June 22, 2009

Not a token day: National Aboriginal Day, June 21st, summer solstice

The Young Communist League of Canada, Ligue de la jeunesse communiste
du Canada stands in support of struggles by all of Canada's First
Peoples on this day, National Aboriginal Day, and every other day in
the year. National Aboriginal Day should never be a token day, and
First Nations reservations should never be token lands. This day we
take the time to recognize that a war has and continues to be waged
against all aboriginal peoples. A slow and steady genocide has been
committed against First Nations, the Metis and Inuit peoples.

We are all on Aboriginal land, and the idea of the treaties was to
share and share alike what this land has to offer. Now it is time for
the state and corporations to pay the rent! The concept of land
ownership was unheard of, until colonial governments forced it upon
Aboriginal peoples. Sharing and co-operation were trampled by
capitalist values of exploitation of land, profit from misery and
feelings of superiority. Such attitudes set the foundation for racism
and the cultural genocide of the residential school system.

What are the legacies of a government policy to control the Aboriginal
population? One of many legacies is a suicide rate that is of
epidemic proportions in many communities. Aboriginals have a high
rate of suicide. Aboriginal youth in particular have the highest
suicide rates. According to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, young
aboriginals living on a reserve kill themselves at rates five to seven
times higher than other young people. Put in another way, that's 500%
to 700% more. A University of Manitoba report stated that aboriginal
youth suicide rates were highest in urban areas.
Manitoba has the highest suicide rate in the country.[1]

Young Aboriginal women face racialized and sexualized violence. The
Native Women’s Association of Canada has compiled a database of over
520 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls since 1970. Of the
women and girls whose age at the time of their disappearance or death
is known, two thirds were under the age of 30; eighteen per cent were
under nineteen years old.[2]

Racism against Aboriginal peoples is spawned by capitalism from the
colonial courts and prisons to the 2010 Olympics and also among youth.
Recently, a Facebook group appeared claiming “Native Americans are
ruining Canada.” One post said: “Native Americans are substantially
increasing Canada’s suicide rate to enormous proportions and
embarrasses us as a country [sic]” The group description said “Anyone
from Upper Canada College can join and invite others from Upper Canada
College to join.” (UCC is the most elite private boys school in
Canada, with the Duke of Edinburgh on its Board) The facebook group
has been closed down, but this was not random – national oppression of
aboriginal peoples is part of the ideology of the ruling class.[3]

Can we compare UCC with the learning conditions for many aboriginal
youth on reserve or in off-reserve urban aboriginal communities? Many
schools have students learning in overcrowded and sub standard school
buildings, with meagre school supplies. Now the federal government is
withholding much of its funding for a First Nations University.
Although access to education is both a human right and a treaty right
for First Nations, basic core service funding including
post-secondary, is capped; And the federal Conservatives want to
off-load it's responsibility for post-secondary education, switching
from grants to student loans, for an already disadvantaged group of

Over 50% of Aboriginal people are under 23. Canadian youth justified
by being deep enraged by treatment of Aboriginal peoples by the
Canadian ruling class; the attack on Aboriginal youth is an attack on
all youth.

Aboriginal youth need a future. A future free from racism, a future
with a good paying job, a future with land or proper compensation for
land use. A future with rights to universal education right up to and
including post-secondary education. A future with good housing. A
future without racist police brutality and racial profiling. A future
with a dream. A future that is a reality.

Central Executive Commiteee

1. www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2006/08/31/suicide-study.html;
2. Native Women’s Association of Canada, www.nwac-hq.org
3. www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2214290884

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