Right off the bat I’d like to say that I am all for the growing, Idle No More movement, which is protesting environmental and human rights issues, not only with First nations, but all Canadians. The Harper government simply cannot keep going down the road they are leading us, eliminating environmental regulations so that we can whore our natural resources to the highest bidder and create an ever widening gap in equality in Canada, where child poverty, polluted lands and water, and a fragile economy take a back seat to the desires of the irrational and greedy fossil fuels industries and foreign corporations.
Many Canadians have a problem with such things as the Alberta Tar Sands, the proposed Enbridge pipeline and twinning of the Kinder Morgan petroleum lines and we all should be concerned about our personal rights being eroded piecemeal.
As for the problems that First nation peoples have, there are many very complex issues, and it will take exceptional leadership and empathy, which is seriously lacking in Canada, to remedy over a century of ignorance, greed and sloth.
First Nations Chiefs indeed speak out against the assault on our environment but when it comes to their own tribe, it is another thing altogether. Yes some of them make their concerns known about their people, while others do not because they do not want to rock the boat and would like to keep what they have acquired.
Like I said I’m all for speaking out against the Harper government’s insane and asinine decisions. If you have read some of my posts you pretty well know my feelings as to the rape of Canada. I do worry and have an issue with the Idle No More movement continuing to hang their hat with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.
Yes, many First Nations communities live in squalor and poverty, with unsafe housing and water supplies. But a trait they seem to have is that no matter what the chief says or does, no one in the tribe speaks their own voice. Everyone plays the ingrained, I am a victim card. They accept the way things are and refuse to speak out against those who rule over them, not only the Harper government but their own leaders as well.
The Idle No More movement will be in dire difficulties looking for support if they and the corporate media continue to dance with Theresa Spence, treating her as though she is representative of all First Nations people.
Enough bullshit I say. Her faux hunger strike is basically a diet she obviously needs. I could live for years on fish soup, herbs and tea, as well, would be detoxified of all the poisons we ingest each day. As far as her home village of Attawapiskat, it is a typical native community, where there is little or no running water and basic services, multiple health and safety issues, and most of the tribe live in poverty, even though the federal government gave $7.9 billion last year to the Aboriginal Affairs department, which oversees the just over one million First Nations people of Canada. Attawapiskat alone has received over $104 million since 2005.
The community itself has about 300 homes, with a population of 1549 people, one-third of which are under 19 yrs old. They also have their own health authority, school board, power and development corporations, and a corporation to run their hockey rink. They also have an unbelievable, 21 full-time and well-paid band councillors/politicians; one representative for every 71 residents.
In 2006, De Beers, the world’s largest diamond mining corporation moved in nearby. Besides polluting the land and water they pay for the pillaging handsomely. Between the federal government and De Beers, the money pouring into Attawapiskat works out to be about $250,000 per family per year tax free, with $450,000 a month going into the community, in welfare payments alone.
Then we have Chief Spence. In the fall of 2011 she declared a state of emergency for her community. The media were all over it. While the “crisis” was going on, Attawapiskat purchased a new ice cleaner for their hockey rink for $96,000. Today Chief Spence makes about $70,000 a year tax free and drives a $60,000 Escalade. In 2011 the band spent $200,000 on gifts and $36,000 on goose hunting. The same year, acting manager, Wayne Turner was paid more than $68,000 for travel expenses over a two month period. Currently, Chief Spence’s boyfriend, Clayton Kennedy, holds the title of town manager and earns $850 per day tax free, making over $250,000 a year.
As a corporation Attawapiskat is doing very well. While their people keep their lips sealed and heads in the sand, Attawapiskat’s worth consists of over $9 million in stocks in Apple, Disney, and Chinese cell-phone companies. In 2010 they made $2.7 million in profits, while in 2011 profits were $3.1 million.
Very recently the Harper government tried to audit Attawapiskat, to no avail, as over four-fifths of their paperwork was either entered wrong or is missing.
All of this does not surprise me. A native community is just like a non-native community, or rather any human community. It’s all about the money, how to get it, and most importantly how to keep it. And then of course how to spend it. Many leaders of First Nations communities are very similar to Harper’s puppets in parliament. Mum’s the word, so that they can keep what they have, immorally taken from those who they supposedly represent, whether its handouts, salaries or pensions, and pleasantly smile and say everything is all right, yet wishing they could tell us all to just fuck off and mind our own business.