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Chief Terrence Nelson
First Perspective: http://www.firstperspective.ca
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
[SISIS note: The following article is provided for reference only. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]
Ultimatum meets Ultimatum! As Premier Dalton McGuinty and Minister of Indian Affairs Jim Prentice pull out of the Six Nations/Caledonia land claim with ultimatums that the "barricades must come down," First Nations across Canada are issuing their own ultimatums. Last week, 100 Ontario Chiefs walked to the site of the land claim dispute and issued their own warning to Canada. Today Union of British Columbia Chiefs issued full support to Six Nations. In Manitoba, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, representing 64 First Nations, passed a resolution supporting a 24-hour railway blockade set for June 29th 2006, "to force the Canadian government to establish a reasonable time-frame for settlement of land claims."
Chief Terrance Nelson moved the resolution to "send a message, that resource wealth of our lands are what supports every Canadian." Canada is the third largest producer of diamonds, has 10 per cent of the world's forests, and mines 60 metals and minerals. Oil is now over $72 a barrel, up from $10 a barrel in 1999, and there are 1.4 trillion barrels of oil in the tar sands plus hundreds of other oil and gas producing areas. Canada had eight straight federal government budget surpluses, a 2005 reported net worth of $4.5 trillion, and GDP over a trillion dollars. Today the federal government raises far more revenue from its share of resource royalties than it does from income taxes.
Roseau River will block two railway lines going into the United States. At least six other Manitoba First Nations have vowed to block railway lines at the same time. The financial cost of the railway blockades will be in the millions but the real impact is likely to be the international image of Canada. Canada was the United Nations choice as the "best country in the world to live in" for seven straight years, but while Canada was number one on the index, Canadian First Nations communities mired in extreme poverty were set at the 63rd level on the UN scale. Over 6,000 First Nations land claims are now in limbo.
"What pisses me off when I watch the Caledonia violence" said an angry Chief Nelson, "is the immigrants to our lands didn't bring the diamonds or other resources from Europe in their little wooden boats, yet they have the gall to demand we, the owners of the land and resources, must now pay taxes to them on top of their theft." Treaties 1 to 11 representatives went home last week from a Winnipeg conference to seek support in their regions to initiate railway blockades in traditional territories.