Somebody aptly christened it the ‘Indian Industry’. The hordes of consultants, lawyers, contractors, monopoly businesses, politicians (native and white), ‘activists’, and above all bureaucrats which suck up most of the money governments put out to ‘help’ our native population. And it is a lot, divide the Department of Indian and Northern Development budget by the registered native population, and it comes to something like $20 000 per person. Considering that many natives do live and work in the mainstream society in spite of the system, if this all went where it was meant to go, a family of 4 would have something approaching $100 000 tax free to live on.
But it doesn’t get where it is needed, and many natives are trapped in a system which demands they live in third world conditions of poverty and squalor.
Back in ’69, Pierre and Jean realized that the patriarchal colonial system which was Indian Affairs was not working. Pierre made a speech saying we need to end this apartheid system in Canada, where people are trapped in poverty on the basis of race. A new Indian Act would be produced, which would loosen government controls so that everybody will have the opportunity to become full citizens of Canada, and participate in the wonderful opportunities our country offers.
The Indian industry got right on that, and kicked up such a storm of dust and pinfeathers the picture was totally obscured. “Assimilation, Assimilation”, they screamed, and the media chimed in, ‘we have to save the language and the culture’. Which begs the question, why would you force people to work in a language used nowhere else in the world? And it is well proven that the surest way to lose a language or a culture is to get the government involved. A personal example, the German culture in my past was being preserved until Multi-Culti government ‘aid’ came along and killed all the volunteerism and with it the culture.
Nobody was talking about forced assimilation, only offering people options which might break the stranglehold of the Indian Industry, but this detail completely escaped our oh, so politically correct media, and they kept up the storm. Unfortunately, Pierre and Jean caved in like a $40 Canadian Tire tent, and the new Indian Act they produced perpetuated and even worsened the stranglehold of the Indian Industry, leaving even fewer options for native people.
Putting a person in a position where he can never do anything useful for his whole life is a subtle but effective form of torture, resulting in mental illness, drug abuse, depression and worse. By denying the option of useful work, or making it so difficult and risky that one needs to be courageous indeed to buck the system, we have created untold hardship.
Finally, 50 years later, we are starting to see cracks in the structure. People are seeing the system for what it is, racial apartheid. That’s why I find it so disheartening that recent decisions and publicity are proclaiming that all that is wrong with our native’s lives is caused by the residential schools. That’s all in the past, so we do not need to change anything, government doesn’t need to do anything, what is done is done.
I don’t want to minimize the negative effect of the residential school system, but that’s a complete cop-out. Well, OK, they do propose we expand and strengthen the evil monster at the heart of so much that is wrong, that being the Indian Industry, so it is worse than a cop-out. Woe to the people.