In 1969 Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien attempted to eliminate the concept of treaty rights and Indigenous peoples by off loading the Indian problem onto provincial governments and assimilating all Indians into the body politic. After the debacle of 1969 and the Liberal Government's retreat in the face of mounting Indigenous opposition, the Canadian government felt that they would no longer use the shock and awe method, but a progressive method in order to bring Indigenous peoples into greater integration in the Canadian state. They also set about to negotiate this incremental change while still maintaining the overall system.
The current Conservative Government's attempts to introduce slow change has hit a major road block because they have attempted too much change in too short a time period. They have a made a strategic error, but they have done so in a modern communications age. which may prove fatal. They failed to learn from the past and have potentially galvanised a generation. Their attempts to create incremental change as outlined in a parliamentary private members bill by Conservative Saskatchewan MP Rob Clarke ignores the needs of agency of the very young Indigenous population in Canada. Rob Clarke who interestingly enough is also Cree is seen by many to be a Judas. It is the young educated urban and reserve Aboriginal youth who truly believe that together they can change Canada to become a more equal and respectful nation. The incremental change was not sufficiently incremental and became a shock and awe method imposed upon Parliament and First Nations in Omnibus bills.
Revolution Needs Violence Real or Symbolic
There is a problem with any revolution though, it can only succeed through the use of violence. Because Canada has reached a certain level of development as a liberal democracy there is no need to pose bombs, or use weapons, but only to use the ultimate modern democratic nuclear weapon, the moral weapon. Two circumstances have come together to push the uncompleted Red Revolution to a finish; the twitter #idlenomore movement of the youth and the hunger strike of Chief Theresa Spence. I am not sure Chief Spence realised that these two elements for successful revolution would come together like they have. It is undeniable you need a cause, a movement, a people, a martyr and real or symbolic violence. Theresa Spence the chief who been on a hunger strike has become for all intense purposes the future potential martyr symbol of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
What is Idle No More
The Idle No More movement for myself is about equal opportunity to education, to jobs, to making a living, to supporting a family; it is about culture and regaining stolen languages; it is about our children who continue to be taken by child and family services and made wards of the state; it is about resources and the equitable sharing of resources; it is a belief that self-Indigenous government was not ceded or given up, that Indigenous peoples have a HUMAN RIGHT to decide upon their own affairs; it is a belief that Canada, our country, our Native land does not need to have winners or losers, but that we all can share equally in what this country can offer and that we can respectfully live together a create a nation which does not live with an apartheid system of structural violence, but is a true liberal democracy which respects difference, encourages difference and different ways of viewing the world. It is in essence a dream I hold for all our children.
Ultimate Sacrifice Required of Chief Spence
As in any war or revolution people must die or be hurt. The only real question one need ask is how long it takes until one becomes willing to sit down and truly negotiate and to find a solution? No Canadians will actually die in this revolution, though many Aboriginal peoples would say Indigenous people are dying literally and figuratively on reserves and in cities in poverty and neglect. Canadian democracy will be tested, this has become the moment of truth for our nation. Where do we stand as a people, the Canadian people?
For the success of the Red Revolution, Chief Spence must make the ultimate sacrifice for the Indigenous population in Canada. If Chief Spence gives up or does not increase her demands to include the 500 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommendations of 1996, the current movement of social media and flash mobs will become passé. She must become that beacon that will demonstrate the structural violence that too often exists within society, yet goes unrecognised by too many Canadians. If we hope to find a solution to this 'Indian Problem' we need moral violence that will test the moral compass of Canada and all Canadians.
I Dream that all Canadian people truly believe in the words of our Constitution and all Canadians can live together in respect.