Indian Lieutenant-Governor for British Columbia

I.e., First-Nation – a former Chief, actually, as well as a provincial judge.  Sounds like he’s already served both worlds, Native and Settler, exceedingly well, so representing the Queen in BC will crown – no pun intended – quite a career.

(Toronto Globe and Mail coverage [link will break, I think].  Photos/slide show from his inauguration in the BC Legislative Chambers in Victoria [I’ve been there!] omits the drummer!  The big fancy chair in the front of the room is the Provincial Throne, where you’ll see the Viceregal sits after he officially takes office.  Each Province has one, as does the Senate in Ottawa, and the House of Lords in the UK, from which the Lieutenant-Governor/ Governor-General/ Queen officially and ceremonially opens each new legislative session by informing lawmakers of Her Majesty’s respective Ministry’s plans for the upcoming session.  [Until very recently – during the term of previous GG Adrienne Clarkson – the GG or her Deputy gave the Royal Assent in the Queen’s name to Federal legislation in person by sitting on the Throne, having the bill presented to her, and simply nodding her assent to it, making it the law of the land.  As I understand it, Canada was the last place in the Empire/ Commonwealth Realms to do Assent by ceremony.  Now they all just sign bills like the U.S. President, or even have someone else sign them for them.  Too bad.  I would like to have witnessed that ceremony.  It was very meaningful and demonstrative of the Monarchical parliamentary-democracy.]  Later, outside, you see him wearing the official Viceregal uniform; not many in the Commonwealth still wear it, and there’s something jarring and/or profound to see it donned by an Indian Chief!)

Although I have to wonder if he isn’t being “kicked upstairs” with this appointment.  The First Nations Treaty process in BC has been raucus and very stop-and-go – though as the Globe points out, progress is now being made.  Even the involvement of the province at all, instead of just the Federal government, irks me as an Indian “encapsulated within” the United States, since in the U.S. constitutionally only the Feds are empowered to officially “treat with” Sovereign Indigenous Communities.  States have rarely been allowed a say, and IMHO for good reason, since they’ve usually been very anti-Indian; by my (admittedly scant) reading, the Canadian provinces have been generally similar, sad to say.  (This opinion is far from a complete picture of comparative Indigenous relations between the two countries: in some ways Indians and Inuit have it better in one country, in other ways, the other; though Canada now at least constitutionally recognizes its Metis, or Mixed-Blood [European and Native], communities, whereas in the States we have to disappear, if we can, into the White, Black, or Native communities – which isn’t always easy either!)

Just to be clear, I know nothing about His Honour’s involvement in the Treaty Process, so my concern may be groundless.

FYI, Canada has had a number of Aboriginal (or as I have said I believe is more inclusive, Indigenous) LGs.  Until recently Ontario’s – he just retired – was sometimes identified as Indian, sometimes as Metis.

Also, Point’s hope to make one of his emphases ethnic harmony is key because in Canada, Indigenous occupy the dubious position Blacks do in the States, as the largest oppressed minority, disproportionately arrested and imprisoned, poor and sick and discriminated against, and dying younger.  And this is particularly poignant in BC on the streets of the province’s largest city, Vancouver.  In addition, growing – and often wealthy – Chinese immigration to the Vancouver area irks some Whites.

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