Idle No More: Dear Cindy

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Republished in West Coast Native News HERE.

Reblogged by J. Halladay HERE.

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Two weeks ago, this message was sent to my blog by Cindy. Her comments were riddled with a number of incorrect comments and negative stereotypes that I felt needed to be addressed in a calm and rational way. Here’s an unedited screenshot of what Cindy wrote:

Idle No More_Cindy's Comments

Rather than put it through on the messages, I thought I’d address the inaccurate claims made by Cindy in a blog article.

Why don’t natives get jobs just like everyone else in Canada?

One of the most widespread myths is that First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples are lazy bums who don’t work for a living. The fact of the matter is that I’ve addressed this issue in previous blog articles. Not only do First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples have jobs like everyone else in Canada, many of them run their own successful businesses.

SUGGESTED READING

Idle No More: On Again, Off Again
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/idle-no-more-on-again-off-again/

Idle No More: Myths v Facts
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/idle-no-more-myths-v-facts/

It’s not your land, your ancestors either sold it or lost it.

Signing a treaty isn’t the same as selling land, and it’s not the same as being conquered in a war and losing it. The fact of the matter is that I’ve addressed this issue in previous blog articles as well.

SUGGESTED READING

Idle No More: What’s A Treaty?
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/idle-no-more-whats-a-treaty/

Idle No More: 250 Years Ago Today
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/idle-no-more-250-years-ago-today/

Idle No More: How To Steal Treaty Land
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/idle-no-more-how-to-steal-treaty-land/

You’re lucky to be getting anything from the government.

And this, too, has been addressed in previous blog articles. The Federal government are giving First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples money that belongs to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples.

SUGGESTED READING

Idle No More: About That FN Trust
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/idle-no-more-about-that-fn-trust/

Idle No More: What This White Man Thinks Indians Deserve
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/idle-no-more-what-this-white-man-thinks-indians-deserve/

Idle No More: On Again, Off Again
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/idle-no-more-on-again-off-again/

Idle No More: Playing By The Same Assistance Rules
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/idle-no-more-playing-by-the-same-assistance-rules/

Idle No More: Who’s On The Hook For FN Programs
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/idle-no-more-whos-on-the-hook-for-fn-programs/

Idle No More: Starve Those Indians
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/idle-no-more-starve-those-indians/

Why should I go to work to pay your way?

The question should be this: Why should money being held in trust by the Federal government for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people pay the way of anyone who isn’t a First Nations, Metis, or Inuit person?

But aside from that, what many people fail to understand is that if someone is a Status Indian who lives and/or works off reserve (this accounts for more than half of all Status Indians in Canada), then that person is filing and paying Federal and provincial taxes.

If that person is a non-Status Indian, then that person is filing and paying Federal and provincial taxes.

And if that person is Metis or Inuit, that person is also considered a regular taxpayer, so that person is filing and paying Federal and provincial taxes.

So when a non-Native alleges that non-Natives pay the way for all First Nations, Metis, and Inuit persons by paying taxes, they are gravely mistaken in that assertion. First Nations, Metis, and Inuit work and pay taxes.

Just to be clear, Natives also pay HST, PST, and GST where applicable, just like non-Natives.

SUGGESTED READING

Idle No More: Show Me The Money
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/idle-no-more-show-me-the-money/

Idle No More: Myths v Facts
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/idle-no-more-myths-v-facts/

Idle No More: On Again, Off Again
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/idle-no-more-on-again-off-again/

Idle No More: Playing By The Same Assistance Rules
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/idle-no-more-playing-by-the-same-assistance-rules/

Idle No More: Who’s On The Hook For FN Programs
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/idle-no-more-whos-on-the-hook-for-fn-programs/

I’m a single mother and I have to support your asses. I don’t get anything near $10,000 a year …

Cindy claims she isn’t getting anything near $10,000 a year. However, she also isn’t in receipt of welfare otherwise as a single parent of at least one child, she would be getting more than $10,000 a year as the figures from Statistics Canada prove.

