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Thanks,

Mark McCaw ~ twitter's @bigpicguy

Author of "Insights Inside a Mind" ~ blogging the big picture








Saturday, 5 January 2013

#IdleNoMore ~ Letter From a White Guy

#IdleNoMore has exploded on the twitterverse, so I thought, as a white guy, I'd write an open letter to anyone interested in #IdleNoMore and my own thoughts. I am not going to pretend I am an expert on the issues, just someone trying to understand and learn. Less so from the media, than by cultivating relationships with a wide range of indigenous peoples.

My life experiences and a mix of research and discussion have led me to support #IdleNoMore and I expect I will learn a lot more than even I could envision. At least I hope so.

I am not even going to pretend I have some kind of intellectual grasp of the many issues and challenges faced by First Nations in this country. I'm sure I am only scratching the surface, not because I don't want to know, but that the real truth of the history, treaties, abuses, and horrors lived every day by grassroots indigenous people are well hidden beneath centuries of lies and deceit, of deliberate attempts to eliminate the (please I find it disgusting to even repeat these words) "Native Problem", of governments and schools and media feeding the idea that our First Peoples were lazy and stupid and dirty and horrific, animal like beings who need to be exorcised from a civil society. It's difficult to try to find truth when so many are complicit in covering it up, and turning mainstream public opinion against people who did nothing but to welcome our ancestors and signed what they believed were honest treaties to share their bountiful resources with their new white friends.

They fought and died for us to be here, even before Canada was a nation. All we have done for them is cheated them out of their honest share of the resources of their nation which they have never given up their rights to it, never been defeated in a war, but we have screwed them, when we weren't attempting genocide by subjecting them to gifts of blankets infected with diseases they had no immunity to, we've been using up their resources as if we own them, and this doesn't even begin to address Residential Schools which existed in my lifetime. If you don't know what they are, do a bit of research. Better yet. Sit down, close your eyes, imagine the police coming and removing your children, taking them away to be beaten, raped, killed, and even tortured to remove their culture. Imagine your children being punished for speaking their own language. Now not even getting into conditions that exist today, has that ever happened to anyone in this country other than indigenous peoples? Absolutely Not. Attempted Genocide has only been a policy toward First Nations peoples in Canada. Whether you like it or not, if you don't admit that successive governments, in your name, have systematically been trying to eliminate native peoples and assimilate whatever is left, you have not yet faced reality.

I'm unsure exactly where #IdleNoMore got its start. That's not for me to debate. My understanding is it began as a movement to educate young First Nations people that they need to learn to embrace who they are, and to understand they have inherent treaty rights that it is important to know those rights. I've been told it was started by four ladies in Saskatchewan. I could be totally or partially wrong, I'm unsure, at least I'm trying to learn.

What I am positive of, is that is has become much more, and is growing. I understand Stephen Harper is the final straw that has broken the proverbial camel's back. It doesn't really matter which Prime Minister it was, this one, the last one, any previous one, our entire history is one of Canadian Government (and the British Crown before that) oppressing indigenous people in ways that, when exposed, should horrify any sane human being.

What I do want to say to the many showing leadership, and to the grassroots everyday person standing up for your rights, I apologize I have never been able to elect a government who would represent my personal wish to be an honest treaty partner with you. I am horrified at the ugly, racist, misinformed comments being hurled at you. I don't know what I can do, other than provide a voice of support, other than share my words with the world, and be there for you if you need me.

I'm not going to pretend to know your experience. I just want to make clear you know I can share one frustration with you. People we have put our trust in to lead us, have failed miserably. May we find our common goal and may you have unending strength in your struggle.

I am a white man. I am sick of my people getting ahead of everyone else because of a total lack of ethics.

THAT is why I support #IdleNoMore

97 comments:

  1. YOUR OPENESS AND INTELLIGENCE IS REFRESHING

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  2. Thank you so much! Your words and thoughts come from a kind heart & an open mind. Again, thank you soo much, I appreciate you!

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  3. thank you young man ,,,,meequetch oshkiinigii,,,,,I respect your words and continue to walk in PEACE on MOTHER EARTH,,,, wish the rest would at least make an attempt to try ,,,good luck in your life I wish you many ,many yrs of productivity,,,,,,

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  4. Thank you so much! Your sincerity, and humility are definitely refreshing! Made my day.

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  5. Tiniki, tapwe moyasin

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  6. I really appreciate your letter of support and I applaud you for putting yourself out there in the midst of this movement! Thank you!

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  7. Shared on my facebook, hopefully your post will help some other people really look at Canada and what we need to all do.

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  8. Thank for taking the time to say these things and having the courage to face the pain of our horrible shared history. I shake hands with you, my brother!

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  9. Humbled and brought a tear to my eye. Thanks for being so caring and showing your support and concern. God Bless You!

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  10. welalin (Mikmaq for thank you.)

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  11. I thank you for the open, honest and courageous act of putting your thoughts out there, at a time when all words get skewed. I am proud of you doing this and join with you in educating the rest of Canada. Kitchi Meegwetch!

