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Joseph Paul - Wagmatcook (Early 1900s)

SYSTEMIC RACISM

After years of reflection, I have concluded that Education, using real First Nation history, is the only way that racism can be cured!

Therefore, on November 23, 2007, in an effort to provide a tool to eventually eliminate the systemic racism that impedes the progress of First Nations People, which runs rampant in Canada and the United States, and is a product of demonizing colonial propaganda, I made the following presentation to Nova Scotia's Teacher Training Review Panel. The contents provide examples of how non-First Nation American and Canadian societies indiscriminately discriminate against our Peoples, it does not paint a pretty picture.

TEACHER'S REVIEW PANEL PRESENTATION

I’ll start this discourse by thanking the Panel for providing the Council with an opportunity to put forward a proposal for reforming Nova Scotia’s teacher training program to the extent that graduating students will leave a training school with a positive opinion of the Mi’kmaq Nation. To achieve this goal we will advocate that true Mi’kmaq history be a required course for teacher training students. As matters now stand, which doesn’t enhance the effort to effectively counter the systemic stereotype racist image held by most of the majority towards our People, most teachers graduating from teaching training entities in this province know little, or nothing, about First Nations Peoples. And, unfortunately, much of what they do know can be categorized as “White washed history.”

Before proceeding further, I want to diverge from the subject for a moment to state, related to the fact that systemic racism has often caused me to suffer the indignity of being discriminated against because of who I am, that this opportunity to propose positive proactive action to correct a historical wrong through education is something that I’ve been wanting to do for years. If our proposal is accepted, and followed through, it will eventually help realize a long sought after result; non-First Nation peoples accepting our People as equals from a different progressive culture. Therefore, because I see it as essential for the success of the Mi’kmaq People’s future endeavours and prosperity in Nova Scotia, I do hope that during our discourse we can persuade the Panel to embrace what we will propose.

THE WHY AND HOW

A quote from an October 15, 2006 article by Stephanie M. Schwartz, The Arrogance of Ignorance; Hidden Away, Out of Sight and Out of Mind

“This is an article of facts about the lives of modern-day American Indians, a topic most mainstream American news organizations will not discuss.... It is not a plea for charity.  It is not a promotion for non-profit organizations. It is not aimed for pity.... It is, however, an effort to dispel ignorance…. a massive, pervasive, societal ignorance filled with illusions and caricatures which, ultimately, serve only to corrupt the intelligence and decent intent of the average mainstream citizen. Only through knowledge and understanding can solutions be found....”

I recently received an Email from an American Indian leader asking if I could offer an explanation about why racial discrimination in the United States against First Nation Peoples is yet so widespread and pervasive. The following is an edited version of my reply:

“It’s the same on both sides of the border. Somehow, someway, pride in origins needs to be re-instilled in our People, and the non-First Nation population must be educated about the true histories of our Peoples. Then, somehow, someway, a desire to return to the self-sufficiency that was part and parcel of pre-European invasion First Nation existence must be reinstated into the expectations of our Peoples. Depending on another race of people's charity for survival is degrading and fosters feelings of inferiority and insecurity. The end result is that the idleness created for able-bodied People by living on handouts leads to drug, alcohol, family abuse, etc.”

TWO MAJOR PROBLEMS

First: The white man's condescending paternalism. The following is essential for First Nations Peoples to restore self-esteem. We need to come to know, and promote the truth; our intellectual abilities are equal to those of any race of people on the face of Mother Earth! We have the intellectual capability to do things for ourselves, we don’t need others to do things for us. Because we've been treated as mental incompetents, incapable of managing our own affairs by another race of people for centuries, doesn't mean that we have to accept the fabrication as fact. We have much to be proud of. Our People survived the hell on Mother Earth that the European invasion begot them, and are still here. That alone is something to be immensely proud of.

