Saturday, August 12, 2017

Missing and Murdered Indigenous |Women and Girls - Part Four

Missing and Murdered Women and Girls – Part Four
            I suppose I could go on hour after hour, beating the dead horse but it would just be rehashing what has already been said. Clearly this, as much as other things within the Indigenous community, falls on the shoulders of the community itself. It has become totally clear that however well intentioned the government and its bureaucrats are, they are singing the same old song. Maybe they don’t know any better any more. And in the Indigenous community, the chiefs and counsels are sitting on both sides of the fence. And that leaves the victims of these horrific attacks being tossed back and forth like a political football with no resolution at all.
            These victims must mobilize the tools that are at hand to tell their stories in spite of governments and bureaucrats. They must call on the literary and film resources, the museums and public places to bring this to fruition. Indeed, The CBC, being a Crown Corporation and award winning documentary producer could well be the vehicle to bring these stories into being. If the government wants to participate, they may do so under the direction of the victims by providing the funding, the grants, and the public facilities for the display of these stories. Then if they further wish, they could listen and learn.
            You see, over the years of European contact, Indigenous people have been so denigrated and dismissed as inferior people by the “Empire Builders” and so enamored with their gifts and gadgets that they slowly accepted their subordinate place in society. And the “Empire Builders”, seeing their success at subordinating the Indigenous communities have just continued on until they themselves believe this to be right.  And so the Prime Minister strikes a committee to “fix” the problem. By doing so, he has inadvertently created the most colossal blunder of his career.
            Oh, don’t get me wrong. I believe Trudeau is sincere in his concern over Indigenous issues. He has his hand and his heart out to them, no question. But striking a committee of white Empire Builders to structure a path to heal the victims and their families and to zero in on closing the files successfully is the wrong way to go about things.  Firstly, empires are no longer in fashion. Neither are the means and the methods associated with them.
            Listen, here’s what has to happen: From the government side, the “whatever you want to call the department” needs to be scrapped and dismantled, its finances handed over to the auditor general for arms length disbursement and replaced with a committee of Indigenous nations to run by way of consensus. The government should then mandate the CBC to document all the stories to be told in documentary fashion and the storytellers be brought in to a studio to tell their stories, preferably in their own native language with visual translation on a screen. This should then be placed in the Museum of Human Rights for all to see.
             I can’t see for the life of me how the cost of this sort of program would exceed the cost of the committee and all its studies and consultations, especially if the chiefs and counsels were to give their time to this without compensation. It would likely be the first step to a true healing of the communities and rebuilding of self esteem of the nations.

            If you wait until next week I’ll tell you who should act on behalf of the government and who should act on behalf of Indigenous peoples and the ramifications of the proposal. 
 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Missing and Murdered Women and Girls - Part Three

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children – Part Three
            Ms. Poitras is right in her determination that these issues have been studied to death and discussed to death by now and none of the solutions have worked or are likely to. Bureaucrats are good at organizing meetings arranging study groups and so on. But what do they know of Indigenous culture?  What do they know about the deep and rich spiritual heritage that underlies the very fabric of Indigenous communities? You have to be an Indigenous person to know these things.
            And what do they know of the pain and anguish of those who are left to mourn for their loved ones lost in such a brutal way? Not much, I think. Still, they have a purpose. They are good at organizing and running focus groups, and they have access to funding. They should confine themselves to those tasks.
            It’s my opinion that the whole commission should be made up of those people victimized by these tragedies. These people will understand what is needed. It’s also my opinion that the commission should muster the many tools available to it within the Indigenous community. What I mean is that there are Indigenous publishing companies, a major Indigenous television station, writers and actors who can bring these stories into reality. And above all we have the Museum of Human Rights where the stories can be told for the whole world to hear. Where else will you get a better audience?
            To my way of thinking, the Indigenous community needn’t wait for some white man’s commission to go through all its protocols in order to tell its stories. Each nation and each community has its own management structure. And each has an affiliation to a national structure. If the chiefs ever want to do something for their people, they will join forces to marshal all these things together and begin the process of putting themselves on the world map.
            No one needs to wait for government approval or bureaucratic formatting for permission to tell their stories. You’d think there’d be a large studio in the Museum of Human Rights where people are brought in for this very purpose and the process begins. I don’t pretend to have any organizational knowledge of the process. I just know it can be done and a few people who could do that. Before you know it there would be a flood of people coming to share their stories and it would finally take shape for the world to see what Canada is made of and how we treat people of ethnic origin. But it takes the people from each community, not the chiefs and counsels. The people affected need to pressure their administrations to make this happen. Perhaps the “Idle No More” people can mobilize a groundswell of ordinary people to participate.
            My mention of the Mennonites at the outset of this series was not frivolous but had its purpose in pointing out the importance of stories. There is a whole shelf in my book case of stories told by Mennonites of that terrible era. We know what happened, why and how. That doesn’t make it any easier particularly, but at least we can move on, knowing our experience has been recorded for all time.

            But that’s the whole thing. There must be a groundswell from the people themselves. It’s time the government and the bureaucrats acknowledge that Indigenous people ARE people too.  They have a value! The pride in their heritage has been beaten down so much over the years by the Europeans that they dare not speak of their self worth other than amongst themselves.