At the Edge of Canada: Indigenous Research presents interviews with researchers about their work with Aboriginal peoples. The objective is to assist people in better understanding Indigenous people, our issues and the often asked Google term “what is aboriginal.” It is originally produced as a radio broadcast on UMFM 101.5 FM in Winnipeg Manitoba and hosted by Dr Robert-Falcon Ouellette while working at University of Manitoba. He is now an Member of Parliament in Ottawa. Ekosani.
Message Lost in Translation: The Indian Act & No Way Forward
This is an interview in french only that (Oct 22, 2012) I did with Radio-Canada about the Indian Act and the motions presented by liberal leader Bob Rae and the conservative Tory MP Rob Clarke in late 2012. Both Parties had presented very opposing points of view about how they see the need for changes to the Indian Act and how these changes should be implemented.
The Conservative point of view is to have a slow incremental changes while the liberal point of view is that the Indian Act should have massive change after consultations with First Nations. The problem is neither is really an adequate solution because the conservative view will modify an imperfect system and make it only more functional, but still imperfect while the liberals are not likely to get much consensus from politicians and First Nations. The proverbial Rock and a Hard place. perhaps we should all move to England and start a fresh.
I think the need for a major overhaul of the Indian Act is long overdue, but as we know the Conservative have no mandate (example Senator Brazeau) and have little chance to bring about consensus. The excuse that consensus will never come so we must impose a solution is also wrong. It is time we spent some long hard hours talking between Canadians about these issues. The issues though must be worded in terms that the average Canadian can understand, Human Rights. If First Nations people continue to use the term Treaty Rights, we will be talking to ourselves. We need to allow the average Canadian the ability to have a reference point something they can grasp.
For most Canadians they see treaty rights as being special rights that they do not have, wrongly or rightly this is the impression. While attending the American Indian Studies Conference in Phoenix Arizona on Feb 7-8 2013 I was in a hot tub with three Canadians and a couple of Americans. there were two parts to our debate the first part was after we each talked I realised we were not sharing the same common language about the issues. I changed my language and we finished the very constructive debate of 2 hours about the idea of human rights to education, housing, food security. The Canadians got it and understood when it was done in these term. Paul Nadasdy wrote a book Hunters and Bureaucrats: Power Knowledge and Aboriginal State Relations in the Southwest Yukon where he talks about how Aboriginal peoples must translate our concepts and understanding into term that average people can understand.