I am writing this post after I seen something that someone re-tweeted on twitter. Yup, I am on twitter!.
The re-tweet went a little something like this:
Can anyone name something good/positive the government has ever done for Ab people in return for their home and Native land? Maybe I’m being unfair, but all I can think of is smallpox, residential schools, 60s scoop, housing crisis, disenfranchisement, genocide..
I must first say that some people are going to think I am a bit of a hypocrite when I write this post.
When other First Nations people say things like this, it makes me upset. I am not upset at the government, but rather upset at the people that say things like this. Yes, I know that not every Canadian knows about the “True Canadian History.” I say “True Canadian History” because not everyone knows about the Indian Act and its history, or why it was created, and the other institutions that were created to try to get rid of the “Indian in the Child.”
Yes, some of the problems (well majority of the problems) today can be traced back to these historical happenings. Am I a hypocrite for writing about intergenerational problems in previous posts? Unfortunately, that is just it, these are HISTORICAL Happenings.
It is great that we can acknowledge and know our own history, but what isn’t great is how some young First Nations people bring that up in almost every argument. If I can offer one piece of criticism: Stop. That argument has been over played and over used. Instead of bringing arguments like that of above up in your defense… Argue about what needs to be done TODAY! For instance, one can argue that “True Canadian History” needs to be apart of educational lessons so that others gain a better understanding of the problems that happen today (This sounds counter-intuitive to letting go of the past, yes it does. Someone once told me that it is not my duty to educate the rest of the world about what has happened, but it is my right to fight for change and fight for the future–that’s what I mean by suggesting this argument). One can also argue that First Nations need access to a basic human right: Clean, accessible, drinking water… and maybe even indoor plumbing. One can also argue that we need to hold our own leaders accountable for the decisions that they make for their own community.
These are just some items that can be fought for today. I am sure that there are much more to be fought for and they vary from each First Nation community.
Like I said earlier, I might be considered a hypocrite writing this. This will be my first time voting, and I am 24 years old. Since I was able to vote, I missed out on two elections (that I can remember). I missed out on one because I didn’t know that I had to register, and provide proof of address (I was not living at home, and I went to a the closest polling station near me… was told to back to my First Nation to vote because that’s where my identification address was). I missed out on another one because my address was NFA (yup, no fixed address–not the best way to live). I am pretty sure I may have missed another election because I didn’t care.
Now that I am back in school, and more aware of current situations (other than my own situation), I am excited about voting for the first time more than ever. I owe this especially to my friend Chad Cowie. I want to see change and I want to help others fight for that change (others being First Nations). I keep hearing about in this election, “Nobody is talking about First Nation issues…” or “Leaders need to address First Nations issues…”. Let me tell you, some leaders have been talking about or addressing First Nations issues–some more than others and some only addressing these issues at more convenient times (**Ahem** Example: the English debate… won’t mention any names..).
If you are 18 and voting and First Nations, voting is not the only option you have. If you want to see change you have to fight for change because there are certainly a lot more people out there that believe their own issues (which are not First Nations issues) are more important than First Nations people and their issues. In fact, a lot of people in this country probably believe that they know what is right and that their issues deserve more attention than First Nations issues. That’s reality and that’s the truth when it comes to fight for any right or issues, not just First Nations.
You have to fight for change. Write letters, form a group, create a website… Do anything to bring attention to your cause. You will probably think to yourself, “Well I am just one person out of like a million others…” I bet you are only one person in a million, but that’s a lot of chances for more than one person to have the probability to be thinking the same thing as you. I bet there are one in one hundred chances that someone is thinking the same thing as you are. I bet they are closer than you imagine. You can’t just say, “Great, I am going to vote, but then what.” What do you mean then what? Make sure you follow up, read the news, and like I said before: write letters, form groups…etc etc!
But please…don’t argue what the above individual did. Argue for what needs to be done TODAY and for the FUTURE!
If you really feel like you need to make noise like that above argument, there are ways that fighting for what needs to be done today and ways that you can squeeze in the above argument, but I will say something rather honest: Some Canadians are somewhat tired of hearing that argument, like that of above. Make your argument relevant to today. How does the past affect YOU? How did the past affect YOU? And most importantly, what are YOU going to do to help bring about change TODAY and into the FUTURE!
Ps, Don’t forget to vote 😉