Is it possible for everyone in Canada to return to our nations-building time, when we “ate from the same bowl”?
Can we do this in our own communities? In our own park?
A good article in the Globe and Mail by Ken Coates called Canada’s stake in Perry Bellegarde:
There may be no tougher political job in Canada than that just assumed by Perry Bellegarde, newly elected national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
What is needed?
What we need is a meeting of the minds.
Beyond the tensions within First Nations, non-aboriginal critics complain about First Nations holding the economy ransom over development projects, and lob indiscriminate accusations of corruption at First Nations governments. At the same time, some First Nations leaders insist they can shut down pipeline construction, reassert full control of traditional territories and extract more money from government. Mr. Bellegarde has to bridge this formidable divide. The national interest has to be brought into line with First Nations rights and aboriginal aspirations.
And what can “Allies” (non-aboriginal, non-government: “just us” types) do to help?
Outside of government, it is vital that non-aboriginal Canadians reach out to Mr. Bellegarde and the AFN. From provincial and territorial governments through the churches, the private sector and organizations of new Canadians, we must extend hands of friendship and reconciliation. To a degree that too few Canadians realize, the nation’s future requires a constructive and honest relationship with First Nations.