Harper & Canada’s ‘Indian Problem’

From Corvin Russell at rabble:

From the days of Jean Chretien’s White Paper in 1969, federal governments have dreamed of completing the process of colonization and assimilation through making Aboriginal rights disappear through a strategy of deceit: making Aboriginal rights disappear in the name of “giving” Canada’s Indigenous peoples the “same” rights as other Canadians.

[…]

Now the Harper government is trying to implement much of the same agenda through the back door. Harper’s American mentor, Tom Flanagan, thinks he knows what’s best for First Nations in his book, First Nations, Second Thoughts. And much of that has to do with the abolition of Aboriginal rights and the municipalization of First Nations, with a concomitant increase of dependence and “accountability” to Ottawa, instead of to Indigenous Peoples: as Flanagan says, “Call it assimilation, call it integration, call it adaptation, call it whatever you want: it has to happen.”

This leaked secret memo to cabinet and this memo sent to chiefs and councils suggest that once again, white bureaucrats and politicians in Ottawa are devising solutions to the “Indian problem” that will make life easier for the colonial government and business interests. This time, they’ve learned the lesson of overly public, overly explicit changes to First Nations governance — instead, they are pursuing a strategy of administrative reform whose main advantage, according to the memo to cabinet, is that it can be done without “the need for extensive or time-consuming engagement with First Nations or third parties.”

Read the whole thing here

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