Archive for July, 2011

Encourage aboriginal high achievers

Recent studies have shown an appalling aboriginal high school dropout rate approaching sixty percent. Obviously more must be done to bring these numbers into line with Canadian averages. In the meantime, aboriginal leaders must provide encouragment and financial opportunities to the deserving forty percent who have made the grade. Instead of handing out royalty payments to eighteen year olds who have done nothing to deserve them, substantial monies should be earmarked to assist the high achievers in pursuing their educational goals. Generous scholarship incentives should be available to be “earned” by the best and brightest for both university and technical education and the success of these students should be widely publicized and rewarded to encourage up and comers to follow in their footsteps. If this can be done in the poverty zone of rural India, it surely can be done in Canadian aboriginal communities on an even more widespread basis.

Aboriginal Governance

Aboriginal government in Canada today is bloated, ineffective, undemocratic and rife with nepotism, with per capita costs approaching $17000 compared to $1800 for Canadian municipalities. If Chief Atleo is serious about replacing the Indian Act, this is where he should begin. If he can provide a new framework for transparent, democratic and affordable governance that can be demonstrated to work efficiently over a number of years within a representative sample of reserves throughout the country, he will be on the right track to convincing Canadians of the benefits of replacing the outmoded Indian Act.

However, any calls to do away with the Indian Act without first providing tangible results of a more effective system of governance will fall on deaf ears and Canadian politicians of all stripes would be well advised to realize this as well or suffer the electoral consequences.

Aboriginal Education Today (Part 4)

The St. Eugene Hotel and Resort and other similar well postioned aboriginal owned businesses could provide excellent academic and on-the-job educational experiences for deserving aboriginal youth. Competitive scholarship opportunities funded by the Assembly of First Nations and other aboriginal organizations should be made available to the most qualified candidates from all over North America. A one or two year program operated in association with post-secondary institutions would allow these young people to become proficient in areas like accounting, hotel management and other operations associated with the hospitality industry rather than just being relegated to jobs such as housekeeping and security which is now often the case.

This is an example where practical educational opportunities can be made available today for the kids who make the effort to qualify and who deserve the opportunity. They will have the great experience of learning along with others with similar backgrounds from all over North America and will reap the benefits of challenging and rewarding careers that will last them for a lifetime.

Aboriginal Education Today (Part 3)

The St Eugune Mission Indian Residential School which was built in 1910, has now been turned into a five star golf resort and hotel near Cranbrook, British Columbia. The business was set up to provide gainful employment for young aboriginals. My wife and I stayed at the hotel last night and while we were impressed with the new structural renovations and the great service we received, we were surprised to see that most of the staff were not aboriginal. Upon inquiring from the few aboriginal workers why this was the case, I was told that “the young people just aren’t interested in this type of work.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Why is this and why aren’t aboriginal leaders taking charge and doing something about it? Could it be practices as ludicrous as the lump sum royalty payments that bands like the Samson Cree (July 12, 2011) give out to all their youth when they turn eighteen years old. This non-sensical policy does nothing but fuel alcoholism and drug addiction problems and when the kids on other reserves go on Facebook and see all this easy money being thrown around, it’s not hard to see why these apathetic and depressing attitudes exist. Chief Atleo, are you listening?