To an extent this is deservedly so. Many of us believe European-Canadians, and later Canadian immigrants, have manipulated the rights of Canadaís native peoples. But my take is a little different.
European immigrants who first inhabited Canada treated native peoples unfairly. Aboriginals were driven off their land and racked with disease because Europeans felt it was their right to monopolize lands that Aboriginals had inhabited for thousands of years.
Having said that, the current Canadian government cannot erase the past or what happened in the formation of our country. Even an apology, although a nice gesture, is questionable as to its usefulness. The injustices under consideration didnít involve the people apologizing or the people being apologized to.
What the federal government can do (and has done) is provide concessions to Aboriginals. Aboriginals donít have to deal with many taxes (most notably income taxes and sales taxes) and have subsidized post-secondary education.
After all these years, the Canadian government has done enough, providing numerous financial boosts for Aboriginals to succeed in contemporary Canada. These exemptions are entirely called for because the Aboriginal person does face disadvantages compared to other Canadian citizens in terms of where they live, how they make a living and ingrained discrimination in the workplace.
Now, though, when an Aboriginal person truly utilizes all the exceptions afforded to him, he can have an enormous advantage over another Canadian citizen. Current Canadian immigrants also have it tough in this country, for many of the same reasons as Aboriginals ó blue-collar job opportunties, discrimination, et cetera ó and they donít receive the perks Aboriginals enjoy.
If Aboriginals are going to continue to live on reserves and not utilize many of these government grants, that is their prerogative. I do not think, however, that any non-Aboriginal Canadian citizen needs to feel guilt for the situation of Canadian native peoples. We, as Canadians, have done enough for this group already.