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Canada's Apartheid, by John Stackhouse
Stories
Introduction
  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

General responses

Below are the responses of globeandmail.com visitors to Canada's Apartheid as a series or on aboriginal issues in general.

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

I spent the first 40 years of my life in South Africa and 10 years in Canada and consider it inappropriate to label current social concerns in Canada as "Canada's Apartheid". There is no similarity, believe me.
Peter Shelton

As a Native person, I am appalled at the small petty responses by the ignorant and the emotional lash out; with no appreciation of the people they hurt. My grandfather fought in World War II for the freedom of Canadians alike and for the freedom to maintain his beliefs as a native person and to protect his family. I personally watched him die without any compensation from the government for their contribution in the war of their war efforts and for the collective people of Canada. My grandfather stormed the beaches of Normandy and I am currently writing his Screenplay of his war efforts. I dislike anyone who would bash his own people to get, gain a political stance especially after more than half the people of Moosonee and Moose Factory fought together during the wars to this date. You have not paid your proper respects to those who have fallen, and you are in the in the gutter of self-gain.
Arthur Louttit

I spent the first 40 years of my life in South Africa and 10 years in Canada and consider it inappropriate to label current social concerns in Canada as "Canada's Apartheid". There is no similarity, believe me.
Peter Shelton

I am a member of the Cree Nation, originally from Moosonee, Ontario, lived in Toronto for 16 years and I have been living and working in New York City for the past 6 years. I work full-time and part-time and I am starting an undergraduate degree program - Social Work - in NYC this Feb 1, 2002. I work with Native Americans in NYC. There are limited resources specifically tailored to Native-Americans in NYC. The forces of assimilation are very strong in the U.S., I get mistaken for various races and ethnic mixes in NYC, Chicago, Boston and other melting pot cities. Canada is not set up to assimilate the original inhabitants. The U.S. is set up to assimilate us into the mainstream society. We are not even mentioned in the mainstream education curriculum, only in the traditional Thanksgiving stories, my friend works for the Board of Education and has taught Grades 1-4 in the lower east side of Manhattan...When I tell people that I am a Native Canadian or a Native American, New Yorkers grin and tell me "This is New York City, 22 million New Yorkers, (8 million city, 14 million suburbs) as long as you have money, can spend it, and you are not a criminal you're fine..." There is definitely less ethno stress and less emphasis on being Native in the northeastern U.S., I felt very confident applying for college, I submitted my diploma, and my pre-university preparation background description (Grade 13 courses). I am 30 years old, I don't smoke or drink alcohol, I'm intelligent and responsible. This is a contrast to the stereotypes held by Canadians. Americans treat me as an American...this social and racial attitude has freed me (from ethnostress) from the constraints of a multicultural society and allowed me to enjoy the individualism and melting pot culture of the United States of America.
Irwin

Your attempt to bring some light to difficult issues is appreciated, however to do justice to Canada's Apartheid, you need to help Canadians understand the true nature of the Indian Act and its terrible impact on our people, which continues even today. Firstly, you might tell me why the Canadian government would honour Nelson Mandela with citizenship for ending Apartheid in South Africa while at the same time it continues to denigrate Aboriginal Rights at every opportunity. It also attempts to alienate Matthew Coon Come for daring to accuse Canada of racism at the World Conference in South Africa. The Indian Act supplanted the Treaties. The vision of our leaders at those times did not imagine segregation or legislated racism. Why does the Act continue to disenfranchise First Nations Peoples? Why don't we have legislation that ends status for Ukrainians, English, French etc. etc. Why do Canadians consider our Rights to be special when they are the same rights guaranteed to other Peoples in the World under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, self-determination being the most important of these. Just because we are a minority does not lessen our Rights as the Indigenous Peoples of this land! Canada puffs out its chest to the rest of the world about its greatness and yet it is continuing to marginalize Aboriginal Peoples at every opportunity. Matthew Coon Come was and is entirely correct when he points out that the Minister of Indian Affairs proposal to amend the Indian Act is tinkering. He is playing on Canadian sentiments by focusing on changes with respect to leadership and accountability while ignoring the parts of the Act that are the root cause of our dilemmas.
Meegwetch
Damon Johnston

