718 - TOM OJO - CANADA 1-403-885-2991
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Canada has 12,000,000 people of Aboriginal Ancestry
This is 35% of the Population
We are the 3rd largest ethnic group
We are the poorest, sickest, most oppressed of all
groups in Canada. We have the highest mortality
rate (including Child Mortality) of any group in
Canada. We are specifically excluded from Human Rights
Protection. Our religion is the only one not not
protected by law. There are special laws controling
The City of Edmonton alone has 3,000 aboriginal
homeless people living on the streets summer and winter.
46 of these die on the street every year.
This, in the City of Edmonton alone,
is more than die in the Canadian Armed Forces every year
Aboriginal communities in Canada live in Third-World
Conditions; children here are dying there because of
poverty, poor health and lack of clean water. Canada
has the highest rate of Child Poverty in the western
world. Canada's aboriginals have been referred to as
And now our Prime Minister has piously rushed forward
to declare that it is his divine mission to bring help
to the world's suffering children and poor.
Open your eyes to what is in your own yard, Mr. Prime
CANADA WAS THE LAST COUNTRY TO SIGN THE
UNITED NATIONS CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGINOUS
and still strongly resists recognizing and implementing
Shame on you and your crass opportunism
Prime Minister Harper.
Tell our Prime Minister what you think of this.
ATTAWAPISKAT AND MISMANAGEMENT
HERITAGE RESOURCES MISMANAGEMENT
HOBBEMA EXPULSIONS: Social Breakdwon
NATIVE WARRIOR SOCIETIES
MOUNTAIN CREE LAND CLAIM
LEGAL GOVERNMENT DISCRIMINATION
1. HUMAN RIGHTS
2. SPOUSAL RIGHTS
3. ELECTORAL RIGHTS
4. CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS
5. NON-INDIAN CHIEFS
6. AND THE LAW
7. NATIONAL SOCIAL IMBALANCE
NO PROTECTION FOR HISTORIC BURIALS
THE CONSTITUTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
MISSING NATIVE WOMEN
ETHNIC CLEANSING AND CULTURAL COLONIALISM IN CANADA
To understand the issues concerning some of the current Native claims, it is
necessary to understand the background of the legal relation of the Government
of Canada to the Indian peoples.
1. All Indian nations were accepted as being independent Nations by all early
explorers, traders and governments. In fact, early travelers point out that
each seperate group of Indians was de facto an independed self-governing
peoples. This was accepted as fact until the signing of the treaties.
2. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 recognized the existence of the Indian
peoples as independent states, with the Royal House of England (not the
state of England or Britian), as being the Sovreign of each seperate
3. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 recognized that these independent Indian
nation were the Sole Owners of the land, and that they could not be
disposessed of these lands other than by treaty with THE CROWN.
4. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 declared that THE CROWN, i.e., THE
SOVREIGN, shall take to him/herself
a. the duties of protecting the Indian nations against abuse,
embezelment and mistreatement.
b. the duties of treating on behalf of those nations with other
government and agents to insure that such agreements as are made
are done so in the best interests of those Indian nations.
And that further,
c. all relations between THE CROWN and the Indian Nations shall
be conducted in a manner that is in the best interests of those
Nations so as not to bring dishonor onto the behavior of THE CROWN.
d. That such duties shall be carried out by the Government of Great
Britain on behalf of THE CROWN in toto.
5. All treaties with Canada were made by the Government of Canada on behalf
of THE CROWN
6. Large portions of Canada have never been Treated for. Hence, the lands
are still LEGALLY in the SOLE OWNERSHIP and TOTAL CONTROL of the
aboriginal nation which historically owned the land or portions thereof.
7. While treaties and their terms vary throughout Canada, it can generally
be said that most Indian Nations have NEVER SURRENDERED SOVREIGNITY of
their nations and retain their rights as INDEPENDENT SELF-GOVERNING
8. While treaties and their terms vary throughout Canada, it can generally
be said that NO TREATY WAS A LAND SURRENDER, but an agreement to allow
access and limited use (i.e., agriculture) by Canadians not belonging to
that particular tribe.
Since Canadians as a whole tend to believe that the Treaties were land
surrenders - and often say so in the text - this requires some
a. Records show that land surrender was never discussed in the discussions
leading up to signing of the treaties.
Indeed, government documents indicate that mention of land surrender
was to be abstained from "as this would likely make it impossible to
obtain a treaty agreement."
Land surrender was a condition added to the the treaty text after the
agreement based on discussion, and before signing. As most Chiefs at
the time could not read English (many could write Cree and some could
write French), they were merely assured that the contents were simply
Since in aboriginal society at the time a statement made in council
was a statement of fact and matter of honor, it was not questioned.
Almost all Interpreters at the treaties were Government employees,
with no official independent interpreters. Interpreters were often
only marginally competent, and sometimes interpretations needed to
go through two or more interpreters to translate into the various
The only independent interpreter to be specifically employed for the
purpose was Peter Erasmus at Fort Pitt - and he left after the
discussion and before the issue of the written text. Examination of
the text by independent interpreters was not allowed.
Certain concepts in indian through and in non-Indian thought can not
be easily translated into understandable terms.
b. The Indians came with the SOLE intention of reaching some degree of
of agreement about the terms on which Canadians would be permitted
into their lands. For some years they had been upset by the influx
of foreigners, and were demanding negotiations to determine the
terms under which this would be permissable. The belief was that
Canada intended to either simply permit it's citizens to move
without restraint into Indian lands, or to attempt military
conquest. There was a real threat of Indian and Metis hostility to
resist this influx.
c. The Treaties laid out some terms and conditions under which Canadians
would be allowed into Indian lands. Certain gifts and rights were
assured to the Indians, in exchange for which the Indians would
permit unhindered access and travelto Canadians and Indians from
other tribes. Non-tribal members were to be excluded completely
from some areas.
d. No rights were surrendered. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled
that unless a right is specifically stated as being surrendered in
a Treaty, then it can be held that such right was not surrendered.
e. The Indians assumed that the Rules of Order that ruled Indian
councils also held in white man's councils, and the Government
negotiators did not consider that the negotiations would not be any
terms other than their own. There was a basic lack of communitation
at the very basis of the negotiations.
f. Indians did not understand that Government legal negotiations are a
confrontational system, rather than a consentual system as used in
Indian councils. To the Indian, a verbal agreement was binding as
stated. Subsequent government behavior was to attempt to maximize
advantage and to deny any other interpretation (despite the fact
that Justice Canada has ususally warned of the danger and illegality
of this approach to treaties).
g. The Head Chief and 3/4 of the population were not consulted in
Treaty 6, and had no say. Treaty negotiations were conducted in the
presence of 200 armed soldiers with canon.
h. There were virtually no independent witnesses signatory to the
treaties. All witnesses were on the Government payroll or dependant
on government contracts and goodwill.
9. When British Columbia joined Confederation it was on condition that
it recognize existing Aboriginal Rights as recognized by THE CROWN
in the preson of the GOVERNMENT OF GREAT BRITAIN and the Colonial
Office (to whom the Government of Canada was responsible). The
Government of British Columbia was to spend the next 100 years
trying to ignore and unilaterally do a way with Indian rights.
10. When the responsibility to govern and administer western Canada
was passed to the Government of Canada, it was on condition that
it recognize existing Aboriginal Rights as recognized by THE CROWN
in the person of the GOVERNMENT OF GREAT BRITAIN and the Colonial
11. When Self-Government was given to Canada, it was on the condition
that it recognize and continue to recognize for all time Aboriginal
Rights as recognized by THE CROWN in the person of the GOVERNMENT
OF GREAT BRITAIN, and that that responsibility be excerciese with
due diligence and honor by the GOVERNMENT OF CANADA. The Government
of Canada was to spend the next 150 years trying to ignore and
unilaterally do away with Indian rights through administrative
policy and legislation.
