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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

THE HUMAN RACE:  Reparation repercussions

Published on: 4/15/07.


CANADA IS A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS: the world's most international society. Canada is making huge strides in eliminating racism, and promoting true equality.

Sadly, one group refuses to accept the reality of Canada. These are the Indians, or Natives, or Aboriginals, or whatever the politically-correct term happens to be. They constitute fewer than four per cent of 30 million Canadians, but they cause great problems.

They refuse to accept the fact that they are immigrants, too, and that there were no truly original inhabitants of America.

They came from Asia! Many of them still look Chinese, and they have too little body hair to be able to claim they evolved in the very cold climate of North America. When European explorers and settlers first arrived on the Atlantic coast, the "natives" described them not as "white men" but as "hairy men"!

The "natives" certainly suffered in competition with the new immigrants who had superior tools and weapons, and inadvertently exposed "natives" to devastating new diseases.

However, most "natives" had been doing a poor job of stewarding the continent. Tribes regularly made war on each other, often capturing and enslaving each other.

Their myth is that they lived in harmony with nature, but, in fact, they were merely existing! Most tribes failed to thrive in either agriculture or manufacturing. They simply survived, killing wildlife and gathering wild nuts and berries.

Even their artworks, such as totem poles and stone carvings, are mainly very simple.

Canadians, in a collective desire to celebrate all races, go overboard to be sensitive to the "natives" – to the point of making fools of themselves. Canada is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the official symbol is an "inukshuk" – which is just a pile of rough rocks that sort of looks like the shape of a human. How embarrassing to proclaim to the world that Canada considers this to be art that is representative of our society!

Canada's "natives" may have been mistreated by the early waves of immigrants from Europe, but we are now killing them with kindness.

Canada allows them to claim vast tracks of land for their exclusive use, but it's never enough. Canada allows them to live a totally subsidised life on their reserves, never having to work if they choose not to.

Canada gives them every possible opportunity for education. Canada gives them special access to employment. A young man working for my newspaper company was merely adequate as a reporter. He had plenty to say, but little real ambition.

I was shocked when he suddenly resigned to take a high-paying job at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which apparently had not filled its mandated quota for "natives". Until then, I didn't even know he was a "native", but he had the right ID card to qualify him for a cushy job on a basis other than merit.

I have never heard of him since; he clearly has not distinguished himself!

Canada's "natives" are a glaring example of why reparations are doomed to failure. No amount of land, no amount of money, and no special privileges will ever satisfy people who are not motivated to advance themselves using their own ambition and ability.

Despite all the opportunities and handouts, the "natives" are the poorest, least educated, and most unhealthy residents of Canada.

They are ten times more likely to be in jail for criminal activity than the average Canadian – and that does not include vast numbers of criminals who go unpunished because of special treatment on their private reserves (the ultimate gated communities!).

For example, Canada allows them to make cheap cigarettes, which are smuggled into mainstream society without paying the usual high taxes. Canada allows them to run gambling casinos without regard to the laws that apply to the rest of the country.

The "natives" are never satisfied with the reparations they continue to receive, and they regularly denounce all other Canadians as "racist".

* Bob Verdun is a Canadian; a former editor who resides in Barbados. Email bobverdun@rogers.com.

Natives reply

Published on: 5/18/07
(This is a He Said, She Said piece)



Canada's original inhabitants were on the continent when the immigrants arrived. They signed treaties with the newcomers. The original inhabitants have many names to identify various nations of people. We are not one homogeneous group that could be defined by one politically correct term. Canadians face a lot of problems stemming from turning their backs on our original agreements

True: We are not immigrants. We refuse the label of immigrant. This is our land. Turtle Island was not vacant when the immigrants arrived.

We did not come from Asia. We did note that the immigrants were hairy.

True, our suffering can be linked to the policies and approaches of the immigrants. I don't know that we were competing for suffering. We may have had a monopoly in this case. Exposing our people to small pox was blatant in some cases and not "inadvertent".

Indigenous Peoples' systems of land management were sustainable and based in principles of respect. The three fires confederacy had signed the Great Law of Peace in the 1500's while the African slave trade was alive well into the late 1800's.

There is no harmony in nature. The trick is to strive always and constantly for balance. The northern climates of Canada did not support agricultural pursuits. Survival by subsistence living is not "simple". We did not simply survive by killing wildlife. To live from the land requires great skill and knowledge.

Where art is concerned. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And besides how did the issue of art factor into this discussion?

Indigenous people are glad Canadians recognize the value of all peoples. Canadians need not be deemed fools for being culturally sensitive. Please do not be embarrassed for demonstrating compassion.

True: Our mortality rates are very high ad our life expectancy is short. We may not be able to take much more of this "kindness."

Aboriginal land claims are settled through the very long and onerous process of negotiations and are not," allowances". They are in come cases treaty land entitlements and are based in law and complex land designations that have taken place of a long period of time.

By the way isn't "subsidised" an American spelling of the word "subsidized"?

