English Study Sesh #2: People and Events Can Surprise Us

Hello again. I’ll hopefully be writing more in the next couple of days than I have been.

Anyway, I wrote up a narrative today. The prompt was “People and events can surprise us.” I would really appreciate some feedback on it 🙂

We all have expectations. From the anxious expectation of a child on Christmas Eve, to the confident expectation of a student that just wrote an easy exam, expectation is an inevitable feeling within all of us. Sometimes reality matches our expectations, and sometimes it doesn’t. Although many things go the way we expect them to, often the people and events that constitute our realities surprise us by not matching our expectations, which can sometime be clouded by such factors as overconfidence.

In my early years, I never had to try very hard in school. Sharp of mind and quick of thought, junior me was used to always hearing praise for her work and brightness. Studying for quizzes was a preposterous idea to me. Why would I need to spend time studying for something I had learned the first time I read it? Why would I spend time reinforcing concepts I mastered within minutes? Confidence, and soon cockiness, permeated my mind. Projects were finished in a day, homework was started the morning it was due, and tests were paid little attention to. All the while, I was bringing home report cards lined with little bolded capital A’s, and comments praising my intelligence, all of which became the expected norm.

It was still my expectation as young pre-teenager to rise above in that manner without effort. While alarm surfaced upon the announcement of a final exam in my science class a few years ago, I was cool as a cucumber, and remained so.

“Maybe I’ll study later,” became my constant mantra. I expected to do well, like I had always done until then. Finally the day of the final exam arrived.

“Yo I’m so nervous about this test! Did you study?” a fellow classmate asked me.

“Not really… I meant to, but I only studied a little bit last night. It can’t be that hard though, right?” I responded. I expected to do well, like I had always done until then. I sat down and waited for my teacher to bring me my test paper, secretly laughing inside at the panicked expressions of my peers. When I looked down at the booklet placed on my desk however, my heart sank a little at the thickness of it. I flipped through the pages, plastered with questions to answer and lines on which to write my responses, like some endless list of crimes I have been found guilty of.

“Whatever, it just looks harder than it is,” I assured myself. I expected to do well, like I had always done until then. But I was plagued by frustration the entire time I was writing it, brought on by the appearance of unfamiliar words, and confusing diagrams. I didn’t remember any of this, and most of my short answers were full of made-up facts and my multiple-choice selections included a lot of blind guessing. It was the first time I had faced such uncertainty on a test.

Even though I was nervous on the day we obtained our results, it didn’t faze me. I expected to do well, like I had always done until then. When I saw a large red C- scrawled onto the top of my paper, I was shocked.

“This can’t be happening to me!” I cried. I expected to do well, like I had always done until then. It suddenly became clear to me the meaning of the quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” One can only coast in the wake of his/her natural gifts for so long. This hurt my science mark badly, earning me my first B grade in an academic subject on my report card that term.

This event surprised me, even though in theory I should have seen it coming. But my cockiness and overconfidence clouded my judgment, leading to unreasonable expectations.

I expected to do well, like I had always done until then. But sometimes, our reality just does not match our expectations.

English Study Sesh #1: Appreciation for the Past

Welcome back 🙂

As you may or may not know, I am on a quest to destroy my English 10 Provincial Exam.

I’m now putting out my most recent writing, a short compare-and-contrast written response analyzing two different passages. The first passage is an excerpt from the book “Stones” by William Bell, and the second is a web page and time line about the evolution of hip-hop music. The exam asked me to write about how an appreciation for the past influences the narrator in “Stones” and the musical artists in the web page and time line.

So yeah, I would really love to get some feedback and tips on how I can make my writing stronger. One of my biggest concerns is the length. It seems really short, and I think it might be because I didn’t pick very good points to build on, but let me know what you think of that.

Everything is influenced by the past. The narrator of “Stones” and the musical artists in the web page and timeline both are appreciative for the past, allowing it to influence them in different ways.

One thing both parties have in common is that they both let their appreciation for the old lead to the creation of something new. For instance, the narrator of “Stones” has an appreciation for antiques, furniture from the past, which inspires him to consider creating his own furniture, wanting to “find someone to teach [him] to design furniture, then open [his] shop one day.” The artists in the web page and time line incorporated “hip hop elements” to create “something all their own” (Native rap), and “drew on Afro-Caribbean influences” to create a whole new genre of music (hip-hop). In both cases, appreciation led to creation.