12. The Government of Canada took advantage of the starvaton years of
the late 1870's/early 1880's to co-erce the Indians and deprive
them of guaranteed rights by witholding food aid and allowing
recalcitant Indains to starve.
13. After the 1885 rebellion and uprising of some Indian bands, the
Government of Canada deprived Indians of all rights without legislation
or recourse. They made it illegal for Indians to leave their reserves
without permits, made it illegal for Indians to own and sell goods,
took away hunting rights, made it illegal to have feasts and gift
giving, made it illegal to question the government, and made it
illegal to raise money to fight for aboriginal rights.
14. The INDIAN ACT was passed ostensibly to protect the Indian, but actually
served to define, limit and control Indian Rights.
15. The SUPREME COURT OF CANADA has consistently struck down any and all
Government legislation attempting to curb Indian rights. It has declared
that under all legal principles that our legal system is based on,
Indian Rights and Treaty Rights have A PRIORI rights of any other
unilateral legislation or attempts to curb those rights.
16. Most Indians and Canadians have never read the treaties, much less
the background to them, but all think that they know what the treaties
say. Generally, they are completely wrong. Non Indians generally
believe that things were surrendered that were not, and Indians
believe that things were promised that were not.
17. In a 'Divide and Conquer' policy, the Government of Canada recognizes
only 2 catagories of 'Indians'. These are
1. 'Status Indians' - those Indians who's direct (male) ancestor
signed a Treaty. Also known as a 'Treaty Indian' or in Cree
This is purely a legal definition. Most 'Treaty Indians' are
of various degrees of mixed Indian/European/other ancestry.
There are blond, blue-eyed Treaty Indians.
The Government of Canada recognizes that it has legal 'Treaty
Obligations' to these people. The Government of Canada
consistently tries to weasel out of or minimize these obligations
or outright deny their obligations.
2. 'Non-Status Indians' - those Indians who's direct male ancestors
did not sign a treaty, hence still have legal ownership of their
lands. In this catagory the Government of Canada includes the
Again largely a purely legal definition. Most 'Non-Status
Indians' are of various degrees of mixed Indian/European
The Government of Canada holds that it does not have any
obligations whatsoever to these people. At the same time the
Government of Canada claims that it has Sovreign Title to the
lands of these people.
The Government of Canada does not recognize several other catagories
of aboriginal peoples. These are:
1. Metis - People of mixed ancestry who identify as Metis (aka.
'Halfbreed'). Generally speaking, these people have maintained
about a 50/50 ethnicity throughout history.
2. Aboriginals - People of mixed ancestry who do not consider
themselves as either Indian or Metis, but give recognition to
their aboriginal ancestry from one or more lineages. Generally
these people are of more European than Indian ancestry, but
do not deny their aboriginal heritage.
3. Aboriginal Descent - People of mixed ancestry who are not aware
of their aboriginal ancestry, do not value their aboriginal
heritage, or deny their aboriginal heritage. Most 'Old French'
families (most Quebecois) are of Aboriginal Descent.
The Government of Canada holds that it has no legal obligation to
these classes of aboriginals. The Supreme Court of Canada disagrees,
and has ruled that ALL Canadians of Aboriginal Descent have Aboriginal
Rights by reason of their descent from the original occupants and
inhabitants of this country, excepting in such cases where these
rights have been voluntarily surrendered by Treaty.
In terms of numbers, the Non-Status and the Status Indians represent
the smallest proportion. These are the numbers used when the Government
of Canada speaks on issues affecting Aboriginal peoples.
Aboriginal Descent 12,000,000
Status Indian 290,000
Non-Status Indian 15,000
Indian bands have more and more been asking to be included in any
development and extraction in their traditional lands, much to
the annoyance of corporate interests.
News sensationalism has been raising fears of Indian confrontations
over Indian protests and demands for a being given a role and share
in the developments on their traditional lands.
Recall that ownership of the land and resources were never surrendered.
For the past 100 years corporates and various levels of government
and ordinary workment have benefited by the theft of the resources
found in these lands.
By rights, the Indian Nations still have legal right to the land and
resources. Period! This can be contested to the Supreme Court, but
under Supreme Court rules regarding such claims, it would be up to
the corporate and/or Government to prove that Indians DO NOT have
Historically Governments have had the right to levy charges, duties,
taxes, tolls or whatever for certain rights or use of their lands.
Under Traditional Law Indian governments have excercised those
rights - though it has often been called pillaging or extortion by
Indian Nations have never given up these rights nor ownership of the
land and resources.
Ergo: Indian Nations have the right to levy charges as they see fit.
Charges levied by any other agency. Access can not be denied
by Indian bands. Resource extraction or use of lands for
purposes other than transit by non-members of the Indian Nation
are illegal without permision from the relevant Indian Nation.
In a thinly veiled disguise attempt at again suppressing and denying
treaty and aboriginal rights (at least until the resouces have been
extracted) the Government of Alberta, fronted by KING RALPH Klein has
recently passed Bill 49 in a supposed attempt to "make public access
easier to Crown Land". In fact, it is speficially aimed at preventing
aboriginal First Nations and Non-Treaty bands from excecising their
rights to their lands and resources.
Below is a copy of an open letter sent by the Mountain Cree to Premier
(Since we have posted this the
Supreme Court of Canada has
ruled this law as illegal.)
718 * Blackfalds, Alberta * CANADA TOM OJO * 1-403-885-2991
Publisher of MOUNTAIN NEWS
November 27, 2003
OPEN LETTER TO PREMIER RALPH KLEIN, PROVINCE OF ALBERTA
This past month the Government of the Province of Alberta has passed Bill 49, which prohibits the
obstruction, interference with or charging of fees for access to public lands.
On the surface, this seems to be an enlightened policy.
We, descendants of the Mountain Cree Band (1650-1886) fully support the view that all Albertans
have an equal opportunity to access public lands in a manner that is in harmony with the
traditional use of such lands.
The Province of Alberta by no means has had a history of supporting such a policy.
We note that we have previously complained about the existence of roadways in the foothills area
that are barred by locked gates, claiming private ownership by corporate interests.
We have noted in the past about roadway right-of-ways leading to rivers and lakes throughout the province being blocked by fences and gates on behalf of certain businesses and corporates.
We have noted before that access to public lands along the Red Deer River is blocked by fences.
We note that access to Public Lands and Public/Community Grazing Leases are blocked by
fences and gates.
We note that both Provincial, Federal and Community Parks, Provincial Campgrounds and libraries
- all Public Lands - restrict access, are usually barricaded and/or blockaded, demand a fee, and
are often attended by uniformed gang members who are sometimes armed with weapons intended
solely for the purpose of killing people.
We note that access to places like Suffield, Cold Lake, Wainwright - all public lands - are blocked by fences and gates and public access prohibited.
Transgression of any of the above catagories of Public Land generally means some form of
retaliatory action and persecution, usually by members of an armed group trained to kill people.
When the Government of Alberta likewise does away with such restrictions as noted above, then we will believe that the Government has the interests of the Public in mind.
Based on these past policies, actions and positions of the Government of Alberta, we suspect that Bill 49 is at best somewhat misleading, is probably somewhat selective and motivated by greed, and, at worst, might be construed as legislation motivated by racial hatred.
We suspect that Bill 49 is specifically aimed at making it illegal for Native peoples to take civil action to
highlight outstanding rights and claims that are being denied by the government, pending exploitation of
the resources in question, and condoning armed and violent action by agents of the government trained to kill.
Bill 49, in fact, is nothing more than another Corporate Welfare handout at the expense of Native people.
