Reserve system like apartheid

Sept 15, 2007
Brantford Expositor

The federal government and leaders of the Six Nations Confederacy, along with other first nations leaders, are busy trying to come up with solutions to maintain a system of native governance whose best days, if any, are past. Keeping natives separated from the lifestream of the nation is no different than apartheid was in South Africa. I see that now!

Without the reserve system there would be no need to expand reserves to meet the needs of a growing native population. The annual costs of reserve maintenance would be saved, but native town sites would have to be infused with funds from all government levels. The economic strength of our nation, together with its professionals, especially those who are native, could be brought to bear in order to upgrade those infrastructures to the level expected by everyone in Canada, regardless of where they may live. This would include, of course, roads, communications, sanitation and social services necessary to tie into the lifestream of the nation. Just think of the jobs it would create. It would have to be the greatest building project in our nation's history. Canada would take a quantum leap forward, not only economically by finally opening the door to all people within our borders, but its prestige before the world would grow immeasurably.

One other thing, though, would have to be necessary for all of this to happen. We must drop the mindset that every group in Canada has special privileges. We all must finally embrace the concept that all of us are Canadians looking to provide a bright future for all of our children, free of the colonial and traditional encumbrances of our past.

Relieved of that burden, we would all be richer and happy to pay the price.

Robert Thompson