Friday, July 19, 2013

What's Up in the Rez?

Canada's failed residential schools system for aboriginal peoples is back in the news with a bullet. Just in time to kick start lagging truck sales, it has just been announced that, along with abusing native kids and committing cultural genocide, dooming hundreds of thousands of them and their 'rellies' to lives blighted by abuse and failures to thrive, the University of Guelph has just discovered the government of Canada was using some of them to perform diet experiments.

Right there along with the story was a photo of Elsa the Beast of Belsen, newly immigrated to Canada no doubt, drawing blood from some poor native lad.

Needless to say, there are the beginnings of the sallying forth of the abused, " I never did get enough of that gruel, Ollie."

Being starved is something that you might think was a topic for the 'truth and reconciliation' panel, eh? Like how can you have truth and reconciliation if the government is hiding the results of medical experiments using Indians as guinea pigs. Frank Fontaine and other native leaders weren't long off the mark with cries of genocide. One ex-inmate claimed, "They never did treat me like a human being."

I thought the cash settlement, official government apology and more money splashed into 'programs' to help people come to terms with this stuff, was supposed to have put the matter to rest. Obviously not.

Not if there's a chance to reopen the hearings and work out another deal. Those trucks from last time will be ancient by now. And the dealers have to have been thirsty after that long-ago banquet of gratuitous sales. "Drive 'er away to-day and we'll settle-up when the cheque gets cut. Better still why wait, I'll give ya three quarters of the value if you sign your cheque over to me to-day."

Why would Canada's Indians ever want the government to "give the place" back to them? The government keeps on buying and re-buying it. It's a gift that keeps on giving, a bottomless bank account that's done nobody much good.

Watch this issue being fought out between the 'new wave' and the 'old guard'  of  the aboriginal people. With a bit of luck, Harpo the Magnificent can split the difference and stay the course.

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