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Schools for Indigenous Populations

Globe & Mail, Canada. First Nation to release report on unmarked graves at Kamloops.

Canada gets a good press generally as a matter of course. Over the years stories emerge showing that the whole story is withheld and the domination of the demands of Capitalism are upheld over and above the well being of its citizens. The term "First Nation" was brought into use in the 1980s to refer to part of the indigenous population which consists of many groups apart from Inuit inhabiting Artic region of Canada and intercultural groups, or Metis.

Recently unmarked graves have been found near to two residential schools where first nation children were sent, removing them from families and culture and imposing on them an eduction designed to integrate them into the dominant language and culture of the country. The are 139 such schools across Canada.

Amazon Front lines have sent a message of solidarity with the indigenous people of North America, the Amazon and other places where residential schools exist.

As for land ownership treaties were drawn up in the past but they appear to be partial and many have never made one. Major schemes often encroach on First Nation land with the huge oil pipeline intended to take tar sands oil to the United States or ports near Vancouver needing to cross. Mineral wealth has led to massive excavation resulting in the release of toxins affecting drinking water used by indigenous people and food grown. Colonial power continues unabated.

After talking about what’s happening to Africa’s wealth I read in the Washington Post (5/3/2007) about a booming diamond industry in northern Canada, once the scene of a gold rush. The article claims it could be the answer to “blood diamonds” resulting from conflict zones. However on reading the article you might see that there are more than superficial similarities. You see land there is owned by Inuit – the earlier settlers on land which they saw taken out of their hands before. Now there is a surge in interest in education. The report goes on to say there are not too many Indians on the boards of the mining companies which form an industry larger than South Africa’s Canada’s MiningWatch comments on the diamond industry and makes the point “there are no clean diamonds”. “There are no clean diamonds. Exploring for them, digging them out of the ground and selling them requires sacrifices from the natural environment, from the wildlife and fish that live on it, and from the Aboriginal people who depend on it. We want to ensure that the public understand that Canada’s Aboriginal communities are engaged in a daily power struggle to ensure that the mines benefit their people, and to ensure that these mines do not irreversibly damage the intricate web of life on which we all depend. We want to ensure that the DiCaprio film and its response strengthen the ability of Canadian Aboriginal communities and indigenous communities elsewhere in the world to protect their interests.”

John Tyrrell 18/7/2021

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