‘Appeasing Racial Nationalists’

“It is fashionable to blame the myriad of social pathologies rampant on many reserves on colonialism, residential schools, poverty, etc., but the real cause is never admitted: segregation.

“In demonizing assimilation (as if the virtue of social integration after Martin Luther King Jr wasn’t obvious), aboriginal nationalists legitimized segregation.”

–Michael MelansonERBLAppeasingRacialNationalists800x800I dislike nationalists, and racial and ethnic nationalists most of all. Aboriginal nationalism is racial nationalism and Derek Nepinak has been trying to advance that for some time now. He lives in a suburban home with a salary paid by the Government of Canada and is supposed to represent Manitoba’s chiefs (64 or so). No one asks Nepinak what nationhood for a remote reserve like Pauingassi actually means and it’s clear below that Nepinak hasn’t thought out what aboriginal “nationhood’ means in general. It’s like fertilizing the lawn with gasoline before a lightning storm. 

There are no limits, self-imposed or otherwise, on what kind of rhetoric Nepinak can utter; Nepinak simply agitates as he sees fit. In his post below, Nepinak comments on the so-called ‘1969 White Paper’. In my opinion, this is the first and last document of visionary liberalism in Canada but in aboriginal politics, it has become reviled as “assimilationist.”

The truth is that the paper suggested a third path between segregation and assimilation, a path of relative independence somewhere between municipalities and provinces. Bands would gain control of resources on their reserve lands and the Indian Act would be abolished. Imagine what our society would be like if we had 50 years without an Indian Act, a repeal still being fought for.ldcc-we-are-all-treaty-people-36-638“The policies proposed recognize the simple reality that the separate legal status of Indians and the policies which have flowed from it have kept the Indian people apart from and behind other Canadians.

“For many Indian people, one road does exist, the only road that has existed since Confederation and before, the road of different status, a road which has led to a blind alley of deprivation and frustration. This road, because it is a separate road, cannot lead to full participation, to equality in practice as well as in theory.

“This Government believes in equality. It believes that all men and women have equal rights. It is determined that all shall be treated fairly and that no one shall be shut out of Canadian life, and especially that no one shall be shut out because of his race.

“Discrimination breeds discrimination by example, and the separateness of Indian people has affected the attitudes of other Canadians towards them.

“Reserves were usually excluded from development and many began to stand out as islands of poverty. The policy of separation has become a burden.

“Canada cannot seek the just society and keep discriminatory legislation on its statute books.

“Services must come through the same channels and from the same government agencies for all Canadians. This is an undeniable part of equality. It has been shown many times that separation of peoples follows from separate services. There can be no argument about the principle of common services. It is right.”

–from the ‘1969 White Paper’
{The Trudeau government formally and cowardly retracted the White Paper, March 17th, 1971.}

The Chiefs, with young spokesman Harold Cardinal, refuse equality with all other Canadians and demand ‘special rights’
The Chiefs, with young spokesman Harold Cardinal, refuse equality with all other Canadians and demand ‘special rights’

Of course, nowadays the very idea of equality is dismissed as self-serving fantasy by left-leaning intelligentsia: ‘There is no greater inequality than imposing equality upon the unequal.’ The social unification underlying universality in delivering government services has been wholly thwarted by the Orwellian notion of ‘cultural appropriateness’, which imputes an incorrigible racial bias upon mainstream society to justify the racist policy of kind-with-own-kind.

Aboriginal nationhood is the ultimate in segregation; it is dissociation by choice, formalized by statehood. Nations consisting of only several hundred people, situated in remote areas with only fly-in or winter road access, is an absurdity but ideologues tend to not bother with the human consequences of their rhetoric.

In 1969, then Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Chretien, warned that:

“Even if the resources of Indian reserves are fully utilized, however, they cannot all properly support their present Indian populations, much less the populations of the future.”

This is manifestly true in our time nearly 50 years later, with many reserves in a constant state of crisis, not the least of which is structural unemployment ranging above 85% for generation after generation. It doesn’t require much effort to imagine how socially and psychologically corrosive such a desperate environment would be: it’s like living out something far worse than the Great Depression for all of your life and your child’s life, with no end in sight. It is fashionable to blame the myriad of social pathologies rampant on many reserves on colonialism, residential schools, poverty, etc., but the real cause is never admitted: segregation.

In demonizing assimilation (as if the virtue of social integration after Martin Luther King Jr wasn’t obvious), aboriginal nationalists legitimized segregation. Indeed, these nationalists stress their separateness to justify their exclusionary nationalism:

“… through a process of assimilation, cause aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada”,

–Justice Murray Sinclair. (Can one complain about racism while at the same time seeking racial distinction?)

