Idle No More: Educate yourself

Reader recommends reading two good books on aboriginal matters to help understand Idle No More, which has swept the country.

To the Editor,

To help understand the present ‘Idle No More’ movement, I urge all my non-aboriginal brethren to read 2 books: Rupert Ross’s Dancing With A Ghost and especially Daniel J. Kuhlen’s A Layperson’s Guide To Treaty Rights in Canada (University of Saskatchewan, Native Law Center, 1985).

Dancing With A Ghost (and its sequel) helps one better understand how First Nations people view the world and how to respectfully engage with them.

Incidentally, it would be nice if Canada’s government engaged it’s First Nations in a “nation to nation” fashion just like it would do with any other nation it does business with (like China).

A Layperson’s Guide to Treaty Rights in Canada is particularly timely as it helps one understand First Nations as a treaty-people, how treaties were crafted and their content. It’s an eye-opener, as it soon becomes obvious how “first-contact” colonialists took advantage of the treaty process, positioning themselves to eventually expropriate the land from First Nations.

The colonial government viewed treaties as “obligatory agreements” that carried no legal weight.

But beyond the understanding of the colonialists, First Nations were used to entering into treaties with each other as they conducted their affairs with the independence and autonomy of soverign states amongst themselves. They took signing treaties with first-contact colonialists very seriously.

Failure to appreciate the reality of First Nations nationhood prior to European contact is to everyone’s detriment.  We cannot hope to sustain a 21st century version of colonialism.

By treaty protection, First Nations have been protecting the land from unfettered development for generations.

The status quo is no longer acceptable, which is why First Nations and their supporters are Idle No More.

Liz Stonard,

Port Alberni

Just Posted

By-election set for Beaufort and Cherry Creek areas

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District by-election will take place Apr. 6

ARTS AROUND: Port Alberni artists showcase a range of mediums

“Into the Forest” will feature everything from watercolours to quilting

Divers explore the deeps of Sproat Lake using vintage equipment

Heritage Hard Hat Divers will have a maritime heritage exhibit in Port Alberni

EDITORIAL: In face of tough week, Port Alberni first responders deserve our respect

Last week was a difficult week for first responders in the Alberni Valley…

Alberni group focuses on stigmatization as biggest barrier to opioid crisis

Community session planned to raise dialogue on opioid crisis response

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

LETTER: Seniors home care, day programs expanding, Adrian Dix says

B.C. health minister responds to latest Seniors Advocate report

B.C. woman wins Instagram celebrity’s boob job contest

‘Kirill was here’ held a contest for women to win a boob job and a trip to Miami

Most Read