Minister’s Title Change Worries First Nations

Mia Rabson, Winnepeg Free Press, May 19, 2011

Prime Minister Stephen Harper quietly changed a long-held ministerial title when he shuffled his cabinet Wednesday.

In a show of inclusivity, when B.C. MP John Duncan was re-appointed to the cabinet, he was sworn in as minister of aboriginal and northern affairs.

Until Wednesday, the cabinet position had been minister of Indian and northern affairs.

However the new term has a broader reach and recognizes the fact the minister is responsible not just for First Nations but also for Métis and Inuit communities as well.

“Changing the term used in the minister’s title from ‘Indian’ to ‘aboriginal’ better reflects the scope of the minister’s responsibilities with respect to First Nations, Inuit and Métis,” Harper’s spokesman Andrew McDougall said. “This title is more up to date and inclusive, consistent with the government’s focus on moving forward in our relationship with Aboriginal Peoples.”

He said the change has no effect on the minister’s responsibilities regarding any aboriginal groups.

It does not appear the department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada–commonly known as INAC–will immediately get a new title.

“In due course, we would expect the department’s name would change to reflect this new title,” said McDougall.

Changing the department name would be far more costly and include replacing everything from business cards of several thousand employees to letter head and office building signs.

McDougall said he had no estimate on what doing that would cost.

Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand said the change is an important one.

“We have raised that with the prime minister in the past,” said Chartrand.

He said it often felt as if First Nations control the agenda of the department while Métis are left to fall through the cracks.

“I hope it’s a signal to us that the Métis are on the agenda,” said Chartrand.

First Nations leaders were not so excited by the change. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said he will be seeking a clarification to ensure the constitutionally protected rights of First Nations remain intact.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Ron Evans said, “The government may state that this change does not affect it’s legal relationship with First Nations that is affirmed through treaties and the Constitution, but it looks like a symbolic movement away from our distinct cultures and people.”

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  • Istvan

    I may be odd but the first thing that ran through my head was “when do white people ever become aboriginal anywhere”?

    The English and French have been in Canada for over 400 years. English and French Canadians are the people who actually built the modern Canadian nation, not the Indians or Eskimos.

    This is a serious topic for it seems to me that whites are never considered native. I actually had an argument with a friend who insisted the British (English, Scots and Welsh) were not indigineous to Great Britain. His reasoning: so many peoples had invaded Britain over the years combined with the fact that humans did not “originate” on the British Isles that no one could be considered aboriginal to GB. This goes along with the same silly train of thought that the British Royal Family isn’t actually British because various monarchs, most notably Queen Victoria, married nobles from other nations. The argument is absurd but has a following among certain people.

    There seems to be a concerted effort to make us aliens regardless of where we live or what we build.

  • Canadian Boer

    Canadians are being held hostage by these ethnic grievance mongerers. We could save billions by eliminating the transfer payments to the Indian bands, which are rife with corruption and nepotism. An example of the racial double standard are the hunting laws. There are absolutely no restrictions for the Indians, since they’ve ‘lived off the land’ for generations, while the rest of have to obey the quotas and seasonal timeframes. Also, the Indians never had snowmobiles and highpowered rifles before the White man came. The result is massive meat wastage (sometimes up to a dozen caribou shot and left to rot), shattering the myth of the noble environmental stewards that they make themselves out to be.

  • white advocate – Canada

    I don’t know more than what is covered in the news about our “First Nations” so I may be missing something. After many years of following news, I still don’t know what Indians are supposed to be doing on their reserves out in the middle of nowhere. And I hate to hurt feelings, but I can honestly say that I struggle to say how my life has been enriched by Indian culture. Thanks for showing us about corn, and we acknowledge that we’d have been greatly hindered in our colonization without Indian help. But surely whatever the bill is for this aid, we have repaid it with benefits for Indians. As for the fighting, well, don’t kid us that Indians didn’t fight within and between tribes. How convenient that there is no written history. So that being said, please forgive me if I find this First Nations debate hard to take.

  • Cousin Charlie from TN

    “First Nations”–one of those far-leftist buzzwords that makes me cringe. These atheistic people seem to think that somehow these “nations” were dropped from the sky into various places. Almost like creationism.

    Get a grip, PC liberals. These humans fought tooth and nail & slaughtered many to become “nations”. They killed and enslaved, raped and tortured, for many eons. They also took all they could and more from the environment. Like all humans everywhere. Who was “first”? Idiotic notion. These just happened to be remote so they had several millenia to slaughter and subjugate each other without so many other intruders from the regular “known world”. Their lack of writings seems to make the marxists think that they are some sort of “virginal” innocents who are better than the rest of the Earth’s peoples. Garbage; idiocy.

    Marxism, our current world-wide religion, needs some agnostics.

  • ciccio

    Is is not various English monarchs that married nobles from other nations, it is almost all English monarchs that married foreigners. The first five of six after William in 1066 were not even able to speak English. After Henry VIII parliament was instructed to prepare their reports in Spanish so that the King (Phillip of Spain, husband of Mary} could read them. George the first did not speak any English at all and Victoria was brought up speaking German. Elizabeth’s II father was the first English monarch to marry an Englishwoman since Henry VIII married Anne Bolyn and he dumped her for “that fat cow form Flanders”though his very first was Spanish. The only time the parliament, church and people protested and forced a King to abdicate was when Edward VIII wanted to marry an American.

    All this goes to show that the rulers then and as now have different ideas from the ruled. Nationality and sense of nationhood is only called upon in case of war.

  • SKIP

    ” minister of aboriginal and northern affairs”

    In another 2 years he can be sworn in as “Administrator of Islamic affairs” and hold that until the muslims have enough boots on the ground to do away with him.

  • Anonymous

    Nation is nation. If you can’t swing that that:

    ‘They got theirs we should have _ours_!’

    Then flip it and go the other way:

    ‘See, this is what happens when a ‘nation’ comes in _second place_ in the TFR wars!’

    People see things way too often as fixed identity issues. It polarizes their vision. You have to be able to see things as lessons-learned wisdom to reinforce your own kind’s strengths.

    Inuits and Indians never made a thing of their own and were defeated and bottled up because of it.

    Now prefer the inventions and (at least where they can afford it) lifestyle of the whites.

    Apply that to the current Indian and Islamic hordes and it will be the whites who lose because, _in an established society where innovation requirements are low_ we cannot compete with their TFRs and resulting hive-existence wealth generating capacity.

    Now apply it to the East Asians who also flood Canada. And see what happens when the top end of the economic pie is also removed from white control by people who are smarter and more driven in key areas of math and science.

    Times change. So must whites. We must become more insular, like Indians. Because the times when we could go conquer a -new- homeland of our own and create a -new- ‘aboriginal’ POW population are OVER.

    And Nukes will keep the rest at bay, overrunning their own lands with uncontrolled procreation. Not ours.