Now, the new Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau promises a “nation-to-nation relationship” with aboriginal peoples. No one, including Nepinak, has any clear idea of what that means but the generalized contempt for mainstream Canada — a Canada that is one of the most tolerant, cosmopolitan nations in history — is such that the inflammatory idea of racial nationalism can be sprayed willy-nilly over the land without regard for consequence. They don’t care what happens outside of their parochial interests. There is probably some irony that Trudeau’s father first theorized Canada as a Just Society, and that his son now rushes to reduce us to just another racial state headed for the dustbin of history, but it is in the same category of irony as empires claiming 1,000-year reigns, and lasting only 12.

–Michael Melanson, Nov.6, 2015

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1638246406416822&id=100006944354737Nepinak-smugDerek Nepinak:
“In 1969, men like our aged Honourable Prime Minister Jean Chretien put together a plan to erase the ‘Indian Act’ with no consideration to anything but a backdrop of Eurocentric political, social and economic systems to absorb every ‘indigenous’ man, woman, child and elder. It was an effort to create a political and social hegemony that would ease the conscience of many who knew that something was wrong with how we were being treated by the colonial state… But it didn’t work.

“This ‘White Paper’, (one of many ‘white papers’ the government creates for a multitude of policy plans), disturbed the slumber of the giant that is us. In the wake of the disturbance, the political infrastructure of the past 45 years was created. Great men and women rose up to organize our response from all over ‘turtle island’. The legacy of that great initiative is not lost on our generation as we grapple with the challenging times and the tough questions about notions of our own nationhood and what that will mean in the coming years.

“I stood in Rideau Hall on November 4, 2015, adorned in the feathers of the eagle, wearing the colours given to me in Anishinabe ceremony, wearing my treaty medallion. I took his hand and I shook it, which I think may have shook him entirely. He’s an aged man now, dressed well for important days in the transition of the times that we are in. His smile is uneasy and uncomfortable. Not sure if that comes out in the photo or not.

“The agenda that he helped bring did not succeed in advancing the extinction of us. None of them have and none of them will……. That’s the beauty of it….. Meegwetch Mr. Prime Minister, it was an honour….”

–Derek Nepinak, Nov.5, 2015


Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press
Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press

Liberal Party of Canada, 2014:

‘Acknowledging the Past in Order to Move Forward: A Resolution to Officially Reject The 1969 White Paper’

“WHEREAS the Liberal Party of Canada introduced ‘The White Paper’ in 1969 that sought to abolish the Indian Act, the legal relationship and nation-to-nation relationship between the Indigenous nations and Canada;

“WHEREAS ‘The White Paper’ was not agreed to by the ‘Indigenous nations’ who ‘agreed to share with Canada’ the lands and resources that are within its borders;

“WHEREAS the introduction of ‘The White Paper,’ in 1969, despite abandonment by the Liberal Party of Canada, has continued to undermine the Liberal Party of Canada’s relationships with Indigenous peoples due to little or no recognition by the of the impact such a policy could have;

“WHEREAS ‘Indigenous philosophies’ require the past be recognized and accounted for in order to foster better relationships and a path forward;

“WHEREAS public acknowledgement by the Liberal Party of Canada that ‘The White Paper’ was a serious mistake will help build strong relationships and assist both sides of the Treaty relationship to move forward;

“BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Liberal Party of Canada, through its membership, national board, and elected representatives, at the 2014 Biennial Convention openly and with regret acknowledge that ‘The White Paper’ of 1969 was a serious mistake for the Party to consider and officially renounce what it stands for;

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Liberal Party of Canada will not repeat the mistakes of the past and strive for meaningful consultation when considering legislation and policy that impact the ‘rights’ of ‘Indigenous peoples’.”

Aboriginal Peoples’ Commission

https://www.liberal.ca/policy-resolutions/21-acknowledging-order-move-resolution-officially-reject-1969-white-paper/ERBLTheMythOfNationToNationDealings600x600“The desire of progressive-minded people to seek common brotherhood with the Indian citizen has in the past few years given way to ethnic nationalism, as expressed by recognized Indian spokesmen and all major political parties. The notion of Indian sovereignty is being pursued despite the fact that most of these politicians admit that they do not know what they are talking about.

“The Indian spokesmen know full well what they are aiming at. They talk about national status, meeting with governments on a ‘nation-to-nation’ basis, territory, resources, sovereignty and a seat at the United Nations. IN FACT, THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT A COUNTRY BASED ON INDIAN ETHNIC ORIGIN, CARVED OUT OF LAND WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF CANADA.

“Those non-Indians who support this notion are, in fact, supporting the kind of apartheid that they condemn in South Africa.”

–‘Separate Status Should Be Opposed’,
Sidney Green, Winnipeg Free Press, May 31, 1992 {CAPS added}


–quoted in ‘Our Home OR Native Land?’,
Mel Smith, ‘Crown Western Publishing’ (1995)




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