There is a substantial difference between assimilation into a specific culture or dominant group and integration into the mainstream of socio-economic life. No one is forced to assimilate in Canada. Given the diversity of our demographics, I’d be hardpressed to imagine what you might assimilate with. We are not a homogeneous society that one might find in European countries or the Middle East or even, to a somewhat lesser extent, the US. Integration is another matter. It relates to joining and participating in the economic system with a view to pursuing economic stability (at minimum) and, for those who choose, pursuing economic prosperity. What you pursue and for what reasons is your choice and you are free to practice your culture and believe in whatever you want while you’re at it. Every group that has come to this country from anywhere has done this and achieved some measure of success,
In my view Canadian Natives need to recognize the difference between assimilation and integration and actively pursue the latter. This is essential if you want to have decent living standards, good health, stability for your children and the ability to influence and have an impact on the broader social and political landscape. All the commissions, studies, treaties, white papers and working groups in the world will not achieve this for you. Nor will protests and media events. On the other hand if you choose to live outside the mainstream and not integrate, then you will live forever in the margins and not much will ever change. It is possible to live outside the mainstream successfully but it takes a great deal of self-reliance, self-discipline and talent. It’s for the few, not the many.
If you continue to try to leverage guilt, historical grievances or a sense of entitlement, nothing will change. Politicians will continue pay lip service to you. They’ll come out for the photo opps and say some supportive words, maybe promise a committee or study but that’s about all you’ll get. The mainstream has little interest in your issues and no appetite for what are seen largely as demands for special treatment. You don’t have the political clout to drive change at the political level and won’t until you integrate. That’s just the reality of socio-economic systems. Integration means participation. If you don’t play you will watch from the sidelines.
Progress is made by those who show up, participate and contribute. If you want the benefits of our economic system, you have to get on board the train. You can practice your culture from the inside and have the best of both worlds.
Found via Kate of Small Dead Animals who writes, “The best stuff is usually found in the comments.”