A Brief Message for Canadians: Get Over It!

It’s Time to Stop Listening to ‘Rebels against Rationality’

CANADIANS: Be ashamed that this newspaper column is what passes for the “public discourse” in this country: a raving, ignorant, arrogant, idiotic and racist rant telling Indigenous people to “get over it” – referring to the state-sanctioned racism, genocide, and imperialism – all of which is still taking place.

Naomi Lakritz wrote a syndicated column for the Calgary Herald on July 31, that First Nations people “need to quit blaming the past” for the circumstances in which they live, because they “have nobody to blame but themselves.” First Nations people, suggested Lakritz, need to drop “the victimization mantle” and instead, start “with the concept of individual responsibility.” In other words: get over it!

No, instead of Canadians acknowledging our history as a nation – the violent destruction, exploitation, domination, murder and discrimination exerted against the indigenous peoples of the land we invaded and occupied – this “journalist” thinks that Indigenous people should “stop blaming their history.”

They are not blaming their history: they are pointing to their history so that we may learn our own. We have a ‘shared’ history, and it has led us to the present. If we – as Canadians – actually looked at our history, and traced its evolution up to the present, we would realize that our ‘colonial’ history has now evolved into a modern state-capitalist imperial present. Our historical injustices imposed upon Indigenous peoples have modern incarnations: the system of domination, exploitation, segregation, discrimination and – yes(!) – genocide, continues today.

If we learned about all that, we might want to change it. We might develop something called ‘empathy’ which can lead to something called ‘solidarity.’ These are very human characteristics, so I understand that they seem challenging to relate to in a deeply dehumanizing society; but remember, we have a shared history and we share the present. Our histories are intertwined and interdependent, and so too is our future.

We might look out at the fact that Indigenous people, not only in Canada but around the world, are rising up in rebellion against the rampant and accelerating destruction of the environment, which will lead the species to extinction. Indigenous people are on the front lines of the global struggle against human extinction and the preservation of the environment and earth we live on. If we looked at all that… we might join them.

Instead, we read articles like this gutter trash, intellectual abortion, which has been published in the Calgary Herald, The Province, Victoria Times-Colonist, and the Edmonton Journal. Interesting how in the two provinces of BC and Alberta where the Indigenous struggle against environmental destruction is currently very active, are the same provinces where this ‘article’ is published in the main newspapers for the four largest population centres… just in case you might get the ‘right’ idea.

Canada’s corporate-owned media wouldn’t want that, would it? Not when the corporation that owns all these newspapers – the largest newspaper company in Canada, Postmedia Network – has a board of directors who are reaping profits and power off of the destruction of the environment, sitting on multiple other corporate boards for banks, energy and oil companies.

Take Jane Peverett, on the board of Postmedia. Jane also sits on the boards of CIBC, the Northwest Natural Gas Company, and Encana, a major energy company. As recently as November, an Indigenous group in BC was taking action against the construction of a major pipeline project partly owned by Encana.

I’m not blaming Jane for this article; I think the author deserves the blame. But Jane – and her compatriots who sit on the boards of Canada’s highly concentrated media system – maintain and wield significant influence over a media institution which promotes articles like this as contributing to the ‘public discourse,’ when all it does is promote ignorance, propaganda, passivity, and protects the interests of the powerful who own it. It’s an institutional function. Jane is merely a cog in a much larger wheel, while Naomi Lakritz can barely be said to be cognizant.

It’s institutional propaganda. Just as the discrimination, exploitation, domination and destruction of Indigenous people is institutional to our society. For a population currently struggling against the rapacious ravaging of the environment, let alone for survival, being told to “get over it,” is another way of saying: “just die, already.” And because the struggle is against the extinction of our species if we continue along our current path, saying, “get over it,” is also like saying, “we’re all going to die, but I don’t want to do anything about it… and neither should you.”

So for those Canadians who think the article above presented a ‘reasonable’ argument (and I KNOW you exist), and for those Canadians who think Indigenous people should stop “blaming history,” take a piece of your own advice: get over it. Learn your history, know your world, find your brothers and sisters and join them in the struggle to save the species and the planet we live on.

When it comes to having people like Naomi Lakritz of the Calgary Herald lower the public discourse – or rather, maintain the public discourse at painful lows – it’s really time that we get beyond this. Naomi Lakritz also thinks pot is a “dangerous drug” and legalization a “bad idea” (because once again, “get over” history, don’t learn, just delude!), and who (shockingly) has problems with immigrants, and it’s too perfect: she wants them to “leave [their] history at home” when they come to Canada… the nation with no history, apparently.

The deranged attempts by Lakritz to support the status quo when it comes to matters of injustice cannot be left as the level of discourse in a country which boasts the title of “the most educated country in the world.” It’s time to start acting like it. So it’s time to stop listening to Lakritz and other ‘rebels against rationality’, and START listening to Indigenous people, who have a great deal that they are trying to teach us about our country, and are showing us ways that we can help change it for the better.

It’s only our fate as a people, species, and planet that is at stake… Get over it.

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Andrew Gavin Marshall, BFP Partner Producer, Contributing Author & Analyst
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, with a focus on studying the ideas, institutions, and individuals of power and resistance across a wide spectrum of social, political, economic, and historical spheres. He has been published in AlterNet, CounterPunch, Occupy.com, Truth-Out, RoarMag, and a number of other alternative media groups, and regularly does radio, Internet, and television interviews with both alternative and mainstream news outlets. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project and has a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost

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Comments

  1. I once saw a sign held by a protester in Wisconsin, who was protesting against American Indian spear fishing, and the sign said “Go back where you came from.” I’m not kidding.

  2. Ms. Lakritz should know better than most how some of the most prominent international Jewish organizations have milked the system by receiving billions in compensation through a cynical and well wired “Holocaust industry”, something that has been amply documented by more than a few Jewish historians. The tragedy is that the real victims and survivors never receive a penny, and by leaning against all of the other groups who have been denied the same recognition, let alone reparations, she sets herself up as a primal hypocrite.

    But here, in parading the notion of “individual responsibility” instead of collective rights, Ms. Lakritz is institutionalizing the very acts of genocide and other atrocities that her co-religionists, like the ADL or World Jewish Congress have decried and for which obtained reparations for their own benefit for atrocities. Moreover, such pseudo-Ayn Randism is a cheap and easy way to keep the weak divided and helpless against those individuals and institutions that have the wealth and power to rig the game and accumulate more and more at the expense of those they exploit.

    So, more power to the First Nations. May they protect what is, and reclaim what was, theirs, and in so doing also prevent the further contamination of what were once their pristine lands.

  3. That “get over it” line is pretty common in the States as well, in regards to indigenous peoples as well as blacks. This history is nothing to get over, as you indicate, but rather it is something for each new generation to dwell on deeply until the mistakes of the past are no longer repeated. The call to “get over it” is a bit of a red herring, though. It’s been gotten over, as suggested by our current violent manifestations of empire. It’s just that these people are so dangerously intolerant, so jealously guarding their seat of power, so keenly aware that the violent paradigm they are feeding could potentially snap back on them, that a passing reminder of the illegitimacy of their position becomes a powerful source of knee jerk, survival instinct anger.

  4. Mea culpa for faulty editing and grammar at the end of Line 1, Para 2.

  5. The arrogance of this author is astounding.

    OT, but if I didn’t know any better, I would swear that the past BC Election in May was stolen by the Liberals. Again, we have the situation that every polling company was wrong about the outcome. They all predicted an easy NDP win. Why do I get the feeling that somehow pipelines are involved behind the scenes?

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