The federal government holds treaty responsibilities to provide funding for education. These programs are over-rated and under funded. Many Aboriginal people are under-represented in the school system.

No one can really say why this Aboriginal person left his job with you. But we can assume it may be your dislike for Aboriginal people that put him off.

We cannot predict that reparations will fail when they have not even yet begun.

We are dying in record numbers. That is a tremendous motivation for change.

True: We are poor and our health is suffering.

We are over represented in jails. Do you think the jails are full now?

Aboriginal people want to work in partnership with Canadians. The original relationship we had with the immigrants was an economic trade relationship.

* Lorraine A. Rekmans is a non-Asian Ojibway; former editor who lives in Canada. Email lorraine.rekmans@sympatico.ca


Press Release

April 20, 2007

Call to Action! Native People and Social Justice Minded People Speak out Now! Stop the Racism NOW! Bob Verdun's op-ed article, "The Human Race: Reparation repercussions" in the Barbados is racist hate speech that must be pulled off the internet. It is published by the newspaper The Nation, here is the link:

Natives and concerned people, speak out!

How can you help?

By writing a letter to the Editor at the Nation and a letter to Verdun and by emailing their advertisers. Demand that they pull the hate off their site and print an apology to Native people. Request that advertisers stop doing business with this publication. You can also forward to friends...the more people that find out about this and speak out, the better. If we are going to fight racism, we all need to be proactive.

Verdun's email: bobverdun@rogers.com, The Nation's email:

Here are some points that can be made in correspondence to The Nation:

Verdun states that Aboriginal people are ten times more likely to be incarcerated than other Canadians, this is false. According to the Correctional Service of Canada statistics, while the incarceration rates somewhat higher than other Canadians, it isn't ten times the amount.

One thing that must be pointed out is that poverty is often associated with higher crime rates in communities. Aboriginal people are the poorest segment in Canadian society, the only people who are poorer are new immigrants who are refugees.

For further information on incarceration rates for Aboriginal people, go here: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/prgrm/correctional/abissues/know/10_e.shtml.

As for questioning where Natives come from, that isn't up for debate. We ARE indigenous peoples.

The UN acknowledges that Native people in Canada are in Indigenous peoples. The Constitution of Canada entrenches Aboriginal rights. As well, Charles C. Mann has recently authored a book entitled 1491, New Revelations about the Americas Before Columbus in which he states that Native people have been in North America for 50,000-60,000 years while Europe has only been inhabited for 10,000 years.

There are many theories where Natives in North American came from but none have been proven, and therefore they are merely theories. When white settlers attempt to argue that Natives are not Indigenous, they are trying to delegitimize Native rights. But as you can read below, Aboriginal rights are entrenched in Canadian law.

References to Aboriginal Rights in the Constitution Act, 1982.


Section 25 of the Charter of Rights:

25. The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of Canada including
(a) any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763; and
(b) any rights or freedoms that may be acquired by the aboriginal peoples of Canada by way of land claims settlement.


Rights of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada

35. (1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.
(2) In this Act, "aboriginal peoples of Canada" includes the Indian, Inuit, and Metis peoples of Canada.
(3) For greater certainty, in subsection (1) "treaty rights" includes rights that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the aboriginal and treaty rights referred to in subsection (1) are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.
35.1 The government of Canada and the provincial governments are committed to the principal that, before any amendment is made to Class 24 of section 91 of the "Constitution Act, 1867", to section 25 of this Act or to this Part,
(a) a constitutional conference that includes in its agenda an item relating to the proposed amendment, composed of the Prime Minister of Canada and the first ministers of the provinces, will be convened by the Prime Minister of Canada; and
(b) the Prime Minister of Canada will invite representatives of the aboriginal peoples of Canada to participate in the discussions on that item.

Native rights as are part of Canadian law. Many Native peoples signed treaties with Canada as nation to nation. Canada has repeatedly broken treaties, this is also well-documented. In these cases, Natives have had to take Canada to court, but for a long time Natives were not allowed to hire lawyers or fight any cases in Canadian court. As well, we were not given citizenship rights afforded to other Canadians, we couldn't vote and were restricted in many others areas like economic development.

In order to regulate Native people, the Canadian government created laws. There is legislation in Canada called "The Indian Act" which has regulated all aspects of Native lives. There is no "White man Act" which regulates all aspects of White peoples' lives. For your information, the Apartheid System in South Africa which has been seen as the world as oppressive and racist, was modeled after the Indian Act in Canada. This Act also set up the Reservation system.

Another complaint that racists like Bob Verdun makes is that Natives are "allowed" to sell cigarettes and have casinos. These are rights for Natives, rights not privileges as part of self government and sovereignty. Why doesn't Verdun complain about the casinos owned by non-Natives in places like Niagara Falls and other areas? Are those special rights given to others?

