Idle No More, Chief Spence and the assorted professional Indians trying to meet with the Prime Minister are not, quite, as silly as the Occupy people. There is, underneath the appeals to feminine logic and the great God of sustainability and eco responsibility, a genuine grievance in that the whole thrust of Indian policy in Canada for the past few decades has been wrong headed and clack handed.
It is not hard to make the case that Canada’s Indians would be far better off if the Indian Act was repealed and the Department of Indian Affairs shut down. Or, at least, no worse off. Billions of dollars have been spent with less than nothing to show for it. Uneconomic reserves have acted as money magnets and, as Chief Spence’s own reserve accounts seem to show, a good deal of that money has flowed without anything like proper accountability.
More to the point, the mere fact a slogan like “Idle No More” can be adopted by the Indians without a trace of irony, tells a great deal about a culture (or, rather, cultures) in shambles.
While the media party tried to make a cause out of Chief Spence and Idle No More Harper was perfectly capable of seeing off the attack. One solid audit and an unwillingness to be bullied by the fattest hunger striker in recent memory was sufficient to rout this particular assault.
Today’s meeting with professional Indians, which may actually be derailed by amateur Indians, might be a start to a comprehensive revision of the failed Indian policy of the last few decades. But it will be a start untainted with feminine logic, sustainability, colonialist theory and all the other lunacies of the radical left which have hampered progress for both the Indians and the rest of Canadians.
You have to have a heart of stone to think that a continuation of the present failed Indian policies is either compassionate or economically sensible. Stein’s Law, “What can’t go on, won’t.” seems correct here.
The Occupy nitwits left a legacy of precisely nothing save for the certainty that they and their supporters were very dim indeed. Chief Spence, while offering plenty of scope for ridicule, may achieve a bit more than that. “Idle No More” could also represent a back channel to get around the professional Indians (though that is a faint hope given the blockade antics).
However, the last month’s activities also represent an opportunity for Harper and the CPC to look beyond the posturing and begin to propose tentative but real Indian policy. To do that they are going to have to get beyond the illusion of Indian self government, at least as that has come to be understood. And they are going to have to create the sorts of incentives which puts some meat on the bones of the “Idle No More” slogan.
This is probably the smartest thing I’ve read on this topic thus far: No right-wing posturing, no extremist left-wing socialism – just an honest look at the issue: Indians in this country have got a raw deal over the last 100 years, and the first step to fixing that is to treat them like other Canadian citizens, taxes and all. As I’m sure 3rd wave feminists can attest to – treating people the same, not differently, solves problems like this. The Indian Act marginalizes the Indian population, and marginalized propulations tend to have major issues.
Let’s talk about the two elephants in the room: FAS and FAE. Realistically, how many reserve dwellers will ever be able to function without some outside financial support? How much does that play into the current situation?
That cycle has to stop somewhere though. A smart, very left-wing, person I know pointed out that 75% of them would probably die, but the other 25% would go on to lead successful and productive lives [if the financial support, and the reserve system was yanked]. Unless they’re still trapping and hunting and etc, Canada’s Indians need to move to between the 49th and 52nd parallels like the rest of Canadians: there’s a reason we live there. The original point of reserves was so that the Canadian Indians (or indigenous peoples, as they like to be referred), could carry on their traditional way of life. That no longer is the case.