The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, March 09, 2006
The Closing of the Indian Mind
To be read over lunch or sitting on the can - your choice but I'm serious:
In a way more postmodern than even the most radical postmodernist could imagine, Canada’s mainstream has become nothing. Therefore, it is something. In fact, it is everything. It has no single shape or color, no particular set of rules or guidelines, no solo voice or flowing soundtrack. It is the wonderfully bland, non-threatening, uniform bliss of absolute tolerance and acceptance. And, best of all, it is government-funded and sponsored. Long gone are the days of back alley social clubs and ethnic fiddling under the squalid ribs of death: say Tansi! to our new publicly-funded Cultural Centre, and give a big ” Al salaam a’alaykum” to our new Cultural Society. I’d ask you to stay, but you have to hit the unemployment line because someone with darker skin, or who is in a wheelchair, or whose Grandparents went to residential school, or who has breasts, or a drug problem, or just got out of prison, got that well-paying job you really wanted and were scared you were overqualified for. So take’r easy, eh, and “Kailangan kong magpaalam.”
Call it shameless self promotion, but goddamn it, our frustrated voices need to be heard. Not everyone is fawning over the garbage babbled out by Phil Fontaine or Clement Chartier including not every Indian and not every Metis (Thank Phil for the separation):
Secondly, self-government is motivated by “fact”, albeit rather different than Marx’s “scientific” historical materialism. The ‘fact’ Pimps love to promote is the “traditional” way”. This is our version of Marx’s fool-proof “science”. Who among us does not know that, pre-contact, we lived an idyllic life, free from want and need? This is a truism not only among the radical Indians who love to use it when baiting non-Aboriginals, but even among non-Aboriginals themselves, who have embraced this ‘fact’ and lament the losses we have suffered.
In the end, they are just federally funded lobby groups telling us what we want to hear. They create nothing, do nothing and solve nothing. Since they are federally funded lobby groups, they only speak for their own welfare and are simple whores pimping out the sadness for their own livelihood. Because you know, a big chief has to eat too.
At one time, I thought it was just me. Then I met Raskolnikov, then I met a whole slew of others sitting out on the sidelines with something to say about it all. We are not alone after all. You can never hide the truth. Read the whole thing.
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That would be Marx's dialectic materialism Darcey.
You're one busy beaver hunter tonight buckaroo.
Don't worry, be happy. Sing it now:
You are a Child of the Universe, no less than the Trees and the Stars, You have a Right to be Here.
And Whether or Not it is Clear to You,
No Doubt the Universe is Unfolding as It Should.
As long as we kick Bananaduh out of My Alberta.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-03-09 10:43:53 PM
Hey, good point! Because democracy is certainly *not* people voting for their own welfare with someone else's tax dollars. The white man's western politics has absolutely *no* whores pimping out the sadness for their own livelihood. It's only them aboriginals whut do that.
Posted by: Ok, Open Your Eyes | 2006-03-10 12:43:10 AM
An easy and simply way for the government to end this stupidity if it had the guts would be to immediately defund these Court parties - all the special-interest group organisations claiming to represent others. Then they would have to collect their funds from members and would quickly find out they do not carry the representation they claim. They would actually have to pay for their own law suits against government legislation and policies instead of it being also paid for by tax payers. No amendment or change to the Constitution is required, but having spine is.
Posted by: Alain | 2006-03-10 12:48:23 AM
It's always a pleasure to hear from Raskolnikov, but I always get a blow-back of disappointment. It always happens that at some point, right in the middle of enjoying the clarity and reasonableness and insight of his writing, I become aware that his approach is, in the Canadian context, heavily proscribed.
Those with a funded personal interest in the current approach and those who, from a great blinkered distance, self-congratulate themselves on their adherence to some Liberal-sponsored narrative both have a proprietary mutual interest in the maintenance of a failed approach.
The government's aboriginal industry quietly teaches that if you're not messed-up, or in need of government social services, you're not really Indian. In fact, you're a traitor to the one good cause. Tough gig.
Anyway, The Closing of the Indian Mind is a good essay. It would be great to see Raskolnikov published in a national paper or magazine. The country will look a little better the day that happens.
Posted by: EBD | 2006-03-10 2:15:01 AM
Raskolnikov, Darcey, and friends are doing a great service to this country, and it takes courage for them to do so. This is a new, fresh voice, and it should be required reading in many places.
Posted by: Bob & Ulli | 2006-03-10 4:19:52 AM
Betrayed by the Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice has reaffirmed the new Conservative government's commitment to the objectives of the Kelowna Accord to end aboriginal poverty. Alberta has no room for them.
Posted by: Duke | 2006-03-10 6:12:07 AM
Darcy as you know, First Nations people have a saying that in the US it was bullets that shot them down but in Canada it was a slower death by Parliament.
Certainly there is lots of blame to go around. It is time to stop the cycle and figure out what to do. The Band leaders benefit from the practice of excessive democratization such that nothing gets decided. The head of the Band keeps getting their skim from Ottawa. That skim is dolled out the way Liberals use patronage. Thereby creating a culture of victimization that you describe.
What to do? We don’t need another Royal Commission for $50 million. We do need assimilation. Also if some choose the reservation, fine, but then let’s negotiate a monetary saw-off for total independence. In short assimilate into Canadian society or be self-sufficient on the reservation, but trying to straddle is unworkable and leads to despair.
