Why is it so hard to imagine a world in which ALL aboriginal lives matter?

28 Mar

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Canadian media is currently focused on a decision in Canada in which a truck driver was found not guilty of murdering an Aboriginal woman named Cindy Gladue. There has been a lot of hand-wringing of late in the Canadian press about the plight of missing and murdered Aboriginal woman, and for good reason. There is a long history of turning a blind eye towards the Aboriginal community, and ignoring missing Aboriginal women, particularly sex workers.
What most of the media coverage tends to ignore completely is that while Aboriginal women do indeed suffer stunningly high murder rates, Aboriginal men are even more likely to be murdered.

Between 1980 and 2012, 14 per cent of female murder victims with a known ethnicity were aboriginal, far exceeding their 4 per cent share of the female population, according to Statistics Canada.
But 17 per cent of male murder victims were also aboriginal during that time. In total, nearly 2,500 aboriginal people were murdered in the past three decades: 1,750 male, 745 female and one person of unknown gender.

This is the part of liberal-minded, social justice warrior feminism that just enrages me so much: why is it so damn hard for these people to imagine a world in which all Aboriginal lives matter? Yes, it’s tragic that Aboriginal women suffer such an incredulous murder rate, but if their murder rate is incredulous, the murder rate Aboriginal men face is reaching fantastical heights that defy comprehension. Why do women matter more than men? Why is it so hard to care about both?

I actually think I have answer to that. I live in a community with a large Aboriginal population and count native Canadians among my friends and neighbors. I do my damndest to help where I can and behave with compassion and kindness at all times.

For those of you who are unaware of the history of the Aboriginal community in Canada, let me give you a rough, dirty and quick summary: beginning just before the turn of the century, the Canadian government attempted to “integrate” Aboriginal children into society through the deployment of something called a “residential school”. A more accurate word for these places would be “House of Horrors”, and the last one in Canada did not close until 1996.

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Aboriginal children were essentially kidnapped from their families and taken to these “schools”, where they were beaten, humiliated, tortured and abused, both physically and sexually. Both men and women ran these institutions, and the women were no better than the men. Often, Aboriginal children would have their hair shorn, which was an incredibly traumatizing experience for those children to whom hair was deeply, culturally significant. They were beaten if they spoke to one another in their own language, even in private. They were forced to abandon their own spiritual beliefs and accept Christianity. In short, they were destroyed. Their spirits were broken and scattered like ashes on the wind.

Then, after this marvelous “education”, they were simply released into society to “assimilate”.

Yes, kidnapping, beating, raping, torturing and humiliating children is an excellent way to get them to embrace your culture. Has this ever worked anywhere in history ever? The true legacy of residential schools is that generations of children were raised without love, without kindness, without respect and without the protections most children are under from their parents and society at large. They were subjected to horrific physical and sexual abuse. 4000 children died in residential schools, largely because of abuse and neglect.

And thus the cycle began….

Today, Aboriginal communities are rife with physical and sexual abuse, addiction and violence. In one generation, they were destroyed. Any group of children, anywhere, of any nationality or ethnicity or race, subjected to the “residential schooling” experiment would be facing the same crisis of culture, and the same issues.

We have an entire government ministry dedicated to Aboriginal Affairs and all they seem to do is bleat endlessly about how the problem is complex and deep-rooted and hard to solve, but it occurs to me, especially in light of yesterday’s post, that all those proclamations are complete and total bullshit. The problem is not hard to solve. It is easy to solve. It took one generation to destroy the Aboriginal community, and it will take one generation to fix it.

And a ton of money.

Guess what? That money is already being spent. We don’t need new money to solve the Aboriginal crisis. We just need to use the existing money differently.

And that is where feminism and caring more about Aboriginal women than men comes in.

Where does most of the money intended to assist the Aboriginal community go? Into the pockets of liberal arts graduates who administer programs and services via various government organizations and institutions. It goes to non-Aboriginal people who love cushy office jobs with great benefits and stellar pensions. Federal government workers? Yeah, they’re mostly women.

There are plenty of men too and the percentage of the federal workforce that is Aboriginal? Less than 3%.

3 percent

97% of the federal workforce is non-Aboriginal, many of whom are charged with nannying the Aboriginal community and telling them what’s best.

