The blockade, consisting of protesters, their vehicles and logs, went up Thursday on a private road leading to the Wuskwatim dam construction site, keeping about 880 Manitoba Hydro workers inside the work camp.
Occupying someone else's property; a private road, and keeping people from being able to pass by on their own property, is criminal, and the people involved in this show of force are criminals and should be arrested. They are preventing people from being able to go to home and be with their families, or just leave the camp in if they want to.
By Friday negotiations with these criminals have resulted in some Hydro workers being able to walk through the blockade.
(Manitoba Hydro spokesman Glenn) Schneider said that of the 880 workers on the site now, 44 are from NCN and 32 per cent of the total workforce -- 283 workers -- are aboriginal.
Since the project began in August 2006, Hydro maintains that of the 2,554 hires, half have been aboriginal and 424 workers, 17 per cent, have been from NCN.
Schneider said the hiring of qualified aboriginals who have registered with the provincial Job Referral Service remains the objective of hiring practices on the site, adding qualified non-aboriginals have been hired only when qualified aboriginals could not be found.
It sounds like these folks protesting have sour grapes and an entitlement mentality.
Protest on public property, don't prevent people from passing by, and you have my support. These actions are nothing less than forcible confinement, and every one of them are criminals that should be taken away with force and charged.
A spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro says the group is allowing people to walk through the barricade, but stopping vehicles from passing.
The issue at hand is that Manitoba Hydro made an agreement with the local community of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, which is near Nelson House, MB., to have one third of the total people working on the development site come from their community. Hydro has not met that agreement and have brought in workers from out of province.
Companies should be free to hire whomever they want, out of province, out of country, whatever they think they need. If a company has an agreement with another party, and they don't live up to that agreement, then that is a breach of contract, and may have legal implications. Perhaps the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation didn't have enough people trained in the work that needs to be done; then further negotiations with the community should take place.
Part of the problem is that the company in question is Manitoba Hydro, a crown corporation, aka the government monopoly. The governments in Canada have a long history of not honouring agreements with Aboriginal Communities, with little repercussions of course, they are the government after all.
What do not agree with is the tactic these protesters are using.
Blocking highways is not a good tactic. For one, it pisses people off that might normally be with you. Two, it victimizes the average worker that has little to do with the conflict, preventing them from working and earning a living. Three, if it's someone else’s private property then they have no business occupying it. If it’s public property, then they have no right preventing passage to the public.
I am for protest, I am for civil disobedience, but if other peoples rights are violated in the course of those actions, I cannot support it.
I welcome feedback and I ask for civility in the exchange of comments. Vulgarity and racism is discouraged. Please express yourself creatively with other language. We discuss ideas here, attacks on a person are discouraged.
"Go Home Stupid"; these words were uttered to me today as I was walking through Portage Place Mall in downtown Winnipeg on my way home after work. I didn't know the man that said these words to me, I don't think I've talked to him before, but he knew me. You see, by looking at my skin and facial features, many people would assume that I am descended from Western Europeans, and those people would be right; my ancestors were from Scotland, Germany and France, and I most identify with my Scottish heritage.
I'm going to speculate and assume that these words were said to me for 3 reasons;
I look white
I was wearing a shirt that said "Made in Canada"
The man who said it was aboriginal
It makes me wonder, where was this man born? Likely in Manitoba Canada, just as I was. We may be from different towns, but likely the same province. Perhaps he doesn't recognize Manitoba or even Canada as legitimate concepts; OK, then I will point out that I was born on the same geographical land mass as he was. So, when he tells me to go home, where do I go? Aren't I already home? Aren't we from the same land?
I am being somewhat coy here, because I know what he meant by that statement. He saw my "Made in Canada" shirt, saw that I am Caucasian, and decided to put me in my place as a decedent of Europeans by telling me to "go home", or back to the land of my ancestors.
By doing this, he put me into the collective of "white man"; the oppressor of his people, the invader of his land. Of course, I didn't oppress him, I didn't invade his land, some Europeans hundreds of years ago oppressed his ancestors, I had nothing to do with it. In fact, my ancestors had nothing to do with it either; my great-grandparents came to Canada in the early 1900's and moved to Manitoba farms. And even if my ancestors were early Canadians that oppressed the aboriginals, that doesn't mean I am personally accountable for their actions. How can I be? They took place before I was born!
That is part of the problem with collectivism, it put people into groups without taking into account their individual natures; both many aboriginal and non-aboriginal people are guilty of doing this. It assumes incorrect facts which lead to faulty conclusions. This person didn't take into account that I have worked for an Aboriginal organization for nearly a decade, that I value and respect much of Aboriginal culture, that I am a supporter of Aboriginal sovereignty and denounce the Canadian government for the harm they have done to the Aboriginal people; none of that mattered to him because in his eyes I am a colonist.
Another fallacy of this collectivism is assuming that since one race of people occupied a land before another race of people that the later race of people don't have a "right" to be there. When you start seeing people as individuals then you can see that we have rights because we are people, not because we belong to a particular race.
In fact, by this mans own logic, he should be going home to Mongolia, where today's first nations people originate from, because before they came over there was another race of people inhabiting North America, the Clovis people. The human race emerged from East Africa about 200,000 years ago, so perhaps we should all move back there if we are to "go home".
Of course, that is not something I would advocate, we can all co-exist peacefully here, and that would be much easier to achieve if we would quit looking at people in the collective, as white or aboriginal, and just see individual people, each with unique thoughts, desires and histories.
Many reserves are short on resources, recreation, education and other necessities They often have higher rates of suicide, alcoholism and spousal abuse compared to urban centers, leaving the reserve is not a bad idea if a person is living in these sorts of conditions.
Jacqueline Romanow, acting director of the Aboriginal Governance Program at the University of Winnipeg, agreed with (The Frontier Centre's) findings.
