The issue of taxes and aborigional Canadians

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by Chris, Mar 8, 2002.

  1. The Kid

    The Kid TRIBE Member

    Re: Social Problems

    It really bothers me when people say stuff like this....

    Here's an excerpt of a great article I found:

    Extensive anthropological evidence shows that prior to their devastation by Europeans, the diverse native cultures in Canada all provided a level of psychosocial integration that is unknown to modern people. Most native people lived communally and shared their resources within a matrix of expectations and responsibilities that grew from their family, clan, village, and religion as well as their individual talents and inheritance of particular prerogatives. They clung to their cultures with courageous resolution-although they valued European trading goods, they found European ways repellant. On the other hand, Canadian natives had a long tradition of warfare, cruel torture of prisoners, and slavery like the Europeans.

    Although murder, adultery, and insanity sometimes occurred within Canadian aboriginal culture, I have as yet found no mention by anthropologists of anything that could reasonably be called addiction, despite the fact that activities were available that have proven addictive to many people in free market societies, such as eating, sex, gambling, psychedelic mushrooms, etc. Canadian natives did not have access to alcohol, but natives in what is now Mexico and the American Southwest did. Where alcohol was readily available, it was used moderately, often ceremonially rather than addictively.

    The history of Canadian aboriginals is different from the more famous "Indian wars," enslavement, and mass slaughter that occurred in the U.S. and in Latin America. Centuries before Vancouver was founded, both British and French trading companies in Canada established formal and mutually beneficial fur-trading relationships with many native tribes, primarily in eastern and central Canada. Few European settlers then sought to settle in the inhospitable Canadian climate, so there was little need to displace the natives. Later, the English colonial government formed indispensable military alliances with various aboriginal nations in several wars, particularly against the U.S.

    After these crucial wars ended, it would have been unseemly for the Crown, as it began to covet the vast native lands, to slaughter former allies who had fought loyally and sometimes decisively. Instead, the British and later Canadian governments quietly pursued a policy, later called "assimilation," intended to move aboriginal lands into the real estate market and aboriginal people into the labour market as quietly as possible. This policy was explicitly intended to strip the natives of their culture and lands. One notorious instrument of this policy was a network of "residential schools" where children, often forcibly taken from their parents, were forcefully taught to despise their own language and customs, which sometimes alienated them from their own families as well. An 1847 report of the colonial Canadian government contained this comment:

    "Their education must consist not merely of the training of the mind, but of a weaning from the habits and feelings of their ancestors, and the acquirements of the language, arts, and customs of civilised life."

    Although assimilation policy very nearly succeeded in eliminating native languages and spiritual practices, it failed to integrate the natives into free market society, thus leaving them utterly dislocated . As wards of the federal government, however, they generally had food, housing, and some protection.

    Although some Canadian natives developed a taste for riotous drunkenness from the time that Europeans first introduced alcohol, many individuals and tribes either abstained, drank only moderately, or drank only as part of tribal rituals for extended periods. It was only during assimilation that alcoholism emerged as a pervasive, crippling problem for native people, along with suicide, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and so forth. Although some eastern tribes were ravaged by drunkenness and alcoholism centuries before assimilation was established as a policy, the causal principle appears to be the same. For example, the Hurons of eastern Canada, who were "civilized" by the devotion of courageous French missionaries backed by the firepower of the French Army early in the seventeen century, were famous for their drunken violence. "Civilization," as it came to these natives, was administered by militant Jesuits in a century of fanatical religious zeal. This meant destruction of the robust Huron religion and, hence, Huron culture itself, with dislocation as the consequence. Eventually every tribal culture in Canada was engulfed by the overpowering European culture, and every tribe succumbed to the ravages of dislocation, including epidemic alcoholism. Massive dislocation produced massive addiction.

    The Vancouver area had a relatively minor history of fur trade and no history of military alliance with the Crown. The natives were dispossessed of their lands without great violence, enslavement, or impoverishment, but deliberate destruction of whatever remained of their culture began immediately and, with it, rampant alcoholism.

    Throughout the period of assimilation up to the present, Canadian natives have had an astronomical rate of alcoholism, although the statistics may understate the problem. Although a few reserves have only minor problems with alcoholism, alcoholism in many reserves is nearly 100% (including people in stages of recovery). Alcoholism was only one consequence of this mass-produced dislocation. Other consequences include drug addictions, depression, domestic violence, and suicide.

