Five years ago, after reading a newspaper article I had given him, a male friend of First Nations ancestry laid it down and said, “Someone should do something about that”. But he had a busy life and had much to do on that day and off he went into the windowless corridors of his hectic world, without commenting further on the newspaper article I’d wanted his opinion on.
The derogatory view submitted in the paper I had drawn my friend’s attention to was one that far too many Canadians are OK with. They swallow what poisons their souls because they choose to do so. The column told readers (yet again) what a useless lot the Aboriginal Peoples of this land are. The writer described the Aboriginals (my ancestors) that Europeans “found” in these parts at the time of contact as a people who could be described as nothing more than Neanderthals “with stone axes”.
Such writings warm the little hearts of our racist politicians. The hateful columns in the papers motivate the lawmakers to toy with our lives in whatever manner they want to without consultation. And the average Canadian doesn’t give a damn.
The article did not surprise or shock me. It seems to me that the majority of syndicated general opinion writers featured in any of the newspaper chains in Canada have, at one time or another in their careers, with their pens, delivered vicious kicks at the Aboriginal populations of Canada. I, as a daily reader of several newspapers, have read many hundreds of such opinions over the years.
So I was not surprised that day five years ago to see another hateful view of Aboriginals in the paper. What did surprise and shock me was the ‘devil may care’ non-committal acceptance of it by my friend of First Nations ancestry. “Someone should do something about that,” he had said. Yes “someone” should, but who? Not him, he was much too busy to find the time for such petty endeavors as ridding this land of racism and oppression. We always wait for “someone” else to do what the future generations of Indigenous Peoples expect “us” to do today.
Well my friends, that “someone” has come along at last, in the form of a handful of First Nations women, who have shaken our people awake with their recent actions. The women who founded the “Idle No More” movement and Chief Spence who is willing to die if need be to protect our rights. These women deserve the grandest of honour songs to be sung for them.
They humble me. I swear, these are the kind of women I want as role models for my daughters and granddaughters. With strong women leading us, it will not be long before we, the First Nations, take our rightful place in all areas of governance of this country. Canada will benefit, as will we.
I, as a man, promise to be “Idle No More”. And I make a vow to stand alongside the strong Aboriginal women of this country. They can count on me to defend them and to support them in any way I can. They are truly awesome women.