We reap what we sow.
A LACK OF JUSTICE for Indigenous peoples not only echoes throughout Canada's brief history, it defines Canada. Deliberate Indigenous depopulation and settler repopulation helped make--and continues to make--this country: Tina Fontaine, Colten Boushie, Barbara Kenter, Shannen Koostachin, Taylor Assin, Ricardo Wesley, Jamie Goodwin, Pamela George, Reggie Bushie, Neil Stonechild and Helen Betty Osborn ... Channie Wenjack and Duncan Sticks ... Louis Riel, Wandering Spirit, Walking the Sky, Bad Arrow, Miserable Man, Iron Body, Little Bear, Crooked Leg and Man Without Blood, etc. These are the names of just some of the Indigenous peoples who have been killed or died unjustly in the past 150 years. This is Canada, and it needs to change.
The late Secwepemc leader Arthur Manuel wrote two books (Unsettling Canada in 2015 and The Reconciliation Manifesto in 2017) that give Canadians a much-needed wake-up call about Indigenous-settler relations as well as a roadmap for change. In these works, Manuel addresses issues of anti-Indigenous racism, violence and continuing problems with the legal system (locally, nationally and internationally), but he always brings it back to the land. It is the essential dimension. He shows how the ongoing history of capitalist accumulation by colonial dispossession has created the situation in Canada where Indigenous peoples control only 0.2 per cent of the land and settlers the other 99.8 per cent. This fundamental injustice needs to be addressed or else poverty, racism and violence against Indigenous peoples will continue to define Canada.
The time for tearful apologies and empty promises of "reconciliation" without systemic change is over. We need to plant new seeds of solidarity and get on with the radical work of dismantling Canada's capitalist settler society. In our efforts to build a better world, we must remember: we reap what we sow.
SEAN CARLETON is an Ottawa-based is an Assistant Professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, AB, Treaty 7. He is a member of Canadian Dimension's coordinating committee.
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|Date:||Mar 22, 2018|
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