First Nation Land

The land in this stolen country is “owned” by the original people. They agreed to share this land with the newcomers. The newcomer, who fought alongside Indian nations and emerged “victorious” over other European contenders, was the United Kingdom.

At the international level, it is understood that only nations enter into treaties. Therefore the treaties made on this land were formed between nations. The United Kingdom Crown and the sovereignty of the original peoples were acknowledged in the formation of this country.

Currently the 2018 Trudeau government seeks to upset this historical authority. In 1976, a contingent of Alberta chiefs went to lobby Queen Elizabeth on including treaty obligations into Trudeau the elder’s 1982 constitutional patriation.

Indigenous rights and title were protected or brought forward through Section 35 of the Canadian constitution. Section 35 states that the existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed. Section 35 was never to be defined by Canada. The intent of Section 35 remains to place treaty paramountcy before Canadian institutions, legislation and policy.

Trudeau’s proposed Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous rights Framework is another sad federal attempt to undermine the historic nation-to-nation relationship between the original people and the UK Crown who made the agreements to share this land. Worse, Trudeau’s proposed recognition framework talks only about rights and not about the underlying issue which is the land.

Current Indian Act leadership does not seem to understand the danger in acquiescing to a rights based approach spewed with phrases like nation-to-nation.

Indian Affairs has effectively undermined Indigenous governance. Indian Affairs replaced original governance structures with a two-year voting system on reserve. This was deliberately destructive because there was high turnover in governing councils and the two-year time frame was to short to affect meaningful change in First Nation communities. Later, Indian Affairs got First Nation consent on governing through elections using the word “custom” and placing it in front of their undemocratic process. On reserve voting families do not change. High nepotism, vote buying, lateral violence and corruption can go unchecked for years. Indian Affairs has had knowledge of this faulty model. This is why there is a current rush to have Indian Act governing chiefs bless this rights framework.

In the historic treaty areas, Indian affairs is relying on the misfeasance that exists in current dysfunctional governance models to agree to ten-year funding derogation processes or other deliberate money taking policies which hold appeal for impoverished First Nation governments and communities.

If tainted leadership is not enough to pass the Rights Framework, Indian affairs has also enlisted tables of modern day “treaty” participants. Do not be fooled by the hijacking of the word “treaty”. Modern day AGREEMENT holders are those First Nations who are terminating their inherent rights to land or a way of life, with Canada. This is not the fault of modern day agreement holders. This is the only way that Canada will deal.

Canada is also sitting with the provinces, industry and other Indigenous groups (the Metis and the Inuit) who are distinct from the original people who made treaty that then became this nation state called Canada.

Therefore we have an indication of Canada’s true purpose. Canada’s interference into on reserve governance compounded with existing termination of rights tables will be the compromised voices that are willing to sign on to domestication of international sovereignty rights.

There are indigenous activist networks working at the grassroots level to educate the indigenous people on this carefully worded threat. The grassroots or the original people are collectively the land “owners” or holders. The provisions agreed to by international treaty form the basis for the relationship with the original people and all newcomers or their descendent beneficiaries.

Therefore the grassroots people are the voice that must be informed and must consent. Canada through the department of Indian Affairs, now Crown Relations and the Department of Indigenous Services Canada are the propaganda portals that are playing to the ignorant Canadian masses who do not understand the true history of this land.

Canada cannot interfere in the original treaty agreements that came before Canada was a newborn state. It is because of the original treaties that there is an agreement in place to live peaceably and to share the land between the original people and all settler newcomers.

Canada’s history starts with genocide and expansion west, forced starvation and repeated federal efforts through policy or legislation to kill or assimilate the original people. The proposed Rights Recognition Framework is another piece of legislation that promises to even the playing field while controlling the definitions of the field, the players, the rules and the dispute mechanisms of the game. It is still a no win situation still for the original people.

However, there are original people who are critically analyzing the proposed legislation and using communication paths to once again alert the camp that the enemy is planning an attack. This polarized discussion will not cease until Canada understands that they are indebted to the original people. Following this admission, Canada must then ask the original people to develop a fair process. Five hundred years of colonized actions have taught the original people that this successor state is trying to move forward without paying outstanding rent.

Today, First Nations in Canada and their grim statistics are the best indicators to document Canada’s continued paternalistic failures to “solve the Indian problem”. The Indian Act was a legislation that was to solve or at best to “contain” the Indian problem. The Indian Act itself has created bureaucratic nightmares for governance and membership. These past legislative errors cannot be solved with the introduction of a new piece of legislation.

Canada will not blind the ancestral visions that continue to live on in the descendent original peoples of this land. We are the Creator’s people, we protect the land, we see and we are awake.

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