White people, here’s your one-time Canada Day special: Native people apologize back!

Some in the native community feel that perhaps we are being a little lax in not issuing an apology of our own.

We are not without some culpability. In the centuries that have passed since that fateful day of contact, we ourselves have been negligent and irresponsible in not acknowledging our liability in many regretful incidents and events in the past.

So in the spirit of cooperation, I would like to offer up these apologies to the people of Canada on behalf of the NAFNIP (native/aboriginal/first nations/indigenous people):

We hereby apologize for being so inconsiderate as to occupy land that, one day, your people would want. Even though we did not have a postal system or an Internet, this was an inexcusable oversight. We hope you are enjoying it.

We apologize for having so many politically correct and incorrect names for you to call us – everything from native to aboriginal to first nations to wagon burner to status-card number 48759375876-1.

In retrospect, to make things easier for you, we should have stayed in India, where we were originally thought to have come from. Unfortunately today it is really hard to get decent palak paneer on the reserve.

We hereby apologize for not understanding the subtle connections between God, children and sexual abuse. Some are still struggling with appreciating this association.

They are forgetting that, early in the Bible, it says, “Let there be white. And it was good.”

We apologize for wanting rights to minerals and other natural resources that exist beneath our feet. When you negotiated for our land, you meant to the Earth’s core.

We did not fully comprehend that when we were put on reserves where our rights to the land only went two or three feet below the surface.

Anything that falls down a sewer grate basically belongs to the Federal Government.

We apologize for being so concerned about the disappearances of so many native women.

We did not realize that the professional attitude of most law-enforcement agencies towards this issue was basically “out of sight, out of mind.” From now on, we’ll report any native women that go missing as white women with dark tans. That should speed up response time.

No need to thank us.

We hereby apologize for straining the Canadian health system due to our propensity towards diseases like diabetes. I know it has been said we put the word “die” in diabetes, but being introduced to all that Kraft Dinner and potato chips was definitely worth giving up the steady diet of salmon and deer.

I am sure the vegetarians are happy.

We apologize for launching so many land claims against the federal and provincial governments. One of our most ancient teachings tells us it is our sacred responsibility to make sure as many lawyers as possible are fed and looked after.

Where would they be without us?

We hereby apologize for wanting autonomy from the Federal bureaucracy of the DIA (Department of Indian Affairs). … Wait a minute, make that DIAND (Department of Indian and Northern Development). … Sorry, but I think it’s now called INAC (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada). … No, I have just been informed the Ministry’s official name is now AANDC – short for Aboriginal Affairs Northern Development Canada. … Now I forget what my original point was.

And though it had nothing to do with us, we are sorry for obvious reasons for the unique acronym of a once-testy office known as the Government of Ontario Native Affairs Directorate.

Finally, and perhaps most of all, we apologize for helping Canada/Great Britain win the War of 1812 against the Americans. There are many in the native community who feel Barack Obama would be a far more interesting leader than Mr. Harper.

But in our defence, who could have guessed?

Drew Hayden Taylor is a playwright and filmmaker who lives on the Curve Lake First Nation in Central Ontario.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/white-people-heres-your-one-time-canada-day-special-native-people-apologize-back/article4382016/

RECOMMENDED READING: Racism, Colonialism, and Indigeneity in Canada, ed. Martin J. Cannon & Lina Sunseri. A fantastic, knife sharp critical collection for anyone who wants an introduction to this topic. includes articles by Andrea Smith (“Sexual Violence as a tool of Genocide”), Bonita Lawrence (“Decolonizing Antiracism”), and Thomas King (“You’re Not the Indian I have in Mind”). very good. excellent.

RECOMMENDED READING: Racism, Colonialism, and Indigeneity in Canada, ed. Martin J. Cannon & Lina Sunseri. A fantastic, knife sharp critical collection for anyone who wants an introduction to this topic. includes articles by Andrea Smith (“Sexual Violence as a tool of Genocide”), Bonita Lawrence (“Decolonizing Antiracism”), and Thomas King (“You’re Not the Indian I have in Mind”). very good. excellent.

In the process of struggling against racism white people will discover that there own lives have not been filled with joy or freedom. If they don’t struggle with racism they will never be able to chart their own path to freedom. Their humanity will always be tainted, imprisoned by the horrific lie that “at least my life is not as tragic as ‘others’.

I have bent my back to this plough for some decades now. It is Canada’s turn. Look for your complicit silence, look for inequity between yourself and others. Search out the meaning of colonial robbery and figure out how you are going to undo it all. Don’t come to us saying “What can we do to help?” and expect us not to laugh heartily. You need help. You need each and every white person in this country to commend those lone people of colour sticking their necks out and opposing racism where it rears its ugly head. You need to challenge your friends, your family whenever they utter inhuman sentiments about some other race of people.

We — I — We will take on the struggle for self-determination and lay the foundation… But so long as your own home needs cleaning, don’t come to mine, broom in hand. Don’t wait for me to jump up, put my back to the plough, whenever racism shows itself. You need to get out there and object, all by yourself.

We have worked hard enough for you.

— Lee Maracle, Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel, 1975 (from Epilogue in 1990 revision)