Thursday, May 30, 2013

Historical Rights

Today I overheard someone grousing about our First Nations people and their "demanding all these special rights".  

Well, fancy that......aboriginals demanding that our Canadian governments and peoples honour the rights of the treaties that were signed by the aboriginal leaders, the British and what was to become Canadian governments between 1701 and 1921.  How dare they have such an expectation???!!?

The fact is that our aboriginals DO have special rights.  They conceded much of their previous lifestyle and culture to help bring peace to the nation, their leaders and our government leaders of the time perhaps not completely understanding at the time what would happen in future due to the concessions made all those years ago, the abuses that would eventually follow the treaties, the confusion and unrest they would eventually spawn between aboriginals and non-aboriginals.

The rest of us can like or dislike the conditions of aboriginal treaties.  We can agree or disagree with protest movements like Idle No More and the way the protests are  carried out.  We can empathize, sympathize, or ignore the travesties that happened in some of the residential school situations.  We can be understanding or scathing about the amount of time it takes to bring healing and we can be confused by those aboriginals who are not making sure the media promotes as many stories of the good things that happened to some of those people as it is promoting the disasters that occurred to a people who experienced our attempts at cultural genocide.

The point is that aboriginals in our country have every right to demand that the old treaties be honoured.  Those treaties have never been rescinded.  Our First Nations people are "demanding all these special rights" because they are theirs to demand.  

My question is can we take some time as non-native individuals to study our own country's history and learn about the treaties in an attempt to understand what has happened to our aboriginal brothers and sisters?  

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