They're a people we've taken for granted for, well, forever. To the extent most Canadians thought of First Nations it was generally in the context of stereotypes and pejoratives. They said they were all about nature but we knew they were just in it for the easy bucks of federal handouts and the life of ease on their reserves. We had to tell ourselves those lies to make the whole thing keep ticking over.
If the Harper years have taught us anything, it should be how fulsomely our First Nations deserve our respect and our immense appreciation. They have been the frontline holding Harper and his petro-thugs at bay. They've been the spine that has never quite materialized in the non-aboriginal ranks.
The thing is, though, that the fight won't end with the ouster of our venally undemocratic prime minister and his dutiful minions. The iron fist will still threaten even if it now wears a velvet glove. The approach will change. There'll be more consultation, perhaps less outright bribery, but Parliament will remain full of petro-pols on both sides of the aisle of the House of Commons.
But this isn't about the relative merits of Trudeau, Mulcair or Harper. It's about the people who will stand in their way next month, next year, and, with any luck, forever.