Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 24, 2013

Anishinabe Terrance Nelson: White privilege and tabloid journalism

Anishinabe Terrance Nelson: White privilege and tabloid journalism

By Terrance Nelson
First Nation Roseau River Anishinabe 
May 24, 2013
Terrance Nelson's response to article 'Beyond the Pale,' by Charlotte Allen, in Weekly Standard:
Charlotte, your Geography is wrong. The Gateway pipeline is not in Alaska, it is in Canada. The speech I delivered to the White Privilege Conference was one hour long. Your article reduces my speech to one paragraph. As dismissive as your comments maybe at least you acknowledge that I received standing ovations.
The Weekly Standard is not much of a Standard if it allows tabloid journalism. Serious journalists check their facts even in Opinion pieces.
To dismiss the over 600 murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada or to dismiss the environmental devastation in the Tarsands of Alberta is denying the American public the truth.
Canadians purchased $2.5 Trillion worth of American exports in the last ten years.
Perhaps, you missed that fact in my speech. The WPC people are allowing Americans to hear a view that is not normally heard in the United States.
My speech was video taped. The Weekly Standard needs to publish a retraction on some of your incorrect facts.
Canada sends the United States over 2 times more oil than Saudi Arabia and hydro electric generating dams in northern Quebec power up 120 million Americans on the eastern seaboard. I would think that more Americans need to hear about issues in Canada. The Cree in Quebec and the Cree in Alberta who send you electricity and oil have issues with the government of Canada that could impact trade. To be dismissive of those concerns is your right, the WPC organizers however are not so dismissive and are taking their responsibility to be informed seriously.
Perhaps the Weekly Standard could do the public a favor by giving others the opportunity to counter your biased article.
Terrance Nelson

I made a fifteen minute speech in 2009 in Calgary to 4,000 First Nation people as a Candidate for National Chief. I got a standing ovation. Too bad, that I began to campaign six weeks before the election when the winner had been campaigning for two years. Only the Chiefs got to vote not the people. 
The writer takes personal attacks on people and uses that to make her points, she doesn't do research but if people what to research issues on Canadian Indigenous people, you may begin by reading a recent paper by Douglas Bland.
I don't take attacks on me personally, the more important issue for me is to get attention to the conditions faced by our people. The writer resorts to attacking the messenger and not paying attention to the message. We lose valuable time if we try to defuse personal attacks, we need to stick to the message.
 Some of the information from the Douglas Bland paper, released May 1st, 2013.

The warrior cohort
The young warrior cohort is here to stay. By 2017, about 42 percent of the First Nations population on
the Prairies will be under the age of 30, over twice the 20 percent in the non-Aboriginal community.
Many young Aboriginal people are disadvantaged by circumstance, government policies, band
mismanagement, negative leader models or parental choices. They tend to be poorly educated and

To reduce the feasibility of an uprising in the First Nations, Canada needs educational and employment
policies that immediately transform future First Nations cohorts aged 15 to 24 into productive, self-
reliant people.

May 2013 Douglas L. Bland
T he social legacy of Canada’s Aboriginal policies and of Aboriginal people’s social choices
presents to Canadians – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike – a looming, self-reinforcing
danger. The thousands of disadvantaged Indigenous people of the past are being reinforced by
the frustrated and marginalized children of the present who will, in turn, become the ever-larger lost
generation of tomorrow. That the Idle No More movement of 2012-2013 has been driven primarily
by the mobilization of Aboriginal youth, many articulate and creative, others angry and disconnected,
is a perfect illustration of the cumulative effect of Canada’s inability to ensure full Indigenous
participation in its wealth and quality of life.
The challenge for Canadian and the Aboriginal communities’ formal and informal leaders is to rescue
today’s Aboriginal youth from the negative social effects of Canadian realities and the shortcomings
of Indigenous governments and, at the same time, prevent conditions from disenfranchising future
generations of First Nations youth. There is no either/or choice in this situation.