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. We need more people to be educated on First Nation issues. Being First Nation I felt a big lump in my throat as I thought to myself, "someone is getting it." Never feel responsible for our tragic history and the genocide that still continues today faced by my people. I've always been told, it is the SYSTEM not the people. At least that's what I learned in First Nation Studies. I still find it hard to look at in that perspective, but doing my best. It is up to us to educate those who are ignorant no matter where we are, store, restaurant, gas station etc etc. With that, I'm going to "Share" your article and hopefully it will help others understand.

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    1. I agree. As I read his words I felt the same. I even teared up. Pure awesomeness.

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    2. I can tell you that your words are very close to the truth. I work in First Nation Community as a Mental Health Therapist and the standard of living is deplorable! It is about time that Canada hears their "Dirty Little Secret"! I am a Canadian yet wonder how this travesty of human rights continues to flourish here in Canada! We are first to help others yet our First Nation People live in squalor!! All the blame in the world will NOT improve the life and existence of the grass root First Nation People! Come on Canada wake up!!!

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  13. Good for you and good for all of us, that you are opening your mind and your heart. We all benefit from from good words spoken and good energy shared.

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  14. wonderful words!!

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  15. Don't be surprised to find many Blessings will come your way for sharing your Voice and support :) thank you for your kind words.

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  16. Reading this gave me the shivers... in a good way. Thank-you for taking the time to write and share your thoughts and most of all, for speaking from the heart.

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  17. Chi meegwetch (thank you in Anishinabe mowin). Yesterday I watched a SUN NEWS post and wanted to kill myself and take at least 9 white guys and a jew with me. After reading your post today I actually feel like there maybe hope for us yet. Wouldn't it be something if you became Prime Minister after this Crime Minister leaves office. Then maybe all Canadians can hope again.

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  18. I am also a white person and your post is very good. There are a few things I would like to add. The only reason you have really displayed here for anyone outside the native community to care is "compassion" and care for the native people and their rights. This should be enough as we should all care for each other no matter what race, religion etc we are but let's face it. Most people are either too self absorbed or too busy just trying to survive that they only care about themselves or only have time to care about what affects them directly. Most people outside the native community do not see how this affects them directly. This is just one small step in the grand plan for the government to take over and control all resources and people of all races. The issues about the protection of the waterways also directly affect all people although many do not realize it. The main reasons for wanting to limit the protection of the waterways is so the energy companies can freely pollute them by fracking and other activities. This will result in a shortage of clean water for everyone except the rich people that live near the only clean water still protected. Also, although the natives are likely the race that have been treated the worst, there are many others that have been treated bad as well in similar ways, like the blacks, jews, asians etc. This really does affect us all and really needs to be presented in a way so that everyone wakes up and sees that this is only a small step in them owning us all. We all need to support this to help these people and to protect us all from having this happen to everyone. They want to control everything, they want to own everything and they want to control everyone. They want to depopulate all races so they have less people they have to control. Search google for "depopulation quotes" and you will find quotes from many famous people and politicians like Ted Turner, Prince Phillip, Bill Gates and other elitists. This is the time for all people to stand together with the native community to protect their rights and ours. Good luck to us all!

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    1. Absolutely agree. With all of you. It is important that we look at this as a group of people of all histories and protect what is good about this wonderful land and lose the negativity that has so absorbed our time here. We have a wonderful land and wonderful people. We all need to protect it and each other from those who are selfishly trying to control all of us and using laws and propoganda to get away with it.

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  19. Thank you for your support, humanity, and open mind. Your words are taken to heart.

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  20. I'm also white and support Idle No More. it's great to see someone else who "gets it" like you do. Problem is, our government and most media outlets think this is "just another Indian protest." We need to come together as non-indigenous people to publicly support our indigenous brothers and sisters in their efforts to educate white Canada and succeed in having their treaty rights and human rights upheld and respected. Are you able/interested in starting something?

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    1. Thank you. An awesome idea.

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    2. I'm white and I support the movement because I think that our government thinks it can get away with taking advantage of indigenous people and BULLY them. It's time for this ABUSE of power to stop.
      All Canadians need to stand in solidarity with the movement as a matter of human rights and social justice.
      This is a cycle of violence, of "power over" and oppression. IT MUST STOP.

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  21. Thank-you for understanding. I am touched.

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  22. Wonderfully said. Thank you!

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  23. As an Elderly woman, to a white guy, well done Mark. Mahsi Cho! (Thank you!)

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  24. 1) Attempted Genocide has only been a policy toward First Nations peoples in Canada? Have you heard of a man named hitler? Mao Ze-Dong? and many others...

    2) the governments around the world have repeatedly proven that they have no interest in representing what the people want. So to hold all white people responsible is unfair. Especially since most of us weren't alive when it happened.

