Okay, usually I can read articles and sometimes experience mild outrage and then I “get over it”. Get it? I really want to make a joke about how “getting over it” is what a lot of the population think Native people should do when it comes to the traumatic genocidal and still inherently racist systemic experiences they’ve had in Canada… But I will refrain from it. Or did I? Hehe. My blog. My rules.
Anyways, I read an article regarding the local MLA Pat Pimm who is pushing for transparency in regards to land transfers to First Nations groups as compensatory land for Site C, the 83 km hydroelectric dam that BC Hydro is trying to build on the Peace River.
See excerpts from this article below:
““Keep in mind there are approximately 70,000 residents in the Peace Country with only 1,721 First Nations living on the reserve lands, which is approximately 2.4 per cent of the region’s residents.” (PIMM’s QUOTE)
First Nations people account for around 13.5 per cent of Northeast B.C.’s population when off-reserve populations are taken into account.”
“Pimm said he did not believe highlighting First Nations’ minority status would create tensions between First Nations and non-First Nations people.
“We need to accommodate everybody. You can’t accommodate two per cent and have 98 per cent not accommodated,” he said. “That’s the point of my discussion and that’s what I’m standing behind. I represent everybody in my region: First Nations, non-First Nations alike. They’re all my constituents. If I feel the government is not standing up and representing the general population, it’s my job as MLA to make sure my constituents are heard.”
They are all your constituents huh? Funny because when I googled “Pat Pimm and First Nations”, I found this little number from 2014:
“In the July 2012 email exchange, Liberal MLA Pat Pimm questions who’s running the province, and says that opportunities to make changes are being ignored while First Nations get government money.
“Here is an opportunity to actually muster up some support for our team, but instead we will ignore it and go out and find some ways to give the Indians more money, which doesn’t get me one vote!” the Peace River North MLA wrote.”
Turns out you don’t represent “all of your constituents Pat Pimm. Why would you when we aren’t your primary voters and you have some fairly racist philosophies and outlooks? We are, after all, just some “Indians” trying to get some quick money off the backs of our ancestor’s right? I can kind of get it I suppose, I mean I know from growing up here that there was and still is some very strong racist and prejudice undertones in the Peace Region. I also know that if you come from the same political stock as our MP Bob Zimmer, who essentially said that in order for Native women to be safe they need to “get jobs and stay on reserve” in a public debate. So…. Makes sense right? But is this not 2016? Are you not supposed to evolve and also garner some knowledge for yourself?
Do I REALLY need to point out why highlighting the First Nations minority status is actually a very ignorant thing to do? Because it is obvious that you don’t know.
I remember hearing this story from my Grandma in regards to the sweeping sickness epidemics when they hit this territory.
“The people were all together but a few of them went hunting. They were gone for days, maybe a week or so,” my Asu told me as she demonstrated the distance with her beautiful brown hands, “then when they came back, they were on the top of this hill. They stood up there and someone from where the people were camping came out. They yelled at those hunters,
Go away! Go! Everyone here is dying. The people are sick. Don’t come back!”
“So, what could they do?” Asu said with a sadness in her voice, “They had to walk away and they left their families and everyone they loved there to die. They had no choice”.
After our population was decimated by these sicknesses in the late 1800’s it was getting closer to the time we started to sign treaties. Did you know that? Did you know that we still hold the stories of those times orally and understand just how “small” our populations are? Because we damn well remember Pimm. We also recognize that we have become the minority within our territory. Yes, we signed Treaties in this area that allowed for settlement and taking up of lands for the settler populations and to live in peace together (there is a whole other story here to be told). The last Treaty to be signed in this area was in 1911…. By my Great Great Grandfather, Chief Bigfoot. A Treaty that was signed between OUR nations and the Federal Government.
Nowhere in that treaty did it say that because your tribe is small, your Treaty rights and our duty to uphold those rights is no longer applicable….Right?
Population WAS and IS the wrong way to go about it, and even though I would rather just keep the Peace River Valley undammed and not have these land transfers take place at all(let’s now point out the irony of the government GIVING back land that IS Indigenous land ONLY because they are FLOODING land).
Furthermore, you and your blatant ignorance and misunderstanding only contributes to the misunderstanding and prejudice within the general population. If you, our MLA, cannot be educated on what a Treaty is and how to have respectful dialogue with First Nations people then how can you effectively make change? How are you contributing to your First Nations constituent’s general well-being? Because I can tell you that you are not. Ignorance breeds ignorance…and honestly, it’s time you do better because there are children growing up in this region, Native children, and they will inherit the experience of the ideology that is created within these communities. The young people will experience the ramifications of you and Bob Zimmer’s bullshit… and Ackerman. Yeah, you too, if you are silent and “neutral” it is the same thing as being a part of it.
The thing is, we are no longer willing to accept that for our children anymore.
Here is to, not “getting over it”.
One more thing…. Site C has been all divide and conquer from the beginning… Stay woke.
P.S. P.S. Good thing I’m not planning on running in politics anytime soon hahah