Dziedzictwo Konfederacji dla ludności tubylczej w Holandii

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Dziedzictwo Konfederacji dla ludności tubylczej w Holandii
Join host Adam Walsh as he speaks with Mi’kmaw Elder Calvin White and his nephew Ivan White, chair of Indigenous Performing Arts N.L. They chat about history that was left out of books and teachings, and work being done to fix that.

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hi I’m Adam Walsh host and producer of the signal there’s a conversation that took place in St John’s this week it was called No Indians here an evening with migma elder Calvin white the discussion looked at the Legacy and impact of Confederation on indigenous folks in New Finland and Labrador Elder White po by the studio we had our own conversation about his evening here it is me my Elder Kelvin white welcome to the signal and Ivan white chair indigenous Performing Arts andl welcome thank you for having us Elder White your talk no Indians here why that title well actually what it is is the phrase that we use because of the uh of the over not necessarily oversight but because of the uh either neglect or or however you want to term it of not being raised when Newland joined Confederation in 1949 there were discussions about Aboriginal po population of course but that only referred to the labador area and that was dropped and there was no further consideration for the for those people but there was never any mention of the Newan migma in the discussions that we could find anywhere in the minutes of the discussions that had taken place and from the fact that there were no discussions uh there’s a mindset there was a mindset I should say in Newland and I guess in lots of other parts of Canada was familiar with Newan that there were no Indians because there were no mention of us they were uh we weren’t included we weren’t part of the uh of the Constitution talks M so then when there’s celebrations around the 75th anniversary of Confederation right and lots of talk around the province how does that sit with you like for for your your through your lens well how it sits with me it’s it’s it’s uh I’m sad I’m sad for the simple reason that uh I can’t fully particip at with with friends and relatives and and not necessarily rela because most of the relatives would be in the same situation that I’m in but I can’t do the kind of full appreciation and celebration that I would like to do because of the anniversary for the simple reason that we still face the the the refusal and the denial and all of the things that took place in 1949 so I I feel as if I’m not yet fully a Canadian or or you know because of uh because of what the way it’s been dealt with Ian what about yourself with this for me we’re we’re we’re missing uh education we’re missing people’s there’s a huge knowledge Gap about when we got here how we got here why we came and I think that’s it’s sort of important to begin expressing that through things like no Indians here at uh first light tonight last night and and tell folks about indigenous Performing Arts andl briefly if you could sure the uh IPA inl as we’ve currently named it is about discovering finding creating and telling stories from indigenous people in this province so that’s migma Inu and Inu at people and we’re we’re a microphone and an amplifier that’s what we’re meant to be so then we can start expecting a lot more like there’s there’s the the event that we’re talking about right the the discussion no Indians here and there’ll be more stuff to come absolutely we’re going to take Stolen Sisters and gum to uh the PO but we start here in St John’s at uh government house right and so yeah have the Poo Trail for this summer follow yeah we’re going to go to con and then uh B St George which is in plat Bay amazing aming which you’re familiar with yes yeah no I was out the signal was out there last last summer and it was fantastic to be there for for pawow and uh Elder White I I wanted to ask you what was it like growing up in Flat Bay oh the the first uh couple of pages of my book that you were just present it we’ll we’ll give you that story but however I’ll share it with you it was U it was different to what is now being promoted like you know my my early years and my recollect of growing up in Flat Bay wasn’t about uh wasn’t about feeds and drums and smudging and all of these type of things these are things that were brought back in the 70s even in Nova Scotia for that matter because from from the early from 400 years ago our people had uh been uh cohered into becoming Catholics and we had been followers of the Catholic religion and therefore uh this was all considered to be um not uh accepted by even by the grand Council in in Years Gone by so it kind of just faded away and it was only brought back after uh the story start coming about about the abuse in the schools and you know the residential schools and the abuse in the communities and and and the mount Cashel here and all of these type of things that’s when people who really need something we all need something to hang on to that’s when people start bringing back the the the spirituality aspect of our movement that you see now into drumming and smudging and and and you know and all of these different type things in my early years in my bringing up it was it was just a way of life I mean we we were people who were constantly in a um I I I refer to it as constantly in an in an educational and a training environment uh you you learn you learn from the time you could walk you learned how to do things that were all geared towards survival and our education method was never uh uh a theory it was a practical everything everything we learned we learned how to do it not just about it because uh well it’s totally different I’m sure that you’re well aware and I know there’s a lot of people that I’ve had conversations with who have went to academic training institutes and they concentrated on the on the theory they never had a whole lot of experience with regard to the pra uh the Practical aspect of it and what they did was they found themselves very knowledgeable but couldn’t really do the the actual work so but in our culture the the as I said earlier the the the the the Practical comes before the theory so growing up it was it was practical you know we like from the time you’re very ear very very very early age uh everything you do is geared towards survival and learning how to concentrate in their survival now a lot of people uh consider that to be not only an Aboriginal way of life especially if you grew up in rural Newland because that’s kind of the trend also but uh without being too long winded what I’d like to to to offer is that um people who came here 200 300 years ago when they were left behind because they were only taking up space from an extra CLE of fish that could be put in the boat when it was going home their survival only happened because they adopted an Aboriginal way of life they couldn’t fish when the winter came and the and the Arbors were filled in and everything else so they adopted an Aboriginal way of life that was the survival of of rural outport New Finland and that’s why I guess that you have so many people who claimed to be just as much as Aboriginal as anybody else when they talk about the registration process and the criteria for the registration process being a way of life uh I look at it I I know that I’m biased and the biases will show up but I look at it as the as if was it wasn’t the Aboriginal people who integrated and assimilated it was the non-aboriginal people who assimilated and integrated into an Aboriginal way of life that was their survival that’s really interesting so then looking now at that history where we are with like we’ve talked about Reclamation we like we’re in an era of reconciliation and if you look at how you just framed things what do you think looking back at that for where we are now with like some some of the progress that’s being made even though there’s still a ways to go I’m I’m I’m uh I’m excited about it this is why at my age I’m you know I’m I’m 81 and a quarter so I’m getting up there and at my age what I what I look at is I I uh maybe I’m overly optimistic but I’m looking at dep pendum swinging the other way I I feel that the work that we started in in the’ 70s and uh and even though it was it was very challenging but I feel that it this point in time the this the pendem is swinging and I think that if we continue to do what we’re doing here today and we educate uh people in Newland and elsewhere we need to educate them about who we are and what the responsibilities of the federal government is constitutional responsibilities I think that there’s there’s an opportunity for a Buy in and I think reconciliation is possible I for I don’t think for one minute what never a taught in my mind that the entire population of newf land is racist or discriminatory or neither is the Canadian public I feel that there’s an ignorance and uh and that ignorance causes a difference of opinion sometime because of the lack of Education you know I I I describe it as uh U ignorance the prescription for ignorance is easy to get it’s education and we all can take that if there are people out there and there will be the odd people this is you know we’re all human beings and this is how life is but there if there are people out there that are racist or discriminatory there’s no cure for that so we don’t worry about that we just bypass those people and work with the people who who are willing to you know to open their minds and to listen and be part of so I think reconciliation has a real chance but it doesn’t have a chance if we don’t do what you people have given me the opportunity to do here this weekend we need more of this we need to do this we need to have dialogue we need to talk if we don’t then we’re going to be out of sight out of mind yeah I want to jump in on any of what you’re hearing here he’s talking about uncovering truth yeah so you can’t have have reconciliation without truth right exactly so we’re growing up in Flat Bay for for me was not that different I just don’t participate in the same way the same survival aspects so I became a a administrator and artist instead of a logger Fisher Hunter I don’t do that stuff but there’s lots of different ways to come at this battle or just fight to take up to arms and and go and I think exposing truth sitting here and talk talking about our truth is the the Baseline the fundamental thing that needs to happen in this province other way when you talk about the the the the movement right so the 70s for um the migma movement what was the beginning of that like when you first started pushing brutal total fa we were facing total denial from the provincial government from a from a federal government and from the majority of uh people that we came in contact whether they were new finlanders or or Canadians from the other side of the pond uh and even among some of our own people there was a denial and some of our own people the denial came from the fear of of being exposed in the in the areas that that they live where on the other hand some of the people and I give you an example not not to to deny or to suggest other wise of the other people but the people in con River and the people in Flat Bay live in an isolated area of until you know the late Conn River until probably the late ’70s Flat Bay until probably close to 1960 we live in isolated communities when you live in an isolated Community you uh you don’t have the interaction that the other communities have obviously so what happened was is that even if we wanted to integrate we weren’t allowed to integrate because we were targeted yeah because you’re you’re a minority you’re there you’re a little group you’re a little group and whatever happens or anything that happens becomes The Escape of the surrounding population and the same thing not only the same thing happened in in all of Newland not only the Aboriginal people it happened in in out outport communities too it’s like you know that that that that blame and that shame I I always say that the tools of colonialism was