Here’s a radical idea: give all the money meant to assist Aboriginal to Aboriginal people.

Not to people who think they “know” what is best for Aboriginals and not to people who think they “understand” what the Aboriginal community needs. Those people have zero incentive to actually help because their income depends on the continued suffering of the Aboriginal community.

The most profound issue facing the Aboriginal community is the crisis in parenting. Not every Aboriginal went to residential schools, and of those who did go, many were able to overcome the abuse they suffered and go on to lead productive lives and raise loving families. But many, many more were utterly broken by the experience.

Here’s how to fix it: dismantle the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, take all that money, and give it to the Aboriginal community. There are tens of thousands of successful, accomplished, knowledgeable Aboriginal people across the country. Let the Aboriginal people themselves choose their leaders, however they wish. Let them choose how to educate their children, pick their own curriculum, meet their own social services needs. The Ministry of Education is designed to produce corporate drones and bureaucrats, and to the best of my knowledge, there exists no history of pointless paper shuffling in Aboriginal culture. The curriculum forced on Aboriginal children is stupid, pointless and utterly ineffective, but I will bet the entire federal budget that the Aboriginal community contains thousands of individuals who know exactly how to engage Aboriginal children in a way that honors, respects and loves them.

Let the Aboriginal community tackle the crisis in parenting. There are a number of ways they could do it. Right now, families that are torn apart by addiction and violence have their children taken by the state, which merely replicates and reinforces the residential schooling history. I can imagine an Aboriginal community that responds to child abuse and neglect not by removing children, but by adding a stable member to the family to provide a role-model. A member who shares their experiences, culture and understands their suffering. I can also imagine an Israeli-style kibbutz situation, where families that struggle to care for children can live collectively, surrounded by members of their own community who have tackled the same issues and defeated them. I can imagine lots of ways the Aboriginal community might collectively work together to teach the broken ones how to mend themselves and restore the traditional, deeply knit and loving communities they once were before their children were stolen and destroyed.

I don’t imagine for one second that the Aboriginal community doesn’t love their boys and men. Yet this focus on Aboriginal women at the expense of men and boys is spreading across the community like a virus. Divisive forces are succeeding at pitting Aboriginal women against Aboriginal men, and that is a tragedy. It is exactly the tactic liberals and feminists used to destroy the Black community, with great effect, and countless numbers of liberal arts grads are now employed administering vital social services to that devastated demographic.

Aboriginal women who align themselves with liberal, white feminists are absolutely insane to think those people are going to help them. They are not. They earn their living off the suffering of Aboriginal people. All the money flowing into the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, intended to help repair the devastating history of the Aboriginal community is being used to clothe and feed and house non-Aboriginal children and provide income and work for adults who essentially have no marketable skills other than doing clerical work in air-conditioned offices.

It’s always the same: follow the money.

Aboriginal women are making a huge mistake embracing liberal white feminism. The concepts of patriarchy and male privilege are particularly egregious when applied to the Aboriginal population. Patriarchy is the notion that men are to blame for their own oppression and their own condition. Think about that in the context of what happened to Aboriginal children.

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The little boy who was kidnapped, had his hair cut off, was beaten for speaking his own language and raped repeatedly is privileged somehow? It was patriarchy that caused that to happen? As a male he somehow benefits from his gender?

Think about how heartless, soulless and utterly cruel that is.

It saddens me deeply to see accomplished, concerned Aboriginal women embrace feminism and stand beside the very people who are pocketing huge chunks of money intended to help Aboriginal families, and who are never going to voluntarily stop. And they won’t have to stop if they can convince you to blame the men and boys of your own community for the tragic legacy of the residential schools. Aboriginal women will never see their communities and families restored until they come to the realization that feminism is a profitable ideology that stands on the backs of the broken and blames the broken ones for their own problems, as long as they are male.

Fixing the Aboriginal community can only be done by the Aboriginal community itself. Men and women together. Align your interests with those who profit from your suffering, and I guarantee you, they will do everything possible to make sure your suffering continues.

Feminists do that by convincing Aboriginal women that Aboriginal men are their enemies.

They are not.

They are your sons, your brothers, your fathers, your uncles, your nephews, your grandfathers, your friends. They are your people, and they are hurting, too.

