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CBC Community shares how court decision on rights of Métis, non-status Indians affects them

Categories: Canada, Community, Politics

Melanie Omeniho, president of the Women of the Métis Nation, said the ruling means that "we will no longer be a part of the political football that has us being tossed back and forth between the province and the federal government."

The CBC Community reacted also, in the comments of our story. As we have noted about comments on our coverage of Idle No More, some comments have pushed the boundaries of respectful debate.

But many of the comments took the form of a constructive debate on aboriginal rights in Canada. 

Many of the highest rated comments expressed opinions similar to this: 

  • "When will we wake up and make everyone the same, a Canadian. Without regards to origins?" said drhoule. 

These comments had some interesting replies: 

  • "Unlike the U.S., the determination of who is 'Indian' or not in Canada is not by blood quantum. I suggest reading up on the history of Canada and Aboriginal Peoples, as well as the Canadian Constitution, before commenting. It's a shame that schools do not teach Canadian history well. If they did, comments on here would be more informed rather than stereotypes and rhetoric," replied Grandma47.

  • "Because not all First Nations, Inuit and Métis people think that becoming Canadian is the ultimate achievement like you do. To us that is called assimilation. We are our own nations and your footsteps in 'Canada' walk on the footsteps of my ancestors. We are looking to achieve sovereignty, not become a part of a Canadian melting pot," replied arcticcanadian.

  • "We already do. I'm Métis, and Canadian. I'm British Columbian, and Canadian. I'm Canadian, and North American," replied Muskwatch.

This was another highly rated comment:

  • "I should put some effort into learning how we got into our current position. I can't understand why everyone within the geographical borders of Canada isn't treated the same. We keep out the people we don't want here, so the ones that are here are Canadian, and should be treated as such," said Mr. Rogers. 

This prompted a reply from Q Vanc Nucker: 

"You make an assumption, Mr. Rogers, that everyone in Canada is treated the same, and by your comment you are implying in a fair and socially acceptable manner. Except this has never been the case with First Nations, here or anywhere on the North American continent.

"It actually cuts both ways. If you think every Canadian should be treated as any other, how about you accept being treated in the same way that historically Canadian and North American governments have dealt with Indigenous peoples? You, and others like you or in your closest communities too, would sue and argue for equal rights, based on what others in other communities are getting.

"First Nations have been getting the short end of the stick since the invasion and colonization of European settlers, imposing and enforcing their rules of law as if those were the only things that exclusively worked and counted in a just and civil society. I for one am glad that the winner of this fight has gone to, in my opinion, the correct side.

"Will it cost money? You bet. But it's not like the capital wasn't there already to begin with. It's just been hoarded by a very small group of private interests, who in the name of political progress will try to shunt that cost off (again) onto the general population."
frozencanuck offered this comment: 

"I am Métis, my grandmother was Cree. This doesn't change anything for me. I live and work in the city, and live an urban life with my wife and daughter. I'm already educated, working, and paying my taxes.

"To those of you worried that now '40 per cent of our population will hunt and fish without permits on crown land' - I really doubt that. Urban Indians and Métis are not about to get fully kitted out and head into the backwoods. We aren't hunters and trappers. We camp with you in campgrounds and RV parks - not in the open air or in bear caves. Most of us couldn't survive alone in the woods.

"This decision doesn't instantly turn all Métis and Urban Indians into full blood reserve natives with some wonderful ancestral instincts for hunting and fishing. For most of us, it'll just bring new table conversation and nothing more." 

  • "I've read many comments about native people not paying tax, where are you people getting your information? I am a status Indian who has never lived on reserve and have paid all the same taxes as any other Canadian since I started working and the same property tax as my neighbours since I bought my house, the only way you don't pay income tax is if you live and work on reserve. Yes, if I drive to one of the middle of nowhere reserves and make a purchase I will save the GST but they are usually well out of the way and only have a general store and maybe a gas station," said Toni S.

  • "About time. Can't believe this wasn't the case from day one. Obviously our constitution provided for it so the government was derelict in its duties to these people and now after all these years today's taxpayers will have to bear the burden of catching up on our financial responsibilities. You've had ample time Mr. Harper to have corrected this and you are responsible," said Oh Sure.

  • "Métis firstly needs to be redefined. Presently, anyone can declare themselves Métis, apply and receive a Métis card if they have one ancestor with Indian blood. Self-definition is not acceptable - the government will need to establish a new definition," said WinniMiss. 

Thank you for all of your comments and replies. 

Tags: Community, Community Reaction

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