Apparently, I am part of a vast right wing conspiracy to undermine indigenous rights.. So says Russell Diabo, a respected First Nation policy analyst.
I debated Diabo on a public affairs show on APTN several months ago.
What I don't get is how anyone who criticizes aspects of Aboriginal policy out there is automatically labelled as "right wing" or part of this conspiracy.
In my writings and commentaries, I would say I am interested in solutions that work, that promote justice for First Nation people, and that also promote individual rights and self-reliance. I think solutions that reduce state dependency are better for all people. Russell Means and other indigenous people have realized the psychological damage dependency has done to Indian people in the U.S. and Canada. They want a better way forward. Is that right wing?
I mean, I was labelled along with Calvin Helin, Manny Jules, and others. I don't actually think these other individuals identify as "right wing." I think they would just say they are against the status quo and want change. In the case of Jules, he supports self-reliance for his people. Is that right wing or just good policy in the long term?
I wonder if Diabo knows that I support : (1) Entrenched Aboriginal rights;
(2) The recognition of Aboriginal title; (3) A form of self-government beyond the Indian Act; and (4) Final resolution of all comprehensive and specific lands claims, not just for the economic value of it, but for the political and moral right that First Nations have to their lands.
The reality is, I think, that those who subscribe to the dominant thinking on indigenous nationalism cannot really deal with diversity in thought within the indigenous discourse. There is a need to demonize it and de-legitimize it.
I think Diabo obviously has a right to his opinion, but I think he needs to understand there is much more nuance out there in the indigenous world. There are changes in thinking going on out there and it is not just the "Great White Father." The Nisga'a of BC came up with policies related to private property on their own and are pressing on on their own. I suppose that is part of the "white wing conspiracy" by the "Great White Father."
I just think it is sad that Aboriginal people can't think differently without being labelled and demonized.
I invite Russell Diabo to discuss these issues with me, if he's reading ... :)