In Today’s society it is generally thought that all people are equal. The idea that a group of people could be marginalized is an almost alien thought, almost. Yet, it is happening every day all across this country and it’s not being addressed in an acceptable manner. There is a collective indifference in our culture regarding Native people, and most of this country is ignoring it.
Imagine if one day the children of world leaders were targeted by terrorists? Most of them are kidnapped and killed? I am sure Prime Minister Harper would take notice, comment, and take action. Most probably with passion and decisiveness. So why is the same care and attention not being given to hundreds of missing and murdered Native women.
Lately I have been researching this topic and in doing so I actually feel physically sick reading the many websites, the news coverage, the groups, and the blogs dedicated to this issue that are going unnoticed, or rather, being willfully ignored!
This country cannot continue to tout itself as a free, safe, and moral place to live in when it has built itself on the sorrow of its indigenous people. When the leading culture has flourished by attempting to extinguish another’s. When a blatantly racist attitude is allowed, and even quietly encouraged to persist because to publicly condemn it, or scold the media for purporting it would set the blame for its prevalence squarely on the shoulders of its leaders all the way back to the beginning of confederation.
How can this be? Well, it starts by undertaking to destroy a culture. By dragging children away from their parents and institutionalizing them for generations in the name of civilizing them. By forcing a religion on them that teaches them abuse and neglect is normal. It happens when you force a proud and free people onto a piece of land to live a sedentary life that does not fit in with thousands of years of traditional life. The most dangerous part was giving them no choice by to conform to “society” and not giving them the tools to do so thereby creating a vacuum.
This vacuum was then filled in unhealthy ways by a once proud people who, beaten down for generations and marginalized by the ruling élite, tried to piece together fragments of their former lives, lives that were gone forever. This new world that was thrust on them was so alien, so foreign, but there was nothing to fall back on. It was too late, the culture had been destroyed. This tragedy is due to generations of children grew up to parent their own children with no role models other than the religious figures that hurt them. Then, to have their own children taken away at critical points in their lives compounded the misery, and served to weaken the culture, to weaken a people, which was the ultimate aim of the Canadian government. This happened after confederation so no blaming the monarchy here!
Is it any wonder then that the Native people suffered? Imagine struggling to find a way to fit in, but not being allowed to belong. Remember, Native people were not allowed to leave reserves as they were not considered Canadians and reserves were not part of Canada! To this day that is still true and complicates the relationship between Canada and Native people.
This country has been fragmented, and the people in it have ended up worlds apart. The deep divide between Natives and non-Natives grew as the country did. Technological progress only served to deepen the divide. There are many contributing factors, and I could go into great detail explaining how and why this has occurred and perhaps I will in another post. This one has grown and morphed into something I did not intend. I wanted to address the appalling manner in which the Canadian government is responding the UN’s call for a national inquiry into the issue of hundreds of missing and or murdered Native women in Canada. I will have to break up the topics into separate posts, but for now I will just say that I grew up being proud of the country I lived in until I found the truth about the dark secrets this country has. Secrets that are coming to light more and more every day, and I will damn well do my best to help that happen.