Many Canadians—including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and our current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—believe Canada is not a colonial state. In Harper’s words, Canada “has no history of colonialism.” Or as Trudeau put it: Canada is “without some of the baggage that so many other Western countries have—either colonial pasts or perceptions of American imperialism.”
How, then, do we account for:
- The 1876 Indian Act which enshrines white settler domination and supremacy and Indigenous subjugation?
- The forced dispossession, displacement, and containment of Indigenous peoples under Canada’s reserve and pass systems—systems that made Indigenous lands available for European settlement?
- The genocidal residential school system, for which Harper himself apologized?
White settler supremacy remains intact. In childcare, education, housing, health, employment, the justice system—indeed, almost everywhere in Canadian society—whiteness is an advantage and Indigenous identity a disadvantage. For example:
Figures up to June 2016:
- 51% of First Nations children live in poverty.
- The rate rises to 60% for children who live on-reserve.
- The numbers are even worse for Saskatchewan where 69% of on-reserve First Nations children live in poverty.
- The poverty rate for non-Indigenous children is 13%.
The Trudeau government introduced the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), a non-taxable payment which the government claims will help 90% of Canadian families. Here are the figures for a family of four:
HOUSEHOLD INCOME CCB PREVIOUS PLAN
$15,000 $11,800 $10, 175
$45,000 $9,850 $5,900
$90,000 $5,875 $3,330
$140,000 $3,125 $2,050
$200,000 $0 $1,959
- How many First Nations families will the CCB pull out of poverty? To be eligible for the benefit, you have to have filled out an income tax return—which, according to government figures, means about 50% of on-reserve families could miss out on the benefit.
- Will an income of $26,800 pull a family of four out of poverty?
- A child who attends a First Nations school receives 33% – 50% less funding than a child in a provincial school.
- Many on-reserve schools are in poor condition and present health concerns.
46 Percent of dwellings on Saskatchewan First Nations that are in poor condition.
23 Percent of off-reserve First Nations households living in Core Housing Need—that is housing that falls below the adequacy, affordability or suitability standards. The incidence of Core Housing Need for off-reserve First Nations households is almost double that of non-Indigenous households.
37 Percent of off-reserve First Nations households in Regina living in Core Housing Need—the highest incidence among Canadian municipalities.
93 Percent of Saskatchewan First Nations that have had at least one Boil Water Advisory since 2004.
39 TB incidence rate per 100,000 people on Saskatchewan First Nations, as compared to 7.5 cases per 100,000 people in the province as a whole.
52 Community Well-Being Index for Saskatchewan First Nations: Scores can range from a low of 0 to a high of 100. Most non-First Nations Saskatchewan communities score in the 80s and 90s.
COLONIALISM NO MORE!
Prime Minister Trudeau says his government is going to reset Canada’s relationship with First Nations peoples. In his words: “It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation.”
What would such a renewed relationship look like? Here are a few of the demands of Regina’s Colonialism No More Camp:
- Revoke the Indian Act
- Uphold the true spirit and intent of the Treaties
- Uphold and respect the Treaty rights of urban, off-reserve Indigenous peoples.
COLONIALISM NO MORE TOWN HALL: Q & A WITH INAC
WHEN: SATURDAY AUGUST 20, 1 – 7 pm
WHERE: ALBERT-SCOTT COMMUNITY CENTRE, 1264 ATHOL STREET
Are you concerned about the treatment of Indigenous people in Saskatchewan and Canada? Do you have questions for representatives from INAC (formerly “Indian Affairs”)? Do you want more information about what INAC does and what services are available to you?
On August 20th, INAC and Health Canada have agreed to participate in an open Question and Answer session at Albert-Scott Community Centre in North Central. It’s a Town Hall for the people!
Everyone who has questions or concerns and wants answers is invited to attend this family event! Food will be provided.
This flyer is being distributed in memory of 22-year-old Colten Boushie, a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation, who, on August 9, was shot and killed in the Battlefords area when the car he was in pulled into a farm yard after having a flat tire. The owner of the property, Gerald Stanley, is charged with second-degree murder.