Oct 22/97: United Native Nations protests BCTC


United Native Nations Protests BC Treaty Commission


Viola Thomas, President of United Native Nations
October 22, 1997

The United Native Nations is jointly coordinating a "TRICK OR TREATY" protest march on October 31, 1997. It will begin at 350 West Georgia (public library) 11:00 AM and end at Oppenheimer Park with guest speakers and a Halloween party. We acknowledge your past support and are once again requesting your support.

For your information, British Columbia is home to over 140,000 off-reserve aboriginal people and the British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC) has been silent to this reality. The present electoral process created by the federal government under the Indian Act has only served to divide our people and this is evident in the fact that only 11 First Nations out of 197 Indian Act First Nations allow their off-reserve members to vote or seek office.

The federal government's policies have forcibly removed us from our territories and those that have managed to remain on their homelands are now reserve refugees. The United Native Nations makes every attempt to be a voice for the 140,000 off-reserve people not represented in the treaty making process. The BCTC process is a hypocrisy, set up by the government to settle the title and rights in question in British Columbia: but, not all First Nations Peoples are being represented.

The United Native Nations supports a legitimate treaty making process, whereby meaningful consultation, negotiation, and informed consent is the standard. We also abhor the continued exploitation of our land and resources by multi-national corporations and governments for their own elitist benefits. We are seeking your support (Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal) to come out and send a message to all governments that we demand fair representation and desire "self determination" not "self termination".

Please send your letter of support and join us!

Viola Thomas, President United Native Nations
8th Floor, 736 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1G3
Tel: (604)688-1821
Fax: (604) 688-1823


The British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC) United Native Nations Position

TREATY: a formal agreement between two or more Sovereign Nations
BCTC: an agreement between Indian Act bands, federal & provincial

CONSEQUENCES: No International recognition of Treaty; British Columbia and Indian Act bands are not Sovereign Nations.

INDIGENOUS CITIZENSHIP: The Federal government has assigned 29 legal categories to aboriginal peoples (i.e. non-status, treaty, off reserve, etc.)

CONSEQUENCE: 70,000 Non-status have no input into the BCTC.

DEMOCRACY: Only 11 of 197 BC Indian Act bands allow off reserve status Indians to vote and run in Chief and Council elections

CONSEQUENCES: Over 50% of status Indians live off-reserve and cannot truly participate in the "Treaty Process". As well, 70,000 non-status Indians are totally excluded from their community's political body.

NATIONHOOD: In British Columbia, there are 29 Tribal Nations, for example, Coast Salish, Shuswap, Carrier-Sekani etc. These are the true Sovereign Nations who should be negotiating Treaty with the Crown.

CONSEQUENCES: By negotiating under the BCTC process with the Indian Act Bands or First Nations, this keeps us small and weak. Government is able to divide and conquer our sovereign Tribal Nations.


* No extinguishment of Aboriginal title and rights

* Our land is not for sale.

* It is our Inherent Aboriginal Right to: Housing, Education, Childcare, Medical, Dental, Optical...and all other social programs currently being cut by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

* All aboriginal people must be recognized by all levels of government before Treaty making continues.

* All concerned citizens particularly those most adversely affected by the BCTC (i.e. Off-reserve aboriginal women, elders and youth) must be informed and directly involved in the entire process.

* All aboriginal People, regardless of origin (Cree, Ojibway, etc) are entitled to their Inherent Aboriginal Rights.

WHO WE ARE: 81% of Aboriginal People live off-reserve (mostly women, youth and children). 56% of Aboriginal People are under the age of 25 and 81% of these People live off-reserve.

In sheer numbers, we are the lost People, the ones who are faced with continual genocidal policies from all levels of government. We are, in essence, reserve refugees in exile - unable to return to our reserves because of lack of housing, no further land development, poor job opportunities, lack of educational opportunities. As well, many of our people have fled the reserves because of physical, sexual, emotional and mental abuse.

TRICK OR TREATY: Join us for a Protest March:

11:00 AM October 31,
350 West Georgia @ The Public Library

For further information, please contact:

More information on the BC Treaty Commission:

The legal analysis of the BCTC prepared by Janice Switlo is posted at:

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