Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chiefs sucking it up for the greater good: Nipissing U, Mike Harris

I am sick of First Nations politicians sucking it up for the allegedly greater good.

Nipissing University plans to confer an honorary doctor of letters on former Ontario Premier Mike “I want the fucking Indians out of the park” Harris in a June 11 convocation ceremony. Yes. June 11. (Two-year anniversary of the Apology for residential schools that is supposed to celebrate the beginning of healing between First Nations and Canadian governments. Sick eh?)

Chief Marianna Couchie of Nipissing First Nation says her community will withdraw funding support for a new university library over the issue and Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says he supports that move.

However, AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo who is also receiving a honourary degree, considered declining, but after chatting with Ontario chiefs chose instead to snap it up because he didn’t want the whole Harris thing to overshadow the more important issue of First Nations education.

Harris’s actions inflamed a peaceful protest at Ipperwash Provincial Park and led to the fatal shooting of Dudley George in 1995. Harris has never accepted responsibility for the death nor admitted that he did anything wrong. Former premier Mike Harris wanted “the fucking Indians out of the park” so badly that he ignored recommendations of civil servants in Ontario, which closed off a number of options including negotiations, mediation, and other means of opening communications and dialogue with protestors in Ipperwash Provincial Park.

The above is not my personal view, but the actual findings of a public inquiry into Ipperwash.

My personal view is that Harris turned his back on advice that would have diffused the situation because he wanted to make an example of those “fucking Indians” and had the protestors been middle class non-native folk Harris would have paid more attention to his advisors who were calling for negotiations and mediation.

I am not one to run around crying racism every time there’s a confrontation, but this is one is just so fucking obvious.

But most importantly, Harris is not sorry. The day the public inquiry released its findings, Harris tried to save face by spinning the inquiry's findings in media statement which concluded that since he’d not been caught directly interfering with the OPP, Harris had "no influence" on George's death and was completely absolved.

So in my ever humble opinion, the fact that Harris is getting an honorary degree at Nipissing University does overshadow all other issues. And so it should. It’s outrageous that Nipissing University is honouring Mike Harris on June 11 and we should be responding with outrage. Damn right Nipissing First Nation should be yanking back their funding for a university library. Students should be threatening to withdraw, chiefs should be writing very angry letters letting the University know their youth will not be back in September.

And the National Chief should certainly be making a public statement by turning down this degree.

------------------------------full story below-------------------------------------

First Nations oppose honourary degree for Mike Harris The Canadian Press TORONTO — The fatal shooting of a First Nations protester in 1995 at Ipperwash Provincial Park in southwestern Ontario continues to haunt former Ontario premier Mike Harris. Nipissing University's plan to confer an honorary doctor of letters on Harris in a June 11 convocation ceremony isn't sitting well with the province's aboriginal groups. Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says, in the view of Ontario's First Nations, Harris does not deserve any honorary treatment. "He doesn't deserve titles or tributes of any kind," said Madahbee. "I can think of some appropriate letters Mike Harris should have in front of his name, not after it," he said. Chief Marianna Couchie of Nipissing First Nation says her community will withdraw funding support for the new university library over the issue. Madahbee said he supports that decision. "You don't reward a person who was directly responsible for so much economic hardship and divisiveness in this province," he said. The "hostile relationship" between the Harris government and Ontario's First Nations "led to the death of Dudley George at Ipperwash on Sept. 6, 1995," said Madhabee. "That is what Mike Harris will always be remembered for." National Chief Shawn Atleo will be also be honoured by Nipissing University as a recipient of an honorary education doctorate. It had been reported that he would decline because of the former premier's involvement. However, after Atleo consulted with chiefs, it was agreed that education is too important an issue to be overshadowed the controversy over Harris.



thwap said...

I can't stomach the idea of going and looking up the mewling reasons for this fucking travesty.

It's bad enough these assholes never face the consequences for their actions. But to actually get REWARDED???

What sickness.

Ward of the State said...

Thank you for posting thwap.
I had to read the artcile 3 times before I was convinced I was actually reading it right. Unbelievable.

Scut said...

I think there is a bit of confusion here; there are two separate issues in play.

Nipissing FN has withdrawn their financial support for the new Learning Library at Nipissing University because there is the strong possibility that the library will be named after Mike Harris.

I understand they support the Grand Chief's acceptance of an honorary degree for the reasons he stated, even though Mike Harris is also being granted an honorary degree.

Ward of the State said...

Thank you for posting Scut.

The objections at this point are both to the naming of the library as well as the honorary degree. see here: http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/article.php?storyid=31535

I apologize if my post wasn't clear. I fully realize that the local chiefs have given the National Chief a green light to accept his own honourary degree. I mention that in my post and the point is repeated in the story pasted below.

But thank you, it is important to be clear on that point and your clarification here is appreciated.

So I recognize the local chiefs are ok with it, and actually that was the whole point of my post.

I disagree with them. It's not ok with me.

Our leaders should not hold back and be polite when outrage is warranted.

Nipissing is a university that boasts about their close relationship with First Nations, and they make a lot of cash off First Nations as well. If they are willing to bestow honours on Harris then it's all cheap talk to me.

And I have already given my own cheif an earful. I am furious that he okay-ed this when our community feels very differently.

Nipissing deserves a public shaming in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

"chiefs should be writing very angry letters letting the University know their youth will not be back in September."

I’d hate to break it to you but natives make up an insignificant percentage of students that attend undergraduate institutions, including Nipissing University. In regards to the funding that the Nipissing first nation was going to contribute to the library, the total was $6,000. S. Schulich donated 1.5 million, therefore he got to decide what the library would be named. Mike Harris has done a lot for the North Bay area including helping to get Nipissing University off the ground. He deserved his doctorate of letters, and a fruit basket as well! By the way, I stumbled on your blog by accident and I’m sorry I did, it sucks. I won’t be replying to your rebuttal as I intend never to lose IQ points via reading your crap ever again!

Ward of the State said...

Aw. Anon. I never imagined that someone who likes Mike Harris would hate this blog! And you're not going to read it anymore? (Sniff) I'll just sit here and cry all day.

Wideye said...

Ward...............why would "anonymous" dude think a rebuttal was in order?

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