#485: Cry for the Indians

GETTING MORE TALE #485: Cry for the Indians

We rarely get political here at LeBrain’s Record Store Tales and Reviews.  We try to keep the discussions light.  The topics are mostly focused on music, tech, retail and work place stories.  With that in mind, here’s a good work place tale from 2006.

Without getting into the nitty gritty details, back in 2006, a group of Six Nations on a reserve near Caledonia held an armed standoff over Aboriginal land claims.  In question was a 40 hectare parcel of land that was being prepared for development into subdivisions.  They occupied a large patch of land and wouldn’t budge, stating that historically they never gave up this land.  There is a very complex history as to the ownership of land in Caledonia, going back to 1784.  The police arrested occupiers, and in return the Six Nations set up roadblocks.  This went on for weeks, highlighted by violence and anger on both sides.  Local radio covered all the news, which made national headlines.   It was an ugly scene all around, but also a very serious issue that remains unresolved today (the last blockade happened in 2014).

During the months this was going down in 2006, I was working in a small data entry office with two ladies a little older than myself.  The radio was tuned to the local news.  During an update on the situation, one of the two ladies blurted out, quite offensively, “Why don’t those Indians just pack up and go home and stop causing trouble?  I’m sick of them!  I don’t even understand what they want!”  She ranted for a bit and then things went quiet.  The other lady didn’t answer, so I chimed in.

“They’re arguing for their rights to use their traditional lands,” I explained.

“What land?!” she answered incredulously.

“In Caledonia, but really this was all their land,” I informed her.  “When the Europeans like us came to this country, we pushed them off their land and took it for ourselves.  Now all they have left are these little crummy reservations.  But they were here first.”

Her response was something I’ll never forget:

“What?!  I never heard of that!”

 

Come again?  Did you somehow miss grades 1 through 12?  Canada often prides itself in our great education system.  There’s proof right there that it certainly has its flaws.  Highschool is free, people!  I had to explain this to a lady who was old enough to know where all the white people in North America came from.  I had to convince her this was real history and not a “theory”.  She didn’t have to like these facts, but how can you go through life without even knowing them?

And that is the story of one of the most ignorant comments I’ve ever heard inside or outside the work place.  In the words of Anthrax:

We all see black and white,
When it comes to someone else’s fight,
No one ever gets involved,
Apathy can never solve.

Forced out – brave and mighty,
Stolen land – they can’t fight it,
Hold on – to pride and tradition,
Even though they know how much their lives are really missin’,
We’re dissin’ them.
On reservations,
A hopeless situation.

Cry for the Indians,
Die for the Indians,
Cry for the Indians,
Cry, cry, cry for the Indians.

Respect is something that you earn,
Our Indian brothers’ getting burned,
Original American,
Turned into second class citizen.

Love the land and fellow man,
Peace is what we strive to have,
Some folks have none of this,
Hatred and prejudice.

Territory –  It’s just the body of the nation,
The people that inhabit it make its configuration.
Prejudice – Something we all can do without,
Cause a flag of many colors is what this land’s all about.

Advertisements

31 comments

  1. I’ve been known to have very similar arguments about the rights and wrongs of immigration from India/Pakistan. Peoples’ ignorance of history used to shock me, I’m kind of numb to it all now.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Roxx Gang prob’ly.

          Let’s face it — history is filled with bad deeds that we didn’t directly commit. But when we are still living with the effects of those things, then as the current occupants of Planet Earth, it’s our responsibility to help out some of these people who have been historically fucked. In Canada, that means we need to take care of our native population better than we are now. That’s my opinion.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. It’s a direct lyrical quote from ‘Scratch My Back’.

          I couldn’t agree more with you. With the U.K. it’s the legacy of an exploitative empire.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. In the US it’s a double whammy of natives and slavery. And probably lots more too.

          As for your exploitative empire, I’m still waiting for your reparation payments to Canada for…ummm…building our roads and cities…and ummm…

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Very good piece sir! I have always been sympathetic to Native Americans. What I have found, at least on line that with many Americans, they realize that their European forefathers were illegal immigrants but try to push it further back into ancient history. The “That ship has sailed” argument comes in. Love the use of the Anthrax song!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mr. Metalman! The Anthrax song came first…a lot of the time I have a title in my head and then that inspires the subject matter.

      This was a true story, and I loooove when people try to push it further back to ancient history. It’s kind of like, “really? You want to battle with me about history? Let’s go. Let’s do this!” It’s not the ancient history that’s the issue. It’s the more recent — and the fact that many natives are still suffering today because of the situations they grew up in. A reservation is not a really nice place to grow up. And in Canada, especially up north, we have a huge problem with native children suicides. It’s an epidemic. At some point we have to say, “This is a problem that ultimately they didn’t ask for”.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have a real problem with some people’s attitudes toward native people. They think that because our taking over their land happened so long ago it doesn’t matter now. That’s ancient history. It DOES matter! We have a huge problem and it’s our fault. I am hopeful that our new prime minister will right some of these wrongs. He seems to be more concerned about these issues than the previous government.
    It’s very hard to believe your co-worker’s ignorance!
    Good post.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Well mom I think because of growing up spending time in Kincardine we had an early appreciation of native culture. I remember seeing the houses they lived in when we did drives up north and it wasn’t nice and you knew it wasn’t right.

      Like

  4. I don’t have much to add to the comments left here. The attitudes towards Native Americans is fairly stunning. Even now the crimes against those folks isn’t acknowledged. Nor the crimes against those of African descent. The ignorance of history is wide reaching, though. It happened that long ago that it doesn’t matter. I have zero tolerance for those types of shenanigans.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Canada certainly has a lot to answer for…standoffs that end in deaths…residential schools and the abuse those children faced…those reserves in shitty condition that barely provide them with shelter…let alone the mental health of native youth. A lot of stigma. They talk about apologies and reparations…but it is going to take more than the money bandaid to fix this.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree totally. We have done so much to destroy their culture by sending them to these horrible residential schools, where they were abused. They were not allowed to speak their own language at those schools. We destroyed families and lives and we wonder why so many of them drink??? After being taken from their families as children these people did not know how to raise their own children. How do you fix that?

        Liked by 1 person

Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s