Saturday, January 18, 2014

Canadian Hypocrisy at its worst: The humiliation and misery of Canada’s First Nation People

Canadian Hypocrisy at its worst: The humiliation and misery of Canada’s First Nation People
In the past, Canadian Prime Minister and the Quebec Premier have made both noble and inspiring speeches in regard to the lifelong struggles and challenges of South African legend Nelson Mandela as he and the African National Congress fought to end apartheid in their country. 
In the mid 1980s, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was one of the first elected officials of any Western country to publicly support Mandela and demand his release by ending Canada’s trade with South Africa’s apartheid government.  
Provincial Canadian leaders have even used the ending of South Africa’s apartheid White-ruled government as a rallying cry / catalyst for their own political agenda. 
Current Prime Minster and leader of Canada’s conservative political party, Steven Harper and Pauline Marois the current premier of Quebec, upon hearing of Mandela’s death gave emotional speeches praising the legacy of the man the world refers to as “Madiba”. 
Like all great thinkers, Madiba from his early years understood that a “rising tide lifts all boats” so he earnestly fought until the day he died to provide every South African child with the opportunity to receive a top-notch education. From the very beginning Mandela articulated that receiving a great education was the best hope to uplift Black and Brown South Africans from tyrannical / generational poverty.
Hypocrisy is an evil that makes liars of all politicians
Although in essence most Canadian politicians have outwardly supported the initiatives of Nelson Mandela to improve Black South Africa’s educational system, in Canada the same courtesy has not been given to the indigenous people of the First Nations.
In short “Indians” of First Nations are subjected to antiquated and prejudiced Federal and Provincial laws that emasculate Canada’s indigenous people. 
Prime Minister Harper may apologize for the Residential Schools system abused and forced Indians” to become “White” to lose their Mother tongue and become for subject cruel medical experiments, however, apologies alone do not equate to fixing a broken educational system. First Nations have opened their own schools:  they teach their kids, their language, their history and their ways.  At this time these schools are being subsidized, if this law passes they might lose funding. 
As it currently stands, the politics of Canada, but particularly Canadians who desire an independent Quebec [“Le Parti Quebecois”] is not a friendly political party to reforming the educational standards of First Nation schools. 
Throughout the province of Quebec there exist language laws that legally mandate the French language as the official language of the province, hence affecting the comprehension of lessons being taught in “Indian Schools”.  Food for thought….”If textbooks supplied by the Province are all printed in conversational French, and in some reserves they are unilingual French then is it possible that some native students may not fully understand the text or other Natives?” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that inter-generational misunderstandings via communication between the elders and then “conqueror and the conquered” is most likely to beget generational poverty.
Nationalism in Quebec or neo-colonialism and the new apartheid
Without a doubt the “French only laws” in the Quebec Province has created a discrete yet distinct division between people as some schools are taught in English others are taught in French.  Religion was blamed as a deterrent to success, religiously run schools like the Residential schools have closed in Quebec. The Duplessis children suffered and so did First Nation kids who were abused.   These schools were overseen by religious organizations, sanctioned by the government. Since the quiet revolution there is no confessional schools but English or French language schools.   Provincial language laws promotes unilingual (French only) schools and has become the new religion to obey.  In both cases it was political will of the conqueror that was imposed. 
Far too often in Canada it is because of culturally-suffocating-Provincial-laws that oversee and govern the life / education system of “Indians” that causes a “Native identity crisis” is manifested. If the Bill on FNEA as proposed by Harper passes it will give Quebec too much power over First Nation. 
Quebec Nationalism or the Parti Quebecois agenda wants to rule over to be in charge, have dominion over everyone regardless of their culture, religion or ethnicity, yet the only ones in charge are “White” French speaking and immigrants to this land. 
Praise Astérix follow Caesar
Astérix le Gaulois fought against the Roman and the preservation of his language and culture, he is a cartoon strip.  The Parti Quebecois claims to fight for all “Quebecois” however unlike Astérix they  are pontificating bureaucrats and act like Romans who care little about maintaining the integrity of Native customs and language scuttle about the country legislating and passing laws that strip away Native identity.
Case in point, during the recent “Maple Spring” tuition reform was at the forefront of public debate, to overthrow a Liberal government, rowdy acting Franco-Canadian-Quebecois students who were vehemently demanding free university tuition for their self and future students, never uttered a single sentence about the plight of public education in First Nation Schools; not one sentence, not one word.
My main concern is that eventually Canada’s First Nation will be relegated in history to the infamous oubliette of France. The oubliette (loosely translated as the forgotten ones), were the prisoners of French prisons that were left to rot, die and wither away.
Praise Mandela emulate the Afrikaner apartheid
Traditionally governments of Canada but specifically Quebec, have a long history of violating First Nation treaties remember 1990, and the Oka Crisis! Currently Bill 60 proposes to make any wearing any religious symbols illegal, this includes the forgotten First Nation who were forced to cover in the French way, like French women, today the government wants all women to uncover regardless of religious tradition or culture.   Province are in charge of education and if the First Nation Education Act passes Quebec will be in charge of First Nation.  No commission on reasonable accommodation or on religious symbols is required to understand that Quebec will be administered by “White” only French “pure-laine”. 
Like the Dutch in South-Africa (Afrikaners) in 20th century who imposed apartheid, newly appointed French Quebecois Prime Ministers wants to be in a position to create their “perfect French educated-First Nation-colonies” that in essence will be only loyal to the interests of French speaking Quebec which is creating a new apartheid.
The forced assimilation of any “conquered people” into the culture of their “conqueror” is equivalent to systematically erasing the losing side’s history / identity. The conqueror becomes the identity thief.
It’s time for political hypocrisy in Canada and in Quebec to end. Speaking elegantly at Nelson Mandela’s funeral is good for the International Press and may win a few national political points, however without progressively enacting on the principles of promoting human dignity and civil liberties that Nelson Mandela stood for in life and stands for in his legacy, words without meaning only give comfort to fools, and it is my sincere wish that no Canadian is ever considered a fool.

In closing I beseech my brethren and sisters who call Canada home to, “Stand up and recognize the sacred sovereignty of our First Nation neighbors, it is possible to uplift a people via a great education without destroying their history, of this I am certain”.   

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