Progess is being made on Indigenous issues

To the Expositor:

I was very impressed and heartened with Regional Chief (Glen) Hare’s statements in the June 16 issue of The Expositor.

Most First Nations leaders and individuals I hear in the media, though expressing their legitimate concerns, do so as if no progress has been made between First Nations and fellow Canadians. But it appeared to me that the chief spoke in an honest and candid way, belying the perception that relations are a disaster and that no progress has been made.

As Chief Hare expressed, the federal government has taken huge steps on child welfare over the last 10 years. They are also giving what we’re hoping for regarding repatriation of sovereign power.

I think the following examples also attest to the fact that our relationship is solid and mutually beneficial.

Recent federal budget allocation of $18 billion of new money to narrow socio-economic gap.

Great economic relationships in hundreds of communities. Recent examples are Grand Chief Johnathon Solomon of Mushkegowuk council and mayor of Timmins signed an agreement for a poverty, health, and social and economic partnership, Attawapiskat Victor mine development, Ring of Fire in the Northwest, OPG partnering with Coral Rapids in Northwestern Ontario (Taykwa FN) for renewable energy and economic benefits etc.

Truth and Reconciliation has financially settled 38,000 specific claims and common experience payment to 28,000 individuals.

More recently there was a settlement of the ‘60s scoop’ and the extensive inquiry into missing women.

These are just a few examples that show our relationship as Canadians is strong, vibrant and developing. We are not starting at square one. This gives us cause to celebrate in hope together.

The present crisis should not be allowed to overshadow these achievements. Litigation and militancy will prove to be counterproductive.

Don Baby 

Elliot Lake