uh was uh denial and and shame they denied that we were here once we stood up and and became very vocal about it then they tried to shame us into going into hiding uh so it was it was very very brutal it was it was difficult you know politicians and bureaucrats uh I’m sure that we were you know we were we were the victims of of uh of tumbs up and jokes and all of that type of stuff because they just didn’t didn’t didn’t want they were probably some of the most ignorant people because they were charged with the responsibility of having to deal with this of having to confronted and uh and and they uh and the only way that we could make any inroads is that we had to be very aggressive about it it was no good to try to reason because you couldn’t get anybody to sit down to reason with you you had to become you had to become very very vocal and and you had to become you know not necessarily obstructive because we didn’t St stage any demonstrations whereby we interfered with the public uh and that type of stuff but we we had to be aggressive in order to get them to listen to us yeah well it makes me think as well mean the story I up of of The Hunger Strikers right during the 80s right so you look at here’s an example this types of pushing you look at the hunger strike that that went on I mean there’s a documentary out this year uh that’s available gim the Forgotten Warriors right so for folks if they haven’t seen it I do recommend seeing it is quite the documentary when did you start to think and see you were making progress then through the 70s and 80s as you were doing this pushing we uh we started making progress when the uh when the government it was probably in about 1973 there was a small change what happened in 19 prior to that there was an arrangement between the province of newand and the Federal government for healthcare in labador they were dealing with the Inu and the Inu with people of labador but there was no mention of Aboriginal people on the island whatsoever no mention of uh of migm back then that’s what they were known as as existence but in 1973 uh we were successful in bringing con River under that Federal provincial agreement and and and uh then money started to to to move it wasn’t going to con River it was coming to the provincial government of Newan and the provincial government of Newan was administering that money as they were doing in labador with a on a cost share basis I think it was something like 910 but then I’m told that the provincial government would charge 10% Administration so it was 100% paid by the federal government but the federal government didn’t have to assume the Indian Affairs responsibility uh or or the the 9124 constitutional responsibility because it was not a direct agreement and a recognition of Aboriginal people it was money flowing to The Province on behalf of of the province determining who would be the recipients of that money once we got con River to become part of that agreement uh I I became I became optimistic that there was that there was a future there was a possibility because what had happened I believe what happens is that you know when you when you take on a challenge and you go so long without making any inroads you may get tired and you just might give up you might quit but if you make one tiny little bit of progress that Sparks not to you not to quit and that was the spark that uh that inspired me as one anyway and I’m sure other people not to quit yeah like I can see that right you know you’re pushing you’re pushing that you get the one thing that first little it could be a little step in the beginning but it it’s so it’s so meaningful and impactful it’s not a little step it’s a big step because now what you have is you as a precedence has been set the government has set a pres they’ just accept one of your communities on the island of Newan and they agreed to do funding for development in that community so now a precedent has been set so now not only do you have the argument of saying well what about the rest of us but you have the the potential of having to go to the courts if you need need to because we’re we’re we’re supposed to be living in equal society and government is supposed to be treating all people equal so so not only do do you see an opportunity of a continuation of negotiation but you see that next step that you try to avoid but if you need to take it it’s there and that did grow right there were Court challenges like I think ’ 89 towards the end of the 80s tell us for folks who may not know the history explain a little bit of what happened in the late ’ 80s well in 1982 uh when we negotiated the independent uh uh agreement for con river which was a fiveyear agreement whereby con would have control of their funding while negotiating the agreement I was president of the Federation of newand Indians and John Monroe uh it was liberal government in power and John Monroe was the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and in in I got to know John really well he was very approachable uh whenever possible he would sit and talk with us he didn’t push us away to his deputies or to you know to other bureaucrats and he was he was he was up front he wanted to be part of so during our negotiations I uh I mentioned to him that I wasn’t comfortable we were close to the signing of the agreement and I wasn’t comfortable because I had no guarantee that we would be able to continue the process with the rest of the Aboriginal population of Newan once we signed agreement we would be we would be giving away our power once we signed an agreement and he was uh he was supportive enough that what he did was he gave me a letter of commitment in 1982 that during the life of the con River agreement which was a 5-year agreement that would expire in 1986 that he would undertake his Department would undertake a process to take care of the rest of the Aboriginal communities in the island of Newan for the purposes of coming under to any further agreements or registration whatever whatever the the end goal would be and uh yeah and he gave me that letter and that letter was uh was very important and was very powerful because it was a letter from the crown committing that we were moved so now we had another uh you know we we we we were super excited now because we had a commitment we thought we were going to move now I don’t know how long you want me to go on but I can tell you what happened was there was a prent a federal election and the government changed and uh Monroe was no longer there he was gone because we had a conservative government that took power however I must say the bureaucrats had their Direction bureaucrats don’t change it’s the no exact and they had their direction from U um from Monroe and they continued to work with me and we were at a we were at a very crucial stage of signing an agreement fact in fact they notified me that they were willing to come to an annual assembly in Newland an annual assembly of the Federation of newf land Indians and they were coming to make the announcement and to sign an agreement agreement in principle to uh in fact they had went as far as providing me with uh me not me personally but the Federation of Newland indans providing us with research money to have a an anthropologist student who I hired from Alberta was doing anthropology studies here in newand Dy anger was the lady’s name uh and I hired her to do the files of the ad original population that we had not uh all concluded what happened was is that a um I’m I’m I have no concrete evidence but I’m told that uh during a cabin meeting or shortly after a cabinet meeting when they were coming out of the meeting the minister at the time might have been L A or light a wordy I’m not positive of that but that it’s his name that I seem to recall and he said to the most powerful Minister from newfinland we are going to resolve the Newland Aboriginal issues and I have uh some people going down to the federation’s annual assembly and we’re going to sign the agreement in principal and we’re going to Pro proceed with it and and I’m told that this Minister looked at him and said it’ll be Over My Dead Body it’s not going to happen whether that really happened whether it’s true or not but that was the inside information I had made some very good Connections in Ottawa and I tend to believe that it was true because uh the two people that were designated to come to Newland canceled their reservations the next day right and they didn’t they and that was it and from there it was a total refusal uh with regard to the uh commitment that had been made by the previous government but then we get to 89 there’s legal action brought by fni against the federal government and things move forward and eventually we get the establishment of the Halu MCM First Nation ban well well yes the 89 thing what happened was is that I tried everything that I possibly could do other than a sit in in Ottawa which have got me nowhere other than in jail and and I found that I was at a losing end of the of the of the bargain so what I decided to do is I had to let the clock run out because the agreement was to to from 1982 to 1986 I needed that date to expire or at least I felt I did and once that expired then I needed to prepare a process and look for a law firm to engage in in in legal action I um I made contact with the honorable Ed Roberts who was uh an ideal person for for the work he was not only was he you know from a very reputable Law Firm very well experienced but he was also a politician which was I felt that was very important given the fact that the commitment that I had was from the same party that he was part of that being the liberal stripe and and in new land but all they’re all connected and uh I approached him and asked him if he would take on that respon and he did he took it on and there it was a while before the file move because uh I um I thought that the best thing that I could possibly do then would be to resign like I I I I had burnt all the bridges in Ottawa I didn’t have any friends up there anymore uh and I didn’t have a big lot of friends in newand in the government you know Mr peckford wasn’t very fond of me either because he was one of the people didn’t want Indians and and he made that well known to us uh so I uh I decided that the best thing that I could do was would be to move on also I had a young family and you know my salary was $14,000 a year and I had six children and a wife who had give up her job so because we wanted our kids to be raised with our values not with the values of a babysitter so I found myself having to look look elsewhere but still connected and still attached to the uh to the movement you know as you can see I’m still here you’re still doing stuff yeah but uh but yeah we we we started we started a court process yeah and I like I I wanted to dip briefly into that because like it all of this I wanted to paint the picture for folks just about the when we talk about activism when we talk about pushing and struggles and and and movements just to get an idea of uh the different types of ways the levers being pulled the The Avenues being exhausted to further the cause right so Ian like yourself having grown up around watching and hearing about this what do you think about just all of that effort and to see like like the act the results that came from uh the steps that were gained the results um I I would like to have seen more on on our part yeah for results yeah results wise because I think I think what we’re what we’re looking at now is a a further uh an extra layer that we have to push into or push through of bureaucracy right that exists between us and what we have as entitlements if I’m if I’m using that word incorrectly you can let me know Elder White the entitlements that we have as indigenous peoples as migma peoples on this land and it’s what what I find is missing personally isn’t land or it’s it’s our because I’m a Storyteller yeah all the Arts that I practice are based in storytelling or mediums that allow story song film and writing their mediums that carry stories and I think that what we’re missing is the layers of our story that go alongside