stats Making the Business of Life Easier

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Canada's Apartheid, by John Stackhouse
  Nov. 3

Welcome to Harlem on the Prairies
  Nov. 3 (Saskatoon, SK)

Crystal's choice: The best of both worlds
  Nov. 5 (Mississauga, ON)

How the Mi'kmaq profit from fear
  Nov. 6 (Cape Breton, NS)

The healing power of hockey
  Nov. 7 (The Pas, MB)

Norma Rae of the Okanagan
  Nov. 8 (Westbank, BC)

Comic genius or 'niggers in red face'?
  Nov. 9 (Regina, SK)

Praying for a miracle
  Nov. 10 (Lac Ste. Anne, AB)

To have and to have not
  Nov. 12 (Moosonee, ON)

Trouble in paradise
  Nov. 19 (Tofino, BC)

A cut of the action
  Nov. 26 (Wabigoon, ON)

The young and the restless
  Dec. 3 (Ashern, MB)

The wireless warrior's digital dream
  Dec. 10 (Ottawa,ON)

'Everyone thought we were stupid'
  Dec. 14 (Salluit, QC)

First step: End the segregation
  Dec. 15 (Last in the series)

Have your say: Reader responses

To November 20, 2001

Below are the responses of visitors to the following question:

"What sorts of things do you think people in isolated communities could do to pay their own way?"

To contribute your thoughts, please go to the main have your say page.

Your perspective of "isolated community" is not the same as mine. My Cree community is not isolated, my community is my "home". Just like Toronto is "home" for thousands. The country of Canada includes points East, South, West and North. The last time I checked my community is located in the North, not an "isolated community". Aboriginal people signed treaties with the Queen, and Canada is now upholding these treaties. It is irrelevant as to where an Aboriginal community resides in this treaty relationship. What is relevant is that the treaties are honoured, not what people should do to "pay their way" just because they live in the North.
V. Hutchison

Globally, people in remote, barren geographic locations have always struggled more than people who settled in agricultural belts that allowed them to be self-sufficient. But, people in isolated communities can pay their own way in a variety of businesses: artisans who produce crafts and clothing, the eco-tourism industry such as fishing or hunting guides and outfitters, lodging facilities, summer camps, natural resource management (logging) and studies, developers of traditional medicines, wildlife conservationists and authors. This list may seem inadequate but the reality is that life in the arctic and on unfertile Canadian Shield has always been harsher and there is a dependence on the south for fruits, vegetables, machinery, electronics etc. The economies of scale also play a part that production facilities sprung up along southern waterways. Northerners must depend on forestry, fisheries and mining- if these industries are strong, then collateral, supporting jobs will be available. Otherwise self-sufficiency is very hard.
Gayle Wilson

If you consider the fact that your questions are asking about the First Nations people and are aimed toward the general public, you will be inundated with responses that are ignorant and uneducated. I think that these questions are giving your readers (except myself) a forum to vent. Any First Nations person will tell you that these "isolated communities" are the work of the federal government. You may call these issues ancient and long past but to the heart of the First Nations people they will always be close to home. The people in these isolated communities were put there by the federal government after their lands were bought and sold for fractions of their true worth. And with no jobs and extremely limited access to education no wonder the people still have social problems today. It was a systematic whitewash that the government tried and failed at. Therefore these people in these isolated communities are a direct product of Canadian legislation. Consider also the fact that no "Indian" was allowed to leave the reserve for any reason unless they had a permission slip. Now that if you would consider your question with these things in mind you would realize how pathetic your question really is.
Darwin Gardypie

[Re: What can Natives do to pay their own way?] As a non-aboriginal who has lived on an isolated reserve for several years I am annoyed by this question. These family oriented people stay home, take care of their families, hunt, fish and try to live as peaceful a life as possible. Do they work? - Yes when work is available. Unfortunately, 50% of the population is under 25 and going to school. Those who do work, work at the school or at the stores. Do they want to try to find ways to overcome overwhelming unemployment and poverty - yes. The people I know well are trying to open a mill and use the resources that belong to them, however at every turn they are stopped by government rules and regulations. To open a mill that may create a sustainable future will take in excess of 6-9 years. What do they do in the interim? Go to school? Many do - they leave home at 15 and return only for Christmas and the summer. They leave the comfort, guidance and love of home to live with strangers and try to educate themselves. I have read that people say we should get rid of these reserves, get rid of the only place many people call home, assimilate them. I invite you to come and live here, not for a week or a month but for a year, you will realize assimilation is not the answer. You will gain a respect and understanding of a culture that is trying its hardest to become strong and viable. The government, the citizens and the aboriginal peoples of Canada need to work together to help stop poverty and help create a community that is strong. When our aboriginal peoples can stand proud on their own, we as Canadians will benefit in all areas. John Stackhouse, your articles are fantastic.

Given proper training and support from Canadian industry, people in isolated northern communities could easily and cheaply find useful and self-fulfilling employment writing computer software for companies based in Ottawa and elsewhere. Right now U.S. companies go around the world to find skilled programmers. India, for example, third world country notwithstanding, is having a great success, in spite of her many financial and other handicaps. Canada has the money - not much is needed for equipment. The most costly thing missing is training. And that would hardly break the bank. Anyone got any ideas how to get them both involved?
L. Goodrich

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