v.01.01.12

718 - TOM OJO - CANADA 1-403-885-2991
Search Copyright Ordering Home About Sign In Contact Us
Welcome to

ABORIGINAL ISSUES

thank you for dropping in

This pages is sponsored by


Heritage Consulting is the largest source of information on Western Canadian, Fur trade and Aboriginal history and genealogy in North America. You may be interested in following some of the information links below. ALBERTA SITES
Eurasian Peoples

NATIVE, WESTERN CANADIAN & FUR TRADE

  • History
  • Studies
  • Alberta Archaeological Sites
  • Bibliography
  • Genealogies
  • Biographies
  • Historic Maps
  • Native Studies
  • Native Sites
  • Tribes/Nations
  • First Nations Home Pages
  • Native Women
  • Native Cultural Museums
  • Historic Photos
  • Native Tourism
  • Native Book Reviews Top of Page Home Page

    ABORIGINAL ISSUES

    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 "Indians". 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 including Afghanistan. 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 "Canada's Niggers". 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 Minister! CANADA WAS THE LAST COUNTRY TO SIGN THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGINOUS PEOPLES. and still strongly resists recognizing and implementing those rights. Shame on you and your crass opportunism Prime Minister Harper. Tell our Prime Minister what you think of this.

    DIRECTORY

    ATTAWAPISKAT AND MISMANAGEMENT

    BACKGROUND

    ABORIGINAL LAW

    HERITAGE RESOURCES MISMANAGEMENT

    HOBBEMA EXPULSIONS: Social Breakdwon

    OILPATCH TOLLS

    NATIVE WARRIOR SOCIETIES

    BILL 49

    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 8. BURIALS

    NO PROTECTION FOR HISTORIC BURIALS AND CEMETERIES

    THE CONSTITUTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS

    RESERVATION ECONOMICS

    INDIAN STATUS

    METIS STATUS

    ABORIGINAL RIGHTS

    MISSING NATIVE WOMEN

    SOCIOLOGY

    HOMELESSNESS

    ETHNIC CLEANSING AND CULTURAL COLONIALISM IN CANADA

    BACKGROUND

    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 Indian Nation. 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 STATES. 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 explanation. 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 as discussed. 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 languages present. 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 Office. 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 'Blanket Indian'. 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 Inuit people. Again largely a purely legal definition. Most 'Non-Status Indians' are of various degrees of mixed Indian/European ancestry. 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. Approximate populations: Canada 35,000,000 Aboriginal Descent 12,000,000 Aboriginal 3,000,000 Metis 350,000 Status Indian 290,000 Non-Status Indian 15,000 Aboriginal Laws

    OILPATCH TOLLS

    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 these rights. 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 outsiders. 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 Kline. (Since we have posted this the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled this law as illegal.) Administrative Office 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 Dear Sir: 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 clarification. 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 resource extraction. 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 absurd idea. 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: Deputy Premier Minister, Community Development Minster, Aboriginal Affairs Pearl Calahison Leader of the Opposition M.L.A. Alberta MuseumsDirector Or the two tame "Uncle Toms" Pearl Calahison Mike Cardinal

    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

    Aboriginal Laws Canada still has racial discrimination against Native persons institutionalized in law. 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 rulings.

    HUMAN RIGHTS

    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. Legal Murder

    SPOUSAL RIGHTS

    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 Native community. 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.

    ELECTORAL RIGHTS

    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 running elections. 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 nepotism. 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 aboriginal group. 4. The ERCB has the sole authority to determine who represents an aboriginal group. 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 Aboriginal Laws

    NON-INDIAN CHIEFS

    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 chiefs. Many Nehiyaw-Pwat Chiefs were not necessarily from the community, and some not particularly Indian. Many actually started as foreigners or had non- Indian fathers. 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 the Reserve. 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 prosecute. - 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 2-year sentence).

    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 sinlge mothers. Again, some would say that this merely shows that the Native society lacks morality. 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 have begun.

    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

    Henderson Cemetery Indian Gardens Cemetery Ritchie Cemetery
    Rossdale Cemeteries 111 St. Burial Report Aboriginal Laws 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 graves. 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. Why? 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 consultation. - 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 investigation. 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 local landfill. There is no roaring debate about digging up Alberta historic burials and dumping them in a landfill. Why? 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 connection. 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 present. 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 burial excavations. 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 Natives. 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

    RESERVATION ECONOMICS

    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 terms). 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.

    SOCIOLOGY

    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 for aboriginals? 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. POPULATION 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. INSTITUTIONALIZED DISCRIMINATION 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. LANGUAGE 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 Aboriginal National Child Poverty 1:4 1:10 INCARCERATION 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% Unemployed 31% 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 work force. The principal opportunity for females for entering the work force and earning a meaninful income is in the sex trade, where they are fully accepted. The principal opportunity for males for entering the work force and earning a meaninful income is in criminal activity, where they are fully accepted. HEALTH (Statistics Canada) Incidence of Health Problems on Reserves 300x National average Tuberculosis 300% Diabetes 600% Life Expectancy female 37 male 34 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 suicide. AVERAGE ABORIGINAL ------------ ------------ Male Male Protestant Catholic Wealthy Poor Married Unmarried 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 native residents.

    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 ceremonial practices - give away property free of charge (including Christmas gifts) - hold or sponsor feasts (including inviting friends over for dinner) - 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 ceremony. 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 MISMANAGEMENT BILL 49 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 8. BURIALS LEGAL MURDER NO PROTECTION FOR HISTORIC BURIALS AND CEMETERIES THE CONSTITUTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS MISSING NATIVE WOMEN HOMELESSNESS 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. Land Claim

    INDIAN STATUS

    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 status. 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 were non-treaty. 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 line.

    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 descent. There are still a whole number of other issues to resolve pertaining to wrongful termination. Watch for them or, better yet, get them rolling.

    METIS STATUS

    We often get asked about Metis Status - how do we qualify. Good Question. Seems the Metis associations are determined to screw up the issue. 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. Period! Their definition of 'all other aboriginals' was "anyone who has some aboriginal ancestry". 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 Royalty'). 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 government. 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 contacted by. 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.

    ABORIGINAL RIGHTS

    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 aboriginals. 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.


    Irene & Jen making dried meat home on the Range, 1970's; the tipi design has been owned by the family for over 100 years.

    Return to Home Page
    Search Copyright Ordering Home About Sign In Contact Us