I watched the process of the residential school payments to the living survivors of the archaic education program called assimilation. The process was simple, give all native people the right to an education and sit back and watch the show. The problem was how to do it, en masse? Well, the government sure tried hard to educate people, no matter how. Out west, the farmer system was forced upon the Indian, who learned quickly but was always shunted out the final sale of their products. The same for the fur trade, but that required an intimate knowledge of nature, so the northern areas, only good for furs, remained generally untouched and out of reach to few, but prospectors and pilots, who’s only goals were to get rich quick.
Once well established, the residential school operated for a century, before too much attention was focused on the many who learned school the hard way, the enforced way, the strict way, the way of the all boys school in Europe back then was similar, except perhaps that many were of privileged families with wealth and they got to see their parents every summer, Christmas, etc…
Since reconciliation of the government and the churches through the payment process for all who experienced that education have finally come to fruition, people have spent, spent and spent everything they got in a few short weeks or days for many. I read the papers and hear the news that some have come to tragic endings; some speculate that for the money they got became tempting to those who target the poor and impoverished.
Reading one ecclesiastical journal depicting the unfair financial practices of the most famous store in the north, the amounts just to cash cheques seemed immoral, so, I thought about how much that money was actually worth. An average check of 18,000.00 would cost about 2% or 360 big ones, just to cash or process. Some have convenience cards where their money could be held, of course, for a fee, another .05% or so, nearly 9 loonies to use the card and a sum of $2.50 per cash payout thereafter, to a possible tune of $10.00 per day if you have a lot of moochers around or instant friends. Of course, in order to keep your money, you have to pay up your store debts to rid of the 25% interest rates, which for the average joe, equals five grand or more creating an average sum of $5,360.00 before even buying anything. I’m not including the lawyer’s fees, I don’t think I should make fun of them because they’re lawyers, you know.
The big TVs and cars are tempting and paid for with the rest, given that there are no banks usually around to award you with at least an interest in return, but nyet, nyet, no interest for you from you know which giant retailer is everywhere north of fifty.
So, money is liquid, slipping quickly like the rain of moolah that came from political heaven, back into the hands of those who stand to benefit the most. For many who have good sense and judgment payments were good and fortuitous enough to maintain a level head and not go overboard with a money overdose.