Continuing the conversation about Attawapiskat

Letter writer hopes the current generation of aboriginal leadership can work with the federal government to stop blaming the victim.

Editor:

The mainstream media has done a miserable job of “blame the victim” in this story, where it is very clearly the inadequate Indian Act system that is yet again the root of these difficulties.

These are not easy problems to solve. They go to the heart of the Canadian Constitution Act 1982, incorporating parts of the BNA Act 1867 where, in the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments (sections 91 and 92) “Indians and Lands Reserved for the Indians” are made the exclusive legislative domain of the federal government.

This gives rise to why we continue to have an Indian Act — where from Ottawa, the federal government needs to do all the things the provincial government does on “Indian Reserves” and for “Indians,” but at extraordinarily difficult economies of scale.

These problems are also deeply rooted in settler views of aboriginal territoriality — where east of the Rockies, territorial rights were extinguished by treaties, making it very difficult for aboriginal people to benefit from the wealth of their traditional lands, and here in B.C., treaties were largely never signed and governments continue to take the “denial” approach to the recognition of most territorial rights.

This is compounded with local aboriginal governments struggling under a crippled Indian Act system of diminished jurisdictions and constrained economic opportunities, and a population that is struggling with the outcomes of residential schools, territorial alienation, racism and poverty.

Profound change is needed in Canada to resolve these things.

The 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples gave a roadmap out, but it was largely shelved by the federal government.

Let’s hope that our current generation of aboriginal leadership can work with this intransigent federal government to stop blaming the victim and build a better Canada.

Brian Thom

Ladysmith

Just Posted

Premier makes surprise visit to Ladysmith Art Gallery

John Horgan does an informal meet and greet with Ladysmith arts and community leaders

Memorable weekend of hockey and camaraderie in Chemainus, Duncan

Many aspects of memorial tournament tug at the heartstrings

Premier on hand as Paper Excellence finalizes Catalyst Paper purchase

Sale includes Crofton mill, plus mills in Port Alberni and Powell River

High temperatures in Ladysmith break century-old records

Maximum high Sunday at the airport edged out a temperature record that had stood since 1892

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Cougar on Island might have been shot with bow-and-arrow

Conservation officer service looking for animal near Port Alice

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Chrysler receives coaching award

Albin & Georgina Falt Memorial plaque honours a long run by the face of Ceevacs

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Most Read