Current events and indigenous protest in Canada are shining a light on several issues relevant for any reconciliation between the government and indigenous populations to succeed. One important one is the definition of land ownership:
Indigenous people consider themselves Stuart’s of the land. Ownership as introduced by outside cultures did not exist as such here. Therefore, the intrusion on there land by outside party’s is seen as a threat to there very existence.
In contrast, country’s that colonized North America had a longstanding tradition of public and private landownership. Here, landownership is set in law, expressed as part of personal freedom and therefore rigorously defended.
The difference in perspective on that very subject is usually the first to be disputed between the involved parties. Is all land in Canada Canadian, or is all land indigenous or is part of the land indigenous and autonomous and the rest belongs to other Canadians and so on and so forth. Public opinion on the re-emerging conflicts and the resulting economic repercussions is usually driven by there understanding (or possible misunderstanding) of this fundamental issue. Indigenous people are very clear about there opinion: It is there ancestral land which they are defending.
The opinion of much of the public and the government is less clear on that. Do they have the right to govern over indigenous ancestral land or not? The result of such confusion (even though there isn’t any) has been used by governments in the past for a sort of ‘divide and conquer’ strategy.
Reconciliation is based on trust. Trust between the victims of a genocide and there perpetrators. (see South Africa) Without such trust, it will fail.
(Picture was taken at an indigenous gathering. A Red Dress Exhibition, reminding visitors of the tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous woman and girls, was part of this rather hopeful event)
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