    3) the use of the past atrocities as an excuse to not succeed as a group just hurts the community and doesn't promote a future generation that is able to move on and begin healing from the horrible things that have happened to the aboriginals. Instead we have a high rate of poverty, alcohol/drug abuse, teen pregnancy, gang issues and other violence that plagues the community all in the name of the past. Will getting more land or more money fix the underlying issues? Will every treaty agreement being fulfilled fix the problems in the community? Will everything suddenly be righted if you get everything you want?

    5) given the atrocities that were perpetrated against the aboriginal people wouldn't parents of the new generation want their children to break free of the cycle that has become the stereotype of the community? But instead we get teen mothers dressing up their kids in thug clothing listening to thug music that promotes "sippin on gin and juice" and thinking its appropriate to party and smoke drugs around the kids and promoting a thug lifestyle. I would like to blame it on lack of knowledge but google and the internet are so easy to use and accessible to anyone that its hard to avoid knowledge that kids cost a lot of money and perhaps having 3 or 4 kids without the means to support them is not the best idea. Granted this is not a native specific problem but you can't deny that is happens at a higher rate in the native community. It is this irresponsible behavior that has lead to the high child poverty rate in the native community. But the media reports it as a governmental slight on the aboriginals.

    5) don't you dare call this post racist because is these are observations based on MY personal interactions and dealings with the aboriginal community. These are not judgements based on stereotypes or anything else but MY observations. If the community would speak to their people about and call them out on these issues instead of being so politically correct and blaming all these things on other people some real change could be made. I firmly believe that holding the aboriginal people to the same expectations as the rest of Canadians would yield more success, a stronger community, a feeling of belonging and a stronger relationship.

    In closing, There is no denying that the white people did some horrible things and that we owe them a lot but the healing should start now so that the generations born in the interim aren't setup to fail in the name of the past. Hold the people responsible, promote the idea responsible behavior which will make the people proud do have done it on their own and not from a hand out. Then when they get what is owed they will be the better for it and will succeed.

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    1. What the First Nations receive in terms of support for housing, health care, education etc. is NOT a hand-out! These are legally binding terms of the treaties signed.LEGALLY BINDING TERMS! And yet, more than 50% of the monies allocated toward honouring those treaties goes to the white bureaucracy that oversees them.
      Had these terms been honoured fully since their inception, the horrific social realities you describe would not exist for First Nations in any greater numbers than the general population.
      Educate and inform yourself, ANONYMOUS -then come back and comment without fear of people knowing who you are!

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    2. Anonymous...your first point is wrong (actually everything you wrote is wrong and uninformed). Chronologically, Hitler's reign of terror and genocide against Jewish people took place just before WW II, which was in the 1940s...like the 20th century? What has happened to Indigenous peoples in Canada at hands of colonizers and settlers (are you one of them?) took place well before--you are just not educated enough to know this. And by the way, your post is racist and reveals how under-educated you are and the lack of willingness on your part to make things better. Shame on you.

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    3. For your information, we want one thing and one thing only. Consideration. Not 'handouts' (which they aren't anyway- money and land are not the issue, so stop making it about your precious tax-dollar), or role-reversal (we know how things are, even if you don't). Respect from a place of understanding is what we want, simple as that. The problems you SEE are reactions to symptoms of disease your ancestors gave us centuries ago. Your knee-jerk dismissive response IS racism, because you can't stand our refusal to shut up when slandered, roll over when kicked and suck up when stolen from. I take personally offence to things that have affected my family for generations. How exactly are YOU inconvenienced by it, in your anonymous ivory tower?

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    4. I am an Indian Woman and have raised FOUR children, believe me this was a challenge because my mother was taken to residential school and the biggest impact residential school had on her was she was taken from her family at a time when she would have been taught family skills, love, kindness, sharing, empathy etc. I was raised by a woman who had none of these, but fortunately we had our grandmothers. We were dirt poor because my father had to get permission to leave the reserve for work. We lived feast to famine constantly, if not for our grandparents we would have starved. My father believed the only hope for his children was to send them to a white school, a white school full of racist children. But I grew into a successful women with a university degree been married to the same man for 33 years raised successful children who also went to University, I volunteer as do my children, I obey the law, none of my family in the penal system or the child welfare system. And, because of my grand parents I embrace my culture and believe in the goodness of fresh wild meat and fish, clean water and the veritable smorgasbord of the plants, and berries the great spirit provides. I believe that a family that prays together stays together and I appreciate the sweat lodge and the community ceremonies. I was born in the 60's a time of great stress not only for First Nations but for the whole Country. Is it any wonder that I want to preserve the very life that saved me from starvation, alcoholism, residential school? I am a survivor and my children will also be survivors, and to do this we need to protect the land.

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    5. You just don't get it and that is ok, you are not alone.

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    6. Does it really matter when genocide took place? Seriously you are not the only people in the world who have ever suffered. It is an unfortunate part of history, but for you it is just that, history. People in Africa still suffer attrocities to this day. Your ancestors may have been wronged but you were not. There are many opportunities for you if you choose. I know many succesful people with native blood my husband and children included, as well as all of his family. If you look at the jewish situation and see how well that group of people have recovered and succeeded maybe you would discover that stepping out and not living off the backs of hard working canadians is a better option. If it wasn't for the people whom have worked so hard to make this country what it is today where would your money come from? You should be proud to be a CANADIAN!! Be a part of your country rather than trying to seperate it!!! Find peace.

