JANUARY 27, 2013 1:59PM


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It's 99% theoretical and improbable ... but 1% - oh-oh.

New action today - with video (if everything works as it should...).

idle-no-more-news Indian protestors blocking international bridge to U.S.

Interesting opinion piece today (Native talks with the Crown challenge Canada’s very existence) in the Globe & Mail about ramifications of the current (Indian/Native/Aboriginal/Indigenous) uprising in Canada. Ramifications that arise out of one of the other terms for the original people: First Nations.

...[Former Prime Minister] Jean Chrétien’s 1969 White Paper ... proposed repealing treaties and abolishing the special legal status of Indians. In its usual well-meaning but sometimes witless way, the Canadian political class thought it could deal with the reaffirmation of indigenism through word magic. Adopt the vocabulary of the radicals. Start calling Indian bands “first nations.” Pretend to recognize their “inherent right of self-government” or even “sovereignty.”

Chickens coming home to roost. Now the F.N. people are demanding to deal with the Governor-General, who is the representative of the Queen, as well as the current Prime Minister. Because any discussions should be nation-to-nation, not groups-of-citizens vis-a-vis the country's prime minister.

The government's position is that the Gov-Gen is just a ceremonial post and he, like the Queen he represents, has no power.

Personally, I don't see why the chiefs, and the National Chief elected to the Assembly of First Nations, shouldn't meet chief-to-chief with only the prime minister. But the whole queen thing goes way back to the signing of treaties “with the Queen”. Different queen, but still – the idea is that the treaties should be permanent, with the permanent head of state, not some fly-by-night forked-tongue politician.

It's amusing to see the government get tripped up by what they thought was a bag of word-beads that would satisfy the ignorant savages.


They didn't count on the ignorant savages educating themselves in the ways of the White Man (hey, remember how they took to horses and rifles)...and that scattered little groups on reservations here and there, many of them in the wilds of the North, would figure out ways to reach out to each other and become, if not exactly monolithic, at least cohesive enough to become a national *problem*.

That happened gradually over the years, through federal meetings with representatives, like the elected chief of the more-or-less representative Assembly of First Nations. There were grumblings...and the occasional *actions*, at least one of which resulted in an Indian being fatally shot by police, which soured things for quite a while (but which further resulted in a kinder, gentler, Very Careful approach by police forces in subsequent clashes).


But the present-day clash is, I think, coming out of the growing strength and frustration of the FN people vs. the current Conservative government, which recently passed legislation removing protection from most of our waterways, thus essentially allowing resource companies to pollute. Not that the FN people are entirely against exploitation of resources – but they seldom benefit in any way. In fact, a new FN position is that they may have signed away some land, but not the minerals. Add to that the refusal of some of the Northern reserves to put up with their housing, sanitary, education, etc. conditions any longer.

It's a whole other question whether people should be trying to live in these Northern communities, where they no longer can or particularly want to live their ancestors' lives of hunting and trapping but yet, due to isolation and other factors, are unable to participate in modern life.

Though it was through a hunger strike in the shadow of Parliament Hill by a chief of one of those miserable Northern reserves that brought a whole lot of publicity and *actions* sufficient to (possibly) embarrass the government and to catch the attention of the rest of the Canadian population, who generally don't think about Indians at all.

Coincidentally, the courts just recently declared that off-reserve and non-status Indians have to be included in governmental policies re Indians, together with a whole gaggle of long-standing mixed population, the Metis. That ruling increases the number of official First Nations people quite a bit!

At any rate, the author of this article goes on to say:

Today’s claim is that Parliament had no right to amend the Indian Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act before consulting with (read: getting the approval of) first nations. But the same claim could be made regarding any legislation, for all laws made by Parliament affect native people. Enforcement of the Criminal Code arguably affects aboriginal rights by putting large numbers of aboriginal people in jail, and so on.


Not to mention that there are a whole lot of outstanding land claims. My house is on unceded territory – the Alquonquins down the road claim ownership. Happily they're few and (for now) friendly. And more crucially they claim unceded ownership of the land on which the capital city and the parliament buildings sit.

Once upon a time we, the rest of Canada, could shrug all that off, and we did. Not so easy these days, with our present-day morality (though a lot of people writing letters-to-the-editor and fulminating on Facebook have yet to catch up) and the FN people could conceivably gain the support of the U.N. And maybe some Indian-majority countries in Central and South America.

The [First Nations' self-sovereignty] ideology is a direct challenge to the existence of Canada as a state. There are only 193 United Nations member states. Canada is not going to last long if it really contains more than 600 sovereign Indian bands, now known as first nations, plus the Métis, plus ... non-status Indians.

The writer, a campaign manager for Conservative parties, concludes: That’s why no prime minister should agree to a working meeting between the governor-general and the Assembly of First Nations.

Not sure it's as easy as that. Ignoring the problem heretofore has not made it go away. The FN people are getting more organized, more insistent...and their numbers, once devastated, are growing rapidly.

The hunger strike by that Northern reserve chief has ended, without the meeting with the Gov.Gen. that she demanded. But the *actions* continue. Some of the chiefs have called for bringing transportation to a halt (a few people on the rail lines and major highways could do that and in fact it has been done, briefly).


These *actions* may stop for a while and the FN people may go back home.

“For a while” is the operative phrase.


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Thanks for this. I think your analysis is one of the best I have read. I liked the way you have laid it out and made it personal too. It seems like a brewing problem that will not be going away without something being settled.
Well done! I feel educated by this. It seems the right wing poison is spreading through all the Western nations. We have to stop them before they destroy us all, but who is electing these monsters?
Sheila - right, not going away, at least with the present players. However, there are some Native groups on the West Coast who have negotiated with the government for real self-government and run their areas along the lines of municipalities, with considerable success. However, they have location on their side - made a lot of money by renting or even selling to non-Natives because it's very desirable property. A little harder in the North...but if the people there had more control over the resources and how the mining and diamond companies operate, it might work...

Zuma - the right wing poison, yes. How did Canada vote in a Conservative government? I don't know anybody who voted for them...BUT this county and local ridings are all long-term Conservative. Obviously I just hang out with my own kind...
Good summary. I'm on the side of the Indians. R
Good summary. I'm on the side of the Indians. R
Ger , so am I (with some, haha, reservations)
incredible and w. you i'd not have known abt this at all r.
Fascinating. This has gone by me completely. rated.
Jonathan and Dances: The U.S. media doesn't spend a lot of time on non-U.S. matters, and perhaps esp. peaceful protests. There have been a number of demonstrations in the U.S. in support, but they no doubt seem unimportant. As far as that goes, the Canadian media doesn't spend a lot of effort on it either, especially now that the potentially fatal hunger strikes have ended.
Really nice job here. They deserve.
I'm on the side of Canadians, first nations included. I don't think Chief Spence was a wise choice for the leader of this movement, however. She's an example of the mismanagement and corruption that is further plaguing aboriginals in our country.