Just as threads on the Shotgun discuss how tribalism in the ME no longer works in large populations that need to adapt to globalized trade and industrialization, ditto our First Nations. There are some smart leaders and not all are corrupt. They need to start leading.
Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-03-10 7:01:50 AM
I think that the happiest aborigenals are the ones who assimilate. Multiculturalism has given to many of them the hope that they will somehow become a country! We know it is a ridiculous idea. But many use it to fan the flames. That is where we need clear and firm politics.
I suggest the idea of cutting subventions to reservations and telling them they have to either assimilate or like anyone else fund their resevations by their own means.
In my area (Saguenay north of Québec city), there is a crazy proposal to give back rights to Indians to a very large territory. People are getting angry with the idea they will have to pay fees to Indians and if this craziness doesn't stop we may see some violence in the future.
It is time for realpolitics. Indians will not go back in time. We should have a policy with a goal of integration.
Posted by: Rémi houle | 2006-03-10 9:28:41 AM
It's pretty cold to mock the impact that residential schools have had on Aboriginal society. Treating injustice lightly is a slippery slope. We can argue how to go forward as a Canadian society but turning a blind eye to injustice is just plain stupid, no matter how inconvenient it may be to own our actions.
Posted by: ChrisD | 2006-03-10 9:55:54 AM
Let me mock the 'impact' the Residential Schools had on Indian society.(by the way there are no aboriginals in North America as any 1st year Anthropology student will tell you)
The impact of the Residential Schools is that many thousands of Indians who probably would have perished are alive, literate, and well today with many thousands of dollars, if they didn't just blow the money, for abuses that never occurred.
That the Residential Schools were a series of systematized sexual abuse factories is a grievous greedy lie.
Retelling that lie and pretending that the vast majority of people who ran those schools were other than stellar Christian Canadian citizens who wanted to help those disgusting ingrates will never make it so.
If Indians ever want any sympathy continuing this lie is gauranteed produce the opposite.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-03-10 12:04:14 PM
The residential school system was one of the darkest chapters of our country's history. Even if there hadn't been rampant sexual and physical abuse, its complete denial of parental rights and personal freedoms was disgusting.
The legacy of children who grew up without parenting and were forced from their parents is apparent. This was followed by the "sixties' scoop", where the child welfare system wantonly removed children from their famillies.
But, Canada's treatment of Aboriginal people remains inexcusable. Individual on-reserve Aboriginals are denied rights, their racial representatives - quite often corruption and nepotism-ridden "pimps" - speak for them under the guise of self-government.
In social work school at UVic, during our on-the-job practicums, students had to discuss an ethical dilemmas each week in an online forum. One example did not seem like much of a dilemma to me. Here's a brief paraphrase:
There has been an accusation that a disabled child on a reserve is being abused. A band council member is a relative of the accused and has assured your department that no abuse is taking place. Do you investigate anyways, if it risks making the band look bad in their struggle for self-government?
After the obvious reply that this was a no-brainer, (all of my statements above do not negate the fact that laws protecting individual children from real abuse need to be enforced) I asked what would the situation be if self-government had been acheived?
Posted by: Heather | 2006-03-10 12:12:36 PM
I am rooting for the closing of the Indian Affairs Department.
Free the Indians now!
Seem s like there is another Duke posting here.
Accept no subsitiuted, I am the original Duke.
Posted by: Duke McGoo | 2006-03-10 12:13:16 PM
"The residential school system was one of the darkest chapters of our country's history."
You got that right and it's darker still for being a chapter of lies.
"Even if there hadn't been rampant sexual and physical abuse, its complete denial of parental rights and personal freedoms was disgusting."
As a matter of fact there wasn't rampant sexual abuse although a VERY few cases had some evidence.
I agree that the denial of parental rights and personal freedoms was disgusting. I often think that if this denial hadn't occurred these perjurers wouldn't be among us today and we sure would have a lot less Indian lawyers and Indians period.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-03-10 12:39:32 PM
For what it's worth:
In 2003, I spoke with the wife of a relative who lives in the Yukon. She is Native, from the Yukon.
She said that when she was school-age, all of the families wanted their children wanted to go to the residential schools because they knew that was the best chance to get an education. She believed that the schools (that she knew about) were valuable and regretted the closure of the schools.
Posted by: foobius | 2006-03-10 1:22:42 PM
I am truly sorry that you squandered your educational opportunity in the school of social work at UVic.
I have some advice that you may find invaluable when advising your children about choices in higher education. If they wish to know about human behavior, go to the psychology department.
If they wish to know about economic issues go to the business department.
Under no cicumstances should you advise them to go anywhere near the social "sciences", or any other of the feel-good programs.
The sooner that everyone leaves the social "science" proponents, including the 'education department of self-esteem', and they are left alone in a corner, talking to each other, the sooner their particular kind of rot will be extirpated, and the society can get back to rational thought, and the improvement of the common weal!
Posted by: knotsmart | 2006-03-11 11:30:17 AM
Duke is on the right track. Close the Dept. of Indian Affairs. Better yet, sic Shapiro on them, as kind of a severance package?
When talking about Chiefs, Band leaders skimming , don't forget who gets the cream... the guys with the purse strings, and their lackey 'expert consultants'.
Posted by: lwestin | 2006-03-11 1:14:01 PM
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