Second: The lack of knowledge about the true histories of First Nations among ourselves, and the general population is almost universal, with very negative results for First Nations. This is a vacuum that Canadian provinces can easily correct by proactive reform, if the will can be found, of education systems, which will require mandatory teaching of real First Nations history in schools. Such won’t be easy to accomplish. Elected officials will have to muster the fortitude to override the obstruction efforts of influential closet white supremacist individuals, who will fight diligently to preserve the status quo, which presently excludes real First Nations history from being included in the Province’s school curriculums.

One of the most serious problems arising for our Peoples, out of our historical exclusion, is, as mentioned, most First Nations Peoples have very little knowledge about their histories. For instance, most Mi’kmaq haven’t any knowledge whatsoever about the fact that their ancestors, trying to save their country from theft by invaders, fought the British bravely for over one hundred and thirty years. All most know about our culture is dancing and artwork.

The before-mentioned can be attributed in a large part to the hunter writing the history. Read most history books written by white men about the invasion and colonizing of the eastern seaboard of North America by Europeans, and you will find nary a positive comment about the heroic efforts made by the area’s original inhabitants to preserve their cultures and homelands. Most of them do not even acknowledge the existence of the great First Nations that once prospered in the area. When they do, it generally is in the most unflattering terms, barbarous people, savages, heathens, etc. One notable exception was made by Joseph Howe in an anti-Confederation speech he delivered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1867:

“The Indians who fought your forefathers were open enemies, and had good reason for what they did. They were fighting for their country, which they loved, as we have loved it in these latter years. It was a wilderness. There was perhaps not a square mile of cultivation, or a road or a bridge anywhere. But it was their home, and what God in His bounty had given them they defended like brave and true men. They fought the old pioneers of our civilization for a hundred and thirty years, and during all that time they were true to each other and to their country, wilderness though it was....”

EUROPEAN COLONIAL HISTORY

To provide an overview of the horrendous treatment suffered by First Nation Peoples since the European invasion commenced, I’ll lightly touch upon European colonial history with one condensed paragraph. This is necessary because one would need volumes of books to adequately describe it in detail, which we do not have the time for today.

The European subjugation of the indigenous Peoples of the Americas was a crime against humanity that knows no equal in human history. By the time the invaders had managed to appropriate all the lands in the Americas that our ancestors had owned and occupied for millenniums, of the hundreds of diverse civilizations that had existed prior to Columbus, not one was left intact, and tens of millions were dead. During the process, indigenous people suffered every barbarity imaginable, mass murder, germ warfare, enslavement, rape, enforced starvation, relocation, etc. One of the favourite means used by the English to ethnically cleanse the land of its original inhabitants in North America was proclamations offering bounties for the scalps of First Nation men, women, and children. A barbarous means used by them in Nova Scotia, on three occasions against the Mi’kmaq. Stemming from it, some United States jurisdictions continued to use these ungodly proclamations until the 1860s to try to eliminate some First Nation populations.

The following contains examples of some of the abhorrent acts that were visited upon First Nations Peoples, related to the systemic racism that was created for them by demonizing colonial propaganda. One can be certain, if enlightened action is not taken to stop it, similar abhorrent acts will continue to occur for the foreseeable future

WHY RACISM AND OTHER FORMS OF INTOLERANCE ATTITUDES PERSIST

In his discourse, "Lessons at the Halfway Point," Michael Levine accurately identifies why intolerance exists: "If you don't personally get to know people from other racial, religious or cultural groups, its very easy to believe ugly things about them and make them frightening in your mind."

If Europeans had gotten to know, and had accepted indigenous Americans and Africans as equals during colonial times, instead of adopting White supremacist racist beliefs that negatively, and erroneously, depicted both Peoples as wild inhuman savages for the better part of five centuries, these peoples of colour would not have suffered the indescribable hells they did across the Americas, and, in far too many cases, still do.

The following shows how the racism problem that First Nation Peoples suffer is pervasive and, why a Nation of civilized people must fight together to overcome it!

FIRST NATION INVISIBILITY

Buffy Saint-Marie, a member of the Cree Nation, acclaimed singer and human rights activist, stated during an October 1970, interview with the Los Angeles Times, that Indian children “are not taught to be proud they’re Indian. Here the melting pot stands with arms open - if you’re willing to get bleached first.”

