Globe and Mail

Globalization: The Further Oppression of Aboriginal Women

Globalization: The Further Oppression of Aboriginal Women in Canada

Recently a Globe and Mail article dated February 25, 2011 featuring Michael Moore, known for his Academy-award winning documentaries (Michael Moore’s Blog), talks about a Brazilian-owned Mining company in Canada that is known as the “second largest mining company in the world” (Galloway). This is globalization in Canada: large export companies coming in and creating employment for its citizens. In the same article, the mining company’s most recent decision is highlighted. This decision is to remove itself from its mining operations in the small northern community of Thompson, Manitoba, which will reportedly cause its citizens to lose five hundred jobs (Galloway). Upon the company’s exit, Thompson’s citizens will be left without employment and the company will be left with an acquired $17.3 billion (Galloway). Some say globalization is for the betterment of Canada, but what those people fail to see is the exploitation of small towns. Small towns like Thompson, Manitoba are exploited with the promise of opportunity, but when the company leaves the community, the towns are right back where they started: with little to no economic opportunity. What the headlines do not reveal are the town’s hidden citizens, wherein Thompson, Manitoba 36.4% of the population is Aboriginal (Indian and Northern Affairs). Headlines like this, which are concerned with the ways in which globalization helps small towns, take priority over the headlines that are concerned with how globalization is adversely affecting other groups who already lack opportunity within Canada, like Aboriginal women. When people and headlines are more concerned with the general population, one must begin to ask, has globalization benefited women, specifically Aboriginal women?

This essay will argue that Aboriginal women in Canada have not benefited from globalization because of a corporate culture that creates a patriarchy that is adverse to Aboriginal culture, which further oppresses Aboriginal women in Canada. This essay will first demonstrate that globalization oppresses Aboriginal women through its patriarchal corporate culture, which is counter to the values and beliefs of Aboriginal culture. Second, the essay will put forth the idea that Aboriginal women are oppressed because their issues are inadequately addressed in the face of globalization. Finally, this essay will argue that Aboriginal women are oppressed because globalization further limits the few opportunities available to them. Two counter arguments will also be addressed: The argument made by some critics which suggests that globalization does not oppress all Aboriginal women, some of whom are already part of Aboriginal communities that are patriarchal in form; and the argument that globalization helps Aboriginal women because some international organizations use globalization to raise awareness concerning Aboriginal women’s issues. As Aboriginal people fight for their rights and recognition within Canadian society, they must be careful not to further oppress an important group of people key to their own existence: Aboriginal women.

Globalization is an ambiguous term with multiple meanings. When applying ambiguous terms to a specific group of people, caution should be taken because these terms and their concepts may seem to only benefit part of the group, rather than the whole group. A definition of what globalization is and how it pertains to Aboriginal people should be established. In Globalization and Self-Government: Impacts and Implications for First Nations in Canada, Gabrielle A. Slowey points out that globalization is a “common term…with a variety of meanings [and] for some, it is a dangerous euphemism” (266). Globalization as it is relevant to Aboriginal peoples can be defined as the corporate control over resources for profit. Furthermore, Slowely describes globalization as “corporations [assuming] a more dominate role in all spheres of life” (265). This corporate dominated role suggests that globalization is purely profit driven, and in the corporate world, people are unconcerned with the under-privileged, like Aboriginal women. Another question relating to globalization and Aboriginal peoples is what is it exactly that corporations seek to control? As it pertains to Aboriginal peoples, corporations seek to control natural resources. In Globalization as Racialized, Sexualized Violence, Rauna Kuokkanen describes globalization as “a form of oppression that is linked to patriarchy” (218) and “this patriarchal control [is] over those defined as subordinate, whether women, indigenous peoples or the environment (‘natural resources’)” (222). Koukkanen shows that corporations seek to control those who are considered subordinate, which includes women, Aboriginal people, and their natural resources. Aboriginal women are then a unique group to the world of globalization because they are connected to issues relating to women, to race, and to natural resources. Therefore, this essay defines globalization as a purely profit driven, corporate dominating concept that seeks to control the natural resources of Aboriginal people in a top-down fashion.

