BY FAX AND BY MAIL September 11, 1995The Carter Center
I am legal counsel for a handful of traditionalist Indians in North, Central and South America. The tie that binds them is a belief that they are under a moral imperative now to exercise their existing legal aboriginal rights, specifically so as to apprehend not only the allegedly ongoing genocide of their people in the Americas but also the ecocide that seems to them to threaten the earth and hence all other peoples.
Existing natural, international and constitutional law prima facie precludes the application to territory that has not yet been ceded to or purchased by (in Canada) the Crown or (in the United States) the Federal Government of the non-native domestic law pursuant to which the said genocide and ecocide are occurring.
Furthermore, that higher law also dictates that the question whether any given tract of land still has not been ceded or purchased is within the exclusive jurisdiction of an independent and impartial third party tribunal. Established law since at least 1704 has recognized that it would run profoundly counter to the integrity of the rule of law for either the domestic courts of the natives or the domestic courts of the newcomers to have an interpretive monopoly over that question of land surrender. To allow one or the other to judge the dispute would be in effect to make the one or the other both suitor and judge in the same case. And that is anathema to the rule of law.
Some of my clients, namely those presently under siege at Gustafsen Lake British Columbia, are at risk of being murdered by police who are allegedly acting beyond the scope of any legal police jurisdiction. At Ipperwash Provincial Park in Ontario, a region where I act for a hereditary chief who has asked the domestic courts to address the law that precludes their own (and hence the police's) jurisdiction, an Indian man recently has been shot and killed in a similar allegedly ultra vires police siege. There is a risk that the Indian traditionalists will more generally stand upon their legal rights and, in consequence, arguably be murdered.
Can you somehow intervene so as politically to broker a solution that will allow this continental conflict to be submitted to the appropriate independent and impartial third party tribunal and resolved upon the basis of existing law rather than upon the anti-law basis of force majeur?
Sincerely, Bruce Clark