It’s time all of us were idle no more
The recent Idle No More movement and Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike to force a meeting with our Prime Minister has caused me to reevaluate my own relationship with First Nation people.
I have met some aboriginal Canadians at school, at church, at work and in the community, but, like most of us, I largely have had a limited relationship with this segment of society. This is unfortunate, because had I taken the opportunity to befriend them I might have done more to advocate for the many First Nations children that live in poverty in our country.
If I had the opportunity as a young child to visit the homes of my aboriginal neighbours, I might have been more empathetic to their situation and been more thoughtful on how government policy must change to meet the needs of this community. If I had seized the opportunity to get to know my aboriginal acquaintances better, I might be better equipped to defend them against the blatant stereotypes and prejudices directed at them in social media and on the street. I can’t rewrite what I did or failed to do in the past, but I can do more in the future.
Consequently, I will start by writing my MP, MLA, Prime Minister, and Premier and encouraging them to make First Nations relations the priority it deserves, and I encourage you to do the same. I don’t think even Mr. Harper could ignore a million emails, a hundred thousand-person demonstration or a national general strike in support of First Nations. When we are all concerned and act together, we will make a difference. I will also make more of an effort to have meaningful dialogue with the First Nations people in my community
Take time out of your busy schedules to imagine what it might be like to be a First Nations child. How might school be different had you been First Nations? What would the holidays look like?
How would you relate to what you see on TV or read in the papers? How would you see yourself and others?
I hope First Nations are able to maintain the momentum they have created in peacefully urging our government to work with them to find real solutions to aboriginal child poverty and lack of opportunity. I hope the rest of us take the time to understand the issues facing First Nations. I hope the rest of us will do much more than we have to try to fix this crisis. It is time to support our First Nations brothers and sisters. It is time for the rest of us to be idle no more.