The worst enemy of First Nations people is First Nations people.
I’ve been to many reserves. The one thing that is consistent is the jealousy and infighting that goes on at the rez. It should be remembered First Nations people are now just starting to own property and are starting to increase their wealth.
This is still the first generation of First Nations people who are free in more than 500 years. Prior to this generation our nations were not allowed to own property. Even a horse was illegal at one time. Today that is changing at a rapid pace.
There are now First Nations millionaires, doctors and lawyers. There are people in every career offered at a post-secondary level. Most are doing very well. But there are those who stand on the sidelines criticizing and complaining.
“There’s that apple again with his fancy truck,” is often heard when a First Nations person is doing well.
An “apple” is a red person on the outside and a white person on the inside. It’s a derogatory reference. The people who are standing on the sidelines should be cheering and trying to do their part in helping a struggling nation.
I call these people “Hanging around the fort Indians.”
Back in the days when western movies were all we could watch, there was always that shot of John Wayne and his army riding towards the fort. There was also a group of Indian people hanging around the fort, probably waiting for something to happen. This continues today, and it’s not only in western movies.
I used to go have a coffee at Starbucks on Second Avenue and 22th Street. I would look across the street where the McDonald’s used to be. There was always a group of people who would just hang around. Most times it was the same people. It reminded me of those old western movies where people would hang around the fort.
It should be remembered the people who were hired to hang around the fort were not aboriginal. They were actors, mostly Hispanic. But that image is etched in the minds of many people. It is a stereotype. But day by day that is changing.
Evidence is shown all over Saskatoon. You could start by looking at the city’s skyline, and you will see First Nations Bank of Canada. Of course one also has to consider there are those who are not able to work or seek a higher education. But they are a minority.
There’s this old story of an Indian guy and a white man walking along a beach. They were collecting crabs. The white dude noticed the Indian’s crabs stayed in the buckets.
“How is it that my crabs keep escaping and yours just stay inside the bucket?” the white man asked.
The Indian brother quickly responded: “Oh, these are Indian crabs. Every time one tries to go over the top the others pull him down.”
It boils down to choices. You can hang around the fort collecting crabs. Or stop wasting your life.
I’m just saying.