Indian Status cards open to abuse
By Kenneth Deer

So said the title in a recent newspaper article.

At first reading of the headline with the word "Indian", anyone can come to the quick conclusion that "Indians" are behind this abuse. And the article does not dispel that conclusion. What the article doesn't say is that the high majority of abuse or forgery of Status cards is done by non-Natives.

Some media are quick to castigate Natives for any kind of misuse of funds or rights. And the general public automatically connects Indians with abuse when both words are used in the same headline. This is unfortunate, but that is the nature of word association these days.

If the Department of Indian Affairs is lax in its security with Status cards, it is not the fault of "Indians" in general. Nor should it be used to belittle the efficiency or the responsibility of Native communities across the country.

Status cards are valuable identification documents and should not be treated any less than social security cards or passports. The Canadian government should clean up its act and give the Status cards the respect they deserve.

Mr. Deer is editor of The Eastern Door. This commentary was part of his editorial in the 9 Jan.04 issue.