Friday, June 29, 2007

Time to Reflect

Today was designated the NAtional Day of Action around Aboriginal issues.

Across the country various First Nations groups were organizing events to mark the day and to call upon the larger society to take seriously our obligations to First Nations people.

The reality is that in many ways larger society has failed First Nations. WE have communities that have substandard housing, and undrinkable water, and flood regularly, and are places most of us wouldn't be caught dead. THe list of outstanding land claims is longer than my arm, with little progress being made on settling them. There is a disproportionate number of people with First Nation ancestry living in poverty or incarcerated.

ANd then of course there is the history of germ warfare (English officers intentionally sent smallpox infested blankets to native communities), treaties that were never quite lived up to, and whole generations being shipped away from family and home to residential schools so they could be made "like whites" (which would then supposedly make them acceptable).

Little wonder there is anger in the land. In the end todays protests were largely peaceful and non-confrontational. But what if we don't make progress? How long does the anger build before it breaks?

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