It is another bill in keeping legislation of the past which were passed at vatious times that made it illegal for Native people to complain about Indian Affairs mismanagement, made it illegal for Native People to leave
reservations without permits, made it illegal to question Government policies towards Native People, made it illegal to raise court cases challenging Government policies and interpretation of Treatis, and made it illegal to raise for cout challenges.
This bill, in effect, is being passed specifically because the Government of Alberta knows that the Native
position has a strong case in law, while that of the governmnet is weak at best. It is designed to allow
maximum resource exploitation before the question reaches the Supreme Court.
As the Supreme Court has increasingly been forced to agree under the principles of law that regulate all
Canadians, neither Native rights or lands were ever surrendered by the Treaty Process.
Native government, ownership of lands, ownership or resources and rights were recognized by the
Government and Colony of France, by the Government and Crown of Great Britain, and are still
recognized by the Government of the United States and the Government of Mexico. Only Canada has an
exploitative policy towards Native rights.
Up until 1870 tribal Nations in the west were recognized by Great Britain and the Crown as the sole governments and owners of lands in the Canadian interior.
The transfer of the Canadian West by The Crown to Canada was done WITH THE PROVISION THAT
CANADA RECOGNIZE THESE NATIVE RIGHTS.
Instead, the Government of Canada immediately began to ignore and infringe on these rights.
To give the process a perceived legality it instituted a Treaty Process. Treaty Commissioners and
staff were warned NOT TO MENTION LAND SURRENDER in the negotiations process, AS THIS WOULD LIKELY PROHIBIT THE SUCCESSFULL CONCLUSION OF A TREATY.
Accordingly, land surrender was NEVER mentioned in the negotiations process.
However, somehow, it managed to be inserted into the written English version of the document - which
the Native signatories could not read. And all interpreters were in fact members of the Commission, and
all Witnesses agents or dependants of the government.
Since then the Government of Canada and it's Provinces have done all they can to avoid honoring the
terms of the contract. Each and every individual claimed right has to be taken to the Supreme Court for
Without exception, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that, given the legislation preceeding the
Treaties, and the negotiations and wording of the treaties, that there was NO surrender of land, rights and
resources. Only such rights as specifically mentioned as being surrendered in the treaties and their negotiations can be deemed to have been surrendered.
What the treaties in effect did, was permit access to tribal lands by non-tribal members, and set aside
certain lands for the exclusive occupancy of tribal members.
There was no provision in the treaties that allowed for more than transit into and through tribal lands
by non-tribal Canadians without harassment. There was no provision that permitted settling, farming or
In fact, the Chiefs specifically asked for reimbursement for resouce usage, which the Treaty Commissioner ridiculed, saying that to charge for freely available and pelntiful local resources was an
Within one year the Government of Canada were to break this faith and their own stated position, and charge for the right to settle and build a homestead.
Within 3 years the Government of Canada was to institute a policy of charging for resource use and extraction.
Within 3 years of Treaty 7 the Government established a farm at High River and 6 years later SOLD IT FOR MORE THAN WAS PAID TO THE BLACKFOOT FOR THE ENTIRE TREATY AREA.
In other words, resources still belong to the Native bands and their descendants and representatives of
those band members who took treaty. They have a legal right AND OBLIGATION to protect these resources on behalf of the band and future generations.
Bill 49, if directed specifically at the Native community protecting these
rights, can be seen ONLY as another attempt at Government oppression
aimed at maximizing exploitation (STEALING) resouces that do not belong
to them, as they have for the past century, for the benefit of short term
Non-Native greed of corporate interests and political cronies.
It is clearly aimed at permitting maximum exploitation before the question
reaches the Supreme Court.
As the Supreme Court has consistently ruled in favour of Aboriginal rights
and ownership, there can be no other interpretation of the actions of the
Government of Alberta. Aboriginal Laws
Go ahead, let Premier Stelmach know what
you think of this BS.
Wouldn't hurt to let these other supposed 'Representatives of the People' know:
Minister, Community Development
Minster, Aboriginal Affairs Pearl Calahison
Leader of the Opposition
Or the two tame "Uncle Toms"
LEGAL GOVERNMENT DISCRIMINATION
1. HUMAN RIGHTS
2. SPOUSAL RIGHTS
3. ELECTORAL RIGHTS
4. CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS
5. NON-INDIAN CHIEFS
6. AND THE LAW
7. NATIONAL SOCIAL IMBALANCE
Canada still has racial discrimination against Native persons institutionalized
Treaty Indians DO NOT have the same rights and protection as afforded to
other Canadian Citizens.
This legislation came into being and existed under two Prime Ministers
Chretien and Martin (Liberal Party of Canada), who were noteable for
their junkets to foreign shores to dispense wisdom on how those countries
should clean up their Human Rights Act.
Up to the 1950's Native people were legally NON-PERSONS in Canada, without
any legal rights. On many Reservations, Native people were confined, unable
to leave the Reserve without a limited and specific pass from the Indian
Agent. In fact, it was ILLEGAL for Indian peoples to even question their
position and the Government.
Up to the 1970's a policy of Apartheid and Segregation WAS ENFORCED by the
Government of Canada.
In light of that, I suppose Native people should be thankful for such
rights as they now have.
At no thanks to the Government.
By law, the Government of Canada has the duty to protect the best interests
of the Indian peoples, in the same sense that a parent is to look after the
best interests of the child.
However, from the moment of signing treaties, the Government of Canada has
consistently fought against ANY AND ALL rights for Native peoples both as
individuals and as a people.
The Supreme Court, on the other hand, HAS CONSISTENTLY FOUND THAT THE LAW
RECOGNIZES ABORIGINAL RIGHTS in ALL cases that have come to it. The
Government of Canada, on the other hand HAS FOUGHT TOOTH AND NAIL AGAINST
SUCH RIGHTS and has usually attempted to circumvent the Supreme Court
Treaty Indians are specifically excluded by law from coverage under the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian Electoral laws, and
a variety of other laws. A Treaty Indian can not legally have a Will and
designate his heirs - that is reserved for the government.
SINCE 1984 the CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION is PROHIBITED from
dealing with issues pertaining to Treaty Indians.
Aborignal minorities in China have more Human Rights
protections that Indians in Canada!
Canada is continually censured for this by the
International Human Rights Tribunal!
Former Prime Minister Martin - the #2 man in the Canadian Government when
Indians were withdrawn from Human Rights protection, has made a big issue
of how Homosexual Rights are an issue of Canadian Human Rights, and how he
has a duty to protect the Human Rights of All Canadians, when he, in fact,
was most instrumental in withdrawing such protection from Indians.
Read on below, then feel free to let Prime Minister Harper know what
you think of this double standard.
In a country where spousal rights of Canadian Citizens are enshrined in
law for even same-sex spouses, such rights as are denied to the spouse
of a Treaty Indian. This is somewhat ironic in that many of these spouses
are the grand-children of women who lost their rights as Treaty Indians by
marrying a non-Treaty man back at a time when aboriginals in this country
were still legally Non-Persons.
Interestingly, until 1984 the female spouse of a Treaty Indian was
automatically accorded these rights and even received Treaty status. The
first female Indian Chief in Canada was a non-Indian married into the
In many cases such families are at the bottom of the economic scale,
working at minimum wage or seasonal employment, or attempting to catch up
to missed education on the reserve or in the ghetto.
This effectively means that the spouse is denied such things as medical
coverage which means that unless the couple go on Welfare (and quit work
or school), they have little hope of meeting costs of even ordinary
medication should the spouse become ill.
Aboriginal society was traditionally egalitarian in such matters; spouses
shared status and benefits available in the society and community equally.
Spouses became full members of both spouses' communities. Which is why so
many Scotts and French families ended up being Treaty Indian.
Among most tribes, the men were expected to spend the first 4 years or
more in the wife's community.
Treaty Indians are also subject to different rules than other Canadian
Citizens concerning voting rights.
