Another Modest Proposal by Jordan Wheeler

as an Aboriginal person, i am often asked by non-Aboriginal people to explain points of Aboriginality (yes it’s a word, it’s actually one of my favourites). tho i appreciate interest in my culture and honest, earnest questions, sometimes i grow tired of constantly putting on the “ambassador hat” as i call it. … but the last thing i want to do is discourage questions.

the Winnipeg Public Library has recently partnered with the Aboriginal Writers Collective to try and build up the library’s collection of Aboriginal resources. plenty of works, by and about Indigenous people and culture can be found at your local library. check it!

and now that my rant is done, let me introduce a poem that i think explains a lot of points rather well – thanks to Jordan Wheeler for this one….

Another Modest Proposal


Read an Article in the Vancouver Sun

Dude warned Canada that the situation was ripe

For an NDN uprising – military style


And I agree with him

Young population

Angry, unemployed

And many reserves straddle key infrastructure

Water supplies, hydro installations, railways


Take a big wrench, loosen two bolts, wait for a wind and that hydro tower will fall.

NDN’s know that


Never mind the weapons caches.


So yeah, trouble brewing.


His solution?


More involvement for NDN’s in the political process


And I agree with him


And I think we should take the Maori model in Aotearoa and adapt it


In the 2008 New Zealand elections the Maori had seven guaranteed seats in Parliament – seven seats out of sixty-nine, roughly ten percent.  Yet the Maori make up fifteen percent of the population.  Not a perfect model, but a decent one.


So let’s adapt it to this land they currently call Canada.


Except the Maori are one Nation, one language


On the land they currently call Canada, there are many nations and many languages


Therefore, each should be represented with at least one guaranteed seat in the House of Commons.


One for the Abenaki


One for the Assiniboine


An honourary one for the Beothuk that should always remain empty as a grim reminder


One for the Blackfoot… I guess


One for the Carrier


One for the Cayuga


One for the Chilcotin


One for the Ch(j)ipewyan


One for the Dakota


One for the Dogrib


One for the Gitskwan


One for the Gwitchen


One for the Haida


One for the Huron


One for the Innu


One for the Kootenay


One for the Kwakiutl


One for the Maliseet


One for the Metis


One for the Miq Maq


One for the Mohawk (though they’ll probably ask for two)


One for the Nuuchahnulth


One for the Oji-Cree


One for the Okanagan


One for the Oneida


One for the Onandaga


One for the Ottawa


One for the Salish


One for the Seneca


One for the Shuswap


One for the Slavey


One for the Sahtu


One for the Tlingit


One for the Tsimshian


One for the Tuscarora


One for the Wit’suni(t)in


Two for the Anishinabe (Plains Ojibway and Woodlands Ojibway)


Three for the Inuit (Western Arctic, Nunavut and Nunavik)


And four for the Cree (Plains Cree, Swampy Cree, Woodlands Cree, James Bay Cree)


Forty-four seats out of what would be three hundred and fifty two – roughly thirteen percent. Yet, according to the 2006 census, we make up only four percent of the population.


But worry not – I believe that percentage is much higher.  Many NDN’s, like me, don’t fill out the census.  And many of us were never registered at birth so they could be hidden from the Indian Agents and RCMP during the residential school roundups.  And give us a generation.  At the speed we’re procreating — we’re gonna be a hell of a lot more than thirteen percent of the population.


Not a perfect model, but a decent one.


Now I suppose the greater population would fear an all Indigenous party with the power to determine governments but that, alas, would require national Indigenous unity and that, my nervous, non-Indigenous friends, has never, ever happened.


Katherena Vermette