Canada 150 … We Are Not United

International Aborigines Festival in Malaysia

I’ve lived in Canada now 15 years. And I work in a community that suffers greatly.

First world folks who come from the First World, seem not to care about those who do not come from First World communities. Canada is a nation of many.

Many people, from many walks of life.

Before the white man came to Canada, Indigenous populations owned the land that was taken from them. Reserves were set up, and as land went to Canada, Indigenous populations were sequestered on reserves.

Many of those reserves today, are Third World Communities.

  • Many homes are condemned, because of lack of utilities and basic working ability.
  • Many Communities cannot be reached by road, either by plane, boat, ferry, or ice Roads. They are not connected to infrastructure and they should be.
  • Many homes have no running water.
  • Many homes have no heat.
  • Reserves scattered all over Canada, are far-flung, and are not connected to First World facilities or infrastructure.

The farther North you travel, the more remote the community, as far as the Arctic in the North, to the Up Coast in the West, to the farthest islands in the far North of B.C.

I have advocated for my people. I’ve written the government over the years. I work with the less fortunate in our community here. I have indigenous friends, who got sober with me and now they work within their communities, in ways that the white community does not.

Our sober communities are diverse, and our Primary Purpose tells us that we must serve every single human who walks through our doors equally. Thankfully, we do this well. We try to make a difference in our own communities.

This is not always a shared commitment across Canada.

There are too many poor Indigenous people across our land. They cannot get by alone. They cannot afford creature comforts that we take for granted. If you went to buy groceries in an Indigenous grocery store, you would pay hand over fist, huge amounts for simple food, that we pay a pittance for ourselves. They do not have access to humane health care and have to travel to larger cities to access care.

  • There is not social equality.
  • There is not economic equality.
  • There is not social equality.
  • There is not housing equality.
  • Our Indigenous populations go without all those comforts, White, Anglo, and Francophone communities expect and take for granted and feel entitled to because of their heritage and birthright as Canadians.
  • Yet, we consign our Indigenous Peoples to lives of Less Than.
  • That is ABOMINABLE !!!

Change must come to Canada across the land.

Truth and Reconciliation has begun, but has fallen short of itself. The Inquiry into Indigenous Missing and Murdered Women has fallen short of expectations. We have not served our Indigenous populations accordingly.

The Residential School program that killed the dreams of millions of children, taken from their homes, into religious communities for assimilation. Entire communities were destroyed. Languages were eradicated. Children were abused beyond what was conceived by those who thought they were doing Canada a favor by turning indigenous children into white religious Canadians.

Respect and Dignity were ignored. Our Indigenous populations demand respect, and we owe them that and so much more.

I don’t think the world knows just how much our Indigenous people suffer. They live within the borders of a country that is First Rate – First World. Yet, Our Indigenous people’s are not respected or dignified the same way we dignify each other as Canadians.

We do not even bother to stand up for those who were here long before any of us were here. Our nation spent millions upon millions of dollars to have a party of all parties to celebrate Canada’s 150th Nation wide, and here in Montreal, our 375th.

In the background, in green spaces, and in small communities and surely in all the homeless shelters, our Indigenous people reside.

Alone, Forgotten, Ignored.

We cannot justify a party for our country, when millions of our own people live Third World existences in a First World country.

That inequality is glaring and openly evident.

That Tee Pee on Parliament Hill needs to be there. Canadians need to open their eyes, their hearts and their lives to the people we ignore and disrespect on a daily national basis. We cannot claim pride for country, when members of our communities have nothing to speak of but the land we ceded them on their reserves.

The Many Indigenous people’s of Canada deserve so much more than the lip service we pay them today. We speak of how good we are trying to make towards reconciliation, and missing and murdered Indigenous women, but simply, we have failed our people who need justice, truth and peace of mind.

The heavens will rain on tomorrows party we are told.

The Great Spirit weeps for those who go without.

It is a shame that today, we do nothing more than what we think is right and just.

It is NOT Right and Just.

We owe our Indigenous Populations Respect, Dignity and Equality.

I know what my people need in my community.

It falls upon YOU to know what is needed in your communities.

We cannot claim Unity, and not be Unified for ALL Equally.

It is a shame. And it is shameful indeed.

How fully we receive – yet so many do not.

How entitled and expectant and taken for granted we live in this Country we call HOME.

In our First World lives, we ignore and commit indignities to those who came before us. We cannot continue this progression without loosing our souls and our dignity, while ignoring those who need more than we give them.

Not everyone will party with you. Because we have failed our most vulnerable.

It is the children who suffer. We have failed them time and time again.

We owe their parents dignity and hope. A job we have failed at time and time again.

Remember them as you celebrate Canada.

Thursday: Drink Your Way Across Europe

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It was a beautiful day today. I did some shopping early on, and hosted one of my guys for another week of Big Book reading, (Read: Booking). I opened and set up the meeting, since many of our folks are away for a few weeks, so we are low on workers for the next month, it is all hands on deck.

We are sitting at the beginning of two weeks of National Holidays, First, here in Quebec, the St. Jean Baptiste Holiday, (For you Separatists out there) not that I have many Francophone readers, or that I am that political to tell you what I think about “Separatist Politics.”

Next weekend is Canada’s 150th Birthday Celebrations countrywide. Canada Day on July 1st, will be the BIGGEST celebration Canada has ever seen. Montreal celebrates 375 years of existence.

Needless to say, Our Provincial and City Governments have gone to great lengths to beautify the city. Millions upon Millions of dollars have been spent to bring Montreal up to speed for our tourists and to get the people on the ground excited to be living in such a wonderful city that IS Montreal.

Who am I to complain …

We who live here want to know WHY they spent so much money on shit we really did not need, while millions go without. We need so many things for our people, that we are not getting, even though the government seems to have deep pockets to spend on rock stumps on the mountain, and electrifying the Jacques Cartier Bridge for the world to see on NEWS CAMS all around the city pointed at the bridge at night.

People need healthcare. So many people need clean water, and homes that are not mold ridden and Indigenous people who live off island REALLY need lives, better lives at that. We need food on our tables, child care, medical assistance, homes, clean water, like I said, there are too many Canadians going without, while the government spend a shit ton of money on beautiful …

WHY ???

Anyways, back to this evening.

Our speaker, a young lady friend of one of our men got up and spoke. We clicked right away. I know her, because I know her boyfriend. They are sober together.

She worked in Travel for a few years. I did myself as well. While I was still drinking too.

We got to compare notes on all the sick ways we used to travel.

READ: Drink Your Way Across Europe.

Nothing was more fun, than on a Friday afternoon, getting on a plane, (in my office we ALWAYS flew First Class) because we could. Free Passes were always a nice perk.

San Francisco, New York, Chicago, London, Paris, or Rio …

The fun started before the plane even took off in those days.

She asked me if I remember any of my trips. I do actually.

I did some serious drinking in my young life. You’d imagine that I was pretty pickled before I hit the ripe age of twenty, seeing how much liquor I could put away.

I am amazed to some degree that I survived those years.

I know, for sure, that I was Stone Cold Sober, when I went to see the Vatican. Because I climbed all those stairs up inside the Cuppola to the roof of St. Peter’s to see St. Peter’s Square from that high up and the Vatican Gardens below.

I drank SO MUCH in Munich that I put a public tour bus out of commission because I was so sick inside that bus on the way back to the city, that I ended up on the pavement, and the bus went in for a deep cleaning and never went back into service.

UGH …

Not A Pretty Drunk at all. Not the most famous memory, but a memory nonetheless.

A good night was had by all.