"The reason why people do better off-reserve is because there's more access to resources and education and opportunities," she said. "So how do you bring those opportunities and resources and make them accessible to everyone in Canada?"
45% of the federal government's income is from income tax. So, the reserve system takes the income from one group of people and transfers it to another group of people, it is wealth re-distribution, which is an immoral practice and should only be done on a consensual, voluntary level.
While recognizing that treaties have been signed in the past which accounts for these transfer payments, the people of today were not a party to those agreements, yet they are on the hook to pay for them.
The reserve system keeps the people living on reserves dependant on government handouts. Dependency is not a good thing in these sort of cases, with it there is little incentive for competition, innovation, bettering one's self, etc.
Often reserves were set-up in areas that the people didn't already live; they might have been moved there, often to less than ideal surroundings. Traditionally, Aboriginal people lived off of the natural resources of the land; but if put in a less than ideal area it becomes harder to do that, then the dependency occurs.
Something I think that many Aboriginals will have to face is that much of their traditional lands are gone; they were taken over by the European settlers and later the Canadian government which claims ownership over all lands in this country. Lands claims have dragged on for generations and are rarely settled because the government doesn't want to give up control; government is about control.
I propose 3 things;
First - Self Reliance
Firstly, the federal government gets out of the business of funding and running reserves, with full control being given back to the communities. They can choose which system they want, be it with chiefs, a hereditary system, communal property or some other system; they can choose. They can govern themselves according to their own customs and practices. They can live as they see fit and use their resources as they see fit. They will not need any permission from federal or provincial governments in how they choose to use their resources or do business.
The reasons for this are many; firstly it will foster self-reliance. This is very important; when things are handed to you often they will not hold the same value as if it was something you earned. In the current reserve system, the band owns most of the houses, not the individuals. Incentive is important when becoming self-reliant. The government has created a culture of dependance which is damaging aboriginal people.
Second - Private Property
The second thing to look at is land claims. If the land claim process is to expedited, then some measure of surrender needs to be conceded. Trying to get the land back that the government stole from aboriginal people hundreds of years ago is going to be nearly impossible, as evidenced by the generations of efforts already put forth to little reward. Be willing to take less than you want.
Make it true private property with clear boundaries and definitions, get a large enough area that your people can live off of and use for both survival and perhaps leasing to companies for forestry, hydro, mining etc. That can provide a very nice income for a community without the interference or permission of the federal government.
Gone will be the many instances of the federal government giving permission to companies to do work on traditional lands without the consultation of the communities; which is an all too often occurrence. Gone will be the need for road blocks and violent conflicts over land (such as the Oka Crisis) if there is true private property.
Third - Sovereignty
Has the federal government ever fully honored a Treaty? I would be glad to see one, because they are like talking dogs; they don't exist. The Canadian government has a long history of abuse when it comes to Aboriginals; residential schools, outlawing their ceremonies, racism, not being able to vote, etc. Withdraw from all of these treaties, they have all been breached and there shouldn't be an expectation that they will be honored through enough negotiation and diplomacy, stop doing business with the Canadian government.
Declare yourselves independent, sovereign, self-efficient nations that can exists peacefully between each other. If a particular first nation didn't sign treaties (such as the Gitxsan) then they are already one step closer to true sovereignty.
These steps will promote native self government, freedom, and I am convinced that it would improve conditions on reserves tremendously because once you are no longer dependant on the government teet you can go forward with all of your will and power and make a life for yourselves. The people of today will no longer be responsible for the mistakes and crimes of people that lived before, as they shouldn't be.
The first step has already begun. The Lakota Nation in parts of the U.S. have withdrawn from all treaties and declared themselves a sovereign nation.
Doing these things will allow aboriginals to govern themselves. It won't be the same way it was 500 years ago, that isn't very likely to happen on a large scale, but aboriginal communities can once again flourish if the federal government would get out of the business of running the lives of the Aboriginal people.
The AFN acts as a large lobbying organization that pushes for aboriginal issues with various levels of government.
UPDATE: Shawn Atleo, an Assembly of First Nations Vice-Chief from B.C. is the new AFN National Chief. Nearly 24 hours after the voting began, his opponent conceded when Atleo garnered 58 per cent of the vote on the 8th ballot.
Now I know a lot of people will argue that given how many scholarships
are open only to women and minorities and that the group that has the
hardest time getting one these days is white males. (Edited for clarity - SM)
Me? While I support the right of people to do whatever they want with
their money -- and the donor can set up an off-campus bursary that will
shell out money to whomever they want -- I'm of the opinion that
universities shouldn't be discriminating in favour of anyone except the
best and the brightest, regardless of race, gender, creed or religion.
I'm old fashioned that way.
So yeah, the university is hypocritical by lamely defending their race and gender-based scholarships but the answer isn't to increase discrimination.
Canadian Taxpayers Federation: Life is better off-reserve for aboriginals
Here's Colin Craig, # 53 on the Western Standard's Liberty 100, and Manitoba director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, argues that aboriginals are better off getting out of the reserve system, rather than stay on-reserve:
Back home with our scotches, waiting for the last year of the decade to
dawn, my brothers-in-law and I considered how the
Zeroes or the Oughts
- or whatever this decade will be called - will be remembered. What will define it in people's memories?
Probably terrorism and its offshoots: 9/11 and the aftermath, the War on Terror, Homeland Security, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan ... the Great Satan
squaring off against the Lions of Islam.
It will doubtlessly be a more definable decade than the 1990s. None of us could figure out the defining characteristic of those final ten years of the 20th century. Most other decades seemed to have had vivid identities - the roaring Twenties, the Dirty Thirties, the wartime Forties, the prosperous, grey-flannel Fifties, the hippy-dippy Sixties, the Me-generation
1970s, the Greedy 1980s. But what were the 1990s? Grant suggested The Internet Decade, but then dismissed the idea because the
Internet really didn't become commonplace until the current decade.
