Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The Saga Continues
National Aboriginal Day was June 21st and it came and went without recognition in our worship and in this blog. Sometimes people ask me if I ever run out of things to blog about. Quite the opposite -- I often have a number of things floating around in my head and wish there were ten days in the week rather than seven. I didn't feel good about missing the opportunity to address First Nations issues because they continue to be so important.
As the world addresses H1N1 or Swine Flu, native reserves in this country are struggling and desperate for government support. Some remote reserves have been forced to evacuate significant numbers of people because there isn't adequate medical care. And some of the basics for hygiene, including masks and hand cleanser are totally absent. One report says that governments are reluctant to ship the hand cleanser to reserves because of the alcohol content. Native leaders have demanded meetings with government ministers, in light of what they describe as an impending atrocity.
Last year the Canadian government apologized to our First Nations and earlier this year the Pope acknowledged the responsibility of the Roman Catholic church in the residential school fiasco. Our United Church and others have apologized formally, and we have paid reparations and set up a healing fund.
But when will we respond to Native issues without the paternal system which has existed for so long? The United Church General Council meets in Kelowna, B.C. this August. It will be interesting to see what priority is given to these issues.