As Canadians consider the “Idle No More Movement,” many wonder exactly what is the best way to deal with the Native Canadian’s various demands.
There is little question most would like to see all Canadians learn to live in peace with each other.
As a person that has spent a number of years working in many Native communities one problem that I see that cannot easily be resolved is the location of many of these communities.
Often these locations are remote, some isolated, with the original purpose of the location of some of these communities almost lost to history.
Native communities often were located close to the then life sustaining and supporting environment and life style that had adequately served generations of Natives over hundreds of years.
Life expectancy in such communities depended on the successful search of food. As we see in the wild animal world when there is a sustainable source of food, animals thrive and populations multiply.
Historically so it would also apply to Native populations.
Without an adequate supply of food, mothers cannot provide for infants and many children die in infancy with no record of these lives lost.
An example is the Central Coast Natives of 1793 — Alexander Mackenzie’s time — thrived on the making and the use of ooligan grease. Today the ooligans are no longer coming.
In another era and time many infants would succumb to the inability of a community to provide the required nourishment to support these young lives.
Today, generally speaking, with a dependable source of food supply, coupled with improved housing, health, welfare and education, populations are growing in many of these remote communities; these growing populations cannot any longer be sustained in an ancestral manner.
Here lies the government’s problem — providing for the growing needs of these remote communities. Over time these needs could break the financial back of a country unless some long-term solution can be found. As much as a government is blamed for failing to meet the needs of Native communities, it basically comes down to allocating available sources of federal Income.
Without a continuous growing federal economy a government has to end up, as the old saying goes, robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Sadly, almost all Native communities are against the very economic development that is necessary to sustain the needs of their communities.