In 2012 single employable welfare recipients in Newfoundland and Labrador received a base minimum amount of nearly $11,000 CDN per year, and slightly more than $20,000 per a single parent with one child.

In 2012 single employable welfare recipients in Prince Edward Island received a base minimum amount of nearly $10,000 CDN per year and just a few dollars shy of $18,000 CDN per year for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in Nova Scotia received a base minimum amount of close to $8,000 CDN per year and $16,000 CDN per year for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in New Brunswick received a base minimum amount of nearly $7,000 CDN per year and slightly more than $16,000 CDN per year for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in Quebec received a base minimum amount of just over $8,000 CDN per year and four dollars short of $19,000 CDN per year for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in Ontario received a base minimum amount of just over $8,000 CDN per year and just over $18,000 CDN per year for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in Manitoba received a base minimum amount of $7,000 CDN per year and $15,000 CDN per year for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in Saskatchewan received a base minimum amount of a hundred dollars shy of $9,000 CDN and under $18,500 CDN for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in Alberta received a base minimum amount of just over $7,500 CDN and almost $16,500 for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in British Columbia received a base minimum amount of almost $8,000 CDN per year and $17,500 CDN for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in the Yukon received a base minimum amount of just over $16,000 CDN and slightly more than $26,000 CDN for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in the Northwest Territories received a base minimum amount of just almost $17,500 CDN and over $26,500 for a single parent with one child.

In 2012, single employable welfare recipients in Nunavut received a base minimum amount of $10,000 CDN and $15,000 CDN for a single parent with one child.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2013 the poverty level for one person was set at just dollars below $13,000 CDN in rural areas and slightly under $20,000 CDN in metropolitan centers per year. A single parent with one child would have to be living on just under $16,000 CDN in rural areas and slightly more than $24,000 CDN in metropolitan centers per year.

Since Cindy claims she isn’t getting even $10,000 per year (below the poverty level for a single parent with one child), she should strongly consider applying for welfare in the province in which she and her child/ren live.

Additionally, since Cindy claims she isn’t getting even $10,000 per year, she isn’t paying income tax since she doesn’t have sufficient income. Of course, that information is from government sources as well as tax preparers such as H&R Block and tax programs such as TurboTax. That’s right, all Canadians need to earn enough money to pay taxes, otherwise they pay no taxes. When you live under the poverty level, you don’t pay taxes.

In fact, if she does her taxes, chances are between tax credits and personal exemption amounts (as well as equivalent-to-spouse exemption amounts), she’s getting a tax refund.

What this means is that Cindy isn’t supporting anyone else, never mind the “asses” of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples.

No one is stopping you from getting educated, getting a job, and being part of society just like anyone else.

Cindy seems to be implying that First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples are uneducated, unemployed, and set apart from non-Indigenous society, and that First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples have always been uneducated, unemployed, and set apart from non-Indigenous society. The reality of the situation is that education doesn’t always come out of another culture’s textbooks, unemployment is something that can happen to anyone, and when a group oppresses another group, the oppressor is responsible for setting people apart.

The myth of the lazy Indian has been around for generations but it’s far from the truth.

SUGGESTED READING

Idle No More: The Myth Of The Lazy Indian (Part 1)
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/idle-no-more-the-myth-of-the-lazy-indian-part-1/

Idle No More: The Myth Of The Lazy Indian (Part 2)
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/idle-no-more-the-myth-of-the-lazy-indian-part-2/

Idle No More: On Again, Off Again
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/idle-no-more-on-again-off-again/

Final Note

So you see, Cindy – and all the Cindy’s of the world – your views are based on misinformation, disinformation, myths, and stereotypes. Perhaps if you educated yourself on the facts and realities of Indigenous peoples, you wouldn’t have the negative attitude your comment to this blog so clearly demonstrates.

