Faithfully Observe the Laws of Canada
Issue Two: Raising Action
The introduction of this series brought up a few tidbits of information that would give our readership a glimpse at the topics we are hoping to cover. Like all good rising action (see what we did there?) our plan is to build upon that foundation and lead into the next Issue, which will suffice as a climax for our little journey into Aboriginal and Northern Canadian culture.
So, for this article, expect a little more backbone in terms of building the stage the Buzz hopes to create.
Alright, it’s going to get a little history heavy for a second here. 10,000-20,000 years ago (ice melting and such makes our timeline hard to narrow down) people -humans, began migrating East & South through North America from Asia! This took place across an ice bridge called Beringia.
Keep in mind that there are many other things historians believe contributed to populating the Americas, but for now we’ll just concern ourselves with the big B.
After the climate shifted, people moved south for better weather/food/living conditions, and after populations that reached the tens of millions pre-Columbus contact, we finally arrive in the late 1400’s.
But, to save space, we’re going to leap forward in time –again- to the 1900’s.
Keep in mind that during this time the Americas experienced countless cultural shifts, wars, technological revolutions, civil revolutions, the slave trade, and too-many-damn-things-to-list. In hopes of keeping this time machine moving we’ll just let you know that:
- North & South America became a thing
- Drink was had by all, blankets were passed around
- Colonization happened
- Hemp could have been a huge textile resource for the Americas
- A buttload of treaties were developed to set up future guidelines for a lot of stuff
- Residential schools happened
- Canada happened
- Drink was had
- Treaties? I guess we should start looking into those- oh look WW1!
So the 1900’s roll around and Canada is in its getting-on-its-feet stage as a nation. Like all good Colonialist nations of that time we jump straight into WW1, develop our identity and finally start loosening our ties with the commonwealth. (But, did we ever really completely sever ties? That’s up to the reader.)
WW1 saw Canada seize the opportunity to advance as a nation and earn its place in the international political playing field. We even decided we were grown up enough as a nation to let our women vote.
The Buzz is going to bring it back now, digressions are hard to avoid. History is so much fun!
The reason we’ve halted our time machine at this point is because between now (1900) and the 1950’s, Native populations grew by 29% in Canada. Then after the 1960’s -when the world seemed to start getting a handle on human rights and general health & safety- it grew by 161%. And then in the 1980’s the number of babies doubled.
Yeah, you can say it, that’s a lot of fornicating.
So this brings our adventure to the present day where 1.4 million Aboriginal & Northern Canadians live in Canada. The PS Buzz took you on this journey so that there would at least be a little context for the closing of this article. Now it’s time to look at the Canada’s current cultural position and identify some of the insane things one demographic has experienced.
What have we learned? Well, Aboriginal & Northern Canadian populations experienced their baby boom in the 1960’s which only continued to grow as human rights and health conditions for many citizens increased.
Oh and coincidentally, between the years 1960-1990 Canada started closing down residential schools. You know -those establishments that were essentially a form of mass cultural genocide. Totally can’t be related to the population boom.
Health programs, proper education funding, and standard of living for Aboriginal people has certainly improved. However the living conditions for just about every human has improved over the last century.
So what’s our beef?
Well the fact is that the education system in Canada is, sadly, outdated in quite a few areas. The PS Buzz works closely with educators at all levels, and by no means are we trying to put poor light on these professionals. The point we’re trying to make is that, the education system needs an overhaul.
Instead of just learning about the colonization of Canada & milestones in its political history, perhaps it’s time to incorporate more about the people that were here during the founding of North America. Maybe mentioning their historical journey alongside the development of Canada would be enough of a start. Either way, it seems clear that collaboration and not just co-operation is needed.
The jumping off point is upon us, so let’s have a look at how parliament is handling the whole TRC 2015 conversation.
Recently, in the House of Commons the Right Honorable Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that his government has already taken “multiple actions” for aboriginals and has spent or committed “vast amounts of money” for their health care and education.
That summarizes the big cheese’s stance on this whole cultural affair; it’s a part of Canadian culture, and we’ll just keep paying for it until it works itself out. The opposition is great at keeping the pressure high, and all in all it makes for great popcorn time on a Friday night.
While the Right Honorable Prime Minister Stephen Harper (if we write out the whole title we hope to make our reader cringe when they see his name, if you don’t already) isn’t wrong with his claims. Canada does in fact spend a significant amount on Aboriginal health programs.
But, these programs have existed a lot longer than the Right Honorable Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been in office (no he hasn’t been head honcho FOREVER, even if it feels like it.)
So the PS Buzz will leave it there. Expect the next issue in this series to be looking at some of the points made in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Report, we tried not to put too many spoilers into this issue, the circus is still revving up on the P Hill so hopefully there will be some more coverage. As a heads up to our readership, we’re going to be looking at some of the more saddening statistics and facts surrounding Aboriginal Culture. The Buzz doesn’t want to shock readers, but some things are skimmed over in many articles we’ve found and this just won’t do.
As always, if you are enraged, interested, or mildly curious with our intentions and thoughts while this series is being published then we feel like we have done some sort of job. That being said, volunteer writers are always encouraged, no matter the point of view!
Links as promised:
Beringia (The Big B)- http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/aboriginal-people-may-have-lived-on-beringia-for-millenia-1.2554118
Stat CAN (Aboriginal People in Canada)- http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-011-x/99-011-x2011001-eng.cfm
Aboriginal People of Canada (Population Statistics)- http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/Products/Analytic/companion/abor/canada.cfm
History of healthcare for First Nations and Inuit Canadians- http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/branch-dirgen/fnihb-dgspni/services-eng.php
Canada Commits to Ongoing funding for Aboriginal Healthcare- http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-of-canada-commits-to-ongoing-funding-for-aboriginal-health-programs-520293841.html
Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada- http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=890
Parliamentary TRC conversations/articles:
APTN “PM Harper won’t implement TRC recommendation on UN declaration on Indigenous peoples”- http://aptn.ca/news/2015/06/02/pm-harper-wont-implement-trc-recommendation-un-declaration-indigenous-peoples/
Ottawa Citizen “Harper shows little support for ‘reconciliation’ report- http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/harper-shows-little-enthusiasm-for-residential-schools-report