However, the narrator differs from the artists in the manner is influenced by the past. For him, the past is like an example, in that he wishes to recreate it through building furniture. On the other hand, the hip hop artists actively “remix” elements of the past to build onto them with new methods and styles. The narrator appreciates the past by recreating it while the artists appreciate it by building onto it.

The narrator of “Stones” and the artists in the web page and time line try to create something new out of their appreciation for something old, even if their methods differ. Through the past, both parties find inspiration which prompts them to create something of their own, and make new from the old in their own ways.

English Provincial? GACK

Hey blogosphere (Especially all you writers out there)! I’ve been busy lately, mostly with studying for final exams. I’ve started to really get my hands into English right now, and I recall having conversations with my fellow classmates (who have already written their English 10 Provincial Exams) about it. Most of them commented on how you can’t really study for the English Provincial because it mostly comprises of comprehension and analysis. But I have such a strong desire to excel in my Provincial Exams next week (mostly in the futile attempt to persuade my mother that I am managing my academics well enough to play rugby next year since she banned me for life), that I’m going to study in any and every way possible.

And so, I have started writing exams from previous years, and it seems the portion that requires the most attention for me are the compare/contrast pieces and original writings. I wrote a c/c essay yesterday, and it cemented my conviction that I need some help with my writing. Therefore, over the course of the next week, I will be posting my writing up to this blog, and I hope you can find it in your heart to invest some time into offering me some feedback. I don’t know how much I can improve in a week, but hopefully the infinite wisdom and knowledge of my readership could help me out. Riiiiight? 😉

snow in the spring

We finished our poet study a couple of weeks ago. One of the assignments that was a part of the unit was writing a poem/song emulating the writing of our chosen poet. I thought I would post the song I wrote in the style of Marcus Mumford. Or at least, my attempt to emulate his writing style. Try to imagine guitars and banjos in the background 😛

You froze my heart

With that sultry look in your eyes

Gave it something to scream about

Gave it cause to cry

I lost myself on these icy paths you led me down

Over bodies of water and mountains

Where it snows in the spring

Why does it snow in the spring

Show me a new space to bury my sorrows

Take me to a place where there is a tomorrow

It’s snowing

It’s snowing in the spring

Why is it snowing

Snowing in the spring

You come to me

With that sultry look in your eyes

You beckon me over to you

Just to say goodbye

I’m as numb as a nose in minus fifty degrees

Over my lips that cry to you in pleading

It snows in the spring

Why does it snow in the spring

Show me a new space to bury my sorrows

Take me to a place where there is a tomorrow

It’s snowing

It’s snowing in the spring

Why is it snowing

Snowing in the spring

Ah ah ah ah ahh

Ah ah ah ah ahh

Ah ah ah ah ahh

Ah ahh ah ah ahh ah

Show me the sun and I’ll learn to smile

Show me warmth to overcome my denial

Show me the sun and I’ll learn to smile

Show me warmth to overcome my denial

It’s snowing

It’s snowing in the spring

The Father of Vancouver

Meet David Oppenheimer.

You may have seen the monument of him at the Beach Avenue entrance of Stanley Park in present-day Vancouver, BC, or strolled the streets of Oppenheimer Park. What is his claim to fame? What is he known for? What did he do? Read on, and find out.

Oppenheimer, known by many as “the best friend Vancouver ever had,” was the second mayor of Vancouver (served four consecutive terms), but he was well known for building up commerce, improving civic amenities, exploiting provincial resources, and encouraging the development of suitable industries.

David’s early life/career involved a lot of travelling. He was born on January 1st, 1834 in Bleiskastel, Germany. Raised in a Jewish household among nine other siblings, he and his family left for California, US, in 1848 due to political turmoil and failed harvests. David became involved in business and finance over the years, in different environments, such as real estate, restaurant, and general store business, until he went up to British Columbia in 1860 to work in his brother Charles’ supply business, Charles Oppenheimer and Company. Charles had opened it up in around 1858 when he heard news of the gold rush, and travelled up there to potentially reap the benefits of such an event. Soon the other Oppenheimer brothers followed, supplying them from the Yale branch of the store. Eventually the company expanded, with branches in Hope, Lytton, Barkerville, and Fisherville.

