PO Box 574, Station P
SUBJECT: SELF GOVERNMENT POLICY (Framework for the Implementation of the Inherent Right and the Negotiation of Self-Government) TO: THE PEOPLE OF CANADA PRIME MINISTER JEAN CHRETIEN, CANADAAugust 23, 1995
On behalf of the members, supporters and friends of the Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with the Native Peoples (CASNP), this is to state that we object completely to the proposed "Framework for the Implementation of the Inherent Right and the Negotiation of Self-Government". It is a document that is dishonest and destructive to the Aboriginal people and nations; meant to mislead and misinform both the Aboriginal and Canadian people; designed to disclaim Aboriginal sovereignty, rights and nationhood, to steal all the Aboriginal lands and resources once and for all, and to achieve the total assimilation of the Indigenous peoples.
We can see that you put a lot of effort into disguising it as something good for the Indians - a wolf in sheep's clothing meant to devour the Indians. It is Canada's "slow genocide package" because it will take two generations for the Indian people to dissolve into the "mosaic melting pot" you are creating for them.
Your government continues to commit acts of aggression and oppression upon Aboriginal people. This framework agreement is in reality a plan on how to outwit the Aboriginal people in order to impose new land, taxation and control regimes upon them. These proposed laws will violate their aboriginal and treaty rights and effectively take from them their land and resources, acts that are reminiscent of the disastrous Indian termination policy of 1950's in the United States which was revoked because it was so destructive and inhuman.
We are aware that Canada is borrowing from the United States system of control, in which tribal governments control all governing, economic and social structures. There is little free enterprise or private businesses. How do they do this? The tribal councils start all the businesses such as joint ventures with non-Indian people and government agencies. All the permits and profits belong to the tribal council. The Indians get jobs within the system but no matter how hard they work, they will never own the company. Only the few at the top control the whole structure. This makes it easier for outside governments to control the reserves and the Indians from within. The decisions are made at the top, filter downward and everybody has to go along with it. It is in the government's best interests to have it this way because it develops corruption at the top, and the government wants corruption. Anyone who is corrupt wants to stay there and the government wants to keep them there. This totalitarian regime is created through control of money and the economy.
As in the past, foreign Canadian law is being forced upon sovereign Aboriginal people, against their will, wishes and best interests. A free people cannot be forcibly drawn into such laws made by outside governments as those outlined in the proposed framework policy. Traditional peoples have never ceased to see themselves as a free people entitled to sovereign homelands in the fullest sense of the word.
We bring to your attention that to Aboriginal, the issue of Sovereignty and Inherent Rights has to be argued as equals. If the Black has a right to sovereignty in Africa, the Yellow in Asia, and even the White in Europe, it must follow that the North American Indigenous people have a similar right to sovereignty on this continent.
Don't think we aren't aware of the duplicity of Canada's position. For as it argues in favour of the Black in South Africa, it adopts an inconsistent oppressive stance towards the Native peoples here, claiming that they are Canadian by forced enfranchisement, and that all the native lands are Canadian, also by violent application of Canadian law.
We remind you that the current struggle for their rights is a "timeless" generation-to-generation extension of their fight for survival and freedom. And it would appear this agreement is going to force the Indians to continue to struggle for what is rightfully theirs. The atrocities the Canadian government committed under the "Indian Act" did not succeed and now is continuing its cruelty by trying a different "candy-coated" approach. Genocide by the Canadian government approach is still genocide.
Since the European invasion of native land Canada destroyed many Aboriginal Federations, Confederations and Nations which, to that point, had stood the test of time. But the ancestry of today's Natives, though they suffered through decades of Euro-centric regimes, would not give in (and never will).
It is in this frame that we see the evolving positions of the Native peoples in Canada today. After more than a hundred years of bitter tears, of astronomical infant mortality rates, suicides, family breakdown, all coinciding with cultural and societal breakdown, even epidemic drug and alcohol abuse, there appeared to be the faintest glimmer of hope at the end of the dark tunnel. Many Aboriginal[s] were poised to follow the shimmering light, with or without Canada's approval. The will to survive as Indigenous nations originates with the first boat of life, not with Canadian parliaments.
The real test now is ascertaining where most Canadians stand, that is, as opposed to the government. The Canadian government - and its supporting institutions of justice, economics, military and paramilitary - has, by its actions in Oka in 1990 proclaimed itself morally bankrupt and unable to deal with the legitimate aspirations of the Aboriginal peoples. We at CASNP acknowledge this moral bankruptcy and instruct our leaders to act otherwise. Continuation of imperial rule and exploitation are the building blocks of an unending violence.
