One of the most costly and deadliest pieces of legislation to ever disgrace this country has been the Indian Act.
Billions and billions of dollars have disappeared, mismanaged by a Department filled with incompetence and bad intentions and handed over to people who have continued to despise the landlords who feed them so badly.
Now a sign of a New Day.
A delegation of the Gitxsan people from northwest British Columbia is set to meet with Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl next month with a groundbreaking proposal: That the 13,000 members of their tribe be allowed to abandon their status as "Indians."
The group is willing to relinquish reserves, tax exemptions, Indian Act housing and financial supports in exchange for a share of resources. Unlike most contemporary efforts at treaty-making, it would also abandon the ambition of a separate level of government.
This is the most exciting and refreshing news I have seen in many years.
Think about this.
A group of Canadian aboriginals says we will forgo reserves and we will vote on general elections and will pay taxes and be like all other Canadians in governnance and law.
The first nation's treaty team, led by hereditary chiefs, proposes the Gitxsan would become regular, enfranchised Canadian citizens, governed by municipal, provincial and federal governments.
"Every time we sit down with politicians at every level, I make a point of saying the Gitsxan don't want to be a burden on the Crown and we don't want the Crown to be a burden on us," said Chief Derrick, a hereditary chief of the Gitsegukla, one of seven communities of the Gitxsan nation.
Now this is astonishing and wonderful.
Of course, all the officials have been caught with their pants down and their hands in the troughs. Of course, they are raising countless phony objections to this extraordinary piece of progressive thinking.
I've just returned from several days in Winnipeg where the horrors of aboriginal life are on full display everywhere you turn.
Can you seriously believe that what we have been doing with and for native peoples for the past hundred years has worked?
I hope and pray that these native leaders get what they want.
This is the first great news I recall ever hearing about this matter in more than 40 years.
Full speed ahead!