Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In case you are interested

Had a conversation on facebook with a bunch of other grad students about this article today: Native hunting rights unfair to rest of us . It was published in yesterday's Peterborough Examiner.

Not, in this case, really a WS issue - but it does, I think tell us something about the myth of decolonization: that Canada is now ever-so-much-better at dealing with Indigenous peoples.

Anyway, here's my response:

I was appalled to read the letter from Mr. Robinson in yesterday’s Peterborough Examiner. There are so many problems with it that I do not even know where to start. I am sorry that apparently Mr. Robinson was unhappy with his hunting trip this year, but to blame this on our country’s native population is ludicrous. My failure to capitalize native here is, by the way, intentional. I am writing not about a single group of people that we white Canadians label or define when we have no right to do so, but about the many peoples descended from those who lived here long before contact – who, interestingly enough, never seem to have any trouble managing wildlife populations before we, regrettably, came along and stuck our noses in.

Even a most basic reading of Canada’s (deplorable) treaties would clarify, first of all, that hunting rights were not, as Mr. Robinson writes, given away. They are among the few things that even the Canadian state acknowledges were and are protected in the (deplorable) treaties. If we were, indeed, all born equal, why is it that we white, descended-from-European-Canadians get to make (and enforce) all the rules? They were here first, and were willing to co-operate and support the early European settlers, and share their many resources with us. Many native groups continue, in spite of the many ways we have used and abused their people, to be willing to work with us to attempt to find co-operative solutions to the many issues colonialism has created – and continues to create, for that matter. How dare we – any of us – suggest that we have the right to shove our beliefs, principles and laws on them?

Mr. Robinson’s letter was sadly ill-informed and racist – but even more appalling than the fact that he thought to write it is the fact that The Peterborough Examiner thought it was acceptable to print. It was, most assuredly, not.

The editor called today and said that it would be printed within the "next couple of days."

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