British colonialism has a certain process and formula, and it's been applied around the world with different populations, often indigenous populations, in different countries that they choose to colonize. And that is to make people into good little Englishmen. Because the best ally you have is someone just like you. Kenn Richard, director of Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.Last night my eldest daughter Alexis came to me and said, "Mom. You have to watch this Ted Talk. It's on the Lakota."
I said I would and then forgot. This morning, when I woke up, I remembered her request and went in search of photographer, Aaron Huey's, Ted Wish presentation.
I don't have words for Aaron and the powerful photographs and words he shares. I don't have answers. I have only tears and the desire to awaken. Me. You. All of us.
In Canada, we have our own broken treaties, broken promises and broken dreams. We have our own blind refusal to see the role we have played in the suffering of our indigenous peoples. We have cultural genocide, residential schools, The Scoop -- the wholesale removal of native children from their homes to be adopted into white families. And we have generations raped of their culture, their history, language, spirituality, worth and pride.
We have our self-righteous insistence that the problem with the Indian is... and then we have our list of excuses, of reasons why we are not to blame. It is they who are lazy, drunkards, criminals. It is they who refuse to get off the reservation. Who refuse to go back to the reservation, or as Aaron Huey so aptly calls them, Prisoner of War camps. It is they who refuse to let of the past, forgive, forget, move on. To get on with living. It is they who are abusing drugs. Killing each other. Killing their future with their wanton disregard for the promise of today.
We look for solutions for the indigenous peoples and come up empty. How do we, the oppressor, the dominant society 'fix' the problem we created when they refuse to give up their drugs and anger and wholesale disregard for their humanity. When they so obviously do not want our help? And as we turn our backs and walk away, wiping our hands of the problem, we cannot see that breaking our promises has always been easier than keeping them.