“The Politics of Suffering” – Fascinating Read

Peter Sutton worked as an anthropologist and linguist with Australian Aborigines. He grew more and more disillusioned with the situation there and penned the book The Politics of Suffering: Indigenous Australia and the end of the liberal consensus (2009). I see numerous parallels between what he says and the Indigenous situation here in Canada.

Aboriginal Issues During the “Culpability Era”

Canadian politicians frequently adhere to cultural relativism doctrine which can make the Indigenous situation worse. It is better to follow advice from Indigenous leaders like Calvin Helin, who recommends that welfare dependency be replaced with self-reliance. Helin also contends that Indigenous communities should develop alternative revenue streams so they are not so reliant on government.

Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better than Assimilation or Parallelism

An examination of Canadian political science professor Alan Cairns’s thought-provoking book on Aboriginal policy: Citizens Plus (2000). I agree with Cairns that Indigenous people can maintain their rights, and also their Canadian citizenship. However, I think any rights maintained should not harm either Aboriginals or Non-Aboriginals.

Violence Against Aboriginal Women

The constant blaming of forces like colonization and the residential schools has not always moved the dialogue forward when it comes to ending violence against Aboriginal women. I think a more holistic approach is required that examines all sides of the story, including those factors that might have contributed to Indigenous dysfunction pre-contact.