Canada forced Aboriginal people onto ghettoized reservations (similar to the abandoned model of the Blacks' townships of South Africa), using violence and the continual threat of violence to keep them under control.
And so the issues remain tied to survival and recognition that a cultural identity can only flourish if the economic and political bases for which culture springs are owned and controlled by the Aboriginal people.
If the 1990 police and military invasion of Mohawk territories sent any message across Canada, it is that the time for violence as Canadian policy towards Aboriginal people is over. The risk now is that both sides - not just the Aboriginal - would suffer if this Canadian policy continues. Further violence imposed on the Aboriginal population will not end the quest for Native self-identity and self-control. This is a theory that has been proven globally.
According to a recent international report, control of fresh water is the next target of the international monetary elites, which is what Canada has plenty of, located on Indian territories. Hence, could this be one of the reasons for the push to put this framework agreement in place? Do Canadian controllers see a money making opportunity in the future? Is the fresh water to be sold to the rest of the world at Indigenous expense?
This is the challenge of the upcoming decades. The answer will shape Canada's future, as it surely will shape the Indigenous future.
The Indigenous Nations have rights under natural law and in the international community of Nations. By their very existence the Indigenous Nations have a natural and original right to live freely within their own institutions and constitution, with the fundamental right to use and occupy their original land and its resources.
European biases in interpreting the rights of aboriginal and indigenous peoples under international law finally have come to be corrected in the twentieth century, beginning with the International Conference Against the Discrimination of Indigenous People of the Americas in Geneva, 1977. This conference produced the "Declaration of Principles for the Defence of the Indigenous Nations and Peoples of the Western hemisphere". In accordance with Article 7 of the Declaration:
"No state shall assert or claim to exercise any right of jurisdiction over any indigenous nation or group or the territory of such indigenous nation or group unless pursuant to a valid treaty or other agreement freely made with the lawful representatives of the indigenous group or nation concerned. All actions on the part of any state which derogate from the indigenous nation's or group's right to exercise self-determination shall be the proper concern of existing international bodies."It is the position of the majority of First Nations that no jurisdiction over them shall ever be ceded to Canada.
Canada is a member of the United Nations and sworn to uphold its principles. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1948. Article 15 provides for the following:
1) Everyone has the rights to a nationality;This framework policy violates this proclamation.
2) No one may be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality or denied the right to change his nationality.
First Nations have rights accorded every people in the world: the right to their nationality, the right for their nation to exist, and the right to land and territory where they can exercise their own proven government and society. Theirs is the strongest natural legal right known to humans: the aboriginal right.
The past Canadian governments thought they had killed the Aboriginal people by their actions; the present Canadian government wishes to do the same today. We call upon Canadians and their representatives in government to understand that they did not die. The Euro North Americans could not kill them: not with force, which they absorb and increasingly responded to; not with reserves which they turned to their advantage as the bases of their necessary homelands; and not through the imposition of foreign political economic and cultural systems whose hunger for elitist power they have long since recognized and rejected.
We confirm the wisdom of the Canadian people who support the rights of our black, yellow and brown brothers and sisters around the world to own and govern their own homelands. That wisdom must now be extended to the Indigenous peoples of this continent.
We assert that if the government of Canada fails in its wisdom to grow, as many Canadians are now growing, and answers Aboriginal people again with its police, or its troops, the Aboriginal people must and will defend their homelands. That is natural.
The issue is the right of the Indigenous People to full self determination. To avoid further confrontations, discussion must start immediately between Canadian ministers of the highest responsible level and representatives delegated by the Indigenous Nations. We are appalled that Canada would forge ahead with this kind of framework policy.
We ask that your government immediately rescind this policy and begin Nation to Nation negotiations with the First Nations, as equals, according to the International laws that support the position of the Indigenous peoples and to which covenants Canada is a signatory.
We, the members, supporters and friends of the Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with the Native People await your response to our concerns outlined herein. We would also sincerely hope that the Canadian government will respond by rescinding the framework policy as a positive and constructive step towards addressing Indigenous rights. Thank you.
Peace and righteousness,
Kahn-Tineta Horn, President
Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with the Native Peoples/ Alliance Canadienne en Solidarite avec les AutochtonesNational Office