[Marxism] Canadian settler colonialism in the far North.
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
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"
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
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.
In the contradiction lies the hope
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