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    7. Dear Anonymous,

      It is unfortunate that you do not seek to understand, but rather you make assumptions and gross generalizations. You are a victim of the politics of division and are unable to rise above it. Well here’s some facts you should know.

      “People in Africa still suffer attrocities today” Well here's a couple of attrocities about Aboriginal communities that exist today;

      As of November 30, 2012, there were 117 - -- First Nations communities across Canada under a Drinking Water Advisory. Their tap water is NOT safe to drink! If the tap water in your non-Aboriginal community was not safe to drink, people would be completely up in arms and outraged. Remember Walkerton!
      - Inadequate housing and overcrowding plague Aboriginal homes across this land. According to the 2006 census 1 Aboriginal people in Canada continued to live in homes that require major repairs; while the rates for First Nations increased (45% on-reserve and 17% off-reserve) and rates for Métis declined to 14%, all rates are still elevated compared to non-Aboriginal Canadians (7%). How would you like to live in a house where people had to take turns sleeping because there was not enough space for everyone to sleep all at the same time?

      “Your ancestors may have been wronged but you were not”

      My ancestors for many generations were wronged including my generation. Residential schools taught us and our ancestors how to parent in an abusive manner. In our culture, we know that what you do you to your children can resonate for 7 generations. So unless you have the courage, strength, and support to heal, you will just repeat this abuse. Some of us have healed, many are still broken spirits thanks to residential schools.

      “I know many successful people with Native blood”

      Good for you. Then why don’t you judge the Aboriginal community by its successful members too and not just those who are vulnerable? Aboriginal people who escaped the residential school system had healthy lives. Perhaps your husband was one of the lucky ones? I don’t know and won’t assume. I know many Aboriginal people who are doing very well. And I know many who are not. That is the nature of Aboriginal communities. But we do not blame the victim and write them off, we understand and leave no one behind.

      “If it wasn’t for the people whom have worked so hard to make this country what it is today where would your money come from”

      If it wasn’t for settler governments stealing the land and resources that directly benefit you, where would you be today? When we signed the Treaties, we did so with the intent to co-exist peacefully with settler governments and share the abundant land and resources. We honoured those Treaties and it’s not too late for you as a Treaty person to honour them now in a respectful, harmonious way, rather than through forced assimilation, paternalism, and downright annihilation of our people. It IS happening and I quote directly from Bill C3 - In 5 generations, it is projected that the Government won't need to worry about the "Indian problems". Check this out from the passing of Bill C-3 Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act.... Projection trends suggest that sometime around the end of the fifth generation, no further children will be born with entitlement to Indian registration.


      “Be a part of your country rather an trying to separate it”

      Only the politics of division can separate our country, so stop being part of it. Join us and support Idle no More. It’s not just about our Treaty rights, it’s about our Treaty responsibilities. It’s about the environment, our planet. We only have one and we share it, so let’s work together to protect it for our future generations. There’s 7 generations coming that depend on it. Be part of the change, be a real citizen of Canada, and honour the Treaties!

      End discrimination and find your own peace!

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    8. I am very much at peace and when housing became a problem for my husbands family, they left the reserve and got jobs. We started paying taxes and contributing to the growth of "our country". Treaty's were signed at a time when no one could predict where the world would be today. We all have a stake in this world. We are all from Mother Earth. Be thankful that we didn't not have a war as the Americans did or we would really have nothing.

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  25. how incredible it would be if at least 20% of non indigenous Canadians had the wisdom and courage you do to see the truth and speak it out loud as you have.

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  26. i suppose the world will never fully grasp what my people have gone through and continue to go through, unless they make a movie about it. thriving indigenous culture (precontact), columbus/settlers, disease, broken treaties, residential schools, poverty, addictions, incarceration, assimilation & depression. even after all of that, we are still here. the 7th generation is now rising and idle no more. welalin mark.

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    1. I'm a white person, but I do grasp it as I have worked as a therapist with survivors of sexual abuse up in northern towns and villages on and off reserves. There are cycles that get repeated due to a culture being broken. That's a simplification, but it's true. I tell people to read "Stony Creek Woman" to read first hand accounts of the residential schools and the segregation in our country into the 1960s - apartheid in Canada. You bet.
      In the idle no more movement, I see a stance of pro-activity, of "we're not going to take it anymore", of "enough's enough", you can't shut us up, censor us, beat us into submission...the day of reckoning has come.

      I STAND WITH YOU.

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    2. http://www.arsenalpulp.com/bookinfo.php?index=81

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  27. Mark McCaw, thank for all your powerful words, especially this statement ... "I apologize I have never been able to elect a government who would represent my personal wish to be an honest treaty partner with you." I appreciate your honesty and willingness to understand. When our non-Aboriginal brothers and sisters speak up with us, it shows how unified we are as human beings looking out for this planet. Miigwech!

