Saturday, May 10, 2014

More Of The Same From Indian Country

 UPDATED AND BUMPED:What did I tell you?

 ===========Original Post Starts Here==========

I've been thinking for several days now what the consequences of AFN's latest fiasco will be. The National Post had a number of informative articles about it, which remain the best I've read, so far: Atleo’s resignation does more than derail the $1.9B First Nations education plan, it may have upended the whole AFN
"Mr. Atleo’s shock departure also energized the Idle No More movement that tagged him as too close to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, undermined the credibility of the AFN, and set the stage for a race to replace him that, according to one senior member, is likely to be dominated by hopeless idealists and outrage radicals. “I think we are heading to a very disappointing upcoming election for national chief,” said Grand Chief Doug Kelly of the Sto:lo Tribal Council in British Columbia, an ally of Mr. Atleo and a supporter of the education deal, Bill C-33, which he said was unanimously supported in principle by chiefs in December. “Why would anyone stand up and say ‘I want to lead this unruly, undisciplined organization that doesn’t know what it wants to do from meeting to meeting.’ What government would deal with it?” Mr. Kelly said. “We don’t have any credibility, so that’s a serious problem. We damaged our own credibility as an advocacy organization because of a lack of discipline.” He is not alone in this view, though not all share his pessimism. Mr. Atleo’s resignation reflects the “growing power of community members” and “is the manifestation of whatever Idle No More has become” and could even lead to the AFN’s “disappearance,”"
Yup. The AFN has been very good at shooting itself in the foot.
"As it sits on the shelves in Ottawa awaiting a new National Chief, however, Bill C-33 already illustrates a dangerous tendency in First Nations politics that would worry any aspiring leader. “Any national chief that establishes a productive working relationship with any federal government is accused of being too tight, or jumping into bed with the federal government,” Mr. Kelly said in an interview. “It’s politics. What’s fair in politics? I expect more from chiefs.”"
Atleo’s departure shows us everything that’s wrong with First Nations identity politics
"The resignation of Assembly of First Nations (AFN) national chief Shawn Atleo is a symptom of not one, but two serious and systemic problems afflicting First Nations communities: (1) a lack of quality schools for native children living on reserve, and (2) native leaders’ own self-destructive insistence that any solution to this and other social problems must conform to the false conceit of unfettered First Nations sovereignty."
Shawn Atleo was a different type of National Chief, and that’s what led to his ouster
"From the outset of Shawn A-in-chut Atleo’s surprise 2009 ascendancy to the Assembly of First Nations’ top job, he seemed a different type of National Chief. The 42-year-old was young enough to have dodged the residential school era, he was a university chancellor with an Australian education degree, a breakdancer who could moonwalk on command and, in an organization composed largely of treatied peoples, Mr. Atleo came from the untreatied lands of British Columbia. And before rooms of Toronto suits, he had no qualms declaring that First Nations were “open for business.” “We’re here to stay and we’re looking for partners. We’re open for business,” he told a gathering of the Toronto Board of Trade just five months after his election. His modern approach wasn’t universally popular, though, and on Friday the man whose name literally means “everyone depends on you” became the first-ever National AFN Chief to resign, openly vilified as a traitor, a sellout and a man colluding with Ottawa to destroy his own people."
And, IMHO, this could be the end of the AFN. And not a moment too soon. Watch for the Canadian government to ignore the AFN and work with Atleo from here on in. Shawn Atleo swallowed up by the native divide
"What won’t be resolved is the crucial question of who speaks for whom. Politics at the best of times is complicated, and in keeping with this principle, native communities are in many instances divided. On the surface there’s grassroots consensus around honouring treaties, “respecting the relationship,” and empowering communities. But the fact that Shawn Atleo and National Chief aspirant Pam Palmateer can both use this language and mean contrary things suggests the gap between aspirations and plans. A good deal of what the grassroots demand is past the posts: there will never be, to cite only one of many possible examples, legislation from the Crown affirming real political independence, much less sovereignty, of First Nations. In any case, political independence has prerequisites like physical and emotional health, education and economic security – and in each of these categories there is work to be done. If any message has been delivered this week it’s that this work is neither the job of the federal government nor the Assembly of First Nations. Both can have a supporting role to play, but the way out and forward must be found and sustained under the steam of the people who are directly involved. Shawn Atleo said as much to me over lunch. How strange that this principle brought him down."

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