The good, the bad and the ugly.

 

This week’s Dungeon Prompt Week #10 is:  

Entitlement Ideology – Making Up the Rules as We Go (running from October 17 – October 23)

 

Gov.t ordered to turn over residential school file

Photograph courtesy of The Canadian Press

This exercise prompted me to look at the Good, the Bad and The Ugly of entitlement. This first part is the Bad and the Ugly, the last piece starts as Good and then, it all goes to interpretation, I suppose.

“As to the Indians, the guiding principle was, promise them anything just so long as they get out of the way”.- Stephen Ambrose

The above quote bothers me to no end.  I realize Canada is “starting” to make progress in talking with our First Nations People but still, we all know they have a lot of hours, days, months and  years before Aboriginal people in Canada can actually feel a positive change.  We, disregarded their rights and privileges.   We robbed them of entitlement to their land, to their culture and their language.  Residential schools comes to mind and yes, I AM talking about it still…the ramifications of such a travesty, of such oppression will trickle down for generations. It will take that long so their healing can commence.

Two years ago, I was privileged to be part of a group from our youth line to visit a reserve in Northern Ontario and ask youths in that community how we could better meet their needs.  The day before our meeting, my colleagues and I took a brisk walk near an old residential school outside of the reserve; the ghostly feeling walking around there was so eerie.  In our group, a young woman who was part of this pilot project told us stories she had heard from her grandmother and great-auntie who had been forced to go to this school.  Most of these youths had no clue they were thousands of miles from their homes. So when a youth tried to run away,  can only imagine the despair learning when caught to return to the school, the despair …they could not and would not see their family for, to them, a lifetime!

I cringed to imagine of youths as young as 4 and 5 that were literally ripped from the arms of their mothers and fathers by the RCMP.    Can you actually imagine such a thing?!

I recall speaking to a youth several years ago who proudly talked about a journal her grandmother had recounting her sad and tragic experiences in residential schools.  It’s important to document, to remember.  Part of healing IS remembering.

What is so sad about these calamities is that many First Nations People of that generation who were “condemned” to those schools, were brainwashed…told from 5 years old until they were 18 to speak ONLY English, to comply to a Christian religion of the white man, to forget their mother tongue and their culture…only to return to their homes as young adults having lost their identities totally.  They could not even communicate now their families.  They were confused as to who they were and feeling they could not fit in anywhere.  How can one heal from this?

Imagine you are taken away from your mom at an age where you cannot grasp certain concepts developmentally at the mere age of 4 or 5, punished if you speak to your sibling in your mother tongue and told over and over how ONLY the white man’s language, religion and ways are the right way. What an oxymoron…the right way is to oppress, abuse physically and emotionally? Let us not forget the sexual abuse as well…yes, the white man felt entitled to rob these people of their own rights in the guise of “it’s for their own good.” That sounds like the parent who hits his child and says, “It’s for your own good.”

This is but a small example of our country, our government who robbed our First Nations People of their entitlements…land, culture, language

Related Articles:

A History of Residential Schools in Canada

The Residential School System

 

This prompt of Entitlement also reminded me of the students protesting last summer 2012.

They walked the streets

for months and months

insist they couldn’t eat.

they said the fees

were way too high

refusing to comply.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

they said they had a right

to demonstrate and march

still making their demands.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

they stopped the students

at any time from going

to their classes.

and then they’d band

anyone from entering

so they could make demands.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

They even blocked

Jacques Cartier Bridge

and said it was their right.

they made a lot of messes

without regard for classes.

self-righteous, they continued

to fight for what they claimed.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

A week or two was fine

I even thought that cool

that youths would get involved,

to be part of a change.

But reasoning was not

to be part of their plan.

simply, me myself and I

the only game they had in mind.

Entitlement

was what they claimed

their only actual aim

for this important game.

They said it was their right.

and these were youths

who one day might

eventually run our state!

now that I’d really hate!

 

 

People gather at the start of a protest to mark the 100th day of a students strike, in Montreal, Tuesday, May 22, 2012. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Photograph courtesy of The Globe and Mail

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, originally written October 19, 2013

 

Related articles:

Quebec Students study in entitlement

Massive Montreal rally marks 100 days of student protests

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