Mar 11, 2013- 1:33 PM
From the time Europeans first set their boots on the soil of the Americas, and trod roughshod over aboriginal lifestyle and culture, they, the first people, have been subjected to atrocities, discrimination and to attempts at genocide.
We have stolen their land at the point of a gun, raped and killed their women, kidnapped their children and placed them in residential schools, where they were beaten, abused, and forced to abandon their culture and language.
In payment, we brought disease, alcohol, and isolation. Their French and English masters encouraged the native population to participate in their wars against each other, promising things that never came to fruition.
Now that we are in the 21st century, it is a time for change, it is time that the first people of Canada are recognized as Canadians, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of all Canadians.
It seems that we have no trouble accepting and welcoming newcomers from the four corners of the earth, yet when it comes to the first people of this land, we look down on them, use derogatory names, and do our best to ignore them.
I sympathize with their situation. I have a great empathy for their cause, but I don’t agree with the way they are going about it.
Blocking highways, halting trains and trucks that are carrying on the commerce necessary to keep the wheels of existence turning is the wrong way. All it is going to take is a hothead on either side to start a pushing or shouting match and things will get out of hand.
It is funny in an ironic way that when other countries commit human rights violations, we are among the first to point fingers at their leaders, and yet when it comes to a whole segment of our population being subjected to murder, rape and God knows what else, we turn a blind eye to their plight.
Their issues and complaints are genuine and must be addressed, but they cannot be resolved in a day or even a year.
It is going to take time, but until they are, until the people of the First Nations have the same access to clean water, decent housing, good jobs and an excellent education for their children as the rest of us do, Canada will never become a truly great nation.