Reserve Elections do not have to follow Canadian Rights standards in
By Elections Canada standards, anyone of the age of 18 can vote; incarcerated
criminals can vote, and provisions are made for absentee voters.
In Reservation elections, the local Chief and Council make the rules - and
can deny anyone they want from having the right to vote.
To vote, voters must be on the reserve to vote (though many bands have been
making changes in this area, where they think it is to their benefit).
Reserve elections are generally conceeded to be rife with vote-buying and
By law, Elections Canada is prohibited from enforcing Canadian standards.
CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS
In Alberta the Eneregy Resources Conservation Board has rejected Aboriginal
attempts to protect sites of aboriginal Religious and Cultural import. By
the ERCB ruling, the ERCB stated that
1. The ERCB has the sole authority to determine what constitutes a site
of Aboriginal importance.
2. The ERCB has the sole authority to determine if an aboriginal group has
any interests in any sites of purported aboriginal import.
3. The ERCB has the sole authority to determine what constitures an
4. The ERCB has the sole authority to determine who represents an aboriginal
The legality of this stance was challenged by the author on the grounds
that it is racist, colonialist, contrary to existing Supreme Court rulings,
and overtly discriminatory.
In Joachim Fromhold v. Energy Resources Conservation Board a ruling in
2010 ruled that the ERCB position was contrary to the rights and laws
pertaining to aboriginals.
This is a legal landmark with broad implications. A more comprehensive
analysis is available from Heritage Consulting
By Canadian law imposed on the Indians, the Chief of a Band/Reservation need
not be an Indian (Treaty or otherwise) or resident in the community.
Originally, this was so that the Government could depose and appoint chiefs
as they saw fit.
While this is out of place in a representative electoral system, it has
some justification in Traditional Law.
Traditionally among the Nehiyaw-Pwat (Cree, Nakoda and allied people - the
largest Aboriginal group in North America), chiefs became chiefs not by
birth or election, but by attracting followers. The populace 'voted with
their feet', so to speak. If he was a good leader he attracted followers.
If not, he lost them. Those with the largest following were the leading
Many Nehiyaw-Pwat Chiefs were not necessarily from the community, and some
not particularly Indian. Many actually started as foreigners or had non-
In Traditional Aboriginal Law, these 'unelected' chiefs, who became chiefs
by public recognition, are known as Traditional Chiefs, as opposed to
Elected Chiefs. (Among the Cree they are known respectively as OKIMAW,
"Chief" and OKIMAKAN "Imitation Chief").
Various family groups still recognize Traditional Chiefs of their families
or clans. One of the best known of these was Albert Lightning, last
Traditional Chief recognized by all branches of the Mountain Cree. Some of
the current Traditional Chiefs are not Treaty Indian, some have only
distant Native ancestry, but are recognized by the family and kin because
of their proven ability and interest in the welfare of the group.
Reserve Chiefs generally represent only the largest kin-group living on
Most reserves have 3 family groups:
- that with the largest population, who elect the Chief, run the
reserve and a have most of the jobs.
- the second-largest group, who usually get some of the leftovers from
the ruling group, to keep them quiet. On occasion this group unites
with the third group to win an election. On such occasions, they get
all the jobs, leftovers go to the first group, and the third is left
out again. Frequently members of this group leave the reserve in
search of opportunities.
- the minority population group, who are largely marginalized on the
reserve, and frozen out of power and employment. In the last generation
this group has tended to move off reserve in search of better oppor-
tunity. It is a sad reflection to realize that they consider the urban
ghetto as being a better opportunity. Being off reserve, they are not
given the same benefits given to reserve residents and are essentially
disenfranchised. To vote in Band elections requires travel to the
reserve (and the costs involved) from whatever distant community they
might live in.
Hence, the Elected Chief does not represent the Band or Reserve population
as a whole, but only the largest kinship group living on reserve - and
often only a portion of those. Those who move out essentially become
outcasts from the community, and un-represented.
AND THE LAW
Native leaders have often accused the Police of Institutional Discrimination
in the way they administer the law. This, of course, is routinely rejected
by by the police.
Having grown up in Native communities, I can attest to the fact that the
Police are seen as the Enemy. Paranoia is real, when you see a police car.
A few facts:
- Most people shot by Police are Native.
- Most people killed in police shootings are Native.
- In Saskatoon the Police have for decades dismissed charges that the
police discriminated against Aboriginal People and were directly
responsible for the deaths of a number of them (mostly by abandoning
them in isolated areas to freeze to death). When incontroverable
evidence was finally brought forward, the Police attempted to sweep it
under the table and whitewash it. After the proving of a second case,
the Police Department took the minimum possible action and did not
- In Battleford a Native person was sentenced to 10 years jail time for
being responsible for collisions causing 6 deaths. In Ontario a man
responsible for 7 deaths and 25,000 poisonings received 9-months of
House Arrest. In Alberta a RCMP who shot and killed a man in jail
received a 4-year House Arrest sentence; 2 jail-guards who knocked a
youth into an elevator shaft to fall to his death received no punish-
ment; a Police officer who shot and killed 1 man (a Native) and killed
a boy while speeding in his cruiser (without lights or signal on)
received no punishment; a woman who killed 2 people while driving
drunk the wrong way on a one-way street received a suspended sentence.
(In the meantime, the guy who threw a pie at Premier Klein received a
NATIONAL SOCIAL IMBALANCE
In Canada Native inmates make up 75% of the jail population (with the
result that most are recruited into Native gangs), though Natives only
make up 20% of the Canadian population. As any Social scientist will
attest, that means that there is a basic problem in society - not just a
problem in Native society.
Many in society would like to see this as evidence that Native People are
a pathalogical group, or "uncivilized", prone to violence and crime.
In fact, Native people also have much higher rates of illness and disease
than the society average. Tuberculosis and diabetis are 300% higher.
Of course, some would say that this is because Natives are inherently
careless of health, and "naturally a dirty people".
Native society has a disproportionately high level of prostitution and
Again, some would say that this merely shows that the Native society lacks
Native society has a disproportionately high incidence of alcohol and drug
abuse and addiction.
NONE of these traits existed in traditional aboriginal society.
They first began to show up among those aboriginal peoples who resided
around white settlements. Observer after observer over the past 300 years
has commented on this phenomena.
In reality, it turns out that the maladapted traits in Native society are
part of a complex found world wide among the marginalized an poor, known
as the "Culture of Poverty".
These traits are found world-wide, from Europe to Asia to South America
among the poor and marginalized. It is found in Belfast and Berlin, in
Bombay and Buenos Airies, in Boston and Botswana.
It is in fact a social problem symptomatic of the larger society in which
these Poor are a marginalized minority group.
The real eye-opening fact is that whatever social problems or trends are
to be found on the reserve or in the ghetto will be found in the larger
society within 10 years.
This is true of all social trends.
- if reserve/ghettos have 80% single mothers, within 10 years larger
society will be approaching that number.
- if reserve/ghettos have 60% drug addiction, within 10 years larger
society will be approaching that number.
- if reserves/ghettos show an increase in violent crimes, within 10 years
larger society will be approaching that number.
- if reserve/ghettos show an increase in poor health, within 10 years
larger society will be approaching those numbers.
- if reserve/ghettos show a low literacy, within 10 years larger society
will be approaching those numbers.
This, above all, is a clear indication that there is a fundemental social
issue at work here. Native society, in fact, is an early warning to what
can be expected to happen to larger society.
Very simply, policies implemented to improve problems in Native society
will have a corresponding beneficial impact on larger society.
And finally, it is the people in the "Culture of Poverty" - those who have
nothing to lose - who eventually become the foot-soldiers in anti-social and
anti-establishment uprisings. Gangs are the first stage in this latter
process. Once these gangs consolidate the process of "Radicalization" will
NO PROTECTION FOR HISTORIC BURIALS AND CEMETERIES
"One of the hallmarks of a civilized society is how
we respect the dead."