Elyse Bruce

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47 Responses to “Idle No More: Dear Cindy”

  1. villagerainbows Says:

    Thank you, Elyse, for your “calm and rational” response to Cindy, and thank you for your continuing and untiring efforts to educate Canadians about our own country. I live in Treaty Six territory and was very fortunate many years ago to be re-educated about the realities of which you speak when I worked for First Nations peoples and lived in one of their communities. Ever since that time I have tried in my own way to pass on that information when encountering the stereotypes and misinformation that are common in the larger society – I confess that I am not nearly so “calm and rational” as you are. It is so very frustrating to see the attitudes and ignorance that continue to be expressed by the Cindy’s of the world but I do sense some positive changes and much of that change is due to the activities of folks who have embraced Idle No More. Thank you to the women (and men) of Idle No More. Hiy, hiy.

  2. Doug Cleverley Says:

    Brilliant skewering of those tired old stereotypes, Elyse.

  3. Sharol Says:

    Thank you for such a brilliant, articulate article. I have heard so many non-native people make these exact comments. I knew they were not fact based but never knew how to backup my feelings.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Please feel free to share the link to this article with others who make these sorts of comments, Sharol. Education will empower us all regardless of what segment of society we come from.

  4. Paula Hill Says:

    Well Said Eylse you gave a informed educated response to someone who is obviously ignorant . This person needs to really understand what Colonization is and the devastation it created in it’s wake …. a example is the Government schools the Native children were put in up untill the 1970’s, their language, culture and families ripped apart, was that a consequence of a war lost ? It is amazing how the Native people of this land have rallied despite terrible odds and the compensation that is somewhat given cannot even begin to compensate for the great losses that the natives have endured, If you can make lemons out of lemonade the losses have only created a clearer vision of the future and a bigger commitment on the part of the Native people to protect their lands and water , which is a example we all need right now given the state of the planet and her resources

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      I believe that what would be very helpful would be for accurate Canadian history to be taught in schools as this would counter the ignorance that we so often see in society, Paula. But if the schools won’t educate children with the facts, then it falls on us to educate the ignorant with facts.

  5. Val Says:

    It isn’t ancient history or “shit that happened way too long ago” since the last residential school closed in 1996 – not 1896 – 1996. I’ve often heard the “go get a job” comment, as if it’s so easy, as if there was no such thing as colonialization, systematic oppression and racism. Cindy could also use some education on inter-generational trauma and white privilege.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      It throws me everytime I hear the argument what happened is ancient history as my own mother was afraid when her grandchildren were born (the last one being my son who was born in 1995) that they would be scooped up and taken away to a residential school when they were older. There’s nothing ancient about the ongoing situations that continue to affect our communities and our people.

  6. Eva Says:

    Wow, that Cindy….
    She thinks everything is all good living up in reservation… Man, its hard to get a job and also education… It took me 12 yrs to get my grade 12 diploma…now I’m living with 4 kids of my own and my husband…and looking for a job…

  7. Peggy Says:

    How refreshing that was to read and and cheer on as if I were a sports enthusiast.:-) Wonderful response to one who wears the “Rose Coloured Glasses”! 🙂

  8. Sidney Nadjiwon Says:

    cindy is a stupid un-educated human being

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      I’m still hoping that Cindy will come back to the blog and read the article. Maybe then she will be able to admit that her way of thinking is based on racism, mythos, and negative stereotypes.

  9. Gene Jonathan Says:

    On Turtle Island, before settlers,people communicated while seated on the ground in a circle. This was because they were equals. Full attention was given to the speaker. This was done out of respect. The message would vibrate the voicebox and travel through Mother Earth and up through the other bodies and vibrate the eardrum. These were respectful and beautiful people.
    The settlers came and brought the written word, religion and government.
    All three concepts require stupidity to work well.