the story of this province the way this province was he he alluded to it you wouldn’t be able to survive on this land if we wouldn’t have taught you because we came from a place that was very similar in geography weather and the way it the way it worked and then we come here and for at least a 100 or so years the ships didn’t come ashore except to put a flake on a on a on a beach but when people started settling the actual Settlers of Newland the people who began to come here 100 years after cabat they had to be taught how to live here and so I can’t I I think I may have written this down somewhere uh that’s been published but I can’t differentiate Newland culture in the sense that it’s survival with migma culture in the sense that it’s survival because they’re they become one and the same we taught you how to survive on this land and it’s become a part of newf land culture but why don’t we talk about that why can’t that layer be added to the whole story so it’s like there’s a decolonizing or there’s a there’s an unlearning then a a relearning or new learning of of um of what actually happened right like like you said of marrying the the stories together to to be a true representation of what happened right so we accept a bunch of things as Newan culture but we don’t accept the history that brought them to be Newan culture so how does that get done by what we’re doing here today uh it’s going to take some time it’s going to but it but it requires the big piece uh that uh was missing in all of those years is still missing yet today excuse me is the is the the teachings in the classroom yeah there was never any history about our people in the classroom there’s there you know from from from kindergarten to University there was never any any any information on the we were we were denied correct information we were away yeah and what was there was yeah what was there was it incorrect well there was one uh but it was um it was so derogatory and so and so false that it was shaming you know there was one line and I think was either grade four or grade four grade five geography I’m not sure which one social studies uh and U all they said was that the mcmack were brought here to kill the biotic period that was the end of it it was nothing else yeah well we in the in the early 70s when we organized the f one of the very first things we took on was to challenge academics and historians alike to find evidence to substantiate that myth and that’s what it was a myth we believe and that and still today there’s nobody to this point in time that has been able to produce evidence to show that that actually happened that that took place you know the accuser is sort of on the on the hot seat to provide evidence of genocide right yeah yeah none has been n right the word shame has come up a few times how hard is it for folks to move beyond that very difficult very very very difficult uh when you not difficult for me yeah because I lived in a community and and most of most of the people in my community not everybody I’d be lying if I said everybody is is is the same but most of my most of the people in in our community in our area um in the extension of the entire Community like Flat Bay St traces all of that area Journal Brook they lived uh with discrimination and shame they were because because we were targeted by the surrounding community you know I I I’ve uncovered evidence that if I you know if I was to read it for you you’d be shocked to believe you know just one of the examples when the American Air Force Base started up in Stevenville the uh the Americans brought with them to the base a George area an outbreak of venial disease it was widespread in in the Bas a George area and brought by the Americans that was recorded the the Department of Health for the government at the time which we were not part of Confederation it was before 1949 they did a study excuse me in the bay St George area they talked about the cases they talked about how many people they had tested in as far as like in the records to the St George’s area then they wrote a little section in that the community west of St George’s which was populated by the jackar the French Indians not to go there at all because that Community would have been totally polluted because the women were so uh permissive that’s the word and the men were away most of the time in the woods yeah so that was the kind of things that would happen uh that’s the only way the only time our people would get mentioned was in a negative right way of speaking um you know um there was a songwriter um a local guy from the Cod Valley a gentleman by the name of Paul Hall and he he used to make up songs you know and that he was just more of a comedian than anything else and he he made up a song on the on the jackar the French Indians people and it was very very derogatory that song made it to the uh social studies uh folklore and their makers in Memorial University so every student that was coming to Memorial University and was doing folklore could go pick up that book and read it and read about the jackar the Despicable people that lived in the journal Flat Bay Shel Cove area yeah so that’s what makes it to University not like the history that you’re talking about exactly and so those are the kind of things that that our some of our people were forced to be able to shy from to hide and in order to hide from that you had to hide yourself because you didn’t want your children exposed to be oh yeah there’s one of those people you’re talking about you didn’t want to be targeted so you you you did everything you possibly could do to hide from your Target but as I said earlier in the beginning of our conversation when you look at people that are live in isolated communities and haven’t been removed from a close as you possibly can go to an Aboriginal traditional way of life living off the land and and all of these types of things uh those people are not going to escape that uh that identity they’re not they just can’t get away from it talking about children Father’s Day is a this weekend you’re a great-grandfather now yep so father grandfather great grandfather father you’re not a great-grandfather you’re not a grandfather yet just a father but better not be a grandfather when we when we talk when we look at Father’s Day and you look at the generations so Elder White you look at the generations of your family I and you look at yours and you think of of the future and being dad’s and so on and so forth what are your thoughts around that I’m I’m in my particular case I’m excited most of my most of my great-grandchildren are away because my grandchildren had to go away in order to make a living and Albert being the attracted area I have two granddaughters who are living just outside of Edmonton U both of them are in in medical field and uh one of my one of my granddaughters has uh has two kids and one of them is a little boy he’s like 8ye old you know just last week uh he come home from school and he told his mom he said you got to buy me some hoops because he said today he said we had a demonstration in school of a hoop dancer and that’s what I want to do when I grow up so I’m excited I’m excited to see my great grandchild embracing it’s quite the thing right like to talk about that journey and using word shame and then you a grandkid comes home it’s like hey hoop dancing right Ian yeah it’s the it’s the tools it’s the tools that he’s given us that we can take and my my job my job as a father is to protect my kids yeah and it’s not just to protect my kids from danger it’s to protect my kids from the things that I experienced that you would consider microaggressions and racism yeah and the best way to do that is instead of arguing with people on Facebook is to dispel the rumors and to tell the truth and to go to the records room at Memorial and use their online services and F videos of that man after I interviewed him for a a my my job at Memorial as indigenous education specialist I’m doing a project called speaking for ourselves and I interviewed Uncle Calvin and what he said sounded familiar so I went to the Memorial University archives and I looked up videos of him in the late’ 70s and the mid 80s talking to people in gigantic rooms and he was saying the same thing so our job now is to make sure that he doesn’t have to keep saying the same thing so that we can get over that and move on to the next thing to layer in the story and have it be told so my kids don’t have to be called the Indians from flae when they leave the community that they currently live in they can be considered people yeah and you have the stories of culture the stories of history that that are intertwined with everything else that’s happened on the land and you have folks being welcomed to Powwow in the summer and it’s a celebration like it should be because I mean I was there just last year and and I find growing up the fact that it took me until I was in my 40s to go to a powwow is something that like I would have liked to have seen and how did it feel did you feel welcome in the community 100% right right yeah both times right Flat Bay and danam mapek I’m C guys I’m really curious about so we’re in this time you’ve got Reclamation of history and culture going on um but then in in the news there’s also you have folks who will come out and you hear stories about quote unquote like pretendian like how do we how can communities balance the the Reclamation side of things now with some of then there’s some lateral violence that will go on and then there’s folks who are making claims that are just not true and and gaining a system for their own advantage and taking advantage of of uh of opportunity y that’s happening worldwide uh there’s there’s no question there’s no doubt about that uh that’s uh I don’t know if it’s a culture of colonialism or or you know I I don’t think it’s probably just related to colonialism but anyway there it’s happening it’s widespread um theonis is on ourself like we have to EMP power our people we have to empower people uh to make some sometimes uh what is not is not going to be considered as popular decisions you know we need we need to get away from the point system that the government put in place when they decided that they were going to do a registration in Newland whereby you had to have uh so many um examples of berry picking and so many examples of uh fishing and so many examples of how many times you visit your home and and and how many Powers did you go to that’s not the definition of an Indian what you need to do is what we need to do is we need to we need to look at what is what is true citizenship and we need to Define that I’m not about to do it uh on my own but I know that it has to be done we need to be able to Define that citizenship and apply that citizenship in its entirety and and and make it that’s it that’s who we are and that’s who’s going to be a member that’s who’s going to be part of our of our respective councils but as long as we allow it as long as we allow it to fil out there and and get as large as it is now uh we’re going to have those problems yeah because there’s obviously some irony there right like a point system from a colonial structure talking about indigeny y right and the motivations behind it’s it’s it I think from from my perspective as a migma man when I see people who have been um promoting themselves yeah and they they enter into certain spaces and and you can hear that they’re not introducing themselves correctly they’re not talking about their family and their community and where they grew where they grew up and how they grew up which is a natural part of how I introduce myself for example I did that when I started working at a organization on the other side of this island and I was talking to a man who had a Portuguese accent and I asked him so where are you from and three people jumped to his defense to say that I couldn’t ask him that question and he said who hold on all three you need to sit down he just did that with me he told me about his family where he was from how he grew up why he’s here sitting before me and I want to answer his question that’s a perfectly relevant