This statement made by Dalhousie University professor Susan Sherwin, about the underlying cause of racism, is the best description I’ve ever read. It puts into words why it is so hard to get society to recognize, and accept that the systemic racism that victimizes First Nations Peoples exists: “....the greatest danger of oppression lies where bias is so pervasive as to be invisible...”

REVISIONIST HISTORY

In the case of First Nations, its factual First Nation History replacing the fairy tale version that is still widely accepted and used by many Caucasian writers as fact, demonizing European colonial propaganda. I can attest to the veracity of this statement from first hand experience. When my book, We Were Not the Savages, was first published, which outed the use of scalp proclamations by the British, and other atrocities committed against Eastern North American First Nations Peoples by them, I was roundly condemned by many Anglo individuals, from across the spectrum of society, as a “revisionist.”

SYSTEMIC RACISM

Systemic racism is an evil that demeans civilized societies. The systemic racism that burdens First Nations Peoples, as mentioned previously, stems from colonial demonizing propaganda. In modern times the negativity that First Nations Peoples suffer from it is pervasive. Although both claim to be compassionate countries, with justice for all as a core value, Canada and the United States, with a few notable U.S. internal exceptions, Maine and Montana, are not making any viable effort to substitute demonizing colonial propaganda with the truth.

To emphasize the point that they are not, the following is a comparison that shows how racially motivated remarks about other racial groups are dealth with by society, compared to those made about First Nations Peoples:

On April 4, 2007, Don Imus, a radio talk show host made a sexiest racist remark about a female sports team, whose players were mostly of African American heritage, “nappy headed hos.” Rightfully, there was condemnation across the board and he was fired.

During the prior two weeks to that event, I saw three shows on North American T.V., where these degrading terms, describing First Nation Peoples, were used: “Injuns,” “Savage Redskins,” “Indian givers,” “Acting like a bunch of wild Indians,” not a word of condemnation. Why not? The answer is simple, a subconscious belief among the majority that the statements are true.

During the colonization of the Americas by invading Europeans, tens of millions of First Nations People died at their hands from out and out genocidal practices, starvation, the deliberate spreading of European diseases, etc. The following is a prime example of how religiously the catastrophe is ignored by Canada and the United States.

Virginia Tech Murders

Some of the headlines in the United States and Canada: "The worst shooting rampage in American history…" "Massacre and Mourning, 33 die in worst shooting in U.S. History," "Rampage called worst mass shooting in U.S. history." "What first appeared to be a single shooting death unfolded into the worst gun massacre in the nation's history.”

In response, a First Nation person might want to know: What about the Massacre at Sand Creek in Colorado, where Methodist minister Col. Chivington and his soldiers massacred between 200 and 400 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, most of them women, children, and elderly men?"

Chivington specifically ordered the killing of children. When asked why, he said, "Kill and scalp all. Big and little; nits make lice."

At Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, the U.S. 7th Cavalry, on December 29, 1890, attacked, while they were engaged in a spiritual practice known as the "Ghost Dance,” 350 unarmed Lakota Sioux. Approximately 90 warriors and 200 women and children were killed. Although the attack was officially reported by Field Commander General Nelson A. Miles as an "unjustifiable massacre," twenty three soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their participation in the slaughter. The unarmed Lakota men fought back with bare hands. The elderly men and women stood and sang their death songs while falling under the hail of bullets. Soldiers stripped the bodies of the dead Lakota, keeping their ceremonial religious clothing as souvenirs. In spite of this, modern US governments have been steadfast in refusing to revoke the medals.

Joan Redfern, a Lakota Sioux remarks: "To say the Virginia shooting is the worst in all of U.S. history is to pour salt on old wounds. It means erasing and forgetting all of our ancestors who were killed in the past."

A few examples of First Nation invisibility in Canada:

The following is a quote from a story published in the May 30, 2007 edition of the Globe and Mail. “Tim Horton’s serves up some controversy” No Drunken Indians Allowed.' The sign was put up by a young employee at an Alberta outlet.

