Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Is A Nation?

 This YouTube video is a good place to start. I'll have a bit more to say below:

The Indian Industry has allowed the total bastardization of the word "nation" over the past 30 to 40 years. I'll take Treaty 6, to illustrate, because it is the Treaty 6 territory I know most about. When the so-called "numbered treaties" were negotiated, the representatives on the Indian side of the table were chosen to represent all of the Treaty 6 area, not individual bands within that area, although individual bands were represented by their leaders. That is an area that stretched from a short distance west of the present day Manitoba-Saskatchewan border all the way to what is now the Alberta-British Columbia border in the Rockies.

Certainly the size of the territory, if not the native population within it, was closer to what we would today call a nation, but even so, by the time Treaty 6 was negotiated, disease such as smallpox and a multitude of others, not to mention starvation, as the buffalo were rapidly disappearing, had already devastated their population.  In fact, the dire straights and state of semi-starvation was most certainly in the background when the Treaty 6 Indians sat down to negotiate, and was responsible for the insertion of key new elements into Treaty 6 which had not been in any previous treaty and that raised the hackles of officialdom in Ottawa, namely the medicine chest clause and the promise of relief during times of extreme depredation.

Perhaps that was reasonable, but what passes for a "nation" today, in the Indian Industry, is better likened to a village or town within a nation. About 30 to 40 years ago, the Indian Industry began to sell its version of snake oil, and boy, have they sold a lot of it. And a lot of people have been suckered into it, and a lot of people have made a good living selling it.

I'll have more to say about the Indian Industry and its output over the next several days.

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