Chief Theresa Spence personifies all that is wrong with our evolving native-Canadian imbroglio. What she is currently doing is what works best – making noise. This tactic was immortalized in Caledonia, and thanks to the invertebrates who mishandled that situation, it will remain with us as a legitimate tactic for gain.
And that’s what this is all about, not change, but gain. Unwary Canadians ask, my oh my, whatever can we do to help the poor natives? The solutions are not rocket science, but they will require Solomon himself to administer.
First, we know communism does not work elsewhere, so why try to reinvent its wobbly wheels here? It only benefits those running the show and that has been amply demonstrated on remote reservations. Native Canadians need to be brought into the modern day economic world, complete with property rights and taxation. The current system breeds family run fiefdoms.
Second, their dysfunctional education system needs a rebirth. Anecdotes from white teachers who have tried vainly to make a go of it in remote communities, tell a woeful tale. I know someone personally and I know he did not make it up.
Third, how long will we kid each other about the opportunities for the future of young natives being brought up in a remote place like Attawapiskat? Native Canadians need to share in the bounty but cannot do so if they persist in hiding from it.
Last, the myth that the rest of us are dealing with real nations, must be put to rest.
None of the above will happen easily. The Theresa Spences of the world have a vested interest in retaining their hobbled educational system. If their youth gets a full modern education, they will leave the reserve, and bring the whole house of cards down. Nor will the chiefs ever agree to modern economics, because that will undermine their comfortable hold on their communities. Until the rest of us are willing to admit that we have been hiding from reality, and natives indicate that they are truly interested in change rather than a larger paycheque, tragedies will continue to unfold as we watch helplessly.