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Message-Id: <Pine.OSF.3.91.950822175343.13000D-100000@coopext.cahe.wsu.edu>
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 17:54:08 -0700 (PDT)
Precedence: bulk
From: EIRP News <eirpnews@coopext.cahe.wsu.edu>
To: IND-NET <ind-net@listproc.wsu.edu>
Subject: nanews03.033(part A) (fwd)

Date: 95/08/09 19:04
From: Suzan Horovitch (a.horovitch@genie.geis.com)
Subj: Letter of Thoughts on Indian Country

From: John Walter
Subject: Re: Unpublished letter

Letter of Thoughts on Indian Country

By John Walter, 9 August 1995

Years of study, then 30-some years working and living with the most destitute peoples in North America. . . There are times when I wonder if working in my chosen field of Organizational Development in Indian Country was worth more than the easier (& richer) route of corporate life that I turned down so often. Then I get a letter from an old 'student/colleague' such as the following & I'm filled with pride at having done a good job, & all doubts disappear.

Bob, (not his real name) one of my more 'moderate' students back in '74-'75, sent me this after reading about the recent DIA/Health Canada study on water & sewage in Native communities. He sent it to the local newspaper but they refused to print it. I'll keep my opinion of his letter to myself. What do you think?

Had the treaties been respected, the infrastructures (housing, water, schools, health services, roads, etc) would be adequate in every First Nation community today. Had the treaties been respected. . ..

The First Nations that signed Treaty with the Crown are still holding up their sides of the bargain; the subjects of the Crown are still permitted to occupy parts of our lands & build their cities & businesses, their families & their lives. . .. And, compared to their original home, they can do so in peace, freedom and a huge, rich, clean environment.

Last summer the entire population of Pukatawagan (part of Mathias Colomb First Nation in NW Manitoba), over 600 elders, adults & children, abandoned their community for about a month. Some left by plane, most in cars & trucks, & approx 150 walked the 135 kilometres to the nearest town in symbolic protest. They were leaving due to outbreak of hepatitis that killed 2 & hospitalized dozens of others, and the hepatitis was in their fouled water supply. The press said Whoop-dee-doo! Indians are marching in protest again! The Annual Whiners Parade! Mr & Mrs Canada tsk-tsk'd all over the place, (and here you thought it was crickets you heard.) The Minister promised action. A coast to coast study (that word again) was undertaken, & that one (1) community's water supply was quickly cleaned up. The heat from the press-coverage disappeared and so did the issue of prevention of deaths by disease in First Nation communities. Mr & Mrs Canada stopped making noises of concern and got back to important stuff. . .; like OJ & baby seals. Indian death rates due to disease remain unacceptably high by World Health organization Standards, and ARE RISING, but the founders of Canada passed a law that Indian deaths don't mean anything to the 'Canada family' unless there are cameras present. (the Outa-Sight, Outa-Mind Statute of 1867).

And now we have The Study. . ., and once again the papers proclaim that ... there is a problem. . . but with special emphasis on, ... the COST... of saving Indian peoples lives by provision of barely adequate infrastructure for their communities. . .(. . .over $1-billion!. . ., of taxpayers money!)

I wonder how much the 1yr study by countless pencil-pushers cost? And ESPECIALLY I wonder if those pencil-pushers, the reporters, and Mr & Mrs Canada ever takes a single moment to remember that those tax dollars, and ALL of the non-taxed dollars ever made in Canada are due to the fact that the First NAtions gave permission, by Treaties, for them all to live here, build businesses & institutions & families here. . .?? Now that those folks are faced with the cost of the neglect of the Treaties by their fathers & grandfathers, they conveniently forget the benefits they are enjoying due to those Treaties, and look blindly at the 'costs' of honoring their contracts.

Hey out there. . .! Go ahead. Tell me, with a straight face, about how ethical one becomes when your life is based on Judeo-Christian values. . . Tell me, with a straight face, how euro-american civilization is firmly based on the rule of law (such as honoring of contractual agreements & Treaties?)... Go ahead, my smug fellow-citizens of the best country on earth, and convince this family that your highly-touted principles mean more to you than your pocketbooks. . . Well?. . . Gee, it's so quiet. . . No Canadian citizen to speak up?

Don't worry, Mr & Mrs Canada; I won't continue to embarrass you by pointing out your total moral bankruptcy again. You don't know what I'm talking about. The near future will bring harsh enlightenment. The Indian birth rate is twice that of yours. As more and more Indian people become parents and are forced to watch their children die needless deaths, deaths that could have been avoided if the solemn word of your representatives had any value whatsoever, their grief and anger will rise up like a tidal wave the like of which you have never seen before, and then your children and our grandchildren will pay a much, MUCH higher price than you can ever now imagine as you sit & study costs. . ..

You Canadians just go right on talking about costs & not acting on your famous 'principles'. . ., while I prepare my grandchildren for a endeavour with yours. When their day in the Sun arrives, I am making sure hat they will remember this evident 'value' of your culture in rendering heir final judgement. You shall truly reap as you sow.

In the Spirit of Tecumseh.