There are now 23,000 people in Nova Scotia who self-identify as Métis, according to the recent census. That’s an increase of about 124 per cent in 10 years.
Darryl Leroux, an associate professor in the department of social justice and community studies at Saint Mary’s University, questions those claims. He’s researched this extensively (for examples, look here and here) and has a lot to say about “white settler revisionism” and “settler self-indigenization.”
So what’s happening and why does this matter? You’ll want to hear Leroux’s conversation with Tim.
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A number of groups in Nova Scotia, including the Bras d’Or Lake Metis Nation, continue to fight for recognition from the province. The province reiterated its position last year following the Supreme Court of Canada Daniels decision, saying only the Mi’kmaq have “credibly asserted or established Aboriginal and treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather in Nova Scotia.”
Also, we talk about Jamie Baillie stepping down as leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives, the new Legacy Room at a Halifax restaurant and Coun. Matt Whitman’s latest apology.
This article is written by a person who is lucky enough to live in Canada, have excellent parents and hold the privileged and powerful position of ‘lawyer’ – if she makes the $100,000 that entry level lawyers make, according to the article, she makes five times as much money as is required to belong to the global 1%. It’s worth pointing out that whatever racism she faces, she has more material wealth than European nobility 200 years ago, and more legal rights than all but the most powerful European or Asian people did (as do most of us…). People who lived in hunter-gatherer societies had quite a bit more freedom and rights than those who belonged to settled societies, but that’s just the way it is – agriculture is a trap that we cannot escape from.
The article makes frequent reference to social science – so I presume I’m not remiss in pointing out that social science has proved that perceived unfairness is more offensive to humans (and monkeys and possibly dogs) than absolute poverty or inequality.
Regarding indigenous rights, I’ve noticed that The Halifax Examiner often criticizes people who believe they own things because they inherited them from their grandfathers – I jest, but I think the settler/indigenous dichotomy reflects a profound lack of imagination on both sides. It seems to me like the best possible future is one where both sides actually believe that the presence of the other is beneficial – which is utopian thought, and I’m not sure it’s possible, but is there any basis on which that model of the ideal future can be criticized other than practical ones?
An acquaintance who recently left law for academia is blunt about the excitement. “They were thrilled to have me. I was the white black person, the lawyer in the firm with slightly different skin who could be trotted out as an example of diversity.” Like him, I was the acceptable Negro. I was to be visible yet invisible.
A well written article by a very talented lawyer.
That was the best article/essay I’ve read in a while. We like to pretend Canada is a meritocracy but you don’t need to dig far to find the nepotism/cronyism that lies so close to the surface. Trudeau/morneau are a pair that wouldn’t be where they are with out the wealth and privilege of their fathers. NS isn’t quite so charming about hiding the required backgrounds. I think we make a valiant effort in Canada to provide opportunities for all but as the author highlights, there is much work to do on the delivery.