Ditto cellphones. So although true that the digital
communications revolution started in the 1990s, I don't think you
can say it defined them. The final decade of the millennium should have something to define it. Maybe its lack of identity defines it. The Lost Decade? I welcome your thoughts.
for the prospects going into 2009, your guess is as good as mine. The economic predictions
are so dire it could happen that the recession helps define the decade, along with the terror stuff. Decade of Woe? Regarding the financial meltdown, there is a perverse part of me that says, Bring it on.
Let's see what a real Depression is like. Give us the kind of privations
with which to bore our grandkids that our grandparents bored us with. Hey, Ma, we cain't afford meat this month. Let's fry up the dawg...
Digging through 2006 Statistics Canada data, Milke reveals that “out of almost 1.2 million Canadians who identify themselves as Aboriginal, just over 26 per cent live on a reserve; the rest do not.” This number is up slightly from 2001 data.
His research also shows that “As a nationwide average, when on-reserve North American Indians are compared to their counterparts off-reserve on earnings, the median for males who worked full-time was $30,045 on-reserve compared to $41,984 off-reserve—an almost $12,000 difference. Similarly, women do better away from the reserve: their median was $28,012 on reserve but $32,862 off the reserve, or an almost $5,000 advantage in the latter category.”
According to Milke, cities present the same opportunities for Aboriginals as non-Aboriginals: access to education and better career opportunities.
Milke concludes from this that policies designed by politicians and Aboriginal leaders to keep Aboriginals on reserves are doing more harm than good.
Aboriginal children went into residential schools, sometimes against the wishes of their parents. Some of them didn't come out again. So what happened to them? That's the question of this Globe and Mail article raises for me.
The federal government is mapping burial sites at former residential schools as researchers try to identify how many of the estimated thousands of native children who went missing from the schools are buried in unmarked or anonymous graves.
Cemeteries scattered across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have been identified by researchers. Some of the graves have single white wooden crosses bearing no name. Others do not include even a cross.
At...the St. John's Indian Residential School in Alberta (also known as Wabasca Residential School), the researchers found a document from 1961 describing how the principal came across an unmarked cemetery. A second letter indicates the unidentified principal ultimately cleaned up the site and erected 110 white crosses.
"The place was a terrible mess, so much underbrush," according to one of the letters. "Even though it is not finished, one can see a great improvement in it all, at least it is not woods now."
An Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada (IRSRC) report reviewing Indian Affairs documents describes an incident in 1992, when a construction company uncovered at least 19 graves connected to an
unmarked graveyard at the site of the former school.
There's more in the Globe's article.
I think it's too soon to say that the children were deliberately killed and buried in mass graves to hide the evidence, but it's still sad news. More likely, I'd guess, the people who could have given the children proper burial just didn't give a damn, and/or didn't have adequate resources to ensure the graves would be identifiable in the future.
If that's the explanation, it doesn't let people off the hook for this travesty. A real investigation needs to take place. Responsibility must be properly allocated.
Applying the “Stink Test” to the Stonechild inquiry reveals something rotten in the province of Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan justice system has offered up two more Saskatoon police officers in what some see as an attempt to appease aboriginal activists with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations who are lobbying for their own justice system. Two appeal decisions were handed down this summer, both going against former Saskatoon constables Larry Hartwig and Brad Senger. On June 20th, a Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled it would not quash a judge’s findings in the 2004 inquiry into the 1990 freezing death of Saskatoon aboriginal youth, Neil Stonechild. The judge at the inquiry had found that the officers had Stonechild in their custody the night he went missing; the officers have always denied this, and believe the judge acted outside the inquiry’s terms of reference in making that finding. On July 28th, in a separate decision, the Saskatchewan Police Commission upheld the Saskatoon police chief’s decision, based on the inquiry, to fire the officers….
Csts. Hartwig and Senger were both fired from their jobs as a direct result of the Stonechild Inquiry, with both officers having been branded in the public eye as murderers. No charges have ever been brought against these officers in a court of law which would permit them to clear their names, and here we are, some six years later, with the lives of these officers and their families destroyed by a process that was neither fair nor impartial, based on the false assumption that Stonechild was in police custody the night he went missing….
A step toward accountability in First Nations communities
In his recent column on First Nations, Colin Craig, Manitoba director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, argues that...
One reason for a lack of accountability on reserves is the fact that up until now, no one (even the department of Indian and Northern Affairs) could audit individual reserves and track how funds were being spent. Yes, over the last 141 years, the federal government has been unable to ensure that the hundreds of billions of tax dollars it has transferred to First Nations communities are used for their intended programs and services.
To address this problem, the CTF has been calling for audits of reserve spending for years. Thankfully, the federal government has finally listened. As of July 1st, Ottawa will now be able to audit the spending activities of first nation communities. This will bring them inline with other agencies that receive funding from the government.
Although loath to use another of those horrible words concocted by the geeks who, sadly, have inherited the world, there seems to be no avoiding it. I now have a "blog" which I shall endeavor to update at least every Monday and which you are
invited to visit at, ricdolphin.com Be aware that, unlike when I wrote for Western Standard magazine, I am not being censored for language. I am also not specifically writing about politics, although the subject may be broached on occasion. Be assured, however, that I shall never use "blog" as a verb.
This is unacceptable. No negotiation is possible with the Indians of Caledonia because there is nothing to negotiate. They have no legal or moral claim to the land. All that they have going for them are the politics of racist extortion. They plainly have nothing better to do with their time. They will wait forever, until the government (actually all of the governments involved) capitulate because, in the end, they always were. No one, in the modern age, has ever lost when they've bet that our leaders are mostly bed-wetting pansies.
