The international community is where one Winnipeg writer thinks First Nations should turn to — in order to force the government to change the status quo.
Don Marks says the Canadian government frequently tries to craft an image of itself as being a kind and caring nation that’s always there for people.
He says this played out during the recent memorial services for Nelson Mandela.
He argues things never change though until groups like the United Nations start to examine what’s really going on:
“We may have to keep pressure on the international stage like Idle No More is doing. There’s a lot of international support for Idle No More which causes our governments and mainstream Canadian citizens to be more responsive.”
Marks adds he founds Canada’s behaviour during the services for Mandela deeply ironic, as they seemed to forget their own record.
According to Marks officials from South Africa visited Canada several decades ago to view the reserve system, and gained ideas for their segregation of Aboriginal people.
“As late as the 60’s we had officials from South Africa here examining the reserve system and the Indian Act. They had come up here in the 40’s to develop and research the basis for Apartheid based on the Indian Act and the reserve system here in Canada.”
Marks says Canada actually did business with South Africa’s white rulers while Mandela was in prison.
He adds the Indian Act is still in place, which is also a form of discrimination.