Dear Rex: Colonialism exists, and you’re it.

Dear Rex Murphy,

When you write that Canadians are offended at the term ‘settler’ and ‘genocide,’ you don’t speak for all of us.  I’m a Canadian citizen, my ancestors came to Canada from Europe a few centuries ago, and I understand myself as a settler.  It’s not disrespectful for indigenous peoples to remind us of Canada’s legacy of genocide.  It’s not rude for indigenous peoples to label as ‘colonial’ the connections between the industries of resource extraction, the RCMP, and the corporate media you write for.  What’s insulting is your attempt to paint Canada as benevolent, open, and respectful of indigenous peoples, and your contempt for any understanding of present-day colonialism and oppression in Canada.

rex-murphy-picI’m not an expert on colonialism, but clearly neither are you.  In reading your vitriolic editorial, it struck me that you clearly hate the term ‘settler’ and ‘colonialism’; however, your writing also indicates that you probably don’t actually understand what these terms mean.  So I’m writing to you, one white settler to another, to explain to you what settler colonialism means to me, and why I think it’s important for understanding (and living in) present-day Canada.  With that said, I’m not convinced you’re really ignorant of these terms; I think you have a sense of their meaning and the implications, and it terrifies you, but that terror turns to anger before you can really feel it.  I think you—and many other Canadians—know that something is deeply wrong, even if you can’t admit it to yourself.  It’s something in the air, something we feel in our gut: we’re caught up in something horrible, and we can’t go on this way.

I think that’s why the truths spoken by indigenous people provoke so much resentment in people like you: because you know they’re speaking the truth.  It’s plain for everyone to see: Elsipogtog and other instances of indigenous resistance aren’t political stunts by over-educated ‘radicals’ as you’d like to portray them; they are principled stands by everyday people—grandmothers, fathers, mothers, and their children—against rampant and unending extraction, exploitation, and destruction.  These communities are not motivated by abstract ideologies or university jargon, but by deep responsibilities and commitments to protect land and people.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson puts it clearly:

The story here, the real story, is virtually the same story in every Indigenous nation:  Over the past several centuries we have been violently dispossessed of most of our land to make room for settlement and resource development. The very active system of settler colonialism maintains that dispossession and erases us from the consciousness of settler Canadians except in ways that is deemed acceptable and non-threatening to the state. We start out dissenting and registering our dissent through state sanctioned mechanisms like environmental impact assessments. Our dissent is ignored. Some of us explore Canadian legal strategies, even though the courts are stacked against us. Slowly but surely we get backed into a corner where the only thing left to do is to put our bodies on the land. The response is always the same – intimidation, force, violence, media smear campaigns, criminalization, silence, talk, negotiation, “new relationships”, promises, placated resistance and then more broken promises. Then the cycle repeats itself.

This is the structure of settler colonialism.  One of the basic assumptions of your editorial—and virtually all other mainstream media coverage of Elsipogtog—is that colonialism happened sometime in the past, and since then Canada has done a lot to “right our historical wrongs.”  When do you imagine colonialism stopped happening in Canada?  When the last piece of land was mapped, surveyed, and appropriated for the Crown?  When government officials first broke their treaties with indigenous nations so that settlement and resource exploitation could continue?  When the last residential school was closed?  When Stephen Harper issued an official apology five years ago?  When he declared that Canada has no history of colonialism a year later?  Of course, Canada has changed, and so have settler attitudes.  But the structure of settler colonialism is still very much intact.

You will likely dismiss my words as part of the “academically-generated ‘narratives’ of colonialism.”  Indeed, I first learned about colonialism in university, and I’m a student of some of the “colonial theory” you denounce.  But I only learned about colonialism in university because my public school education taught me that indigenous peoples had been wiped out in Canada, victims of the inevitable and noble march of progress.  Why do you suppose our public school system hides the history of residential schools, forced removal of indigenous people, ecological devastation, racist policies, theft of land, and broken treaties?  Could it be that we’re trying to cover up the fact that Canadian colonialism never ended—that it’s an ongoing process?

