Sunday, December 04, 2011

The "poisonous" Native/Government relationship.

A fine list of examples of this "poisonous" relationship between First Nation Reserves and the Government is written by the National Post.  The one issue they fail to address in all their "The numbers you hear are incorrect, they only get 5.8 million in 2010-2011 for houses", is the fact that most people that read this will be paying for their own homes and upkeep themselves (and through their taxes obviously paying for First Nation Homes)! 

I agree with funding Education and Health care, everything that every Canadian expects already. But when you have to work for something you take pride in it and take care of it, and that is where handing out houses turns into a money pit because they expect it to be kept up for them too.  You want First Nation houses to last, let First Nations people buy them for themselves like the ROC.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Attawapiskat First Nation.

One of my best childhood friends for a number of years was a native boy named Hubert. Now Hubert and I would sleep over at each others houses, and I even spent time on the band reservation that he and his family were a part of. I never gave a second thought that we were in any way different, he was just another kid that was one of my closest friends.  So when I talk about reserve life, I speak from someone with first hand experience having not just visited, but been a apart of their daily life.

Recently in the news the Attawapiskat First Nation has declared a "State of emergency" and has put out their hands to the Government to finance their recovery.  Here is where I start to question the dis-service we are doing to the Native population by continuing to assist them at every turn financially, instead of allowing them to grow in both pride and self reliance. I'm not saying that the Government shouldn't be there to help, but I think some personal responsibility needs to be taken on the part of the Attawapiskat First Nation as to how and why they feel they NEED to delare this state of emergency.

I am going to regress for a moment, and look at the point of the "Reservation".  This was a place set aside for native peoples to manage and hold as their own, where they could raise their children in their traditional culture.  This seems to me to be a noble cause, worthy of a noble people.  I may be mistaken, but I believe Reservations falls outside any number of Federal Legislations, and is even given money and houses by the Government.  Which is why I question how they came to be in a state of emergency.  I really think the problem starts with the way a native mentality has changed to one of entitlement rather than self reliance, "you took our lands, now you owe us". Let's think for a moment about the state of being when the Europeans started settling Canada, are the native people better or worse off for it? Sure there were a number of problems that the settlers brought with them, but I would still have to say that European influences and settlement has improved life for most natives that have embraced it as also theirs.

I'm not saying don't help when it's needed, what I am saying is that the current relationship between the native community and Government is unhealthy, and it is primarily so for the Native community.  What I say to the First Nations people is simple; Don't give up your culture and heritage, but embrace the society around you to become healthy, proud, and self relient Canadians. I say this also after having read a disturbing stat that 80% of Prairie correctional inmates are Native, which I also believe is another disturbing effect of this unhealthy relationship, as well a number of factors/attitudes being handed down in native communities.

I don't have all the answers, but I find the problem serious enough to point out that it's been there too long.

** addition; The day after I write this I see an article in the National post is saying basically the same things I've said here, but it does touch on the subject of how some First Nations haven't any idea on how to govern themselves.  National Post Article.