question for us to ask who are you and where do you come from who do you come from who are you connected to and that’s those are the questions that you will find are call them red flags for people who introduce themselves they do it incorrectly they do it incorrectly they don’t carry a history with them it’s just not there right right they’re disconnected from it because it doesn’t exist if I may when I took on the responsibility of organizing the communities like I I didn’t do a paper trail or I didn’t ask for volunteers what I did was I I use oral tradition like I I grew up I grew up in the community were by I knew the people who were connected to Flat Bay because every summer they visited they came with their tents they put them up in the field they were there for a bu picking they were visiting their families there probably wasn’t enough room for them to stay in the house all the kids would stay outside in the in the tents and then the adults would stay in the house so we had a connection to people you know like the the webs from cornerbrook you might as well say they grew up in Flat Bay the Martins from cornerbrook they grew up in Flat Bay whenever school was closed they were there you know the the U there was a family just lost his name now again but from grandfalls was the same thing their grandfather was in Flat Bay so whenever they were out of school in the summer they were in in flatb Gorman Gormans it was uh and and and this was this was common knowledge growing up who the people were so when I left home for as an example when I left home to or when I took on the responsibility of organizing the bands and and I I went to Beno Cove I didn’t go there knocking on doors asking people who they were where they come from I went there looking for Wilson Sams because Wilson Sams had been born and raised in Flat Bay and I knew that William Sams was an Indian because he was always called an Indian his grandmother was the last fluent speaking migma person in our community so I knew exactly where I was going and who I was looking for and when I went to Wilson sams’s home I didn’t have to introduce myself because he knew I was he didn’t know me as well as he knew my dad but when I went to his house he said I remember you you’re G way the son so this is the kind of this is how we done and then I would would sit down with Wilson and we would have a conversation and Wilson would introduce me to other people in the community that he knew and and and and and recognize as being Aboriginal people and we did that throughout the entire area you know in cornerbrook again we had the webs and we had the Mitchells and all of those people were identified in historical documents you know so so there was no trouble to uh to find a key person in each of the families and then find out to offsprings work y so for the most part right Community knows Community yep and and and people you will know folks from Talking how they introduce themselves and and knowing their history but is is there ever is for for Reclamation or reconciliation is there when we talk about some lateral violence that that can happen is there any risk that it can damage the process sometimes when when you hear when you when you have some folks claiming indigen compared to other and if perhaps they don’t know their history but yet they’re trying to observe and they they feel part of it like is there is there any danger that can happen here for the process I I found um I found opportunities where I’ve I’ve dealt with that over the last couple of years over the last three years in particular and what I found is that the the Aboriginal people themselves the people that that have been known and always um identified and have the documentation to substantiate their families they don’t get involved in in the in the battles or cont Verity with it but they laugh it off yeah you know they they they won’t say it publicly like if you went to a power somewhere and somebody showed up you know and they’re they’re loaded down with feathers and all of the different things as beautiful that they want to come and they want to dance or something and if you’re close to one of those people and they know who you are and and you know who they are they’ll say to you well look look at that there now that he really thinks that he’s an Indian you know but that’s as far as they go they there’s no confrontation they won’t make any Acquisitions they won’t do any any anything like that at all but but but they let you know that they’re not satisfied with it and they’re questioning it they come at it with empathy and compassion which is the correct thing to do because they’re looking at another person this person is just maybe lost or confused but what he’s talking about is there’s a program in no called wul nagu we know who we are yeah and that’s what he’s talking about we know who we are and we know our own people Elder White I you know I was looking up some of like your uh your bio today before the conversation right and it’s uh I mean it’s on the list the the commemorative medal for the 125th anniversary of Confederation of Canada um uh the order of new fand Labrador in 2015 with the work that you’ve been doing if you were to tell yourself the young you growing up as you started in this like in the 70s for that push what you’d be getting later on in life for for like uh Awards and and and acknowledgements would that shock younger Calvin white in the 1970s to be like yeah no actually at some point you’re going to get a commemorative medal for 125 of the anniversary of Confederation of Canada and also uh the order of newf land and Labrador in 2015 yeah I I I would have laughed it off like the person I just mentioned to you who laughs off somebody who’s pretending to be an Indian yeah because that was not reachable however having said that you know I it’s a good time to mention that uh tonight when I uh when I go to do my presentation will wear those medals right with honor for and and for for for one particular reason like I think is important that people in society see what the colonial institutes that I’ve been fighting with and against have recognized those medals you know they weren’t it wasn’t like you didn’t buy a ticket onto them and received them or it wasn’t like they said well we’re going to pick them next fourth person that comes in the house it was done by a selection of people who have a very high recognition by the institutes that they serve and and when they when I was given the honor of receiving those midds I had I had two thoughts the first one was should I take them maybe I shouldn’t take them because we haven’t fulfilled the obligation to Aboriginal people but then my second thought after giving it consideration yes I’m going to take them because here’s a group of non-aboriginal people who are part of the Institute that I’m fighting with that I’m arguing with who’s recognizing me for my truth and my contribution so it’s now it to me it’s become a symbol of this is not only an Aboriginal population’s concern Society has recognized that there’s been an injustice and there has been a warrior taking on these challeng what’ you think about that answer huh I I could tell you that that is exactly what he would have said to himself in the 1970s he would have told himself to take those medals and that’s the strategy that we’ve been using the entire time to not verify but to uh highlight the community of flap so we did traditional and use and occupancy studies and we talk to people and then we would go find their family story represented by a one sentence in an Old Colonial record they say oh my family was down in muddy hole which is Flat Bay West for Flat Bay East for people who don’t know mol is the mo of Flat Bay River yeah and there’s family stories that say well we used to take eels ODed there by the mountain and then come to find a uh I don’t remember whose record it was but there’s a ship anchored off in St George’s Harbor and they talk about the quantity of wheels that are being taken at the Mote of river just east south east Southwest of them and this flat B River as we uh we’ve talked a bit about like the look ahead and stuff right and and just what needs to still happen so as we wind down this conversation any other thoughts on what needs what progress needs to happen or or if there’s still push back that is happening now that needs to be pushed through there’s push back but as I said earlier you know I I feel I feel confident that the the the pendem is swinging and and but the thing about it is that we can let up we have to we have to increase the dialogue and we have to concentrate on our young people we have to empower young people we have to we have to get them to get over the denial because of Shame yeah there should be no more denial you know we have we have lot of lots of young people who are who are part of the educational system now because of the program that was brought about by holu which helps them for the first time to be able to to partake in in University and and other types of training and that uh but what we need to do is we need to make sure that they Embrace their identity and we Empower them to be able to defend himself because because if not what we’re going to do is we’re going to lose a very valuable um resource the most valuable resource that any society can have it’s his people and and I mean that’s obvious because of the work that Ivan has been doing and but we need more Ivans we need we need we need you know we need and it doesn’t mean that everybody has to take on an Aboriginal cost that is going to school um you know we still need doctors and we need our lawyers and we need our teachers and we need all but we need all of those people but we need them to embrace who they are and by embracing who they are and becoming educated about their history because a lot of them has not been exposed to their history to no a fault of their own then they can become Educators in the lunchroom and in the workplace and everywhere else and like I said earlier when we began I don’t think that we live in a total racist Society I think we live in an ignorant so an ignorant society and once that that ignorance has been cured I think that reconciliation can become a reality but reconciliation will never be a reality if it if we allow it to remain a buzzword if it’s something that sounds important to every Institute that is out there because they can Pride themselves in saying well we Embrace reconciliation well embracing reconciliation um in words is not enough what we need is in actions if you Embrace reconciliation let’s see what you’re going to do about it and uh one of the things that they can do about it is they can they can pressure their politicians to put this on the priority list that’s been one of the problems you know without taking up the rest of your show I want to point out that we are not a provincial responsibility yeah the constition of Canada defines very clearly that the federal government is as the total responsibility for Aboriginal people but it doesn’t mean that we don’t live in a province and we can’t be provincial partners and it doesn’t mean that the provincial government has no responsibility for all of the residents itself so when you talk about the seal fishery being a priority when you talk about the Cod fishery being a priority when you talk of all of those things that has been termed as injustices in some cases by the federal government of taking advantage of newand newand as an island and as a people then we would like them to see put Aboriginal issues on that agenda too because when they’re talking to their counterparts and when they’re talking to their prime minister they need to be able to say and oh yes we have one other issue there’s been an injustice in Newland it was created in 1949 when you pencil the Aboriginal people out of Confederation and in the latest attempt that you have made to try to include them it’s only been attempt it’s not full inclusion and we have unfinished business in Newland and you need to address that so that’s how we need to be able to change this dialogue Ivan Any final thought from you I can’t beat that I didn’t think didn’t think you you would um guys thanks so much for this conversation today I really appreciate it um good luck with everything this evening thank you for having us

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hi I’m Adam Walsh host and producer of the signal there’s a conversation that took place in St John’s this week it was called No Indians here an evening with migma elder Calvin white the discussion looked at the Legacy and impact of Confederation on indigenous folks in New Finland and Labrador Elder White po by the studio we had our own conversation about his evening here it is me my Elder Kelvin white welcome to the signal and Ivan white chair indigenous Performing Arts andl welcome thank you for having us Elder White your talk no Indians here why that title well actually what it is is the phrase that we use because of the uh of the over not necessarily oversight but because of the uh either neglect or or however you want to term it of not being raised when Newland joined Confederation in 1949 there were discussions about Aboriginal po population of course but that only referred to the labador area and that was dropped and there was no further consideration for the for those people but there was never any mention of the Newan migma in the discussions that we could find anywhere in the minutes of the discussions that had taken place and from the fact that there were no discussions uh there’s a mindset there was a mindset I should say in Newland and I guess in lots of other parts of Canada was familiar with Newan that there were no Indians because there were no mention of us they were uh we weren’t included we weren’t part of the uh of the Constitution talks M so then when there’s celebrations around the 75th anniversary of Confederation right and lots of talk around the province how does that sit with you like for for your your through your lens well how it sits with me it’s it’s it’s uh I’m sad I’m sad for the simple reason that uh I can’t fully particip at with with friends and relatives and and not necessarily rela because most of the relatives would be in the same situation that I’m in but I can’t do the kind of full appreciation and celebration that I would like to do because of the anniversary for the simple reason that we still face the the the refusal and the denial and all of the things that took place in 1949 so I I feel as if I’m not yet fully a Canadian or or you know because of uh because of what the way it’s been dealt with Ian what about yourself with this for me we’re we’re we’re missing uh education we’re missing people’s there’s a huge knowledge Gap about when we got here how we got here why we came and I think that’s it’s sort of important to begin expressing that through things like no Indians here at uh first light tonight last night and and tell folks about indigenous Performing Arts andl briefly if you could sure the uh IPA inl as we’ve currently named it is about discovering finding creating and telling stories from indigenous people in this province so that’s migma Inu and Inu at people and we’re we’re a microphone and an amplifier that’s what we’re meant to be so then we can start expecting a lot more like there’s there’s the the event that we’re talking about right the the discussion no Indians here and there’ll be more stuff to come absolutely we’re going to take Stolen Sisters and gum to uh the PO but we start here in St John’s at uh government house right and so yeah have the Poo Trail for this summer follow yeah we’re going to go to con and then uh B St George which is in plat Bay amazing aming which you’re familiar with yes yeah no I was out the signal was out there last last summer and it was fantastic to be there for for pawow and uh Elder White I I wanted to ask you what was it like growing up in Flat Bay oh the the first uh couple of pages of my book that you were just present it we’ll we’ll give you that story but however I’ll share it with you it was U it was different to what is now being promoted like you know my my early years and my recollect of growing up in Flat Bay wasn’t about uh wasn’t about feeds and drums and smudging and all of these type of things these are things that were brought back in the 70s even in Nova Scotia for that matter because from from the early from 400 years ago our people had uh been uh cohered into becoming Catholics and we had been followers of the Catholic religion and therefore uh this was all considered to be um not uh accepted by even by the grand Council in in Years Gone by so it kind of just faded away and it was only brought back after uh the story start coming about about the abuse in the schools and you know the residential schools and the abuse in the communities and and and the mount Cashel here and all of these type of things that’s when people who really need something we all need something to hang on to that’s when people start bringing back the the the spirituality aspect of our movement that you see now into drumming and smudging and and and you know and all of these different type things in my early years in my bringing up it was it was just a way of life I mean we we were people who were constantly in a um I I I refer to it as constantly in an in an educational and a training environment uh you you learn you learn from the time you could walk you learned how to do things that were all geared towards survival and our education method was never uh uh a theory it was a practical everything everything we learned we learned how to do it not just about it because uh well it’s totally different I’m sure that you’re well aware and I know there’s a lot of people that I’ve had conversations with who have went to academic training institutes and they concentrated on the on the theory they never had a whole lot of experience with regard to the pra uh the Practical aspect of it and what they did was they found themselves very knowledgeable but couldn’t really do the the actual work so but in our culture the the as I said earlier the the the the the Practical comes before the theory so growing up it was it was practical you know we like from the time you’re very ear very very very early age uh everything you do is geared towards survival and learning how to concentrate in their survival now a lot of people uh consider that to be not only an Aboriginal way of life especially if you grew up in rural Newland because that’s kind of the trend also but uh without being too long winded what I’d like to to to offer is that um people who came here 200 300 years ago when they were left behind because they were only taking up space from an extra CLE of fish that could be put in the boat when it was going home their survival only happened because they adopted an Aboriginal way of life they couldn’t fish when the winter came and the and the Arbors were filled in and everything else so they adopted an Aboriginal way of life that was the survival of of rural outport New Finland and that’s why I guess that you have so many people who claimed to be just as much as Aboriginal as anybody else when they talk about the registration process and the criteria for the registration process being a way of life uh I look at it I I know that I’m biased and the biases will show up but I look at it as the as if was it wasn’t the Aboriginal people who integrated and assimilated it was the non-aboriginal people who assimilated and integrated into an Aboriginal way of life that was their survival that’s really interesting so then looking now at that history where we are with like we’ve talked about Reclamation we like we’re in an era of reconciliation and if you look at how you just framed things what do you think looking back at that for where we are now with like some some of the progress that’s being made even though there’s still a ways to go I’m I’m I’m uh I’m excited about it this is why at my age I’m you know I’m I’m 81 and a quarter so I’m getting up there and at my age what I what I look at is I I uh maybe I’m overly optimistic but I’m looking at dep pendum swinging the other way I I feel that the work that we started in in the’ 70s and uh and even though it was it was very challenging but I feel that it this point in time the this the pendem is swinging and I think that if we continue to do what we’re doing here today and we educate uh people in Newland and elsewhere we need to educate them about who we are and what the responsibilities of the federal government is constitutional responsibilities I think that there’s there’s an opportunity for a Buy in and I think reconciliation is possible I for I don’t think for one minute what never a taught in my mind that the entire population of newf land is racist or discriminatory or neither is the Canadian public I feel that there’s an ignorance and uh and that ignorance causes a difference of opinion sometime because of the lack of Education you know I I I describe it as uh U ignorance the prescription for ignorance is easy to get it’s education and we all can take that if there are people out there and there will be the odd people this is you know we’re all human beings and this is how life is but there if there are people out there that are racist or discriminatory there’s no cure for that so we don’t worry about that we just bypass those people and work with the people who who are willing to you know to open their minds and to listen and be part of so I think reconciliation has a real chance but it doesn’t have a chance if we don’t do what you people have given me the opportunity to do here this weekend we need more of this we need to do this we need to have dialogue we need to talk if we don’t then we’re going to be out of sight out of mind yeah I want to jump in on any of what you’re hearing here he’s talking about uncovering truth yeah so you can’t have have reconciliation without truth right exactly so we’re growing up in Flat Bay for for me was not that different I just don’t participate in the same way the same survival aspects so I became a a administrator and artist instead of a logger Fisher Hunter I don’t do that stuff but there’s lots of different ways to come at this battle or just fight to take up to arms and and go and I think exposing truth sitting here and talk talking about our truth is the the Baseline the fundamental thing that needs to happen in this province other way when you talk about the the the the movement right so the 70s for um the migma movement what was the beginning of that like when you first started pushing brutal total fa we were facing total denial from the provincial government from a from a federal government and from the majority of uh people that we came in contact whether they were new finlanders or or Canadians from the other side of the pond uh and even among some of our own people there was a denial and some of our own people the denial came from the fear of of being exposed in the in the areas that that they live where on the other hand some of the people and I give you an example not not to to deny or to suggest other wise of the other people but the people in con River and the people in Flat Bay live in an isolated area of until you know the late Conn River until probably the late ’70s Flat Bay until probably close to 1960 we live in isolated communities when you live in an isolated Community you uh you don’t have the interaction that the other communities have obviously so what happened was is that even if we wanted to integrate we weren’t allowed to integrate because we were targeted yeah because you’re you’re a minority you’re there you’re a little group you’re a little group and whatever happens or anything that happens becomes The Escape of the surrounding population and the same thing not only the same thing happened in in all of Newland not only the Aboriginal people it happened in in out outport communities too it’s like you know that that that that blame and that shame I I always say that the tools of colonialism was uh was uh denial and and shame they denied that we were here once we stood up and and became very vocal about it then they tried to shame us into going into hiding uh so it was it was very very brutal it was it was difficult you