Nov 11/98: Chretien admits binding duty of Royal Proclamation



Canadian Press
November 11, 1998

[SISIS note: The Prime Minister has said that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 enforces a treaty process; this is a remarkable admission. The Royal Proclamation recognizes Indigenous sovereignties and renders criminal the premature occupation of unceded lands by non-native trespassers. Part II paragraphs 1 and 2, and part IV paragraphs 1-5 enacts that Non-native colonizer legislatures and courts do not acquire jurisdiction in and over unceded territory, but rather are enjoined from molesting or disturbing the native nations upon any pretext, fraud or abuse - such as is rampant in the case of the Nisga'a and the other sovereign Indigenous Nations, illegally invaded, occupied and despoiled by BC and Canada.

Due to this document's legal enshrinement of native sovereignty throughout North America, government and legal officials usually attempt to conceal the Royal Proclamation. Anti-native Judge McEachern went so far as to rule that the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the legal enshrinement of native sovereignty in North America, has never applied in BC.

Despite concerted attempts by government and its legal bodies to conceal the truth, the lie slips occasionally. This is one of those times.

Text of Royal Proclamation: ]

OTTAWA (CP) - Prime Minister Jean Chretien Tuesday gave his strongest support yet for the Nisga'a land claim negotiated in British Columbia, promising his government will introduce legislation to enact the treaty early in the new year.

"It's a very important thing," Chretien said after meeting with Joseph Gosnell, president of the Nisga'a tribal council, and Indian Affairs Minister Jane Stewart.

"I believe in it personally and it is an obligation of the government and it is a constitutional obligation...that the King of England gave us in 1763.

"We're a bit late to implement it, don't you think?"

Chretien was referring to the royal proclamation of 1763, which required that Canadian governments negotiate with native people for the use of their land. British Columbia never negotiated such treaties with the majority of its natives.

The Nisga'a treaty gives the 5,500-member band ownership of 2,000 square kilometres of land in northwestern B.C., as well as self-governing powers similar to those of municipal governments.

"It's a mortgage on the land of British Columbia that has to be settled," Chretien said of the treaty, which the Nisga'a sought for more than a century.

Chretien said there's no need for a referendum on the treaty because it is not a change to the Constitution.

"It's the implementation of the constitutional obligations," he said.

Chretien was criticized recently by prominent native leaders in B.C. for his failure to publicly champion the treaty process.

Gosnell said he was satisfied with the prime minister's support. And he believes the treaty will pass the provincial legislature in B.C.

"I believe we have made all of the concessions that we could make," said Gosnell.

"We can't go back any further. To me this is a negotiated treaty which follows what the Supreme Courts over the years have been indicating: that negotiation rather than litigation is the way to go."

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