All Aboriginal lives matter.

If Aboriginal women allow feminists to convince them that loving men and boys is not important, they are lost.

love

Lots of love,

JB

21 Responses to “Why is it so hard to imagine a world in which ALL aboriginal lives matter?”

  1. karenmcfly March 28, 2015 at 19:12 #

    Thank you for that article, Janet. A lot is known about native Americans. But I didn’t know about the history of Canadian aborigines.

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  2. that1susan March 28, 2015 at 19:22 #

    These are excellent ideas! My own country (the U.S.)’s history is every bit as dark in this area — so dark in fact that they helped form Hitler’s vision for the extermination of the Jews.

    http://ahitler.greyfalcon.us/american.html

    Like

  3. christian (@anarcris) March 28, 2015 at 19:29 #

    Very impressive impassioned advocacy. I too have been offended by the woman centric framing of this and other issues an i’m grateful for you having informed me about native males murder rate that the press has not. But although i certainly can’t pretend to understand native culture and what will work for them, isn’t a big part of the problem that natives have refused to abandon reserves in the name of preserving their culture which are typically in remote regions that largely determines the standard of living anyone would enjoy regardless of race, history or funding? In principal i agree that all people are better off taking charge of their lives financially or otherwise but isn’t it true that alot of misapporpriation of funding by native (chiefs etc) has occured that undermines the argument that more money in their hands would necessarily mean money would be spent more effectively?

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  4. JudgyBitch March 28, 2015 at 19:41 #

    Christian, I am not 100% certain about this, but I believe natives cannot receive federal funding UNLESS they live on reserves. Leaving the reserve means giving up the funding, so they are basically forced onto the reserves.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/how-does-native-funding-work-1.1301120

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  5. Human-Stupidity.com (@Human_Stupidity) March 28, 2015 at 20:11 #

    This really needs some enlightenment about who these aborigines are. I am ignorant, but a few minutes of googling gave me this info. What is called “Indians” in the US are “aborigines” in Canada. It does NOT seem to be the Inuit, the Eskimos.

    From what I know the North American Indians do NOT have the extremely low average IQ of Australian aborigines of 65, way under 70, rather they should be around 85.

    Still one needs to understand that this will not allow full performance like the 100 IQ Whites. Forcing them into schools and expecting the same results will be a problem. But, I also read about fetal alcolhol syndrome. That of course would be very much a detriment.

    There also must be a reason why the US lets their Indians live their own life style on reservations, with special permits to run cash businesses like Casinos.

    So, I repeat, I am quite ignorant about the specifics of this population. But I must call attention that one needs to analyze their situation from the politically incorrect point of view that not all populations are equal.

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  6. JudgyBitch March 28, 2015 at 20:20 #

    Fetal alcohol syndrome has indeed left a devastating legacy on Native Canadians. I still maintain that it is the functioning, high performing members of that community that are best suited to address that issue because they understand what has created the situation in the first place, and their understanding is far deeper and more nuanced than some middle -class women’s studies major’s understanding can ever be.

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  7. that1susan March 28, 2015 at 21:10 #

    Absolutely! And I commend you for not even responding to all that poster’s crap about whites being the ones most fit to solve others’ problems.

    And I’ve often pondered how different our lives might be today, how many environmental issues we might have avoided, if my Northern European ancestors had been more interested in learning how the indigenous peoples managed to thrive in this part of the world for so many years prior to the European assault.

    But now — today — we may have a new chance to learn from them, in a completely different area. I don’t know about Child Protective Services in Canada, but some things are getting truly crazy in the U.S. I can’t help wondering if actual child abuse cases have dropped so drastically that the supporters of the CPS institution are seeking to justify their continued expansion by looking for more and more creative ways to expand the definition of abuse.

    The latest expansion I’ve noted is that many Americans are now hot-lining their neighbors for letting their children do perfectly normal stuff like play outdoors or walk to the corner store without a parent hovering over them. Parents who feel that experiences like this are an essential part of their children’s journey into becoming autonomous adults are having to weigh what they know to be right for their own children against the risk that someone else will disagree and potentially send a flood of unwanted intervention into their lives (For one example, see link below).

