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COMMENTARY · 18th September 2010
Merv Ritchie
Does being a Red Neck mean you have to be stupid?

Indian, First Nation, Indigenous, Aboriginal, Native; even they argue amongst themselves at what they should be called.

Aboriginal actually means ‘before original’, so this doesn’t work. Indian? Well this term was used by the Europeans who first thought they landed in East India, so what are these West Indians? First Nation? That is just so politically correct it makes an Indian want to puke. Native? Well yes, but most people who were born in Canada are native to Canada. So what gives?

And why are Red Necks so stupid?

There is a reality. It is really simple. Maybe even simple enough for some of those who have been elected to Terrace City Council to understand, though we are not taking bets.

The economy of this Northwest corner of British Columbia has been sucking hind wind for over a decade. Those who think they know what they are doing, don’t. The last 15 years has proven this. The idiots of the region, many who consider themselves rednecks, believe it has been because the ’Indians’ have stopped all industrial projects; mining, logging, etc. One extremist, who considers himself a redneck, but is actually a bigot, stated, “We stole the land rightfully from the f’n Indians once before, and we will steal it from them again” He actually believes he will bring the Socreds back to life again.

Personally I do not care what the people of the northwest think about the men, women and children that were living here before the white European settlers arrived. They might think they are useless, drunks, takers, users. Some think they are okay, unique, spiritual, and special. Others are of mixed opinions. It seems the people who live here are a bit of a screwed up lot.

The reality is so stupidly simple even a stupid Redneck should be able to get it.

The region is almost broke. Right?

The politicians are completely brainless to help. Right?

They are even prepared to sacrifice 56,000 jobs that count on the health of the Rivers, Estuaries, Inlets and Ocean for the promise of less then 50 Enbridge pipeline and tanker jobs.

Why the Sacred Circle?

Because everyone that doesn’t live here loves the Indian culture. They want to see drumming, dancing, regalia, chanting, singing. Hell they’d come to see Indians walking across burning hot embers, believing they were in a completely different culture.

This region of BC has something that the world cannot get anywhere else. A thriving culture that is unique and desired.

Just a couple of months ago we discovered an image in the 3 major rivers of the region. A profile, which could be taken to be the image of a native Chief looking East.

One could ‘Poo Poo’ the concept, just shrug it off.

An idiot would jump up and proclaim the Indians have stopped all the industrial development, blockaded roads, stopped all of the sawmills etc etc. An idiot would forget about how both the NDP and the Liberal Governments changed the laws to allow raw log exports. An idiot woud forget about how Danny Vaniez (Darth Vader of the North) destroyed and sold off every last asset of the region using the laws to avoid paying even the little guy. An idiot will remain an idiot. Blaming all the financial hardship on the indians.

The man, the woman, with a semblance of good thought will understand that the majority of the world intelligent population admires the Indian culture; wants to be close to it.

Why the Sacred Circle?

Because if we market this region for what it is, the last thriving Indian, First Nation, Indigenous, Aboriginal, Native, whatever you want to call it; culture to the world, shortly after an industry leader will arrive to take it all in and realize this is a great place to set up a new company plant, factory, industry.

Problem is those in positions of power in the Northwest are idiotic imbeciles without the capacity to see the truth in front of their eyes. They are restrained by their own prejudices.

Even the major rivers of the region provide a marketing opportunity every top quality advertising executive would die for! The profile of a native Chief looking East? Covering the entire Northwest corner of BC?

Just what the hell are you waiting for?

Why the Sacred Circle? Cause it is!

Nice write up
Comment by Brian Grant on 21st September 2010
...humbling , i say..I ve seen Merv at many First Nations events & gatherings..i think we should Adopt Him! ... :) thanks for being insightful, Merv...
Comment by NorthernMOE on 20th September 2010
People see what they want to see - kind of like Sleeping Beauty mountain.
Perhaps your 'Chief Looking East" is really Elvis!
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 20th September 2010
The Province of BC has never settled treaties with its indigenous peoples. Other provinces did. We have a few treaties but First Nations were confined to reserve lands just so they were easier to manage and so that white settlers could settle the lands. In exchange for them living on reserve lands they got those "benefits" some non natives now claim give them special status. They would probably give up the "benefits"if they could get their lands back. They might even forgive and forget that the smallpox epidemic non natives brought from Europe wiped out half of their ancestors on the BC coast.

Of course these myths about special status are rooted in a kind of racism. I mean even the nonsense about an all native basketball tournament. So they want to have a friendly inter village competition. So that offends some people? Or is this just grasping at straws, a convenient way to argue a particular position. So set up an all redneck basketball tournament already. Let's see how many volunteer and at least they will all be in one place for a while.

There are elders in the villages in the region who can still tell you about racism and discrimination they experienced in their lifetime. It is sometimes a bit much having a johnny -come-lately tell them after all that, "Now why can't we all just be equal?" It takes a little more effort than a simple declaration.

