An Elder Speaks: Racism Is a Justification for Self-Interests

Audio, Aboriginal Futures, Frontier Centre

“Remember that the games that were played on land in the Prairies had to do with money. It didn’t have to do with breeds or Indians, it had to do with money. But you use the fact that they were Indians or breeds or something to justify a behaviour. As a justification. Racism is a justification for the self-interests of those who are acting out of greed, money or power. “

-Jean Allard

Jean Allard was an honorary member of MAWG (Modernized Annuity Reference Group), a founding co-chair of the Treaty Annuity Working Group, and author of Big Bear’s Treaty: The road to freedom. A significant excerpt of the original manuscript was published in the policy journal Inroads in 2002. Jean had a fiery, short-lived political career representing the vast northern riding of Rupertsland in the government of NDP premier Ed Schreyer after being elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1969. He quit the NDP to sit as an Independent after clashing with the party over Indigenous policy. In 1994, Jean hit upon the idea of modernizing annuities while chained to the statue of Louis Riel to protest its removal from the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature. Jean has a long and deep history in Manitoba’s Métis community. He is a direct descendant of Jean Baptiste Lagimodière and Marie-Anne Gaboury (as is Louis Riel). He served 26 years as president of the Union Nationale Métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba, the oldest Métis organization in Canada.

Elders are very important members of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities.  The term Elder refers to someone who has attained a high degree of understanding of First Nation, Métis, or Inuit history, traditional teachings, ceremonies, and healing practices.  Elders have earned the right to pass this knowledge on to others and to give advice and guidance on personal issues, as well as on issues affecting their communities and nations.  First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples value their Elders and all older people, and address them with the utmost respect.