However, business did not proceed without difficulty. They struggled with the declining economy of the area, and in 1866, they were forced into trusteeship, selling the company to a competitor named Carl Strauss, but not before helping to persuade Governer James Douglas to build the Cariboo Road from Yale to Cariboo. Although David earned back enough of his losses to start rebuilding his business in Yale, putting his brother Isaac in charge in Barkerville, he lost more than $100 000 worth of goods when the Barkerville branch of the store was burned down with most of the rest of the city. David Oppenheimer purchased a fire engine from San Francisco and donated it to the city of Barkerville, as Isaac became the volunteer fire chief. Although the Barkerville fire cost the brothers, it prompted one of David’s first of many civic contributions to come.

In 1871 David managed to buy the entire company back from Strouss, newly named Oppenheimer Brothers, but sold the Barkerville store in the September of 1872 due to the depreciating value of it that came with the end of the Cariboo Gold Rush. From then on, Yale was the main center of operation for David, who became well known as a generous man with care for the general interests of the city. For example, he vigorously contested the freight rates charged by Captain John Irving on the Fraser River, and as well as attempts to divert federal railway (CPR) funds to Vancouver Island as opposed to the lower mainland. He had built up a healthy reputation as one of the “good guys.”

However, as the supply of gold started to drop in Yale, he started detaching himself from the city, selling off property as he moved to Victoria. It also helped that the Yale store burned down in 1881, two weeks after David and Isaac confirmed full control over the company. In the January of 1882, the Oppenheimer Brothers company had opened a large wholesale business in Victoria. Business was successful, but the brothers soon realized they should take advantage of the planned mainland terminus of the upcoming Canadian Pacific Railway, which they expected to be the young community of Vancouver (which was known as Granville back then). David had already begun to purchase land there (300 acres on the south shore of the Burrard Inlet, the second-largest chunk of land in the city) with several partners in around 1877. So after a few years in Victoria, they could easily move their business to Granville. But things just got better and better from there.

The summer of 1884 was busy for David. He bought more land, at Coal Harbour and English Bay, and when William Van Horne arrived in the city of Port Moody to establish the exact location of the CPR terminus, David clinched Vancouver as the location by donating, with other landowners in the area, about 175 acres of Vancouver land to the railway. The CPR could not refuse such an offer, and extended the railway past the original planned terminus of Port Moody, to Granville.

The next year or so, the brothers finally moved to Granville, in the wake of their business, which just kept growing. David was still buying land (and going strong) at this point, through governement auction. By that time, the CPR had arrived in the new city of Vancouver, and David owned most of the land in it. In fact, in 1887, the same year Oppenheimer Brothers opened the first wholesale grocery house in Vancouver, they had the third most valuable holdings (worth $125 000) in the area, after the CPR and the Hastings Saw Mill.

All the while, David was still promoting the growth and development of the city, having significant influence in the blossoming of new enterprises and advertisement of investment opportunities within the province. He also participated in civil politics, became involved in public affairs, and invested personally in developments in and around the Fraser Valley. All of these activities increased the value of his own real estate in the area. Eventually he joined other businessmen in organizing the Vancouver Board of Trade, and was elected the first president of it in November 1887. He then became the acclaimed (unopposed) second mayor of Vancouver. He promoted the development of the city by assisting in the creation of public utilities, buildings, and services, by seeking investors in Europe, encouraging the city to offer subsidies, selling city bonds in London, and investing his own money, to pay for them. To say he accomplished a lot would be an understatement.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. In 1891, Oppenheimer resigned as mayor due to illness, and although he tried to manage his investments, the value of most of them started to dwindle, and his estate was estimated at about $20 000. Eventually, his poor health, combined with the death of his second wife (she fell off a moving train), resulted in his unsurprising passing on December 31, 1897, at the age of 63, in Vancouver, where services were conducted. He was buried however, in a Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, beside his second wife. David Oppenheimer may have fizzed out and passed away, but his legacy lives on today.

In-Depth Blog

There’s not much to say. I’m just plodding along in this course, not yet ready for my first module test. I’m getting there though, and I’m getting really good marks/feedback on my work so far. Apparently I have great pronunciation 🙂 But I’m still not proceeding at an ideal pace, and I’m starting to realize that in order to finish this course on time, I’m going to need to focus on finishing it as fast as I can as opposed to as well as I can. It’s quite a shame, because that is really not my style, but it seems to be my only solution.