Comment by Kory Botz on 19th September 2010
I'm of Hungarian/ Scottish decent but i would consider myself a Native to the area. Born and raised. I also believe i have just as much right and say to this land and life around here as anyone and will protect that right with whatever is necessary. So i can relate. As far as contributing to economy...i was in industrial sales for 9 years and now in the construction side and the only ones that seem to be dumping any kind of money into our economy seem to be from the Native bands.(wonder where it all come's from though?)

I really do believe that racism is a thing of the past. Although we may all joke, poke fun or razz each other now and again about our differences and stereotypes WE ALL HAVE, in my generation (under 30)i really don't think anyone truly believes they are genetically superior than anyone else based on race. Infact we all know the blacks kick all our asses in every sport except hockey ;)

I do however see a huge difference in how we are treated by the government of Canada. Until THAT racial segregation is abolished they're will always be animosity amongst people here because of THOSE differences.

I have friends who have been given sooo many more opportunities than myself because they have a "status" card. Exactly what is my status then? Half their wages paid as an incentive to be hired(SNDS), school paid for, tax breaks(income/and purchases), my best friend Bobby never had to buy a fishing license my whole life. I had to shovel driveways and mow lawns in the summer to get one.

Why would somebody hire me when they can hire Joe with a status card for 1/2 price?Well, maybe because of my lawn mowing and shoveling skills but thats besides the point. I fight for equality too! I want my son to have every benefit in this country that we are all entitled no matter what your race is. This is Canada right!?!?! Isn't that what its about?

Could you ever imagine an All-Redneck basketball Tournament? Didn't think so. Then why is it socially acceptable to have an All Native one?

I think if you want to be treated equally...well your just gonna have to be treated equally then.

Comment by Val Doolan on 19th September 2010
I prefer the term indigenous, as it includes all first nations peoples of the world. The term indian does not offend me because it supposedly suggests we were confused with the east indian population, it offends me due to the fact that when the "Indian Act" was first written the real definition was very offensive, complicated and had no clear definition as there were so many exceptions.
Aboriginal is a term enshrined in the Constitution meaning "aboriginal peoples of Canada" including the indian, inuit and metis. There is no constitutional definition of Inuit or Metis.
First Nations, is a term that came to in the 1980's in BC which reflects the nationhood that know they are nations that were first in Canada.
Thank you Merve for the wonderful opportunity to step forward and share my perception of the truth.
I personally think that if we educated more people about the truth the better off we'll all be.
As an Indigenous woman, I am proud of my ancestry, proud of my nation and more proud to know there are people interested in changing the way we live together in BC. We can not succeed without each other.
The Governments tactic was to divide and conquer, and is still continues today. Our people are suffering the consequenches of colonialism, and residential school, I believe we can work our way out of this, I believe we can unite. I know we will survive, it's evident in our culture.
Comment by Paul Evans on 18th September 2010
I'm not really sure what you are driving at for the most part.

Low paying tourism jobs do not equal decent paying resource jobs.

Via Brinkman, CTS is happily knocking over anything viable (I don't object). And exporting it raw (I do object).

As the only white kid in a group home of 9, I remember everyone using the terms 'white guy' and 'indian'. Now-a-days my friends say 'native', but who really cares what the label is for a distinctive referent? Give it a miss. Let them call themselves whatever they want. Sheesh.

Finally, I'm guessing you are getting ragged on from some quarters over your promotion of a 'Sacred Circle', just based on your tone. I suppose it goes with 'Spirit Bear'. Just sounds religious and you are going to get flack because of that.

Actually, Brian Mulroney probably ruined the word before you got to it with his idea of 'sacred trust'.

I enjoy your rants Merv, keep it up.
Good Merv, just one point/correction.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 18th September 2010
We still had appurtenancy requirements in most Forest Licenses in the 90's. Whenever a Forest License was transferred public hearings were held in the region affected. I Know because I sat on a few. It was a good time to hear from the public and try to address concerns. That has changed. No more hearings are held. Appurtenancy is no longer considered necessary and probably because forest companies don't want to be restricted if they can make more money selling raw logs or exporting them across the border to where they have a mill and cheaper labour.

Right-wing governments like this because corporations can move capital to areas of lower taxation and labour costs. This puts pressure on municipalities and unions to lower costs. The consumer then gets the taxes transferred to him like on the HST. Free Trade and NAFTA has the same effect and you find people thinking that free trade is great because they can now buy a 15 year old clunker from the U.S without any duty. They never realize that there is a future cost to all this globalization. That cost is that we become nothing more than the resource basket for the U.S. energy needs.

You wonder why we have TILMA? You wonder why the government is rushing headlong into privatizing BC's hydro energy sector? You wonder why the liberals passed a law allowing the province to overrule a decision a municipality makes on a development if they (the liberals) think it is in the "provinces interest" - as determined by the same liberal government of course.

Not much of it is a surprise but some people would rather try to attach blame to the very group who have experienced the same kind of treatment form us. The solutions lie in first admitting the reality, then maybe after we understand how we got to this point, we might be in a position to find a solution.
Right on!
Comment by Don MacLeod on 18th September 2010
Way to go Merv. Some times you make me so damn mad I could ...spit! But I agree with you on this one. Cheers