  10. Alleycat_martin@hotmail.com Says:

    The way our native people have been treated since dawn of time the colonials came, name calling, murdering, placed in reservations. is what we seen happen to black people, slavery, residential schools, community schools, low incomes, shacks for houses, put on welfare etc. The war she makes a remarks too was a war between English and French, it wasn’t our war, so if they defeated the french it was french not natives. We not lazy, drunk uneducated as she says, we have lawyers, people in Ottawa, children in universities, colleges, etc. Our history is rich, we don’t believe in your religion, cause if you did follow your religion, you’d understand the way of life as we do with our spirituality. We follow our tradition, culture,spiritualism and social way of life. If your religion is so pure, why are you still so ignorant to other human being like native people. I thought your God says Love one another as I love you. Thanks Elyse,,,,,,,,,

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Good points, Alleycat_martin. Very good points. 🙂

    • Marilyn Says:

      I’m not ok with this religion argument. Christianity isn’t “the white man’s religion”. The first Christians were Jews, Asians, Greeks, Africans. The oldest Christian community in existence is from Ethiopia for God’s sake. Yes, your European “conquerors/oppressors/whatever you want to call them” said they were Christian and tried to force it on you, but a person saying they are a cat doesn’t actually MAKE them a cat.
      Christianity was used to disguise their true motives for coming over. Sad, but true. It just shows how twisted humanity can be. And you’re right – true Christianity is about love. JESUS is about love. Just please don’t assume that every white person you meet is ACTUALLY a Christian.

  11. skoday Says:

    Thank you Elyse for responding to Cindy’s angry words. I will only comment on her assertion that “wars are won and lost.” Germany, Japan, Italy and others lost the second world war yet they remain owners of their lands. By her logic, those lands should have become the property of the victors. Yet there are many immigrants from those lands who came here and have prospered, while looking down their noses at Aboriginal peoples, whose lands they settled upon. My uncles came back from that conflict in poor health to find they were still just “Indians” and had to face all the same prejudices; no job prospects other than menial labour; poverty; disallowed to even vote. Many of their former foes from Europe were welcomed with open arms.

  12. Swain Says:

    Wow .. enjoyed reading the positive answers but found others to be well .. very childish and ignorant but heh everyone to each his/her own opinion. Keep up the great work of educating that want to learn Canada’s history. 🙂

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Thank you, Swain. What we forget, we repeat, so let’s keep sharing the facts so people can never forget what it was like then, and what it’s like now.

  13. Maryanne Says:

    It’s Sad! The Boarding School Era is still alive and thriving today but it is being done so insidious as the people that are doing it! Many Native children are being taken from their homes and placed either in non-native homes or group homes by the government (court system). Once they enter the school system they are labeled Special Needs where school gets 10 K per student once the school gets the $$$ the students are dropped like hot potatoes and the students see little if any of the $$$ that was given to the schools for their education! It’s even more INSIDIOUS when you get non native people claiming Indian preference (and their not!) to Teach Native students to be ashamed of who they are while getting Federal and State grants to educate our youth and the School District backs them! IT’s happening in Grand Rapids Minnesota. Patty Erven is milking the Federal and State Grants as much as she can but cannot relate what she is teaching to the kids with personal experience! SHAME! You cannot teach anything where you have never been! So glad the she is finally under investigation! And I hope that she ROTS in jail for what she did to those students!!!

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Adding to the 10K extra per student identified as having special needs, if they can make a case for that special needs student have behavioral problems, school boards can apply for an additional 7K to 10K to provide additional supports and/or services. The problem I’ve seen, however, is that once that special incident money is secured, just like the special needs money that was secured first, the students see very little of that money being applied to helping them in school. It happens in both countries unfortunately.

  14. Deb Westover Says:

    So very well said Elyse Bruce. Very much appreciated!

  15. Jason Says:

    Cindy, as a matter of fact, some of us natives work ourselves beyond what most people would. i worked while having a heart attack, i was driving truck and never understood how it felt to have one, so i ignored it. before that i worked at a job for 10 yrs with 3 days off for sick leave…and i was hospitalized too! So, ya; not all natives are lazy. you can stick that thought…yup, you guessed it!