POETRY <3

Much to my delight, we are starting poetry in TALONS English. We had a discussion the other day about why we like or dislike poetry, and I could spout off a million reasons, and it seems many of my sentiments could be shared by several of my classmates. On the other hand, a few of my peers really don’t like poetry. I remember Andrew saying that he didn’t like poetry because it was too roundabout. It doesn’t say what it means. And that made me realize that is exactly what I love about poetry. I put my hand up and pointed out how freeing it is. One can “be totally honest without… being totally honest.” I can think of many outlets and coping mechanisms for the tribulations of life, such as drinking, drugs, and abuse. Unlike trying to forget pain by numbing the brain or releasing emotion through one’s fists, poetry leaves behind a trail of flowers. It’s there for others to admire if they so wish, and possibly relate too. We all know that feeling, when we hear a song or read a poem that just connects with us. I cannot count the number of times music, a form of poetry, has come to me in times of pain and given me strength. Even if I felt like no one understood me, I could imagine the writer did. Through mediums of art, one can experience connections with people they don’t even know. And the great thing about poetry especially is that it can be vague, more so than say… an essay. This makes it easier for more people to relate to it, because it renders itself open to interpretation.

For our unit, we are all to pick a poet of our choice, so that we can do an independent project on said poet. I selected Marcus Mumford, of the up-and-coming indie folk rock band Mumford and Sons, straight out of the UK (London, to be exact). They are known for their songs “The Cave” and “Little Lion Man,” especially the latter here in North America.

Recently, I have been obsessed with Mumford and Sons, and they have been, as Mr. Jackson said, “living in my head.” I’m sure my life doesn’t quite match what they are singing about, but in some strange roundabout way, I feel a connection to their words anyway. I think I relate more to the mood and tonality of their music than their exact words. But that is poetry as well. It exists to craft emotion and messages out of words, and even if the words are not written for me, I feel the emotions of the band members every time I listen to their songs. That’s why I wanted to study Marcus Mumford so bad.

What’s more is that I love how real they are. In a world of superficial “artists,” greed, and money, I learned to really appreciate that this band plays music because they love it. And they are excellent musicians. On their Youtube channel (linked above), they have posted videos of bookshop sessions, where they performed their more popular songs live in a independent bookstore (in London, I believe). The fact that I enjoy the music from these videos more than I enjoy the studio versions is just a testament to how “real” this band is. Most of their songs are about love, which at first glance sounds rather cliche and annoying, especially to a girl like me that is raised in an age where almost every song that is widely listened to is about love, sex, or money. But unlike the music of popular artists today, that proclaim love for a woman’s “lovely lady humps,” or wanting to “do it like they do it on Discovery Channel,” what strikes me about Mumford and Sons is that they sing about the humble pains, fragile beauty, and warm joy of love. But mostly, they appeal to me because of their soft and eloquent usage of language. I look forward to spending time exploring the writings of this wonderful artist, and I’ll definitely have fun with this.

Op-Ed v2: Aboriginal Education

In TALONS Socials, we were assigned op ed articles to write, relating to Aboriginal issues. I perused through some of my classmates’ articles, and found many conflicting opinions, all of which I find equally valid and equally important.

Obviously we all have opinions of our own, and I found that as I read through my peers’ blog posts, many of which were about two things (funding and education), my opinion was becoming more and more refined. I agreed and disagreed with many points made within the blogosphere of our class, I watched as my own opinion rose out out of my opinions of the individual points made by my fellow students. And so… Here is my contribution of fodder to the discussion of Aboriginal issues:

Everyone knows the stereotypes. The Aboriginal people are often regarded as uneducated, lazy people that leach off our tax money. Although these stereotypes are unfair, they have a basis in statistic. Many of us are aware that Aboriginal youth demonstrate lower standards of education than  that of non-Aboriginal youth in Canada. According to the Canadian Council on Learning, Aboriginal youth in Census Metropolitan Areas of Canada remain significantly less likely to complete high school than non-Aboriginal youth. As Andrew tells us:

For Aboriginals aged 15 to 24, 40 percent have not completed high school, or university.  Compare that to only 20 percent of non-Aboriginals, leading to the conclusion that the funding imbalance is creating a huge gap between the Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals.  Still worse, 27% of people aged 15 – 64 (the prime working age) do not even have a high school diploma, while only 12% of non-Aboriginals did not finish high school.

This is horribly wrong. Every child is entitled to equal education, and it is a shame that in Canada of all places, we have a demographic of people that are so poorly educated. Since the majority of Aboriginal people experience education poorer than those of the average non-Aboriginal, it is our duty as a country to assist them in such a fashion that they can experience the life that the average non-Aboriginal experiences on a day to day basis.

