Interesting. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was launched last month. It is the government’s attempt – following a public apology and in parallel with a system of financial compensation – to deal with the legacy of the residential schools system that for decades treated native children brutally in an attempt to turn aboriginals into ‘real Canadians’. I believe that behind the TRC is also an effort to finally ‘fix’ what has marked so many of Canada’s indigenous communities for so many years – much lower living standards than non-aboriginal communities. This article focuses on one community (First Nation) in Atlantic Canada that has overcome years of discrimination and neglect by taking charge of its economic endeavors. Is this a model that should be followed by Canada’s other First Nations? In moving toward economic self-sufficiency has Membertou overcome its legacy?
Oliver Moore, Atlantic Bureau Chief
Port Royal, N.S. — From Saturday’s Globe and Mail Published on Friday, Jun. 25, 2010 5:49PM EDT Last updated on Friday, Jun. 25, 2010 11:46PM EDT
Four hundred years ago this week, a Mi’kmaq shaman and chief named Membertou knelt here to be baptized.
He was the first native convert in what is now Canada, brought into the faith by French cleric Jesse Flèche. The priest went on to baptize all of the chief’s immediate family and a boom was on. Within decades, word had spread through Mi’kmaq lands, and thousands had been baptized.