Of all the shameful acts Canada has managed to hide on the world’s stage – such a gentle, polite, equitable, and civilized people! – none is more egregious than the treatment of its First Nations, the only people who truly belong here, and truly seem to revere the land. An apology from the Prime Minister for the heinous residential schools, where acts took place which would warrant lengthy prison sentences today, is pathetically insufficient, especially when one hears of continuing racism, from a refusal to investigate the disappearance of native women, vicious internet abuse, and racist slurs in sports. King George III, who took over rule from the French, was adamant that the original inhabitants of this vast land be treated as fairly as any other subjects in his empire. Land treaties were negotiated, and, I believe, all broken by subsequent Governors-General, most of whom believed – as the Masai tribes of Africa still do – that whatever you can steal is yours.
This country was stolen, by fur traders and statesmen, from a people who believed that no man could own land. It belonged to the Great Spirit, who generously loaned certain areas to certain clans or tribes. A crime was committed. If I declared my property to be a nation, requesting United Nations’ troops to protect me from Ottawa’s police and army, what would happen? Nothing, or a puerile joke from the media. Yet that is ostensibly what happened here. To find that those who first occupied this land are treated as third-class citizens is appalling beyond words. They are the only people entitled to spout racist remarks (‘go back to where you belong’), yet their nature forbids this. They believe in the equality of all human beings. Since the rest of us are all from somewhere else, no matter how many generations back, anyone uttering such vile comments ought to be returned to wherever it was they or their ancestors came from.
Nothing was more uplifting than to see the ‘Idle No More’ movement gather momentum. I hope it detoxifies aboriginals from the poison they have been fed for 200 years, a poison that demoralises and destroys self-respect. I hope their lawyers take violated treaties to court, and that, eventually, Canadians are forced to pay for all the non-reservation lands stolen from our First Nations, and at current prices too, the money divided equally between every Native woman, man, and child. This alone would be a sincere apology for what was once clearly intended to be an extermination, both physical and mental. Perhaps we shall discuss the Holocaust attempted south of our border another time, since the pack of lies termed ‘history’ down there makes even our own barbarity seem benign.
Love, Paul William Roberts