A Prince Albert Collegiate Institute Grade 12 English Language Arts A30 class taught by Evonne Garrett worked with Daily Herald managing editor Perry Bergson last month on writing editorials for newspapers. Over the next month we’ll give them a chance to speak up on issues that are meaningful to them. This one was written by Shaylynn Ermine
Abolishing treaties is certainly a topic to discuss and bring up because treaties are a huge part of Canada’s history. Treaties are an agreement between First Nations and nonFirst Nations over settlement of the land and Indigenous rights in Canada.
Who would be more affected if the treaties were to be abolished?
Non First Nations wouldn’t have a problem because not having to pay taxes for the treaties would save a lot of money for them. Most First Nations would suffer because they would be forced into a society that doesn’t meet their needs.
The treaties allowed First Nations to live in peace with their cultural ways; they have a totally different worldview than non-First Nations do.
Such things as sweat lodges, powwows, Round dances, pipe ceremonies, feasts, Sundances and horse dances are needed to stay spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically connected with mother earth and the creator (God).
Does our society in Canada have those needs for Aboriginal people? No, because our society doesn’t know anything about Aboriginals way of life that’s why they need the treaties; the treaties are the identity for First Nations people.
They are known for their culture and various ways of celebration, I don’t think our city would allow them to build a sweat lodge in their backyard or have a four-day Sundance in the park. The reserves give First Nations people space to do their traditional ceremonies, but are these reserves getting the maintenance required?
First Nations people believe they live under a paternalistic government because of the Indian Act; this regulates what chiefs can and can’t do on their reserve. They also believe it’s discriminatory from start to finish, for example the Indian Act denies women the right to possess land or property. The Indian Act was designed for men to be the power of the household and that women be dependent on their husbands. This is clearly an out dated piece of legislation.
The Indian Act was created to “civilize” and “assimilate” First Nations people, but they have a voice and they’re saying “NO!” So whenever the government is ready to hand over their obligations to the First Nations they will be more than happy to accept.
How many years have First Nations people been fighting for their rights? Long enough. Why can’t we keep the benefits of the treaties while amending the discriminatory aspects? All they ever wanted was to protect their way of life, their beliefs, and to assure a future for their children in the white man’s world. Now tell me what is wrong with that? Why should First Nations be “civil” and migrate into society where there is no equality, where we depend on materialistic objects that damage our land and ecosystems, where money is controlling everything.
How much more suffering do First Nations have to go through before they can express themselves truly and still get accepted into society. Tell me what it is so wrong with being Aboriginal.