It seems that Ottawa has the Assembly of First Nations singing its own tune. As the Assembly pressed the Liberals to commit $5 billion over 10 years to “wipe out native poverty”, they were promised $4 billion over 5 years. It has to be over a 5 year period, because as we know, Mr. Martin makes all of his promises drag out in the hopes of snatching the next election. So what if the people have to suffer for a few more years, right? (And apparently, there is $4 billion more available than we knew about. Big surprise! Keep those surpluses going.)
Of all people, you would think the chiefs of our native peoples would realize that no amount of welfare or government handouts are going to solve their problem, and no government has ever been able or willing to eliminate poverty, for anyone. In fact, it is government handouts that have put them in the precarious situation that they now find themselves in.
I find it surreal that those elected to represent their people among our First Nations citizens still can’t see the bait and switch that is happening before their eyes. As with all of our problems, the politicians seem to think that money will solve all of our ills. It won’t. Indeed, we must change the direction that we are headed in, or our native peoples will continue to remain the slaves of the system that crushed their culture in the first place.
The only cure for poverty is for people to become unhappy enough within to do something about it. Our leaders must do what they can to facilitate this desire, surely, but they cannot bring it entirely about. As long as you continue to spoon feed a child, he will let you. There comes a time when you must love that child enough to make him feed himself. To keep him dependant on you is selfish and cruel.
The situation with the First Nations tribes is no different. If Mr. Martin et al want to truly help these people, give them a piece of land for a nation. We are quick to implore Israel to cut a chunk out of itself for Palestine, yet we are unwilling to do the same, and it would hardly cost us in security what it would cost Israel. What a hypocritical role our leaders play.
Chief Alphonse Bird of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations said “We want to identify the four or five key areas that have been placed on the table to improve the quality of life on education, housing, economic development, health and relationships. We also want to maximize the opportunity that is there to bring as much home as possible.” I wonder if he even knows that he has been had. He will settle for peanuts and doesn’t even realize it.
The politicians tell these people that they will help them. They tell them that they care.
To the First Nations, I say trust them not. Not even if they sign a treaty.