Globalization’s corporate culture seeks to control subordinate subjects in the corporate-driven world. In the corporate world, Canadian women in general are already underrepresented and rarely reach top-management positions (Catalyst). This may suggest a patriarchal structure, and it is this patriarchy that has oppressed Aboriginal women in the past and will continue to oppress them in the future. In Sisters in Spirit, Anita Olsen Harper states that “many pre-contact Aboriginal societies were both matriarchal and matrilineal [which] ensured women’s authority and legitimate place” (175). Globalization may then further oppress Aboriginal women because it is this corporate dominating world associated with globalization that may cause Aboriginal women to further lose their place in society. If globalization may further oppress Aboriginal women, it does so in a historical context of this type of oppression. The oppression of Aboriginal women occurred when Europeans first came to Canada. In Trauma to Resilience: Notes on Decolonization, Cynthia C. Wesley-Esquimaux highlights that “Native women came under the gaze of missionaries, men who could not see women as equals…Native women were removed from their traditional roles and responsibilities and pushed to the margins of their own society” (16). This shows that Aboriginal women’s oppression began well before globalization, and that if globalization’s corporate dominating world and its suggestive patriarchy were to continue into the future, so will the oppression of Aboriginal women.

One might argue that globalization would not oppress all Aboriginal women because some of their own communities are patriarchal in form. To compare globalization’s patriarchy and an Aboriginal society’s patriarchy is a false analogy. This is because even if some Aboriginal societies are patriarchal in form, Aboriginal women still have a place in society. Harper further states that “other First Nation societies, even if they were patriarchal in structure, were similar to the Iroquoian in their recognition and placing women in high standing” (175). Aboriginal women’s status, since the Europeans colonization, has been oppressed because Europeans did not see them as equals. Globalization is profit-driven, not equality-driven. Furthermore, this comparison is a false analogy because an Aboriginal women’s position was central to Aboriginal people’s existence, even in a patriarchal structure. As Harper further states:


[These societies] considered their women essential and valued economic partners….women took on domestic roles…as well as significant roles in essential livelihood activities….women were personally autonomous, appreciated, and treated as valued members in all aspects of community life. (175-176)

This demonstrates that Aboriginal women have a rightful and equal place essential to Aboriginal people’s existence in their society, whether patriarchal or not. Globalization will further oppress Aboriginal women because corporations are unconcerned with giving status to the subordinates they seek to control or with treating their subordinates as equal and essential to the corporation’s existence.

Aboriginal women are a unique group to globalization. They are unique because they are connected to all three groups: women, Aboriginal people, and natural resources (land). When corporations seek to control Aboriginal people’s natural resources, the issues Aboriginal people are concerned with no longer include gender specific issues, but rather they are concerned with land (natural resources) issues. Aboriginal women are then oppressed because Aboriginal women’s issues are no longer given the attention they deserve. Andrea Smith in Native American Feminism, Sovereignty and Social Change insists that “Native struggles for land and survival continue to take precedence over these other issues” (118) and that “gender justice is often articulated as being a separate issue from issues of survival” (121). Smith shows that the struggle for land (natural resources) and survival is prioritized above Aboriginal women’s issues and that the latter are seen as separate issues all together. If globalization is profit driven and seeks to control the natural resources of Aboriginal people, and if Aboriginal people prioritize their struggle for land (natural resources) over Aboriginal women’s issues, these gender-specific issues may never be recognized and realized, thereby further oppressing Aboriginal women.

Having said this, one might argue that globalization does not oppress Aboriginal women because international organizations are using globalization to bring awareness to Aboriginal women’s issues. Even though other organizations like Amnesty International are helping free Aboriginal women from their struggles, any real change has yet to happen. Amnesty International has been dedicated to helping Aboriginal women and their issues, and its Stolen Sisters campaign speaks out about gender violence against Aboriginal women (Amnesty International 2). It must be highlighted that this is only a recent campaign, and a report subsequent to the campaign highlights the fact that even though inquiries have been conducted, and recommendations put forth, most of these recommendations have yet to be implemented. Work into the Stolen Sisters campaign began in October 2004 (Amnesty International 1), and Amnesty International’s most recent report, dated September 2009, further states that provincial and federal inquiries have “put forth a body of recommendations most of which have yet to be implemented” (Amnesty International 25). The same issues, the Aboriginal peoples and their natural resources, that continue to take priority over Aboriginal women’s issues are the same ones central to globalization, further excluding and oppressing Aboriginal women from the global economy. Therefore, even though other organizations are raising awareness about Aboriginal women’s issues to help relieve them from oppression, this work is still recent, and some of its recommendations have yet to be implemented. It could take years for any real changes to happen, and globalization may make these changes even more difficult to attain.

