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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Natives should support property rights

Some native chiefs are worried that the government’s goal is to bring property rights to the native reserves. So far the limited amount of property rights that has been introduced to some reserves has led to marked improvements in the reserve’s economy and standard of living. So why on Earth would the native leadership oppose something that is improving the lives of their people?

Their publicized reasoning is that property rights would ultimately lead to assimilation. They are keen to protect their ‘traditional way of life,’ but a tradition is only as good as it is beneficial to the people. A tradition that impoverishes is a tradition that is better off being gotten rid of.

So what exactly would allowing property rights mean for natives? It would mean that natives living on reserves can join the mainstream of economic life. It will give them an opportunity to escape the endless cycle of poverty that has captured native families for generations. It will mean a better life.

Is it fair to call this assimilation?

Invoking the term assimilation is a powerful rhetorical tool for native leaders. It reminds both natives and non-natives of some of the harshest most tyrannical actions of the Crown. Canada has a sad history in its treatment of native peoples.

But bringing property rights to the reserves is not the same thing as trying to stomp out a language or a religion. It brings more freedom to natives not less. So in this case it is native tradition not the government that is acting the tyrant.

And it is time that those who live on native reserves overthrow that tyrant.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on September 1, 2010 | Permalink


The only thing that resembles traditional Native Indian existence (other than some cultural practices and knowledge) is their inherited chieftainship. Much of the rest is a collective subservience to their governance, the Indian Act, the massive Indian industry (Bureaucracy)along with a socially crippling addiction to entitlements. Assimilation is the race baiting term for joining the rest of Canada. Individual title to and rights of property ownership is seen as a threat to the whole Indian governance industry including a whole lot of white (or other non native) pimps. Unfortunately, the cure for this issue is also the cure for the greater Country and that flies in the face of the enlightened ruling class. No, better to continue with meetings and studies and roundables and white papers and more meetings and discussion papers.....John Duncan, the new Indian Affairs Minister, knows all of this in spades and it might be interesting to see what he does about it, if anything.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-09-01 7:08:59 PM

They are keen to protect their ‘traditional way of life,’
Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on September 1, 2010

What a joke. They want every amenity the white man has to offer but want to live the traditional way. I have yet to meet one living the traditional way, and I have known many.
This is nothing more than a 10 billion dollar black hole that serves no purpose except to fund a massive bureaucracy called Indian affairs.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-09-01 11:43:55 PM

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