According to Canada’s Clerk of the Privy Council in his March, 2014 report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada:
“Aboriginal people are the fastest growing demographic group in Canada. Their full participation in Canada’s economy is critical to the future prosperity of the country.”
His report goes on to say that the federal government is spending $1.9 Billion CDN on First Nations grade school education as part of the plan to ensure increased participation in our current and perceived future political, social and economic climate.
This decision to allocate funding to primary education is good if First Nations dictate the curriculum but our governments desire to ensure “full participation in Canada’s economy” suggest these funds will be used to further distance aboriginal youth from their heritage. Our English government has a poor track record in their attempts to ‘educate and assimilate’ aboriginal peoples, particularly the youth who are still to this day being removed from their homes and more often than not, disappearing into the blackness of white society.
If Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity being the ‘expectation of different results while repeating the same experiment’ holds true, then I must ask what new data informs the Canadian governments’ budget decisions and its intentions? Can it be that our traditionally colonial and industrialized government has learned that you cannot eat money?
Sadly this wisdom, espoused by aboriginal peoples and fundamental to all life on earth, is absent when fully participating in Canada’s current resource extraction based economy. That $1.9 billion is NOT intended to generate stewards of nature, rather it is intended to provide labour necessary for the exploitation of nature and the repayment of that money in lives and cultures destroyed. In the 2010 federal budget it has become mandatory for aboriginal people living on reserve to enlist in the various ‘skills programs’ or they will no longer receive financial subsidies; a tactic of assimilate-or-die that is sure to endure this current government in the hearts of all First Nations.
Since this money is tax generated, its efficient use is important and a metric needs to be established against which efficiency can be judged. In most developed countries that efficiency is measured by the number of students graduating vs. the number of students funded. In Canada the public education budget is handled at the provincial level which makes summarizing Canadian public school expenditures and even total attendance difficult. 13-years ago $6120.00 of public money was spent per year, per kindergarten child (http://www.oecd.org/education/school/33850725.pdf), more as the student advanced through the system. If there were 6-million children (20% of total population) in public grades K-12 then the total budget was not less than $37 billion a decade ago; not much more now because of cuts to education budgets and an aging population.
It’s been a little more than four generations, 143-years since Poundmaker was silenced and Riel was hanged after their unsuccessful attempt to maintain aboriginal life against English encroachment into the west of this continent. I must ask my government if their history lessons only cover the period after 2006 when Harper came to the throne because the attempts at government education and assimilation of aboriginal youth into our climate to date have been killing our First Nations since that time.
At one time there were not many aboriginal children in Canada for the same reason there were not many in the United States; English speaking people killed them in an effort to control population size. These policies have historically kept the First Nations population below 3.5% of Canada’s total population while devaluing the inherent differences of First Nations people to European people; the English policies have marginalized First Nations precisely because of those differences. It has been easy for government to do this while there are today less than one million aboriginal people registered across the country, but what happens when First Nations people again make up a greater percent of Canada’s population? How long will it take to get there?
These are two question Canada’s government is asking itself in light of substantially incomplete census numbers from recent surveys combined with federal knowledge that the 2006 census placed the median age of aboriginal youth a full 15-years younger than Canada’s non-aboriginal people. In this light, Europeans are losing their numerical advantage at an accelerating but officially unknown rate; the ramifications of this are making Canada’s essentially European government very nervous. But why so nervous about a people who have been here for thousands of years and know the land and the ways of this two-hundred and something year old European government better than anyone?
In the world today there are as many rich corporations as there are governments with the same money, which is to say that corporate dominance over government in decisions of national importance is increasing around the world. Canada’s First Nations people have agreements with the government but just like the rest of Canada’s population, they don’t fare well as corporate interests are increasingly put first. Those two tailing pond disasters at Obed Mountain and Mt. Polly poisoned about the same number of Europeans and new immigrants as they did First Nations people but to those same aboriginal people, that fact pales in comparison to the total destruction of life and the long term damage done to OUR environment by these events. It is for this simple, natural connection with life and a desire to limit corporate impact and influence on it, that Canada’s federal government is nervous of her First Nations people.
Many prophecies surrounding the fate of indigenous peoples all around the world appear to be culminating with these current generations. Some visions, passed down through six or seven generations, speak of mankind reaching a cross-roads in their path on Earth, where the European and other industrialized powers have a choice; listen to and apply indigenous peoples knowledge of and connection to the Earth or endanger the entire human race with their ongoing quests for ‘more’. These prophesy also mention a new people arising near the end of seven generations; people of all races and from all walks of life that care about the world and recognize the need for stewardship rather than conquest.
“Do not the current, federal and provincial governments share this natural tendency to protect Canada’s shores and her people?”
Would a caring government wait four days before alerting its inhabitants that their drinking water supply has been poisoned as in the Obed incident? Would a caring government hide the evidence of dangerously radioactive rain falling all across the country subsequent to the disaster at Fukashima or the sudden loss of marine life along our western shores? Would a caring government support the way Canada treats nature and indigenous people all around the world as our resource corporations strip their land?
Registered First Nations population: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1373985023065/1373985196078#chp9_2
Problems with Census: http://census2016.info/census-recensement/2011/ref/irr-app-ann-3-eng.cfm
Seven Fires Prophesy: http://www.wabanaki.com/seven_fires_prophecy.htm
Seventh Generation Prophesy: http://www.indianlegend.com/mohawk/mohawk_001.htm