This blog represents my own personal opinions, thoughts and ideas, and should never be relied on as legal advice. My goal is have a national discussion with the grass roots citizens to see where we can affect the changes we want for our families, communities, and Nations. We owe it to our ancestors to protect our cultures and territories for our future generations.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's (INAC's) recent round of cuts to national Aboriginal organizations, regional First Nation organizations and tribal councils are very telling about the policy direction in which we are headed. This policy direction is most definitely backwards in time - say 50 to 100 years or so. Canada has come nearly full circle in its treatment of Indigenous peoples. Canada went from (1) creating a mythic "race" of Indians to be divided, controlled and assimilated, (2) to recognizing (at least somewhat) that First Nations are diverse, have the inherent right to be self-determining (although limited) and that Aboriginal and treaty rights must be addressed (even though we didn't agree on how), (3) back to treating all "Indians" as one big problem that needs to be eliminated.
Early Indian policy was designed to accomplish two main policy objectives: (1) acquire Indigenous lands and resources, and (2) reduce financial responsibility to Indigenous peoples. The primary way in which these two objectives were to be achieved was through the physical, legal, social and spiritual elimination of Indigenous peoples. I say "elimination" because that is the word which best describes government intentions. Most people today use the term "assimilation" but to my mind, this word is much too soft to describe the design and impact of government policies on Indigenous peoples in Canada.
To some readers, the term "elimination" may seem a little harsh, somewhat of an exaggeration, or perhaps rhetoric blown out of proportion which forgets the good intentions governments, churches and traders had for Indigenous peoples. I beg to differ - not because I fall into any externally imposed category of left-wing, liberal, radical or "nutbar". I …