Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Are Canada's Aboriginals Getting Ready for their own Spring?

As most of you know, I'm involved with www.scainternational.org -- a Canadian mission that works with Aboriginal people, among others. So any news that concerns Canada's Aboriginals is of interest to me. The link below takes you to a recent article in the National Post and allows you to form your own ideas about how things are shaking up. Before you go there, let me make some comments.

1. Some of the words being used are strong, perhaps too strong for the start of any talks -- words like "uprising" , "inevitable", and "photo op".

2. Late today it was reported that some of the Aboriginal chiefs were pleased that Prime Minister Harper stayed for the whole day (yesterday afternoon and all morning today) before he had to leave for Davos and the World Economic Forum. That in itself is very crucial to these kinds of talks. I personally had to learn the hard way. When you're conversing or meeting with Aboriginals, don't ever be in a hurry and don't look at your watch or you'll lose them. It's also very important that you agree to meet with them regularly -- Canada's chiefs are hoping this 'never before' event will occur annually.

3. Other leaders are predicting, if they don't get sufficient action from the government, that a peaceful uprising akin to the likes led by black leaders during the 1960's in the U.S., but now with the help of instantaneous social media.  That would be big.

4. Check out the article to see what some of the other items the chiefs are seeking are. And later today I heard that in a key speak First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo demanded the government repeal the Indian Act. (But others chiefs, say "No way.") Harper has indicated that is not on the table, but he'll work with the chiefs on ways to deal with the concerns they may have with the Act.

5. Harper's administration believes the way out of poverty for many Aboriginals is "economic and resource development" and not "social program spending". As one who works both in Canada and with 3rd world countries in Africa, I would tend to agree.

6. Just as all social groups are divided in their opinions, so are Canada's Aboriginals, when it comes to what is best for their people. But one thing remains certain -- change is likely to happen following these meetings. Maybe not drastic or immediate -- but fundamental change will occur. And the reason is because they got together to talk and learn more about each other. Their is no option but to make better and more informed decisions after that.  And yes, the world, maybe more so than most Canadians, is indeed watching.

Chief Stewart Phillip warns 'an aboriginal uprising is inevitable' if Stephen Harper doesn’t listen | News | National Post

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