1969: The Mystery of the White Man by k1OO1Iwi


									                1969: The Mystery of the White Man

                     Pierre Trudeau knows how to get people’s
                   attention. When he was justice minister in 1967,
                   he fuelled the sexual revolution by legalizing the
                   birth control pill and liberalizing Canada’s divorce
                   laws. He reduced the penalty for prostitution. He
                   made it easier for a woman to get an abortion.
                   Claiming “the state has no place in the bedrooms
                   of the nation”, he even decriminalized
                   homosexuality. A lot of conservatives thought he
                   was going too far with these changes, but hippies
                   loved him. On the eve of last year’s federal
                   election, Trudeau attended the St-Jean Baptiste
Day parade in Montreal. Since he refuses to acknowledge Quebec as
a French-Canadian nation, hard-core separatists pelted the
grandstand where he sat with rocks and bottles. Trudeau refused to
be intimidated and the TV cameras beamed Trudeau’s defiance into
homes across the nation. His performance impressed English
Canadians and the Liberals were returned to power on a wave of
  Pierre Trudeau claims Canada must be a “just society” with equal
social and economic opportunities for all. The welfare state has been
built. Since 1966, the Canada Pension Plan has directed 1.8% of
every worker’s wages into a retirement fund to guarantee seniors a
decent standard of living. Last year the National Medicare Plan was
enacted and every province now has universal health care. This year
Trudeau’s government passed the Official Languages Act so that
French Canadians can access federal government services all across
the country. A Royal Commission is studying the status of women
and will soon recommend policy changes to further liberate women.
Immigration policies have been changed to end racial discrimination
and more and more people of colour are coming to Canada. The
Liberals have even reduced the size of Canada’s armed forces by a
third and pulled half of our NATO contingent out of Europe. Most
baby boomers believe the country is moving in the right direction.
  The “just society”, however, betrays the Indians of Canada. The
residential schools do not educate us. The curriculum still dismisses
native history and forbids teaching in native languages. Over 90% of
Indians do not finish high school and Indians are the most distressed
category of welfare recipients. The new prime minister does not
recognize Indians as oppressed nations struggling to be free. He
refuses to deal with us fairly. If Trudeau won’t deal with Quebec as a
nation, he certainly won’t respect the collective rights of Canada’s first
nations. He believes the best way forward is to pretend the treaties
the government made with us do not exist. Jean Chrétien, Minister of
Indian Affairs, has tabled a White Paper, which proposes to end the
long-standing practice of treating Indians differently from other
Canadian citizens. The White Paper will strip us of our separate legal
status and treaty rights. This is an assimilation program no different
from the residential schools. Native people all across the country
must organize to resist it.
  I am Cree. I was born in 1945 and grew up in Sucker Creek, Alberta.
After graduating from a church-run residential school, I was
encouraged to attend St. Patrick’s Oblate College in Ottawa. The
white law I studied is admirable, but the law practiced by Cree and
other Aboriginal Elders is superior. Last year, at age 23, I was elected
leader of the Indian Association of Alberta and helped establish the
National Indian Brotherhood, an organization which recreates in a
new form the League of Indians of the 1920s. The target of our
protest is the government’s White Paper. The NIB will propose its
own Red Paper to ensure the just society includes Indians.
  Canadians must be educated about Indians and native rights must
be defended. The work of Fred Loft and Chief Dan George must be
continued. That’s why I wrote my book, The Unjust Society, which I
am pleased to see has become a national bestseller. Indians have
fulfilled our end of the treaties. We have shared our land and faithfully
served in both world wars. But I admit the white man remains a
mystery to me. Why does he talk so much? Why does he say one
thing and do another? He preaches love and brotherly concern but
manufactures napalm and hydrogen bombs. He says genocide must
never be repeated; meanwhile he carpet-bombs Vietnamese civilians.
Genocide continues in North America. The U.S. cavalry once
slaughtered American Indians with bayonets and Hotchkiss guns; the
Canadian government is perpetrating a cultural genocide on
aboriginal people with its White Paper.

                                                         Harold Cardinal

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