My brother was down this weekend, and in light of the new budget we got talking a bit about politics. I mentioned the unfair treatment of the Aboriginals in the treaty and Borther replied with a firm “Ah, who gives a crap out them damn Natives.” Well, he said that to the wrong two women. My mother and I harped on him for a good ½ an hour on the way to Grandma’s about how ignorant that statement was and why we should give a damn. Ever since colonialists arrived from Britain the Aboriginals have been treated poorly. The aboriginals at the time, had no sense of land owner ship, and there was a horrible language barrier between the people. However, pacts were made, and goods were traded. Until it all took a horrible turn for the worse and all of the aboriginals were pushed onto reserves. Those horrible language barriers were taken advantage of as the new leaders of the land would interpret treaties that would overly favor the new settlers. The treaties however, here in Canada, are still protected to this day. These rights and treaties need to be respected, and even taken further than where they are at.
The settlers immediately took advantage of the treaties, and violated the aboriginals, in order to expand their territories and possessions. In order for these wrongs to be right, and to continue to protect the aboriginals they must be treated different by the government. My brother said “They shouldn’t need extra help, there is nothing stopping them from just getting up and going to get a job.” But there are education barriers, cultural barriers, and all sorts of things. The historic abuse of aboriginals can be directly connected to their rise in crime rates and drug abuses as well. In Canada, not only were the aboriginals forced onto reserves, but they were also forced to be taught in residential schools.
These schools held in them racist attitudes, and high levels of violence towards the aboriginals. The government, instead of significantly decreasing the money that is to be spent on aboriginals ought to be offering extremely high amounts of support and money to correct these wrong, the Canadian government needs to take responsibility for the stupidity of those that governed previously. Before aboriginals can just “get up and get a job” they must be properly integrated to function and survive in a larger community with an entirely different set of values and an entirely different culture. This does not mean calling off things like the Kelowna Agreement, it means putting as much money as possible into their education, crime and rehabilitation programs.
Not only this, but Canada also takes pride in its diversity and ability to provide a safe setting in which people can live their native cultures. If the government does not stop in to protect the aboriginal, their cultures, their languages and their populations will be lost. French has been made an official language of this country, when really, it is the native tongue of the aboriginals that is actually the ‘official’ language of this land. Now, I’m not suggesting we all start learning this language, but I am suggesting that more protection be put into the language, and that it be taught to aboriginal kids in their schools.
The protection of the culture and language comes through that of giving them some of their land back. It is not reasonable to suggest that we hand over all of Vancouver to the aboriginal population, but it is reasonable to suggest that we allow them to stay intimately connected to the land, allowing them to fish, hunt and travel like they do in their cultures instead of putting bans on all of these things.
The US ha used affirmative action as an acceptable way of “leveling the playing field”. But look at all the historical wrongs that have been made in which a cycle of poverty, under-education and unemployment is completely normal to be found on reserves. There is no way for them to leave this cycle; it is their life, and their homes. How can they just “get up and get a job” if they don’t have the education? If their reserve is too far away from a city? If they don’t own a car? Don’t have a valid license and are unable to get one? …Its horrible the conditions that they are in, and the government needs to stop putting goddamn money into military, and boarder patrol and put it into the people of Canada that need it the most.