know politicians and bureaucrats uh I’m sure that we were you know we were we were the victims of of uh of tumbs up and jokes and all of that type of stuff because they just didn’t didn’t didn’t want they were probably some of the most ignorant people because they were charged with the responsibility of having to deal with this of having to confronted and uh and and they uh and the only way that we could make any inroads is that we had to be very aggressive about it it was no good to try to reason because you couldn’t get anybody to sit down to reason with you you had to become you had to become very very vocal and and you had to become you know not necessarily obstructive because we didn’t St stage any demonstrations whereby we interfered with the public uh and that type of stuff but we we had to be aggressive in order to get them to listen to us yeah well it makes me think as well mean the story I up of of The Hunger Strikers right during the 80s right so you look at here’s an example this types of pushing you look at the hunger strike that that went on I mean there’s a documentary out this year uh that’s available gim the Forgotten Warriors right so for folks if they haven’t seen it I do recommend seeing it is quite the documentary when did you start to think and see you were making progress then through the 70s and 80s as you were doing this pushing we uh we started making progress when the uh when the government it was probably in about 1973 there was a small change what happened in 19 prior to that there was an arrangement between the province of newand and the Federal government for healthcare in labador they were dealing with the Inu and the Inu with people of labador but there was no mention of Aboriginal people on the island whatsoever no mention of uh of migm back then that’s what they were known as as existence but in 1973 uh we were successful in bringing con River under that Federal provincial agreement and and and uh then money started to to to move it wasn’t going to con River it was coming to the provincial government of Newan and the provincial government of Newan was administering that money as they were doing in labador with a on a cost share basis I think it was something like 910 but then I’m told that the provincial government would charge 10% Administration so it was 100% paid by the federal government but the federal government didn’t have to assume the Indian Affairs responsibility uh or or the the 9124 constitutional responsibility because it was not a direct agreement and a recognition of Aboriginal people it was money flowing to The Province on behalf of of the province determining who would be the recipients of that money once we got con River to become part of that agreement uh I I became I became optimistic that there was that there was a future there was a possibility because what had happened I believe what happens is that you know when you when you take on a challenge and you go so long without making any inroads you may get tired and you just might give up you might quit but if you make one tiny little bit of progress that Sparks not to you not to quit and that was the spark that uh that inspired me as one anyway and I’m sure other people not to quit yeah like I can see that right you know you’re pushing you’re pushing that you get the one thing that first little it could be a little step in the beginning but it it’s so it’s so meaningful and impactful it’s not a little step it’s a big step because now what you have is you as a precedence has been set the government has set a pres they’ just accept one of your communities on the island of Newan and they agreed to do funding for development in that community so now a precedent has been set so now not only do you have the argument of saying well what about the rest of us but you have the the potential of having to go to the courts if you need need to because we’re we’re we’re supposed to be living in equal society and government is supposed to be treating all people equal so so not only do do you see an opportunity of a continuation of negotiation but you see that next step that you try to avoid but if you need to take it it’s there and that did grow right there were Court challenges like I think ’ 89 towards the end of the 80s tell us for folks who may not know the history explain a little bit of what happened in the late ’ 80s well in 1982 uh when we negotiated the independent uh uh agreement for con river which was a fiveyear agreement whereby con would have control of their funding while negotiating the agreement I was president of the Federation of newand Indians and John Monroe uh it was liberal government in power and John Monroe was the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and in in I got to know John really well he was very approachable uh whenever possible he would sit and talk with us he didn’t push us away to his deputies or to you know to other bureaucrats and he was he was he was up front he wanted to be part of so during our negotiations I uh I mentioned to him that I wasn’t comfortable we were close to the signing of the agreement and I wasn’t comfortable because I had no guarantee that we would be able to continue the process with the rest of the Aboriginal population of Newan once we signed agreement we would be we would be giving away our power once we signed an agreement and he was uh he was supportive enough that what he did was he gave me a letter of commitment in 1982 that during the life of the con River agreement which was a 5-year agreement that would expire in 1986 that he would undertake his Department would undertake a process to take care of the rest of the Aboriginal communities in the island of Newan for the purposes of coming under to any further agreements or registration whatever whatever the the end goal would be and uh yeah and he gave me that letter and that letter was uh was very important and was very powerful because it was a letter from the crown committing that we were moved so now we had another uh you know we we we we were super excited now because we had a commitment we thought we were going to move now I don’t know how long you want me to go on but I can tell you what happened was there was a prent a federal election and the government changed and uh Monroe was no longer there he was gone because we had a conservative government that took power however I must say the bureaucrats had their Direction bureaucrats don’t change it’s the no exact and they had their direction from U um from Monroe and they continued to work with me and we were at a we were at a very crucial stage of signing an agreement fact in fact they notified me that they were willing to come to an annual assembly in Newland an annual assembly of the Federation of newf land Indians and they were coming to make the announcement and to sign an agreement agreement in principle to uh in fact they had went as far as providing me with uh me not me personally but the Federation of Newland indans providing us with research money to have a an anthropologist student who I hired from Alberta was doing anthropology studies here in newand Dy anger was the lady’s name uh and I hired her to do the files of the ad original population that we had not uh all concluded what happened was is that a um I’m I’m I have no concrete evidence but I’m told that uh during a cabin meeting or shortly after a cabinet meeting when they were coming out of the meeting the minister at the time might have been L A or light a wordy I’m not positive of that but that it’s his name that I seem to recall and he said to the most powerful Minister from newfinland we are going to resolve the Newland Aboriginal issues and I have uh some people going down to the federation’s annual assembly and we’re going to sign the agreement in principal and we’re going to Pro proceed with it and and I’m told that this Minister looked at him and said it’ll be Over My Dead Body it’s not going to happen whether that really happened whether it’s true or not but that was the inside information I had made some very good Connections in Ottawa and I tend to believe that it was true because uh the two people that were designated to come to Newland canceled their reservations the next day right and they didn’t they and that was it and from there it was a total refusal uh with regard to the uh commitment that had been made by the previous government but then we get to 89 there’s legal action brought by fni against the federal government and things move forward and eventually we get the establishment of the Halu MCM First Nation ban well well yes the 89 thing what happened was is that I tried everything that I possibly could do other than a sit in in Ottawa which have got me nowhere other than in jail and and I found that I was at a losing end of the of the of the bargain so what I decided to do is I had to let the clock run out because the agreement was to to from 1982 to 1986 I needed that date to expire or at least I felt I did and once that expired then I needed to prepare a process and look for a law firm to engage in in in legal action I um I made contact with the honorable Ed Roberts who was uh an ideal person for for the work he was not only was he you know from a very reputable Law Firm very well experienced but he was also a politician which was I felt that was very important given the fact that the commitment that I had was from the same party that he was part of that being the liberal stripe and and in new land but all they’re all connected and uh I approached him and asked him if he would take on that respon and he did he took it on and there it was a while before the file move because uh I um I thought that the best thing that I could possibly do then would be to resign like I I I I had burnt all the bridges in Ottawa I didn’t have any friends up there anymore uh and I didn’t have a big lot of friends in newand in the government you know Mr peckford wasn’t very fond of me either because he was one of the people didn’t want Indians and and he made that well known to us uh so I uh I decided that the best thing that I could do was would be to move on also I had a young family and you know my salary was $14,000 a year and I had six children and a wife who had give up her job so because we wanted our kids to be raised with our values not with the values of a babysitter so I found myself having to look look elsewhere but still connected and still attached to the uh to the movement you know as you can see I’m still here you’re still doing stuff yeah but uh but yeah we we we started we started a court process yeah and I like I I wanted to dip briefly into that because like it all of this I wanted to paint the picture for folks just about the when we talk about activism when we talk about pushing and struggles and and and movements just to get an idea of uh the different types of ways the levers being pulled the The Avenues being exhausted to further the cause right so Ian like yourself having grown up around watching and hearing about this what do you think about just all of that effort and to see like like the act the results that came from uh the steps that were gained the results um I I would like to have seen more on on our part yeah for results yeah results wise because I think I think what we’re what we’re looking at now is a a further uh an extra layer that we have to push into or push through of bureaucracy right that exists between us and what we have as entitlements if I’m if I’m using that word incorrectly you can let me know Elder White the entitlements that we have as indigenous peoples as migma peoples on this land and it’s what what I find is missing personally isn’t land or it’s it’s our because I’m a Storyteller yeah all the Arts that I practice are based in storytelling or mediums that allow story song film and writing their mediums that carry stories and I think that what we’re missing is the layers of our story that go alongside the story of this province the way this province was he he alluded to it you wouldn’t be able to survive on this land if we wouldn’t have taught you because we came from a place that was very similar in geography weather and the