The First Peoples National Party of Canada wishes to bring the value of “inclusion” to Parliament with a vision for Canada where all peoples have a say in our future. The FPNP was formed to provide a voice for the people, all people who have no voice in our elitist party system of democracy.
The FPNP is inspired by First Nations history, culture, and values as guiding principles in the future of our party. The primary value is that of sharing.
From the beginning, before, during, and after contact, First Nations wish to continue to share this country and all that is has to offer. The “Two Row Wampum” is one of many original records of these mutual sharing agreements/treaties. This, however, in simple terms, has not been the mission of Canada’s colonizing founding cultures; they were not prepared to share, and still don’t.
Whether or not Canadian people support this indigenous view of our history or First Nations rights, in principle, it is a matter of the rule of law—and those indigenous rights are enshrined in the Constitution of Canada and the British North America Act. If we are to respect the rule of law, then those rights also have to be respected and upheld! Otherwise the government and its citizens are making a mockery of the rule of law! Those are the very principles upon all western nations were founded.
Any country to exclude its indigenous peoples from all levels of government and education therefore is a colonial country. Presently the First Nations peoples of Canada are not the only peoples to be silenced by our political and educational systems.
At a snail’s pace nearly 50 of the 53 native languages that existed before contact with European cultures are extinct today. What is that called? From the forming of the Indian Act to the failed Meech Lake Accord, from the residential schools to outlawing of religious ceremonies, how is it that “Natives did this to themselves”?
Acts of genocide occur daily with complacency or apathy by educators, politicians, and average Canadians that know the truth yet do nothing to correct it. Section 21(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada (one should have or ought to have known a crime was to be committed) was deemed unconstitutional in the early 1980s. Before that and for the past 100 years all public administrators of the Indian Act and politicians of Parliament could have been charged with murder and acts of genocide. However, since these acts occurred over a slow and long period of time it is overlooked, belittled like a snail in the grass.
Like a barometer, if you want to know what is going to happen to the rest of Canada, observe what has been happening in First Nations communities. The fastest health concern among adult Canadians is diabetes and among young Canadians is obesity. Both of these issues have been an epidemic in First Nations communities since contact.
The people who are the closest to the Earth, the First Nations’ culture and traditional way of life have slowly been altered since contact.
Recent statistics reveal that there are more First Nations children in child welfare/CAS care today than were in residential schools. The second wave of Canada’s assimilation policies is being implemented.
First Nations people feel betrayed and hurt. This has been passed down from one generation to another. As they were back then so are they still today, the First Nations of Canada are patiently waiting for the colonizing peoples to admit what they did, do more than apologies, and honour the treaties as they were written, a sharing agreement.
In Ojibway there is no word for “sorry” as you don’t say it, you show it. If the government and politicians are truly sorry they would need to demonstrate it in real actions of inclusion and in-depth consultations.
It may be uncomfortable to speak words like “genocide” or “forced assimilation” or “systemic racism” but they are the truth. Only when we address these issues and work together to resolve them can we move forward as a nation.
William Morin is the interim leader of the First Peoples National Party of Canada and a candidate in Sudbury, Ontario.