It’s you, always you: the realities of Aboriginal / non-Aboriginal reconciliation

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No, this isn’t a late Valentine’s card. This has got nothing to do with love or relationships. Well, maybe relationships but not the personal kind. More like the international kind.

No, it’s not a ‘kiss-and-make-up’ kind of thing either. It’s more a sort of ‘kindly-remove-yer boot-from-my-neck’ kind of thing. A ‘why-blame-me-cuz-it’s yer-boot’ type of thing. Y’know, why blame the victim? Why do you always blame the victim?

And, no it’s not a “here’s-some-cash-now-shut-up” thing either. It ain’t about cash. It’s about respect, being treated like a human being instead of some problem that can be legislated out of existence.  Besides, we been there and done that already. So why keep trying.

What the hell am I writing about? A change in mindset. A change in you.  Becuz I done changed a whole lot already.

Why bring it up now? Because of the truth that underlies comments like this, made at a recent conference about Aboriginal / non-Aboriginal reconciliation:

Marlene Brant Castellano, a Mohawk of the Bay of Quinte and professor emeritus of Trent University, said [reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples] as a concept often comes to the fore in government departments in times of conflict “with the purpose of buying peace,” she said. “How do we avoid the eruption of violence such as Oka or Caledonia? How do we deflect the expense and embarrassment of a residential class action lawsuit?”

… Castellano expressed doubts as to whether government or Canadians are “ready to examine the historical and continuing narrative that denies First Nations, Inuit and Metis people a place at the table.” It is also a narrative that portrays aboriginal people as “burdens, that we are fighting to take away something that’s going to cost everybody far too much,” she said. ‘It is difficult to get across the message that what we are really working for is common ground and renewed relationship.”

I guess we gotta just keep saying it, over and over until it sinks in.

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