Georges Erasmus: Nothing to celebrate
Georges Henry Erasmus has a dream: Self-government for the native peoples of Canada. The charismatic native leader has devoted his life to fighting tirelessly for the right of his people to control their own lives and the land they live on. From his early days as the president of the Dene Nation or as the co-chair of the historic Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Erasmus has never swayed from his vision. It's a dream that has yet to be fully realized.
To prepare for the big day, the federal government invites influential Canadians to suggest ways for Canada to mark the occasion. No speech makes a stronger impact that day in Ottawa than one delivered by Georges Erasmus. Ironically, his tone is far from celebratory.
In a highly impassioned address to the planning committee, he demands to know why native peoples of Canada should participate in the occasion.
He asks what sort of celebration can take place when most native peoples continue to live in abject poverty, when 90 per cent are unemployed and when they still do not control their own land.
He concludes by saying his people are sick and tired and demands immediate action. Erasmus's frustration rings loud and clear.
. Native peoples are 11 times more likely than other Canadians to be incarcerated in provincial jails and five times more likely in federal penitentiaries. (Statistics Canada 1999)
Broadcast Date: Oct. 16, 1989
Guest(s): Georges Erasmus
Host: Peter Gzowski
Last updated: January 30, 2012
Page consulted on February 15, 2013
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Erasmus debates the importance of self-rule for native peoples.
Erasmus is elected National Chief of Assembly of First Nations in a ti...
Another constitutional conference fails to settle issues of native sov...
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Erasmus wonders why native peoples should honour Canada's 125th.
Erasmus condemns the Catholic Church during a hearing for the Royal Co...
The Royal Commission report polarizes Ottawa with its sweeping recomme...
Erasmus offers a native view of Canada's future.
Georges Henry Erasmus has a dream: Self-government for the native peop...