Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Indian Saga - Part MCMXVIII

Christie Blatchford on the shooting death of five year old Ethan Yellowbird on an Alberta Indian reserve:

“... overflowing garbage bins and ramshackle homes and as many people as rez dogs wandering the rutted roads ... homes on the Samson town site are still sad shacks behind their paint...
“... a half-dozen gangs operating now on the Samson reserve and the three others also near Hobbema. ... slaying of a dear little boy as he lay sleeping in his bed ...”
“... he [RCMP Sgt Jim Lank] believes the band is well-governed....”
Sgt Lank is either being exceedingly diplomatic or he’s got his head up where the sun don’t shine.

Christie Blatchford suggests a sign of good-governance is that “92 people ran for 12 council positions, a dozen for the chief ’s job ...”.   It’s more likely a “sign” that the chief and council, as on most reserves, get to control how the mountains of cash from Ottawa and/or oil royalties are spread around.

I hope Christie is being ironic in this column because, otherwise, it’s little more than sentimental drivel. The only ray of light is the news that AFN Chief Shawn Atleo is calling for the scrapping of the Indian Act along with the Ottawa Indian bureaucracy.


Frances said...

"...overflowing garbage bins and ramshackle homes..." - aren't those issues the responsibility of the band council?

I agree there are serious problems on the reserves, but the local governing authority needs to take responsibility for delivering the necessary services. At the very least, they should be hiring locals for garbage disposal and training the young people how to do repairs and maintenance on the reserve homes.

Usually I agree with Ms Blatchford but this time I think she's giving the locals an undeserved free pass.

JR said...

Agree 100%, Frances. I like most of what Christies writes. But ...

I've always thought one the biggest problems is poor leadership from chiefs and councils. They always seem to sit around waiting for someone else to solve their problems - that is, while they're not out p*ssing away their giant paychecks. It's part of the welfare mentality I suppose.

melvin said...

The problem with encouraging people to feel like victims is it takes away hope. Ultimately, they must take responsibility for their own behavior, actions and the results.

Many groups of people begin with nothing and have built good lives
with appropriate respect from the rest of society.

Some bands have been successful such as the Osoyoos B.C. band. Why the difference?

While Christie did an excellent job reviewing events in her book, it would be in her interest to visit successful bands and find out why some band leaders have moved forward and have done a good job for their people.

Alain said...

I must agree with Melvin. You can pretty well find the same problem with any group totally dependent on government, such as generational welfare recipients, be they black, white or whatever.

JR said...

I agree also, Alain. Singling out any "group" for special welfare treatment will just serve to keep them down. The road to hell is paved ... etc.