Time for a change in political landscape
The last time a large group of Indians participated in rallies across the country was when the Liberals tried to implement the “First Nations Governance Act” (FNGA) which never passed into law during their stint as government. Ironically, if one closely examines the Conservative bills, they may find similarities between the FNGA ad the following bills: Bill C-27; Bill S-8; Bill S-6; Bill C-428; Bill S-207 and Bill S-212, because the FNGA included a First Nations financial transparency act, a First Nations election act, an act to amend the Indian Act and the First Nations Self Government Act. As predictable as they are, the Conservative Party has a majority in the House of Commons and can pass any type of legislation they want through the Senate because it too is also controlled by a majority of non-elected Tory Senators including one former Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.
Furthermore, what the average Canadian may not realize is that there are thousands of non-natives working across the country in the bureaucracy of government called INAC. So when the federal government says that seven billion dollars were spent last year on Indian Affairs, they neglected to mention that at least up to 80 percent of INAC’s annual budget is allocated to the administration of programs and services and thus, by the time government employees are paid, in some cases with excessive income and expenses, whatever scraps are left goes to the 600 plus bands for reserve programs and services such as health care, housing, education, infrastructure and make-work projects, for example.
In a related matter, the Queen of England responded to a letter that Chief Theresa Spence sent in which the Monarch mentioned that any treaty concerns that any chief had should be brought to the attention of the Canadian government which is currently the Conservatives, because in 1982 when the Liberals were in power the Queen gave up all her sovereignty rights to her former colony known as Canada.
Unfortunately for those who believe the Queen’s representative should attend any high level meeting with the government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, they must realize that the Governor General is only a symbolic position, and in fact has no real power as they held in the British North America Act of 1867.
And although the leader of the Liberal Party at the time, Pierre Trudeau, may have said that “treaty and aboriginal rights” are written into the Constitution Act of 1982, the interpretation of what is or is not an “aboriginal or treaty right” will forevermore be in the hands of the judges in the Supreme Court of Canada or at the discretion of whatever political party the Canadian people elect to represent their interests.
I personally believe in the creation of a modern National State for Anishinaabe Ojibway peoples within their traditional territory based on international law and obtained through diplomatic relations. Therefore, I also believe that the only way to achieve freedom and independence is to sever the umbilical cord from our maternalistic governments including all “Indian Act” chiefs and/or councilors; the AFN; INAC and the government of Canada is to really get out of the whole business of Indian Affairs altogether:
From the Micmacs to the Iroquois; from the Ojibways to the Salish people. I also believe that a real grassroots organization that represents me must be dedicated to a secular independent self-governing society of Micmacs, Iroquois, Ojibways, Crees, Salish, Hiada Gwaii and so on.
All the Indigenous nations that exist in Canada are as diverse as they are many. And therefore, they require different means to achieve self-government and self-determination not by what the government of Canada so paternalistically defines these two terms as but how the international community determines what is or is not a nation. After all is said and done, native people who seek statehood and autonomy must meet the following criteria:
- a permanent population
- a defined territory
- a government
- a capacity to enter into relations with other states
The Native Nations, whether Micmac or Cree, Salish or Ojibway, Mohawk or Dene that exist in Canada in my opinion qualify as states under international law. One just has to look hard enough at the case for statehood and autonomy which is reinforced by the collapse of the Soviet Union: Armenia, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Moldova to name a few independent nation-states of the former USSR.
As for the government of Canada, “self-government” means a watered down version of the Indian Act through a series of statuatory instruments like the Cree and Naskapi in northern Quebec, or the Yukon, Nis’ga and Sechelt bands in British Columbia. These self-government agreements are like the treaties, neither official documents under international law nor recognized as Canadian constitutional law. This is not how I envision self-government and self-determination for the Anishinabe Ojibway people in the Treaty #3 area.
There are a number of sovereign states and other territories which have special recognition, or are recognized by international treaty or agreement, such as Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City, Kosovo, Hong Kong, Northern Ireland and Palestine to name a few.
Surely, after 500 years of colonialism, isn’t it time for a real change in the geographic and political landscape? I suppose readers my be wondering what all this is going to cost the taxpayer…nothing…we’ll just take perhaps five percent of Canada’s annual GNP or GDP; revenue-sharing agreements; or resource-based royalty contracts – whatever works for each of these independent Nations to meet the needs of their peoples.
Shoal Lake #40 First Nation band member
Electric pow wow coming East
Re: DJ Classic Roots chasing dream (Wawatay News, Jan. 17)
All the best to DJ Classic roots in his journey!! I was just listening to a showcase of Aboriginal Youth and the use of technology to promote and preserve culture and tradition, a rerun of a CBC story from last March. Electronic pow wows seem to be big in the west, and the sound is amazing!! I only wish we had that kind of support her in Thunder Bay. It’s people like DJ Classic Roots that will continue to uplift our youth and inspire new ways of being yourself!!
Holding a UN trump card
Re: Lac Seul Chief discusses Idle No More movement (Wawatay News, Jan. 17)
I believe that we as a nation can overcome this bill C-45, our last trump card should be as First Nations people of Canada go to the “UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, as it states in there in Article 26 that “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired,” and it directs states to give legal recognition to these territories. The Declaration does not override the rights of Indigenous peoples contained in their treaties and agreements with individual states, and it commands these states to observe and enforce the agreements...that my friends would be our last trump card.
Employment despite criminal record?
Re: Province looking for First Nations input on Ring of Fire (Wawatay News, Aug. 9)
Why cannot people who have criminal records work in the ring of fire? I was hired by Cliffs Natural Resources, when I told them I had a record they told me it wouldn’t matter, yet when my record came back they told me no we are not going to hire you because we are scared for the safety of our employees.
Thanks to Chief Spence
Thank you Chief Spence and all your supporters for this sacrifice. It has helped me see and understand what the agreement between our nations is all about....that I am a guest here on turtle island and that you have us permission to be here, but only in a good way. I will do what I can to help my people to understand this as well. thank you again and you remain in my prayers
And I thank all the people who share info thru social media, it has helped me to broaden my sources for info....please keep sharing.
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