Expectations raised by legal victories and government announcements
seem to lead nowhere or fall away. As the frustrations of unfulfilled expectations rises, anger in the
communities – especially among young people – festers and grows.
The internal disputes in the AFN and the assertive behaviour of a number
of Manitoba chiefs continued after the Ottawa meetings. In Winnipeg
in June 2012, the tone and mood was still pessimistic and aggressive. On
announcing his candidacy for National Chief of the AFN, Terry Nelson urged
the chiefs to use the resources on their lands as the means of empowering
their communities. When, he declared, the world understands that the First
Nations “and not the immigrants are the real owners of all the natural resources wealth in Canada
[then we] will begin to have an independent First Nations foreign policy that is not tied to Canada.”
(Terrance Nelson, Toronto, 17 July 2012)

Other leaders have echoed Nelson’s powerful rhetoric. Their common expressions are anger and
frustration boiling up from a deep sense of betrayal and unfairness.

About 615 First Nations in Canada, situated as “bands,” live on some 2,720 reserves across the country.
Each Nation is self-defined and more or less governed in traditional ways but subject to the Indian Act
nonetheless. AANDC officials oversee in various degrees the administration of these reserves.
Approximately 700,000 individuals identify as First Nations people out of a total Canadian Aboriginal
demography of 1,172,790 people that includes Métis and Inuit....The Aboriginal population grew by 45 percent
between 1996 and 2006 compared to 8 percent in the non-Aboriginal community over the same
period. By 2017, about 42 percent of the First Nations population in the prairies will be under 30 years
of age (YOA) compared to less than 20 percent in the non-Aboriginal community in Canada. (StatsCan,
91-552-x, 07 December 2011)

Illicit drug use is also widespread on many reserves. Media reports in 2012, for
instance, confirm that the situation is so severe that some reserves have made
declarations of emergency to draw attention their situations and request aid
for their people. “In 2009, the Nashnawbe Aski Nation … representing 49 First Nations in northern
Ontario declared an emergency over its entire territory.” (Postmedia News, 23 February 2012) Leaders
in the Cat Lake First Nation in the same region declared an emergency in January 2012, saying it
suspects that “400 of its 600 residents were hooked on Oxys [Oxycontin pain medicine].” (CBC News,
16 April 2012) Community drug epidemics bring with them violent attacks on individuals, robbery,
and spousal and child abuse. (Winnipeg Free Press, 16 April 2012)

Violent crimes rates: Aboriginal, 319/1,000 compared to 1/1,000 in the non-Aboriginal
• Homicide: 8.8/100,000 compared to 1.3/100,000;
• Spousal abuse: 21 percent compared to 6 percent.
• These and other Aboriginal-on-Aboriginal crimes are visited mainly on young people: 461/1,000
for the 15-34 YOA cohort and 192/1,000 for those over 34 YOA.

Overwhelmingly in Canada, the non-Aboriginal community enforces the Criminal Code on the
Aboriginal community. Incarceration rates are as remarkable as they are constant. For example, in 2007-
2009 “Aboriginal adults accounted for 22% of admissions to sentenced custody, while representing
3% of the Canadian populations.” (StatsCan, 85-002-x, Volume 29, No. 3, July 2009. p.5) In the
same period, 17 percent of all male inmates in provincial/territorial custody were Aboriginals. More
than 18 percent of female inmates were Aboriginals. (The Globe and Mail,
27 September 2012) The federal system kept pace with provincial counts.
During the same period approximately 18 percent of all male prisoners and
25 percent to 30 percent of all female prisoners were Aboriginal. (Ibid, p.9;
See also Winnipeg Free Press, 03 March 2011)

A disproportionate number of youth entering the correctional system in
Canada are Aboriginal. A 2010-2011 study reported that Aboriginal female
youth comprised 34% of all female youth in the correctional system, while
Aboriginal male youth made up 24% of all male youth in the correctional
system. By contrast, about 6% of both male and female youth in the general
population are Aboriginal. (StatsCan. SC 85-002-x 2012: updated October

The greater tragedy for these young people is that whenever they are mixed in
with the older prison population they are soon recruited by Aboriginal gang
member in prison. As police officials understand, “If you’re not a member of
a gang when you go to jail you will be when you come out. Many prisoners
simply cannot survive jail life without the protection of a gang.” (Yahoo News,
March 15, 2010.)