Terrorism - for that is what this is - can only be defeated with violence. If the government of Ontario - or the Federal Government for that matter - had any balls they would assemble a force of armed men - either police, military, or whatever - and demand that these terrorists end their despicable practise of using force and coercion in any effort to steal the property of others. And - if they did not immediately disperse - they would open fire on them, as a just God wills.
It won't happen, of course. This country doesn't belong to us anymore. It no longer belongs to the ordinary citizens. It no longer belongs to the people whose roots are here. This is a land under the rule of the elites and the loudest and most menacing fringe interests. The elites, even those who still sympathize with what the nation once was, would never dare to use force in its defense because they know that they would be vilified and quite possibly criminally tried for it. Any ordinary citizen who attempted to exercise their own right to self-defense of themselves and their property would surely be arrested and subjected to abuse by the whole of the nation's press.
Hope? What's that? There's no hope that we can save this country - not so long as we have leaders who are unwilling to use force to defend our basic values. Not so long as we have leaders who refuse even to blush to acknowledge our history and our heritage. The best lack all conviction and the worst are filled with passionate intensity.
What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, B.C. was alive with passionate, well-reasoned debate about the merits of enshrining "affirmative apartheid" in the province, by way of modern-day treaties giving special rights and privileges to aboriginal communities -- rights and privileges that would effectively establish a new order of government.
Some B.C. Liberals were at the forefront of the debate, arguing for equality before the law and against the creation of super-citizens. After the B.C. Liberals' took power, British Columbians voted in 2002, in a mail-in referendum, against the establishment of these de facto nation-states. But, although the results supported the official Liberal line, Gordon Campbell ignored them. In fact, he pulled a full, 180-degree U-turn.
The result is the Tsawwassen treaty, which enshrines many of the special rights the B.C. Liberals used to oppose. Only one brave Liberal MLA has spoken out against the deal, but his speech has done nothing either to deter the government or spark a new public debate.
Except, that is, on the editorial pages of the Tri-City News, where Mary Woo Sims and I debate the issue in our latest Face to Face showdown.
And, finally, here's the last of my items that were not published when the Western Standard went under. It's just a short one, and was to run as a "Whaddya Know?" feature in the Western Front section. The question was:
Will the establishment of a new Inuit government in northern Quebec disenfranchise non-Inuits?
It certainly seemed so, based on news reports in August that described how a landmark agreement had created a new Inuit body that would rule the northern third of Quebec. But a Quebec government spokesman says the impression left by the media was simply false. In truth, the new government will be based on geography, not race or ethnicity. Nevertheless, the new body bears some close scrutiny.
The agreement in principle, which has yet to be approved by the Quebec or federal governments, will establish the Nunavik Regional Government (as opposed to the already existing Nunavut Territory), which initially will consolidate social, school and health services into one large regional government. Local councils will continue to exist in the 14 member communities which are home to about 10,000 people.
The government spokesman, who talked on the condition of anonymity, says the NRG will encompass all the area in Quebec north of the 55th parallel. The body will have only those powers which are delegated to it by the Quebec National Assembly, powers which at this stage do not include the collection of income or sales taxes. All residents of northern Quebec, regardless of ethnicity or race, will be eligible to sit in the NRG’s 21-seat assembly, he says.
This should make the new body democratic. However, the 900-strong Naskapi aboriginal group, which lives on the southern edge of Nunavik, is worried its interests will be steamrollered by the Inuit majority. Also of concern is the fact that the NRG may yet get more powers, which would create a province-like government that, although largely funded by southern Quebeckers, would be unaccountable to southern voters.
McHale at caledoniawakeupcall.com has been following this all day. He's reporting that the man who confronted the occupiers was was beaten senseless. A video has just gone up on YouTube (which may not be immediately viewable as it is still resolving as I write).
I think the questions I raised in my posting last week -- about the implications of the appointment of former Indian chief Steven Point, who has headed two aboriginal "nations," as lieutenant-governor of B.C. -- are more germane than ever now that Canada has voted against the big UN declaration on aboriginal rights, on grounds related, in part, to the impossibility of giving more rights to the country's 650 "First Nations."
Where do you stand on the "nation" issue, Mr. Point? Do you believe that distinct aboriginal bands are "nations" with nation-like powers? If so, do you consider yourself part of one or more of those nations? And, if so, do think that this nationality is on a par with your Canadian nationality? In other words, to which "nation" do you give your highest alliegance?
A fitting start to a long weekend, dedicated to celebrating all that is great about Canada, is the audacious disruption of road and rail by bands of usurping brigands. Not satisfied with being exempt from paying taxes, having health care and education provided by those of us who do pay taxes, as well as having a generous and endless stipend to provide for a wide-ranging list of demands, natives who seem to have scads of time for social disruption and none at all for employment or societal contribution, launch a "Day of Action" to crank up the pressure for more entitlement.
Chief instigator Shawn Brant puts the escalation of native extortion in this light...
"We simply want to have a relationship with the rest of Canada that is balanced and fair."
Do you always characterize the prison-style rape of hard working, responsible Canadians as balanced and fair? I had a husband like this, once. He wanted a shared relationship of love and respect with me, and was willing to punch me in the mouth as many times as it took, to get it. At least I had the choice to leave him. But my Canada, with it's elected representatives who choose capitulation over action, and it's emasculated police force which prefers to act as a personal bodyguard service to arsonists and provocateurs, gives me no choice to leave this abuse. It gives none of us the choice. We are all forced to accede to the most hubristic demands, suffer through the most outrageous violent behavior and console ourselves with the fact that our acquiescence may buy us a brief respite before the demands get heightened.
It is long past time the inhabitants of reservations came to the realization that they have created the squalor in which they live. They have acceded all of their rights to chiefs who leave them to live in dilapidated shacks, while they jet set off to the Caribbean. They have accepted the condition of relying on social welfare, in lieu of making the hard choices that the rest of us are forced to make, in order to improve our standard of living. They have chosen a life that does not burden them with responsibilities to either themselves or to others, but also does not bless them with prosperity because they refuse to accept that those two conditions are intertwined. One can not exist without the other.
