Back in the early 1990s, we had the Oka confrontation in Quebec. Since then, there have been sporadic incidents that brought the plight of many of our Aboriginal communities to the fore. Recently our national media have focused on Chief Spence's hunger strike and the ‘Idle No More' movement (which may well be a harbinger of better things to come for our Aboriginal people).
In this short note, I'm making no attempt to offer a panacea for Aboriginal issues; but rather, to lament the derisive attitude of those who give our Aboriginal brothers and sisters such short shrift.
I have been amazed and saddened by some of the comments I've heard in reference to the recent meeting between Prime Minister Harper and Aboriginal representatives from across Canada.
I have heard that, "The lazy illegitimates" should "get jobs and pay taxes like the rest of us," or words to that effect. Generally, in my experience, the Aboriginal viewpoint has been dismissed in a very off-handed manner.
In my youth, 70-80 years ago, the traditional put-down attitude towards Aboriginals was commonplace. Today, I am truly perturbed that it continues among some of our ‘gentle Islanders'. I fear that the ‘Idle No More' movement has a tough row to hoe.
As Canadians, we often look askance at the ways in which blacks and ethnic minorities are treated in the U.S. Perhaps it is time for us to do our own housecleaning. Let us idle no more.
St. Patrick's Road