(Supreme Court Justice Sterling Sanderman 2008)
"Every human being should have a name and be known
by that name."
re: Sidney Goodwin, the "Unknown Child" from the Titanic, for who's
identity considerable resources were spent, finalized by DNA testing.
"Salvage archaeologists - gleaners as they are called
- work behind, around and ahead of the bulldozers..."
(National Geographics 1982 162:1:1).
City Destroys Ancient Cemeteries
Indian Gardens Cemetery
111 St. Burial Report
There are some 300 known unprotected cemeteries and
burials in Alberta. The reason they are unprotected
because they are Historic burials or cemeteries, or non-christian burials.
These burials include burials and cemeteries at old trading posts, old
frontier settlements, old pioneer settlements, aboriginal burials, the
Rossdale Burial Area in Edmonton with over 400 burials, a valley in the
mountains with over 200 burials, the Pioneer and Aboriginal cemeteries
in downtown Red Deer, cemeteries at the now-discredited and abhorent
Indian Schools, cemeteries at several old hospitals, an aboriginal burial
area that was in use for over 500 years, a burial area with ceremonial
structures still visible, several burial mounds with mass graves,
including one burial mound complex.
At the Rossdale Burial Area in Edmonton, the City plows thorugh the area
on the average of once every 7 years. Artifacts, skeletal remains and
Putricine (organic remains) have generally ended up in landfills
(recently into the River Bend area). The City's excuse - repeatedly since
1900 - "Gee, we didn't know". This in spite of the fact that old city
maps show the burial area, the city repeatedly runs into these burials,
and the City of Edmonton newspapers come out with an article every 10
years lamenting the destruction of these cemeteries. Portions of the site
area already been paved over or built upon, and now the City of Edmonton
plans to put High-Density Housing on an area known to have undisturbed
Tell the city what you think of this.
At the Sharphead Burials, just outside Ponoka, construction crews go
through the site on the average of once every 15 years, digging up 24
bodies on average.
In Alberta, going through burials scarcely slows down construction.
Because they are 'Historic' burials, and 'unrecorded' burials, and 'not
official cemeteries', as the various bureaucracies are quick to point
out. Alberta Culture says "They have nothing to do with us, graves are
a Municipal Affairs responsibility." Municipal Affairs says that "Other
than recording them, historic graves are not our responsibility, their
administration is the responsibility of Alberta Culture."
The Archaeolgical Survey of Alberta records known archaeological sites,
but claims that "There are no known archaeological burials in Alberta,"
and disturbingly quickly allows development permits in such areas as
the Rossdale Burials and the Sharphead Burials.
This is in complete opposition to policies elsewhere in the world. Most
other governing juresdictions in the Western World have strong legal
protection for historic burials.
- In some Middle Eastern and South Asian countries disturbance, destruction
and vandalism of historic burial sites is punishable by death.
- In many Central and South American contries disturbance, destruction and
vandalism of historic burial sites is subject to severe punishment.
Violaters can be shot on sight.
- In Europe discovery of burials automatically halts any further development
until there is a complete and thorough excavation and examination of the
site using proper archaeological techniques. (In Alberta, such 'thorough
excavation' is generally done using a backhoe!)
- In parts of Europe attempts are made to identify the individual's family
and ethnic connections thorugh DNA analysis.
- In Mexico attempts are made to identify the individual's ethnic
connections through DNA/Bone analysis.
- In England, during the construction of the "Chunnel" (tunnel to France)
they encountered a Historical burial that they were unable to go around.
They meticulously exhumed 1,000 burials and re-buried them at another
site with proper care and reverence.
"Hardly a ditch is dug in London without a survey..."
(National Geographics 1982 162:1:1).
- In Ontario (and most of Canada) discovery of burials brings an immediate
halt to construction. Where the graves are deemed to possibly be
aboriginal, the nearest Native governing authority is contacted for
- In the entire United States (it is Federal law), discovery of any burial
automatically brings a halt to construction pending further proper
examination. Where the graves are deemed to possibly be aboriginal,
the nearest Native governing authority is contacted for further
instruction on what should be done with the site and the remains.
In Alberta the remains end up in landfills, on University display shelves,
on personal mantlepieces, and "lost".
In Alberta, were these Jewish, Chinese, Muslim or even Catholic graves
there would be a major hue and cry. Spray-paint a tombstone in any
graveyard in Alberta and there is an Police investigation. Spray-paint a
tombstone in a Jewish or Muslim cemetery and there is a Hate Crime
Tear up a historic burial area and dump it in the landfill and you get
a Development Permit.
In Alberta even Pet Cemeteries have more protection than do historic
cemeteries and burials. In Calgary there is a roaring issue concerning
the innapropriateness of shutting down a special Pet Burial area at the
There is no roaring debate about digging up Alberta historic burials and
dumping them in a landfill.
As the Archaeological Survey of Alberta (ASA) said, "There are no known
archaeological burials in Alberta" in spite of the fact that people have
been living in Alberta for 10,000 years. When this was pointed out to
the ASA, they modified that statement to say "There are only 4 recorded
burials". To their embarassment, a whole list of such burials was brought
forward. Next they stated that "Nobody knows who these people were."
Depressingly, for the ASA, a list of 150 names of persons buried just at
Rossdale was brought forward. To which the ASA reply was "They have no
connection to any living people." To which it was pointed out that the
personal and family history of ALL of these burials was available, and
a number of persons stepped forward who could document their family
The same was true for the South Edmonton burial that was 'tested' with
a backhoe and a phony story made up without any actual physical evidence
These burials (see 111 st. Burial, Edmonton) are
done to the same standard as burial excavations done by George Bryce,
Henry Montgomery and others in regards to the Manitoba burial mounds in
the 1880's, and which were subsequently censured as how not to conduct
The same is true for the Paspaschew cemetery which the Government continually
insists is not a cemetery in spite of documentation to the contrary.
And so it goes. Continual denial and avoidance by the authorities to
recognize the historic cemeteries and burial sites as deserving of the
same respect and treatment as other burial sites and cemeteries.
Since most of these burials are considered (wrongly) as "Indian" (1), it
begs the question if this is not an institutionalized and systemic biase.
In effect, saying that "These were nothing more than uncivilized, heathen
savages and are not worthy of being treated as other regular humans."
In fact, not only were they ordinary mortals like you and I, they were
also the first of the pioneers and settlers who came to open up the west.
Why do they not deserve the same - indeed more - respect that those of us
who followed, to benefit from their sacrafice.
To help protect these and other heritage and cultural sites, visit
Save Our Sacred Sites
(1) Most of these were original pioneers, traders and settlers. Indeed,
since few were accompanied by female kin, they and their children
had some aboriginal kinship, but such burials include a wide range
of people. Scottish, French and Englishmen working in the fur trade.
Children of the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. Veterans of
the War of 1812 (including a Scottish officer), 20 children who
died of smallpox in September of 1870 at Edmonton. 2 entire families
who died there at the same time.
A Short History of Edmonton's treatment of historic burials
PHOTO DOCUMENTARY OF HISTORIC ALBERTA GRAVES AND BURIALS; Heritage
Consulting; J. Fromhold; 2009 copy online
CREE BURIAL PRACTICES - History and Ethos; Report prepared
for the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission
Copy available from Heritage Consulting $5.00
THE CONSTITUTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
The Canadian Nation is a strange construct. It's constitution - that
masterpiece of compromise and notwithstanding clauses - completely
excludes two of the founding peoples of Canada - the French and the
The Native People by law own the land and - by choice - chose to
share it in a joint venture to develop a nation.