In short, the perks of native status (and there are many) are the millstone which hangs around the neck of every native person, dragging their face in the dirt and restricting their means for a fulfilling existence. But they are happy to don it, and mask it as a shroud of victim hood -- a hair shirt woven from the white mans lies and the rampant oppression natives suffer from soccer moms and McDonald's franchises.
But the reservations are not internment camps or gulags. They do not have the walls and bars of a prison. They are not guarded from escape by armed sentries and rabid dogs. They are in effect, prisons of one's own making. Those who have chosen to leave the reservation and discard their special status have managed to find that life has rewards, if you're willing to work for them. But so many are not. And so to all the natives out there who raise one hand to shake their fist at me and shove the other hand in my pocket, I ask...if you don't care enough about your own life and the lives of your children, to work for what you want and improve the conditions in which you live, why should I be forced to care for you?
There is no finite number of specific claims to be settled. Without a filing deadline, such claims will never end, because teams of lawyers, historians and anthropologists can discover an infinite number of them. Without some sort of limitation, the proceeds of claims resolved by the independent tribunal will be fed back into an autocatalytic process of hiring more consultants to discover more claims.
Unfortunately, in the MSN there hasn't been much analysis of the specific claims. Too often they are represented as being over a hundred years old. Generally, this type of reference goes back to when the treaty was signed, not when the claim was filed. If you'd like to look at the list of these claims, you can access it here (or go directly to the pdf here). An interview I did with Flanagan last week included this comment;
A lot of this is anachronism; you look over the past and compare it to the way we would do something today and it doesn’t measure up. So you cry injustice. You can generate an infinite number of claims by combing through the record of the past and [flagging] any time there are documents that are missing or hard to interpret. So there has to be some kind of end to it. I guess I could put up with spending a few billion dollars if I thought there would be an end to it. You’ve got an annual federal budget of $200 billion a year so if you had to pay an extra billion a year for ten years to settle these claims, I think Canadians would probably wouldn’t notice it. It’s an extra half of one percent for a period of time in the budget. If there is going to be some attempt to clear the books I think there should be a terminal point in it.
Serious questions-- about the authenticity of jewellery supposedly made by B.C. artist Dempsey Bob--were quite clearly not enough to have stopped the B.C. government from awarding him with one of two new Aboriginal Art Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Surprisingly, Mary Woo agrees with me that the murals should remain in place. But at that point we diverge. She argues that the murals could to serve as an educational tool, reminding people, she suggests, of the horrors of Western imperialism, etc. I, on the other hand, advance what I think is a more sensible reason for keeping the murals in place.
Canada’s native Indians are so angry
about the government’s failure to improve their often-impoverished
living conditions that they have reached breaking point and will react
fiercely if provoked, a senior native leader said on Tuesday. (Reuters)
I’m at my breaking point all right.
I raised my son up on my own since he was a baby and I got no
special treatment. I had to rely heavily on family and friends instead
of a steady, sweet blanket of government promised daycare while I went
to school and tried to hold down a job.
It took me twelve years to pay off my student loans. What an incentive.
I couldn’t find a decent job in my field so I had to leave the
country for five years to get experience and when I came back that
government wanted a big chunk of my money. World income this you
Apparently I owe over $30,000 in taxes and they want more everyday.
I had a short-term marriage which ended with abandonment and a loss of my life savings but that government says she is still entitled to half of everything I have left. Right on.
I have a lump in my one remaining testicle (the other got shot off)
and I have to wait in line for a month for another test that will
hopefully stifle the fear I feel. Thanks.
Gas taxes. Great!
Sanctioned monopolies. Wonderful!
Buried guns. Treasure hunt!
Government this bureaucracy that. Time for a crossword puzzle!
Postal workers who want to blab at me and tell me stories when all I
want is a pack of one cent stamps so none of my others go to waste
because the government raised the prices again.
100 km/hr. Safe at last!
A fiver for a 2 liter of milk. Who needs milk?
Useless metric system. I’ll have twenty 38 mm by 89 mm please!
Yeah apparently I’m angry and if the government didn’t tax light beer more then everyday Canadian as we know it beer I’d be a whole lot angrier.
Instead I stand under a warm Al Gore sun with a pleasant 5% buzz
instead of a cheap but more profound 3% writing another angry letter
that will never get mailed. Instead it will find itself shuffled in
with other various hate filled rants inside my government sanctioned home away from home under the bread box. I am afterall a Canadian first.
I know that one of these days I’m going to need a piece of bread and
I will react fiercely if provoked or run out of hot dog buns:
“Many of our communities have reached the breaking
point. The anger and frustration are palpable,” said Phil Fontaine,
grand chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
“Desperation breeds abuse, suicide, crime, civil disobedience. And
what shame this brings to a country like ours, one of the richest
countries in the world,” Fontaine told an audience at Ottawa’s
prestigious Canadian Club.
I know exactly how he feels. I’ve slaved away my whole life, tried following the rules and the government still treats me like shit.
I had a YouTube video sent to me last night
showing how to stop trains with a simple ground wire for signal
switches. The video was apparently made in support of native land
claims. I was debating what to do with it and I’m glad in this case
someone else was already on it:
An Internet how-to video on sabotaging railway lines in
support of Native land claims has drawn the attention of the RCMP and
triggered investigations by the country’s two main rail companies.
The video, posted Sunday on YouTube, illustrates how a single wire can trigger full-stop red light signals on the lines.
Experts say the tactic works and could have a serious impact on the
economy by throwing train schedules into chaos if it doesn’t cause
derailment. Train conductors are directed to stop immediately if faced
with the signal.
Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway said their
police divisions had launched investigations to track down the source
of the video. The companies would not say whether they have had any
recent phantom signal light incidents.
CN and Transport Canada asked YouTube to pull the video, which was
created by a group dubbing themselves “The Railway Ties Collective.” (CNEWS)
From the video description:
There are more than 800 native land claims pending in
Canada. The time it will take to resolve these is expected to be more
than 200 years. Creating the political will for just and timely
resolution will take your help. Real solidarity means shouldering some
of the burden of struggle. At a time when money is more powerful than
justice, governments need financial (dis)incentives to live up to their
We hope to promote the means and inspiration for effective,
non-violent pressure on provincial and federal governments to act on
First Nations land claims.
Twice in one year, in April of 2006 and 2007, community members from
the Bay of Quinte Mohawks shut down the rail lines passing through
their territory of Tyendinaga. The first time was in response to the
OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) attack on the Six Nations reclamation
site near Caledonia, Ontario. The second time was in response to the
provincial refusal to revoke the operating permit for a private
non-native gravel quarry on land that the federal government
acknowledges belongs to the Mohawks. The Mohawks have shown the
vulnerability of a major trade corridor for people and material. While
few other communities could hold off a frontal assault by the OPP,
there are other ways to close the rail lines.
[Darcey note: how to deleted]
When justice fails, stop the rails.
Lots of emails asking me why I didn’t post the link or republish the
video I downloaded. Do you people think I’m stupid? I live in this
country too. Watch CTV.
From today's Regina Leader-Post: The community of Leask, Sask., "is polarized after graduation ceremonies broke down along racial lines -- one of non-aboriginal students and a second of mostly First Nations students."
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is in the news today after asserting that an independent body should be set up to settle land-claim disputes, such as the one at Caledonia, because the federal government has a conflict of interest. According to the Globe and Mail, the premier says Ottawa is in the “untenable position” of deciding whether it has to give up some of its own land.
Two points here: First, McGuinty is correct in pointing out Ottawa's difficult position. Not only does it have to decide on the fate of its own land in some circumstances, but it also, by law, has a fiduciary duty towards native Indians throughout Canada. One can hardly expect Ottawa to take a strong position at a bargaining table, on behalf of the non-Native taxpayer, because of this.
Second: A supposedly independent treaty commission was established in B.C. in 1992 to facilitate the settlement of dozens of land claims, but it has been a miserable failure so far--with not a single treaty to its credit--primarly because several court decisions have raised Natives' expectations so high that they won't settle for anything less than the moon. So, even if McGuinty's suggestion is adopted, there's no guarantee anything will be settled.
In a story that sounds a little too much like my August 2005 expose on the turmoil at Saskatchewan's First Nations University of Canada, the Vancouver Sun is carrying this item today, buried deep within its second section:
Institute of Indigenous Government president fired
BURNABY - A public administrator has been put in charge of the Institute of Indigenous Government after board members were fired and the institute's president was suspended with pay, Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell said in a release late Thursday.
A forensic auditor and independent investigators are looking into the institute's programs and services, finances, enrolment, human resource policies, facilities and information technology systems, Coell stated. They have been asked to report within six weeks. Police have also been contacted, he added... The public post-secondary school, established in 1995 for aboriginal students, will continue to offer classes while the investigation is underway, Coell said. There are about 140 full-and part-time students, and the province spends about $2 million a year on the school.
The institute is billed as Canada's first autonomous, indigenous-controlled public post-secondary institution.
A Métis hunter resumed his legal battle with the
Manitoba government Tuesday over the right of the Métis to hunt without
a provincial licence.
Will Goodon was charged two years ago, after he shot a duck without
a provincial licence. He possessed a Métis “harvester” card, which was
issued by the Manitoba Métis Federation, but the province has refused
to recognize those cards. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, alleging
that hunting is his birthright. (CBC)
In the end it doesn’t really matter if the court rules
against it. The metis will still continue hunting like they always have
- just a little more out of sight. (also see Cockroaches of Society)
Will and his family have been hunting in the same area for a hundred
years and have strong cultural ties to the land unlike myself who was
transplanted at a young age to northern Manitoba where of course I was
never able to experience the same thing.
Now here is where I confess…
In some greater sense the metis are the ultimate Canadian
libertarians or in a smaller form carry in their blood themes of
anarchy. The purest and untinged by the hand-me-out attitude adopted by
metis lobby groups such as the Manitoba Metis Federation
don’t care what the government and their laws stipulate. I can’t help
it if I come across as the blogosphere’s greatest hypocrite because it
is simply in the blood to defy government and defy any outside form of
authority outside of the typical catholicism (see Riel - Prophet of the New World).
We don’t care but… we need to fit in and because of that we
assimilate under the light. We stop at stop signs like everyone else
and we go when the light turns green. We fit into ’society’ fairly well
but the f-u stuff we typically keep it to ourselves. Some elements of
the culture are underground and don’t surface up into mainstream
Now here is where I confess some more…
When I fish, I fish without a licence because I don’t see it as
wrong and have always done it. When I hunt, I hunt without a license
because I don’t see it as wrong and have always done it. The government
element introduced into the metis culture tells us that this is wrong
and we know it. I know it. Will Goodon knew it.
Why? I don’t have the words to explain it. I don’t know why we carry
on this way in defiance of modern law. I sometimes see it as a game.
Come on government entities, come and and get me. Catch me if you can.
Note to government - I’ll die running before you ever lay a hand on me.
You’ll have to pry away my duck from my cold dead hands prior to taking
it away from me.
The duck doesn’t mean much but defying you does. I don’t know why that is but let us just say that it is so.
Will Goodon made some
mistakes. First of is that he wasn’t caught. He volunteered his duck to
the government entities and challenged them. Broken rule - when you
have a dead duck you hide it.
