Nobody wants to be seen as idle.
So being Idle No More is a good thing, right?
Such as not being dependent on government handouts, determining one's own future and building a stronger community.
These are all worthy goals of the groundswell of First Nations pride and protest that goes by the same name.
But to achieve a Canada in which native and non-native alike can reach their full potential, we need to look beyond the slogans and rhetoric to some of the root causes of many First Nations' unfortunate situations.
Federal, provincial and native governments must address issues such as aboriginal students' markedly lower graduation rate from high school and encourage greater participation in post-secondary education.
Knowledge is power, and a more educated population tends to solve many of its own problems with minimal intervention.
We need to ask difficult questions of our federal government and of our native chiefs. Why haven't pressing needs been met, where has money gone and why is it many native youth feel disenfranchised?
We need to end the blame game. No more "us and them" mentality.
Governments must acknowledge court rulings recognizing aboriginal title and must live up to their end of signed treaties.
The treaty process, as vital as it is to certainty for First Nations and to the rest of Canada, has been a joke so far, becoming an industry in which the lawyers continue to get rich and agreements never get reached.
Idle No More, indeed.
- Managing Editor