The incident provides a great example of how deeply ingrained in Canadian society systemic racist beliefs about First Nations Peoples are. When a young Caucasian teenager hangs a sign stating "No Drunken Indians Allowed," it shows that she has been taught by others that expressing such racist garbage about First Nation Peoples is not wrong. Her action exposes the reality that there is a long festering sickness loose in Canadian society that needs to be dealt with effectively by federal and provincial governments. After all, it was their predecessors, and British colonial administrations, that instilled in the subconscious of this society, by using demonizing propaganda about First Nations Peoples, the systemic racism that plagues our Peoples today.

JUSTICE COMPARISON

In 1995, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were accused and convicted of murdering, torturing, and raping two white girls, horrific crimes. After conviction, Bernardo was sentenced to life, and designated a dangerous offender. He is kept in isolation and, in all likelihood, will never get out of prison. Karla, of course, swung a deal and is now out free.

At the same time in Saskatchewan, Paul Martin Crawford, a convicted murderer and rapist of a Cree woman in 1983, was tried and convicted for torturing, raping, and murdering three more Cree women. There is evidence that he may have killed and raped more, and he has a history of committing other violent acts. For these horrific acts, Crawford is serving three concurrent life sentences in open prison confinement, with no chance of parole for 20 years, he has not been declared a dangerous offender.

Crown prosecutor Terry Hinz stated during an interview: "There is no reason why the Paul Bernardo case should have received more publicity than the John Martin Crawford case."

These comments made by trial judge Wright during the conviction process answer best why the national media all but ignored this horrendous case:

"What was it about these four victims that made Mr. Crawford feel that he could take their lives after sexually assaulting them, confining them, terrorizing them...?

“And finally, what on earth can explain his actions in mutilating two of them? I refer to his conviction with respect to Ms. Serloin; she was left naked, the final indignity, on her back and exposed and mutilated by biting. Ms. Taysup's arm was cut off at the elbow, for what possible reason?

“It appears to me that Mr. Crawford was attracted to his victims for four reasons: one, they were young; second, they were women; third, they were Native; and fourth, they were prostitutes... The accused treated them with contempt.... He seemed determined to destroy every vestige of their humanity. He left three of them naked and lying on the ground. There is a kind of ferocity in these actions that reminds me of a wild animal, a predator.

“The accused has shown no remorse, absolutely none, no regrets, there's been no effort to explain his actions and, in fact, we know from the tapes that he laughed about the killings."

Sensational horrific stuff, isn't it? Thus, there is no rational conclusion that can be drawn from the media's indifference, other than that these women were viewed by them as only "Indians" and, because of they were, of no interest. An example of systemic racism at its worst.

The author of Just Another Indian, journalist Warren Goulding, offers his opinion of why Crawford's crime spree has largely been ignored by the media.

"Race, geography, incompetence, and economics all play a role.," "There are no easy answers to explain Canadians' indifference to this case then, or now, but as a society we must ask ourselves the questions."

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Junior Marshall Case, a Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq boy who was convicted of murder because he was a Mi’kmaq, which needs no elaboration here.

The following is a quote from the November 12 issue of the Halifax Herald

VANCOUVER — Frank Paul spent the last night of his life crawling on his hands and knees at the police station, from where he was dragged to a police wagon and then dumped, drunk and soaking wet, in a back alley where he died.

But Paul’s family heard a starkly different explanation from police when they were finally called about his death on the night of Dec. 6, 1998.

"They said he died in a hit-and-run and that he was found in a ditch," Paul’s cousin, Peggy Clement, said from the New Brunswick community of Elsipogtog, formerly known as Big Cove.”

Paul’s official cause of death was hypothermia.

For Steven Kelleher, the lawyer representing the family, one big question about Paul’s fate begs an answer: "Why?"

"Why was there such a profound and unanimous indifference to this man’s life and death? Lethal indifference."

