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Opinion: Trudeau’s Proposed Framework is Treaty death

Opinion: Trudeau’s Proposed Framework is Treaty death

Trudeau came into the Prime Minister’s office stating that no other relationship was as important as the one between Canada and the indigenous people. Trudeau’s words were comforting to the Indigenous who turned out in record numbers to vote for the Liberal party. Four years later, the truth of Trudeau’s statement is this: no other

Trudeau came into the Prime Minister’s office stating that no other relationship was as important as the one between Canada and the indigenous people. Trudeau’s words were comforting to the Indigenous who turned out in record numbers to vote for the Liberal party.

Four years later, the truth of Trudeau’s statement is this: no other relationship needs breaking as much as the one between Canada and the indigenous people.

It is not enough that successive Canadian governments have continued to advance termination or assimilation policies; Canada is now pushing to end Indigenous nationhood once and for all.

When the settlers stumbled upon North America, they came as agents of European countries. The United Kingdom established the colony of Canada. Treaties from the eastern coast to the historic numbered treaties are evidence that nations were changing their relationship. The United Kingdom issued the British North America Act which Canada has renamed the 1867 Constitution Act.

The 1867 constitutional name change does not change the fact that First Nations were present in this land and therefore the true owner/occupiers of Canada. Canada has been repeatedly asked for documents at the international level to show “ownership” of Canada. Canada has not produced any documents.

The only way Canada can truly become a “nation” without this documentation is to get the First Nations, the Indian people across Canada to agree or to consent. This consent will mean that the First Nation people are no longer holding the international nation status as the original owner/occupiers of this land but are willing to cede and surrender their ownership/placement in return for Trudeau’s new Rights and Recognition Framework legislation.

Trudeau’s framework is to provide “clarity”. Trudeau wants his aboriginal Canadian children to know what their rights will be without having to go to courts for decisions. Trudeau promises to listen. Trudeau has let his Indian minister of Justice, Jodi Wilson-Raybould come up with ten principles to guide how Canada works with its aboriginal children. Unfortunately Jodi Wilson-Raybould developed these principles on her own or through the Justice department because there was no involvement from the Indians. This is Trudeau’s first (of many) failure to listen.

Trudeau is trying to sell a new Indian Act to the Indians. He has heard that the original people are unhappy with the existing Indian Act, so now he is promising to make a new better Indian Act, which will be called the Rights Recognition and Implementation Framework agreement.

If you study the treaties, with an indigenous lens, there were differences in agreements because the United Kingdom was competing with French or American colonial threats. Canada does not like the treaty reminders that there was an actual nation settling this country before they, a little state without proof of ownership, came into play. Canada wants a one size fits all approach for their aboriginal wards.

The real landowners or holders are the indigenous people who survived repeated genocide attempts. Treaty Indians now called status Indians measure at almost one million people so they are in fact the owners of this land, unless Canada has paperwork that proves differently.

This is why Trudeau has been working hard on his Rights Recognition and Implementation Framework. The original people, the different nations, Nakoda, Dakota, Nehiyew, Haudenosaunee, Mi’kmaq, Dene or Anishnaabe are nations that negotiated with the United Kingdom so their agreements have allowed Canada an existence.

This proposed Framework agreement is Trudeau the younger’s 1969 White Paper attempt.

What does this Framework mean to the grassroots status Indians who now crowd our reserves or seek unwelcome acceptance into Canada’s urban cities?

First of all, the grassroots, collectively with their Indian Act Chief and councils are the owner/occupiers of all the land including the scant reserve lands. Therefore, the attempts made by Trudeau that call for engagement of some Indians, some Industry, other aboriginal “collectives” and “regular” Canadians to pass this Framework as legitimate legislation is illegal.

How can regular Canadians, industry or “aboriginal non treaty non status” collectives decide or have a say about the land? Hasn’t the land always belonged to the First Peoples?

