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My Thoughts XVIII: A Letter to the Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller

Updated on June 12, 2020

Today, June 11th, 2020 I sent an email to Mr. Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services:

"On the 27th of December, 2019 I wrote the following email and sent it to Mrs. Carolyn Bennett:

"... I am writing this email to ask Mrs. Bennett and the government of Canada to take a more serious approach to the suicides among First Nations people. I am sure that members of government know about the problem of suicide, as the news of Inuit singer Kelly Fraser dead at 27 is on every Canadian news channel this weekend.

Her death is a tragedy but her death is just one of too many. I was in Attawapiskat about ten years ago. At a refueling stop, I sat and talked to a young Cree man. He was returning to Kashetchewan from his cousin's funeral. He told me just three month before that, his uncle had committed suicide too. Sigh ... what else can I say? What other members of parliament do we need to talk to, in order for this problem to be taken more seriously? On my return to Toronto in a meeting with Mr. Bob Rae, he told me that he had been to Attawapiskat in the 80's. These are his words: "Not much has changed since then." Outrageous but I'm not even angry anymore. I'm just terribly sad. This cannot continue.

Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation at Loon Lake has had recently a ten year old commit suicide, among others. If this is not a national emergency, I am not sure what is. The trauma continues; all across this country. Shameful and the shame is on us all. This is not what "keeping Canadians safe" means. We need solutions."

Here is what a CBC article said about a week ago (May 13th, 2020): "A band councillor for a Saskatchewan First Nation is speaking out after a rash of suicide attempts in the past few weeks on his reserve.

Dustin Ross Fiddler of Waterhen Lake First Nation said a 14-year-old girl recently died by suicide and that he is aware of 10 other recent attempts."

You know, we have learned from this pandemic that one person dying from covid-19 is one too many. We have sat at home for months on end now to "save lives". Why is it that we can stop our entire lives from operating as an entire country, when non-Indigenous people are dying but when Indigenous people are dying, it's just another day in the books?

Why is it that we can spend billions on a daily basis on a myriad of different things as we see nowadays but when we talk about helping the First Nations, all we get are platitudes from Monsieur Justin? No, please don't send me a list of money that was spent. We do not necessarily always need money thrown at problems. If a house is burning and I throw bills on it, does it stop burning? No. We need solutions.

As a quick example: recognizing unceded territories does not require money. It requires honesty and good will. That's all.

What would unceded territories have to do with little children committing suicide, one might ask? Well, it does because it is part of reconciliation. Recognizing First Nation territories would signal an end to oppression and the stealing of land from First Nations. It would allow healing to begin to take place. There is no healing now. All there is is denial on one side (the gov't) and hurt on the other side (the Natives).

There are many things the government of Canada can do. I ask the Minister to take a pro-active stance on the important issues which have not been properly addressed for hundreds of years: treaties and rights of Indigenous people. We have to go back to the Treaties. Not a fun job, I know but we have to. Otherwise we'll keep fighting each other, children will keep dying and the mistrust will only increase. I for one will not stop. I cannot stop. We'll keep beating those drums.

What is the plan on your side? Young children are dying in this country. The plan ... ? Sigh."

Cheyenne War Dance

Comments

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    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      12 months ago from london

      I have dedicated a loving poem to you, Bro. See if you like it. It is the last one of Tuesday, I believe. Peace.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      What's going on here? We're following each other around?

      I was answering a comment here then went to read a piece on the Gayatri Mantra and there You were. I left there, only to find You back here, haha!!!

      I'm happy I read your mind without intending to do so.

      Cheers from "Something else's child"!! Haha!! : )

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      13 months ago from london

      Yes, yes. I didn't mention names, but yes, you have hit on one of the countries that I had in mind. God bless your noble conscience.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You for the visit Mr. Manatita and thank You for the support. This is indeed a concern for many not only in Canada but the United States and Australia too from what I know.

      We can change things but it takes unity, good will and honesty.

      All the very best to You!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      13 months ago from london

      Yes, yes. I agree.

      I support this just cause. It is a big problem in some countries. Much Love.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "We all deserve the dignity of caring from our governments and fellow men." - Yes and that sort of goes unsaid for me. The gov't has to work for the common people too, not just for billionaires and corporations.

      At the moment it is not working well so, we have to keep up the pressure. Otherwise, nothing changes.

      Cheers and thank You for the visit!

      P.S. And thank You for the mailing!

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You, Mr. Rehman. We have to come together on important issues, in order to create some change in our societies.

      All the best!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      If one race is marginalized and ignored, all races are. So I believe. I can only speak from the viewpoint of a human being. We all deserve the dignity of caring from our governments and fellow men.

      Of course, I doubt many in power will read my words, or be affected by them, but they need to be said.

      Blessings my friend...the package is in the mail.

    • KhalilWrites profile image

      Khalil Ur Rehman 

      13 months ago from Lahore

      Bringing up these matters are highly appreciated!

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      You don't have to say anything Mr. Manatita. I feel You.

      Thank You and all the very best! *bow*

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You for your comment and for reading this piece of writing, Mr. Eric.

      I honestly take no joy in writing these kinds of messages to our politicians but I have to. Many of the answers to Indigenous issues can be addressed by our gov't. I know there are tough decisions to be made, on the part of the European-styled gov't but there is no choice. Genocide failed at killing-off all the Natives and now there are non-Natives like myself asking for adherence to the Treaties. The gov't will not be able to get out of this one. They can delay, as they are and have been but they are delaying the innevitable: respecting Treaties just as we respect Canadian Law.

      I do have a dream too. It's more than a dream though. I'm putting my Being into building a new reality, as the Moirai manipulated the thread of Life in Ancient Greece.

      May Wakan Tanka always walk with You.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I get so conflicted. My brothers do not see answers or blame on white people. I can't keep up.

      Bless you for bringing these matters to the forefront.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      13 months ago from london

      What can I say? My happiness lies in your happiness and vice versa. Happiness is the birthright of each soul. God is moving Hearts. Let us continue to pray. Much Peace

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