    If indigenous peoples are granted the resources and freedom to be self-governing and handle child protection issues in their own way — well, it won’t immediately free the rest of us from the current wave of insanity, but maybe they can ultimately show us the way to implement a more balanced and less controlling approach in our own communities.

    http://www.alternet.org/culture/help-my-boys-were-stopped-three-times-police-being-outside-unsupervised

    Like

  8. Nataliya Kochergova March 28, 2015 at 21:38 #

    Very interesting ideas. I can agree with one thing – if you cut out a bunch of useless middlemen and middlewomen, you’ll end up with a lot more money 🙂

    Like

  9. Danlantic March 28, 2015 at 22:29 #

    It’s not a special permit. Any American can pay the federal tax for gambling. It just requires that the business is on federal territory that is not subject to state government. Which equates to Indians.

    Since 1875 a federal law was passed preempting Indian criminal codes.

    The Seminoles were given worthless swamp land which, after the invention of air conditioning, in 2 cases became suburbs of cities. It was the reservation which became a suburb of Tampa whose lawyers established that the state could not regulate their bingo club.

    A few factoids:

    “Seminole” is a word of unknown origin. It’s not from English, it’s not from Ilapnathli (the language of the Ilapnathi which is their name in their language) or Spanish.

    The Miccosukees have a reservation which has become completely surrounded by greater Miami. Some politically correct idiots have invented the spelling Mikasuki. They are the Ciplaponathi but accept Miccosukee. The origin of that is the name of a town in north Florida which was burned and they fled south. It’s like calling an Englishman, a Londoner.

    The Seminole nation authorized Florida State University to use the name for the sports team.

    American Indians commonly use the misnomer “Indian”. However that they do insist you say “nation” and not “tribe”. They hold that their nations have a dignity on a par with European nations so when someone of mixed heritage is asked his ethnic group he would respond “German-Cherokee” not “German-Indian”.

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  10. Olo March 29, 2015 at 00:45 #

    Something similar happens here in Mexico, there have been killings after killings in Ciudad Juarez, mostly men, but since the perception is that “men were surely gang members and were asking for it, women are the victims here” all the pleas for justice are made in the name of women only

    men’s murders 2008-2011

    women’s murders in the same period

    about ten murdered men for each murdered woman, still, the media and all the society were furious about the murdered women, there were protests and all kind of public acts

    and not a word about the dead men.

    Like

  11. Injun Joe March 29, 2015 at 00:58 #

    I can’t say that I think either the men or the women are the real problem, considering in both the US and Canada, they are still stealing the children.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/12/15/a-lost-tribe-child-welfare-system-accused-of-repeating-residential-school-history-sapping-aboriginal-kids-from-their-homes/

    http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1114

    By the by: Did you ever get your twitter account reinstated?

    Like

  12. JudgyBitch March 29, 2015 at 01:02 #

    Nope. I did not. Still fighting though.

    Like

  13. Shane March 29, 2015 at 03:51 #

    Here’s the thing. The Indian Act has screwed things up so bad, it would be difficult to change things in one generation. The Indian Act would have to be repealed as a first step.

    You’re right that natives receive funding only if they stay on the reserve, but the federal government is so determined to starve aboriginals off the reserve, the reserves are slices of the 3rd world right here in Canada. If you stay on the reserve, you’re a ward of the state (literally. That’s what the Indian Act says. As if each aboriginal is an orphan) and you life a life of destitution. Leave the reserve, and you’re on your own with no cultural support, relying on the piss poor education the feds gave you on the reserve.

    Giving all the money to the reserves would be a tough sell. Time and time again, (see Attawipiskat) aboriginal leaders have funnelled federal cash right into their own pockets while ignoring the deplorable conditions their fellow aboriginals live in on the same reserve. Some, (see Kanesatake) have taken federal money and used it to start and run illegal smuggling operations.

    So yes, it is a complex problem. One that can be tackled, but we as a society have to go all in and not piecemeal it out in hundreds of small duplicate programs targeting small aboriginal demographics.

    We have failed these people, and it’s reprehensible.

    Like

  14. David Danylyshyn March 29, 2015 at 22:34 #

    Hi JB:

    I am a regular reader, and entirely on-side with your view on most issues. I was therefore surprised to find that we disagree on some aspects of Canadian Aboriginal issues. Full disclosure; I am a retired British Columbia teacher. I have lived on-reserve (where I was 33% of the Whites, in a community of 1200), have worked with Aboriginals when I was a logger and commercial fisherman, and have spent most of my working life in small, coastal villages.