The French explored the land, spread Euro-culture across the land, and
created an respectable, viable and vibrant Euro-Indian culture and nation
throughout the west two centuries before the arrival of the Anglo
farmers and capitalists.
Neither of them are included in the Canadian constitution - or had any
meaningful input into it's creation.
Nor are the Indians of Canada covered under the Human Rights Act of
Canada. According to the Canadian Human Rights Board, they are still not
seen as Humans.
Oddly enough, it was Prime Minister John Diefenbaker who extended both
the Canadian Charter of Rights And Freedoms and Voting Rights to the
Indian Peoples. Oddly, because Diefenbaker was from the Conservative
(aka. Progressive Conservatives, etc.) - the party least sympathetic
(and can characterized as hostile) to the aboriginal population. Under
Prime Minister Stephen Harper the Conservative Party is one of the 3
nations who refuses to sign onto the United Nations Bill of Aboriginal
Human Rights .
It was under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, of the Liberal Party
(generally seen as benefactors of aboriginal rights) that Indians were
excluded from the Constitution and the Human Rights legislation.
see Delgamuuk v. British Columbia
Reservations are Economic Disaster Areas. Reserve economies are based on
"Transfer Payments", which is a polite way of saying "Welfare Payments",
of one form or another. The finances are generally mismanaged and the
management is not accountable. Most reserves have no viable local
economy. Not one reserve in Alberta has a viable economy.
(One of these 'transfer payments' are Resource Royalties, which is money
received in payment for the sale/extraction of oil, gas and other
resources, is legitimately not a 'welfare payment'. However, unlike what
most non-natives think, this is not an automatic payment to all Indians.
Only a few bands have the good fortune to have oil and gas. Most others
get nothing. Zero. Zilch.)
(These royalties MUST by paid out, by government law, which is why at
places like Samson reserve kids get HUGE payouts on turning 18 - when they
collect the funds put aside for them up to that age. One girl I know
received $200,000. Within two years she was on welfare.)
To become economically successful you have to leave the reserve. You can
not become economically successful on a reserve unless you are a Chief or
Councillor (or favoured relation), with hands in the financial pockets.
It is not entirely the fault of the reserve. After all, their role model
is the Government of Canada, specifically the Department of Indian Affairs
(arguably the most mismanaged department in the Government of Canada - and
that's saying something), rather than corporate industry.
By and large, the attitude from the Chief on down is "Somebody has to give
me more." The idea of entrepreneurship, self-development and
self-sufficiency are virtually unknown on reserves. Those who do try
usually give up to the epidemic known as Credit. Everyone on the reserve
wants Credit and, since you are their cousin, you should give it to them.
I'm sure that by now some reader will take umbrage with what I have just
written. So let me give you a bit of insight.
Our family is from Beaver Lake Reserve. It is an economic basket case.
We left. So did most of our extended family (some 400 persons).
Not that there is no potential. In the 1950's to 1960's there was the
Beaver Lake Garment factory which produced a national line of clothing
for Hudson's Bay stores and others. They could not get a reliable work
force, and eventually closed. In the 1970's an investor was interested
in opening a cattle operation on the reserve; 'Great' said the reserve,
'you develop and operate it, but we'll be the owner'. In the 1980's an
investor offered to invest $6 Million in a joint partnership in a resort
development. He is still waiting for a reply.
Reserves are all crying about not having enough housing. On several
reserves individuals have wanted to move in houses for themselves or to
develop local housing units. They have not been permitted to do so
because a private individual can not legally own a house on a reserve.
Saddle Lake Reserve loses about $4 Million a year to the nearby community
of St. Paul because it is unable to develop local businesses.
Samson and Ermineskin First Nations are the wealthiest in Canada. Welfare
and unemployment run at 60-80% on these reserves. The Stoney Reserve, once
the wealthiest reserve in Canada, has returned to being a basket case -
worse now than it was before it's windfall. Enoch Reserve, also formerly
Canada's wealthiest reserve, also tumbled back into being a basket case
before getting some reprieve by the development of a casino (at usury
No reserve-developed business has ever been successful. Even the once
highly-regarded role model, Kainai Industry, finally succumbed to
nepotism, mismanagement and ennui after a little over a decade. All too
often someone with no training, skill or experience is put in charge.
The Stoney Reserve has operated an Arts and Crafts store for 40 years,
of which they are very proud. It has never made a profit.
Louis Bull Nation operates (when it is operating) a gas-station/restaurant/
store on Alberta's bussiest highway, but can't seem to keep the place
operating as a financial success. A little snack kiosk set up next-door
has truckers lined up in the parking lot and rakes in a bigger profit
than the service station ever did. Two years ago an investor offered to
put $1.5 million into redevelopment of the service station complex. He
is still waiting for a reply.
Samson Nation grocery store - serving a market of 15,000 people, can not
manage to operate successfully. Down the road a store of about the same
size, serving 5,000, is hugely successful.
At one point Beaver Lake opened a store and gas station (on the cheap).
It failed. Councillors had a habit of taking out cartons of cigarettes
(and whatever else) without bothering to put it on the tab.
Stoney Reserve was one of the first to open a gas station/convenience
store back around 1970. They have never been able to make it viable,
except when leased out to a Chinese-Canadian family. Similar situations
exist on other reserves.
Beaver First Nation operates a very successful farming operation - but
only because it is leased out. Sitting with Chief Harvey we used to
discuss economic opportunities. His lament was always that, yes, it could
be a good development - but where would he get reliable labour?
Reserves have developed a culture of dependency, from the Chief on down
to pre-schoolers. The prevailing attitude is that something is needed,
and somebody else should be providing it. Listen to Victor Buffalo's
constant lament that somebody should be giving Samson Nation more money
for something or other (in all honesty, in this he sounds no different
than Mayors Mandel and Bronconier of Edmonton and Calgary).
Two occasions in the past indicated to me how ingrained this attitude is.
Some years ago at Saddle Lake a gent in his late 40's mentioned to me that
he felt his welfare cheque was not enough and that the Band should be
giving him more money. When I asked why, his reply was "Because that's
their job". Trying to explain to him what income and taxes were, and where
the Band got it's money from did not seem to be comprehensible to him.
One day in the store in Fort Vermilion I overheard a conversation between
a single mother and young son. Mother was explaining to son that they
could not afford some particular goodie at that time, until their (welfare)
cheque arrived, and that they needed to buy more important things just
then (like food). The young boy's plaintive response was "Man, I can't
wait until I get my own cheque", and, after a moment's thought "Oh man,
it'll be forever before I get my own cheque."
Understand that most people living on reserves have lived in this system
all their life and know the outside only by rubbing elbows with it. This
is the way the world works, this is real life, as far as they know.
Few understand what world economics is outside the reserve - but they are
certain that these outsiders a cheating somehow and holding them back
somehow. Those who do try to break their dependencies on others, or to
engage in capitalism economy (and more and more are realizing that it
has to be broken), find it a hard and steep learning curve - one not
encouraged on the reserve.
Which is sad, since reserves and aboriginal culture is almost naturally
structured and organized for corporate success. All it lacks is the
management and vision.
Let's start with a question:
Why is it acceptable for a Sikh member of the RCMP to wear
a modified uniform to express their cultural biase, but not
A Sikh can wear a turban, but an aboriginal CAN NOT wear
feathers or braids.
For that matter, why is it allowed for a Sikh school student to wear
a 'ceremonial dagger' (actually, KINDJAHL means 'sword', and have
been used for less than ceremonial reasons in certain brawls) while
an aboriginal student found with a knife (also a required ceremonial
object in some traditional Service groups, with a history of several
hundred years) is expelled? An aboriginal youth is only allowed to
wear a knife when dancing at a pow-wow to entertain whites and tourists.
