“Canada is a test case for a grand notion – the notion that dissimilar peoples can share lands, resources, power and dreams while respecting and sustaining their differences. The story of Canada is the story of many such peoples, trying and failing and trying again, to live together in peace and harmony.
But there cannot be peace or harmony unless there is justice. It was to help restore justice to the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada, and to propose practical solutions to stubborn problems, that the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples was established.” - page ix, A Word From Commissioners
The quote above comes from a publication that is 150 pages in length, and in my opinion should be read by every single Canadian. This publication is called “People to People, Nation to Nation: Highlights from the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples“. If you never manage to wade through the five volumes of findings and recommendations published by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), please at least make your way through the Highlights. (If you want something even less dense, there is a 51 page document [PDF] that does a bang up job of summarising the report and its main recommendations. Included at the end is a nice breakdown of financial estimates for implementation of these recommendations.)
Backing up a little…the RCAP was established in 1991 and engaged in 178 days of public hearings, visiting 96 communities, commissioning research and consulting with experts. In 1996, the RCAP released a five volume report of findings and recommendations.Read more
Indigenous people have been subsidizing Canada for a very long time.
Conservatives have leaked documents in an attempt to discredit chief Theresa Spence, currently on hunger strike in Ottawa. Reporters like Jeffrey Simpson and Christie Blatchford have ridiculed the demands of native leaders and the protest movement Idle No More. Their ridicule rests on this foundational untruth: that it is hard-earned tax dollars of Canadians that pays for housing, schools and health services in First Nations. The myth carries a host of racist assumptions on its back. It enables prominent voices like Simpson and Blatchford to liken protesters' demands to "living in a dream palace" or "horse manure," respectively.
It's true that Canada's federal government controls large portions of the cash flow First Nations depend on. Much of the money used by First Nations to provide services does come from the federal budget. But the accuracy of the myth ends there.Read more