SINCE the 1990s, when I came to Canada, I have been advising and urging South Asians and others to support our aboriginal brothers and sisters – the REAL Canadians, the ORIGINAL inhabitants of this beautiful country.
I was absolutely appalled by the way some white guys downtown treated aboriginals in the early 1990s – WORSE THAN DOGS in some cases. For instance, there were two occasions when I called 911 to help an aboriginal person in distress. In the first case, the poor man had apparently been beaten up and was bleeding. When two white guys arrived in an ambulance they seemed to be scared to even touch the man, but I insisted they treat him. In the second case, I saw an aboriginal person lying on the side of the road in the Westend and called 911. When I described the situation, the guy on the line asked me: “Is he a native?” I responded: “What has that got to do with it?” I stayed there to make sure that they sent an ambulance.
I also remember covering a story in 1996 for a mainstream newspaper involving an aboriginal woman who landed up in hospital with a broken limb thanks to the rough treatment by a security guard after she was caught shoplifting downtown. She admitted to me that she was shoplifting but noted that the way she was treated by security was brutal. When I wrote the story, a senior guy – white, of course – in the newspaper tried to persuade me to cancel it because he argued that aboriginals were always stealing. But I stood my ground and insisted that that was no justification for the way that woman had been treated.
I also remember telling a white colleague of mine back then about the large number of young male panhandlers I encountered all the time downtown and he smirked and remarked: “Oh, these natives!” He looked really stupid when I retorted: “No, almost all the panhandlers I meet are white guys!” – which was true – and still is!
In any case, if aboriginals are in such a bad state in Canada today, whose fault is it anyway?
The WHITE MAN’S of course!
Just last April I pointed that out again while writing about racism:
“Talking of preserving ORIGINAL culture and values, what about the criminal behaviour of the white guys who FORCED aboriginals to give up their CULTURES and LANGUAGES. Aboriginal children were FORCIBLY taken away from their families and many of them were then SEXUALLY ASSAULTED by WHITE CHRISTIAN PRIESTS!
“And all those CRIMINAL ACTS were ignored by the politicians, the mainstream media and the police until about 20 years ago when all those FILTHY SECRETS started tumbling out of the closet like Noah’s Flood!
“How come these white racists don’t talk about that when they attack non-whites and multiculturalism?!”
And just last July, I wrote about the work of Ian Mosby at the University of Guelph in Ontario who found government documents of a decade-long experiment in the 1940s that involved hundreds of aboriginals, mainly kids, across Canada who were used as guinea pigs in nutritional experiments by the bureaucrats.
Mosby told the Vancouver Sun newspaper that these experiments that are considered repugnant today would probably have been viewed ethically dubious even back then.
The Sun reported that a 64-year-old aboriginal who went to the Port Alberni school whose kids were also included in that experiment painfully recalled how about half the students drank milk with each meal while the others just watched. Staff members ensured that the kids did not share their milk with the others.
Among the shocking revelations was that a special enriched flour that was fed to kids at another school could not even be sold legally under food adulteration laws! That means that you couldn’t even buy that stuff to feed animals, yet the white guys didn’t hesitate to use this on poor, helpless aboriginal kids. Kids were even denied many dental services during these experiments because the white guys didn’t want their results to get distorted.
One victim pointed out to the Sun: “People should speak up and say this is what happened to us. Some (native) people don’t want to even talk about it because it upsets them.”
IF you are naïve enough to believe that things have completely changed in Canada, you need to give your head a real good shake!
As recently as October 2008, high-profile VANOC board member Dick Pound made this racist comment that was carried in the La Presse newspaper: “We must not forget that 400 years ago, Canada was a land of savages, with scarcely 10,000 inhabitants of European descent, while in China, we’re talking about a 5,000-year-old civilization.”
This comment vividly highlighted the white racism, subtle and blatant, that lurks in the hearts and minds of so many Canadians.
At the time I lashed out at Pound, noting: “The true Canadians are our Aboriginals – NOT the white guys who came here and destroyed the Native Indian culture and languages and whose white Christian priests raped the Native Indian kids!
“So who were the savages – the white men or the Native Indians?
“Shame on Pound and his types!”
And I pointed out some other disgraceful facts : “You know what, his OLD WHITE MEN NETWORK has gone out of the way to protect him.
“René Fasel, chairman of the IOC commission overseeing the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, said Pound had apologized and that he was certain Pound had “absolutely no intention of hurting anyone.””
Cool tactic, eh: when you get caught, your white pals jump to your defence, stating that the guy who made the racist comment is NOT racist.
But at least then-premier Gordon Campbell called Pound’s remark “a disgraceful comment.”
I praised Campbell because he took some concrete steps to reach out to aboriginals in order to try and undo some of the past historical wrongs. I even interviewed him on this topic.
If you think ‘well, that was five years ago and things have changed,” you will only be fooling yourself.
The 24 Hours newspaper reported this Wednesday that witnesses told them that a UBC commerce undergraduate team called Pocahontas imitated a traditional Native circle with drums and chanted: “White man, steal our land.”
Daniel Justice, Chair of UBC First Nations Studies Department, told 24 Hours newspaper that the name Pocahontas and the chant was racist and noted that it was particularly offensive towards aboriginal women because “Pocahontas is a figure used to justify men’s claims over land and women.”
He also pointed out: “When white people stole the land, they raped, butchered and dispossessed human beings … It’s profoundly disappointing and extremely unpleasant considering not only that this is a week of supposed reconciliation.”
WALK For Reconciliation, organized by Reconciliation Canada in partnership with the City of Vancouver and many others, takes place downtown Vancouver on Sunday, September 22, starting at Queen Elizabeth Plaza, West Georgia at Hamilton, and ending at Concord Pacific Place, 88 Pacific Boulevard. The keynote speaker is Dr. Bernice King, daughter of the US civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., and she will address the participants at the start of the walk. She will also be available for a book signing at the end of the walk.
8:30-9 a.m.: Walker assembly and entertainment
9-10 a.m.: Opening ceremony
10 a.m.: Walk begins
11 a.m.: Closing protocol begins
The walk is the final event for the week of reconciliation that has been focusing on learning and sharing the truth about what happened to aboriginal children in residential schools in Canada.
– RATTAN MALL