Globalization further oppresses Aboriginal women because it makes the few opportunities that are available to them even more difficult to obtain. In Sisters in Spirit, Harper highlights that Aboriginal women face “high-unemployment rates and lack of economic opportunity,” in particular on their First Nation (180). The jobs created for Aboriginals living on their First Nation continue to exclude Aboriginal women when corporations introduce male-dominated natural resource industries. Furthermore, globalization and its corporate dominating world are not concerned with Aboriginal women and their opportunities. Slowey highlights that “globalization has provided the government with incentives to make Canada more competitive within the global economy” (270). This shows that globalization is not concerned with Aboriginal women and their opportunities, but rather with where Canada stands in the global economy. This increased competition may lead to the migration of people into Canada and thus to the further displacement Aboriginal women, especially those living off their First Nation and in Canadian cities. Fariyal Ross-Sheriff in Globalization as a Women’s Issue Revisited highlights that “global changes are resulting in greater mobility…and global migration” (133). It must be noted that migration of individuals to Canada is not opposed of or should be rejected. However, globalization and heightened migration into Canada may then lead to Aboriginal women’s competitive advantage to be diminished as people with more skills, education, and experience fight for the same opportunities that Aboriginal women fight for. With increased migration and a focus on making Canada more competitive in the global economy, Aboriginal women are oppressed when their struggles to acquire the few opportunities available to them are more difficult to attain in the face of globalization.

Globalization is, above all else, profit-drive. This essay defined globalization as corporations seeking to control the natural resources of Aboriginal people in a top-down fashion. This essay asked the question: has globalization benefited women, specifically Aboriginal women? The answer is that Aboriginal women in Canada have not benefited from globalization because it is this corporate culture that creates a patriarchal society and control over Aboriginal people and their resources. It is this type of control that is adverse to Aboriginal culture and that further oppresses Aboriginal women. Furthermore, Aboriginal women’s oppression began well before globalization and if globalization’s tendency to dominate and exercise patriarchal control over subordinate subjects were to continue into the future, so will the oppression of Aboriginal women. The counter-argument that some Aboriginal societies are patriarchal in form fails to acknowledge the place that Aboriginal women continue to hold in these societies. Even if some Aboriginal societies are patriarchal, these societies still recognize Aboriginal women and placed women in high standing. As corporations seek to control Aboriginal peoples and their resources, the issues Aboriginal women struggle with may never be fully recognized in the face of globalization. Other organizations are helping to bring attention to Aboriginal women’s issues, but this work is only recent and some of it has yet to be implemented. Globalization focuses on making Canada more competitive in the global economy, and in doing so, it makes the few opportunities available to Aboriginal women more difficult to reach as people with more skills, education, and experience seek out global opportunity in Canada. Therefore, as Aboriginal people fight for their rights and recognition as a group within Canadian society, they must be careful not to further oppress an important group of people key to their existence: Aboriginal women.

