Yo have have NO idea how much hatred we face.
You have NO idea how many people have told us we are stupid, lazy, criminal, worthless, obsolete, inferior.
You have NO idea how many times our teachers, and other people in positions of authority have put us down, mocked us, erased our culture and history and told us we will only be useful if we deny ourselves and become completely assimilated.
You have NO idea how many times we have faced violence, emotional and physical, because of who we are, and how many times that violence was explicitly linked to hatred of us.
You have NO idea how many times we have tried to convince people that we are human beings. How many times we have engaged the same tired old arguments with people who are hellbent on seeing us as less than human. How many times we have tried to hold in the nausea and anger in order to ‘remain polite’. How many times we have felt our blood go cold at the things people say and believe about us. How many times we simply cannot continue these conversations because they are NOT abstract, ideological debates, they are attacks on us, personally and as a whole.
So when you whine about our tone, or you feel offended when we cut you off or refuse to engage, or we yell at you for the awful things you say…the awful things you claim are harmless ‘what ifs’…
…and we tell you that you just don’t get it…
You live such unbelievably sheltered lives, and yet you work so damn hard to deny this to yourselves, and to everyone else around you.
Right now, many of you are screaming in your heads about how hard you have it, and how oppressed you feel by my words.
And your total ignorance of what it actually means to be oppressed is at the heart of why this shit isn’t actually getting any better.
If you’ve never seen this short film, take the time. It’s an absolutely brilliant look at colonialism in Australia done in that ‘tables turned’ way so many settlers seem to need to understand that something is wrong. The ‘reporter’ is wonderfully straight faced and does such an awesome job of acting like a self-absorbed white saviour type.
Mexican authorities have banned Maya spiritual leaders from performing ceremonies at their ancestral temples, which are about to be overrun by a curious assortment of conspiracy theorists, dooms-dayers, new-agers and well-intentioned tourists who just want to be apart of the festivities.
The Ceremonies are meant to mark the end of the Maya long-count calendar, which began 13 Baktun (cycles) ago. Under the Greco-Roman Calender, that’s about 3112 BC.
Contrary to popular (mis)belief, the end of the long-count calendar is being viewed as something positive. As Mayan priest Jose Manrique Esquive recently pointed out, the current Baktun, which began around 1618, has been drenched by a continuous reign of misery that included the introduction of European disease, culture and language being erased and entire populations being extinguished.
However, the Maya are still going to be allowed to visit the sites along with the tourists, but they will likely have to pay to get in, just like everyone else.
I am full of rage and oh so unsurprised.
Water advisories are not limited to First Nations. At any given time there are upwards of 1,400 water advisories issued throughout Canada. Water security in this country is something that should concern everyone. Nevertheless, the severity and duration of water advisories in First Nations communities is nothing short of scandalous.
Health Canada reports that as of September 30, 2012, there were 116 First Nations communities across Canada under a Drinking Water Advisory. That is nearly 20 per cent of all First Nations communities. This number has stayed pretty steady over the years. Between 1995 and 2007, one quarter of all of water advisories in First Nations lasted longer than a year. Sixty-five per cent of these ‘long-duration’ water advisories lasted more than two years.
Neskantaga First Nation, bordering the Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario has been on a boil water advisory since 1995. You can read about that community as well as five others in this Polaris Institute publication, Boiling Point.
Another aspect of this problem is the fact that some First Nations do not have running water at all, and thus are not counted when water advisories are tallied. In Manitoba alone, 10 per cent of First Nations have no water service. Across Canada, there are 1,800 reserve homes lacking water service and 1,777 homes lacking sewage service.
If you are asking yourself how this is even possible in a country like Canada, the Auditor General highlighted the main problem areas in 2005:
- No laws and regulations governing the provision of drinking water in First Nations communities, unlike other communities.
- The design, construction, operation, and maintenance of many water systems is still deficient.
- The technical help available to First Nations to support and develop their capacity to deliver safe drinking water is fragmented.
It is AANDC who defines the construction codes and standards applicable to the design and construction of water systems in First Nations communities, and the Auditor General found that these codes and standards are extremely inconsistent and poorly followed up on. In addition, the AG found that water testing by Health Canada is also inconsistent, hampering the ability to detect problems in water quality before a crisis arises. Added to this, most of those operating water treatment plant operators in First Nations are not properly trained for their position.
In 2007 the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples issued two major recommendations to improve the quality of water available to First Nations. First, an independent assessment of the problem was needed. This was completed in April of 2011. The report called for about $5 billion over 10 years to address current deficiencies and keep up with projected First Nations population growth.
The second recommendation was that the federal government should consult with First Nations to develop legislation to fill the regulatory gap. Instead, the federal government has proposed Bill S-11, which was then replaced by Bill S-8. Unfortunately, the Canadian Environmental Law Association noted three major problems with the proposed legislation:
- The bill does not respect constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights.
- There is no long-term vision for First Nations water resource management.
- First Nations governance structures are not being respected.
These concerns have been echoed by the Assembly of First Nations and a number of Members of Parliament. The bill does not lay out a funding formula and is very unclear as to how safe drinking water will actually be provided to First Nations.