Nick made a suggestion to assimilate the Aboriginal people into Canada’s general population, to which Louise disagreed with:

“I’m not suggesting that the government completely cut off help to the First Nations, because most of them wouldn’t be able to make it without the government’s help. Rather, I think that the government should help assimilate First Nations into Canada’s general population as quickly as possible because not only is it an economic problem, but it is simply not fair that someone has more rights than I do simply because my ancestors wronged them hundreds of years ago.”

That’s what our first Prime Minister, Macdonald, said. He told everyone that his government would “do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the inhabitant of the Dominion of Canada.” A lot of good that did.

My classmate Kiko sums up why I too disagree with assimilation as a solution to poorly educated Aboriginal youth:

Just thinking about having that taken away from me is incomprehensible, and yet that, and much more, was exactly what happened to Native people from 1876, when the Indian Act first was implemented, to around 1951, when the Indian Act was amended to lift bans on the Potlatch and other ceremonial traditions. Natives were stripped of their culture and identity, in an attempt by the Canadian government to assimilate them into European culture.

How would YOU like to be stripped of your identity? Technically all non-Aboriginal people are immigrants, or descendants of. Our forefathers came to this country from France, China, Chile, Indonesia, and all over the world. For instance, my family hails from the People’s Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea. If we ever feel that we are losing grasp of our heritage, we may revive it by visiting our home country, where South Korean culture is alive and the heritage is preserved. The Aboriginal people have no such option. Canada IS their home country. Their roots are here. Assimilation into mainstream Canadian culture would be equivalent to cutting those roots off and making a campfire with them. Obviously that is no solution!

It is clear that we cannot solve this problem simply by acculturating the Aboriginal people. The Canadian government needs to actively pursue education programs and funding for the Aboriginals to match those of non-Aboriginals. For instance, Andrew says:

In every province except British Columbia, Aboriginals receive significantly less funding than non-Aboriginals, sometimes as much as $3,000 less.  Only in British Columbia, do Aboriginals receive more funding, $10, 407 per student, than non-Aboriginals, $9, 157 per student.Many people stereotype Aboriginals as a smoker, alcoholic, and a drop-out .  I do not think that you can change this stereotype by giving them less of an opportunity to learn, and be educated.  Without the proper funding, Aboriginals can not get the education they need.  Without the proper education, Aboriginals can not get to university.  So, they will find a dead-end job with little chance of succeeding at life, setting a bad example for their kids.  It is a vicious cycle, and one that few people can break out of.  Aboriginals NEED the same amount of funding as is given to non-Aboriginals.

It is clear that there is something wrong with Aboriginal funding in our country. Everyone knows the government can do better than that. Does anyone remember the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics? Of course you do! After all, the government put so much effort into them, there was no way they COULDN’T be a success, talked about and remembered for a very long time to come. Despite all the controversy regarding everything the government sacrificed for this event, they backed it up by telling us it would pay for itself in the future. Try telling me that isn’t the case with education. Making a wise investment into education for Aboriginal youth will pay for itself for much longer than a big party for the the rich. And as Aboriginal youth and children start to take up a larger part of Canadian population, the payoff of well-funded education will become ever so clear in years to come.

However, more is not always better. Andrew mentioned that in British Columbia, Aboriginals receive more funding for education than non-Aboriginals. But is that really visible in results? The stereotype of the drop-out Aboriginal still persists here in British Columbia. That makes me wonder exactly how efficient Aboriginal education funding is. Does the money really reach the schools, and the students? Or is it squandered on inefficient administrative costs, fees, and feeding the mouths of powerful chiefs? Jordan thinks so:

Article here.
“Only $5.4 Billion of all federal “Aboriginal” spending actually ever reaches First Nations.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Department officials have confirmed that only about 82% of policy and program funds actually reach First Nations in the form of grants and contributions. Treasury Board estimates that 11% or $600 million per year is spent on INAC departmental overhead.

It is estimated that only about 53% of “aboriginal issues” funding from other federal departments actually reaches First Nations. This issue requires further study.

INAC’s budget represents only approximately 0.004% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. Affordability to address First Nations’ urgent needs is not under question. In the last Budget, the federal government applied the $13.2 billion surplus to the debt, and this surplus continues to grow. Meanwhile, it invested $17 billion in military spending …”

Underfunding is a factor in this equation, but when people chant for increased funding to the Aboriginals, I don’t think they realize that the process of funding is just as instrumental of an issue.