If Canada wants to remain competitive in a globalized Canadian economy, they must begin to recognize the implications of globalization on Aboriginal people and Aboriginal women specifically. Aboriginal people must also be aware of these implications and their effects on Aboriginal women, a group that is central to their existence. Aboriginal people should be careful not to fight just for land rights or Aboriginal people’s rights, but also to fight for Aboriginal women’s rights. Amnesty International’s work on Aboriginal women’s issues and gender violence is a start, but the work should not stop there. Aboriginal people should be weary about globalization. They should be weary about allowing corporations to access their natural resources merely for profit. In the past, prior to the onset of globalization, Aboriginal people’s land was taken away from them and their women were controlled in a patriarchal fashion. With globalization and corporate greed, Aboriginal people may no longer have a place to call home. That is, as more people come to Canada for opportunity and a new place to call home, the question we must ask is: where will Aboriginal peoples go? The real and long-term implications of globalization needs to be addressed before allowing corporations, like the one mentioned in The Globe and Mail article, on Aboriginal land. Furthermore, a corporation entering Aboriginal land to access its resources needs to be transparent about what it plans to do with the land and it needs to be transparent with the land’s rightful owners: the Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people need to realize that they cannot leave the most important group of people–Aboriginal women–out of their struggle for existence, because if it were not for Aboriginal women, Aboriginal people would not exist.

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Remember when…..

Remember when I wrote a post about the effects of globalization? No, that’s okay. I’ll refresh your memory. I wrote a post titled “Is this the effects of globalizations?” wherein I just finished researching and writing an essay that answered the question:

Have women benefitted from Globalization, specifically Aboriginal women?

I said No, globalization does not benefit women, specifically Aboriginal women.

I didn’t know how I was going to introduce this essay. Yes, I wrote the entire essay with arguments and counter-arguments even before I finished the introduction and conclusion–it’s how I write best. Then, I came across a Globe and Mail article that featured Michael Moore’s blog post titled “Why I support the people of Thompson, Canada–and you should too.” Mr. Moore wrote about Vale, an apparently huge mining company that violated their “social contract” that was meant to benefit the people of Thompson, Manitoba and supposedly Canada under the Investment Canada Act. My introduction was born. Thank you, Mr. Moore…

However, the people of Thompson, Manitoba were apparently left worried about their futures. Vale was pulling out of the small Manitoba town. It was closing up shop, according to the Globe and Mail, on “it’s nickel smelter and refiner just months after it received a $1-billion loan from Export Development Canada.” Read the Globe and Mail article titled Michael Moore Adds Star Power to Manitoba Mining Battle. This article is dated February 25, 2011. Over 500 jobs at stake, but that doesn’t matter… Vale made net profits of $17.3 billion last year. So what, big deal.

Big deal, now Globe and Mail has another article titled Vale Launches $11 Billion Bid for South Africa Miner. Here the Globe talks about how Vale has a vision to set up shop in Africa and even try to diversify from it’s main business of iron ore. This article is dated April 8, 2011, last update May 5, 2011.

The February article states that by 2015, Vale received the above mentioned loan after promising to increase employment, and then immediately after Vale announced that the same refinery would be closed by 2015.

The April article states that by 2015, Vale would like to increase cooper output by 45% by 2015, as it plans to move away from iron ore (its main business). In this same article, an analyst (Sasha Naryshkine, analyst at Johannesburg-based Vestact) is quoted saying the following:

“The fact that a big Brazilian global partner is having a look at African assets might signal something for some of the other majors around the world…Because if you aren’t afraid of mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, you are not afraid of anything.”

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I bet they are not afraid of anything if they got away with what they are apparently getting away with in Canada. Providing hope to citizens, then tearing it away. As Michael Moore says in his post in relation to Thompson, Manitoba,

So this is about one thing and one thing only: killing the social contract of Canada…The corporations’ plan is that the Third World will become the Only World.

In this world of Multi-national corporations and globalization, there is always a winner and a loser. Mainly the winners are the MNCs; the losers, the citizens of not just poor countries, but First World countries…Thank you globalization.

Links to the following posts/articles mentioned in this post listed below:

Heritage Status? Indian Landfill?

Note: The title of this post is taken from the comments that were posted in the globe and mail article. Check out the article’s comments HERE.

This new post can be traced back to one of my first posts titled Helpless.

In my post I highlight the fact that Aboriginal title or rights claim are not a registerable interest:

At time of publication of Prof. Marguerite E. Moore’s Title Searching & Conveyancing in Ontario 6th ed. (April 2010), the Registry Act and the Land Titles Act “do not recognize Aboriginal Title or rights claims to be a registerable interest…[making] it extremely difficult to search for and [sic] identity potential Aboriginal claims.” (p. 503, Moore 2010).