On release from prison most of these young people migrate
into criminal gangs and other harmful (to themselves and society) anti-social situations. (MLI. Wilner,
October 2010; Confidential interviews Winnipeg 2009-2010; and “the Nelson Files.”)
These consequences have their own debilitating economic and social effects on individuals and First
Nations communities as well as on the wider Canadians society. The disproportionate number of
incarcerated Aboriginal people symbolizes the accumulated social penalties that flow from Aboriginal
poverty, poor education, failed families and communities, and from closely related drug use and
criminal activities on- and off-reserve. (CPAC, 12 October 2012)

In Manitoba, Aboriginals represent 15 percent of the provincial population but 71 percent of the all
prisoners. In Saskatchewan, the ratio is 79 percent out of 15 percent of the provincial population.
And in Alberta, the ratio is an astonishing 80 percent out of 11 percent of the people.

In a recent report (2010), the federal Correctional Investigator noted that “[I]n the Prairies [Aboriginal people]
comprise … a staggering 60 percent of offenders.” As well, “Aboriginal women are even more over-
represented than men in the criminal justice system, representing 30 percent of women in federal
prisons.” This report attributes these statistics to “systemic discrimination and attitudes based on
racial and cultural prejudice, as well as economic and social deprivation, substance abuse and a cycle
of violence across generations.

A s history and the daily news illustrate, wars, rebellions and major criminal activities rely almost
exclusively on males in the 15-29 YOA range. The greater the availability of young men as
recruits (willing or not), the more feasible the opportunity and the lower the costs of launching
an uprising. These correlations play out in wars between nations and in the ugliness of armies
composed of “child soldiers” (Dallaire, 2010).
When they checked the “robustness” of their vast data files, the Collier research team confirmed a
statistical “extreme selectivity” to the size of the young male cohort in states relative to the risk of
conflict. The team assumed, moreover, that this selectivity occurs because “some young men have
both an absolute advantage and a taste for violence.” (Collier et al, 2009, p.16)
The First Nations demography aligns well with this problematic population.
The median age in this community is 25 YOA compared to 43 YOA in
Canada’s non-Aboriginal population. Approximately 20 percent (2006) or
157,000 people – male and female – fall into the First Nations 15-24 YOA
range. Moving the statistics for males into the broader 15-34 YOA (warrior
cohort) range produces several thousand more potential recruits for any
active endeavour. Removing the male prejudice in describing young warriors
(or “young thugs” in the criminal context) adds tens of thousands of young
women to the combative force. (StatsCan, 91-552-x, 07 December 2011 and
StatsCan 97-588-XIE, 09 September 2012)
Offsetting this phenomenon is the fact that young Aboriginal women are more
likely to complete high school and/or college/university and thus develop
more stable lives than men or women who do not. Gender differences in
educational success and other socially positive attributes are, moreover,
important contributing factors to the unease and unhappiness among young
Aboriginal males in 2013.

Of course the writer doesn't do any research on the issue, she simply uses emotion to justify her view of the WPC. Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to make a presentation that was one hour long. The respect and attentive manner of the people in the room was greatly appreciated. IF you are now starting to get the attention of the New York Times, people like me who have gone to Iraq and Iran are going to cause Homeland Security to monitor your organization and that is precisely why articles like this are printed. The powers that be want to shut the door on asking questions. You cannot be allowed to question.
I am attaching this to my email list which a lot of BCCs. My emails go all over the world, some may not get to see the link to the article but I will attach it anyway and ask the BCCs if they cannot get the link to contact me directly. I will sent the article to them.

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