    There is a more popular explanation for the widespread alcoholism of Canadian natives. They are often said to have a racial inability to control alcohol. However, this is unlikely, since alcoholism was not a ruinous problem among natives until assimilation subjected them to extreme dislocation. Moreover, if natives were handicapped by the "gene for alcoholism," the same must be said of the Europeans, since those subjected to conditions of extreme dislocation also fell into it, almost universally.
  2. AdRiaN

    AdRiaN TRIBE Member


    I realize WHY depression, drug use, and alcoholism are so prevalent in native communities. It's the same reason why American inner cities have experienced the same problems. Both cases are an illustration of failed attempts to integrate a conquered (or enslaved) people into Western society.

    When you setup communities to be highly dependent on government assistance and hand-outs, you create a self-perpetuating cycle. Bigger welfare cheques and more tax breaks only feed the dependence.

    Sure, "we" (as in, the white man) should bear some responsibility for causing these conditions. And we should be willing to help. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think "helping" simply means throwing money at a problem. As I mentioned, sometimes you're making the problem worse.
  3. graham

    graham Well-Known Member

    Graeme Green is one hell of an actor
  4. noisy

    noisy TRIBE Member

    Re: Dependence

    The Canadian government agreed to do these things when they negotiated with aboriginal people all those years ago. If the government ceases to give them benefits, does that mean that we have to return what we received from the deal (namely, land, unlimited hunting and fishing etc, and so on)? I would be interested to hear what Adrian and others who support his view have to say to that.

    As far as today's ruling goes, I have yet to read the judgment, but my understanding is that it applies only to aboriginals who come under that specific treaty, so it's doesn't immediately mean that aboriginals everywhere don't have to pay the tax.

    I asked a friend who spends a lot of time studying issues surrounding native canadians and the law why natives were exempted from certain taxes. Roughly, she said the exemptions were often read into the language of treaties, and were also the result of the fiduciary relationship between aboriginal Canadians and the government.
  5. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Lots o shit very little fact!!!

    So heres some actual facts.

    Treaty 8 - 172 pages long signed in 1899 (yup 103 years later we're still arguing)

    Number of Natives effected - 30,000 in 23 bands

    In direct quote from the star


    "The plaintiffs are entitled to claim the benefits of Treaty 8, including the treaty right not to have any tax imposed upon them at any time for any reason," wrote Campbell.

    Campbell said this promise must be honoured even though it was clear that federal negotiators at the time didn't mean to permanently exempt aboriginals from taxes.

    "It has been proved that there was no intention on the part of the treaty commissioners to grant the tax exemption claimed by the plaintiffs, but the aboriginal people believed such a promise was made," Campbell wrote.

    So 103 years later a verbal agreement with none of the original signers is being upheld beyond even the reasonable level at which it was expected. In essence the judge wimped out and handed the case to the feds rather than pissing anyone off in his local area. There is about 0 chance that a verble agreement 103 years old will stand up to the feds.

    But in the mean time it creates an interesting debate.
  6. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Oh just for sick sick sick twisted humour...

    Average income of a treaty 8 indian - $13,000

    Meaning in total the fight is over $780 average per head from what has to be one of the poorest societies of 30,000 in our country. In total the amount we're fighting over per year is less than the amount that goes into ttc cash boxes on any given day of the week.

    By the time we're done fighting it chances are it will have costed the canadian tax payers enough that it will take 10 years just to break even if we win.

    Why are we taxing people who make less than 15,000 in this country anyway!!!!
  7. AdRiaN

    AdRiaN TRIBE Member


    You're right, we cannot unilaterally break treaties. But it's a tough situation, because aboriginal communities have to voluntarily wean themselves away from the government trough. They have to see value in self-sufficiency, and not blame all of their problems on centuries old oppression.

    What happens if the federal government gives into the most extreme of native demands, and decides to grant huge tracts of land along with substantial financial reparations? Would native communities be revitalized? Probably not. They would just become more dependent on hand-outs.

    Like I said, bickering over the wrongs of the past will not teach our next generation of native youth to learn individual responsibility and the important life skills required to climb out of a cycle of poverty and drug abuse. Native communities must take this task upon themselves.

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