To read more about the Inquiry type the following into your search engine: Frank Paul Inquiry - Vancouver

The following is a quote from a column by Jonathan Kay, published by the National Post, October 23, 2007, which illustrates vividly that you can write and have published by a respected publishing entity in this country just about anything about First Nations Peoples, no matter how vile it is.

“....A proper native policy would be guided by the three principles listed above.... The most decrepit and remote reserves, ... would simply be torn down -- their inhabitants installed at government expense in population centres of the residents' choice. The hundreds of millions of dollars that go into running these hell-holes would be used to teach job skills, detox the drunks, educate the children and otherwise integrate the families into mainstream Canadian life....

Self-government would be possible, but only in the same limited way that any Canadian city or town is self-governing. The conceit that native reserves can be re-conceived as culturally distinct "nations" would be given up in favour of a model that promotes integration....

Off the reservation: The reserve system is Canada's worst moral failing. Let's do the right thing and get rid of it. “

I had published in the May 26, 2000 issue of the Halifax Herald a column entitled, Where is society's outrage over proposed genocide?, the following is a quote from it.

The headline "Book blames reserves for natives’ plight" appeared over a front-page story in the April 17 issue of this newspaper. The story revealed that in his soon-to-be-published book, First Nations, Second Thoughts, author Tom Flanagan (University of Calgary Professor) advocated the extinction by assimilation of Canada's First Nations Peoples as a means to solve the country's so-called "Indian Problem."

Flanagan, who at the time was an influential Alliance party policy advisor, was not expelled from the party for advocating in his book the extinction of our Peoples by assimilation. Nor did he suffer any penalty from society for asserting in it that First Nation Peoples, because their cultures were not identical to European models, were not civilized. In fact, he has been the recipient of many awards, i.e., the Donner Foundation awarded him its writing prize of $25,000. Alliance party brass did not react in horror to his outrageous suggestions. Today, he is still used as a consultant by the federal government, in fact he led the 2005 PC election campaign.

The before-mentioned examples are just a few of a multitude that could be cited to demonstrate that Canadians have a serious problem of systemic racist attitudes about First Nations Peoples to deal with. To see the relegation of the horrendous murders and abuse of our peoples to a footnote in the obscure corners of the news media, just because of their race, is unforgivable. This is even more so when the offending society promotes itself as a bastion of tolerance, justice and equality for all!

It should be noted that individuals such as Kay and Flanagan always blame First Nation Peoples for their sorry state, never the racism of their own ancestors that created the hardship that our People still suffer today. I’ve yet to hear of an instance where one of them has called for an in-depth investigation into the historical performance of the Department of Indian Affairs. Is it because it has been staffed, over the years by white men, who were hell-bent on solving the “Indian Problem” by engineering and promoting policies and programs to destroy First Nations by assimilation, not for their acceptance and prosperity. I can state, without hesitation, that such a report, if conducted with outing the unvarnished truth as it’s goal, would shock most Canadians profoundly.

I believe that the before cited recent actions and behaviourial conduct by Caucasian society towards our Peoples explains why colonial Governor Edward Cornwallis, although its been amply proven that he indulged in what can be described as genocidal behaviour by trying to exterminate the Mi'kmaq, offering bounties for the scalps of men, women, and children, is still honoured by Nova Scotia and Canada. Can you imagine there being a statue of him in a public park, or having a junior high School, among many other things named after him, if he had tried to exterminate a white race? But, because he only tried to exterminate red people, it’s okay to continue to honour him. By doing so society demeans itself and teaches its children to be racist.

EXAMPLES OF SYSTEMIC RACISM - NOVA SCOTIA STYLE

"Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity." A great piece of wisdom! I don't know who coined it; therefore, proper accreditation cannot be given. However, when writing or talking about the intolerant views of people, I prefer to use ignorance as an excuse for the intolerance displayed. "Stupidity" only comes into play when people indicate by their continued prejudices, that they are too stupid to learn how to recognize and cure their ignorance.

