Wednesday, July 21, 2010

End the Indian Act Says the Head of the Assembly of First Nations

Shawn Atleo, the head of the Assembly of First Nations, states  that the Indian Act should be scrapped within five years.

WINNIPEG—Aboriginals should get out “from under” the Indian Act within five years and build a new, more-independent relationship with the federal government, the head of the Assembly of First Nations said Tuesday.
“Is it time to boldly suggest that within two to five years, the Indian Act will no longer be part of our lives?” Shawn Atleo asked the AFN’s annual assembly.
I agree.  We pour billions of dollars each year into First Nations and it seems like things just don't get  any better for them.  There is no accountability as to where the money is being spent.  They live in third world conditions.  There's a lot of alcoholism, drug abuse, a high incarceration rate, low level of education, and the suicide rate is high among the aboriginal population.  There is no initiative to get ahead.
“Imagine a time ... when we give up all that the current system provides — the highest suicide rates, the highest rates of incarceration in the country, the lowest education rates, the lowest income rates.”
The Department of Indian Affairs just perpetuates the problem. There should be no difference between the rest of Canadians and our First Nations.  Everyone should be treated equally.  Equality is in our Charter isn't it?
“We will once and for all work to dismantle the unnecessary machinery of the Department of Indian Affairs, which only perpetuates our poverty.
The dismantlement of the Act allowing aboriginals independence and equal treatment would be better for them.  They would gain the initiative to better themselves thus some of those problems they face would not be as great. They would have greater self-esteem, be healthier, more productive and prosperous.
Plus it would save the federal taxpayer billions each year.   
Tom Flanagan earlier this year suggested something like that in  giving first nations property rights.
Restoring aboriginal property rights will enhance economic activity on reserves and create more jobs and business opportunities for first nations people
Minister  Strahl,  please listen to the Assembly of First Nations and Mr. Flanagan.  This is the way to go.  The current system is not working. Don't hold back our aboriginal people anymore.  They deserve to be independent, equal, healthy and prosperous like the rest of us.