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  28. It's refreshing to hear this kind of support from a non-first nation. I wish there were many more like you!

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  29. I'm a white woman from the U.S. and I shared this on my facebook. I feel the same way you do!

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  30. Meegwetch!!! I hope people spread your kind words and wisdom around as much as possible. Many others need to "get" it like you do.

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  31. Thank you for your understanding and bravery in the face of 'mainstream' thinking. Swimming up stream is never easy but necessary for survival!

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  32. Shared on FB .... chi miigwich from a Cree brother.

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  33. Kukwstsemc. However infinitesimally small an increment my humanity is closer to being realized. I wish you continued guidance on your quest for humanity. We all depend on each other to eradicate the inhuman condition we exist in. Kukwstsemc.

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  34. Yup as usual anyone who point out the truth is a racist. I just assumed we could have an open dialogue without the name calling. Hitler attempted genocide...that is the truth. I live amongst the natives and my experiences and observations cannot by considered racist as I have see it with my own eyes.

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    1. When you take one observation and apply it to the masses of the same group, it is generalization.

      When a generalization affects a group of people defined by their race, it is racism.

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    2. There are many truths. Your Truth. My Truth. The Real Truth. Hitler does not figure in here, I am not talking about other historical figures or other countries. If you'd read what I said, it was that our government has never attempted genocide against any other race or nation. I'm talking about Canada, not Germany or Turkey or Burma.

      I'm not talking about what you may have seen, I am talking about historical context over hundreds of years. You're like the person who knows one asshole who cheats EI so you become the authority who understands most people cheat EI.

      Bring facts to the table and I will debate you. Bring narrow, racist views to the table and I will gladly take you to task.

      If you think I'm wrong, that's fine. Perhaps you want to start a blog to get your ideas out there. Best of luck.

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    3. Also, he said, in CANADA there has been no other attempts of Genocide. Not that there has been no other genocide attempts ever. Lol. The US solved their "native problem" by killing most (if not all) of the indigenous people. In Canada, we decided to trick them instead.

      And what your observations are seeing is the symptoms of a social disease that has passed on through generations. Take an ENTIRE generation of people and send them to a boarding school, where all sense of their original culture and humanity (compassion, etc) was beaten (and raped, tortured, humiliated, etc) out of them. Now get them to raise their own children. Can you imagine how their children would turn out? How about the children of those children?

      As a descendent of the Settler population in Canada, what my ancestors did to indigenous ancestors is completely unthinkable. To think that the generation before mine is still doing close to nothing to repair the damage wrought is completely and utterly shameful. To think that that generation is not taking ownership of the damage wrought makes me sick. To think that that generation has attempted to teach me to be as racist as they are (the things my parents have told me...) means that we are in fact perpetuating this social disease and encouraging its continuation.

      As it will be very soon that my generation will be the next ones to determine Canadian policy, especially ones regarding treaty rights, the time of the idle no more movement is now. My generation needs to have their eyes opened, and to break free of the Settler Generational mold of blaming indigenous peoples for what we did to them.

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    4. Many people settled in this country long after the treaties were signed. Is it right that they must pay for the mistakes that were made in the past? I think not. It's time to move on and work together. We should all share equally in the opportunites that our country has to offer us.

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    5. Essentially you're asking for a "do-over". Since you believe this would somehow be acceptable, let me explain how this would work. All non First Nation peoples must leave and return to their ancestral country. Then the original inhabitants of this land could determine what their immigration policy would be, then we would all have to apply to come back to their nations under their terms.

      It doesn't sound so appealing to hit that restart button now, does it.

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    6. And what would you do with the people of mixed native blood. Where would you like to put them? I beleive there are more of us than there are of true 100% native blood.

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    7. "Many people settled in this country long after the treaties were signed. Is it right that they must pay for the mistakes that were made in the past?"

      It's not about people now paying for the mistakes of the past but recognizing that you (collectively speaking) still benefit from it immensely and can't just absolve yourself because "it wasn't me."

      Let me give you an example. I go to university here in Ottawa. Ottawa is unceded Algonquin territory. While I personally had nothing to do with the theft of the land, I still benefit greatly from the injustice through no fault of my own. The same is true the country over.

      So really, you need shift from the mindframe that you're paying for something that happened a long time ago to realizing that you still to this day disproportionately benefit from those "mistakes".

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  35. I also am of Dutch descent but I am Canadian first and foremost .... I too have no idea what has enabled our government to be so ignorant and arrogant to not meet with Native People , he and his cronies treat them like second class citizens , I am married to a Bill C- 31 Native man who has taught me so much about respect of Elders , respect of the land we are allowed to live on , etc. there are too many qualities that I can not even have time to post but I do support Idle No More because this involves all Canadians and we must work as one , loved ur blog

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  36. These are the words we must offer as descendants of settlers and therefore (for lack of a better term) settlers ourselves.

