Wahbung Our Tomorrows 1971

May 24, 2019

(Manitoba First Nations response to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau 1969 White Paper)

“Tragically, the net result of the experiences and experimentation was to generate feelings of bitterness and frustration amongst the student body and the parents. After a century of an educational system that was in fact, irrelevant to the environment and culture of Indian people, it goes without saying that the Indian has been thereby denied the means to participate in the resources and development of our land.

A century of government administration and government and church control increasingly restricted the social and physical mobility of Indian people. The effects of living in an atmosphere of state dependency, where virtually all decisions relating to your life and your future are made by others, has brought about a situation where the psychological barriers to change are such that it will require conscious effort on the part of Indian people to effect change in a manner consistent with their own objectives. From a life of productivity and harmony with nature the Indian has been forced to marginal economic activity, with all its uncertainties and tragedies.

In developing new methods of response and community involvement it is imperative that we, both Indian and Government, recognize that economic, social and educational development are synonymous and thus must be dealt with as a “total” approach rather than in parts. The practice of program development in segments, in isolation as between its parts, inhibits if not precludes, effective utilization of all resources in the concentrated effort required to support economic, social and educational advancement.

In order that we can effect change in our own right, it will be necessary to develop a whole new process of community orientation and development. The single dependency factor of Indian people upon the state cannot continue, nor do we want to develop a community structure that narrows the opportunities of the individual through transferal of dependencies under another single agency approach.

It is generally recognized that the strength of society rests with the inter-dependency of people, on upon the other, and the development of the community of interest that exists between all people to pursue progress and a better way of life. For the Indian this will mean a conscious effort to develop inter relationships that have for a century have been inhibited by continued state control. Our treaties by the very fact of the Crown’s negotiating and signing them, were and are recognition of our aboriginal title to this land. Our treaties were and are unconscionable by virtue of the distortions, inequities, and the inconsistencies implicit in the negotiations. The demonstrable lack of any intention to implement the potentially beneficial aspects of the treaties confirms the cynicism and deceit which attended a one sided treaty making process.

Our treaties by the very fact of the Crown’s negotiating and signing them, were and are recognition of our aboriginal title to this land. Our treaties were and are unconscionable by virtue of the distortions, inequities, and the inconsistencies implicit in the negotiations. The demonstrable lack of any intention to implement the potentially beneficial aspects of the treaties confirms the cynicism and deceit which attended a one sided treaty making process.”

Last modified: May 24, 2019

Comments are closed.