First thing's first: I don't think Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is going to starve to death. That will not be how this story ends -- the end will be a meeting between Stephen Harper and Spence, just as she has requested. The Prime Minister is certainly stubborn -- that can be the only reason he hasn't responded to her yet -- but he surely knows a dead First Nations chief would not make for good PR. He will accede to her demands [...] How is it possible that native leaders have managed to squander/mismanage/ in some cases maybe steal the tens of millions of dollars federal and provincial governments keep handing over, year after year? Granted, it's not as much money when you factor in the ridiculous cost of living in some of the more remote reserves, but there's no question that money should be helping those poor people much more than it evidently has.He says a lot of other things too. I don't agree with all of them, but that's okay. At least he knows how to properly engage in rhetoric. You can read the full article here. The reason I am calm has nothing to do with the crazy problems of the Western world. How terrible our lives all must be, and all that. It is my ability to look outside of that which enables the calmness. Most people in the Western world don't understand how lucky they really are. We take so much for granted it is insane. I remember as a teenager my friend said her dad had no work one season. She was terrified she would end up living in a tent. I had to bite my tongue not to laugh at her. I knew if she just cut the cable to her house and didn't rent movies and video games every week and if her mom cut down to one cigarette a day, they'd be perfectly fine. I knew this because I had already experienced having a lot less than that. Even so, I know I have been spoiled a lot of my life. Now at this point someone is thinking, "but people in the Western world do end up on the streets all the time." It's true, but the thing you have to realize is that poverty in the Western world is created, not necessary. It is created because people and corporations are greedy. It's created because the price of living in the Western world is ridiculously high for no good reason.
Why does it cost a bare minimum of $400 to rent a small apartment in Canada?! (My brother was paying nearly $2000/month for a basement suite in Vancouver.) This is completely unnecessary. In Thailand, I pay the equivalent of $200/month Canadian for my apartment. That includes my electricity, water, cable TV, and internet! The bottom line is there is too much greed in the Western world. A large percentage of the people living in shelters or on the street actually work jobs, but can't afford to rent an apartment. We have created real problems in our own communities by expecting too high of standards of living. People fall through the cracks because we are too blind to see it. We focus too hard on our own gain whether it be monetary, social, or otherwise.
We need to take a good look at our communities. Do you even know your neighbours? I know I am guilty of not knowing mine at some of the places I have lived. We are setting ourselves up for failure by not caring for others in our communities.This includes First Nations people.
I had tons of opportunities in college and university to apply for scholarships and bursaries for Metis and First Nations youth. My mom was always pressuring me to apply. I never could bring myself to do it. I knew I could pay off my small student loan quickly without those bursaries. I knew there were others out there with greater needs than mine. Mom didn't understand this, but it was very important to me.
Every day in my practicum teaching, and at my weekend job working with at risk youth, I asked myself "how do I reach these First Nations youth?" I felt under-prepared, and unqualified. Despite this, I knew there were so many people less qualified than me doing the same job. It's scary. No one can break the cycle of dependency by themselves, but it only takes one dedicated teacher to change a young person's life. That's what drives me to continue in professional development. I will always be able to learn something new. I can always improve myself, and my ability to meet the needs of my students. Their are possibilities for all of us to affect this sort of change, as long as we can open ourselves to them. The first step in changing the world, is changing ourselves. It is also the hardest step of all.