And most recently, globe and mail article titled Widow Loses Court Challenge In Fight Over Heritage Status of Property. The title says it all. However in the article, it states even more,

“There was nothing on the land title to indicate the property had any archeological significance and it wasn’t registered as a heritage site.”

If land with Aboriginal interest is not registerable on titled in Ontario, I am sure that other provinces operate the same way. Just look at Oka, and other land claim disputes that occur across Canada. Wasn’t there a resort out west that had a public sign that shouted, “No Indians Allowed”? I believe so. With this post, let’s not go there.

There should be some sort of recognition of Aboriginal interest on title to land, even if it’s not registered/registerable. It should at least alert its owners or future owners when title is transferred, just like any registerable interest. It will probably avoid situations like this, and future situations that have current or future Aboriginal land claim/heritage (Never even heard of “Heritage Status” until now). Then maybe, it would lead to less dramatic disputes, and less court fees for everyone. Then maybe, the Aboriginals won’t look so much like the “bad guy” fighting for their land.

However, I can get why Aboriginal interest is not registerable on title. Some Land Claims can become pretty complicated, and take years to settle (Having to register Aboriginal interest may scare off potential buyers and reduce development…so it’s better in the long run to just develop on the land, deal with land claims later…instead of now). Did I also mention I suck at sarcasm?

But there should at least be some sort of caution on title, if current legislation isn’t going to validate it. Just a few simple words notifying purchasers/sellers to caution that there is an Aboriginal Interest on title. It may help reduce conflict…maybe?

Just a little suggestion.

PS. I know that this article has everything to do with the Heritage Conservation Act, and not Land Titles and that the incidence occurs in BC…but the fact that this land was not registered as a Heritage site and that the buyers were not aware of the land/site’s significance should be of importance–that means the land/site’s significant importance was not indicated on Title, like any other registerable interest. Heritage status, or Aboriginal interest. When I read this article, to me the bad guy in this picture appears to be none other than the Aboriginals. I wonder if this article could have been written without having to mention that it was an “Aboriginal site”? Just look at the comments under the article. I bet those would not be there if the word “Aboriginal” was not anywhere in the article.

Thrifty Gene

Here is an article from the Globe and Mail that discusses the Thrifty Gene hypothesis. This article is titled How The Diabetes Linked Thrifty Gene Triumphed with prejudice over proof.

I remember someone telling me about this supposed gene when I was younger. I believed this person. However, hearing this didn’t cause me any pain or stigmatization. What it did do rather was that it instilled fear in me that if I became obese that I could get this type of diabetes. I knew that obesity was high amongst Aboriginal people. I just didn’t know why it was higher when compared to the rest of the population. This worried me.

Hearing this rather led me to believe that I had no way in chance in avoiding diabetes if I were to become obese, overweight, fat, whatever you want to call it. This led to self-esteem issues and body image issues. Already living in a society that places body image and looks as a priority for females in society, I felt that I had to do something to stop obesity from happening to me.

This stress and these worries later led me to struggle with almost ten years of battling with an eating disorder. I hid this from my family and friends. Not only did I have to deal with the fear of getting fat and not being able to escape it, I had to deal with the fear of someone finding out my dark secret.

Today, after much reading and education from doctors and other health professionals, I obviously learned that obesity can be avoided in a much healthier way. Fortunately, I realize today that I can eat anything I want as long as it is in moderation.

I believe that proper education on healthy life styles choices and learning to cook with foods in a healthy manner could help. All I can say is that changes in lifestyles do not just include being more active and eating fresh foods, it means allowing those types of foods to be available to all across Canada and not just those who can afford. Trust me, fresh foods and healthy foods are not cheap.

Public Relations and First Nations

I believe that many First Nations communities can benefit from investing into Public Relations within their community.

In response to researching reputation, Forbes article on Reputation management, I found this article called The 11 Unwritten Laws of Reputation Management. I also came across a blog on Facebook, found on TBK Creative’s website (Click HERE to view it).