    "I apologize I have never been able to elect a government who would represent my personal wish to be an honest treaty partner with you."

    This. I apologise too.

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  37. When education society about Aboriginal History and Culture….some people question why they should learn about Aboriginal People because they are not Aboriginal and the issues that Aboriginal People face today does not affect them. Understanding Aboriginal history and culture is not only beneficial for the Aboriginal People but for society as a whole. What happens to the Aboriginal People does affect everyone. If the waters get polluted …will that affect only the Aboriginal People? When the natural resources are all used up….will that only affect the Aboriginal People? When the Earth is no longer able to sustain itself because of pollution…. will that only affect Aboriginal People? Many plants and animals are extinct and others are on its way there. Aboriginal People were taught to only take what was needed and leave the rest. Before anything was taken an offering of Tobacco was given for that life, whether it was a plants life or an animal’s life. Yes, the Aboriginal People have suffered because of the land issues and yes, they have been losing more and more of what was once there’s. If the Aboriginal Peoples were dealing with an honest Canadian Government they wouldn’t have endured all the pain and suffering that they have experienced in the past, today or yet to come. The Aboriginal People will never give up on the treaties with the Canadian Government. The treaties are our inherited Right!
    We welcome all the people from every race to join us in solidarity. We thank you for your support and learning about our past. We are not looking for pity or handouts but expect the treaties honored.

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  38. There have been lots of wrongs done to lots of people in the past. We should learn from the past but not dwell on the past. We should live for the present and look forward to the future. Yes, there is a lot of fight needed still to be treated equally but unfortunately there are many that also want to be lazy and blame the past for their problems. It is not a simple problem, "your fault" or "their fault" as most would like it to be. Everyone needs to work to improve themselves and to help others. With this said, you cannot help those that do not want to help themselves. It is not that "natives" are more inclined to be lazy and "blame everyone else", it is merely that they have more reasons to do so and therefore try to take advantage of that. This is not "all natives", just like it is not "all" of other peoples. A lot has got to change for both natives and everyone else, internally and externally.

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    1. What do you suppose they are doing, with this movement? Seems to me they are trying to move forward, and standing up for themselves. They are also trying to keep their culture and heritage, and a certain amount of looking back is needed to keep their identity as Native Americans. It is good you recognize the need for change, and it's good you are promoting it in others. Just please don't forget about yourself.

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    2. Did I say they weren't? No! It seems that some will accept no criticism at all even if it is attempting to be constructive. Sigh! Ok, natives are all "perfect" people and everyone else is an idiot. Happy now?

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    3. calm down, brother. i dont think she was trying to rile you up.

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    4. I am perfectly calm. Just trying to make a point by showing how dumb my second comment is compared to the first. Maybe I failed. Oh well. Life goes on. Lol.

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  39. Good to read all this material, a lot of it coming from folks, like myself, who were born into and are part of the Settler comunity. And though Natives are the youngest and fastest growing population in this country, and making clear their own self-reliance, ongoing immigration still allows that they will need, at least can probably use, as much support from the likes of us Settlers here, as they can get. I, like most of you, am only too pleased to be a part of that support amongst Settlers.

    To get to the kind of society most of us desire and need, based on equality, respect for where each other is coming from, and a rational sharing of the means of this decent life for all, we have still, this old hurdle to get over and work our way through, of an ongoing "original injustice" in our relationship with the founding people/ nations of this land.

    It's that, or we descend into a greater and greater risk of outright sectarian/ ethnic conflict, as Natives rightly are unwilling to live any longer in their current circumstances and our current relationship.

    I know which side I am on. I understand the Native desire to be themselves, their own heritage and traditions, not ours or anyone elses, and for an economy of their own as can actually sustain them and their freedom. I wish IdleNoMore victory. :-)

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  40. i am an elder and i thank the Creator for people like you. You possess great insight and speak with much wisdom. Bless you and thank you so very much for making my day.

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  41. MEGWICH THANK YOU

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  42. If only we can someday come close to a society similar to this it would be wonderful. http://www.thevenusproject.com/

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  43. kinana'skomitina'wa'w.
    All my relations

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  44. There are a lot of words thrown here that should not be,( I will not repeat negative words) what a lot of people don't seem to grasp is that this Bill is not just a Native problem it is everyone's problem. why does Harper want this bill passed. for the simple fact the Natural resources on Reserves, So for imagination sake let's just say this bill passes the crown comes in and takes over Oil/mineral/tree filled land. they start clear cutting/ strip mining and digging deep in the earth, what happens? water becomes corrosive the earth can no longer support any growth on it, plant life or wild life becomes non existent and tainted in these areas. The Native People have always been taught for what we take from Mother Earth we must always give back. this bill wants to take and leave future generations with a barren waste land. I am not saying that as soon as the bill passes the world ends but destruction has to start some where.
    so in fact this Bill is not just a Native Issue, but a Human issue and realize what the fight is really about.
    So thank you for your insightful blog and I just had to write because some people seemed to have missed the point that you are trying to make and I applaud you for your honest opinion.

