William Morin: Canada must address acts of genocide against First Nations people
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.
Apr 20, 2011 at 7:06am
My grandfather, James Williscroft, was the last white man killed by a segment of the Cree nation, during a rebellion in 1885. He left behind 8 children. Does the First Peoples National Party of Canada plan to compensate us?
Please explain how it is that the First Peoples obtain millions of dollars every year from the Federal government yet some aboriginals continue to live in squalor with plenty of addiction problems (alcohol and drugs) and abject poverty for some. For example a group in Wet Vancouver complain loudly about drug and alcohol problems and poor housing for some yet they own the bustling shopping centre?
Can it be now, in 2011, the caste system is still actively pursued. This is not the fault of the colonizing people or their descendants. It is the responsibility of those in charge of each First Peoples group.
It is time to get over feeling hurt or uttering complaints of some imagined "systemic racism." As is often said, Follow the money. Who gets the most of those grants from Ottawa?
paul the real human
Apr 20, 2011 at 12:26pm
MONTY, this is heard time n time again--borrrring. 2/3 of the Cree Nation wiped out by your ancestors through disease, murder, starvation, assimilation etc...n yes your Imagined Racist System does exist, you just hve to go live on gthe Rez--oh will you find out n then some. We moved forwrd despite this hatefilled society--maybe you should move forwrd too hypocrite
Apr 20, 2011 at 1:07pm
I would like more research done on what happened to the runaway students from the Duck Lake Residential school, they were taken to another place between Mcdowall and Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. No one likes to discuss this place, there are no records of this place, but the foundation of the building is still there. Another classic case og Genocide there!!!!!
Apr 20, 2011 at 1:20pm
Well well, Paul The Real Human Being, try reading some accurate history books for a change. There were several Cree nations in 1885--only 1 group were warriors.
The remarks re $ are accurate. I live close to an aboriginal nation. The caste system is obviously operating.
I will continue to share my views despite your insulting remarks.
Apr 20, 2011 at 1:26pm
Another rant for more money. With the billions loaded into the "nations" and their call for their own government, what do they do with the money? No accountability for one. For another example look no further than the Squamish who voted to still have the government authorize actions instead of their own people in a recent vote:
More of our tax dollars at work:
Apr 20, 2011 at 2:18pm
@Monty. Get stuffed.
Apr 20, 2011 at 5:45pm
The natives were conquered.
End of story.
Apr 20, 2011 at 6:24pm
1. Living close to a First Nation does not make you First Nations nor does it allow you an understanding of the issues going on within that community. That's like saying I live close to the American border, so I know what's best for them.
2. Sorry to hear about your Grandpa, man. That's rough. My Grandpa has a rough story too. Actually they both do, along with both my Grandmothers and all of their siblings. See, they were forced into a SYSTEM of education against their will and against the will of their parents. There's the rub. You Grandfather was the victim of Indigenous resistance to a system of oppression. The fed's weren't upholding the Nation to Nation treaties they'd negotiated with the Cree. There was also the issue of the American's buffalo killing policies that were designed to cut off the food source for American plains peoples. Unfortunately for Cree citizen's north of the 49th, that was their food too. I'm not a proponent of violence by any means, but it's not unheard of for peoples to rise up violently in the face of oppression. It happens all around the world.
3. Then there's the small issues of the constitution, the British North America Act and the Royal Proclomation which all recognise Indigenous Rights as inherent. Not to mention that the mandate from up on high in England was to extinguish Aboriginal Title, something that never happened in B.C.
4. The Fed gov negotiated treaties on a Nation to Nation treaties and guaranteed rights to First Nations in exchange for use of land and resources. These treaties are living documents and it is the responsibility of every Canadian to ensure they are upheld rather than trying to convince everyone that it's time to get over "hurt feelings". These issues are bigger than that.
5. The Squamish Nation does not own Park Royal Shopping Centre, it leases that land to a corporation. The corporation, in collaboration with the land owners are free to make decisions about how to use that land.
6. The Squamish People exercised their democratic will. Who are you to argue? You can be dissapointed [like I was when the States elected Bush], but if you're not a citizen all you can do is stand at the sidelines. The players on the field know what's going on.
7. It really is "our tax dollars". Every single last one of us. Only Status Indians who work on reserve don't pay income tax and that's a small % of out population. Status Indians who live on reserve don't pay property tax but they don't OWN the property, the crown does and the fed gov doesn't pay tax on any of its properties.
Every Canadian of every income pays taxes. In the case of our province it's a 12% HST. So it really is "our tax dollars" and Indigenous people have a right to assert how they think our tax dollars should be spent, just like you.
8. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's budget represents 0.004% of Canada's GDP, barely a drop in the bucket. 17% that budget is INAC overhead and never reaches First Nations.
The reasons social issues continue to plague First Nations communities are extremely complex, but funding is a HUGE factor in the equation. Funding for housing, health, education, etc. programs have been capped at a 2% increase per annum since 1996. The cap was designed to keep pace with inflation but has failed to even do that. Between 1998-2002 funding in post-secondary education alone decreased by $14 million.
More on that here
Taxpayers R Us
Apr 20, 2011 at 8:59pm
"Canada must compensate us for __________!!"
Yup, popular tune these days.
Apr 21, 2011 at 10:39am
People need to stop living in the past! As a nation we will never advance and be prosperous if this keeps up. First nations get EVERYTHING FOR FREE and its still not enough. Try losing half your paycheck to taxes then you have a reason to complain, My kids do not get FREE education nor healthcare/medicine etc or free homes. Take a look in other countries indigenous peoples and what they get from their governments, Yup Canada is too generous, Be thankful for what you get and stop whining. Point is, Everyone should be treated EQUAL!!! This B.S. only divides our people!