There is one thing that both articles/blogs have in common. This commonality is this: if you don’t create or make your own reputation, others will create it for you. I believe that if First Nations communities (specifically their Chiefs and Councils), the ones with the resources and people power, begin to invest or at least learn the ins-and-outs of “reputation management” or “public relations” or “social media,” First Nations communities may just begin to be seen in a more positive light. Sounds good. But what does this mean? Well, as a First Nations member, I have heard or witness a variety of things relating to the perception of First Nations people by other First Nations or Non-First Nations. Some of these things are good, or positive. Others, not so positive (negative).

If First Nations can create their own reputation, why not? Instead of letting the general Canadian population do it for them. This type of behavior can be witnessed on any discussions/replies in response to Globe and Mail articles that focus on Aboriginal issues. Some of the uneducated comments that were alive 25 years ago, are still alive today. It saddens me.

If First Nations take the step forward by learning the benefits of investing into public relations, they may be able to better their own reputation within Canadian Society and perhaps garden and grow some positive public responses to their issues and needs.

This is just my opinion.

I know that not all First Nations have the resources or people power to put time and effort into this type of thing. Yet, I believe team work is key. Please read my post titled 1/2 The Solution on my opinion on having First Nations working together to help one another.

Raw Milk

An article concerning Raw Milk!

When I was reading this article the only thing that I could think to myself was this: what are they putting in the milk today to not make it “harmful” to humans? I mean, well, didn’t humans drink milk from cows before all the processes were invented to make it “un-raw”?

Better yet, what are they feeding the cows that makes whatever enter their system “dangerous” today?

Privatization

There are three problems I see with this idea of privatization of land for Aboriginals:
1. Prof. Moore says in her text (which I used in my studies last year) that Aboriginal Land Title and Claims are not registered on title. My point: Don’t add new rights to Aboriginals, just change present law! If we do not look at the underlying law affecting the ability to have recognizable Title and Claims registered on title, then nothing will change. Another example of just changing present law instead of adding new rights is this: I have been trying to find the law the my other professor mentioned in class that there is an old law that allows anyone to stake a claim on any land at any time (not verbatim, but in layman terms) just so long that they prove that there is a valuable mineral worth mining/digging for. One of the issues First Nations have is companies coming on to their land and mining/digging/using up natural resources to gain access to this mineral! Apparently, this law is really, really old and has been around since almost beginning of Canada. Oh, and there is a lot of legislation dealing with mining, so its a tough job!

2. The second problem is this: Who gets the interest in the land once someone defaults on their mortgage or loan? Is it just returned back to the bank? Then do the banks/mortgagees decide who takes over the loan or mortgage (which they do today with non-reserve land)? So, do Aboriginals then “lose” their land to the bank or mortgage company? Do Aboriginals “get the land back”? And is this default registered on title or is just dismissed like other Aboriginal claims/interests? These are the questions that need to be asked and issues presented when ideas like these are discussed! Strictly speaking to just what are the benefits fails to acknowledge the entire picture!

3. The third problem is that it’s not individuals that will be allowed to own the lands. It will be corporations! How crazy is that! That is even worse than non-FN individuals–we have corporations which are recognized as persons under the court of law…persons who have a lot more money, power, resources, etc. and also protected under anti-terrorism law in Canada.

In the end, majority of Canadians believe that Aboriginals can and would be better off with this legislation (ie-privatization might be better for First Nations)! Anyone can know this, just by simply viewing comments/posts on articles relating to First Nations. The racial comments. The stereotypical point of views. The over-generalizations. Yes, hurtful and ignorant, but they all agree with one thing: First Nations shouldn’t need government help or that Canadians shouldn’t be responsible for First Nations anymore.

What does this mean though when it comes to privatization of land? What does this mean for pushing forward self-governance? Do we just create another hierarchical organization to deal with each First Nation or one collectively working organization dealing with everyone as a nation (which is just plain bad)? Furthermore, how will privatization affect current law that remains unchanged? What does the term privatization actually entail and on what agreements (will they be non-binding and un-registerable)? All these terms and ideas sound really, really great but what do they really mean and what are the actual outcomes, not just the benefits, is what needs to be discussed!

