Federal government needs to listen to First Nations

Re: There is a cost to restoring dignity, Editorial, April 13, 2012.

Re: There is a cost to restoring dignity, Editorial, April 13, 2012.

The editor wisely said: “Canadians should listen to these (Truth and Reconciliation) stories.  We need to remember what happened but doing so, in itself, won’t make things right.”

It’s time to open ourselves to doing what will correct our past mistakes. We need to celebrate cultures that our authorities once tried to destroy.

We need to be willing to put our money where our mouth is, whether that’s in treaty negotiations or respecting the rights of First Nations to have a stronger say on how their traditional lands are used.

Our federal authorities need to pay attention to these wise words, because at the moment Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made statements which would suggest that respect is not being shown to First Nations, many of which are adamant that the Enbridge pipeline not be placed on their traditional lands, and that their way of life and culture would be (in fact in Alberta are already) destroyed by industrial activities.

Residential schools were one symbol of the evil inflicted upon the First Nations. The T&R Commission would be an incredible waste of effort if our provincial and federal governments persist down the path they seem determined to travel.

No amount of money acquired from destroying our lands in the name of “preserving our economy” is worth the damaged relationships and cultures of our citizens. Pay attention, Mr. Harper.

Carolyn Herbert

Victoria