More and more Canadians are beginning to see that an ever-expanding economy based on exploitation of land and people can’t go on forever, and the impacts are also hitting home in more communities.  More Canadians are recognizing that voting for someone every four years isn’t real enfranchisement, and that this system is designed to foreclose popular participation, not encourage it.  More of us are seeing the need to take a stand to protect our families, the places we love, non-human life, and future generations.  More Canadians are beginning to see that this is what indigenous people have been saying (and doing) all along: defending their lands and communities against an ongoing colonial process.  With these recognitions comes one of the least comfortable: that we are caught up in this process—deeply enmeshed and complicit in it—as settlers.

Just as we feel the wrongness of colonialism in our gut, we can feel the emptiness of settler ways of life.  This isn’t just about “mentalities,” as you suggest, although the way we think is certainly part of it.  It’s most concretely about how we relate to each other and the land that sustains us (whether we recognize it or not).  Settler colonialism has produced a world where our food is industrialized and grown with chemicals, our political system is rigidly bureaucratic and exclusive, our culture promotes objectification and normalizes rape, our economic system is premised on exploitation and unending growth, our divisions of labour are racist and patriarchal, almost all forests and ecosystems have been pillaged and degraded, and our everyday lives are increasingly mediated through bureaucracies and commodities.  This is not to say that indigenous people are somehow outside these ways of life; however, they have consistently resisted our attempts at assimilation and resource exploitation.  They have maintained and revitalized their own ways of life, and have refused to be incorporated into the fold of settler colonialism.  Elsipogtog is only the latest conflict in a centuries-long struggle.

Our ways of life are predicated upon the continued subjugation of indigenous peoples and the exploitation of their lands.  For settlers, this is a terrifying thing to recognize: if our whole lives are based on this system, how could we be otherwise?  For many Canadians—and I think you’re part of this group, Rex—this uncertainty is quickly converted into a glib certainty that the problem is them: they’ve failed to integrate, or failed to govern themselves, or failed to obey the (our) law.  The settler problem gets converted into the age-old Indian problem.  But I think we know, deep down, even when we’re in denial, that it’s us: that we need to take action and change ourselves through the process.

We are living in the midst of indigenous resurgence.  All over the lands claimed by Canada, indigenous peoples are revitalizing their traditions and languages, reclaiming their lands and responsibilities, and refusing the colonial status quo.  We’re also in the midst of a decline of faith in the ways of life we’ve created, even among those most privileged by this system: the middle-class dream is evaporating, we’re hurtling towards ecological collapse, and the alliances between corporations and politicians are increasingly obvious.  Settlers—some of us—are learning to listen to that feeling of wrongness in our gut, unsettling ourselves, building solidarity, and finding new (and old) ways of relating.  None of us have figured it out, but more of us are recognizing that things need to change, and the problem is as much ‘in here’ as ‘out there’.  There is no neutral territory here, because doing nothing carries us along with the flow of colonialism.

We can’t wait for everyone.  Indigenous peoples can never afford to wait for support from settler society, and struggles in the future will continue to involve contention and conflict.  Settlers are learning how to take leadership from indigenous communities, and real alliances and solidarities are being forged.  As we learn to listen to our gut and shake off our colonial baggage, indigenous people defending their lands seem increasingly reasonable and admirable, and the supporters of colonialism, like you, Rex, seem pitiful and dangerous.


Nick Montgomery

Here’s a link to Rex Murphy’s original editorial


148 thoughts on “Dear Rex: Colonialism exists, and you’re it.

  1. Nadia

    Very well put! As an indigenous Canadian, I plant my feet firmly on the ground and stretch my hand towards you to shake hands. We have much to do, to ensure our kids can do the same. My husband’s ancestors came to Canada in the 1600s and early 1900s. He speaks 4 languages including mine. Our kids are proud of their indigenous roots but respect their Irish, Scottish and French heritage background. Kids see no colour until someone shows them otherwise. Please write often.

