A Not So Brief Message from Doug Draper, reporter/publisher, Niagara At Large
Posted June 21st, 2017 on the newly named ‘National Indigenous Peoples Day’ in Canada
What a wild and crazy spring it has been, with all of the flooding rains, damaging winds and other calamities plaguing our region and so many others on this rapidly spinning-out-of-control planet.
I hardly have any right to whine, given the heartaches, hardships and loss of homes and treasured personal possessions so many others have endured this spring in other communities and regions due to sudden, severe shifts in climate conditions that some, in wilful ignorance, continue to view as a “hoax” or as something that just happens naturally every few thousand years, but here at Niagara At Large’s home base, we have had our share of high winds, flooding waters, not to mention technical difficulties that have wreaked havoc with our computers and our ability to get news and commentary out to you.
To tell you the truth, it has almost been a blessing that our systems for posting news and commentary have been down because it has given this journalist a chance to decompress from all of the relentless vomiting out of coarsened conduct that too often passes as governance on the Niagara, Ontario side of a binational border region that makes up NAL’s prime readership area.
But for better or worse, depending on your perspective or whatever side of the dung pile you are on, Niagara At Large is working through the technical glitches for a lift off scheduled for this coming Wednesday, June 28th – just in time for the next meeting of Niagara’s regional council and Canada’s 150th birthday.
In the meantime, I urge you to take some time out today – this Wednesday, June 21st – to observe National Aboriginal Day in Canada, or what Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced in the statement included below, is from now on being called National Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Some in the media have termed it as a day of “celebration”, although I prefer to see it as a day when the rest of us, outside the communities of indigenous peoples, should take some time to recognize and consider how we might come to terms with and rectify the grave injustices we collectively have perpetrated on these great people over so many generations of time.
I find myself feeling particularly angry about a public school system in this country that brainwashed young minds with negative stereotypes of indigenous peoples and taught us – I believe deliberately – virtually nothing about the racist and even genocidal policies of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. MacDonald, and so many other government leaders, or about the terrible suffering generations of indigenous people endured in residential schools or in concentration camps we preferred to call ‘Indian reserves.”
The recent reports that made headlines across Canada, of alleged sexual abuse of indigenous women while in police custody, and the continued stories about water and other necessities of life in First Nation communities that fall well below World Health Organization and United Nations standards for safe living should remind us that we still have a long way to go when it comes to treating the first peoples of this continent with the dignity they deserve.
Now here is the statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with an image from a t-shirt I recently found in an alternative bookstore called ‘Burning Books’ in Buffalo, New York.
Oh, but one more important thing to say before the PM’s statement. Thanks to all of Niagara At Large’s regular subscribers and visitors to our site for your support and your patience over our several days of technical difficulties this spring, and Stay Tuned. We will be back with a vengeance and ever more resolve that this region and the services that we pay for belong to we, the people, and are ours to decide the fate of, and are not there to service the narrow self-interests of an arrogant, ill-tempered cabal!
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on National Aboriginal Day
June 21, 2017 Ottawa, Ontario
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on National Aboriginal Day:
“Over twenty years ago, the Government of Canada, together with Indigenous organizations, designated this day – the summer solstice – as National Aboriginal Day.
“Every year, we join together on this day to recognize the fundamental contributions that First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation have made to the identity and culture of all Canadians. The history, art, traditions, and cultures of Indigenous Peoples have shaped our past, and continue to shape who we are today.
“No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Our Government is working together with Indigenous Peoples to build a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship – one based on respect, partnership, and recognition of rights.
“We are determined to make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous Peoples – by closing socio-economic gaps, supporting greater self-determination, and establishing opportunities to work together on shared priorities. We are also reviewing all federal laws and policies that concern Indigenous Peoples and making progress on the Calls to Action outlined in the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish everyone a happy National Aboriginal Day. I invite all Canadians to take part in the #NADCanada activities in their community and to learn about the history, cultures and traditions of Indigenous Peoples. The 150th anniversary of Confederation this year reminds us of the legacy of the past. As we look forward to the next 150 years, we commit to move ahead together in a spirit of reconciliation and respect.
“This year, I am also pleased to announce that from here forward the Government’s intention is to rename this day National Indigenous Peoples Day.”
A P.S. from Niagara At Large – Congratulations to Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie for recently receiving an Order of Canada medal for his advocacy work for Indigenous peoples, and cheers to Indigenous peoples from coast to coast for fighting to protect our natural resources from ever more unsustainable plundering and destruction.
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