Saturday, 12 January 2013

Idle no more

Broken Promises, Broken Treaties

The Indian Act was a shameful part of our history. It has resulted in forcing a government of regional chiefs and tribes, to adopt the colonial style of government, by electing someone to be in charge.

We whites must acknowledge the residential schools in which native children were housed, supposedly educated, and subsequently abused.
We forced roaming bands to put down roots, in a land that did not lend itself to such. Nomadic societies in Canada survived for many years. Our animals migrate, as did native peoples. It makes sense. Whites forced them to settled on dedicated lands, signing treaties with promises to share the land, and we manage to pollute and poison these lands.

Native self-government still exists. They now elect chiefs, but it was not always so.
That was not the Native Peoples way. They sat together, talking until all agreed, in conciliation, for as long as it took. French and English colonialists forced them to change from matriarchal societies that respected women elders, to one of a male-dominated democracy. From individual sovereign bands, they began to form alliances. Each region demanded that a band established cultures and traditions that suited their geography, geology, climate, and flora and fauna. Some bands were aligned, such as the Iroqouis, the Six Nations, but the Inuit and Metis were not influenced by white colonialists until well into the 1940s. White men didn't know how, and couldn't live well in the north and remote communities until then.

Bill C-45 was an awful insult to the environment and Canadian people. It is an insult to First Nations, who welcomed us onto their lands and showed us how to survive those long winters.

I understand, from an historical point of view, how colonialism changed what became Canada. I do not understand how we can sit on our sofas, or in our cars, and complain about blocked bridges and highways, which are built across treatied lands. Indigenous people assert that their sovereign rights are valid, and point to the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which is mentioned in the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, Section 25, the British North America Acts and the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (to which Canada is a signatory) in support of this claim.[155][156]

Our Canadian government could stand to adopt a more conciliatory, cooperative, collegial model. PM Harper believes he has a mandate to make changes on a federal level. However, many will agree, top-down government isn't working. In the House of Commons, other points of view are not considered. Another Omnibus bill (C-45) that hides various sneaky measures to pass legislation that removes protection for our wilderness.

You'd think the government could manage to settle a treaty signed in 1899.

Bill C 45

"All Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to Chief Theresa Spence's and Elder Raymond Robinson's hunger strikes. These individuals are calling attention to an intolerable situation among First Nations communities. They are also highlighting concerns common to many Canadians about dangers posed by unilateral government."

Our legacy is one of broken promises, broken treaties and land claims that have gone on way too long. Shameful.

Reports of destitute Natives in the northwest were circulating around Ottawa for more than 20 years following Confederation. However, federal authorities only began to show an interest in settling the land claims of Athabasca's First Nations and M├ętis in the late 1890s. The government's change of heart coincided with the discovery of gold in the Yukon.
The federal government had a good knowledge of the extent of Athabasca's natural resources at the time of treaty signing, but knew next to nothing about the customs and manners of the First Nations in the area. The Treaty Commissioners were not even sure where Native communities would be located or how many people they might expect to enter into treaty or take scrip.

Treaty Guide to Treaty No. 8 (1899)

15 Sep 2010 – Treaty No. 8. The first of the northern treaties covered an area of 324900 sq miles and represents the most geographically extensive treaty 

Treaty 8

Treaty 8 - CBC

2 Jul 2004 – The ruling was based on Treaty 8, a treaty signed more than a century ago. Here's a look at Treaty 8 and what it means for the First Nations 

Treaty 9 payments,
Trout Lake, Ontario

The Dawes Act of 1887
Congressman Henry Dawes of Massachusetts sponsored a landmark piece of legislation, the General Allotment Act (The Dawes Severalty Act) in 1887.

This act, in the USA, changed First Nations property ownership from band societies, to individual ownership. It changed who could sell land, and makes individual lands susceptible to those who will pollute and exploit the land for financial purposes, without the controls and good stewardship that band societies understood, which protects our earth. The US colonialists, while escaping from a society to one in which individuals wanted the right to self-government and the right to bear arms, further exploited aboriginal peoples, resulting in the decimation of many band societies, and culture and traditions they should have valued. From a fully-functioning society, with a history that lasted for thousands of years, they buried their hearts in Wounded Knee.

The Wounded Knee Massacre - December 1890
The massacre at Wounded Knee is considered the last battle between white soldiers and Native Americans.


Red said...

Well said. You tell the truth. No wonder people re active in Idle No More. I don't agree with blockades but I encourage them to keep up the pressure.
Steven Harper does not listen. The omnibus budget bill is a perfect example of not listening to the people or the opposition. This kind of not listening can lead to serious action.

Red said...

Forgot to say that I taught for 3 years in a residential school. This opened my eyes but has left me with something sad to think about the rest of my life.