Idle No More responds to many issues, Palmater says
by James Bradford
Dr. Pamela D. Palmater gave a presentation to the people of the Curve Lake Reserve last Friday March 15.
Dr. Palmater is Mi’kmaw from northern New Brunswick. She is also a lawyer and an associate professor at Ryerson University.
Dr. Palmater spoke about her book, Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity. And about the “Idle No More” movement taking place across the country.
She drew attention to issues she felt were important and little known facts, concerning the Indian Act, and the treaties that pre- and postdate the act.
Examples include prices paid for “scalps” and forced sterilization, as well as assimilation policy such as the Residential School System.
Initial tests were made to determine Aboriginal ancestry using the then quasi-science of Eugenics.
Later work would address the issue of what percentage of Aboriginal lineage people of Aboriginal decent had, and therefore who would qualify for recognition as “Indian” under the Indian Act.
Dr. Palmater talked about non-Aboriginals marrying Aboriginals, “(the) Rate of outmarriage is upwards of 100%”
As outmarriage continues, the numbers people of Aboriginal decent who would qualify for recognition under the act will continue to decrease. In the future this will lead to a “legislative extinction,” according to Dr. Palmater.
Subsequently, people who do not have Aboriginal status will not have protection under the Indian Act.
The “Idle No More” movement seeks to draw attention to issues facing Aboriginal people today.
Dr. Palmater said, it is a “grass roots movement.” And it “respects the sovereignty of individuals and first nations.”
Idle No More according to Dr. Palmater does not have one leader, or one form of action to raise awareness, but that it should bring awareness of the problems Aboriginal persons face.
Copyright 2010 Lakefield Herald Ltd.
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