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.
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,
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.