[Marxism] Canadian settler colonialism in the far North.

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at resist.ca
Tue Mar 30 00:26:22 MST 2004

It is not inconceivable that forms and shapes for sovereign expression can 
be returned to all First Nations on some level. Nonetheless, the northern 
regions described have not been largely settled by non indigenous 
populations yet, and in that is a level of hope for national continuity to 
a level that could sustain something like a state or representation 
therein. Further, the North is easily the wealthiest part of 'Canada', as 
the diamonds under the Canadian Shield are an immense deposit, referred to 
as the second largest in the world, as also huge is Arctic Oil, natural gas 
and many other resources both currently and to be explanded in the future 
as accumlation technologies increase. The Canadian government is in a rush 
to force "deals" on Northern Nations that surrender resource rights, and 
full sovereignty for some level of Bantustan like West Bank offering, where 
the resources belong to Ottawa but the fishing and hunting is under local 
jurisdiction. In other words, rape by ghost treaty. The 'settlements' (such 
as the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, ISR) are designed not to turn over 
anything resembling sovereignty, but precisely to obliterate it. The ISR, 
supposedly a devolution form of near self-government, shows its actual 
purpose here:

After looking at this document, one is left to wonder what kind of 
'settlement' it is for the ISR have the Canadian government drawing up 
plans for other capital penetration of the lands themselves. In action, 
deed and motive, this is Canadian imperialism. It is the invasion of a 
national land for the sake of cheap resources.

There is almost nary a day where talk of the "Northern explosion" isn't 
strong in the Canadian business pages. I have met many unemployed miners, 
laid off loggers and the like (most while hitchhiking) who were geared 
towards moving to the Mackenzie River Valley for the explosion and mass 
employment to come soon in the very cold tundra (with upwards of 50 days a 
year with no sunlight or all sunlight in some parts); as it is people can 
find work in towns like Inuvik for $50 000 a season, if they can handle the 
dark and the back breaking work.


Clearly the settlements are designed only to streamline any and all 
'development' applications so as to render any legal action on the part of 
Indigenous land or resource claims null and void in Federal courts. These 
'treaties' also confer 'Canadian citizen' on the nations' populations.

Meanwhile, Canada and Denmark have flared towards military muscle flexing 
over an ice rock that is strategic economically in the furthest north 
channel regions where the Canadian Arctic meet up with Greenland, 
international territory of the Danes. Resource battles in the North might 
be quiet at the moment, but underestimating the impact they are making on 
the long term planning of Canadian imperialism would be a tremendous mistake.
("Canada's troops to reclaim Arctic"
http://makeashorterlink.com/?M678131E7 )

The indigeous people on the to-be explored land will also be moved for 
resource exploration, as has happened over and over again. That is also 
ethnic cleansing. Those who oppose settler colonies and genocidal attacks 
on indigenous peoples in Palestine need not leave the continent to see it 
at work.


CULTURE-CANADA: Aboriginal Languages in Danger of Dying
By Mark Bourrie

OTTAWA, Jan 4 (IPS) - Most of Canada's aboriginal languages will die out in 
the next century unless indigenous communities work harder to protect them, 
a newly-released study shows

In 1996, only 20 per cent of Canada's aboriginal children under five years 
of age had an indigenous mother tongue, according to the study, conducted 
by the Canadian government using census data. The vast majority of 
aboriginal people now learn English as their first language, the study says.

The study shows that only 300,000 of Canada's 1.5 million aboriginal people 
routinely speak an indigenous language. The trend toward linguistic 
assimilation has intensified in the last half of this century as indigenous 
people leave isolated, impoverished and bleak reserves to live in cities.

It is mainly in remote parts of Canada, where there are few radio and 
television stations, that indigenous languages have survived. With more 
sophisticated communications systems, such as inexpensive satellite 
receivers, being set up in isolated communities, the last barriers to the 
spread of English are being broken down, the study says.

''Language is one of the main tools of handing down a world view and a 
culture from one generation to another,'' says Marie- Francoise Guedon, a 
cultural anthropologist at the University of Ottawa.

''There's no hope that these societies can maintain their oral histories 
and their traditions if their languages become extinct,'' she says. 
''They're more than just a way of speaking. They contain all of the 
cultural nuances that make one group of people different from another.''

A few indigenous languages have thrived in isolated northern and eastern 
parts of Quebec, where the few non-indigenous settlers speak French. 
Quebec's French is believed to act as a sort of buffer between indigenous 
people and the predominant English- speaking culture of North America.


Macdonald Stainsby
In the contradiction lies the hope

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