    1. Anne Learn Sharpe

      What a compelling piece of writing. There can be no moving forward until we face the issues of the past and acknowledge the dark side of our national consciousness. This is a painful process–no wonder some people, like Rex Murphy, simply refuse to accept it.

  2. Anne Gill

    Mahsi Cho..thank you for taking the time to research and learn aboriginal history and the ongoing struggles that we face. It is insightful and is done with ” heart.”

  3. werner

    I think we have two radical points of view here.As an immigrant and settler in a remote rural area,I do not see myself arriving on the predicate of exploiting the resources of the First Nations.I did not take from them nor do I have to carry any guilt for the terrible wrongs done in the historic past.I hate this revisionist guilt tripping by liberal intellectuals.They are just as guilty with their condescending and patronising attitudes towards the First Nation peoples.Listen to their young educated youth,they are just like us in their outlook of a future.They dont need whities to coopt their plans with enviromentalist and guilt ridden intellectual agendas.

    1. drbobabell

      There is a fundamental difference between a “guilt trip” and taking action to prevent further discrimination and disruption of peoples lives. No, you did not knowingly arrive to exploit the resources. As I did, you bought a piece of land that has changed hands many times, always at a profit – none of that profit as huge (for the time) as that of the first British or French landowner deeded with aboriginal land – generally as a reward for military service in Europe or America.

      You, and the buyer before you, and the one before that really did not KNOW you were buying stolen property. But that lack of knowledge is not an excuse for continuing to marginalize the aboriginal community, or continue with the revisionist history that has always been part of the Canadian history curriculum. This revisionist history does not tell the truth about the expropriations, degradations, and predations carried out by your and my ancestors, and continued by the corporate agendas of multinationals today, who have taken over from the European royalty of yesteryear the role of controlling government for profit.

      1. Farmer Dave

        “Buying stolen property” is a huge assumption. When treaties were signed they gave rights to two nations – first and settler – part of that was the ability to buy and sell land in some parts of Canada. There was once trust and partnership, albeit based on fraud. It is the broken treaties and nonsense laws that allow things like fracking “under” the ground that are criminal. Taking a contrary position without thought just polarizes dialogue.

  4. One voice from The Rock

    Newfoundland, Rex Murphy’s home province in Canada, and where I settled in 1969, is a province built on settlers – English, Irish, Scottish predominantly. And as for native populations and genocide, Newfoundland’s settler community purged the province with the complete genocide of the Beothuk native indian population. If there is a province in Canada where “settler” and “genocide” have meaning, Newfoundland is it. .. That people insist that today must be forgiven for yesterday’s action because we sincerely apologized, is poor reasoning and does not take on fair responsibility. Murphy’s piece was riddled with poor reasoning. The Davis Inlet scenario, to pinpoint one issue amongst many, that strongly implies the failure in the relocation of the community is the fault of the tribe is shocking. A disappointing piece for many reasons. Newfoundland’s history has good reason for both “settler” and “genocide” to be at the forefront of their reflections on their origins and history. Rex Murphy has slighted his own past here. I am, gratefully, certain that the piece does not reflect the majority Canuk attitude.

  5. Rupert

    I’m no expert on the history of indigenous peoples in Canada; I know there have been great injustices, and that these are far from resolved. However, we have plenty to protest in New Brunswick without even considering that intractable centuries-old conflict.

    What Murphy and his ilk do is far more insidious than simply rationalizing or denying colonialism; they are deliberately diverting attention from the problem of technologies and philosophies which are destroying the planet we live on.

    By saying “The problem isn’t the fracking, it’s the Indians!”, Murphy is framing an issue that’s important to all Canadians as solely a First Nations issue, and then dismissing it because, well, it’s a First Nations issue. Fracking is not an aboriginal concern, it’s a human concern. The Rex Murphys of the world want to obscure the real problem by deflecting the discussion into the morass of simplistic us vs them thinking. We cannot let them succeed.

