Monday, October 30, 2006

Who is to Blame?

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), a new United Nations report states that “Canada's high ranking on the United Nations' human development scale would dramatically drop if the country were judged solely on the economic and social well-being of its First Nations people.” It goes on to state that "Poverty, infant mortality, unemployment, morbidity, suicide, criminal detention, children on welfare, women victims of abuse, child prostitution, are all much higher among aboriginal people than in any other sector of Canadian society," said the report issued by the UN Human Rights Commission.”

After reading the news report in its entirety, I couldn’t help but wonder as to what the main problem is here. Are we causing Canada’s First Nations People to abuse their women? Are we responsible for their suicides? Child prostitutions? Do we cause them to commit crime? I have been told on occasion by certain First Nations people that it is the “white man’s” fault that they are alcoholics! Come on now! I had nothing to do with my First Nations neighbor’s alcoholism any more than I am responsible for my white neighbor’s drug habit! I am also not going to take the blame for his unemployment! Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of being blamed for other’s problems. I have my own problems to deal with … Problems which I have caused myself. I don’t need to be blamed for anyone else’s.

I don’t doubt that they have their share of unique problems and I certainly have questioned the Canadian government’s methods of dealing with issues such as land claims and monetary reparation but to take the brunt of the blame for their social issues is far beyond me. Isn’t society taught that we are responsible for our own actions? Weren’t we taught as children that we are in control of our destiny and that our lives are what we make of it?

Please let me state however that I am not saying that all or even most First Nations members are alcoholics, suicidal, uneducated or even unemployed. Like anyone else, their successes and failures in life are based on one’s own choices. They, as any other nation, are a great people and a proud people but let’s not be blamed for their failures any more than we can take credit for their many successes.

Anyways, we could go on for pages about this issue … millions of pages in fact … but what is the point? I know that my comments don’t cover the entire scope of the problem and are nothing but snippets but this is how I feel. Hopefully one day these issues will be resolved … right before the civil rights issues in the United States, right behind the Catholic/Protestant conflict issues in Ireland and right along side the Aboriginal issues of Australia … wishful thinking I suppose!

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