We take...because we love.

When you ride the bus as much as I do, you get to hear some pretty enlightened statements about Indigenous peoples. It would be easy to attribute such statements to ignorance, were it not for the existence of similar statements made by some very well-educated people, both past and present. Here for your pleasure are some enlightened views on the First Nations in BC:

"When the whites first came among you, you were little better than the wild beasts of the field."

"...were undoubtedly at the time of settlement a very primitive people with few of the institutions of civilized society, and none at all of our notions of private property."

And from Chief Justice Allan McEachern, recently describes as "a great reformer who revolutionized court procedure," who I like to call Big Whitey, or The Honkaloid:

"Similarly, it would not be accurate to assume that even pre-contact existence in the territory was in the least bit idyllic. The plaintiffs' ancestors had no written language, no horses or wheeled vehicles, slavery and starvation was not uncommon, wars with neighbouring peoples were common, and there is no doubt, to quote Hobbes, that aboriginal life in the territory was, at best, 'nasty, brutish and short.'"

"The evidence does not disclose the beginnings of the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en people. Many of them believe God gave this land to them at the beginning of time. While I have every respect for their beliefs, there is no evidence to support such a theory and much good reason to doubt it."

"Brown reports some minimal levels of social organization but the primitive condition of the natives described by early observers is not impressive."

"The evidence suggests that the Indians of the territory were, by historical standards, a primitive people without any form of writing, horses, or wheeled wagons."

"...all aboriginal life revolves around the chief, clan and House system, and around aboriginal use of, and connection with, House territories. I do not question the social importance of these institutions but I regret to say that I believe the plaintiffs' evidence in this connection was overstated. I would not go so far as to characterize these institutions as a club..."

"...it would be incorrect to assume that the social organization which existed was a stable one. Warfare between neighbouring or distant tribes was constant, and the people were hardly amenable to obedience to anything but the most rudimentary form of custom. Brown held them in no high esteem, partly because of their addiction to gambling, and Ogden, about whom there are different views (Dr. Sage called him "kindly," while others refer to his "scorched earth policy in Oregon country"), described them most unkindly."

"The evidence suggests the land was seldom able to provide the Indians with anything more than a primitive existence."

But what about the Church? Surely Jesus has something to say about all this:

"The problems with the Indians is one of morality and religion. They lack the basic fundamentals of civilized thought and spirit, which explains their child-like nature and behavior. At our school we strive to turn them into mature Christians who will learn how to behave in the world and surrender their barbaric way of life and their treaty rights which keep them trapped on their land and in a primitive existence. Only then will the Indian problem in our country be solved" - Rev. A.E. Caldwell


At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaaah what the...! Every thing i read turned my stomach...thank you Thomas. You Rock?


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