Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Pause for Reflection

Published: December 2, 2008, Author: JayTaber

Divide and Conquer

One of the facts about British Columbia you’re not likely to hear in the 2010 Winter Olympics promotion is that the land being developed for the games does not belong to Canada. It in fact still belongs to the First Nations of the region, and is currently in dispute at international bodies like the Organization of American States.

Indeed, the lack of valid title to so much of the country has compelled the Canadian government to hastily negotiate treaties with tribes, often offering bribes to more compliant, non-traditional leaders and other members of the largely impoverished indigenous communities. Divide and conquer.

The rift created by colonialism and perpetuated by greed is not a new phenomenon, but the scale of the conflict in the era of newly-recognized, international indigenous rights represents a new opportunity to reconcile the inequality that still exists. But reconciliation can only take place in an atmosphere uncharged by boosterism bolstered by bigotry, and that necessitates a pause for reflection on the qualities of respectful relations–something that has yet to transpire.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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