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and what did the natives ever do?

chuckles

TRIBE Member
http://www.spiritalive.org/onlygoodindian.htm

"This is an emergency hour in the history of Canadian Native Children. The shame of our silence concerning the suicide epidemic and substance abuse that is engulfing Canada’s Native children can no longer be hidden. In the history of a people denigrated and demoralized, there comes a time when their cup of pain is full and runs over.

"Take Our Kids, Desperate Innu Plead." This was the title of an article that appeared in the Globe & Mail on November 17, 2000. Similar titles were repeated in every major paper throughout the Nation.

"In this article, Paul Rich, Sheshatshiu, Innu Chief and Peter Penashue, Leader of the Innu Nation, out of desperation, called for the removal of up to 50 Innu children, some as young as six, for relocation to safe detoxification facilities because of their addiction to gasoline sniffing.

"The turning point came that morning when Chief Rich walked through his community of 1,300 and saw a six-year old blazonly sniffing from a bag around his mouth and nose.

"On the front page of the Toronto Sun on November 18, was an article entitled "Suffer the Children of Labrador." In answer to the desperate plea for help, we were informed in papers throughout our Nation on November 20 that no detox can be found for Labrador’s young addicts.

"Mr. Rich’s reply was, "That’s the most embarrassing, the most shocking thing is that Canada, one of the world’s richest countries, has nowhere for Native children to get help."

"Irene, 19, says she used to sniff gas with her friends, but she gave it up. I’ve been trying to help them, she says in mumbled whispers. I hear them crying all the time.

"In 1990 Jeffery York, author of The Dispossessed, writing on gasoline sniffing: "They begin as young as five carrying plastic bags of death, and start dying at the age of twelve."

"In January and February five Innu children of Nain, Labrador all under the age of 25 took their lives. Last spring, an 11-year old boy from Sheshatshiu died after the gas he was sniffing caught fire.

"The rivers of death of our own homegrown Native children’s holocaust of suicides is raging unabated throughout our Nation. The holocaust of the Jews of Germany is not forgotten! Nor should it be! But the Canadian holocaust of Native children is ignored!! Connect the dots; count the coffins. The last ten years has been a decade of death.

"We are without excuse! We in Canada live in an international glasshouse of shame constructed by the media. Consider the overwhelming statistics over the last decade. The 1989 Canadian Human Rights Commission’s Annual Report concludes ... "that the situation faced by Canadian Native people is, in many ways, a national tragedy."

"In 1991, Joe Clark described the condition of these citizens as a "Portrait of a People in Pain!" In 1992, George Erasmus warned, "Virtually all aboriginal communities are ticking time-bombs which could explode in a wider epidemic of suicide if swift action is not taken."

"What a tragic entrance into 1993 when we read of a suicide pact of six Native children in Davis Inlet, Labrador. When they were found in an unheated shack, two were already unconscious, and the rest violently fought off attempts to save them. What a heartbreaking statement of a demoralized people that children would seek death at their own hand, rather than life.

"Katie Rich, who was then Chief of Davis Inlet, when interviewed, wept silently as she spoke of the sheer despair that her people face. She related how the people lived in third world conditions with no running water or sewerage systems within their homes.

"Still today in our Nation, human waste is dumped into open trench sewers; dogs eat the human excrement, and then lick the faces of children. Tiny children have open puss-filled sores on their faces from overwhelming lack of hygiene.

"In 1994 Chief Simeon Tshakapesh – who himself needed help fighting substance abuse after his parents committed suicide, warns that the situation is worsening. The wife of the Assistant Deputy Chief, George Rich, committed suicide with a shotgun blast to the stomach.

"And the dying, the holocaust of Native children, continued unabated! In 1994 Travis Turtle, 13, of the Pikangikum, Ontario Reserve tried to kill himself. He was spotted by a Band Councillor heading into the trees with a jar of gasoline to get high, and a rope to die.

"His brother, Cornelius, hung himself three weeks ago. Another brother, 21 year old Saulius, blew his head off with a shotgun. A sign painted red on a fuel tank at the entrance to this remote Ojibawa village, beyond road and rail, reads, "Welcome to Hell."