Verdun also stated that Natives are lazy and lack ambition. This is an allegation that isn't based in any statistical evidence. How do you measure laziness? This is a negative, hateful stereotype made up to vilify Natives. All Canadians have access to welfare, Employment Insurance and other social services. This is a part of Canadian society. They are programs afforded to all. Natives do not receive any more than anyone else in these programs. If he had said Blacks are lazy and don't want to work, or Jews are lazy and don't want to work, would that be acceptable to your publication? Would you print that?

Verdun mentions how lands are being given to Natives, they are not being given to Natives. It is Native land that is being returned to the rightful owners.

This is very difficult for many to grasp. Native people didn't all surrender lands. Now it is being returned, as it should be. My people have recently signed a self government deal with Canada, we hadn't signed our lands to anyone, to us it is still our lands. Look up Nunatsiavut, it is our territory, it means "our beautiful land" in Inuktitut, our language. It is our traditional and we are glad to have reclaimed it. We have more control over our lives now that we have self government. In fact, all Inuit in Canada now have self government. We have hopes that all Natives in Canada gain self government.

Canada has committed genocide against Natives. Genocide is defined by the University of Hawaii as:

…an international crime for which individuals, no matter how high in authority, may be indicted, tried, and punished by the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to Article 6 of the ICC Statute, This crime involves, any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

EuroCanadians have committed some acts against Native people through laws such as the Indian Act and policies like the policy to assimilate Natives with the Residential School system. As well, the Federal Government through the "Sixties Scoop," sought to destroy Native cultures by taking Native children. These children were sent all over the world. The goal was to make Natives into white Christians. These acts may be applied to the definition of genocide noted above, because the goal was to destroy Natives. So, these early ideas about Natives clearly impacted the ways that EuroCanadians have setup laws and policies regarding Natives.

Canada hasn't paid "reparations" to Natives for these crimes against humanity. The previous Liberal Government had penned a deal with Native leaders to address SOME of the crimes, but this deal hasn't been honoured, nor was that deal in any way explained as reparations.

Verdun's writing is particularly harmful because the main audience is in Barbados, the people of Barbados probably do not have access to correct information about the impacts of colonialism in Canada on Indigenous peoples.

For further information, contact: Mitzi @ mitsukmitsuk@yahoo.com or Gary @ nativesoul@knet.ca


Outrage Over Racist Remarks by Kitchener, Ontario man

Rob's reply
Verdun bases much of his argument on the claim that Canada's Aboriginals came from somewhere else. Even if that's true, they occupied and owned the land long before Verdun's people arrived. That gives them legal and moral title to the land.

Verdun's claim that everyone on a piece of land has an equal right to be there is simply silly. He'd be laughed out of court and into jail if he used that defense as a squatter or trespasser.

Verdun writes:

However, most "natives" had been doing a poor job of stewarding the continent. Tribes regularly made war on each other, often capturing and enslaving each other.

Their myth is that they lived in harmony with nature, but, in fact, they were merely existing! Most tribes failed to thrive in either agriculture or manufacturing. They simply survived, killing wildlife and gathering wild nuts and berries.

Talk about myths. How many myths and stereotypes can we find and rebut in these two short paragraphs? Let's see:

In a defense of his racist column, Verdun makes a joke about the differences between ethnic groups. Citing the Oxford English Dictionary, he claims it isn't racist because it doesn't proclaim the superiority of one group over another.

For starters, that's not the best or only definition of racism. Here's a better one:

American Heritage Dictionary

rac·ism (ra-'si(z'?m)

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

Since Verdun's joke implicitly says certain races are better at certain things and explicitly discriminates between these races, it's racist by definition.

More to the point, Verdun's defense doesn't apply to his original column. It's full of racist assertions about Natives. They (the entire race) don't accept the reality of Canada. They didn't accomplish anything; they merely existed. They regularly made war on each other. Their artwork is simple and so are they.

Verdun apparently doesn't understand his own definition of racism, since he's asserted the inferiority of Natives many times. What a surprise: For the umpteenth time, a racist doesn't recognize his own racism. Fortunately, the rest of us are here to point it out to him.

Verdun tries to turn it around and claim the concept of "First Nations" is inherently racist. Does he also think countries like China, India, and Egypt are racist because their populations don't reflect the world's demographics? Should these countries pursue a policy of integration until they do?

No, it's not racist if political entities happen to have more of one race than another. It's racist only if the political entities define themselves by race and exclude other races. Native nations are well-known for adopting runaways, captives, and slaves of other races. In fact, many tribes include people whose blood is less than half "Indian," making them more non-Indian than Indian genetically.

Clearly, Verdun doesn't like Canada's treaty obligations (i.e., "handouts") to its First Nations. Well, too bad. He has only his ancestors to blame for signing the treaties. If he doesn't like the situation, he can campaign to reverse the treaties and give back Canada to its original owners.

In any case, he should quit whining about how he and his people can't get by with all the land they stole. How he wants to overturn Canada's constitution, invalidate the treaties, and keep the monetary benefits too. Your ancestors made a deal, crybaby—get over it.

Related links
Indians as welfare recipients
The "outdated" reservation system
The myth of Western superiority

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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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