Who will protect the land from reckless development? A thoughtful proposal for a moderate (to me) vision of decolonizing. I like the careful way the writer points out the nearness of military action against oil protestors in Australia and Canada. I like the way he names the denial and lies in the colonial “narrative” of Canada. I like that he centers indigenous people as leaders, decision-makers, and stewards of the land. I am very cautious about his proposal to forgive colonialism and move on to shared prosperity. We settlers are pretty hungry to be forgiven; it’s important to be careful there, not to jump ahead or assume we deserve that.
So in Canada, what if, instead, we decide not to ransack every last corner of our vast country in search of commodities that we can sell abroad or to ourselves, but we experiment in developing an economy that honours local culture and history, celebrates place, protects the environment, increases the resilience of local people, and provides them with the means to invest in a future of their own design? Why not attempt, while we still have the option, to pursue a natural model of development, to pursue what the late Jane Jacobs once so aptly called “reliable prosperity?”
In that regard, Indigenous people arguably offer not more despair, but hope. If we are to prepare ourselves for the inevitable shocks that the 21st Century still has in store, it might behoove us to seek lessons in resilience from people who have survived every imaginable assault, and are just now coming back into a position of prominence and eminence in a country that might yet come to see aboriginal people as powerful and visionary citizens with a capacity for forgiveness and an appetite for regeneration and renewal, whose unwillingness to assimilate may turn out to be their best defence against the boom that the rest of us seem powerless or unwilling to resist.