Who benefits when the AFN speaks on behalf of us all?

Mainstream media, Indian and Northern Affairs and the Assembly of First Nations are complicit in their attempt to take the last strongholds of the original people of this land. In the recent AFN forum, Ontario chiefs called for a “halt” to the Recognition of Rights and Implementation Framework legislation currently being proposed by Trudeau’s Liberal government.

At this Gatineau meeting, the Association of the Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) rejected the proposed legislation and Canadas engagement process. This Rights Framework legislation threatens the land, sovereignty, jurisdiction and self-determination of all First Nation people.

The department of Indian and Northern Affairs has been seesawing on the acceptance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people (UNDRIP) into application. The original treaty and inherent rights people deserve clarification on how Canada intends to implement and apply this document.

Charmaine Whiteface (2013) in Indigenous Nations’ Rights in the Balance writes that UNDRIP was altered to favour the colonizer state governments, “without consent.” of Indigenous Peoples Similarly, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) contained “calls to action” that are recommendations within the compartmentalized box of Canadian legal supremacy. Both documents are being included in many government documents as tools of interpretation and thus, require more scrutiny and clarity.

It is time for critical analysis of these purported supporting documents and an examination of the advisors and so called legal experts who are forcefully pushing these solutions. The Canadian government has hand-selected “experts” already indoctrinated in colonial thinking and they will be used to give the illusion that all First Nations came up with these positions.

These so called “experts” wrote a letter of concern to Trudeau on the Framework document. Yet, some of them showed up at the AFN forum to try to salvage this legislation. In 1970, the Red Paper called these people, the “implementation team.” Their sole purpose is to work within the government’s restrictions.

Leadership should not be advised to follow UNDRIP when Article 46 gives Canada a veto of all preceding articles contained within the Declaration. The Organization of the American States (OAS) article was also mentioned. From the Human Rights Research centre at the University of Ottawa, Canada’s response is that where they did not participate and they will not accept.

Original peoples and leaders have to understand that these documents carry NO legal weight. They are very nice words but ultimately Canada or other colonizer countries can do what they want.

We have to look at what Canada is really doing. Canada’s own human rights tribunal found against Canada and ordered them to pay the same money on/off reserve in child and family services. Is Canada doing this?

If leaders and our people do not understand this framework, then they will be giving up jurisdiction to Canada and subsequent federal governments. They will give away jurisdiction over health, housing, child welfare, lands, resources and water. If the leaders or the grassroots people don’t like any of this then we won’t be able to go to court because the framework says we will have to use grievance dispute resolution processes. Canada has had the same agenda for over 150 years, to get rid of us and have unfettered access to our lands, territories and resources.

Look at this wording! When Joe Wild uses a word like ‘grievance,’ he is talking about an employee/employer relationship or how to appeal to a board as an individual. The Framework is using Canadian white man made laws and their words. Joe Wild is doing the same job as Chretien did in 1969. Why aren’t our leaders or our people being told this?

In the Red Paper of 1969, the Alberta chiefs questioned the government’s contradictions. They saw the actions of the federal government and their talk was different. In 2018, at the AFN forum, these same comments were repeated. Carolyn Bennett spoke very nice words, but some chiefs questioned the government’s actions that are different from her talk.

It is very interesting that Carolyn Bennett responded to each chief differently. She acknowledged them and their territory and their specific questions. Neither Carolyn Bennett or Joe Wild had one set answer that could solve every nation’s concerns.

This is what Indian legal scholars should be saying to leadership. We are different nations with different treaties and agreements made to protect the land, water and our future generations.

If the federal government tells you they can invent one magic piece of legislation to fix all the Indian problems, they are lying. Carolyn Bennett herself did not have one answer to all the questions posed to her at this forum. This is what nation-to-nation really means- Canada speaking as a “nation” to each inherent nation here on this land.

How many times must First Nations repeat our concerns? Trudeau wants Canadians to think that the Indian problem is over. Trudeau and his government cannot get international investment because Indian people stand poised to protest development they don’t want taking place on our lands.

First Nation hereditary leaders, community and ceremonial people and the grassroots protect the land and resources. This forces the Federal government to retrace time honoured colonial steps to quell possible Indian uprisings.

In 1969, Trudeau the elder (senior), called the Indian legislative and constitutional protections discrimination. Today’s INAC is using words like self-determination instead of discrimination. The intent remains the same. Indians are a burden to the Canadian state.

The Canadian state can never be a nation because they benefited from the British Crown’s agreements with the First Nations. When the Europeans came to this land there were inhabitants or owners here.

Canada wants to limit First Nation land ownership and rights with our consent.

Canada has tried to get First Nations to come under their government control through other legislation or modern day termination agreements. Perry and the AFN ceded education jurisdiction at last year’s December AGM. This year will be the treaty/inherent right relationship.

Grassroots must ask, who benefits when AFN speaks and puts forward positions on behalf of all First Nations? Is it a small child with no drinking water or adequate housing on reserve? Or is it our so-called leaders?

In 1970 Alberta Chiefs led the protest. Today, grassroots are mobilizing, forcing Indian Act leadership to think like our ancestors. Will leaders finally stand for our original obligations? The only critical document released on the Rights framework came from Defenders of the Land, IdleNoMore and the Truth Campaign and the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians.

Look at who the people are behind the recommendations. Concerned grassroots people, policy analysts, and legal scholars wrote to counter the federal agenda. These same networks will continue to educate all our people through webinars and social media.

The first action calls for a day of prayer September 17, 2018. The obligations and responsibilities of our ancestors will continue because we have a spiritual relationship to the land, the waters and our future generations to uphold. Material gains, improper processes and colonized thinking cannot overcome our spiritual connection to this land and to our relations throughout the cosmos.

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