I noticed that some people are looking for a balance in this storyline. With 14 parts to this series, I would hope that Mr. Stackhouse will indeed look at the positive as well as the negative. I'm glad this series is being published. It's an eye-opener, particularly to those people who think that natives are spoiled with this "special status".
Karen

John Stackhouse and the Globe and Mail should be commended for tackling a very complex issue that remains a contentious topic on the Canadian landscape. Upon viewing the responses posted, it appears that many of the respondents are lacking in the knowledge of Canada's colonial history. I am 31 years old and I vividly recall my Grade 10 History class with Mr. Campbell in Windsor, N.S. Our class text spoke of the "savages" the European explorers encountered when they came to this land. My teacher apologized profusely and, for that, I am grateful. My classmates learned a powerful lesson that day...As a Dene, I was taught to be proud of who I am and to be proud of my ancestors. I will write my full name at the bottom as I am not ashamed of what I believe in or who I am. I only ask that others read through the posted responses and question why those who are opposed to the special status of Aboriginal peoples are too ashamed to write their full name.
Aleta-Jo Bird

The biggest thing we can do for them is to learn our history and understand how we pushed them outside of society. Now is the time to rebuild bridges, to rebuild confidence, to restore and respect. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal People had a whole plan of action, but we, the Canadian society, have refused to act. It's too bad, and shame on us for refusing to understand and refusing to act correctly.
François Boudreau, Ph. D.
Université Laurentienne

This is great journalism. I have worked for 13 years in an Amerindian reserve in Québec (as a high school principal) and turned my experience into a Ph.D. (Schooling and resistance to schooling) which was completed at the University of London (U.K.) in 1998. For my part, I believe that Canadian Amerindians are mostly suffering today from self-inflicted wounds, with the very active "help" of many of their incompetent leaders (did it ever occur to you that the leaders in the micro-states that Canadian reserves have become are generally elected by a workless majority which dictates its agenda?) and equally incompetent white politicians such as our Prime Minister himself and colleges and universities which were turned into diploma mills, due to the adoption of affirmative action as the pillar of native education. The Amerindians do not need any special rights, they need incredibly good schools, which they certainly do not have.
Charles Vien, High school principal.
Québec

John Stackhouse is exactly right when he says that we practice apartheid, the only difference between us and the former South African regime is that in Canada the native people are in the minority, not the majority. The best way to keep people from joining in is to tell them that they are different, and to treat them differently from everyone else. The best way to destroy a man (or woman) is to give them something for nothing. We are forever disadvantaging native people in Canada if we continue to treat them as we have been.
Lindsay Pritchett,
Vernon, B.C.

I come from South Africa, and have seen a country where different people have different rights and the turmoil it produces. Apartheid started in Canada with 'Indian Reserves' South Africa made it law and gave it a name. Now Canada can learn from the likes of Mandela. All South Africans have the same rights. Why should Canada be any different?
Denis

All Canadians should be equal. The current status of native peoples is an embarrassment to all of us. Well-meaning activists and corrupt native leaders have combined to create a culture of dependence and hopelessness, which may now in all likelihood, be unbreakable. Change can only come about when there is true democracy within the First Nations and when non-native society finds the courage to address the real problems.
Francis Moore

When will the national media, especially the Globe and Mail stop portraying First Nations people in the same miserable and pathetic terms, and start focusing on some of the many, many, many success stories. Our First Nations community needs to see these stories in print, and so do other Canadians. To name a few: the En'owkwin Centre in Penticton, BC., The Friendship Centres across British Columbia, The Sen'klip Theatre group based near Vernon BC., the general arts college in Merritt BC (this is only in my neck of the woods...it's your job to do the research and get the stories) Your perpetual stereotyping does anyone little good. We get to wallow in our liberal and compassionate guilt, while the Native people get to see, splashed all over the news, graphic pictures of their own hopelessness. Clean up your act get some balance, as this is disgusting.
Sincerely, J. Macklem

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