4.28.2008

"we are surviving people"

Native issues - the concerns of First Nations people and how those mesh or clash with the rest of the country - are in the mainstream news all the time in Canada.

This is a pronounced difference from the United States, where Native Americans are invisible, except for casinos. It's something that greatly surprised me after we moved here, and which continues to strike me as a real difference between the two countries. The first time a wmtc commenter referred to "the three peoples that created Canada," I confess I had to think of who those third people might be.

I don't blog about Native issues, but not for lack of interest. I am deeply sympathetic, but for me this falls under the category of "read and learn," rather than espouse.

Yesterday I read a post by a First Nations blogger. I was really moved by it, and want to share it with you. Who or What is an Indian?, by Mister Beastly.
They may have got it right when they issued the status card to the first Indians on the reserve but our identity is so much more then being bound up in that little card. We are clearly a race that believes in ourselves and asserts our right to live and be free. We as Indian people are free to define ourselves and must be able to since we are peppered across such a huge island and are as diverse as any multitude of European nations. We have fought to stay distinct and not be swallowed up into the Canadian multicultural ideology but protected our status as the first people. We are a people of tradition and of culture who love to celebrate all aspects of life and family from birth to death. It would be easy to finish by saying an Indian is part of a race of people who resisted and fought 300 years of oppression and our history would agree with that. But to answer the core of the question after looking at the history of the Indian resistance a big part of any Indian definition would have to be – we are surviving people, we are still here.

Read "Who or What is an Indian?" here.

Friday, May 29, 2008, will mark the second national First Nations Day of Action. I'm looking for what I can do in support, but haven't seen much yet.