Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Here I am in South Africa. I came here in 1993, shortly before the first truly democratic elections and the tearing down of the walls of apartheid. This morning, I open my email to find something from back home talking about Indigenous peoples and “educational apartheid.” I’d provide a link but I couldn’t find one, so here’s what I grabbed from that email:

The denunciation of a two-tiered system of “educational apartheid” was made by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF). They have taken the extraordinary step of calling on all Ontario high school teachers to get their students involved in a campaign to force the government to provide basic education rights for children in First Nations communities.

The move was initiated in response to the minister’s decision to shut down a grade school in the James Bay community of Attawapiskat.

Chuck Strahl, Min. Indian AffairsThe Minister in question is Chuck Strahl, Indian Affairs. Apparently, the Ontario Public School Boards Association has also condemned Strahl’s recent statements to the United Nations. Strahl defended Canada’s refusal to sign the UN’s International Covenant on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but also said his government was doing loads to improve the lives of Indigenous folks in Canada.

Bull roar, according to some of those Indigenous folks. Here’s a link to that story:

“I see that after 500 years, colonialism is still very much alive in Canada,” said Chief Picard of the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. “In spite of the existence of our ancestral rights, the reality is that the governments continue to alienate our territories, and to deny, or extinguish without hesitation, our rights and our titles.”

To Picard and other indigenous leaders of Canada, it’s not for the Canadian government to decide what kind of development their people need, it’s the right of the indigenous communities to choose their own way of life.

“Canada’s economy is based on the colonial doctrine of discovery,” said Chief Arthur Manuel of the Indigenous Network of Economies and Trade, an organization based in British Columbia. “It’s all about stealing land from the indigenous people. It doesn’t want to recognize the Declaration because [the Declaration] recognizes our human rights.”

Coming here makes it much more difficult for me to accept or ignore those lame excuses by Canadians who allow their governments after government to get away with this bilge.

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1 Comment

Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, Indigenous rights

One response to “Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

  1. sunprincess

    Yes….and the founding architects of apartheid travelled to Canada in order to learn from the Masters before fine tuning that system.

    You know what blows me away – Most Canadians believe that the First Nation Peoples of Canada have the same access to schools, libraries, recreation centres, parks…that they do.

    Education levels and employment levels are indicators used by governments to judge the well-being or problems areas of a society or a community. Hence education was tooted as a priority of this government and a significant chunk of change was deposited into the Federal Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to improve the delivery of education to First Nation children living on-reserve. Another report to the Ministry of Health recommended the expansion of the Head Start Program (an early childhood development program) to every reserve so ALL First Nation children have access to an early learning system that engages parents in the process.

    It’s frightening how Canada judges Aboriginal people with one hand – while it quietly removes the very tools that provide the foundation for learning to our children.

    I must go find the link to the story where Aboriginal people are linked with terrorists as a possible threat to security in a recent CBC news story.

    It’s not easy to have a voice in Canada but it’s good you are posting…it’s kinda like a booster shot for the moral.

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