Canadians need respectful dialogue with First Nations

John Ralston Saul, in his latest book, The Comeback, has given us the best possible gift for Christmas.

John Ralston Saul, in his latest book, The Comeback, has given us the best possible gift for Christmas. He paints a brilliant, balanced picture of who we Canadians really are, by telling the whole truth about where we came from.

He exposes the fallacy of “living a mythology which fails to include the existence of aboriginals.” All Canadians really need to examine his view of Canadian history, starting with the proclamation of 1763 by King George III.

In 1764 the Treaty of Fort Niagara, and a Wampum Belt, explained how the two nations, Britain and the indigenous people, would live together in peace and harmony.

Saul writes: “The indigenous-immigrant relationship was carefully developed over hundreds of years and largely in good faith.   What followed from the 1870s on was quite different. Increasingly, non-aboriginals did not act in good faith. And each of these betrayals we undertook in order to help them disappear. For their own good.

“Most of us believe that we are now free of these attitudes. We condemn them. But it isn’t as simple as that. To free ourselves, two things must happen. We must reinstall a national narrative built upon the centrality of the aboriginal peoples’ past, present and future. And the policies of the country must reflect that centrality, both conceptually and financially.”

When one considers the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling June 26, 2014, that indigenous rights have not been extinguished in B.C., and the Kinder Morgan pipeline blockade, where Grand Chief Stewart Philip said, “we need to reclaim this country.”

May I suggest that all Canadians do what Canadians have been doing from our very beginning: Every nationality, sitting around a round table, working out a just, respectful, peaceful, harmonious accommodation.     But first, please read John Ralston Saul’s, The Comeback.

 

 

Dan MacQuarrie