Over­com­ing ob­sta­cles to jus­tice

Re­turn­ing land to the Mi’kmaq by an­nual gift the day be­fore Canada Day

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - BY TONY COU­TURE Tony Cou­ture, is a mem­ber of the Phi­los­o­phy De­part­ment, UPEI

I have a Mi’kmaq dream, think­ing about Martin Luther King and this prickly land claim is­sue that Pre­mier Wade MacLauch­lan must face for us all. I think he has good will but needs a larger philo­soph­i­cal vi­sion to guide him.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of P.E.I., the sons and daugh­ters of the Mi’kmaq will be able to sit down to­gether with the sons and daugh­ters of the colonists and late­com­ers at the ta­ble of uni­ver­sal jus­tice. In my dream, in­sist­ing on the truth made the gov­ern­ment power come to rea­son.

The Pre­mier passed new laws and de­clared that each year, on the day be­fore Canada Day, the gov­ern­ment would choose one of its best prop­er­ties and re­turn it to the Mi’kmaq peo­ple. This gift sys­tem would be a ma­te­rial demon­stra­tion of the way night­mar­ish his­tory is be­ing cured, slowly but surely, with­out harm­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions with more debt.

It could be­gin by re­turn­ing one of the golf cour­ses that it has been vainly try­ing to sell. Or by re­turn­ing the mag­nif­i­cent, but un­de­vel­oped, Bloom­ing Point Beach where I once found a black flint ar­row­head left as a mys­ti­cal clue to me by a van­ished Mi’kmaq war­rior.

My dream is an ar­row that gets to the very heart of the is­sue. This law of re­turn­ing land by an­nual gift could be writ­ten so that it would con­tinue un­til the Mi’kmaq them­selves de­clared that they were sat­is­fied with the re­ver­sal of his­tory and it could end. It would likely take many years, but it would even­tu­ally put the Mi’kmaq back into their orig­i­nal po­si­tion, or as close as jus­tice as fair­ness can put them with such re­dis­tri­bu­tion.

I have great faith in Pre­mier MacLauch­lan’s abil­ity to over­come the ob­sta­cles to jus­tice for the Mi’kmaq. Rec­ti­fi­ca­tion is about re­turn­ing the Mi’kmaq to where they would be in an ideal world, il­lu­mi­nated by jus­tice rather than en­tan­gled in sor­row, where Euro­peans had never in­vaded and wrecked havoc on their way of life.

Let free­dom ring from the bell of this lit­tle is­land, and let the peo­ple of P.E.I. show the way to true rec­on­cil­i­a­tion for the rest of Canada and Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau him­self. I have a dream that Pre­mier MacLauch­lan can do the right things to free us at last from the racism, the hor­ror and the shame buried in our his­tory.

FILE PHOTO

Bloom­ing Point beach

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