada.

    The economic plight of isolated reserves that Gilmore wrote about is only partially a First Nations issue. It is a problem for rural communities everywhere. The reality is that is for communities to obtain things like cars, new houses, etc. that community needs to provide something to the global economic value. Rural communities everywhere are struggling with that reality. If it isn’t farming or natural resources there just isn’t much, and without that economic output there is nothing that can be given to the makers, and suppliers of the things people want in a modern society in exchange. That isn’t colonialism. That is the cold brutal economic imperative of the world. Yet somehow people don’t want to hear that.

    I’d love to live in some small community far from the hustle and bustle of the big city but I can’t. That’s where the jobs are. Its not some white conspiracy. It is the way it is. Even in era’s past trade functioned on this premise.

    But heaven forbid anyone — a white man no less — point that out in the hyper politically correct world we live in. And what could a person learned in matters of the world like economics have to possibly say about an economic problem since he’s not a member of the group the problem effects.

    The criticism of his more recent article is similarly frustrating. Scott lays out a number of social issues plaguing First Nations community — the “litany”. There was nothing factually incorrect about his article but it was somehow an outrage nonetheless. It was simultaneously insufficiently self loathing and failing in its lack of discussion of First Nations agency “agency”.

    Scott evinces a significant amount of compassion for the plight of aboriginal people in Canada. He’s not some redkneck. But he’s not sufficiently sold on a particular narrative that has emerged in the last two decades that prefers to see the solution to these complex issues in platitudes rather than hard facts. So it is insisted that he shut his courageous trap (and it takes courage to speak on this subject).

    At some point we are all going to have to figure out how to get along in this shared land we all live in. I’ve lived in this country my entire life, as did my parents and my grandparents before them. There is no place for us to go back to. We have a significant connection with this land as well. It is all we know.

    But at this point its a hopeless discourse. Utterly hopeless.

    • KC- Great comment. There’s literally no limit to how much money we could pump into places like Kasechewan, in an attempt to make life there as nice as it is in Red Deer or Saskatoon. But, we simply can’t. We can’t be obligated to beggar ourselves attempting to make life palatable- in 21st century terms- simply because some people are adamant about maintaining an attachment to a place.
      It’s not good enough to say we need to do it because the elders have this attachment. Even if we decide to acquiesce for the sake of the elders, then we have to have a cut-off line. After all, every elder was once young. So, there is really no moral argument against shutting off federal support to some locations. It’s simply a case of deciding when the end date is, and beginning the winding down process.
      After all, if we stand back and look at it, what is the point of even teaching kids how to read and write, let alone giving them the internet and satellite TV, if the intent of their parents is to have them live a basically subsistence lifestyle on the sub-Arctic shores of Hudson Bay?
      It’s not a lack of compassion or indifference. Quite the opposite, in fact. What many of us are deeply bothered by is the seeming indifference that too many natives have towards the futures of their children. When you basically tell your kids that La Loche or Attiwapiskat or Kashechewan is the only future they’ll ever know, when the whole world is on display via the internet or TV, not because the world beyond is hostile or lacks opportunities but because they’re “too attached” to move into that outside world in order to improve the prospects of their children and grandchildren.

      • Ah nothing like the willful ignorance of settlers who have stolen other people’s lands and are now reluctant to face the truth about your own history. Let’s not forget that you and the rest of Canada live off the backs of Indigenous People’s and have since your forefathers landed. You continue to benefit from your state’s legislated poverty against them, theft of their lands and resources, their continued oppression and the ongoing genocidal policies inflicted upon them by your colonial state. Until you understand and accept what your so-called civilization has done and continues to do to Indigenous Peoples, your bullshit opinions mean nothing. You’re just criminals looking for loopholes.

  10. Each time I read an article like this it talks of several documents where Native Canadians have spoken and provided the solutions. I once tried reading through The Truth and Reconciliation Committee report and got lost trying to pick out the things that would actually solve the current mess. Blaming solves nothing nor does venting. If we accept as fact whomever Native Canadians wish to blame, can someone boil down the massive reports noted and give the rest of us the 10 key things we should support and get on with.

    • Just send more money to the chiefs. Problem solved.

      • This is a 2000 word article about how one size fits all, easy solutions won’t work. Top 10 lists, and disparaging the majority of chiefs who are underpaid and overworked solves nothing.

        • Then it’s up to those chiefs who are underpaid and overworked to bang the drum in public about the ones that are openly raiding the band accounts. The silence from the native community about the chiefs who are pulling hundreds of thousands per year in salary is deafening.
          So is the silence from the native community about native children in native foster care who are abused. Like it or not, a higher percentage of native children in native foster care are abused than native children in non-native care.
          The anger from people like me is that we are pursuing race-based social policies that are clearly not working. The goal of our native policies should be simple and basic: The integration of natives into the broader society. Why would we pursue any goal other than that?

          • @ things. First treaties say I t should be a nation to nation relationship. secondly the average chief’s salary is about 60 K. Put your anger towards a govt. that has refused to obey the Human Rights commission 3 times to increase funding for native children at risk.

          • Well we Indigenous Peoples have our own simple and basic policy regarding our racist white assholes like Bill Greenwood: go back to where you came from because that’s where you belong. Don’t come back.

  11. People worldwide have been flocking to cities for decades; small, isolated communities are struggling everywhere. This article provides good context, but it never takes on the core of Scott Gilmore’s argument: there are more opportunities and services in larger communities. Providing services and infrastructure in isolated communities is necessarily more expensive. Even if you take for granted that the government should spend the extra money to make up the difference, does anyone believe they’re actually going to?