"The bodies are piling up!" This was the opening sentence in an editorial entitled "Why Can’t Canada Stop Native Suicides?" by Haroon Siddiqui that appeared in the Toronto Star on August 10, 1994.

"Siddiqui, describes two communities, Davis Inlet and Pikangikum with such phrases as:

"... Suicide epidemic .... cycle of destruction. .. negligence... where the shadow of death never lifts ... and where suicide attempts are weekly, sometimes nightly occurrences."

"He then wonders why in the face of all the aid sent to besieged countries abroad, there has been no state of emergency declared here and why a nationally concentrated campaign to stop the dying, has not been enacted?

"The indifference of our inaction forms an incredible indictment, in that we saw with our eyes and heard with our ears, but we did nothing! For my people, the cup of their endurance is full while it seems the cup of our collective compassion is empty! There is a national moral meltdown.

"When will the government, philanthropists, relief organizations and churches take the plight and perishing of a segment of our Canadian population seriously? How many more bodies of little Native children and youth with ropes around their necks and hanging in trees, will it take to declare a state of emergency?

"How many more Native youths will put shotgun barrels in their mouths and pull the trigger, scattering brain tissue, bone fragments and blood on the walls and ceilings of isolated shacks in habitations of cruelty before the dying stops?

"Perhaps what is needed is to assemble a "Suicide Clean Up Squad" that will go north. If we’re not concerned with prevention, then let’s at least be concerned about the retrieval and proper disposal of the bodies, lest the environment be contaminated.

"The issue of abortion and the rights of the unborn have been eloquently addressed. But what about the living? What about the more than 400 Native children and youth who commit suicide each year?

"If the government, as the protectorate of its people, and the church, as the moral bastion of compassion of a nation, were taken before a tribunal of justice to given an account of the faithful discharging of their obligation to the least of this Nation, what would the verdict be?

"Yesterday, I talked with Colleen Estes who works with children in Pikangikum. She informed me since June there have been five suicides, and the community is filled with tired grieving people. The children lack a spark in their lives.

"And what of today? I quote from the article in the Toronto Star, November 22, entitled "Native Mental Health Services a Failure." An international expert on aboriginal suicides said, "Pikangikum First Nations has one of the highest suicide rates in the world."

"This northern Ontario Reserve has had eight suicides since March, and a teenage suicide on a neighbouring Reserve on Monday bumping the region’s total to 25 since January – the worst suicide rate on record.

"As a Native clergyman and journalist, I feel depressed and demoralized by the little that has been done to dry up these rivers of death. As a human, my heart is sick. Even as I write, my tears run down without intermission because of the death of my people. As a Christian, I have a sense of moral outrage and a conviction that Canada’s national conscience must be awakened.

"What would happen if a cluster of deaths occurred in the white community? It did! It was called, "The Walkerton Water Crises," that occurred in the month of May. It resulted tragically in the deaths of 7 people.

"The response was immediate, overwhelming and continuing to this day. Representatives from every major political party visited. Investigations from all levels of government were launched. Systems were upgraded, batteries of lawyers were marshalled.

"In fact, on November 17 (the same day that the plea from Innu leaders was given), it was reported in the Toronto Star that Dr. Murray McQuigge, the region’s medical officer of health, has assembled a unit that will take more independent water samples and in turn will consult a panel of 27 international water experts. Also a 20 member team tested more than 5,000 water samples for the new water filtration system.

"All red tape was dealt with expeditiously, no stone was left unturned, millions of dollars were spent, and continue to be spent. The government last week, passed its new legislation establishing as a result of the Walkerton water crises, a 65 member SWAT Team (Soil, Water and Air Team).

"In comparison, our response toward the plight of Native children is like giving aspirin to a cancer patient or putting a bandaid on a tumour. The collective shame of our silence and inaction can no longer be hidden. Our true north is not strong and it is not free! O Canada! Our home and native land ... is wretchedly weeping!