It is clear that Aboriginal funding has been a huge issue for a very long time, and I have no objection to supporting the needy members of the Aboriginal community. However, throwing money at problems will not always solve them. It’s a careless and lazy excuse for problem-solving. And I do have an issue with money going to waste. The government needs to start being more efficient about how they fund the Aboriginals. We know that it is not a matter of being incapable of supporting this group of people, but the government simply seems unwilling to put in the effort and planning to ensure the proper funds reach the underpriveliged Aboriginal youth in Canada. They are shooting blindly in the dark. I would imagine that if the government bothered to make the effort to find a light switch and take proper aim, they would hit the target of creating a better education, and therefore life, for Aboriginal youth in Canada.

In-Depth Journal: Slowly But Surely

I’m slowly but surely making progress on French 9. I’m still on the first module, but I handed in a section a week ago and I plan to send in another one in the next couple of days. I’m still waiting for feedback on my first section, which was words and phrases regarding music and characteristics. This section is about films and stories. Due to my head injury two and a half weeks ago, I haven’t been able to adhere to my daily commitment to this course I said earlier that I would make. However, I am starting to feel better and better every day, so I’ll gradually work my way up to finishing three to five sections per week, which sounds crazy (especially with my usually busy schedule at the end of the school year) but it’s the only way I can finish the course on time. And hey, I saw this coming!

Op Ed: It’s not how much, it’s how

In TALONS Socials, we were assigned op ed articles to write, relating to Aboriginal issues. I perused through some of my classmates’ articles, and found many conflicting opinions, all of which I find equally valid and equally important.

Obviously we all have opinions of our own, and I found that as I read through my peers’ blog posts, many of which were about two things (funding and education), my opinion was becoming more and more refined. I agreed and disagreed with many points made within the blogosphere of our class, I watched as my own opinion rose out out of my opinions of the individual points made by my fellow students. And so… Here is my contribution of fodder to the discussion of Aboriginal issues:

I agree with Louise to disagree with Nick.

“There are government housing programs for you which exist nowhere else in the country and you (status-Indians) have access to the same education, healthcare (including paid healthcare premiums if you live in B.C. or Alberta), old age pensions, and social services as anyone else living in Canada.”

That makes sense. They are Canadian citizens.

The reason Aboriginal people receive services and programs that non-Native people do not is because they are clearly one of, if not most disadvantaged major demographic(s) in Canada. The Turtle Island Support Group Coalition for a Public Inquiry into Ipperwash, “an ad hoc group of community-based Indigenous Peoples and Canadian human rights organizations that share a common concern about the ongoing racial discrimination experienced by Indigenous Peoples in Canada,” filed a report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination demonstrating loss of Native land and resources, disrespect for Indigenous People, racial discrimination, lack of consultation by the government regarding major issues, and loss of culture and language. Louise’s post is chock-full of evidence of many of these accusations. And though many people blame the Aboriginals for their current situation, as it is said, a country should be judged by how it treats its worst-off citizens. We are all humans, and even though some may work harder than others, and should therefore be rewarded as such, we are all fundamentally equal enough that the gap between the top and the bottom of the scale of affluence should be kept to a minimum. There are so many uncontrollable factors that life throws in, to make it difficult for many people to take advantage of their lives, and so everyone deserves to be at least on a similar playing field. The Aboriginal people are near or at the bottom of our society in the ways that they are regarded, and in their ability to contribute to society, due to their relative lack of credentials, as mentioned by Andrew:

For Aboriginals aged 15 to 24, 40 percent have not completed high school, or university.  Compare that to only 20 percent of non-Aboriginals, leading to the conclusion that the funding imbalance is creating a huge gap between the Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals.  Still worse, 27% of people aged 15 – 64 (the prime working age) do not even have a high school diploma, while only 12% of non-Aboriginals did not finish high school.

Since the majority of Aboriginal people experience living quality and education poorer than those of the average non-Aboriginal, it is our duty as a country to assist them in such a fashion that they can experience the life that the average non-Aboriginal experiences on a day to day basis.

The other suggestion that Nick made was to assimilate the Aboriginal people into Canada’s general population, to which Louise disagreed with:

“I’m not suggesting that the government completely cut off help to the First Nations, because most of them wouldn’t be able to make it without the government’s help. Rather, I think that the government should help assimilate First Nations into Canada’s general population as quickly as possible because not only is it an economic problem, but it is simply not fair that someone has more rights than I do simply because my ancestors wronged them hundreds of years ago.”