Should-be Banished

George Orwell wrote an awesome essay that has greatly affected my writing to this day. I first read this essay back in high school. It is called “Politics and the English Language”. Written in 1946, this is truly a classic essay and deserves anyone’s attention, especially if they want to write right.

Remembering this essay was sparked by viewing the list of words created by Lake Superior State University Students. This list of words are words that were often over used or created in 2010 as a trend. I believe lists like this are definitely related to the content of Orwell’s essay.

HERE is the list of these words for 2010 that has been compiled by LSSU students. I feel it would be unnecessary to write them in this post. The article presents them as the words should be presented. Enjoy and let’s hope the words and the trends they were used in are soon just 2010 memories.

Ps. It amazes me there wasn’t a number 15. Any word or phrased that can be related to Jersey Shore.

Outcomes

I know it may be too soon to actually comment on this case (because I feel without a doubt the “hypersensitive,” a word used by G&M, will probably try to fight to overturn); now even I know that is something blatant to say about something so freshly decided. HERE is the link relating to G&M article.

Yes, these problems may have been going on for a long time for First Nations but I feel the bigger problem is we as First Nations pick fights without “thinking ahead.” Yes, we need to stand up for what is rightfully ours and rightfully of every Canadian citizen: heat, home, and clean water. But, as First Nations, we need to look at the bigger picture in its entirety and how it will impact the future nations. Only then will we might be able to take steps forward! Not only that, if First Nations continue to exhaust fights against any legal, political, social system, and are not fully aware of the impact their present day decisions might have on future decisions to be made, then First Nations will be severely limiting themselves (and their step forward).

For example, take the phrase “third party management.” This phrase was used when I first found out about changes to post-secondary funding (which was not too long ago, and then swept under a rug somewhere–maybe it will reappear after this article) Everyone and everything said “third party management.” What if THIS outcome on the phrase and its use/interpretation of “third party management” and “co-management” impacts the future decisions on post-secondary funding? All because the court felt they meant “co-management” and that they followed protocol! Then, that case dismissed. More resources exhausted. More relationships burned. More political and economical strife for a few more years.

First Nations need to be made fully aware of the decisions they make and the fights they choose before actually proceeding. The decision to dismiss in lower court and if affirmed in a higher court, will just affect future “third party management” or “co-management” issues: similar situations will be decided alike! THIS IS EXACTLY WHY FIRST NATIONS NEED TO BUILD BETTER POLITICAL RELATIONSHIPS! THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER (with each other and with other organizations).

Then again….Maybe the issue isn’t that we don’t know how to work together, it’s that we don’t know how to recognize “real” help when it’s needed or accept “real” help as it is suggested. As First Nations in today’s country, I believe we have all the resources we need to help us get better. We just have been “ill” for so long, we forgot how to ask for help to get “better” and to use the help we have presently have. We don’t need more of whatever we already have: we just need to learn how to use what we have (isn’t it after all that Indigenous people are the ones who never use more than we need and never ask for more than we need?). We need to help the ones who are worse off than others, instead of expecting government help or waiting for government decisions to be made. I believe First Nations can better allocate the use of their resources, if we are taught how to. We need to RE-LEARN how to survive in Canada TODAY!

NOTE: This blog post isn’t for or against Pikangikum case. Prayers sent out to those on Pikangikum and every First Nation in need of a little prayer this holiday season.

3rd World Canada

Here is an article about a movie called THIRD WORLD CANADA!

Please read the article.

I am both excited and not excited about this movie. Excited to see that the conditions in which Aboriginals live in within Canada are being accurately displayed. Not excited about the circumstances surrounding the movie. Some people say, “that’s life!” Well, we NEED to change it.

Life should not be like this for anyone in a country that forced people to live in these conditions many years ago.

I remember I went to a healing circle here in London ON and heard a relative of my Uncle Max (imu RIP) say, “Natives were supposed to be extinct the year 2000” — among many other eye-opening things he said!

How would you feel to be apart of race that wasn’t supposed to be here for the past ten years?

For me, as an Aboriginal myself, I am not sure how to feel. Angry, sad, confused, lost, hurt. Not sure.