Re: “Simplistic solution unrealistic”
The writer’s reaction to Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour’s quote, that the easiest solution would be to give the land back to him, is understandable.
If he grew up here, the writer is probably as ignorant of First Nations history as I have been, until fairly recently.
Now that I know a little more, I can tell him that the way Indigenous people have been treated in Canada, and particularly in B.C., is a travesty.
The Indian Act prohibited Indigenous people from earning money in many ways, and few jobs were open to them due to settlers’ prejudice.
Did you know reserves in B.C. are the smallest in North America? Did you know land was expropriated from Vancouver Island nations for the railway — much more land than was needed? And then what wasn’t needed was sold. Of course they couldn’t afford to buy it back.
Indigenous people were promised that they would always be able to hunt and fish as they always had. But as we log, mine and otherwise destroy their traditional territories, and the fish-bearing waterways that run through them, that is clearly no longer possible.
There has been a lot of talk about reconciliation in recent years. I don’t know what real reconciliation would look like, but I think a good start would involve all of us learning something about Indigenous people and the wrongs that have been done to them, and giving back whatever land we possibly can. Their ancestors were stewards of this land for thousands of years. I’m sure we could learn much from them if we have enough sense to listen.