Nov 19/98: Editorial-Nisga'a agreement "a terrible thing"


The Martlet
November 19, 1998
Letter to the Editor


Over the past three years I have been directly involved with the Nisga'a treaty working with the hereditary chiefs and matriarchs who now have asked me to come forward with the information I have witnessed. The role that I was performing was advisor, counsel and witness to the actions of the Provincial and Federal Governments and the Nisga'a Tribal Council and Nisga'a Band Council. The present conditions inside the Nisga'a Nation are not unlike those that exist amongst most other Native communities across Canada and the United states.

The levels of unemployement - 80-90%; alcohol and drug abuse - 65-75%; sexual abuse and extreme family dysfunction - 70-90% and most disconcerting is the 100% draconian control of the people by the Nisga'a Tribal and Village Band Councils. This last point is the most important since these Councils are literally agents of the Federal Government yet are actual Nisga'a citizens. The fraud, mismanagement, abuse, direct and indirect human rights violations perpetrated by these councils is beyond criminal justice and in the realm of fascism and an actual visible sign of the contempt that has been held for Native people by our Governments.

I have been actively involved in the study of Native Communities as a counselor in drug/alcohol and family/community violence. In addition I have been asked by numerous nations to sit as Witness to the interactions of Governments and Band Councils over the past twenty years. I have been trained traditionally by elders and medicine people in many of the ways of the different native communities and have had tremendous opportunities to experience first hand the atrocities that exist inside Native Communities. There is a terrible event about to happen here in Canada that will effect the relationship of Governments and aboriginal peoples throughout the modern world. It is the acceptance by the average Canadian that what the Government is informing us about the Nisga'a Treaty is the truth and that the Nisga'a Nation is properly voted on at the Agreement in Principle (second level).

The Nisga'a people have less than 10% understanding of the content of the treaty; I have witnessed over $7.5 million dollars in fraud, payoffs, corporate and government mishandling of public funds. At the last convention I attended in the Nisga'a Nation I spoke to 296 people and asked them one question - do you understand the content of this treaty? 291 said NO. I feel that the media has failed in its' responsibility to ensure our democratic freedoms by complying with the governments and pandering to big business. What the media has failed to do is provide a balanced understanding of the facts and presented the Canadian public with an extremely one-sided view of the treaty process. It is the "beginning of the end of the beginning", said the Regional Director General for Indian Affairs and in this he spoke his only truth.

This IS the beginning of the end of all aboriginal culture in this country and will carry over to all other countries as witnessed by the August 4th, 1998 initiating ceremony. Many people believe the word Apartheid originated in South Africa. The truth is that when the Dutch turned it over to the British, they approached Canada for a blueprint of our RESERVE system, which at that time they stated was too severe yet introduced a watered down version to control their aboriginals.

- Eammon O'Brien

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