The following are examples of some of the negative incidents, related to systemic racists beliefs among non-First Nation peoples, that I've dealth with in recent times:

An elderly Scottish gentleman, after the first edition of my book, We Were Not the Savages, was published in 1993, told me in a shopping mall. "You creature you, how dare you be critical of those who have done so much for your people. My ancestors educated yours and made their lives complete!" He had not read the book, just some reviews. I suggested he read the book, gave him my card so that he could contact me afterwards, and haven’t heard from him since.

The following is a quote from a speech that was delivered by a white male speaker at a business people's forum I attended in Dartmouth, in the early nineteen nineties: "our ancestors came to the Americas five centuries ago, found, and started populating and developing two vast and vacant continents." He was most apologetic, and embarrassed, when I pointed out to him that when Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492, the estimated population of the two continents was around 95 million:

This nugget, "since responsible government was established here by Europeans," was uttered in a speech made by a former speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature, Art Donahue, to a human rights conference at the Metro Center, which I attended in the nineteen nineties. He ignored, because of ignorance of history, the fact that the Mi'kmaq had developed and implemented responsible government in the area tens of centuries before the European invasion commenced.

The following is a racist insult, depicting us as irresponsible bloodthirsty hunters, made by an official of the Nova Scotia Wildlife Federation, which was published widely in newspapers, T.V., Etc., after we had signed a hunting agreement with the province, without being condemned as racist hype by the news media. "the Micmacs will coat the province, from Yarmouth to Sydney, with the blood of our wildlife." To counter this garbage, I spent, on behalf of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, approximately $25,000 on positive newspaper ads. Under the agreement, we had an allocation of 2,000 deer for the first year, only 400 were harvested, and, of course, wildlife still exist today in the Province.

Three highway signs that I lobbied successfully to have changed:

This sign, Annapolis Royal, established 1605, Canada's oldest settlement, was placed at an exit from a newly constructed by-pass express highway to the village of Annapolis Royal. It did not recognize this fact; North America had First Nation settlements for millenniums before Europeans set up any.

After hearing about, and seeing it, I contacted the mayor of the Town of Annapolis Royal, the Warden of Annapolis County, and the Department of Transportation, and voiced my outrage. After they were reminded about First Nation existence, the Mayor and Warden were shocked that they had supported the wording of the sign. Within a few days the signs were removed, and I was invited to a joint meeting of the Councils, so that they could formally apologise. The sign now reads: Annapolis Royal, established 1605, Stroll Through the Centuries.

Signs on highway two, giving notice of Bedford exits, didn't acknowledge that the Mi'kmaq had been using the Bedford location as a stopping place for tens of centuries before Europeans did. It was recommended by author Elsie Tolson to the Town of Bedford. “Bedford, a Stopping Place Since 1503"

Because the Mi’kmaq had been stopping in the area for tens of centuries, I arranged a meeting with Elsie, and pointed out to her the erroneous message the sign portrayed. She was appalled by the fact that she had not taken into consideration the existence of our ancestors. With her cooperation, the sign now reads, Bedford, a Traditional Stopping Place

This 1997 incident of highway naming borders on the unbelievable.

Background: In 1744, the Mi’kmaq and allies had laid siege on several occasions to the fort at Annapolis Royal. Mascarene, the fort’s governor, appealed to the governor of Massachuetts Bay Colony, William Shirley, for military assistance. Shirley responded by declaring war on the Mi’kmaq, which included a bounty to be paid for the scalps of Mi’kmaq men, women, and children. To help enforce his declaration of war, he sent Captain John Gorham and his Rangers to Nova Scotia. They, by brutally killing many Mi’kmaq, soon established a reputation for barbarity that didn’t take a back seat to the actions of other barbarians. His Rangers were also involved in enforcing Cornwallis’s 1749 proclamation for Mi’kmaq scalps, men, women, and children. Because of their murderous reputations, even the British civilian and military populations of the Annapolis garrison did not welcome these barbarians with open arms. In fact - some say with good cause - many loyal British subjects were terrified of them.