Second is that the challenge towed along by the Manitoba Metis Federation
seeks to impose cultural laws and engages the government entities to
seek further rights for a historically important, but of course the
encyclopedia dying minority (They don’t see us as the cockroaches we are).
Of course the government entities (and as much as you wish it doesn’t
matter what government entities) will pass it on to the next.
A battle that will be passed on in perpetuity and will eventually
accomplish nothing other than the government entities now realize that
most if not all metis hunt without government approval. The all seeing
eye gets wider and now somebody has to run a little faster next time.
Will Goodon my good friend - You should have taken the goddamn duck straight home and ate it. (c/p)
Chief Terry Nelson of the Roseau River reserve
refers to Justice Albert Clearwater’s ruling that native reserves
should not be exempt from Manitoba’s anti-smoking laws as stupid:
“The ruling is stupid,” said Roseau River First Nation
Chief Terry Nelson, referring to Justice Albert Clearwater’s ruling
that struck down the provincewide butt ban that exempts reserves from
the smoking legislation.
“Clearwater is clearly wrong. The province cannot legislate on federal Crown land.”
If the province cannot legislate on crown land, then what about
other provincial regulations and rules such as traffic, liquor, gaming,
vehicle licensing, and a whole pile of others? Yesterday it was noted that:
“It is every bit a breach of the charter to create
offences for certain conduct by persons . . . and to concurrently
exempt aboriginal persons from prosecution for the same conduct,”
A piece of road in Calgary was slated to be called Metis Trail but
at the last minute some members of the city council are working to
reverse the decision. Rick Bell writes:
So much for all the chatter about Calgary ridding itself of the backwater image. In this case, few want to say it.
It’s too ugly. The R-word. Racist.
But how else do we explain the reaction to city council naming and
then the stopping of the naming of a new far northeast ex-pressway
Metis Trail because some of the locals are riled the piece of pavement
near their neighbourhood would carry a so-called “Na-tive name”? (Calgary Sun)
Racism? The perception of what us breeds are like is held in the
mind and perpetuated by media types like Rick Bell. They pick and
choose the colours. Rick and other media types should take a browse
through some of the pictures at the Metis National Council website.
Another telling statement by Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier who states in a counter argument that the name is not historically relevant don’t hold water and adds:
“I think when you look at the history of Alberta, the
history of Calgary, it sends a strong message and signal that First
Nations people are important.” (CBC)
Yep, yep, yep…. I wonder if Phil Fontaine will catch that. Remember the “just another indian”
phrase clip taken from a Western Standard story? Phil Fontaine wrote a
letter that was published in the WS proclaiming that Colleen Klein was
not an indian, she was metis and there is a difference.
I may not like many things Phil says or does just out of principle
but he did have a point. There is a difference. What is ironic is that
groups like the Assembly of First Nations which hold a high profile in
the media stereotyping circus drag along the metis like a little
brother which inadvertently stereotypes us in the process.
This serves to make us all just another indian - whether Phil likes it or not..
The media is greatly responsible for the continued aboriginalization
of the metis and I wish many times that they would just shut the hell
up and treat us all like men. Instead they jump at the opportunity to
whore us out as something to be pitied just to sell a few papers. (c/p)
A great column today from the Hamilton Spectator which asks the question, if we live in a world that demands equal rights for all Canadians, why do we entrench separate rights for natives:
For its part, the federal government, not wanting to be
seen as paternalistic, appeases the Assembly of First Nations by
refusing to implement legislation that would make bands accountable to
their own people for the spending of the $10 billion transferred each
year to bands to spend on fewer than 300,000 people.
So do natives living in poverty take joy at the victory of the
Assembly in not letting Ottawa demand accountability because of native
I don’t believe it is a bunker either, although I’m sure that Six Nations spokeswoman Kahentinetha Horn would maybe like us to think otherwise:
Caledonia, Ont. — Six Nations protesters are denying
claims they are building a bunker on the site of an aboriginal
occupation in southwestern Ontario.
Residents near the occupied tract of land expressed concerns last
week when workers began excavating on the site of the half-completed
But the protesters said Monday they’re only conducting an
archeological survey for thousands of bodies believed to be on the site.
“We’re doing an archeological assessment of the whole area,” said
Buddy Martin, who identified himself as assistant co-ordinator of the
Mr. Martin declined to provide any details about the excavation, but
he insisted the project is not being done for militant purposes.
“It’s not a bunker,” he said. “There’s a lot of misinformation getting out. We wouldn’t do that sort of thing.” (Globe and Mail)
Buddy Martin is no stranger to the scene. A few short weeks ago he was just one of the guys rebel yelling and now he is an assistant co-ordinator of an archeological dig…
It can be seen as a stall tactic but it does fit into the negotiations that were agreed upon:
(a) to review the archaeological report prepared for the
developers; (b) to review provincial laws, regulations and processes
related to the archaeological report; (c) “to pursue additional
archaeological work to confirm the status of any burial sites.”
The big question - who is the archaeologist? (c/p)
Larrie Goldstein asks in today’s Toronto Sun - Why, no matter who’s in charge, does nothing ever get better for aboriginals?:
All in, Canadians spend through their federal,
provincial and municipal governments more than $10 billion a year on
Canada’s aboriginal people.
All in, there are about 1.3 million aboriginals.
So all in, Canadians are spending more than $7,500 per aboriginal per year or over $30,000 for a family of four.
That’s almost half what the average Canadian family earns in a year.
So why isn’t it making the lives of aboriginal Canadians any better?
Where’s all that money going?
Why are so many reserves locked in third-world conditions decade
after decade when it comes to such basic needs as safe drinking water,
decent housing, schools and health care?
Why are crime, suicide and addiction so rampant? What about the 70%
of aboriginals who live off the reserves? How can $7,500 per person per
year be doing so little to help them?
