The more I come to Canada, the more I hear and sympathize with the plight of the First Nations. The hypocrisy is palpable both in Canada’s international development practices and right here within its borders. Denying its colonial past practices doesn’t rewrite the history of this country with a golden brush. Rather, it paints a grim and uncertain future, built on lies. It was a pleasure reading Nick Montgomery’s open letter to respected author, Rex Murphy’s piece in Canada’s National Post:
Just as we feel the wrongness of colonialism in our gut, we can feel the emptiness of settler ways of life. This isn’t just about “mentalities,” as you suggest, although the way we think is certainly part of it. It’s most concretely about how we relate to each other and the land that sustains us whether we recognize it or not. Settler colonialism has produced a world where our food is industrialized and grown with chemicals, our political system is rigidly bureaucratic and exclusive, our culture promotes objectification and normalizes rape, our economic system is premised on exploitation and unending growth, our divisions of labour are racist and patriarchal, almost all forests and ecosystems have been pillaged and degraded, and our everyday lives are increasingly mediated through bureaucracies and commodities. This is not to say that indigenous people are somehow outside these ways of life; however, they have consistently resisted our attempts at assimilation and resource exploitation. They have maintained and revitalized their own ways of life, and have refused to be incorporated into the fold of settler colonialism. Elsipogtog is only the latest conflict in a centuries-long struggle.
The ghost in your closest is always the hardest one to exorcize. If you pretend it isn’t there long enough, it’ll go away on its own. A quick browse on the 3200+ comments on Rex Murphy’s original post to see how deep the discourse is Indigenous Rights, led me instead to a melange of spats on the misinformed science of fracking. Way to go Canada, way to go.