EDITORIAL: An open letter to MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq

Recently NDP Member of Parliament, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, spoke out about her maltreatment in the House of Commons. Profiled in the hallways by lazy and professionally incompetent security guards, Qaqqaq has finally had enough and has publically stated all that troubles her soul as an Indigenous person in Canada. She is right in every aspect of what she says but one. She should not resign and quit the field. She represents a number of oppressed minorities who need a champion, a soldier to continue the battle for their rise to equality and for recognition.

This is an open letter to her to give her support and encouragement in her fight, a battle that others in the system do not understand and do not fight. Fight on lady…find the strength and fight on…we need you.

Visit her site at mumilaaqqaqqaq.ndp.ca

Young lady, I am an old codger who immigrated to Canada in 1948. I write that only as a foundation for much that I am going to write to you.

I wish I knew how your own people are reacting to what you write and lament, though I think people support that slant that suits them. In my case, though I am a WASP, above all that I am a person, and I like to think one who cares about his fellow person.

I have written and published about Indigenous issues and causes for a long time and like you, I feel to no avail. I am very bothered about 25-year-old drinking water issues, about RCMP cold cases in western Canada, and the futile effectiveness of the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs in Ottawa.

Dr. Carolyn Bennett wore the garb, did the cultural appropriation and paid lip service to the cause. All for naught…it was more air than action.

I write you for two reasons:
1. you must continue in your attempts to affect change and you must influence
2. your own people to be far more responsible in what they should be doing about their situation.

Lets deal with each item sequentially.

  1. As painful as it has been and continues to be in regard as to how you are treated and how you are ignored as an MP, you cannot give up the cause. All the well known leaders from Gandhi to Mandela struggled, and struggled and struggled. You are in the middle of a struggle and it will not end soon. The white man, the ‘old boy’s club’ and the powers that be cannot be coerced and moved easily. But what are the chances of affecting change if you leave.

    Get pissed off
    Get irked, get angry but don’t quit. You’re fighting an uphill battle, monumental. But your people, all downtrodden minorities benefit from you doing what you were doing. You cannot stop. You may have a personal life, but you took on another cause when you campaigned. You won. People believed in you. So where do leave them now?

    Bottom line
    You owe it to those people, the Indigenous and the downtrodden to continue the battle. You likely won’t win in your lifetime, as the crap that exists in the system, has been developed over many, many years. Don’t give up. Find sources of support. Find people, family and friends who can help you further your cause, but don’t give up. You cannot and should not.

  2. Indigenous people have responsibilities and obligations that should be fulfilled. To paraphrase Chief Clarence Louie, Osoyoos band leader in British Columbia, “work, work, work.” He was a great success in his life not by depending on federal subsidies but by his own initiative. However, his own people denigrated and criticized him for that very success. Maybe it is time for Indigenous people to take a greater and more active role in their own responsibilities and obligations.

    Louie’s message was simply that the Indigenous peoples had to do things themselves. Maybe he lectured too much, too openly, pontificated too much to the alienation of his fellow Indigenous…but their is merit in his message..

    Indigenous people need to show that they have pride and will do things responsibly. Wash the dishes in the sink. Clean up the house. Put as many things in order as you can, given your limited funds. Make it look like you have some pride in who you are.

I write all this because I care. I am white, privileged and seemingly entitled. No matter. I care about you, about Indigenous people. You are one of us, people, humans and Canadians. You have been mistreated, cheated and abused and you deserve better and real action rather than airy consideration. However, it is important to recognize that funding has limits and it should be put into the hands of responsible leaders who will be held accountable as to how it is managed.

Bottom line
Where do you stand after you give this open letter serious thought?


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