Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The 8th Wave

 One of my reasons for blogging is to sort out how I ended up where I am.  One thing discovered is the concept of "white privilege."  We take a lot for granted--my grandfather owned a business which helped my father start a business which in many ways gave me experiences denied other people and a little financial cushion.  One of those privileges is to read and hear about how we conquered the land (really stole it).  We think we are sophisticated and technology savvy, but when my ancestors first came to North America we were dependent on their technology.  They now are taking part in "our" technology.      

Released in 2012.  I picked up a 3 disc DVD at the local library but was unable to get information from my usual sources.  Not rated at IMDB.  The film website was down.  The special features were helpful.  Started watching this on the American Thanksgiving.

 Our stereotypes of "Indians" are acknowledged.  They have a problem with alcohol, drugs and crime.  We also think they are lazy, poorly educated and mooches.  However that is changing, partly with better understanding.  We were all shocked at recent residential burial uncoverings and are just learning and understanding

Stereotypes tend to be self reinforcing.  A lack of education limits options.  Poor water supply can be crippling.   Another concern is the lack of role models.  Stanley Vollant, the first Innu to become a surgeon and attaining high administrative positions.  A 6,000 kilometre march on snowshoes brought him to talk to Innu youngsters and motivate some of them by his example. 

Residential schools were part of a strategy to assimilate the indigenous to a European life style.  The students were separated from their parents (not able to learn parenting skills) and not permitted to speak their native languages.  They operated  from the 1870's to the 1990's with the last closing in1996 covering the ages 4-16.  Really there has only been about two generations to undo the harm which included sexual abuse.  In addition over 10,000 indigenous children were either adopted or fostered, mostly to "white" household

Schools in primarily indigenous areas get much less money than non aboriginal schools.  It becomes even harder to recruit teachers with turnover is high  An earlier blog dealt with education in Innuit territory that had the highest suicide rate in the world. 

They do not want to be dependents, but too many live in  a culture of despair.  This leads to alcoholism, drug addiction, school drop outs, prostitution and suicide.  The patterns are slowly changing, but much needs to be done.   Some government work projects require the indigenous to be hired. 

From the special feature presented more information.  Metis, early on preferred to present themselves  as French Canadian.  I do remember learning about Louis Riel as an insane leader, but now recognize he was fighting for the rights of Metis.  They too are having their culture revived including their French heritage.  No mention of the Metis with Scottish background but for them it might have been easier to assimilate.   

The Haldimand Tract Treaty of 1794 was meant to compensate the Six Nations  who had fought with the British against the Americans in the War of Independence and lost land mostly in New York state for fighting on the losing side.  Has since  been cut to 5% of the original.  According to the script Welland Canal started on land that had belonged to natives, but that land had been flooded      

On my personal experience have driven by the barricaded areas around Caledonia both working and on way to Port Dover.  Actually sold product to a business in Ohsweken and learned of their tax exemption first hand.  A relative bought cigarettes there to save money for his bad habit.

It had been discovered that between 1980 to 2012 16% of all female homicides were among the indigenous and Metis while they only represented 4% of the female population.  To a significant extent these figure might be related to prostitution which is really only another indicator of economic disparity.  Stephen Harper famously decided not to open an inquiry into this problem with the stats even more serious among his western Canadian base.  Justin Trudeau did start an inquiry in 2016.  As I write female indigenous murders are still in the news.

Another side issue is that Indian status could be lost if Indigenous women married non Indian.  Laws have corrected that, but still  can lose status over generations of marrying outside Indian

Reconciliation is in the news.  The title "8th Fire" refers to the idea that at some point the indigenous and the colonizers would resolve their differences which hopefully we are edging towards.

Wab Kinew presents different segments of the documentary.  He currently is the leader of the NDP which forms  the opposition party for the Manitoba Parliament.  Prior to that he had been a musician (I have some of his songs from iTunes), broadcaster for CBC radio and television.  He keeps the narrative flowing.

Paul Martin made comments on a few clips.  He is a man I think was a great leader, although not enough people followed him.  Among many things he recognized the indigenous people were an under utilized resource that had been treated unfairly.   An earlier view:

Watched a Lisa Ling special while doing blog.  Elements were familiar, but there was a big twist that in some ways reinforces oppression of the indigenous.  The Osage lived in a huge area in the American Midwest, but over time the area shrunk dramatically.  At one point they bought a rocky stretch of land in Oklahoma with the idea they would be left alone.  However the land contained an enormous amount of oil that allowed the whole tribe to become the wealthiest group of people in the whole country.  They adopted a luxurious lifestyle that attracted envy.  Some people died mysteriously and the first investigation of the F.B.I. was with some of the murders and they did in fact arrest and convicted two white men behind the deaths.  But the deaths continued and many remain unsolved.  The government appointed guardians to manage the money of well off Osage.  Restrictions and procedures were specifically imposed on the Osage.  One witness pointed out that some of their neighbors were descended from the killers.  George Bush helped to restore much of their integrity.  Earlier I had done a blog that covers some of the Osage story:

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