Canada and Justice Minister David Lametti are waxing poetic about taking international law and reducing it under domestic Canadian law application. Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) under Canadian law means that international standards have to fall under Canadian norms.
Canada is falsely trying to flex jurisdiction over First Nation Indigenous peoples, their lands, resources and most importantly their self-determination rights.
This article says First Nation Indigenous peoples because there is specificity in land ownership, title, rights and treaty relationships. Canada knows this but continues to misrepresent the differences of “Indigenous” peoples because Indians are all the same and only need one cookie cutter law.
Once again, nations, (NATIONS) signed agreements to share this land.
The nations were the original First Nations or First Nation Indigenous peoples and the nation of Great Britain. Canada succeeded Britain so how can Canada own land or bring in international law standards when Canada’s land “ownership” is in question? In 1867, Britain drafted legislation that created Canada.
This legislation allowed Canada to conduct their delineated business under section 91 of the British North American Act (BNA).
Canada’s search for autonomy had them gallivanting off to England to “repatriate” their constitution (the BNA Act – outdated British Legislation) but they were probably laughed back across the ocean and told to patriate a constitution of their own making! Enter the 1982 Canadian Constitution Act.
Canada’s first “reconciliation” opportunities came under Pierre Trudeau who wanted the constitution “ratified” then a nation-to-nation relationship between the “crown” and the First Nations would be later, “fleshed out”.
Doesn’t this sound hauntingly familiar?
Canada has been trying to build “ownership” even by renaming the 1867 BNA Act, the Canada Act 1867. Since Canada has no bill of sale to prove “ownership”, they must get consent from one signatories to the original agreement; that is the First Nation Indigenous Peoples. Ironically, UNDRIP actually calls for free, prior and informed consent, which Canada is currently manufacturing to pass Bill C-15.
Canada has specific “go to Indians” when they are selling false promises.
These Indians are usually elitist commentators – educated in mainstream law, with cushy provincial or federal posts or they are the heads of Indian organizations that receive their funding based on their willingness to roll over an play dead for federal dollars. They are the Indians you see on mainstream media sites with used car salesman smiles, wearing headdresses or some native “gear”.
They are not the First Nations who live on reserves. They are not the First Nations who live below poverty levels without access to clean drinking water.
They are not the First Nations who live with three or more families in one overcrowded house. They are not the First Nations who are traditional or ceremonial people. Canada needs to hear these voices.
Canada needs to hear the voice of a parent who has had a child taken away or who is being denied services. Canada has to hear the child who has been shifted from ten or more foster homes and is now suicidal. Canada needs to hear from grassroots voices.
The bastardization of original First Nation Indigenous government practices has produced “Indian Leaders” who are federal Indian Agents. Canada only recognizes these compromised voices. The handful of First Nation Indigenous “leaders” who are voicing real concerns with Bill C-15 are being swept aside, while yes men and women rush forward to stand outside the fort waiting on rations as their own people starve around them.
Bill C-15 has already produced a cacophony of support from mainstream lawyers or their firms. This in itself should be a warning for First Nations. Lawyers or firms see future litigation and are busy, gleefully rubbing their hands at inevitable court challenges, which will happen because Bill C-15 is just framework legislation. Good things, like the rapture, are still yet to come!
Canada’s former department of Indian and Northern Affairs now split into two colonial departments (Indigenous Services & Crown-Indigenous Relations), has moved away from upholding fiduciary obligations to the international signers who made this country.
Canada has shapeshifted into crown relations as defined by Canada or as a program and service provider. This is why no one would address the recent Mi’kmaq fishing issue. It is not a program, it was a peace and friendship treaty with Britain, but who holds the oversight, since Canada is trying to get out of this Indian business?
Canada has progressed through decade long talks in British Colombia, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Northern Quebec forcing modern treaties or self-government agreements on First Nations Indigenous peoples. These Canadian solutions are crafted in legalese, which can easily be challenged or overridden.
It is already happening, today, in legal challenges. If a modern treaty does not foresee a circumstance, courts are basically saying: “too bad for you Indians, you had legal supports”. In the case of the Inuit, a whole province was created to take away the rights of this linguistic group.
These are the voices that Canada is relying on to implement Bill C-15. Canada listens only to the voices they control including the: Modern treaty voices, termination table voices and national organization “leaders” dependent on federal funding.
At contact, the voices of our ancestors were kind and welcoming. Our ancestors shared land and resources willingly, because hospitality and welcoming visitors are universal values for First Nation Indigenous peoples.
Once our First Nation Indigenous understood that the settler colonial’s real god was either land, resources or money, the trust relationship changed and remains one of extreme distrust.
So today, we are not listening to the selected voices or federal tables of willing conspirators.
We are not listening to the words of the white saviors or their hand picked kemosabe counterparts. We are not listening to the national “leaders” or groups who are thinking of their own funding and not seeking the collective consent of our million plus grassroots people.
We are analyzing legal ramifications with the same watchfulness as our forefathers.
Our deep spiritual connection that is a living exercise leads our actions. While the duty of the newcomers has been to teach greed, individuality and how to covet things, our responsibilities remain the same as the ancestral obligations we have always held; we are to steward the land, protect future generations, and sadly right now, call out our “own bought” people who are trying to mislead all our people, Canadians and the global audience.