ARE CANADIANS RACIST?

Are Canadians racist?

Or to be more specific do we treat  aboriginals (First Nations) as second-class citizens?

In her final report as Auditor-General, Sheila Fraser enumerates a shameful picture of life in aboriginal communties.  More than half the drinking water in First Nation reserves poses a health hazard.  The shortage of housing has more than doubled over the past eight years.  Fewer than half the burgeoning number of aboriginal youth graduate fromhigh school, child  and family services are deficient, health care is inadequate.  Alcoholism and suicide rate are much higher on reserves than in the rest of the country.

An editorial in this morning’s Montreal Gazette says the “state of First Nations reserves is a national disgrace.”   Other countries see this blot on our record.  Canadians come forward and help other countries;  isn’t it high time we helped people in our own backyards.?

Should Canadians who have the luxury of a clean and constant water supply stand idly by while there are so many other Canadians who  do not?

Should our governments devote more resources to First Nations problems?

Are Canadians racist?

What do you think?

9 Comments »

  1. 1
    littlepatti Says:

    We run all over the world drilling wells and a “water can” project, while our native communities sure could use some help.
    Is it as simple as drilling a well?
    We minister to countries with children who need schooling and books…why not at home?
    I’m not sure why they are in such as state of destitution, it was obvious 50 years ago, but now, it seems to me that millions of dollars have been thrown at the varied problems, to no avail.
    I would like to know more…

  2. 2
    Peter W Says:

    I remember a couple of ‘Canada Day’s ago, there was an arab-Canadian activist who blogged that he hated Canada because of how the natives have been treated.
    Interestingly, in Libya I read that the indigenous people, the Berbers, are being kept apart from much of the revolution that is happening.
    Now if they are indigenous does that mean that the arabs swept in and pushed the existing people out – if so this ethnic cleansing has been going on there as well.

  3. 3
    Neil McKenty Says:

    I wonder if the whole idea of “reserves” tnds to keep the native peoples in isolated ghettoes.

  4. No simple answer on this one. Some isolated reserves are a form of ghettoes and akin to apartheid, but others are doing quite nicely. The reserves near large towns like Kanawake are flourishing and have developped strong economies while Kanesatake, not so far away, is stagnating and living mainly off (illegal) cigarettes.
    When you look closely, it is not so much the amount of money spent but how it is used and how the leaders lead. For centuries we have parked the First Nations people where they would be no nuisances; we have tried to get them to assimilate so that the problem would go away; we have forbidden their children to use their languages in schools (the same was done with Acadians and French Canadians outside Québec), they are still here, a testimony to their endurance and resiliency.
    They have now coalesced in strong associations and are talking to our politicians as equals and getting some respect. There is hope…but our deeply ingrained racism is still festering under our newly found acceptance of them as FIRST occupants of the land.

  5. 5
    littlepatti Says:

    Thanks, Paul-
    We’ve tried assimilation and we’ve tried isolation.
    Maybe we accept them as First occupants of the land, but Defeated occupants.
    I certainly don’t have a clue where to stand on the Native issue.
    I think that they need to solve their own problems, create their own societies, even though we are responsible for destroying their lives as a conquering nation. I see some resistance from the native quarter, but not enough self-esteem.
    I had hoped to see the end of “The Davis Inlet”, but it seems, not in my lifetime! Makes me sad! You?

  6. Yes, Littlepatti, it makes me sad but the solution lies in a true dialogue between equals not in paternalistic approach. They are not children.

  7. I suspect the problem is too much government interference in Indians’ lives.

    Here’s a great 8 minute video from John Stossel in the States talking about how the government has and still continued to ruin Indian lives there:

  8. 8
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Tony,

    The trouble with Stossel is that he’s one of the wing nuts on Fox and his analysis must be seen through that skewered prism.

  9. 9
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil, that’s no argument. Give me something of substance to discuss instead of name-calling (oh, and by the way, Stossel is a Libertarian which is a far cry from being right-wing).


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