I bet you saw this one coming. Now, before I start, I promise not to go off on a huge tangent. I’m going to share my opinion regarding this issue and provide some links for further information. Well, at least this is my intention.
This movement has shed light on issues that have existed in Canada for many years. Really, it was only a matter of time before people were pushed too far. It really is about time it’s being done. The #IdleNoMore movement goes above and beyond Chief Theresa Spence, Attawapiskat, money, and funding. It goes beyond First Nations people too. The issues of concern affect every Canadian.
To be completely honest, to say I have a full understanding of this movement would be a lie. Not because of the contradicting sides, or that I haven’t done my research, but because there are literally so many issues that need to be addressed regarding First Nations people, across each province, that it’s difficult to keep up. The systemic issues that exist among our First Nations population are deep-rooted in the history of our country; the constant undermining of their culture, assimilation efforts (and failures), inadequate programming, underfunding, racism, discrimination, smear campaigns, inequality, abuse, harassment, poverty, addictions, stereotypes. I could go on and on.
What I do know is that our current government is once again threatening to destroy more of this great country for profit. That’s all it took to spark this movement. And that movement is all it took to finally pull the blanket off of all of the atrocities First Nations people have faced and continue to face in Canada. When a vigilante group that go by the twitter handle “Anonymous” caught wind of the movement, they were all over it. Soon they were exposing some of the dark secrets this country holds – starlight tours, missing Aboriginal women, residential schools, underfunded education, etc.
Within one month, this movement has spread across the world. Protests are being held by Aboriginal groups in so many different countries. This is so much more than a hashtag, this is the voice that so many First Nations people have been waiting for.
Of course you can’t have a group of people whom the government has been slipping money to stay quiet suddenly gain momentum. So what did our lovely government do? They blasted Chief Spence with a supposed “audit” on Attawapiskat to highlight her spending. Sun News (a seriously bogus media outlet that was pushed to air by Harper himself) had this total d-bag on trying to destroy her credibility but ended up just making himself look like a total jackass. How convenient though, isn’t it? And you better believe, that for some, it actually worked. People left and right started pointing the finger and making claims that this whole movement was bogus, that Chief Spence was a joke, and started using idiotic terms like “us” and “them”. Exactly the type of behaviour that got this country into this mess in the first place. Want to watch an ignorant moron who probably makes more than you in action?
Luckily, there are many bright and talented Canadians who can also research and keep the issues focused, like this one :
So before you let a thought like, “they get free education and don’t even use it”, “I don’t want my tax dollars spent on lazy people who do nothing but live off of the system”, or, one of my personal favourites, “if they want to be equal then they need to start acting equal by paying taxes and working like everybody else!” (fucking kill me), please, please, please remember what I’ve just said. If you know nothing about residential schools, do some research. If you don’t know what a ‘starlight tour’ is, google it. Check out how many Aboriginal women have gone missing over the past 20 years. If you don’t understand how education funding actually works for First Nations people, yep, you guessed it, look that shit up! Don’t keep your head in the sand. If you continue to walk blindly through life believing all of the bullshit, you’re just being manipulated by our government, exactly as they had planned. Don’t be that person! I believe in you! You have the ability to challenge injustices anywhere you see them. Above all, check out Idle No More, see what it’s actually about. See what the Harper government plans to actually do to our beautiful country and how it could affect you!
At the same time, please, always remember that under the skin that maybe isn’t the same colour as yours, beyond the accent that sounds different from yours, aside from the culture that doesn’t seem to make any sense to you, lies a human being, just like you. Don’t let the differences between you and someone else, whether it be race, gender, income, geographical location, social/economic status, sexual orientation, style, etc., dictate how you feel about them. Think of people as your brothers and sisters, as your family, and how you want them to be treated. It’s unfortunate that many of us never really get the opportunity to spend the day in someone else’s shoes. But try to be empathetic and always do your research before you follow what the tv tells you.
Here’s some fun facts:
A really great article explaining Residential Schools – http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/government-policy/the-residential-school-system.html **I found a few mistakes though, including the one that states the last school closed in 1986, when in fact is was 1996.**
Another article talking about Starlight tours, in particular, how difficult it is to find legit information on them – http://policedeviance.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/the-starlight-tours/
Missing Aboriginal Women – http://www.missingnativewomen.org/
The issue has become so large that even Amnesty International has picked up on it – http://www.amnesty.ca/our-work/issues/indigenous-peoples/no-more-stolen-sisters
FN Educational Funding – http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100033682/1100100033683 ***Note the part where it states to contact your local band office*** This is where you find the real guidelines and eligibility requirements. Most bands receive a block of money and then decide how to spend it. There are requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible and keep your funding as well, such as credit hours and maintain a certain GPA in an approved program.
Last but certainly not least – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idle_No_More **While wikipedia can’t always be trusted as factual and complete truth, it gives an easy explanation of the top layer of what this movement is all about.
See how easy it is to educate yourself? Happy reading!