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  45. As a native myself.Thank you..theres been so many questions..as aborinals in the Idle NoMore..were fighting for our future generation of all races..it will effect every living thing and person..we do not ask for pity.we ask we all stand united asone nation.peace.respect.understanding..

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  46. As a native myself.Thank you..theres been so many questions..as aborinals in the Idle NoMore..were fighting for our future generation of all races..it will effect every living thing and person..we do not ask for pity.we ask we all stand united asone nation.peace.respect.understanding..

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  47. Thank you. Thank you so much. I've been reading such disturbing things lately, things that are making me feel physically ill and even hopeless. You've lifted my spirits with your understanding, and I hope more speak up as you have.

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  48. there are more of you than you can imagine ... white people who feel the same as you ... thank you for vocalizing our sentiments and doing it with such caring and honest feeling ... you are a good man, you represent what i want all canadians to be ..

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  49. Thank you for vocalizing so well what many of us feel and think. I have felt this way a long time & am glad not to be alone. As you said it with stunning clarity: "I apologize I have never been able to elect a government who would represent my personal wish to be an honest treaty partner with you."

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  50. Thank you Mark for you honesty and the willingness to learn (:
    I myself was very bothered by all the racist,bigotry,prejudice non-sense that is being expressed on these media sites when they speak of "idle no more" It warmed my heart to see your letter. I thank you for sharing, and hold much respect for a fellow like you.
    ~M.R.M-J

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  51. Strong words and powerful vision. Thank you for your words of wisdom and courage. Respect!

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  52. wow, thank you so much. i don't think i've ever heard a white man refer to us as "our First Nations". Your whole post is kind and compassionate and wise. But that phrase brought me to tears that you feel a bond to us, instead of isolating us as separate.

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  53. Thank you for your willingness to learn and understand. Thank you for words of support in this movement that effects all people. May you be greatly blessed.

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  54. thank-you from the bottom of my heart! I just wish we could all stand united against this apartheid, those who don't think it can happen in this day and age are sorely mistaken! do they forget what ALL MY RELATIONS means? ALL life is sacred! the creation stories tell of a time when all the children of the rainbow lived together. The prophecy has come fuul-circle. You are a member of said warrior society! the rainbow warriors will lead man-kind into a NEW GOLDEN AGE! Once again thank-you, Brother! By the way I am NATIVE and a proud member of AIM as well as the rainbow warroirs coalition!

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  55. Thank You for every promising word you have said there mr. white man,you have very strong heart to say to word, Thank You again...

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  56. Well said. How can we join this movement for the sake of all of us on this beautiful Mother Earth? How can we, the white people, make this Idle No More movement one that stands not only for the Native People but for all who are crying out for justice & harmony in this country?

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  57. I am of Cree decent. My grandfather was a WW1 vet. He had to give up his status as a Native to fight. He was forced off his land then had to buy back his land that was taken way from his people. That land was half of Selkirk Manitoba and the rural area of Peguis. Natives were forced on to swamp land. Interesting that all government since then have taken advantage of everyone while living tax free off others expense. Well come to our world!



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  58. Lots of very interesting and educational information. Made me look at this with a more open mind forsure.

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  59. I am a White Woman and I am so proud of you for starting this blog. I have been following the Idle No More Movement and Chiefs Spence and her efforts. All of your points have been what I have been arguing with my "fellow settlers" for some years. Unfortunately in most cases there is a lack of information or ignorance to these issues. It is surprising how many people are unaware of the history and first nations struggle throughout the generations. This is indeed Canada's Shame, I am responsible for this as an individual? I say no but what I am responsible for is supporting the people in our nation and for standing up for what is right. The residential school issue is where it all began, it created a culture of lost people, people that didn't know where they belonged. It created so much hurt and confusion not only in the children but also in there parents. It was wrong it never should have happened in this beautiful country. The poverty rate in Northern Canada among First Nations People is not acceptable and our government needs to be united with its people both First Nations and Non First Nations. I support Idle No More and it's time for all of us to stand together as a Nation as a people and support our people as they need us

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  60. Hiy Hiy. We definitely need more people like you in this world!! Open minded people who are willing to learn and understand are very rare to come by, what an inspiration you are! We need to spread your message around the world :-)

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  61. MUST READ "What if Natives Stop Subsidizing Canada?" http://www.mediacoop.ca/blog/dru/15493 an amazing detailed account that informed me well.

