The termination agenda of the Trudeau government is in full swing. Trudeau is trying to corner all historic Treaty First Nations into signing onto watered down agreements of “self-government”. Self-government implies that someone or some institution is allowing another group, tribe or nation to exercise a federally defined governance system.
Sadly, First Nations are lining up to go over this buffalo jump into the pit of ethnic minorities. Their self-government agreements will be no more than municipal style governments with “delegated” powers. How did we get to this point?
One consistent threat to historic treaties has been the office of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). The AFN is a corporate lobbying body. The AFN did not sign treaty and they are not signatories to any other treaty other than Memoranda of Understanding with the federal government.
Similar bodies have erupted across the historic treaty areas with prairie treaty organizations (PTO’s) flexing like they are the signatory treaty signing nations. This is causing confusion and miscommunication at the grassroots level. Trudeau’s plan to take the treaty rights that exist eternally or into perpetuity and diminish them into Canadian “aboriginal” collectives.
When the federal Liberal party took office, Trudeau announced that no relation was more important to his party that the relationship with First Nations. However, Trudeau is defining this relationship including the type of governance systems that will be recognized by his government.
It is the continuance of the agenda of his late father, the drafter of the 1969 White paper that is still trying to eradicate the relationship that was intended by the First Nations and the British Crown. First Nations intended to share the land and resources. First Nations were put onto small plots of land called reserves and their everyday life was restricted by the Indian Act and the on-site Indian Agent.
This Indian agent position has evolved so that today, the chief and councils who govern the First Nations are Indian Act chief and councils. The chief and councils are extensions of the federal government co-managing underfunding or fighting with proposal-based programs for funds that should rightly come to all First Nations.
This is why First Nations live in abject poverty. The British Crown left an Indian trust fund that would accrue interest and be the primary source of ongoing funds for First Nations in Canada. It seems that the federal government mismanaged this trust or allowed minimal rates of interest on the capital so that the funds held in banks would gain greater returns and in fact, finance the growth of this stolen country.
Instead of giving an accounting of the funds, the federal department of Indian Affairs puts out the line that funds are at the discretion of the Treasury Board under the direction of cabinet. This is how a country can be stolen and the peoples who have agreed to share everything have become paupers in their own land.
The stance that First Nations have to take is a sovereignty stance. The First Nations have to remind Canada that they were the original “owners” of this land and as such, Canada has outstanding obligations that go on into eternity. It is difficult for Indian affairs councils to speak with this authority because they have become disconnected from their true governance systems, their connection to the land and the Creator, and now operate with colonized thinking.
Across Canada, grassroots are rising and questioning their “leadership”. This is being met with hostility, lateral violence and targeting of the very people they purport to represent.
In our original governance systems, everything began with spirituality, prayer and humility. The governance was not about establishing hierarchies of power but about maintaining respect for the land and sharing among the nation from the bounty of the land. This governance system and thinking has been corrupted. With the Indian Act determining the “vote” or election procedures for reserves, the biggest families began to control the vote because the demographics on reserve does not change. This continues to be a problem into today.
Non-First nation people wrongly apply their mainstream solutions or expected outcomes to this flawed experiment on reserve. If a person or clan or people from the band begin asking questions, they are quickly ostracized, shut down and persecuted. Non-First nation people quickly point out rules and regulations such as those things that are available in their world as solutions. This is not practiced on reserve. There are Indian act by-laws or band council resolutions that supposedly have the weight of “law” for individual First Nations. However, it is the band council that passes them in absence of community consultation and in the “best interests” of the band.
Indian Act councils use mainstream terminology such as buy in for economic development or increased jobs wrongfully believing that these are the solutions for First Nations to achieve equity with Canada. When and if First Nation bands are successful at starting businesses, then Indian Affairs will cut back on their funding citing that the First Nations need to use their “own source revenue”. In this way the glass that is underfilled by Canada remains the same whether Canada or the Nation itself contributes the funds needed to run programming.
This is a “can’t win” model that Canada has placed all First Nations in while calling its efforts, reconciliation. Canada is reconciling that with enough motivation, First Nation bands, like lab rats, will take the bait and think they are “getting ahead”. How can this happen?
Well, the aforementioned governance systems, are controlled by big families voting consistently for one person or family and this person or family may not be well educated or competent. Therefore, the systems of promised change followed by derailment policies of the federal government keep the First Nation grassroots people on the ground in constant upheaval and varying states of poverty. The trauma of being First Nations today, is compounded by the inept governance structures at the reserve level, provincial or lobbying body level and from the federal level which keeps all First Nations struggling and in poverty. Until First Nations recognize big picture truths and fight with spirituality and sovereignty the plight of the First Nation Indians in Canada will continue to be a trail of genocide.