Indigenous children continue to pay a steep price

No amount of funding plans or reorganization can solve this problem as long as alcohol and drug abuse persists in First Nations communities

Indigenous children continue to pay a steep priceWe want simple answers. But, sometimes, there aren’t any. Take Manitoba’s child welfare system, for example. We want to find a solution to a problem that has plagued us for generations: What to do about the huge numbers of Indigenous children taken into the care of child welfare agencies each year? Meetings are held in…

Moving forward together to be a light for a broken world

We gain strength when we decide that we won’t allow the crimes of others to hold us back. We gain true freedom when we forgive our oppressors

Moving forward together to be a light for a broken worldCanada is on a journey of healing. But in many ways, we’re travelling through uncharted territory. Few of us understand what needs to happen or where it will lead. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission published a report and a call to action in 2015. It’s consistent with United Nations documents on human rights and it…

The real culprit in Tina Fontaine’s death

Canada’s dysfunctional reserve system has produced far too many marginalized and vulnerable girls and women

The real culprit in Tina Fontaine’s deathAn Indigenous spokesperson interviewed on CBC Radio the day after a jury acquitted Raymond Cormier in the death of Tina Fontaine said the case is a symbol of the way our society doesn’t seem to value the lives of Indigenous females as much it does those of other women. He’s right. Indigenous girls and women…

The double standards of the Boushie/Stanley case

The PM seems committed to adding to the differences between Indigenous people and the mainstream, instead of trying to dismantle a divisive system

The double standards of the Boushie/Stanley caseA jury’s recent acquittal of a white man for the killing of an Indigenous man highlights some of the deepest divisions in this country. One of those divisions is between people living on reserves, and the farmers and townspeople living in the vicinity of those reserves. The Red Pheasant First Nation, where Colten Boushie lived…

Time to get serious about water quality in First Nation communities

Solving this seemingly intractable problem should be quite simple, but simply increasing funding will only make the problems worse

Time to get serious about water quality in First Nation communitiesPondering the crisis so many First Nations communities face over water quality, you can’t help but think of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” The ironic dilemma of the mariner is obvious in more than 90 per cent of Canada’s First Nations communities. Most…

Indigenous middle class key to closing tragic cultural chasm

The large and growing Indigenous middle class has shown us the way, by successfully integrating without any loss of their Indigenous culture and identity

Indigenous middle class key to closing tragic cultural chasmThe Great Divide creates the rugged border between Alberta and British Columbia. However, Canada has another great divide: the trial of Gerald Stanley for the killing of Colten Boushie. It brought into sharp focus the huge chasm in this country between mainstream Canadians and Indigenous people. It’s not necessary to recite the facts of the…

Enduring words of wisdom on reconciliation

If we had listened to Pierre Trudeau, we would no longer be talking about reconciliation – we would be at least part way there

Enduring words of wisdom on reconciliationReconciliation between Canada’s Indigenous people and mainstream society is a goal all thoughtful Canadians seek. It’s obvious that too many Indigenous people lag far behind other Canadians by most economic and health indicators, and we must find ways to close that gap. It’s worthwhile considering what Prime Minister Trudeau has said: “The weight of history…

The silence over Indigenous woes is deafening

You can’t solve problems that can’t be discussed, yet we refuse to have frank and open discussions about a very real crisis

The silence over Indigenous woes is deafeningThe controversy over comments made by Sen. Lynn Beyak illustrates that it’s virtually impossible to openly discuss Canada’s most important domestic issue: the chronic problems of poverty and unemployment in Indigenous communities. People who disagree with claims that the problem stems from Indigenous victimization – colonialism, bad governmental policy, discrimination, residential schools and the like…

The soft racism of low expectations

You take away people’s independence and their pride by placing them in a different category than everyone else

I recently became engaged in a war of words with the editor of a local newspaper. I was accused of slurring Indigenous people by using the term “gravy train” to describe the rich benefits that a minority of people have been able to extract from the system. I had always been careful to point out…

Ripples from ’60s Indigenous children Scoop continue

If governments hadn’t protected Indigenous children, they would have faced lawsuits for failure to honour their commitments to those children

Ripples from ’60s Indigenous children Scoop continueThe Alberta government is working with the ’60s Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta to hold “engagement” sessions with Indigenous adults who were placed as children in non-Indigenous homes. It seems likely that after an apology is officially made, discussions will immediately turn to compensation. The federal government established a precedent by apologizing and announcing monetary…