That’s what our first Prime Minister, Macdonald, said. He told everyone that his government would “do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the inhabitant of the Dominion of Canada.” A lot of good that did.

Two words: Residential schooling. Don’t catch my drift? As classmate Kiko says:

Just thinking about having that taken away from me is incomprehensible, and yet that, and much more, was exactly what happened to Native people from 1876, when the Indian Act first was implemented, to around 1951, when the Indian Act was amended to lift bans on the Potlatch and other ceremonial traditions. Natives were stripped of their culture and identity, in an attempt by the Canadian government to assimilate them into European culture.

In 1884, an amendment was made to the Indian Act, making it against the law to participate in the Potlatch ceremony and to perform the Sun Dance; children were sent away from their parents to residential schools and were banned from speaking their language or performing any aspects of their culture, and were beaten and abused regularly; in 1895 yet another amendment was made to the Indian Act banning Indian festivals, dances, and other ceremonies, and many other acts and laws were implemented to try to end the Native culture.

How would YOU like to be stripped of your identity? Technically all non-Aboriginal people are immigrants, or descendants of. Our forefathers came to this country from France, China, Chile, Indonesia, and all over the world. For instance, my family hails from the People’s Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea. If we ever feel that we are losing grasp of our heritage, we may revive it by visiting our home country, where South Korean culture is alive and the heritage is preserved. The Aboriginal people have no such option. Canada IS their home country. Their roots are here. Assimilation into mainstream Canadian culture would be equivalent to cutting those roots off and making a campfire with them. Obviously that is no solution!

Iwon’t bore you with statistics, as almost all the blog posts of my fellow classmates paint a picture of bleak futures for many Aboriginal youth. For instance, Andrew tell us:

In every province except British Columbia, Aboriginals receive significantly less funding than non-Aboriginals, sometimes as much as $3,000 less.  Only in British Columbia, do Aboriginals receive more funding, $10, 407 per student, than non-Aboriginals, $9, 157 per student.Many people stereotype Aboriginals as a smoker, alcoholic, and a drop-out .  I do not think that you can change this stereotype by giving them less of an opportunity to learn, and be educated.  Without the proper funding, Aboriginals can not get the education they need.  Without the proper education, Aboriginals can not get to university.  So, they will find a dead-end job with little chance of succeeding at life, setting a bad example for their kids.  It is a vicious cycle, and one that few people can break out of.  Aboriginals NEED the same amount of funding as is given to non-Aboriginals.

It is clear that there is something wrong with Aboriginal funding in our country. However, more is not always better. Andrew mentioned that in British Columbia, Aboriginals receive more funding for education than non-Aboriginals. But is that really visible in results? The stereotype of the drop-out Aboriginal still persists here in British Columbia. That makes me wonder exactly how efficient Aboriginal education funding is. Does the money really reach the schools, and the students? Or is it squandered on inefficient administrative costs, fees, and feeding the mouths of powerful chiefs? Jordan thinks so:

Article here.
“Only $5.4 Billion of all federal “Aboriginal” spending actually ever reaches First Nations.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Department officials have confirmed that only about 82% of policy and program funds actually reach First Nations in the form of grants and contributions. Treasury Board estimates that 11% or $600 million per year is spent on INAC departmental overhead.

It is estimated that only about 53% of “aboriginal issues” funding from other federal departments actually reaches First Nations. This issue requires further study.

INAC’s budget represents only approximately 0.004% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. Affordability to address First Nations’ urgent needs is not under question. In the last Budget, the federal government applied the $13.2 billion surplus to the debt, and this surplus continues to grow. Meanwhile, it invested $17 billion in military spending …”

Underfunding is a factor in this equation, but when people chant for increased funding to the Aboriginals, I don’t think they realize that the process is just as big of an issue.

It is clear that Aboriginal funding has been a huge issue for a very long time, and I have no objection to supporting the needy members of the Aboriginal community. However, I do have an objection to taxpayers’ money being wasted. Throwing money at problems will not always solve them. The government needs to start being more efficient about how they fund the Aboriginals. It’s like shooting blindly in the dark. I would imagine that if the government bothered to make the effort to find a light switch and take aim, they would hit the target. The target of creating a better life for Aboriginal youth in Canada.