    Thank you big guy for speaking your truth...and inspiring another conversation. What I truly love about INM is the healthy DEBATE we are experiencing globally as well as nationally. I don't know when I've been so moved to rally out loud for a cause, so inspired to stand up for what is right, so in awe of the flash round dances that bring tears of joy watching strangers holding hands uniting in peaceful willfull demonstration. It's time for us all to stand by true leaders who lead by example...Chief Spence and the four women who started INM are true leaders...andcthe fact that they are women has not escaped my awareness and pride. I am a white woman in her 40's who looks at her 3 yr old daughter and KNOWS she will lead well in a world that is better than it is presently because of the actions we take today to nurture real positive change.
    My soul has always gravitated toward native people and culture. I feel deep compassion and quite frankly, pain when I think of what the settlers did to you and continue to do today, all born of arrogance and greed. True, I personally am not at fault...however I LOVE that I get to stand up TODAY for YOU and all your children and grandchildren in every way I am able.
    Before I go, short story. This past September as we drove across the cpuntry from Toronto to Victoria BC,we stopped in Canmore for a couple nites. After supper we had ice cream cones, went outside next to the Grizzly Paw to eat them sitting on a bench in front of a laundromat. We heard cries of excitement from inside the mat which inspired me to look through the window...spotting 3 native children running around joyfully playing tag. They were having so much fun! My daughter is 3 so I had to take her in. Well, you know kids, playing is easy...and they playedctag running around the machines, hide n seek til we finally had to drag her away! The childrens' mother and grandma were there too...i took some amazing pics...it's a moment i will never forget. Our laughter and pure joy inspired others who were walking by to stop and watch - justa plain ol' laundromat in Canmore on an early septembers' evening and there we were connecting, havin the time of our lives.
    To think that they may not have clean drinking water or a solid warm roof overhead, proper education and medical services...that their nations are literally being raped by our gov't??? Pardon my french, F*!CKING KILLS ME. And it has to STOP. NOW. AND it's TIME we elect REAL LEADERS and NOT talking heads.
    I thank you all for sharing in this conversation.
    Love, light, peace & gratitude :-)
    @bcsealmama on twitter

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    1. What exactly demonstrate 'leader' about that fraudster Spence? It's sad that she has sucked in so many gullible people.

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  62. My sentiments exactly. Like your writing style. May I share a poem here? I've lived in six in Indigenous cultures: Inuit; Woodland Cree; Ojicree; Mi'k maq; Innu and Wolastoqiyik a total of seven years. It's been one of the highlights of my life, by far--what a privilege; what an education; what experiences.


    EUROPEAN HISTORY 





    I am an adornment of a bad karma crucifix

    flailing on the fact of this continent.

    Your monoodah bag is a fact.
    I am a trinket hanging—a matachias,
    a chink of quaint poems of my hip life
    wandering,
    living among first peoples.
    I was not among you.
    I was watching; a perpetual outsider;

    descendent of the landless interloper

    granted stolen land;

    smokescreened and sideswiped
    by authority’s words bound with fake deeds;

    dripped with red wax—your blood spilt
    and stomped on with words that sealed the lie.
    "Homesteaders! Free land! Come to Canada!"



    Great-grandfather
 crossed over with dreams of fertility and belonging.

    I inherited the longing to belong
    but not to land as property.

    It's not ownership that connected you who were here first.

    (The only property is poetry I thought
    I was innocent, not owning. )
    What did I take from you?

    What I didn’t have, I took:
    the one outrageous fact no-one will say—the truth.

    Stolen from this country.
    Removed in the worst way.

    No Pierre Berton purple prose.

    No Gordon Lightfoot 
hero lyric heard.

    Tapwe?
    Tayma.

    Copyright Joanne Light 2013

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  63. Ok, I think the idlenomore approach is a good start, but there are other factors at play. the very simple truth is that you cannot change the past, only learn from it and try to evolve. the words I am about to say are only from my perspective ignorant or otherwise they are mine. I do not want to take away from the attention idlenomore has invoked, but can we think of this another way. I live in a small town and even here I see homeless people (white and brown) I believe we should not label ourselves as individual cultures but rather as the human species which is on the verge of a tragedy. I don't believe that only one group of people should take up the fight for the earth. win or lose it is not just one group of people that must pay for the mistakes made, but all of us. We live in a democratic society that is not so democratic as far as I can see. this is the problem with a body that is placed in a position to make decisions for the masses, with no checks and balances in place, corruption is a short step behind. We ALL must IDLE NO MORE and hold those people that are suppose to represent us all accountable for the decisions made whether it be in our own country or overseas. Canada is such a diverse place with so many cultures surely we can all come together for the greater good. In closing all these things that happened to first nations children lets be honest have happened to children all over the world through the history of human evolution. if to err is human then we must strive to be something that is more then human and have the compassion to reach out a hand when it is truly needed no matter the culture or the personal cost which is incurred. the only way we as a species can have success is through unity not oppression.

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  64. hahaha. ive been laughing on weird comments up there!

    Childrens Party Ideas

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  65. Great article! Thanks for sharing and more power to you!

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  66. Saw your 'Thank you Canada' pic on RT.
    Don't you realize that the Arkansas spill is from a pipe belonging to Exxon MObil, an AMERICAN corporation, and that the pipe is alleged to be from 1964?
    Why are you blaming Canada? What would it matter where the oil originated? The pipe was old. The oil travelling through it could be from the U.S. or the Saudis or from where ever. You have maligned Canada. They had NOTHING to do with this spill.

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