way it the way it worked and then we come here and for at least a 100 or so years the ships didn’t come ashore except to put a flake on a on a on a beach but when people started settling the actual Settlers of Newland the people who began to come here 100 years after cabat they had to be taught how to live here and so I can’t I I think I may have written this down somewhere uh that’s been published but I can’t differentiate Newland culture in the sense that it’s survival with migma culture in the sense that it’s survival because they’re they become one and the same we taught you how to survive on this land and it’s become a part of newf land culture but why don’t we talk about that why can’t that layer be added to the whole story so it’s like there’s a decolonizing or there’s a there’s an unlearning then a a relearning or new learning of of um of what actually happened right like like you said of marrying the the stories together to to be a true representation of what happened right so we accept a bunch of things as Newan culture but we don’t accept the history that brought them to be Newan culture so how does that get done by what we’re doing here today uh it’s going to take some time it’s going to but it but it requires the big piece uh that uh was missing in all of those years is still missing yet today excuse me is the is the the teachings in the classroom yeah there was never any history about our people in the classroom there’s there you know from from from kindergarten to University there was never any any any information on the we were we were denied correct information we were away yeah and what was there was yeah what was there was it incorrect well there was one uh but it was um it was so derogatory and so and so false that it was shaming you know there was one line and I think was either grade four or grade four grade five geography I’m not sure which one social studies uh and U all they said was that the mcmack were brought here to kill the biotic period that was the end of it it was nothing else yeah well we in the in the early 70s when we organized the f one of the very first things we took on was to challenge academics and historians alike to find evidence to substantiate that myth and that’s what it was a myth we believe and that and still today there’s nobody to this point in time that has been able to produce evidence to show that that actually happened that that took place you know the accuser is sort of on the on the hot seat to provide evidence of genocide right yeah yeah none has been n right the word shame has come up a few times how hard is it for folks to move beyond that very difficult very very very difficult uh when you not difficult for me yeah because I lived in a community and and most of most of the people in my community not everybody I’d be lying if I said everybody is is is the same but most of my most of the people in in our community in our area um in the extension of the entire Community like Flat Bay St traces all of that area Journal Brook they lived uh with discrimination and shame they were because because we were targeted by the surrounding community you know I I I’ve uncovered evidence that if I you know if I was to read it for you you’d be shocked to believe you know just one of the examples when the American Air Force Base started up in Stevenville the uh the Americans brought with them to the base a George area an outbreak of venial disease it was widespread in in the Bas a George area and brought by the Americans that was recorded the the Department of Health for the government at the time which we were not part of Confederation it was before 1949 they did a study excuse me in the bay St George area they talked about the cases they talked about how many people they had tested in as far as like in the records to the St George’s area then they wrote a little section in that the community west of St George’s which was populated by the jackar the French Indians not to go there at all because that Community would have been totally polluted because the women were so uh permissive that’s the word and the men were away most of the time in the woods yeah so that was the kind of things that would happen uh that’s the only way the only time our people would get mentioned was in a negative right way of speaking um you know um there was a songwriter um a local guy from the Cod Valley a gentleman by the name of Paul Hall and he he used to make up songs you know and that he was just more of a comedian than anything else and he he made up a song on the on the jackar the French Indians people and it was very very derogatory that song made it to the uh social studies uh folklore and their makers in Memorial University so every student that was coming to Memorial University and was doing folklore could go pick up that book and read it and read about the jackar the Despicable people that lived in the journal Flat Bay Shel Cove area yeah so that’s what makes it to University not like the history that you’re talking about exactly and so those are the kind of things that that our some of our people were forced to be able to shy from to hide and in order to hide from that you had to hide yourself because you didn’t want your children exposed to be oh yeah there’s one of those people you’re talking about you didn’t want to be targeted so you you you did everything you possibly could do to hide from your Target but as I said earlier in the beginning of our conversation when you look at people that are live in isolated communities and haven’t been removed from a close as you possibly can go to an Aboriginal traditional way of life living off the land and and all of these types of things uh those people are not going to escape that uh that identity they’re not they just can’t get away from it talking about children Father’s Day is a this weekend you’re a great-grandfather now yep so father grandfather great grandfather father you’re not a great-grandfather you’re not a grandfather yet just a father but better not be a grandfather when we when we talk when we look at Father’s Day and you look at the generations so Elder White you look at the generations of your family I and you look at yours and you think of of the future and being dad’s and so on and so forth what are your thoughts around that I’m I’m in my particular case I’m excited most of my most of my great-grandchildren are away because my grandchildren had to go away in order to make a living and Albert being the attracted area I have two granddaughters who are living just outside of Edmonton U both of them are in in medical field and uh one of my one of my granddaughters has uh has two kids and one of them is a little boy he’s like 8ye old you know just last week uh he come home from school and he told his mom he said you got to buy me some hoops because he said today he said we had a demonstration in school of a hoop dancer and that’s what I want to do when I grow up so I’m excited I’m excited to see my great grandchild embracing it’s quite the thing right like to talk about that journey and using word shame and then you a grandkid comes home it’s like hey hoop dancing right Ian yeah it’s the it’s the tools it’s the tools that he’s given us that we can take and my my job my job as a father is to protect my kids yeah and it’s not just to protect my kids from danger it’s to protect my kids from the things that I experienced that you would consider microaggressions and racism yeah and the best way to do that is instead of arguing with people on Facebook is to dispel the rumors and to tell the truth and to go to the records room at Memorial and use their online services and F videos of that man after I interviewed him for a a my my job at Memorial as indigenous education specialist I’m doing a project called speaking for ourselves and I interviewed Uncle Calvin and what he said sounded familiar so I went to the Memorial University archives and I looked up videos of him in the late’ 70s and the mid 80s talking to people in gigantic rooms and he was saying the same thing so our job now is to make sure that he doesn’t have to keep saying the same thing so that we can get over that and move on to the next thing to layer in the story and have it be told so my kids don’t have to be called the Indians from flae when they leave the community that they currently live in they can be considered people yeah and you have the stories of culture the stories of history that that are intertwined with everything else that’s happened on the land and you have folks being welcomed to Powwow in the summer and it’s a celebration like it should be because I mean I was there just last year and and I find growing up the fact that it took me until I was in my 40s to go to a powwow is something that like I would have liked to have seen and how did it feel did you feel welcome in the community 100% right right yeah both times right Flat Bay and danam mapek I’m C guys I’m really curious about so we’re in this time you’ve got Reclamation of history and culture going on um but then in in the news there’s also you have folks who will come out and you hear stories about quote unquote like pretendian like how do we how can communities balance the the Reclamation side of things now with some of then there’s some lateral violence that will go on and then there’s folks who are making claims that are just not true and and gaining a system for their own advantage and taking advantage of of uh of opportunity y that’s happening worldwide uh there’s there’s no question there’s no doubt about that uh that’s uh I don’t know if it’s a culture of colonialism or or you know I I don’t think it’s probably just related to colonialism but anyway there it’s happening it’s widespread um theonis is on ourself like we have to EMP power our people we have to empower people uh to make some sometimes uh what is not is not going to be considered as popular decisions you know we need we need to get away from the point system that the government put in place when they decided that they were going to do a registration in Newland whereby you had to have uh so many um examples of berry picking and so many examples of uh fishing and so many examples of how many times you visit your home and and and how many Powers did you go to that’s not the definition of an Indian what you need to do is what we need to do is we need to we need to look at what is what is true citizenship and we need to Define that I’m not about to do it uh on my own but I know that it has to be done we need to be able to Define that citizenship and apply that citizenship in its entirety and and and make it that’s it that’s who we are and that’s who’s going to be a member that’s who’s going to be part of our of our respective councils but as long as we allow it as long as we allow it to fil out there and and get as large as it is now uh we’re going to have those problems yeah because there’s obviously some irony there right like a point system from a colonial structure talking about indigeny y right and the motivations behind it’s it’s it I think from from my perspective as a migma man when I see people who have been um promoting themselves yeah and they they enter into certain spaces and and you can hear that they’re not introducing themselves correctly they’re not talking about their family and their community and where they grew where they grew up and how they grew up which is a natural part of how I introduce myself for example I did that when I started working at a organization on the other side of this island and I was talking to a man who had a Portuguese accent and I asked him so where are you from and three people jumped to his defense to say that I couldn’t ask him that question and he said who hold on all three you need to sit down he just did that with me he told me about his family where he was from how he grew up why he’s here sitting before me and I want to answer his question that’s a perfectly relevant question for us to ask who are you and where do you come from who do you come from who are you connected to and that’s those are the questions that you will find are call them red flags for people who introduce themselves they