Census Canada reprorts there are some 400,000 'Native American Indian'
Canadians, or about 2.5% of the Canadian population. Because of the
identification system used by Census Canada this is grossly under-
reported by about 90%. The Census Canada system was initially designed
to benefit the numbers reporting of the Anglo and French communities -
a remnant of an inbuilt colonial bias by Central Canada. However, the
system now actually benefits the immigrant community.
Statistics Canada uses a still different set of numbers. As a Visible
Minority (those not mistaken as Southeast Asian, Arab of Latino),
they account 6% of the population as 'Native'.
In point of fact, Canadians of aboriginal descent account for about
35% (or more) of the Canadian population. This makes them the largest
ethnic group in Canada.
The Census Canada system of under-reporting aboriginal affiliation
constitutes Statistical Genocide, if not actual Cultural Genocide and
Ethnic Genocide. It is part of the Institutionalized Discrimination
built into Canadian laws and policies.
Like Racism, Institutionalized Discrimination is a pervasive part of
life, and rarely recognized by the average citizen. The average
citizen normally considers him/her-self as a good citizen, following
the rules, regulations and norms of society as required. Unless you
are on the receiving end of discrimination you rarely notice anything
but overt discrimination. Few persons would consider themselves as
Racist or Prejudiced. However, Institutionalized Discrimination is
built into numerouls laws and proceedures, and not always obvious, as
in the above Census Canada case. Laws are often designed to - or
applied so as to - minimize the rights of or recognition of the rights
of the disadvantaged group.
The Province of Alberta is the worst offender in Canada in this respect,
going so far as to disregard Supreme Court of Canada rulings.
Cree/Chippewa is the predominate aboriginal language in Canada.
People growing up in Cree-speaking homes number over 1,000,000
This is about 3% of the population, making it the 3rd largest
language group (Statistics Canada reports that only .3% of
Canadians speak ANY Native language.
Child Poverty 1:4 1:10
Incarceration 20% of all inmates*
* for a population accounting for 2.3% of the population. This is
generally used to 1) state that aboriginals in incarceration are
over-represented in the prison population (hence there is a social
problem), or 2) that aboriginals are naturally criminals (hence
there is a social problem). This is actually a badly misleading
statistic because Census Canada and Corrections Canada use two very
different methods of counting heads. Corrections Canada's system is
more in accord with the system that recognizes that 35% (or more) of
Canadians are of aboriginal ancestry so, in actuality, aboriginals
are under-represented in the prison population (but a certain
segment of the aboriginal problem appears to be over-represented,
hence there is a social problem).
EMPLOYMENT (Statistics Canada Figures)
Without going into details, the gross figures are:
Looking for Employment 50%
Employed Full Time 15%
Average income for Fully Employed 50% of average of Anglo workers
Sex Trade workers 75% of workers
The indications herein are that the although actively searching for
inclusion in the work force, the aboriginal worker has less chance
of gaining full-time employment than any other group in Canada, and
when they do, it is principally in the lowest-paid jobs.
In other words, aboriginals are overtly denied opportunity in the
The principal opportunity for females for entering the work force and
earning a meaninful income is in the sex trade, where they are fully
The principal opportunity for males for entering the work force and
earning a meaninful income is in criminal activity, where they are
HEALTH (Statistics Canada)
Incidence of Health Problems on Reserves 300x National average
HOUSING (Statistics Canada)
Average persons per bedroom 8
Substandard Housing 97%
SUICIDE (Statistics Canada)
Aboriginals have the highest rate of suicide in Canada. In personal
statistics they differ significantly from the average Canadian
WELFARE (Statistics Canada) 24% of welfare recipients
* Consider that 1/2 of all aboriginals live in semi-isolated
communities that have few employment opportunities. In one such
community of 500 there are 36 jobs - 12 of them open to local
ETHNIC CLEANSING AND CULTURAL COLONIALISM IN CANADA
In the 1870's the State of Canada undertook a policy of confining
Indians on Reservations. This Reservation policy was studied and
adapted by other countries, where they became known as Concentration
Camps, Townships and Homelands.
In legal/technical terms, this is known as Ethnic Cleansing.
The State of Canada has resorted to Ethnic Cleansing on two other
subsequent occasion: in 1914 against the Ukrainian community, and in
1940 against the Japanese community. The policies targeting the
Ukrainian and Japanese communities were rescinded after a few years -
those against Aboriginal Canadians have not.
Hand-in-hand the Government of Canada and of the Provinces of Canada
also implemented policies aimed at destruction of the Aboriginal
culture. These included making it illegal for Canadian Indians to
- own property or make wills
- hold, sponsor or participate in indiginous religious and
- give away property free of charge (including Christmas gifts)
- hold or sponsor feasts (including inviting friends over for
- use mechanical equipment for agricultural practices
- own cattle
- buy or sell any product grown on a reservation
- leave the Reservations without a Pass
- raise money to challenge government Indian policies
- question government Indian policies
This Colonialist policy was - and still is - ingrained in Government
policies and legislation. Antrhopologists and Sociologists call such
practices Cultural Genocide.
The Government of Canada has since become somewhat more liberal, and
now allows Supreme Court Challenges. INVARIABLY the Supreme Court of
Canada has ruled in favour of the aboriginal rights claims when brought
before the court.
Still, such Colonialist policies and behavior are alive and well in
the government. See for example the case of the 2011 Jasper Park Totem Pole
Colonialist policies are especially alive and well in the governments
of the Provinces of Canada, the Province of Alberta being the most
notorious. See for example
LEGAL GOVERNMENT DISCRIMINATION
1. HUMAN RIGHTS
2. SPOUSAL RIGHTS
3. ELECTORAL RIGHTS
4. CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS
6. AND THE LAW
7. NATIONAL SOCIAL IMBALANCE
NO PROTECTION FOR HISTORIC BURIALS AND CEMETERIES
THE CONSTITUTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
MISSING NATIVE WOMEN
Canada has repeatedly been censured by the United Nations for it's
treatment of the indiginous aboriginal people.
Canada is the ONLY nation that has refused to accept the UNITED
NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGINOUS PEOPLE.
Cultural Colonialism is alive and well in Canada - the Self-Proclaimed
BASTION OF MULTI-CULTURALISM.
It is a truism that the more a country brags about how tolerant and
progressive it is, the less it is so in reality.
The term 'Indian' in Canada is bandied about with a number of different
imprecise meanings. For a partial explanation take a look at point 17 in
the Background section, above.
However, the term 'Indian Status' is a precise legal term. It means someone
who is of patrelineal descent from a male who signed a Treaty with the
Government of Canada and whose name (lineage) is still on the Indian Register,
no paternal ancestor having been enfranchised or terminated from Indian
Treaty status was/is not descendant on the female line except in some cases
where children are born out or wedlock and the father is 'Indian' or unknown.
Historically a person could lose 'Indian Status' for any number of reasons
that were unilaterally - and inconsistently - applied by the Government of
Canada. This could include any one of a number of reasons:
- joining the armed forces
- getting an education
- getting a job
- living off the reserve
- becoming economically successful
and so on.
To further complicate the issue in the 1980's bands were permitted to implement
their own 'Traditional Membership' rules. Effectively, this allowed Band
Councils to throw out anyone they did not like and to take in persons they
liked. Since most band political structures are badly skewed towards certain
families, this meant that certain families were threatened with expulsion and
various families of dubious affiliation were admitted. Not one of these
'Traditional Membership' systems actually follows Traditional Law.
The issue of women and their children losing their status because of their
sex became a Human Rights and legal issue in the 1960's and in the 1980's
a specious attempt was made to bury the issue. In Bill C-34 you were elegible
for 'reinstatement' if your Grandmother was Treaty at time of birth. Not your
Great Grandmother or any earlier matrelineal ancestor. Furthermore, it does
not guarantee inclusion of your spouse or of your descendants. There is now
the threat that the second generation after reinstatement will again be
terminated, based on the 'Second Grandmother' clause - that two grandmothers
Many bands refuse to accept the C-34 Indians back into their community. Mainly
the established power group fears losing it's support base or the Band fears
a dilution of their finances.
