This month’s federal court decision granting legal Indian status to more than 600,000 Metis and non-status Indian Canadians is being welcomed as a correction to a historical and governmental wrong.
And that’s fair enough, for it goes without saying people need to feel part of a greater whole. That people are treated differently simply because of race or possession of a card that fits in a wallet is indeed wrong.
But it’s also somewhat of a puzzle, for it seems to represent the desire for those same hundreds of thousands of people to be part of something everyone universally despises – the Indian Act.
For decades now the Indian Act is being held up by aboriginal and non-aboriginals alike as a patronizing piece of legislation which has resulted in a stultifying, bureaucratically-hemmed-in way of life that robs independence and initiative in favour of subservience and dependence.
If the granting of legal aboriginal status to hundreds of thousands of Canadians can somehow focus on the need to eliminate the discredited Indian Act, so much the better.
What’s actually needed is the creation of a framework providing aboriginal people with the complete ways, means and opportunities for full and equal partnership leading to the generation of wealth.
It is only through the generation of wealth that individuals singly and collectively can provide the means for a civil and secure society.