SIX NATIONS – A delegation of Mohawk Workers have been invited to Ottawa by Special Rapporteur James Anaya to discuss in greater detail matters earlier talked about when they met earlier this year in New York city.
Members of the Mohawk Workers may have helped bring UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya to investigate Canada’s treatment of the Indigenous people of this country.
The Mohawk connection began on Nov. 2nd, 2012, when the Mohawk Workers forwarded an official complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is the department of Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Anaya, works under.
Initially their report concerned the development of Walton Corporation on unceded Tutelo traditional land. Legal action and an injunction were launched to thwart land protectors from protesting at the site.
“The Rapporteur invited us to write what is called a ‘synthesis,’ which is the combined complaints of the community put in a defined format which is what the UN would respond to,” says Jason Bowman, a researcher who has been working with the Mohawks to help bring their issues to the mainstream.
“After Mr. Anaya read our complaint, he invited Mohawk Chief, Ted Squire, to send a delegation to meet with him in New York City, which happened May 20, 2013,” says Bowman. “At that time, the delegation, which included Bill Squire, Ellis Hill and others, presented more detailed information.”
They also detailed the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada endorsed, and indicated which particular clauses were violated, how they were violated, and what redress was expected in compensation.
The Rapporteur had already sent requests to Harper to visit Canada, which was not responded to – neither rejected nor approved.
“Shortly after the May 20th visit, he made another request, and this time Harper relented and approved that he come,” says Bowman. “The request was for a much longer visit than what was approved and after that was made public, he then decided to prorogue parliament so there would not be a parliament sitting in session while the Rapporteur was here.”
There are other Nations as well who have formal complaints at the same stage as the Mohawk Workers, however, Bowman believes that the Mohawk Workers complaint covers two very important issues, including the Rights of Indigenous people under the Indian Act, as well as the sovereignty issue.
It is doubtful if the timing of Ayala’s visit is by design, but the date coincides with the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which lays the foundation for defining the Crown’s relationship to all Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island.
Some have accused AFN Grand Chief Shaun Atleo of being soft on Ottawa, but his speech made on CBC television Monday was strong and powerful. Atleo was calm, yet persuasive and direct in his call to Harper’s Canada to immediately and meaningfully start dealing with Indigenous issues of poverty, clean water, housing, education and many other critical issues. His entire speech can be viewed at http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/ID/2410876486/.
The take home message from his 20-minute speech and Q&A on the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation was that the feds and Indigenous peoples of Canada are on a course of either “convergence or collision.”Atleo welcomed United Nations Special Rapporteur James Anaya’s fact-finding visit Monday.
Yes, there are many people, including many amongst Six Nations who feel Atleo is a shill for Ottawa. Watching the speech intently as I did, I would say Atleo has put Harper on notice meaning; Let’s get at it or else. The way I’m feeling about Harper, I prefer the “or else.” His words to Canada’s Aboriginal communities to date, are meaningless and without substance.
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