Oct 30/95: Gustafsen Lake-Who owns Canada?


Settlers In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty (S.I.S.I.S.)
October 30, 1995

As the 'yes' forces gather momentum in Quebec, the likelihood of the breakup of the Canadian Federation seems increasingly likely. In response both the Mohawk and Cree peoples have reiterated their own sovereign status. Friday, October 20, 1995 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that a gathering of Cree and their leadership in Northern Quebec have stated a clear rejection of a separated Quebec that includes Cree territory. A prominent figure in Cree political life Billy Diamond said he'd never seen the Cree Nation so united around the issue of their own sovereignty.

Meanwhile in British Columbia, John Watson Regional Director General of the Federal Department of Indian Affairs disputes the Provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Cashore calculation of 10 billion dollars over 20 years to settle land claims. According to Watson "the 10 billion is more than double our original estimate of the total cost". (Victoria Times-Colonist, Oct. 20, 1995).

The British Columbia Treaty Commission is headed by a chief commissioner who comes to the position from a directorship of Daishowa Forest Products Ltd. It is also predicated on the devaluation of existing aboriginal rights. The Nisga'a land claim is likely to see less than 12% of their traditional territory returned. They have been 20 years in negotiations. Nisga'a Tribal Council spokespeople are already announcing any impending agreement will involve giving up most of their traditional territory in exchange for "other benefits". British Columbia NDP Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh who led the attack upon Shuswap traditionalists asserting their unextinguished sovereignty at Gustafsen Lake (Ts'peten) and categorically rejected any international involvement of BC's treatment of indigenous nations has been tainted by the ever growing Bingo-gate scandal involving the NDP's misuse of charity funds and laundering of corporate contributions.

The Vancouver Province's editorial board is taking aim at AG Dosanjh, who told reporters that when he was an NDP party official he avoided taking a role in any party involvement with the bingo charity society. "Sounds like he had suspicions that something was not quite right. If so closing his eyes was the height of irresponsibility." (quoted in Globe and Mail, Oct. 20, 1995).

Mr. Dosanjh and his government have demonstrated the urgency of independent international involvement in the fiasco of BC's native affairs. On Nov. 10, 1995 the Shuswap Sundance Defenders (Ts'peten Defenders) will be in court without their counsel Dr. Bruce Clark who was hounded into exile in the Netherlands by a vindictive provincial judiciary. It is hoped that international attention from respected human rights figures and jurists may prevent the Canadian system from its intent to conduct a Kangaroo court proceedings ultimately leading to a harsh, punitive "example" being made of the 20 men, women, elders and youth who courageously stood up against the appalling invasion and desecration of sacred homelands by a corrupt colonialist Canada that arrogantly continues to defy the world community's minimum standards of acceptable behaviour.

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