13 March 2010

Let me count the ways

So, an aboriginal icon bites the dust... and is remembered... fondly?
-- SHELLBROOK, Sask. -- David Ahenakew, a former Saskatchewan aboriginal leader who was stripped of the Order of Canada for calling Jews a "disease", has died in hospital after a long battle with cancer.
It would be an injustice to remember the man simply for his anti-semitism... for he was much, much more...
In 1984, he outraged aboriginal women by arguing against federal government plans to abolish an Indian Act provision that stripped women of their Indian status if they married a non-Indian. Ahenakew maintained that aboriginal people themselves should determine their own membership.
And there was his nose for both business & politics...
He was ousted as leader of the assembly in 1985 amid allegations of financial mismanagement and later was among six Saskatchewan men accused of using kickbacks from government grants and contracts to pay for the failed 1984 Liberal leadership bid of the former Indian affairs minister John Munro.
And the way he was always willing to go that extra mile to accommodate the views of his neighbours...
Ahenakew warned at a meeting of the Assembly of First Nations two years ago that if aboriginal grievances were not taken seriously, there would be violent consequences.

"The way things are happening in this country with Indian Affairs is leading to physical confrontation," he said at the time. "We had it here a few years ago, but when it breaks out across the country, you won't have the army, you won't have the police forces -- you won't have anything to stop the destruction that will take place."
Yes... pardon me while I weep.