    (I will press “submit” now, to see if this works. I have never posted anything before)…

    Like

  15. JudgyBitch March 29, 2015 at 22:45 #

    I lived in BC for a short while and there are some incredible success stories in your province. Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Like

  16. David Danylyshyn March 29, 2015 at 23:16 #

    …that worked. Cool.

    Anyway, with respect to the residential schools, I offer a different opinion.

    Firstly, whether or not the result of residential schools was good, the intention was good. They were patterned after what at the time was thought to be the best educational system in the world, the British “public” schools. The British royalty, nobility, peers and those aspiring to hobnob with them all sent their children to cold, brutal, distant schools. Winston Churchill attended one, as did our last king.

    Secondly, yes, students were forced to learn English, and punished for speaking their native language. As to the first, reflect on how well, or poorly-off Canadian Aboriginals would be if they were now unable to communicate in the international language of business, science, and politics? As to the second, I have scant sympathy. My own grandparents were beaten for speaking Ukrainian in their prairie schools.

    Thirdly, it is not widely known that Aboriginals–the coastal ones, anyway–are the VERY RECENT descendants of slaves, or slavers. While they may all look alike to us “mamaktne” (“white idiots” in Nootka shorthand), between themselves they are as exquisitely bigoted and caste-conscious as an Indian Brahmin.

    Lastly, the residential schools treated and educated girls as equals. This is in marked and generous contrast to their treatment as pack animals, indentured servants, and random rape subjects which they encountered at home.

    In closing, an anecdote, and two thoughts…

    Anecdote: I was duck hunting with a couple of my students when we came across a place-name sign put there by an organization well-known for their recruitment of liberal-minded, unobservant undergrads for unpaid “environmental” work. It said, “The Place Of Spiritual Octopus”. Now, anybody with coastal experience would look around and see that this place would have as many octopods as, say, the North Saskatchewan River. I asked my boys about it and they explained that the environmental organization had hired them to follow them around in their trail-building efforts, and give local names to them, and they had made up that one on the spot. So what was the actual local name for the place, I asked? Humming, throat-clearing, sideways looks, and then,… “The Place Of Heads-On-Stakes”.

    Thought 1: Anyone who is concerned about whatever physical or sexual abuses occurred in residential schools should compare it, not to perfection in heaven, but to what happens to children who are stuck on the reserve. Just as fat people eventually realize that they have to keep buying bigger clothes, and after a while, you can’t blame the drier anymore, so too should people reflect that the girl-beating, 12-year old mother, repeated thumping and rape paradigm…well, after a while, you can’t blame the mamaktne anymore.

    Thought 2: People who have worked closely with Aboriginals have learned not to talk about it. If we are speaking with people who have done it, no words are necessary. If we are speaking with people who have not, no words are possible.

    Like

  17. Matthew Chiglinsky March 30, 2015 at 00:31 #

    In general, I don’t think people should care about men as much as women, both because of chivalry and because men take a sense of pride in being strong enough to defend themselves (and also because women tend to be weaker than men).

    — Didn’t you just admit that women are more childlike than men? Doesn’t that basically mean they require more protection? I mean, it’s logical. I guess it also means that short men need more protection than tall men. Maybe gender is too simple a metric. Maybe we should label people based on height, weight, age, …. —

    With that said, murder and genocide are serious political issues that transcend gender, which is why I’m surprised it was even mentioned at all. It seems like it’d be more appropriate to simply report the total count of people. When I think of all the Native Americans murdered by the White Man, I never think about the gender.

    Like

  18. Matthew Chiglinsky March 30, 2015 at 06:33 #

    Like

  19. that1susan March 30, 2015 at 10:40 #

    With the British schools, I think the main difference was that their PARENTS chose this education for them — the authorities didn’t come into their homes and kidnap them.

    Like

  20. Pete April 5, 2015 at 20:54 #

    Are you aware of the good works of Kevin Annett.
    In my opinion, the department of Indian and Northern Affairs or whatever it’s called now, has no standing, no ligitimacy, and it should be recognized as such.

    Like

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