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Darrell on "Bad Romance"

Unfortunately, with a show like ReVision Quest, we only have half an hour to discuss topics that would take an entire season to make any sense of. The episode "Bad Romance: Us and Them" is a prime example. The problem with the relationship between Natives and the Canadian government has been a problem since before there was a "Canadian" government. So, trying to solve it in the allotted time would be a superhuman feat. Maybe if the CBC gave us a time slot that went year round... just throwing it out there!

One of the main points that I hope we got across was the issue of treaties and proclamations and other such written documents that Native people have signed with the crown and prime ministers and whomever else was claiming title to land and rights at any given time. The most difficult concept to explain is that treaties weren't some quaint little handshake agreement that have no relevance today. They are legally binding documents or at least they should be, that is if you agree that legally binding documents should be honoured in the "spirit" to which they were negotiated.

Let me put it this way, let's say you rent an apartment and you sign a lease for a year. On the lease it says that "electricity", "cable", and "telephone" are all included during the term of your lease. Half way through your lease the landlord says, "We don't call it "electricity", "cable", or "telephone" anymore. Now it's called "hydro", "digital cable", and "dial up access", so, we're shutting it all down. Oh, and we don't call this an "apartment anymore", it's called a "rental unit", so the entire lease is null and void. And we need you out of here by Wednesday." The average Canadian would flip and take the landlord to court and he would be jailed as a slumlord, no questions asked! Because the lease is a legal document and the "spirit" in which it was signed STILL STANDS!

The same is true of treaties. Just like a lease, a transaction occurred, Native people agreed to certain things and gave up certain things and made certain alliances in exchange for the protection of certain rights and for assurance of certain benefits. They wrote it down on paper, had it approved by the powers that be and it became a LEGAL DOCUMENT! And unlike a lease, most treaties did not have an expiry date. Yet somehow governments today get around treaties, using all sorts of crazy legal reasoning... "The treaties are vague, times have changed, there is no proof that that was what the really meant, etc." And a lot of Canadians get angry when treaties are taken to court. They say it's a waste of taxpayer money, why can't Native people just move into this century and become Canadian, etc. Again, when all that Native people are doing is trying to have a legally binding document honoured the same way that any Canadian would expect their contract to be honoured.

Anyway, like I said, the topic is too big and complex for a half hour episode or for a blog, but if CBC was to allot a regular time slot, year round... Just throwing it out there again.... Well, folks, I hope you enjoyed the episode. My blah blah blah aside, I really enjoyed the show and I congratulate new producer Sam Vint on a fantastic episode. And once again, my hats off to Senior Producer Ruth Shead on pulling it all together and to the comedy stylings of Craig Lauzon and Rosanna Deerchild! Great job everyone! Just remember, next week is the last episode of the season, and then we will all curl up in a little ball and go into hibernation for the winter. That is unless CBC gives us a time slot year round and... well... you get the idea... Talk at you next week.