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Monday, June 28, 2010

Canada's Aboriginal "insurgency"

Something I noticed a few days ago when
reviewing the last year at Leherensuge was that I have proportionally many Canadian readers. With 34 million people, Canada cannot be considered a large country by population (it is by mere geographic size, of course) but still lists 4th among the readers of this blog, with some 1500 visits in the last 12 months.

So I imagine that they may be interested in reading this article by Jon Elmer at Al Jazeera on what seems to be growing conflict between the Aboriginal minority and the state on a long trail of unsolved problems such as poor services, poverty and effective inequality with other Canadians. They may also want to give their opinion, which I am interested in and I welcome.

Very briefly: Elmer points to the latest history where Aboriginal Canadians have resourced to blockades (what reminds me a bit of the actions of Native American communities elsewhere in the continent, particularly in Bolivia but also in other countries) threatening the economical infrastructure of Canada, largely based on extraction of natural resources and transport through nearly empty swathes of land that are mostly populated by Aborigines.

Aboriginal peoples constitute the largest ethnicity in the areas shaded in brown and magenta (this last represents Inuits)
(from Wikipedia)

This has been occasionally considered "insurgency" and suggested to be dealt as such via counter-insurgency methods such as those used in Afghanistan.

He also mentions how the number of Aboriginal Canadians in prison is totally disproportionate and that ethnic gangs are recruiting there. These gangs seem to be increasingly politicized and often resort to "Robin Hood" style of crime: robbing the rich and white to give, at least partly, to the poor and native.

The most recent case of blockade I know of happened just nine days ago, with police arresting the demonstrators including Acting Chief Benjamin Notaway of the Algonquin nation. While I don't know all the details it seems from the news article that the government is using in this case the typical Latin American method of promoting a corrupt minority faction as the official "representation". Well, actually that happens also here in the Basque Country... so not really surprised.

Feel free to discuss because to me it is a rather ill-known development (you won't read about this growing conflict usually in international media) but one which should not be hidden and that can eventually has important repercussions, I imagine.

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