Saturday, June 28, 2008

BC Natives Accused of Benefitting From Racism

The BC Court of Appeal has ruled that BC's Native-only fisheries programs are not discriminatory.

Undaunted by the appeal court ruling, the Fisheries Survival Coalition vowed to continue its fight for the rights on non-Aboriginal fishermen. "I suspect we're going to the Supreme Court of Canada," said a defiant Phil Eidsvik, a Coalition spokesperson and failed Tory candidate in the last federal election.

The claim is that this is a 'Race-based' Fishery, thereby unconstitutional in Canada.

The Supreme Court says, 'Look, they're Indians, OK?', opening up the appearance of a race based decision.

I certainly don't blame these folks for being upset at the unfairness or any advantage they may perceive here. Mind you, this argument would then mean that 90% of Canadian jobs, education, life expectancy and social incluision are race based, in favour of non-Indian people...

What is true is that the First Nation people have traveled and fished there for at least ten thousand years; traded fish amongst themselves; traded fish with the European and Chinese explorers who arrived earlier; were excluded racially; and Fish has been central to coastal and river communities forever.

But, there's another detail needing to be dredged up here.

An important one:

- Just because you're an Indian doesn't mean you're an 'Indian
' -

Sound crazy? Welcome to the kaleidoscopic world of the Canadian Indian!

See, here in Canada, there are two types of Indian: Status and Non-status.

If you are a registered, Status Indian, you qualify for the dwindling list of supportive commitments made by the CDN government, a while ago.

Your parents or grandparents went to Mission School and never really recovered from the experience. You are probably pissed off and depressed.

If you are Non-status, you get all the hassle of being Native with none of the benefits. You are probably pissed off and depressed.

I personally know people who are full blooded Cree or Okanagan but are not recognized by the government as such. In fact, I am related to several of these individuals.

I am, myself, blessed with recognition.

So, anyway, what I want to say here, is that this cannot be a race based issue, because many 'Indians' in this country would be unable to fish at all in British Columbia because of their Non-status bearing in the country.

Whenever I hear someone say they wish they were born Indian, I always have to ask, 'Status or Non-status?'

The usual response is, "Huh?. What do you mean 'status'?"

I'm no longer disappointed by Canadians' lack of respect for history.

Besides -
You want to talk about racism in the BC Fishery?

The Native Brotherhood is recognized as Canada's oldest active Native organization and is a senior BC fishing organization. It was formed in 1931 due to the exclusion of Aboriginals from the lucrative waters of traditional coastal inhabitants.

This is not a racial issue.

It's a constitutional issue.

Terry Harris