  6. some cool pseudonym

    Thank you for writing this.
    Rex Murphy does not speak for me, or nearly as many people as he thinks he does.
    What surprises me is that no one seems to be outraged that the RCMP, which is paid for by our famous tax dollars, is essentially serving as the lapdog of foreign commercial interests in New Brunswick.
    They are enforcing the alleged rights of the few to destroy and pollute the land using resources that belong to all of us, even those who disagree with the raping and pillaging of the Earth.
    Can I have the portion of my tax dollars that pays for the RCMP back? I want to donate it to the resisters.
    Fracking is a very dangerous practice because it makes the water unusable forever.
    When you’re thirsty you won’t be able to drink that gasoline!
    “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

  7. bassplayer12

    There is one common denominator between what happened to Natines in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zeland, etc. It’s called Anglo-Saxon Imperialism and racism. Although the French had hurt the Natives before the British took over the French colony, they would have never thought of a reservations system and put them in ghettos. On the contrary, French and French Canadian people and the Firsdt Nation people had closer and more harmonious relationships. The Catholic Church should have left them alone, we all agree but, all in all, the Natives had a better life before the British and the Anglo Canadians started ruining everything. The cruel deportation of the Acadians in 1755 is another proof of this infamous Anglo-Saxon Imperialism. system

    1. therepo

      I agree
      I would like to point out the success the French had with colonialism in Vietnam. The time frame may be a little less vintage but I am sure Bibendum would still high five this, or high four it, whatever amount of digits he has going on.

  8. weasel bear

    Words cannot describe how your insight, honesty, and thorough research honours not only me, but the stories of our people and the struggle of our ancestors.
    “Smudge” your way, with genuine wishes for peace, power and prosperity.
    All My Relations.

  9. Geoff

    I think it is worth noting that Mr. Murphy personally benefited from the Rhodes trust that granted him a scholarship to Oxford paid for by the money Cecil Rhodes earned through some of the most brutal colonial enterprises of the late-nineteenth century.

  10. Jean Antonin Billard

    This wonderful, masterly eloquent statement should be read in all schools and universities in Canada and USA. And equally translated into French and published in Quebec where these historical reflections might enlighten the petty French Canadian politicians forget their colonial past to promulgate arrogantly their so-called Charte des valeurs québécoises.

  11. Laurel L. Russwurm

    Well said. You have articulated much that I only understood intuitively. This has been very helpful for Canadian who sometimes blogs about Canadian politics.

    I hadn’t read the Rex Murphy piece (having read Christie Blatchford’s ignorant NP diatribe which suggested that poverty should deprive people of a voice) but I’ve just tried to now. After being struck by the unadulterated arrogance of the article’s title, I am again shocked by “reports of several shots fired” knowing that snipers in camouflage were on the ground. The third paragraph about the torched police cars was more than I can handle.

    Throughout this story, I didn’t hear anything about a confrontation where police were overpowered and relieved of their police cars. In fact, in recent years, police cars seem to be artfully deployed in and around places of peaceful protest. The odd burned out police car is a small price to pay for dramatic photographs of burned out police cars that can be used to justify increasing amounts of force to quash dissent. I suspect that when frustrated protesters stop falling for such bait, it will become necessary for the police/RCMP/colonial forces to torch their own vehicles. Anyway, I just don’t have the stomach to read the rest of his article.

    Again, thank you.

  12. Laurel L. Russwurm

    Reblogged this on Whoa! Canada and commented:
    Nick Montgomery’s clear and well written response to Rex Murphy’s ignorant National Post article articulates very well what many of us, myself included, understood intuitively. His article reproduced here, is truly a “Must Read” for all Canadians.

  13. paulrepstock

    How can anyone deny the “Colonial” label, when every title document in Canada devolves ultimate ownership and authority to the Queen of England? This is not myth or quaint custom, in Law Canada and all Canadians, specially the native people, are “OWNED” by the British Monarchy!
    Murphy an entertainer on the payroll of the government. His main function is distraction from the realities of our world.

  14. therepo

    I have one question. What is the time frame before a culture or race can be opted in on this guilt trip?

    What about the lands that were previously unoccupied, if I was born there what would I call myself?

    If my ancestors were systematically killed and deported a couple hundred years ago would that make me a settler or colonist? How many hundred years before I am indigenous? Are the people that occupy my ancestral lands settlers? If my people had conquered the lands previous to this and intermingled with those Pict girls would I be part settler part native?

    Speaking of this in Canada who is considered native? If your mom was native and married/lost status did she become a settler? Are you then half a settler? If you are half native are you half guilty and half oppressed? If it was your grandmother 25%? If your grandmother would not pursue eligibility for Indian Status do you stay a colonist until she does?
    If your mother would not pursue eligibility for Indian Status are you more or less native/indigenous then your cousin whose grandfather had status and married a non native? If your mom then gained status are you now more native? At what % native DNA are you a native? If you were adopted? I could go on all day.

    End of this is history is full of crappy deals. Documents signed by monarchs or non responsible governments do not really hold a lot of weight with me, sorry bout that. I also cannot see how someone moving to Canada last year has to entertain guilt for possession of a Canadian citizenship. Again what is the time frame before we can look at the past as history and today as the present.

    BTW I was watching Jurassic Park and just got a cold chill. If we find a mosquito with Homo erectus blood will we all be settlers now? Will Africa come looking for several million years worth of taxes on worldwide income?

    1. Tyler Harcus

      Nice post 🙂 I’d take it further though. There are no such things as natives or indigenous people in Canada, only older and newer colonists, and since the land had no name before Canada we’re all just Canadians.

      1. theodorous

        I bet you are popular at the pow-wow. My ancestors killed and were killed by ‘colonists’ of many colours. When I read your words I can almost taste the blood spilled. Perhaps you think that there are no such people as Palestinians, either?

      2. Gupdawg

        Spoken from true colonial arrogance Tyler Harcus – this land absolutely had a name and occupants long before White people every ‘discovered’ it. Take a history class.

    2. Michael

      therapo, may I suggest therapy? You’re just basically jerking around with words here, to no result, and with no positive outcome. The idea of guilt obviously troubles you. Let me ask you this: If someone was trespassing on your land, about to poison your water for as long as you could imagine, would you stand up? Or would you stand up only in the same proportion as water fills your body? You would need to stand up more than half way. When your body has less than 50% water, it’s dead.

      1. therepo

        Good point but spell my name correct
        I think you are going on the 50% dead compared to 90% dead theorem?

        You speak frack I speak whatever. My point is the pointless basis for this whole train of thought. If our water table is screwed does it really matter who snaked the land from who’s great great grandfather? Maybe who really controls everything under our topsoil is the issue. Maybe a court injunction requiring insurance coverage before any screwing with the water table. With ify science no reputable company will cover this and give a reality check.

    3. George Salmins

      Great! You nailed it.

      My ancestors in Latvia also received many lousy deals over many centuries but I figure there’s not much point in asking all the various marauding monarchs, independent raiders, Teutonic Knights, Czarists, Communists and Nazzis for compensation. History documents some pretty bad deals for many people much of the time. Unfortunately that’s life and as I said in a previous comment, the only sensible thing is to make a fresh start and leave past injustices to history. If you’re smart, you will learn from history and move on. If you let the past dominate your life you shortchange those that come after you.

      1. therepo

        Fortunately some can look at this in a neutral light. Many others in a more negative way, as in taking something away from people. These are the folk that will likely trounce my comment as being racist, revisionist, some other “ist”.
        My big question has always been where do you draw the line between what is history and what is ongoing.
        Who gets to pick which historic horror show we should protest and which to ignore? Which group of people that have been screwed has first pick. Does it go on numbers killed/displaced/abused, individual atrocities, length of screwing over, promises or treaties broken? Could get complicated over which Canadian has the right to feel most put upon.

      2. George Salmins

        You’re definitely an “ist” of some sort – probably dangerous too. Not to worry, I’ve been called several kinds of “ist” as well and, closing in on eighty, I’m still kicking.

        But regarding what is history and the need to classify and sort in the proper order abuses and wrongs done: could we maybe have a Royal Commission look into it? What we’re going through now in Canada trying to resolve the wrongs of the past is not very productive either.

  15. andreasterzuk

    Reblogged this on Andrea Sterzuk and commented:
    I’ve been following the news of Elsipogtog and their fight to protect their drinking water. This blog provides a wonderful reply to Rex Murphy’s National Post article from October 19, an article so steeped in settler colonial discourses.

  16. Bruce Carter

    Deep down … we all know that the status quo hurts more than it helps.
    My baby-boomer brothers and sisters are as damaged by our recent histories as our First Nations partners.
    The difference is the First Nations have found the solution … listen to the youth!

  17. Nancy Henderson

    You hit the nail right on the head! The indigenous people of Canada deserve to be recognized as the First Citizens of Canada and for their lands not to be pillaged in the name of greed. Its enshrined in the Canadian Constitution, but it never seems to matter to the Federal, Provincial, or Municipal governments.

  18. Rod Malay

    Have not read Rex’s article but, the follow-up comments are excellent on many levels The homo erectus blood sample answers it all best. We are one people… homo sapiens who disenfranchised the homo-erectus. The human journey is one of loss and of gain, from beginning to now and that will continue on into the future with robots, prosthetics and chip implants… Lets just stop name calling, pigeon-holing and denial and get on with evolving a just and civil global society before we destroy earthly sustainability

    1. therepo

      hear, hear
      The conundrum of this millennium is in what way can you voice a critical statement about any situation concerning any population that is a minority or victimized in any way or form?

      My beef:
      This “who is Canadian” question has a razor sharp line drawn down the ice with your either cheering for the North American native Canadian or being labeled a racist mouth breathing wingnut.

      The problem is that life is not simple. Life on the reserves is not easy, (I can see one out the window as I type BTW). Poverty, educational failures, unemployment, health problems. I hate to be the guy that says this but as a father of two boys I would bail out of that situation instantly. I love culture, language, and history but only in an infinitesimal percentage to what I feel towards my kids.

      Land claims and lawsuits are ongoing and are based on Jarndyce v Jarndyce. Pinning your, and your families, hopes and futures on legal success is like funding an RRSP with winnings from massive Lotto investments, with TAG.

      Its not their fault the situation is so screwed. This assimilation and obliteration was started many many years ago. But it has happened.

      Under the skin we are alike. Natives lost their idealized indigene status during the beaver wars. Those on the reserves in power fritter away money and draw huge salaries while the people they represent are starved, frozen, and ignored. Throwing more money will not help a damn thing. Something has to change.

      I wonder how new immigrants, who dealt with the fallout of colonialism and living thru generations of bombs, assassinations, starvation, rape, torture, genocide and deportation from the land of their fathers fathers, continue to better their lives in the midst of the racism and distrust of today.

      Before you all jump on me, maybe attempt to enlighten me. Possibly a quick skim of CARL SAGAN’S BALONEY DETECTION KIT before you begin.

      -crawling down now off my very high horse and wishing all goodnight and welcome a meaningful debate-

  19. bellyfullofsnowoutside

    “Forget about being guilty, we are innocent instead”. If we start fresh from innocence, we can move forward toward change. We could argue all day about “us and them” but that is exactly what corporations want. News media is run by them. We are one, and we need to stand up together to protect the land and water where we live no matter who we are. It is our right to take action to preserve and protect the earth for ourselves and future generations of all species. Thank-you Nick for setting Rex Murphy, and the corporations who influence him, straight! Now, lets get on with the task at hand.

  20. Gary Geddes

    One of the best recent books on Indigenous affairs is Paulette Regan’s Unsettling the Settler Within, the theme of which is that it’s time we stopped talking about the so-called Indian problem and started talking about the settler problem. Put on a pair of moccasins for a day and see how it feels, Rex, to be the object of racist comments.
    I am working on a book about Indian Hospitals, for which the residential schools seem to have been farm-teams or recruiting-grounds, gathering potential clients for forced sterlizations and gratuitous drug and surgical experiments and rendering so many individuals crippled and traumatized, fearful of the medical profession and unable to access the care they needed later on.
    So far, I have been working with Songhees Nation elder Joan Morris, who attended the Kuper Island Residential School and Nanaimo Indian Hospital, as well as two Yukon survivors of the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital in Edmonton. I would be grateful for any contacts you might be able to provide.
    You can check out my publications at the following websites:

    I am also attaching a brochure which I handed out in large numbers at the Truth and Reconciliation Commisson hearings in Vancouver recently.


    Gary Geddes

    Gary Geddes
    Box 13-3
    Thetis Island, BC
    Canada V0R 2Y0

  21. ravensmarch

    You’d think Rex, who would have grown up in an atmosphere rife with “Goofy Newfie” humour, would have a better sense of what life is for the marginalized. I’m definitely putting links to this blog entry where all my friends can see it, and I thank you for your clarity of statement.

  22. onesadhaka

    Nicely stated. The end startled me a bit, but I appreciated the courtesy of saying he ‘seemed’ ptiful, rather than the direct statement he was pitiful (more common in these vitriolic times, especially south of the border in Merika).

  23. Lance

    Wow I”m spinning here after reading this ! As an American settler I’ve always felt wrong and still do..but I’m still at a loss …..

  24. Lynette d'Arty-Cross

    This is an excellent post – I agree with you wholeheartedly. Ravensmarch is correct. One would think that having grown up with the discrimination leveled against Newfoundlanders that Rex Murphy would be more sensitive.

  25. Jacinda Mack

    Excellent article. Thoughtful, intelligent and informed. It is interesting to see people’s comments as well. Some are still defending the ongoing assimilative, colonial agenda by saying “that was in the past, can’t we just sweep it under the rug and move on?” and “we are all the same.”

    Truth is, indigenous people are still targeted, criminalized and treated as sub-human as a matter of course by those in power in this country. I am not for trying to make the average Canadian citizen feel guilt- I just think that people need to stop jumping the gun on accusations- stop for a minute and really listen to the basis of what is really in dispute. Protecting the health of lands and water for everybody. To me, that sounds rational.

    Indigenous people are deeply connected to the land and water, still depend on it for everyday survival and connectedness in this world. Fundamental differences in worldview, ways of life and concrete connections to the land and waters we all depend on should not be so easily dismissed. Compare this with the average Canadian who does not harvest and process their own food, or even know where their water source comes from.

    Imagine having a large garden on your property that has been in your family for centuries. You also have a fresh water well that you depend on for your family. One day, a mining company shows up with bulldozers, a permit and the RCMP- to take the oil or minerals beneath your home- demanding that you leave immediately or go to jail? What would you do? Chalk it up to progress and do leave quietly?

    Consider your defensive remarks and maybe take a little more time to understand what it is that has you so worked up and angry at the “Indians” for defending their home and way of life.

  26. Pingback: Resources on Elsipogtog » Delusions of Development

  27. Jane La Lone

    This was a most profound response Mr. Montgomery! As I read it, I felt a tightness in my chest and my eyes stung with tears resisted. It did my heart good to see the truth expressed so thoroughly and succinctly. I may only be Native American by one sixteenth, but it is the ancestry of which I am most proud. And, is enough DNA to make me feel so deeply outraged by the treatment of Indigenous peoples in the US, Canada, Australia and the many other countries around the globe whose lands ands peoples were raped and pillaged by Europeans. I do think their is an aura of shame that hangs over these nations, and I cannot believe that the Creator is not horrified and greatly disappointed in the settlers/colonialists for the injustices perpetrated, and which continue to occur. Every American, Canadian, Australian, etc, who have prosperous lives do so at the expense of the honorable and gentle people who were on these lands and devastated due to greed and an undeserved sense of superiority!


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