Wednesday, November 23, 2022

In an essay adapted from the concluding chapter of Valley of the Birdtail: An Indian Reserve, a White Town and the Road to Reconciliation (HarperCollins Canada, 2022), co-authors Professor Douglas Sanderson (Amo Binashii) and Faculty of Law alumnus Andrew Stobo Sniderman (JD 2014), draw on the stories and lessons of the book. They write: 

A grand notion
Taxation is the lifeblood of governance. New approaches to First Nations’ law-making and financing are the way forward toward reconciliation.

The troubled relationship between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians sometimes snaps into focus. A young Indigenous woman who is supposed to be in protective care is abandoned in a motel and then found dead after being raped and thrown from a bridge. A carload of Indigenous teens seeks help with a flat tire at a farmhouse and one of them is shot dead by a farmer who assumes they have come to rob him.  Hospital workers taunt an Indigenous woman as she draws her final breath. A patch of overgrown scrub yields up the bodies of hundreds of Indian children, long buried in unmarked graves – the horror of which had been whispered for decades. But it is never long before the news cycle turns and saves us the trouble of having to look away. Outrage blurs once more into indifference.

It seems as though nothing has changed, and nothing ever will. First Nations remain poor, the Indian Act is still valid legislation and violence stains the Indigenous landscape.

Professor Sanderson will give the keynote address at the IRPP’s 50th anniversary event on November 24 in Ottawa, ON. 

Read the full essay at Policy Options