September 19, 2011 is the deadline date for applications to made for the Common Experience Payment whereby former students who lived at one of the prescribed residential schools will be awarded $10,000.00 for the first school year. Under the Independent Assessment Process (deadline September 19, 2012), a student who suffered sexual or serious physical abuse will be entitled to receive between $5000.00 and $275,000.00. Blue Saltwater, Jeremy Cardinal and Rufus Buffalo would all qualify for the larger amount.

Who in Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is taking these ridiculous decisions that I’m sure most Canadian taxpayers are unaware of? INAC is currently holding sessions in homeless shelters to reach former residential school survivors to tell them about this windfall. How wise is it to be dolling out this kind of coin to people who are down and out on the street and are incapable of managing their lives, let alone such monstrous sums of money? Is it to buy off some kind of collective white man’s guilt so we can wash our hands of the matter? Come on people, there’s got to be a better way.

The money should be used to provide social housing and services rather than being handed out in cash where it is going to disappear into the vortex of drug dealers and pimps that populate the mean streets of our Canadian cities, towns and reserves.

Why can’t government and First Native organizations quit their bickering and posturing and get on with the real task of helping the survivors in a tangible way so they can begin to build a future and put this chapter behind them and their children.

When you read about crazy stuff like this, it makes you wonder weather the people at Indian Affairs and the First Nations leaders themselves are really serious about solving these problems, since doing so would put them out of job.