First Nations have been working very hard to develop a national strategy to address this decades-old issue. Rather than imposing more top-down solutions, it is time for the government of Canada to actually engage in meaningful consultation with those impacted by the lack of safe drinking water in First Nations communities. A solution cannot be built by money and good intentions alone.
A more detailed version of this article can be found on the author’s blog, âpihtawikosisân.
A good reminder from @SettlerColonial.
So on page 224 of the document (if you type in 667 in the navigation bar of the PDF you’ll get there), you can see the amendments made to the Indian Act that would make “absolute surrender of Indian lands” much easier to give effect to. All in the name of ‘taking advantage of economic opportunity’.
A friend on FB says, “this has Enbridge written all over it”.
This country is so fucking racist, it’s hard to even really believe.
Le Blog de Betty
Ah yes. Le Blog de Betty. Run by the woman who went ‘lalalala I can’t hear you’ when people commented on her recent purchase of an ‘antique headdress’. Who, when people asked her to consider who her fashion accessory had been stolen from in order to come into her possession, erased all ‘negative’ comments and pretended it didn’t happen.
And that’s some motherfucking white privilege.
Some more of her bullshit:
A year after a housing crisis was declared in Attawapiskat, and the finger is being pointed once again at Chief Theresa Spence. I won’t bother to link you to the articles, you can google them if you really need to read that shit.
One day after a Federal Court ruling lambasting the feds for their imposition of a Third Party Manager in Attawapiskat, the feds axed a deal that would have seen 30 new units built in Attawapiskat. Sound like retaliation? Sure does to me.
But no. Apparently it’s all about a housing plan that hasn’t been submitted by the Chief, and that’s the real reason there still isn’t enough housing in Attawapiskat. Huh. Really. And all the other communities with inadequate housing? Is that her fault too? Is no one submitting these all important housing plans anywhere in this country, and that’s the hold-up? Can’t be systemic racism, nah, it’s just that bitch, Spence. Wow. She’s one bad chick, hey?
The housing plan requirement is a nice thing on paper, but it’s bullshit in practice, and it certainly does not trump a Ministerial Loan Guarantee which is what is actually needed to get construction going. What specific requirements must be met in a housing plan? I have no idea. But given the absolutely dismal showing the feds have had in regards to this community, you’d think they’d get the lead out of their asses and make damn sure the homes got there, rather than playing this fucking blame game. A game that could see people freezing to death this winter.
Patricia Monture-Angus recounted a story in her book, “Thunder In My Soul: A Mohawk Woman Speaks” (pp.61-66) that I think about quite often. She was teaching a course on Aboriginal Title at the University of Saskatchewan and found that the atmosphere she was teaching in was very poisoned. The class of course challenged the notion that Crown sovereignty was valid, which is a challenge few settlers would be willing to entertain, so the reason for that atmosphere is obvious.
(Btw, if you are native and considering going into Law, you should really read this book. I agree with everything she had to say about the experience of being native in Law school, as well as with whether or not Aboriginal law can ever serve indigenous peoples.)
What stuck with me the most was not her description of the horrible experience she had teaching that class, though the details are unsurprising. What really gets me thinking sometimes, is this:
…I have tried to find ways to insulate myself from complaints. My teaching has become more conventional. I try to dress to look like a professor more than I did in my first year of teaching. This decision was my response to receiving a teaching evaluation that suggested I wore “too many beads and feathers to class.” Try as I may, I can never remember wearing feathers to class. (p.66)
Monture-Angus does an excellent job of analysing why so many of her non-native students were hostile towards her, but I was struck by the bizarre accusation above. In the mind of the person who wrote that, Monture-Angus was visually radical and threatening. So much so that the student actually imagined she wore certain things. And what exactly is it that would have been radical and threatening, had she actually dressed that way?
Looking too visually native, of course.
That sticks with me, because a black woman with an afro, a native woman with beads and feathers, any non-settler in anything remotely ‘ethnic’ is seen as making a statement. A statement that is taken to be inherently adversarial to settlers. It is seen as threatening. Strident. Political. To be yourself, to represent your ethnicity, to not do everything in your power to look like a settler…is a political act, apparently.
How can that be true? How can this be threatening, unless settlers understand that racism and colonialism continue to exist and are not actually justified?
I suggest that this knowledge, this knowledge that so many settlers pretend not to have, this knowledge that shit is not okay, is at the heart of the fear of visual cues of non-settler identity.
They will claim that they merely fear people who ‘always make it about race’. They will link afros with Black Power and call that racism. They will link the slightest hint of traditional indigenous garb with native militancy. They will link non-settler ethnicity with violence and hatred because they know that there is good fucking reason for such feelings to exist. And they expect to be treated the way they have, and continue, to treat others.
The fear that comes over settlers when they encounter non-settlers in the workplace, in schools, in positions of authority, is not primarily the fear of the other. I am firmly of the opinion that what they fear is themselves. Because nothing would be more horrible for a settler than to be treated like we are.
And that’s some real shit.