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What is Really Behind the Idle No More Controversy - Follow the Money

By       Message Merv Ritchie     Permalink
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The rising tide of indigenous protests has writers, media personalities and politicians struggling to understand.   In their failing efforts extremists on both sides use the sound bites of misinformation to further the already potential hostile stand-off.   The non-indigenous who proclaim to support the Idle-No-More movement are accused by others of "white liberal guilt".  

Almost all hostility begins when the two sides of a confrontation do not understand their adversary.   Almost all confrontation begins with ignorance. And this is what both sides of the Idle No More movement are struggling with.   They each demand the other understand, yet neither has discovered a non-confrontational manner to do just that.

The angry white person proclaims the Indians should just get over it, get a job and participate in 21st century society. They accuse those supporting the Indians of suffering from "liberal guilt".   "Why should I have to feel guilty for something that happened over a hundred years ago" said one associate.  

Most Canadians were not educated on these issues. Many believe they raised the Indian peoples out of a life of squalor.   Others proclaim the Indians were living a Stone Age existence and the white settlers improved on this. It is a curious thing when we reflect on our grade school history lessons.   We spend years teaching about world history from the Egyptian pharaohs, through the Greeks to the renaissance, but spend very little time, and very little honesty, on the last 400 years specific to our own Country.

To understand "liberal guilt" requires understanding the truth not taught in Canadian Schools.   To avoid more hostilities, to resolve this "Idle No More' movement all sides must have full and complete knowledge. Once we understand the issues we can address the concerns. If we choose to remain in ignorance we can be certain hostilities and confrontations will occur.   The following is an attempt to again provide context and understanding of the issues.   If one is going to be guilty, at least they should understand what they are feeling guilty for.

In a very short timeline summary we can address the history to the present day.   The "Coles Notes" on North America if you will. Shorter notes with more links click here: [  ]

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Discoverers, Explorers, Traders, Settlers, Missionaries and Treaties

When the very first European discoverers landed on the eastern shores of North and Central America they discovered indigenous peoples welcoming them. In most cases, including those who ventured inland to explore the territories, the "Indians" helped them to survive.

When reports of the bounty of the land arrived in Europe, the traders came to take advantage.   This was the beginning of the problems and the conflicts. These first traders, those who followed the discoverers and explorers arrived with only one goal, to maximize their profits. It was entirely an economic venture. As the business venture of gathering the local resources and shipping them to Europe increased, the traders brought their families over with them and began "settlements'. With the arrival of the wives and daughters, the women, the settlements required ministers and churches.   This is what begat what we call civilized life in the new frontiers.

Two things occurred, which likely serve as the foundation of today's "Idle No More' movement.   Alcohol and disease.   As the demand for greater profits increased the traders began using trickery, deceit and, just like today across the globe, fraud, bribes and payoffs.   Alcohol was used to inhibit the Indians good sense and make off with their furs and other valuables.   When originally the trade measure agreed to, for a stack of furs or pelts, was the length of a rifle barrel; extra long, specially fabricated, rifles were brought over to deceive.

Conflicts arose over these fraudulent business practices yet the lesson taught in school was the Indians were hostile. When Indian leaders attempted to address the hardship their families and people were suffering at the hands of the traders, they had to go to the settlements.   Just like today with the Prime Minister of Canada the Indians complaining of mistreatment were belittled.   It is the foundation of all hostilities.

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With more arriving settlers the Indians began to get in the way of the resource extraction processes.  

Initially, such as in Newfoundland, they simply shot all the Indians.  The Beothuk were exterminated. In 1756 the government in Nova Scotia passed a proclamation to initiate scalping Indians for money.   Twenty-five pounds for every male scalp.   In 1757 Massachusetts increased the pay to $300 pounds for every male scalp promoting it as a profitable business.

When the King of England got word of the deceit, fraud and trickery the traders were using to abuse the Indians he issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This was supposed to be a foundation of trust and decency.   Yet on July 16, 1763 Lord Amherst advised Colonel Bouquet "to use every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race" and began by suggesting he "use blankets to Innoculate the Indians".

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Mid 50 year old male. Generally a blue collar worker. Heavy duty mechanic by trade, later, Diesel electrician, then alternative energy systems importer, seller, designer and installer. Then a home construction general contractor and now a web (more...)

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