First Nations People; Second Hand Treatment
Updated: Jul 8
Sarah Hassan | Toronto, Canada
First and foremost, let it be known that Canada indeed suffers from racism and oppression of minorities. One thing that I have noticed, however, that is different in Canada as opposed to its Southern counterpart is the fact that in Canada, the racism is often swept under the rug and oftentimes could be seen as more subtle. However, even if we might not see it everyday, it is still there today and Canada's roots in racism are so deep and ugly they might never be able to be torn out.
The history of treatment towards Indigenous People's dates back decades, if not centuries, all the way from Residential school's - the terrible after effects which are still seen today, to the murder of Indigenous women and the lack of caring and resources afforded to them. So YES, Canada has a racism crisis, and the first step in helping it is to acknowledge that the problem exists in the first place, something that, unfortunately, took way too long for prominent people in positions of power to recognize. In policing especially, anti-indigenous racism is rampant, from brutal beatings, racial profiling, harassment, sexual assault, murder, and more. However, the problem lies in the fact that this type of racism is always actively denied by police officers and the unions, something that hopefully, is starting to change for good.
We can choose to take action on this issue, and be consistent, deliberate, focused and constructive.
- Micheal Champagne
People are not born hating another race or religion or colour. Just like how evil is made not born, racism against the Indigenous People's has been taught and inferiority has been drilled into the heads of their children, and hate has been learned, as far back as the first European and Christian settlers.
Although the protest for change has been called many times, it has largely been ignored, until now, I hope. However, the facts still stand - Indigenous People make up less than 4 percent of the country's population, but more than 15 percent of people killed by the police. Similarly, Indigenous People's account for more than 50% of the inmates in federal prisons, despite such a low overall population. Even recently, within a 10 day period, 3 Indigenous People were killed during the ongoing global pandemic. 3 deaths. In just over week. And one of them was a 16 year old girl.
These are all the facts; but the truth is that some people even now will make comments that we are creating a problem that doesn't exist, or that minorities just want to blame white people for their problems - I have seen the evidence of this. But what we often forget is that Indigenous People belonged to this land long before we did - and yes, many minorities face racism. But it is up to us to stand together and fight for everything that we can.
So where do we start? Protesting against police brutality, for one; something that has come to light very strongly recently, and for good cause. As well, changes must be made in how Indigenous People get funded. Many reserves do not have easy access to resources and the conditions of life are not ideal. However, I believe that the biggest change must come in our education system. The pitiful truth is that in all my years of learning history (which are not that many to begin with), I am ashamed to say that I do not know a lot of the history of Indigenous People. The children in these schools will be the next generation of lawyers, judges, police, advocates, and much more. If we are not educated properly, how will we make sure to affect change? The history of Canada must be taught differently, and more. We must teach our children the truth and end the ignorance of our history so they can go on to be the leaders of the new world. It's time to take ownership and lead our country in the right direction.
Pam Palmater / June 3, 2020, et al. “Yes, Canada Has a Racism Crisis and It's Killing Black and Indigenous Peoples.” Canadian Dimension, canadiandimension.com/articles/view/yes-canada-has-a-racism-crisis-and-its-killing-black-and-indigenous-peoples.
“OPINION | Turning Racism into Resolve: 6 Things You Can Do | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 23 Jan. 2015, www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/turning-racism-into-resolve-6-things-you-can-do-1.2929591.
“Unlearning Racism against Indigenous Peoples in One Generation.” KAIROS Canada, 21 Mar. 2016, www.kairoscanada.org/unlearning-racism-indigenous-peoples-one-generation.