In spite of having this knowledge, HRM municipal councillor Bob Harvey recommended to the Department of Highways that it name a connector highway, connecting Bedford and Sackville, Captain John Gorham Boulevard, which it did, the signs went up. I responded in January 1998 by writing a newspaper column detailing to some extent Gorham’s barbarous history, which even prompted the Halifax Herald to write an opinion demanding that the sign be removed.

The Department of Highways could be excused to some extent because its employees were ignorant of our history, but Bob Harvey, a former school teacher can not. He was well aware of Gorham’s brutality. After I educated highway staff a bit, the sign came down, and the highway was renamed. You can visit this Website: http://www.littletechshoppe.com/ns1625/gorhamj.html

Please keep in mind that across the board acceptance of our People by all facets of Canadian society as equal players is essential for our future prosperity and well-being. This is so because, as demonstrated, systemic racism has marginalized and excluded us for centuries and, it is the root of the discrimination we still suffer.

After considering various options that could be used to negate the systemic racism that colonial propaganda created to demean our People, some of them tried without success, I’ve concluded that there is no other way but through education that it can be effectively accomplished.

We now put on the table for consideration by government a proposal for creative proactive reform of the Province’s teacher training education system, which is intended to see taught in teacher training facilities an accurate complementary picture of the Mi’kmaq Nation. In the future, if implemented, graduating students will know that our ancestors abided in a prosperous, socially caring, free, democratic, “YOU” society, prior to European invasion. Most important, course material must impart the fact that our ancestors fought the British to try to preserve their culture and country, not for the perverse pleasure of slaughtering innocent people.

With the goal mentioned, eliminating the systemic racism that colonial propaganda created, and impedes the return to self government by our Peoples, we propose that the Province’s teacher training facilities be required to adopt a mandatory course on the history of the Mi’kmaq Nation, with emphasis on post-European invasion events, and all the warts that go with it. A course all students will have to pass in order to acquire a B.E.D.

I promote such a reform wholeheartedly, because I consider inclusion of true Mi’kmaq history in teacher training curriculum a vital element for successfully removing, in the foreseeable future, from the non-First Nation sub-conscience, the negative picture they hold of First Nations. It will have other positive benefits for the Province; among them, it will be used as a pioneering role model of progressive racial education policy for the rest of the country to follow, and a prosperous Mi’kmaq People will increase the prosperity of all Nova Scotians.

The structuring of a Mi’kmaq history course for teacher training facilities should not be hard. Such individuals as Don Julien, Professor John Reid, Professor Geoffrey Plank, myself, to name a few, can be recruited to help. Also, there is historical information, published in several new books that would be of invaluable assistance towards constructing such a course; examples, An Unsettled Conquest, A Great and Nobel Scheme, Accounting for Genocide: Canada’s Bureaucratic Assault on Aboriginal People, We Were Not the Savages.

I’ll close with a quote from a report submitted to Nova Scotia’s British Governor Cary in 1843 by Joseph Howe, who was the first Indian Commissioner appointed under the provisions of 1842 legislation, “An Act to Provide for the Instruction and Permanent Settlement of the Indians.”

“I trust, however, that should your Excellency not be satisfied with the results of these first experiments, the blame may be laid upon the Commissioner, rather than be charged upon the capacity, or urged against the claims of a people, for whose many good qualities a more extended intercourse has only increased my respect, and who have, if not by Treaty, at least by all the ties of humanity, a claim upon the Government of the Country, which nothing but their entire extinction, or their elevation to a more permanent, and happy position in the scale of Society, can ever entirely discharge.”

My friends, you can be very instrumental in helping us to achieve, at long last, what Howe envisioned for our People one hundred and sixty four years ago in 1843: “their elevation to a more permanent, and happy position in the scale of Society.” Please consider doing so.