do it incorrectly they do it incorrectly they don’t carry a history with them it’s just not there right right they’re disconnected from it because it doesn’t exist if I may when I took on the responsibility of organizing the communities like I I didn’t do a paper trail or I didn’t ask for volunteers what I did was I I use oral tradition like I I grew up I grew up in the community were by I knew the people who were connected to Flat Bay because every summer they visited they came with their tents they put them up in the field they were there for a bu picking they were visiting their families there probably wasn’t enough room for them to stay in the house all the kids would stay outside in the in the tents and then the adults would stay in the house so we had a connection to people you know like the the webs from cornerbrook you might as well say they grew up in Flat Bay the Martins from cornerbrook they grew up in Flat Bay whenever school was closed they were there you know the the U there was a family just lost his name now again but from grandfalls was the same thing their grandfather was in Flat Bay so whenever they were out of school in the summer they were in in flatb Gorman Gormans it was uh and and and this was this was common knowledge growing up who the people were so when I left home for as an example when I left home to or when I took on the responsibility of organizing the bands and and I I went to Beno Cove I didn’t go there knocking on doors asking people who they were where they come from I went there looking for Wilson Sams because Wilson Sams had been born and raised in Flat Bay and I knew that William Sams was an Indian because he was always called an Indian his grandmother was the last fluent speaking migma person in our community so I knew exactly where I was going and who I was looking for and when I went to Wilson sams’s home I didn’t have to introduce myself because he knew I was he didn’t know me as well as he knew my dad but when I went to his house he said I remember you you’re G way the son so this is the kind of this is how we done and then I would would sit down with Wilson and we would have a conversation and Wilson would introduce me to other people in the community that he knew and and and and and recognize as being Aboriginal people and we did that throughout the entire area you know in cornerbrook again we had the webs and we had the Mitchells and all of those people were identified in historical documents you know so so there was no trouble to uh to find a key person in each of the families and then find out to offsprings work y so for the most part right Community knows Community yep and and and people you will know folks from Talking how they introduce themselves and and knowing their history but is is there ever is for for Reclamation or reconciliation is there when we talk about some lateral violence that that can happen is there any risk that it can damage the process sometimes when when you hear when you when you have some folks claiming indigen compared to other and if perhaps they don’t know their history but yet they’re trying to observe and they they feel part of it like is there is there any danger that can happen here for the process I I found um I found opportunities where I’ve I’ve dealt with that over the last couple of years over the last three years in particular and what I found is that the the Aboriginal people themselves the people that that have been known and always um identified and have the documentation to substantiate their families they don’t get involved in in the in the battles or cont Verity with it but they laugh it off yeah you know they they they won’t say it publicly like if you went to a power somewhere and somebody showed up you know and they’re they’re loaded down with feathers and all of the different things as beautiful that they want to come and they want to dance or something and if you’re close to one of those people and they know who you are and and you know who they are they’ll say to you well look look at that there now that he really thinks that he’s an Indian you know but that’s as far as they go they there’s no confrontation they won’t make any Acquisitions they won’t do any any anything like that at all but but but they let you know that they’re not satisfied with it and they’re questioning it they come at it with empathy and compassion which is the correct thing to do because they’re looking at another person this person is just maybe lost or confused but what he’s talking about is there’s a program in no called wul nagu we know who we are yeah and that’s what he’s talking about we know who we are and we know our own people Elder White I you know I was looking up some of like your uh your bio today before the conversation right and it’s uh I mean it’s on the list the the commemorative medal for the 125th anniversary of Confederation of Canada um uh the order of new fand Labrador in 2015 with the work that you’ve been doing if you were to tell yourself the young you growing up as you started in this like in the 70s for that push what you’d be getting later on in life for for like uh Awards and and and acknowledgements would that shock younger Calvin white in the 1970s to be like yeah no actually at some point you’re going to get a commemorative medal for 125 of the anniversary of Confederation of Canada and also uh the order of newf land and Labrador in 2015 yeah I I I would have laughed it off like the person I just mentioned to you who laughs off somebody who’s pretending to be an Indian yeah because that was not reachable however having said that you know I it’s a good time to mention that uh tonight when I uh when I go to do my presentation will wear those medals right with honor for and and for for for one particular reason like I think is important that people in society see what the colonial institutes that I’ve been fighting with and against have recognized those medals you know they weren’t it wasn’t like you didn’t buy a ticket onto them and received them or it wasn’t like they said well we’re going to pick them next fourth person that comes in the house it was done by a selection of people who have a very high recognition by the institutes that they serve and and when they when I was given the honor of receiving those midds I had I had two thoughts the first one was should I take them maybe I shouldn’t take them because we haven’t fulfilled the obligation to Aboriginal people but then my second thought after giving it consideration yes I’m going to take them because here’s a group of non-aboriginal people who are part of the Institute that I’m fighting with that I’m arguing with who’s recognizing me for my truth and my contribution so it’s now it to me it’s become a symbol of this is not only an Aboriginal population’s concern Society has recognized that there’s been an injustice and there has been a warrior taking on these challeng what’ you think about that answer huh I I could tell you that that is exactly what he would have said to himself in the 1970s he would have told himself to take those medals and that’s the strategy that we’ve been using the entire time to not verify but to uh highlight the community of flap so we did traditional and use and occupancy studies and we talk to people and then we would go find their family story represented by a one sentence in an Old Colonial record they say oh my family was down in muddy hole which is Flat Bay West for Flat Bay East for people who don’t know mol is the mo of Flat Bay River yeah and there’s family stories that say well we used to take eels ODed there by the mountain and then come to find a uh I don’t remember whose record it was but there’s a ship anchored off in St George’s Harbor and they talk about the quantity of wheels that are being taken at the Mote of river just east south east Southwest of them and this flat B River as we uh we’ve talked a bit about like the look ahead and stuff right and and just what needs to still happen so as we wind down this conversation any other thoughts on what needs what progress needs to happen or or if there’s still push back that is happening now that needs to be pushed through there’s push back but as I said earlier you know I I feel I feel confident that the the the pendem is swinging and and but the thing about it is that we can let up we have to we have to increase the dialogue and we have to concentrate on our young people we have to empower young people we have to we have to get them to get over the denial because of Shame yeah there should be no more denial you know we have we have lot of lots of young people who are who are part of the educational system now because of the program that was brought about by holu which helps them for the first time to be able to to partake in in University and and other types of training and that uh but what we need to do is we need to make sure that they Embrace their identity and we Empower them to be able to defend himself because because if not what we’re going to do is we’re going to lose a very valuable um resource the most valuable resource that any society can have it’s his people and and I mean that’s obvious because of the work that Ivan has been doing and but we need more Ivans we need we need we need you know we need and it doesn’t mean that everybody has to take on an Aboriginal cost that is going to school um you know we still need doctors and we need our lawyers and we need our teachers and we need all but we need all of those people but we need them to embrace who they are and by embracing who they are and becoming educated about their history because a lot of them has not been exposed to their history to no a fault of their own then they can become Educators in the lunchroom and in the workplace and everywhere else and like I said earlier when we began I don’t think that we live in a total racist Society I think we live in an ignorant so an ignorant society and once that that ignorance has been cured I think that reconciliation can become a reality but reconciliation will never be a reality if it if we allow it to remain a buzzword if it’s something that sounds important to every Institute that is out there because they can Pride themselves in saying well we Embrace reconciliation well embracing reconciliation um in words is not enough what we need is in actions if you Embrace reconciliation let’s see what you’re going to do about it and uh one of the things that they can do about it is they can they can pressure their politicians to put this on the priority list that’s been one of the problems you know without taking up the rest of your show I want to point out that we are not a provincial responsibility yeah the constition of Canada defines very clearly that the federal government is as the total responsibility for Aboriginal people but it doesn’t mean that we don’t live in a province and we can’t be provincial partners and it doesn’t mean that the provincial government has no responsibility for all of the residents itself so when you talk about the seal fishery being a priority when you talk about the Cod fishery being a priority when you talk of all of those things that has been termed as injustices in some cases by the federal government of taking advantage of newand newand as an island and as a people then we would like them to see put Aboriginal issues on that agenda too because when they’re talking to their counterparts and when they’re talking to their prime minister they need to be able to say and oh yes we have one other issue there’s been an injustice in Newland it was created in 1949 when you pencil the Aboriginal people out of Confederation and in the latest attempt that you have made to try to include them it’s only been attempt it’s not full inclusion and we have unfinished business in Newland and you need to address that so that’s how we need to be able to change this dialogue Ivan Any final thought from you I can’t beat that I didn’t think didn’t think you you would um guys thanks so much for this conversation today I really appreciate it um good luck with everything this evening thank you for having us

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