The topic was Idle No More, and suddenly the peace was broken. The voice of a very angry white man cracked from the radio perched in my cluttered kitchen. “If there is one thing I can’t stand,” he growled, “it’s someone who plays the ‘victim’ card. And that’s what their people are so good at doing.” The talk show host reacted with “hum, hum”, a reaction which could be defined in many different ways, and I don’t like any of ‘em.
Am I a victim? I’m certain you don’t need to line a race of people up against a wall and then machine-gun them down to rid their likes from the face of the planet, and to perpetrate genocide against them. Anyone who can count to two knows it. Racist people know it, but they will never admit it, at least not when they or their forefathers are guilty of it.
My ancestors, “The People of the Great River”, came within a hair of forever disappearing from the land. By the government’s own statistics there were fewer than 1,500 of us left in the year 1900. How much closer do you want to get to extinction than that? But let’s be clear, every Indigenous Nation within the borders of what is now Canada almost went the way of the Beothuk in Newfoundland. Because of genocide, the Beothuk are gone forever.
The great Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. MacDonald, said his government would “Kill the Indian within the Child”. And so it began. What more evidence does one want to prove that men who were ready and able to commit acts of genocide had arrived on the shores of the Americas? Yet there are statues in MacDonald’s honour across the land. He was demonic, a monster who was quite happy to see children die in the sense that they would no longer exist as the human beings God meant them to be. To praise and honour MacDonald is to praise and honour a man guilty of acts of genocide. Anyone who does so has a poor understanding of what happens to their souls after the physical life comes to an end.
In my life, I have been the “victim” of hate more times than I care to remember. Such is the life of a First Peoples’ individual on our own lands. A lot of Canadians hate us, it’s not going to change anytime soon. We are victims of hate, clear and true, yet the growler on the radio, who most definitely hates us, hyperventilates with frustration when our people point out the acts of oppression they have survived.
Hatred did not exist on the lands of the Anishinabe before religions and greed spread their blankets in our communities. Just as many of our rivers are poisoned today by chemicals, so too have the minds and hearts of many Canadians been poisoned by hatred. The birds will sing their lovely songs and the flowers will surrender their delightful fragrances into the grateful winds, but will these things ever be strong enough to remove hatred from a man who believes himself superior to a man who lives a life with less toys than himself? A sum of money can perhaps be offered to a man who hates, and he would accept it and promise to never again direct hatred at others. For the sake of the money he would keep his promise. Hence, we see what has gone wrong within our society.