Respectfully Submitted,

Dr. Daniel N. Paul, C.M., O.N.S.
Chair of the Council on Mi’kmaq Education

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An example of systemic racism in 2008

Our home, un-native land
First Nations initially overlooked in list of things defining Canada

By GREGORY BONNELL The Canadian Press
Thu. Jul 17, 2008 - 4:32 AM

TORONTO — Aboriginal people have been granted the 102nd spot on a government-sponsored list of 101 things that most define Canada after online respondents pointed out that First Nations people, culture and symbols weren’t included in the original tally.

The oversight and late addition reflects how the historic marginalization of First Nations people has pushed them to the fringes of Canadian consciousness, an aboriginal studies instructor said. Still, at least one aboriginal chief said it was a positive sign that, upon reflection, Canadians recognized the error.

The list, commissioned by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Dominion Institute, was compiled from the responses of more than 3,000 Canadians who were asked to identify those people, places, events, accomplishments and symbols that best define Canada.

"The top symbols were the Maple Leaf, the beaver, the Canadian flag," said Marc Chalifoux, executive director of the Dominion Institute.

"Aboriginal culture, in my view — it was a really surprising element that was missing from the list. The survey was quite exhaustive."

After the original list was finalized the project’s website posed the question: Tell us what’s missing?

"What’s nice is to see that, when Canadians were asked what was missing from the list of 101, that’s what came in as the first choice, the most glaring omission," Chalifoux said.

As a result, the institute announced Tuesday that aboriginals would take the 102nd spot. They will also be included in 101 Things Canadians Should Know About Canada, a book scheduled for release in the fall.

Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse called it "disappointing" that aboriginals didn’t make the original list. A lack of proper education in Canadian schools about the role First Nations played in building the country could be to blame, Toulouse said.

For many Canadians, aboriginals remain "out of sight, out of mind," he said.

Still, Toulouse said it was heartening to see that, upon reflection, Canadians identified aboriginals as the most glaring omission.

Among the other top five omissions noted by online respondents; the Canadian penchant for uttering ’eh’; the phrase ’strong and free’; the Group of Seven; and the Snowbirds.

"It was nice to see that people, when they looked at the list and thought what was missing, that they voted for things like the Group of Seven and aboriginal Canadians," Chalifoux said.

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FIRST NATIONS - EMPOWERMENT DENIED

Since the European invasion of this area of North America began in 1497, no Mi'kmaq has ever been appointed by a Colonial, Federal, or Atlantic Provincial Government to any political, or bureaucratic position of importance in Atlantic Canada. Nor has a Mi'kmaq been elected to any prominent political office. This history is morally indefensible. However, in the year 2004, there is no movement afoot to change it, which makes the present situation, in this so called enlightened age, even more morally indefensible.

Such racism has its pitfalls for the oppressor. The exclusion of the Mi'kmaq from the public life of Atlantic Canada, and the corresponding economic exclusion accompanying it, has proven to be a very expensive cross for the modern public purse to carry. There is a lesson to be learned from this for any would be oppressors. When a state deliberately reduces a portion of its population to a marginalized poverty stricken degraded existence, it creates for its majority descendants an economially dependent basket-case that must be, in a more humane time, cared for and sheltered by them. This is precisely the situation in Atlantic Canada today.

However, this is not what the Mi'kmaq want. No intelligent people welcome poverty and dependence on others, especially their oppressors, for existence.

What we want is the return of self-government, we want to earn our own way, and most of all, we want our dignity respected. We are not the children of barbarians, as our ancestors were depicted to be by demonizing propaganda invented by the invaders, we are the children of a civilized, kind and gentle people. To eliminate systemic racism in this country, to make things right, this is something that needs to be taught in the country's public school system.

All the before-mentioned applies to all of North America's First Nations. Turtle Islanders have all been marginalized and driven to the depths of poverty by the invaders. Its time the children of the invaders accepted this and then seek out viable ways to set us free!

The before mentioned information tidbits are but excerpts from the history of the Mi'kmaq and other First Nations. For more intimate details of these, and much more, read the new 2006 edition of We Were Not the Savages, and such other great books as 1491 andStolen Continents and The Trail of Tears.

All my Relations,

Daniel N. Paul

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