Like American blacks, Palestinians, South American and African peasants and tribespeople, and of course, women, the Left’s primary tactic is destroy their well-being, break their culture, atomize and isolate them. Then promise to help with taxpayer money, which never arrives, and is repurposed to destroy more vulnerable communities. For 150 years, we’ve tolerated this. No more.
Jamie’s and my settler family carries within it four Indian bloodlines: Mohawk, Blackfoot, Assiniboine, and Metis. My first ancestor in Canada came up from the States during the Revolution mad in love with one of Joseph Brant’s daughters, Brant at the time, leader of the Five Nations who sided with the British during that war. He, a Phelps, became such an advocate for Indian rights he had to be smuggled out of the country because the British were going to hang him. My great-aunt married an Olympic rower from the Blackfoot tribe, Jamie’s great grandmother was Assiniboine, critical to his great grandfather’s success as Emperor of the Peace fighting the Hudson’s Bay Company. Jamie’s son has Metis status through his mother.
I recount this because what I am about to say brings about in Canada, ruination.
To continue: my great-grandmother’s cousin was Canada’s famed Mohawk poet, Pauline Johnson, through that Mohawk marriage, and when Pauline was dying of breast cancer, she and her fellow Canadian Club members nursed Pauline, buried her, and raised funds for her statue in Stanley Park. Natives, prior to the post-war invasion of the country by the vicious Frankfurt School so aptly identified and described by Michael Walsh, here and here, was not perfect, but it was staggering towards acceptance and integration.
How times haven’t changed.
Today, if you protest the current catastrophic regime and have anything that can be taken away, it is taken away, and your family are labelled racists. Tenured professors who raise any objection are disgraced. Any journalist who asserts inconvenient facts is slimed. Any public intellectual who attempts to turn the tide is sent to the margins and silenced.
Many of the current activists for native rights are relatively new to the country, and have little grasp of history other than the straight-up Marxism taught in schools. Because Canada is so thoroughly anti-business, agitating for government money is pretty much the only growth industry, and Canada’s natives are a honey pot that seems unending in its ability to feed the bureaucracy and the advocacy outfits – there are hundreds – that seek more and more and more guilt money from the Canadian people.
Not one of them seemingly ventures into a native reserve to experience the results of fifty years of Trudeau Sr’s native policy and talks to the people there. Of the 630 or so Indian “nations” — this moniker a laughably Marxist ploy in itself — few of them even have vegetables. I have spent nights on a reserve up in the north where stodge is the only food. Potatoes fired in oil that has been in use for weeks. Gristly meat. Stale Wonderbread. Recently $8 billion was given to natives because despite the budgeted $200 Billion over five years given to Indian Affairs, in a country with more water than any other country on earth times ten, Indian reserves have no clean water.
Stories are told in my family, of Mohawk camping on the kitchen floor, leaving in full dress and full war cry in order to thrill the children. We have lost this connection to a great and fascinating people, marooned on rotting reserves, a crime caused by a vicious woke left government using vulnerable people to steal the nation’s wealth.
I have been on a reserve where the houses are rotting from the inside. Everyone is sick with mold illnesses. Because Canada’s socialists have deemed that natives have no property rights and are therefore not, in fact, fully people, they can’t even legally fix their own houses, not that they have any money but from prostitution, pushing drugs or working as check-out clerks. You cannot start a business. You have no equity to borrow even $1,000 to start a business. Canada’s socialists have decided that Canada’s natives are the ideal citizenry, passive, dependent, degraded.
Other reserves I’ve visited abut enormous wealth, from which Indians are constrained. Every activity they undertake requires a permission slip and money from whatever sleazy bureaucrat supervises them, owns them, farms them. Their reserves run to brush and fire fodder, while across the road, fields and forests produce incredible riches.
It is de rigueur for any visiting dignitary, like the current Marxist pope, to apologize for the legacy of the residential schools. Two summers ago a graduate student found what she claimed was evidence of 200 buried bodies near a decommissioned school and the news rocketed around the world. Her science was called into question. The native tribe near the school refused to exhume the “bodies,” largely because if the bodies did not exist, and
finding nothing would stop the current hustle. The actual legacy of the schools was mixed, but entire generations were educated, and there are many successful graduates, who attempt to moderate the madness. They are silenced.
Crime, alcoholism, prostitution, murders, child deaths abound on the reserves. Activists have seeded so much anger and hatred that virtually no clear path out of endemic poverty exists. An ersatz democracy means there are elections, but they are clan based, which means the biggest clan always wins and then it seeks to disempower its rivals. On reserves you can tell who the Chief is: he has the big house, the $100,000 truck. His people? Rotting shacks and bangers. If you aren’t in the right clan, you have to hitchhike to the city for cancer treatments, as the uncle of a Salish friend of mine did until he died.
There is, of course, a solution. I have spoken to native chiefs in the Oil Sands and in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, where the tribe or band has been woven into the oil extraction process. Success is immediate, and ongoing. These men are so enthusiastic, they are giddy,. They crow about the young people on their reserves that go on to serious graduate degrees, to hope, to family formation, to their own houses. There are such success stories across the continent, depending on an enlightened chief, a non-vulture enlightened capitalist enterprise. And courage to face down the blight of government.
And then there is Clemtu. When I visited, I spent a day on the spotless fish farms managed by First Nation youths, who were, again, giddy about the opportunities the farms gave them, the promise of their futures, their plans for more education. The next day was spent in the conference room with the chief, the hereditary chiefs, and representatives of five American environmental NGO’s who were trying to convince the band to shutter the farms, and serve as “watchers” for any “industry” in their region.
Back in the chief’s office, after the rich outlanders, who arrived in a $750,000 vintage yacht, had been treated to hours of deliberately convoluted ancestral memories, the chief pulled a checkbook toward himself and started signing.
“You know what’s the best thing for the self-esteem of an Indian?” he asked me. I shook my head. “A pay check.”
Elizabeth Nickson is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy