Greg Selinger is the Premier of Manitoba. He is the leader of the ruling left party, the NDP. Leftest political parties are generally (but not always) friendlier to the "regular people". In Manitoba's case the NDP was a friend of labour, which is a good thing as labour stimulates the economy. Sometimes they are friendlier to the environment. I think this government has done some decent policies for people. At the same time First Nations are not considered regular people. We are the pariah of the main stream public. We accept that. We know the main stream public would rather we disappear. Unfortunately for them and the Selinger, we are not going anywhere. This is our area and we are here to stay. Being Premier, makes Selinger the face of the government and so if the Manitoba government is battling with First Nations, that means Selinger is the one we will call the enemy. He may be a good guy and a decent human being, but he holds the office and title. Sorry.
There are of course those out there that say we get everything. Oh how we wish that were true. If that were true the Gross Domestic Product would be linked to our population and communities. You know, Treaties, unceded land and all that. But that is not happening and we are not very happy about that. That of course is another story. We are talking about the Provinces and how they illegally have control of land through the Natural Resources Transfer Act. Gives them some awful big control over First Nation's lands. And the Province is not shy to throw the big control around.
First Nations are suppose to be Nations and if I am correct a province is not a nation. So why is a province exerting control over a nation? Weird I know. At every turn the province, this regular people friendly province is sticking to the Indian. Forest management licences given to resource extraction companies all over Manitoba. Gaming and licencing laws that infringe on First Nations sovereignity. Policing activities that don't coincide with community philosphy. Pitting one community against another. Strategic legislation aimed at undermining Treaty obligations between Nations. Even going as so far as flooding out First Nations communities off their land. The irony is that there is no available land because the province controls all of the outside lands that are not Reserves, Army lands or Federal parks. So those flooded Reserves have to go to the province for Land? Isn't that a kick in the head?
The one constant of the province is that it will fight with all its resources to keep the First Nation from benefiting from Treaty promises made. Manitoba will and has taken intervenor status when another jurisdiction or province is battling a First Nation. The intervenor status of the province is to ensure that a First Nation does not gain a foot hold in trying to make government honour a Treaty obligation. Taxation is a big affair for provinces. They do not want First Nations to be able to benefit from that legal benefit for First Nations. The province is even going so far as to restrict trade between First Nations. Something that has been done since "time immemorial". Greg Selinger has his police forces attack a First Nations on several occasions because it is engaged with trade with another Firs Nation. Now that is an attack on all First Nations sovereign rule.
Selinger can't be always be seen as attacking the First Nations so he does hand out some gifts to some Native groups like the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg. A quasi-Native group that claims to represent Indians. Of course everyone in Native country and the provincial government know that is not a true claim. The province also gives money to the Metis People of Manitoba. I guess they want to appease them due to Winnipeg and the southern muncipalities are situated mostly on stolen Metis script. So keep the Metis off their back with some bit of cash. Enough to have them run a few programs and pacify some of the louder voices.
One of the smart things that Selinger does is that he has his own Indian. Cool stuff. He can parade around his Indian when things get heated in the First Nations. He even gives his Indian some power. Not too much power but enough to have the impression that Indians are valued in his eyes. The thing is, his Indian gets to do the grunge work. His guy is a real Indian. He is recognized and respected in the Indian community. He is also talented, articulate and does not make many errors in the political public eye. So he is valuable for points. Selinger will give him the smallest protfolio with the smallest budget. Funny thing is many of the issue that First Nations deal with are in the protfolio of the bigger areas, like health, education, gaming, taxation, land, roads, hydro, child and family and justice. Yet his man is not ever going to have one of those protfolios. That is where Selinger wants him to be. If there is a crisis in any of the big Ministry's bring out the guy to calm things down. Selinger does him a disservice. Its quite despicable really. Disrepectful to him and to the Nations. He is not a token but Seligner and the rest of the NDP team treat him as such. The man can't win in his situation. He can only do with what he has or try to broker some deals for the communities with the other Ministers. So Selinger is a master. He looks like he is engaging the First Nations by having one of their own in the mix. Really Selinger is just like most regular main stream folk - not evil people - he just doesn't really value the opinion of the Indian. Which makes him a non supporter of First Nations.
There are some agenicies that Selinger could help out with in Manitoba but he won't. Instead he counts on distractions and ignores the situation of First Nations. You know Manitoba has a very good size Indian population. Many of those Indians are now residing in towns and cities. For many Manitobans the urban Indian is a plight on the system. They tax the resources of the city. Raise the poverty rate stats, increase the unemployment stats, increase the incarceration stats, waste the time of the health care workers, bother the police and make it not nice for the regular folk in town.
Lucky thing there are many religious agencies out there to help with his Indian problem: The Youth For Chirst , United Church Halfway Homes, All Native Circle Conferences, Society of Indian Missions, Aberdeen Evangelical Mennonite Church, Kateri Parish, Indigenous Family Centre, Silom Mission, Salvation Army Booth Centre, Light House Mission , et al, are all very good agencies that help Selinger and the Indian problem in Winnipeg. The thing is these good intentioned entities are part of the Indian problem. Seligner and the government are just carrying the tried and true of policies past. Let the Christians deal with them. "If we can , we can provide some incentive, maybe tax breaks or some funds for these good hearted agencies". Maybe the government never actually said this, but the idea is still there.
If Selinger was not really an enemy of the First Nation he would see the value in his Indian. You see his Indian is a Tradionalists. The Traditionalist have been known to overcome the shackles of colonial breeding. ( A little thick you think?) Really Traditionalists really are doing good for Indians all over Canada and the U.S. Even Corrections Canada recognizes this (although they have yet to fully embrace it as a means for rehabilitation in Jails). Selinger could do a lot of good if he would recognize this and help him and his Indian problem. A number of non-Christian agencies - Native Addictions Council of Manitoba, Circle of Life Thunderbird House - are seeking his support for their programming. They will not get any support from Seligner. It is because these entities are practicing Traditional Teachings for Natives. This goes against the tried and true policies of supporting Christian agencies to deal with the Natives.
This is what I know, with Selinger Indians are going to have to battle for every Right that they gained in Treaty negotiations. The province is not a friend of First Nations or Natives in general. With the NDP it will always be "Style over Substance" when dealing with Aboriginal issues.
|Style versus Substance???|
“A fool may be known by six things: anger, without cause; speech, without profit; change, without progress; inquiry, without object; putting trust in a stranger, and mistaking foes for friends”
the enemy of my enemy is my friend