Canada has to accommodate aboriginal concerns

NationalPost.com – FullComment/Today’sLetters – Re: The Looming Crisis Within, Jonathan Kay, May 9.
13/05/11. Douglas Bland (Paul Russell)

Jonathan Kay celebrates the successes of Canada’s foreign-born resident immigrants who he claims willing assimilate into Canada’s culture and economy. By contrast, Mr. Kay sees a “looming crisis” in the First Nations’ inability or reluctance to likewise be assimilated into the norms established by Canada’s governing immigrant majority.

To redress this problem Mr. Kay, suggests that the government do “all it can to integrate reserve-resident aboriginals into the Canadian economy [because] the preservation of native culture on remote landscapes … has had its day.” In other words, the culture of these “inconvenient Indians” is no more than an anachronistic nuisance.

Like Mr. Kay, many Canadians insist that some day First Nations’ leaders will come to understand (the easy way or the hard way) that assimilation into the Canada’s immigrant culture is the best thing the First Nations could possibly do for themselves.

On the other hand, some day Canadians may come to understand (the easy way or the hard way) that an honest national accommodation with aboriginal cultures and a fair sharing of the wealth in Canada’s natural resources are the best policies Canadians could adopt for themselves and for Canada.

Douglas Bland (professor emeritus at Queen’s University and author of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute study: Canada And The First Nations: Co-operation or Conflict?), Kingston, Ont.

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