"We have always lived with heartache and sadness. We as Fist Nations peoples have always lived in third world conditions on the edge of epidemics. Our babies have the highest rate of mortality and our children are plagued with diseases caused by open trench sewers; and now our children are increasingly taking their lives.

"Prejudice, solvent abuse, 80% unemployment on some First Nations Territories, isolation, poverty, overcrowding, sexual abuse and residential schools are pieces of the tragic puzzle that have driven a people whose cup of endurance is full, into a cycle of self-destruction.

"In the article that I made reference to by Mr. Siddiqui "Why Can’t Canada Stop Native Suicides?" concludes his editorial by calling this ongoing tragedy, "... a national crises and a national shame." I concur, but I go a step further, I call it "A National Crime that should go before an international tribunal of justice."

"Surely, if we as a Nation at the expense of millions of dollars, can design and develop the Space Arm for the United States Space Program, surely we must extend a hand across the moral divide to the Native children of our Nation.

"Does it not seem that the well known saying is still relevant today, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian?" Never mind birth control and past policies of forced sterilization to regulate the population of Natives, future generations are now being decimated by the suicide of its children and youth. A shotgun, rope or knife, are not they more effective than a condom? A depopulation of a people group is taking place before our very eyes. With a level of our response, it seems that our solution is, "Let nature take its course."

"We cannot undo our past actions, but we will be indicted and condemned for our current response to this national shame. We must with resolution respond with intercession, social action and through legislation, address a history of mistreatment that has left a legacy of sorrow. Native children must not continue to die in the darkness of death at their own hands. Put yourself in their position – what would you do?"
 

rubytuesday

TRIBE Member
We cannot undo our past actions, but we will be indicted and condemned for our current response to this national shame. We must with resolution respond with intercession, social action and through legislation, address a history of mistreatment that has left a legacy of sorrow.
That would be nice. As to whether it will happen...
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by chuckles

"We cannot undo our past actions, but we will be indicted and condemned for our current response to this national shame. We must with resolution respond with intercession, social action and through legislation, address a history of mistreatment that has left a legacy of sorrow. Native children must not continue to die in the darkness of death at their own hands. Put yourself in their position – what would you do?"
I have a tough time with native issues. Part of me makes me believe that we should provide sollutions to there problems and we should enforce some of these sollutions upon them weather they like it or not. Then I look back and I read the history of Belgium or the history of Holland and I realize that they argued the same things with the natives in Indoneasia and the Congo. That they enforced sollutions to social problems believing full well that they were trying to help, trying to civilize these backwards people only to infact furthur destroy them.

I think the sollution for this has to come from the native bands themselves, any resources they need we must provide. But as a society even when we don't believe progress is being made, or we don't agree with the steps being taken we must stand by them, we must support them even when it appears to be a black eye upon us. We can't just add new schools or new doctors or new nurses, they must and we must act as silent partners to there requests.

But in the time being children will die, and we will cry the tears of pathoes hoping for a sollution to develop in the communities that need to solve the problems.
 

Chris

Well-Known TRIBEr
Geographic Information Systems

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badkitty

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: and what did the natives ever do?

Originally posted by Ditto Much
I have a tough time with native issues. Part of me makes me believe that we should provide sollutions to there problems and we should enforce some of these sollutions upon them weather they like it or not. Then I look back and I read the history of Belgium or the history of Holland and I realize that they argued the same things with the natives in Indoneasia and the Congo. That they enforced sollutions to social problems believing full well that they were trying to help, trying to civilize these backwards people only to infact furthur destroy them.

I think the sollution for this has to come from the native bands themselves, any resources they need we must provide. But as a society even when we don't believe progress is being made, or we don't agree with the steps being taken we must stand by them, we must support them even when it appears to be a black eye upon us. We can't just add new schools or new doctors or new nurses, they must and we must act as silent partners to there requests.

But in the time being children will die, and we will cry the tears of pathoes hoping for a sollution to develop in the communities that need to solve the problems.

i think you're right. because forcing change in their traditional way of life is what caused a lot of these problems in the first place.
 
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