No such complexities accompany the male lineages, where the spouse automatically
receives 'Indian Status' even if they were Martian or a Dolphin.
This in spite of the fact that virtually NO Cree (and others) families can
trace their ancestry to an Indian via the paternal line - only on the maternal
Now the Merchant Law Group in Saskatchewan has launched
a Class Action for wrongful denial of reinstatement due
to the 'Second Grandmother' clause. If you think you are
affected by this, by all means get involved.
Remember, though, you are going to need documentation of your genealogical
There are still a whole number of other issues to resolve pertaining to
wrongful termination. Watch for them or, better yet, get them rolling.
We often get asked about Metis Status - how do we qualify.
Good Question. Seems the Metis associations are determined to screw up
Years ago I had the good fortune to know Adrian "Pete" Hope, the last of
the survivors of the group who founded the Indian Association of Alberta
and the Metis Association of Alberta (which both in turn developed the
Saskatchewan branches and all subsequent Metis Association branches).
Pete stated that the intent on founding these two organization was that
1. The Indian Association was to be a voice and active promoter of
issues dealing with "Indians" as defined by law. That is, Treaty
Indians (see above). Membership was to be open to ALL Treaty Indians.
2. The Metis Association was to be a voice and active promoter of
issues dealing with ALL OTHER ABORIGINALS NOT HAVING TREATY STATUS.
Their definition of 'all other aboriginals' was "anyone who has some
Since then these Metis Associations have become increasingly picky about
who they want as members, and the aboriginal movement continues to become
ever more fragmented, playing right into the hands of the 'Divide and
Conquer' policies that have driven the Canadian governmental bodies ever
since they arrived in the Americas.
Now the Metis Associations have gotten in their head that only 'Metis
Citizens" are entitled to be bona-fide members of their associations,
and all others of aboriginal descent are second-class members.
To be a Metis Citizen you have to be able to prove descent from the Red
River Metis Nation (and the concomitant that certain families are 'Metis
Give me a break.
Firstly, as any researcher knows, it is easy enough to determine if a
particular family is of aboriginal/metis descent. However, it can be
damned difficult - and expensive - to prove this by legal documents
simply because such documentation for the time period is notoriously
poor, nonexistent, incomplete, inaccurate, and often found under
various alternative local names.
Secondly, the issue of a Metis Nation.
Let's put this dog to rest.
There was no Metis Nation in any acceptable definition of the word.
There WERE a number of local autonomous self-governing settlements
scattered throughout the northwest. Some of these, indeed, had
bylaws that might be considered as constitutions, and had some form
of democratic electoral government, though more often leadership
devolved upon respected members of the community without voting.
Largest of these settlements were the Red River-Pembina settlements,
consisting of a number of independent autonomous settlements strung
along the Assiniboin and Red Rivers. There was no overall single
governing body. The appointment of a Warden of The Plains (who had
no actual authority anyway) by the Hudson's Bay Company does not
constitute the Metis being a Nation.
The declaration of a Nation and forming of a Cabined by Louis Riel
does not constitute the existence of such a Nation in fact. After
all, Riel claimed to be only a colonial/Provincial government. The
'Nation' had little real participation outside a few of the local
settlements around Fort Garry, had no recognition by any other Nation,
and only lasted a few weeks.
Perhaps the best claim to there being a Metis Nation rests in the
the existence of the Selkirk Colony. Though the Selkirk Colony
technically consisted only of the Selkirk settlers - one of the
various independent communities in the Red River-Pembina area, it did
have legal status. Over the years the Selkirk settlement came to
include some of the Red River Metis, being those who lived within the
boundary of the Selkirk Grant, although the Metis fought hard (and
won) the principle that the rules and laws of the settlement did not
apply to their ethnic group. Eventually -with the inclusion of the Metis
settlements - this morphed into the colonial property and Province of
Manitoba. In the creation of the Province of Manitoba metis rights
were recognized, and metis members were appointed to the governing
bodies. Before this, there had not been a unified national Metis
About the time of the creation of the Province of Manitoba a large
percent of the Metis population moved out.
As to the metis outside the Red River, these settlements, as I said,
were independent and self-governing. They had NO obligations or
subservience to the Red River settlements. They were totally independent,
ansering to no higher authority than their own community. No Nation
there. Not even yet at the City-State stage of growth.
As for the Metis who left Red River, they followed the same pattern as
had all metis settlements - independent and autonomous communities.
A number of these metis settled in the Batoche area, establishing
several neighboring settlements. In 1884-85 these settlements acted
in accord but still as independent communities. They had no
recognition by any other Metis settlements as having any authority
over them and were not recognized as a Nation by anybody. Under Louis
Riel they formed a central governing cabinet declaring themselves an
independent Municipal governance. Again, it lasted only a few weeks.
So give it up. A Metis Nation did not exist.
That does not mean that it could not be created. Indeed, that is a
lofty goal. Such unity and unification should be pursued. That, in
fact, was the original goal that the Metis Association was created
with - a Unified body that would speak for all Metis.
I guarantee you that it WILL NOT be created by restricting or making
ever more limiting membership rules or ever-more aboriginal groups.
For example. CONGRESS OF ABORIGINAL PEOPLES. Who the Hell are they?
They claim to speak for "all aboriginal people". Never heard of them
before about a year ago when the President was appointed to the
Senate of the Government of Canada by Prime Minister Steve H.
An outfit that represents us, of which we have never heard, no-one
has ever voted on, has no card-carrying membership body, has no
presence outside Ottawa and no e-mail or address that it can be
Hey, by that standard I am a representative of all aboriginals too.
Gets a lot of government funding though. I don't get any.
Turns out it is a Conservative Front organization created by the P-C
party who appointed Brazeau as President with a salary around $130,000
per year or more, not to mention operating costs, expenses, travel
budget, etc. Brazeau had been an active P-C worker in the party since
age 13. Thought this organization the P-C's can claim a working
relationship with the representatives of the aboriginal community.
Just what we need. Another do-nothing non-representative self-
appointed party scamming money for "administrative costs" and
meetings (read Bingo - oops - update that to Casino).
Everyone wants to be a chief.
Same old same old - Too Many Chiefs, Not Enough Indians.
Get back to basics - all-inclusive membership in one national
organization. That's where the political power lies.
As for getting into the Metis Associations today, be prepared to
spend a lot of time and money. They don't really want you.
It is easier to get recognition as an Indian in the United States
than as a Metis in Canada.
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that ALL Canadians of Aboriginal Descent
have Aboriginal Rights by reason of their descent from the original occupants
and inhabitants of this country, excepting in such cases where these rights
have been voluntarily surrendered by Treaty.
No rights not specifically surrendered in a Treaty with the Government of
Canada are deemed as not having been surrenderd. This means essentially that
ALL rights - human, politica, property, etc. - are still retained by the
These rights are A PRIORI rights that supercede all subsequent legislation.
These rights can not be done away with, denied, limited or changed by any
level of government or government agent or agency excepting by Treaty
between the pertinent aboriginal group and the Government of Canada.
Technically (though there is some variation between different Treaties),
NO RIGHTS HAVE BEEN SURRENDERED.
Aboriginal peoples still retain ownership of the land, resources, cultural
sites and all other properties.
Aboriginal peoples still retain political sovreignity.
By and large, the Provinces are refusing to accept this or to try to limit
the implications and applications, contrary to the Supreme Court ruling.
This is especially true for the Government of Alberta which still
essentially tries to impose a racist colonial policy.
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Irene & Jen making dried meat home on the Range, 1970's; the tipi design
has been owned by the family for over 100 years.