Ottawa Citizen

Go for­ward re­spon­si­bly

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The Idle No More move­ment has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of the abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple and of many other Cana­di­ans. But why? Per­haps be­cause we are all fed up with the in­ep­ti­tude and the in­sen­si­bil­ity demon­strated over all those years by the fed­eral, pro­vin­cial and lo­cal gov­ern­ments in deal­ing with such a fla­grant in­equity to­wards our own abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

The in­ac­tion of those gov­ern­ments is de­plorable i.e. At­tawapiskat Re­serve. Our pa­ter­nal­is­tic at­ti­tude to­ward abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple is de­spi­ca­ble. Non-abo­rig­i­nal Cana­di­ans tend to show a su­pe­rior at­ti­tude to­ward them with­out really try­ing to gen­uinely un­der­stand where they are coming from. They were in­hab­i­tants of this land long be­fore we stepped on this con­ti­nent. Why do we ig­nore our re­spon­si­bil­ity to­ward our en­vi­ron­ment sus­tain­abil­ity ev­ery time we want to ex­ploit our nat­u­ral re­sources which, by def­i­ni­tion, also be­long to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple and to all other Cana­dian ci­ti­zens?

For me, the now con­se­crated ex­pres­sion Idle No More ex­presses an in­vi­ta­tion to all Cana­di­ans to go for­ward in a re­spon­si­ble way. I also think it means to look for­ward with a dif­fer­ent set of eyes, with an em­pha­sis on hu­man dig­nity and sel­f­re­spect when deal­ing with abo­rig­i­nal peo­ples’ is­sues re­lated to their com­fort, their well-be­ing and the achieve­ment of in­di­vid­ual po­ten­tial.

As fel­low Cana­di­ans, we have a duty to help them keep their pride, their lan­guages, their cul­ture, their be­liefs and their in­spi­ra­tion. I wish this for 2013 and decades to come.

GHIS­LAIN ST-JACQUES, Ot­tawa

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