The grassroots people, those that are on the land with ten families in one house, no access to clean drinking water or housing repairs, limited jobs on reserve, encroachment by other towns or white settlers are in fact, the only people who can agree to this new framework. The consent of almost one million Indians is needed. Furthermore, each one must understand that they are going from owners to tenants.

We will be taking all the ceremonies that happened before Treaty signing and all the sacred objects and exchanging them for ten years of funding that will go to chief and council. Once we agree to this framework, we will go from Nations to “ethnic minorities”. We will then be competing with other ethnic groups that require funds from Canada to keep their languages or traditions. If Canada feels we do not deserve funds or there is a greater need elsewhere, we will not be helped.

I have written previously on the hijacking of our governance systems. Indian Act chiefs and councils work for Indian Affairs. Chief and councils get dollars for education, health, housing and some other programs but they are not standing as heads of nations. They are standing as Indian Act administrators of our continued poverty. Indian Affairs, Trudeau and Jodi Wilson are doing their best to make this Rights Framework sound like a good deal. They have already sold it to the Assembly of First Nations and many regional chiefs or organizations. How? Chiefs and organizations are being offered multi-year funding which seems to signal more control in how money gets spent. For impoverished or corrupt agencies, this seems like a good trade.

In the end, it is the original people, the grassroots who will suffer. If our “leaders” sell out the land and jurisdiction in this framework, then we have “modern day treaties.” Trudeau himself has said we will be a fourth order of government. This means we go from International Nations to nothing – for ten years of funding.

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3 Comments

  • Doreen
    September 8, 2018, 12:42 am

    I vote no to Trudeau’s Rights Recognition and Implementation Framework Agreement absolutely no way in my life or my children’s lives

    REPLY
  • Roger C Goodeye
    September 5, 2018, 7:40 pm

    The Rights Recognition and Implementation Framework agreement might be the just fit for Canadian Indigenous Indians like myself. My family separated themselves from the Ermineskin Cree Nation at Maskwacis AB 80 years ago. The reason for leaving the reservation was band members considered my grandfather a Metis and ostracized and persecuted my family. My grandmother was a band member who failed in her attempts to register her children. I was successful to get my father registered as an Indian with Ottawa in 1985 and was entered on the band list. My attempts to get registered as a band member even though my registration category was amended to 6(1)a, have been fruitless. The INAC chiefs must the ones opposing my application for band membership. You state all grassroots Indians own the land but I am prevented from being on the band list by rules set in the old Indian Act the band has adopted. In reality, I have no land to claim as my own and I have been struggling all my life to survive in the urban city. The Rights Recognition and Implementation Framework Agreement means that Indians go from International Nations to nothing in 10 years is something I have already lived for 77 years. I am in favor of Justin Trudeau’s new White Paper which is not going to affect people like myself whatsoever. The reservation Indian people will lose all the reservation land along with being International Nations within 10 years but I will lose nothing. I hope Justin Trudeau is successful in his working relationship with Indians whose ancestors signed away all our land by signing the treaties, therefore, we have no claim to land in Canada you said was ours.

    REPLY
    • Rachel Snow@Roger C Goodeye
      September 9, 2018, 4:09 pm

      Canada colonized our people. They subjected our people to brainwashing in the residential school.

      It is these brainwashed leaders who now hold the Indian agent positions as “council” in our communities.

      Our people were inclusive. We welcomed others into our bands.

      With oil and gas development, money started to change our sharing and caring with exclusivity and setting up barriers.

      It is the band you are fighting. But this band is being run by Indian agents. They look Cree and speak Cree but they think like agents of the crown and so they limit their scant resources AND who gets to access them.

      I too have a daughter not recognized by the band lists. That has not stopped me from using my gifts to advocate for all our people- or her.

      Feds made up the criteria. Feds put that thinking into our communities. Feds are ultimately responsible.

      You should be launching a class action against the Feds for fail to provide additional resources to the band for the inclusion of your family and for distorting membership rules.

      We don’t own the land- we are part of it. Status or not- that continues if you have indigenous blood memory. That’s the Creator’s gift to you. Live with this knowledge and our spiritual beliefs and things work out.

      REPLY

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