  16. Charles in Toronto Says:

    As a Jew whose ancestors fled Russian pogroms and landed in Canada nearly penniless in roughly 1900, I’ve reflected upon how the timeline of the residential school system lines up with my family history. When my great-grandparents were raising my grandparents, trying to ensure they had better lives, FN children the same age were being torn away to residential schools. When my parents were being raised in more comfortable middle-class households, FN children *their* age were having another generation of scars inflicted. Even if the Canadian colonial government was reluctant to accept Jewish immigrants we were still afforded the opportunity to access privilege (eventually).

    We owe our lives to the opportunity to settle here and make a home, yet our lives have also been shaped by a consistent policy of providing immigrants (especially white-looking ones) greater opportunity than the people the colonizers displaced. And part of taking up that privilege meant that our ancestors learned the same racism. I think it would be very valuable for people who immigrated into this colonial system to forge a new relationship with the people who should have been the gatekeepers in the first place when we needed a home.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Thank you for sharing your family history with readers of, and visitors to, my blog. I appreciate your candor and honesty, and I’m certain others do as well, Charles.

  17. Aaron Benson Says:

    Very good response to the ignorance of a representative of canada ang its people.

  18. tammy Says:

    ya Really, I have worked for 20 years ,at the Hospital in Blind River ,and had full time employment ,everything was covered ,know im disabled and have to pay for my drugs and rides to dr ,i have family of 4 or 5 depending how home ,make 16,000 a year,im metis my kids are status .and still have to pay taxes and water bills ,im not sure but i know the hospital was wrong in my case but i do not know how to fight for my rights ,hope some day someone will help me because im not educated ,really sucks to be me ,the government must be happy, because in not educated enough to fight .they win .FOR KNOW

  19. Gail Hambler Says:

    Well said.

  20. Leroy Lachine Says:

    Are you talking about that Cindy that try and ran for her riding for the election and she wasn’t let in her hometown because even people close to her did not like her running there riding. She should learn about the taxes and see who pays for taxes which we all do. It sounds like she is in her own little world.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Cindy who posted to this blog only identified herself as Cindy so I have no way of knowing which Cindy in Canada this happens to be. That being said, there are a lot of Cindy’s in this world, and they all need some help understanding why their opinions are wrong, Leroy.

  21. Liz Says:

    When is this going to end? Are there only a few people like Cindy or is this the general attitude of the majority of mainstream society? When are people going to learn to accept and deal with the differences we as Aboriginal people have? We live in the most scenic and beautiful country in the world, yet it is scarred with unappreciative mongrels like our politicians, Eurocentrics and the poor little $10 000 a year CINDY.
    Please Canada, understand by learning about us. Try dialogue with an Aboriginal person or even a group of us. We promise not to bite. Create an open mind to learn and maybe your racist stereotypical attitudes will change to acceptance.
    I actually thank you CINDY for your blog because it shows your ignorance and your unwillingness to understand that the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people are equal contributors to this great land that we call Turtle Island. You and others of your type need to go back to school and be educated. Free your mind of stupidity.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Thanks for sharing your feelings, Liz. I just want to clear one mistake up for you.

      This isn’t Cindy’s blog.

      Cindy posted a comment to an article I had written, and I used it as an opportunity to write an open letter to Cindy in the hopes that perhaps something I shared with her would set her on the right path and open her eyes to the facts.

  22. Willie Courtney Says:

    For those who would like to educate themselves and who are not familiar with the works of Daniel M Paul , please go to the Chronicle Herald Sat Jul 25 Opinions section (F4) and read Daniel Paul’s excellent factual article, ” Let’s not honour barbarism” You will not find these truths in our school or history books. Only the Conqueror’s self serving versions of the facts.

  23. Evell Says:

    well said well said…..some people(s) will never understand,its there way of life of being hater(s)…..but were still here..


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