Read No compromise in sight for First Nations protesters and feds on the Sun News site this morning. Seriously, I should know better than to even glance at the comments threads on articles like this. The article itself is surprisingly unbiased and focused on the factual. The comments, on the other hand… OY!
How is it possible that there can be so many so ignorant Canadians? What does that say about what we are teaching in our schools, and about our ongoing media coverage of Aboriginal issues? To me, it says we are failing….and not just failing, but failing miserably. We – clearly – suck.
It is not just the ignorance that tells me so. It is the fact that so many people have so little hesitation in demonstrating their ignorance and their racism. Not only have our educational systems failed to teach enough? anything? about the history of settlers in Canada, we have created a society where it is perfectly okay to be horribly racist towards Aboriginal people. Did I mention we suck?
one woman wrote:
I’m amazed at the organization and perseverance of the Natives, imagine if they applied those same skills to say starting a business or at least getting a job.
Seriously? Just like that we can negate all evidence of the reality that just like among settlers, some are employed and highly educated, and some are not. We can totally wipe out every single native person’s contribution to society in one fell swoop – and people believe this shit?
Certainly, in some reserves, such as Attawapiskat, there are extremely high unemployment levels. Guess what? If some government came along and rounded you and your settler family up and put you on a plane to go to an area where it suited the government to have people but where the likelihood of jobs was pitiful, you wouldn’t be working either. Congratulations – you’re white – you didn’t get picked up and moved to a stupid location and have to make the best of it. Woo fricken hoo for you.
Oh, and by the way, that same government that didn’t relocate you because you and your ancestors are the same purdy colour they are, they also didn’t come along and pick up all the kids and cart them off to be re-educated, mistreated and abused at residential schools until 1996. YOUR parents and grand-parents likely didn’t have perfect lives either – but they were not systematically removed from their families, culture, language, names for God’s sake! – and then, once re-educated but still not accepted or acceptable in the ways of a settler society – tossed back into their communities incapable of fitting comfortably anywhere. Congratulations, you are a fricken star.
And did I mention, also an idiot?
How is it possible that so many Canadians can be so fricken stupid? We have educated them to be exactly what they are.
At the same time that we were (supposedly) educating Aboriginal children – the ones we didn’t manage to kill while we had them in our care – what, you didn’t know about that? Read a little bit, why don’t you. The government refuses to tell how many children died while at residential schools – they would like us to believe that they have no way of counting that (they really DO count on us to be stupid, you see). But many, many did. But hey, who cares – they were just “Indians” after all…. anyway… at the same time we were doing that, we were also teaching Canadian settlers that they were ever so much more important and clever and entitled than Aboriginal peoples could ever be.
Our (settler) societies are the right way (money first, then people). Our (settler) justice system is the only way (punishment, then resolution, then think about prevention). Our education system, our “management” of resources (money first, then people), our gender roles, our …our… our…. we’ve been taught that our way, the settler ways …are the only right way.
Guess what? They are not the only way. And they are not even likely the right way.
If we were doing everything right we would not have so many damn problems. We wouldn’t have so many homeless people, or people in jails, or on welfare, or …or… or….
White people, even! Imagine that! Yeah, yeah, I know… all of the native people AND all of the poor unemployed settlers too … they are all poor and unemployed and …whatever… cuz they all make bad choices. Yeah… that’s it. People CHOOSE to be disabled too, don’t they? Or to get cancer? Or to …whatever… it’s all a line of neoliberal bullshit that far too many people have bought into.
We – Canadian society – is SICK. The western societies we consider ourselves a part of – SICK. Our planet – SICK.
There are other ways, better ways… it does not have to be this way. And honestly, although I am in no way an expert in Aboriginal ways & teachings, from what I have learned & read & heard so far, I truly think that their teachings – 7 generations, for starters – could potentially be the single most important thing that we – the big we, which includes both indigenous peoples and settler peoples – could actually start to heal those things which are SICK.
But oh, there are so very many people yet unable to move beyond the ignorance they have been taught.
I have, over the past several years – and particularly when the Harper cons won their (terrifying) majority – lost hope that we would ever collectively give our heads a shake and smarten up. I had, actually, pretty much lost all hope for Canada. Obviously, if there are enough Canadians stupid enough to give Harper a majority, the depth of our ignorance is just insurmountable…
but maybe… just maybe….
there is still rabble.ca, and the occupy movement, and….
now, there is #IdleNoMore.
And yes, the ignorant and racist beliefs are coming out from the woodwork and yes, they are disgusting & disturbing …
but maybe, just maybe, the fact that they are coming out of the woodwork is a good thing… it’s much easier to kill the bedbugs you can see than those hiding in the cracks, eh?
Not advocating killing here – or even associating the PEOPLE with the bedbugs – it is the SICK IDEAS I mean….
as disturbing as these conversations are, they are conversations which need to be.
So… let us value them, and address them, and let us keep trying to educate the ignorant.
Some of them will never get it, no matter how hard we try…. I’m afraid Mr. Harper might well be one of those … but what else can we do but try?