Indigenous Peoples

Missing & murdered Indigenous women are “isolated crimes”

Harper has refused the widespread request of First Nations peoples to have a proper inquiry into the shockingly high number of murdered and missing aboriginal women, dismissing it like each incident was “isolated”. All 1,181 of them. There’s nothing to joke about here: this is just devastating.

There’s even evidence that the Harper government wants to spin this tragedy as an Indigenous-on-Indigenous crime problem. Huh, where have we heard that before?

Truth and Reconciliation

A six-year study of the history of Canada’s residential schools system ended with a 400-page summary report, a diagnosis of “cultural genocide” and 94 recommendations for action. The commission’s announcement of findings and recommendations was an emotional moment of extreme importance to the First Nations community, interrupted several times with enthusiastic standing ovations. But the only person in the packed room of hundreds who didn’t stand once was one of Harper’s representatives, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Bernard Valcourt.

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Gross, dude. Real gross.

The Harper government says it wants to wait until it sees the final report before responding, which will likely (and very conveniently) be after the October election.

Canada’s Apartheid

A UN indigenous rights investigator came to Canada and concluded that we face a “crisis” on reserves, and that despite our prosperity “aboriginal people live in conditions akin to those in countries that rank much lower and in which poverty abounds.” Here are some facts.

So what is the Harper government doing about this humanitarian crisis? Here’s a hint: Canada was the only UN member to reject the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And when Cree MP Romeo Saganash introduced a bill that would make sure Canada’s laws are aligned with the declaration, the Harper government voted it down. Not only that, they continuously tried to scare Canadians with alarming language, pushing the word “veto” when talking about the First Nations final say in development decisions…Impacting their territories and rights…. Because it just wouldn’t be right if Harper didn’t have ABSOLUTE POWER!!

It should be noted that the declaration doesn’t use the word ‘veto’ once.

The Activist “Threat”

The Harper government sees indigenous rights activists as yet another “threat” to be watched carefully. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has even filed complaints against the RCMP and CSIS on behalf of indigenous activists, accusing them of violating the right to freely assemble. Kind of an important right for things like the Assembly of First Nations.

No Bridge Over This Troubled Water

There are things most of us take for granted: Thumbs, Netflix, running water. But that last one isn’t a given if you live in a First Nations home, where you’re 90 times more likely to be without it. And even if it’s running, you may not be able to drink it because a quarter of people living on reserves have water systems that are “high risk.” As of March of this year, 135 First Nations communities were under a boil water advisory.

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The Harper government is actually being sued by some First Nations communities in the hopes that they’ll force the government to stop ignoring the fundamental right to clean drinking water. Isn’t safe drinking water pretty much THE LEAST a government can do for its citizens? It’s right down there with not deliberately killing us.

The US was better than us at human rights

Last September, Canada came out as the only country to object to a landmark United Nations document, re-establishing the protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples, who have, by all measures, gotten the shitty end of the stick for approximately five centuries. To be clear, even the US reversed its traditionally anti-Indigenous position on this one. The US.

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