An incubator is great, it helps things grow. "A place or situation that permits the formation and development." Chickens are grown in incubators. Businesses use it to help grow other businesses. The greatest miracles can happen with an incubator. Babies's lives are saved when an incubator is used. Yes an incubator is a great thing.
Reserves are incubators as well. It is a closed place and situation which permits the formation and development of people. In some Reserves people can grow their language, their cultural ties and continue with an appreciation of their ancestors. The Reserves were meant to keep people enclosed in a confined area so as not to encroach on the lives of the White population. The Indians on the other hand only wanted to ensure a safe place for their children and didn't expect to be confined.
The Reserves can viewed as both a curse and a blessing. A curse by the restrictions added to them by the Government. These restrictions also had some blessings. In a world where the push is to assimilate into a alien way of life, it helped keep their identity. The confounds of the Reserve kept the traditions alive. The looking after everyone was the part of the Reserve. Sharing with others and a communal outlook. Despite the restrictions placed on the Reserve, the people in the Reserve looked after each, nurtured each other. The Reserve permitted the formation and growth of Indians. While the Residential School system, the legislation of government was attempting to "kill the Indian in the Child", the Reserve incubator system kept growing the Indian.
Time is a constant and with time there is change. The Reserve system has slowly changed the type of incubator it once was. The change is speeding up in today's society. The growth and nurturing of language, beliefs, traditions, and identity has changed. The belief system changed from one of knowing all things are connected and alive, to an alien belief system of punishment, reward and compliance. The change has affected almost all aspects of life in the incubator; the Reserve. Gone are the days of looking after each other. Gone are the days of caring for one another. Now you have an incubator which grows the individual. The individual wants over those of the whole community's needs.
The Reserve system has gone from having people look after each other to looking after only themselves.
The Reserve incubator is growing a large population of individuals with no regard for the community. Individuals have embraced a victim mentality. They have become dependent on the Band office, the Chief and Council for their every want. The Reserve has become a dependency incubator. The whole governance system continues to feed this change. The change from community wellness to individual wants. The Band Office is inundated with people begging for something. On any given day in any Band Office there are countless souls sitting around waiting and wanting something. The wants are endless; a house, a job, a personal loan, a door fixed, clogged water drains and door knobs. How far have we fallen? The Chief and Council do not have the will to say no to those knocking on the door for hand outs.
The old people would often say to the young ones in a half joking manner, "what you going to do when us working people are gone?"
Those days are here.
But we can work on changing. We need to for the sake of our kids and for the sake of the community. We know there are many issues and their impact on our lives is complex. The reliance of the Band office is but one of many symptoms from our history with oppression colonialism and the persistent pressure on our identity.
For many Indigenous folk, lost is the backbone of their identity, their cultural ancestral ties.
“Culture is the backbone of any nation..." Ingrid Goeieman
"...culture is the backbone for any nation and is also an identity..." Governor of Sindh, Justice (Retd) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui