[CASNP note: CASNP, Kahnawake M.T. 11 Dec 98 - The following speech was presented by Kahn-Tineta Horn, President of the Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with the Native Peoples, to the City of Toronto Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 1998. It went over well with some and not with others.
"In the last few years I have been to the United Nations in New York City and I wasn't impressed.
THIS IS THE ORGANIZATION THAT IS SUPPOSED TO PROTECT OUR FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS.
THIS IS THE ORGANIZATION THAT SAYS IN ARTICLE 1 OF ITS CHARTER THAT IT IS "BASED ON THE PRINCIPLE OF EQUAL RIGHTS AND SELF DETERMINATION OF PEOPLES".
THIS IS THE ORGANIZATION THAT CLAIMS TO PROMOTE EQUALITY "WITHOUT DISTINCTION AS TO RACE, LANGUAGE, SEX OR RELIGION".
YET once again UN officials representing the dominant states lined up their people to tell us what to do. They controlled the meeting, set the agenda and decided how many questions were asked. And none of our questions were answered.
THERE ARE COMPLICATED EXCUSES FOR THIS. Today, I can only tell you what I know. So this is what I have to say.
Did you know that Canada WAS THE FIRST COUNTRY TO SHUT Indigenous Peoples OUT of international ORGANIZATIONS?
It was Canada that placed Indigenous societies throughout the world on the path to genocide and extinction.
And this happened recently in 1923 & 1924.... IT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST THING CANADA DID WHEN IT STARTED TO SEPARATE ITSELF FROM THE BRITISH EMPIRE AND ACTED AS A STATE ON ITS OWN.
SO I WILL TELL YOU ABOUT HOW Canada's strategy continues to perpetuate this atrocities on Indigenous societies worldwide.
THERE ARE A LOT OF GAPS IN THE WAY CANADA TELLS HISTORY. I BET MOST OF YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT THE IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY NEVER AGREED TO BE PART OF CANADA!
Did you know that the Iroquois Confederacy of Six Nations, near Brantford Ontario, sent a representative, Deskahe, to Geneva in 1923 to apply for membership in the League of Nations?
I AM A CITIZEN OF THE IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY. I WOULD LIKE TO REMIND YOU THAT WE STARTED OFF AS ALLIES OF BRITAIN AND WE NEVER AGREED TO GIVE UP OUR INDEPENDENT STATUS.
We had a democratic government before you had even heard of "responsible government".
When Europeans were having a hard time making it in North America, we were their allies and helped them.
When her colonies revolted in the American War of Independence we moved north and to this day we remain independent British allies.
Things started to go wrong for us when Britain started giving local self-government on our land to European settlers.
Canadians started to ignore us. We did the best we could. They mismanaged our trust funds & allotted our lands without our consent. In the end Canadians started treating us like wards of their Crown and as British subjects. They wanted to assimilate us & they started forcing their laws on us.
How would you feel if the United States started to make laws about stray dogs or collecting taxes in Canada? That's what you did to us! In 1920 we petitioned the Supreme Court of Canada to decide on the legality of the Indian Act and on the interference by the Department of Indian Affairs in our government.
We asked for a constitutional reference, like Canada did on Quebec. But in 1920 Canada refused to let the court hear our case on the advice of Duncan Campbell Scott in the Department of Indian Affairs.
Just think about that. We were complaining about Scott's interpretation of the law & Canada let him decide if our complaint should be heard!
So we petitioned the Governor General. Our petition got sent back to Duncan Campbell Scott.
Then we petitioned the King in England & our petition got sent to the Governor General in Canada. Guess who he sent it to? You guessed it! Duncan Campbell Scott!
We still wanted our issues to be looked at by an impartial third party. So we chose Chief Deskaheh, the Speaker of our Council, to get international help.
Then Canada started to make plans to send the RCMP to invade our territory! That was the last straw! Deskaheh sent a petition to the Queen of the Netherlands because the Netherlands had been our allies back in the days when New York was known as New Amsterdam.
The Netherlands submitted our petition to the League of Nations. But Canada claimed that we were not independent. They got Great Britain to bury our case by putting pressure on the Netherlands. So the League did not considered our case.
You had to be a state to be a member of the League of Nations and Canada thought that they could just tell everyone we were not a state and that would be the end of it.
Then Deskaheh went to Geneva and got the support of Estonia, Persia, Ireland and Panama for the Permanant Court of International Justice to decide whether or not we were a state. The Confederacy is entitled to the respect that is due any other nation in the world according to the criteria of nationhood - having a population, a functioning government, language, culture and a land base.
Well, guess what happened? Canada got the British Empire to lean on all those little states. So...instead of the international court realizing we were a state, people just had to take Canada's word for it that we weren't.
We were still looking for a way to get a neutral investigation of our complaints. So we were looking into arbitration at the Hague. Then Canada found a way to shut us out once and for all.
How? Canada, that great defender of democracy & human rights, quickly got an order in council declaring that our government was going to be replaced with a council elected under Canada's Indian Act.
What would you do if the United States sent in the Marines and announced it wasn't going to deal with the Canadian Prime Minister any more, that it was going to give you a right to vote for Senators and Congressmen? Would you appreciate your free choice to vote in that kind of election?
That's the kind of choice Canada gave us and we didn't like it.
Canada turned its back on our Council where over fifty Chiefs represented our people and held an illegal election.
Guess how many people voted? Only 25!
In October 1924 Canada sent in the RCMP and brutally threw out the Confederacy Chiefs from the Council House. They put in their Council and announced to the world that the Six Nations had a progressive new council, which promptly passed a resolution saying that Deskaheh no longer represented the Six Nations.
This closed the door on our ever getting any neutral adjudication of our issues. To this day Canada insists on dealing with us through its fraudulently imposed Indian Act. And Nations throughout the world HAVE adopted this same position.
Indigenous people everywhere are excluded from the society of nations and this did not change when the League of Nations was replaced by the United Nations.
We are excluded from neutral adjudication of the injustices imposed on us. WE ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE NEGOTIATING TABLE AS EQUAL VOTING MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. All our powerful neighbours have to do TO EXCLUDE US is to claim that our complaints are an "internal domestic concern" and we are left to their mercy that is abusing us.
WE CANNOT HAVE A NEUTRAL ARBITRATOR TO DETERMINE OUR RIGHT TO REPRESENT OUTSELVES.
ACCORDING TO CANADA MIGHT MAKES RIGHT.
Canada's action has gone on to create, in effect, a Department of Indian Affairs within the United Nations to enforce the colonization of Indigenous people worldwide.
Indigenous people everywhere are denied basic human rights and are targets of genocide. We cannot officially ask for help outside the colonizer state that is denying us human rights.
Today Canada lobbies vigorously to deny us a voice at the United Nations and at the international level.
TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO ASK THE CANADIAN PEOPLE...IS THIS REALLY WHAT YOU WANT?
DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN EQUAL RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY....OR DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE COLONIAL POLICIES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND YOUR RACIST INDIAN ACT?
IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE PRINCIPLES SET OUT IN THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER, ISN'T IT TIME TO START TREATING ALL PEOPLE EQUALLY, REGARDLESS OF RACE?
ISN'T IT TIME TO STOP YOUR ASSIMILATIONIST POLICIES AT BOTH THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVEL?
According to documents recently found in the National Archives By William Schabas, of the University of Quebec, John Humphrey, of McGill University, wrote the 48 articles in the draft declaration. He had just been appointed the UN's first commissioner of human rights. There was a conscious strategy within the Canadian government to stop the declaration. Canada said, "We don't like it and we're going to stop it". The Canadian government played a subversive not a supportive role with little regard for human rights. The cabinet intensely disliked a document that baldly stated everybody is equal before the law. They had a deep and abiding fear of economic and social rights. In the end, the Canadian delegation led by Lester B. Pearson did not sign the document.
We are glad the truth about Canada is starting to come out. The problem is not that Aboriginal people did not have the right to vote in Canada. The problem was and continues to be that Canada refuses to recognize Aboriginal jurisdiction and refuses to recognize our true traditional governments. Canada is willing to look for human rights violations overseas but they are not willing to deal with human rights violations here.
Canada hides the fact they are so wealthy because they know now how to take and sell our property. Remember, stolen property that is given to others for their benefit is still stolen property. Canada refuses to deal fairly with the Indigenous nations from whom they stole all the land and resources. But they are so ready to criticize the Asians who finally told off Prime Minister Chretien about their genocidal policies against Indigenous people. Canada refuses to recognize and deal with real Indigenous governments except with their own puppet councils under their own Indian Act.
Canada refuses to subject the relationship between Indigenous Nations and Canada to an third party, violating the first principles of the rule of law, which is the right to an impartial neutral party to mediate disputes. Canada's genocidal practice is to control the tribunal and courts which judge the native people and their issues. They are the judge, jury and executioner.
I SAY TO YOU, ISNT IT TIME TO ACCEPT US AS EQUAL PARTNERS IN THE FUTURE AND LET US PRESENT OUR COMPLAINTS TO INDEPENDENT AND NEUTRAL ADJUDICATORS WHO ARE NOT UNDER THE THUMB OF OUR COLONIZERS?
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