Clearly, the major problem is the distribution system for all this
cash, a huge government bureaucracy — both native and non-native — that
stands between every aboriginal and that $7,500 a year. Eighty per cent
of the money the federal Department of Indian Affairs spends on
aboriginals is transferred not to individuals, but to native bands
where it is then disbursed through local chiefs and band councils.
Read more. [sorry for the long post folks I didn't realize this place didn't take the more tag]
It has been in the back of my mind that by doing nothing to quell
the dispute in Caledonia it would have ripple effects in other
communities like a stone landing in a still pond. The failure of the
government to act shows others that it is ok to imitate:
“It will create a huge money problem for the railway lines; it will
also get the attention of the Americans that not all is well up in
Canada,” said Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation Chief Terry Nelson.
His motion to stage a province-wide railway blockade on June 29 was
passed by a majority at a recent Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs meeting at
Dakota Tipi First Nation.
The only way they can get the federal government to stop dragging
its feet on land claims is to hit them where it hurts — square in the
economy, said Nelson.
“We could be blocking highways, but the average Canadian doesn’t
have any power,” said the controversial chief of the First Nation, 92
kilometres south of Winnipeg. “All that we’d do is infuriate a few
people who don’t have the power to resolve the issue.”
Roseau River will block two railway lines going into the United
States. At least six other Manitoba First Nations have vowed to block
railway lines at the same time, including Birdtail Sioux Band 351 km
northwest of Winnipeg, Rolling River First Nation 245 km northwest of
Winnipeg, Dakota Plains 30 km southwest of Portage la Prairie and
Dakota Tipi 75 km west of Winnipeg and northern First Nations, which
Nelson is waiting confirmation from. AMC Grand Chief Ron Evans was
unavailable for comment yesterday. […]
For instance, the federal government didn’t come up with a
$2.2-billion settlement for the victims of residential school abuse
until after the national Assembly of First Nations threatened a
$40-billion class action suit, Nelson said. The federal government
won’t move on Six Nations claims in Caledonia or Roseau River’s in
Manitoba until they’re forced to for economic reasons, he said.
The AMC railway blockade resolution aims to “force the Canadian
government to establish a reasonable time frame for settlement of land
claims” and to “send a message to the federal government and all
Canadians that resource wealth of our lands are what supports every
In April, aboriginal protesters blockaded a vital Ontario rail
corridor to show solidarity for those occupying a parcel of disputed
land in Caledonia, Ont. until the rail company obtained a court
Nothing like beating a member of the press to get attention
They’ve went from Kumbaya to Killing Floor in two and a half seconds:
Two camera operators who work for Hamilton-based CH television were assaulted Friday at the site of an aboriginal occupation.
One of the camera operators apparently had his equipment stolen during the alleged attack.
Officials at the station say the men were filming as part of the
ongoing coverage of the standoff in Caledonia, Ont. where aboriginal
protesters took over a housing construction site in February.
The two were positioned across the street from a Canadian Tire
parking lot where a number of protestors had gathered, and were
shooting generic stock video footage known as ‘b-roll’ when they were
apparently ‘rushed’ and assaulted. (Canada.com)
This backs up the story of Matt Walcoff.
Just a bunch of thugs that should be destroyed and removed from their
duties as thugs. The article doesn’t say who assaulted them, but I’m
willing to take a big guess. (c/p)
I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it deeply profound and
straightout honest. This hit me and I gotta go think about this before
I give my thoughts. I can say one thing, Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont
probably could never have imagined us being beggers. H/t Claire. [c/p]
You know that it would make me more than sad, Caledonia your everythin I've ever had:
Non-Aboriginal Canadians are thankfully not as gutless as their law
enforcement officials and politicians. Someone has to stand up against
the Mohawk criminals, and it’s obviously not going to be the local
rent-a-cops or pussy-ass politicians
The proposed federal accountability act will infringe on native rights, an Alberta aboriginal leader says.
If passed, the legislation would give the auditor general the right to audit First Nations governments for the first time.
Rose Loubcan, chief of the Driftpile nation in northern Alberta,
says the act, if passed as written, interferes with their right to
“We have a yearly audit by a reputable firm,” Laboucan said. “With
my community, we go through [the audit] line by line … with our band
members. We have a public general meeting on the audit, so we’re very
Like I said before, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about. Right? c/p
The Tories’ Federal Accountability Act will allow the
auditor general to examine aboriginal communities’ books to determine
whether taxpayers are getting value from federal cash transfers. “(This
is) a groundbreaking move,” said a federal official who asked not to be
“The auditor general is going to have extended powers and one of those groups (affected) is going to be First Nations bands.”
In the end though, if you’ve done nothing wrong then you have nothing to worry about. Right? H/t Fighting for Taxpayers
For the record a certain professor asked us to wish him luck in
court this week. It is difficult to do that being metis from Manitoba
as it is almost like your obligated to hate him. You get filled up with
the constant propoganda from the MMF and MNC which include little excerpts from his books but never the whole thing. The battle begins and propoganda is half of it. The beginning:
Métis lawyers are getting ready to counter testimony
that is expected from demonized historian Thomas Flanagan, who is
expected to testify for the government side in a historic land case now
under way in a Winnipeg court.
Flanagan, a former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has
angered both First Nations and Métis with his writings. During this
year’s federal election campaign Métis officials expressed fear that
Flanagan would have a role in influencing policy if the Conservatives
Jim Aldridge, one of the lawyers representing the Manitoba Métis
Federation, said Flanagan is expected to testify for the government
side during the first part of the trial that could take three months.
One of the arguments that Flanagan is expected to make is that the
Métis received fair payment for land that was provided to them, but
which they later sold, Aldrich told delegates to a National Métis
Council meeting last weekend. (h/t Will Goodon)
One definitely gets the notion that it isn’t the Metis vs somebody
who is representing part of the defence for the government and is
therefore doing a job like everyone else, but it is the Metis vs Thomas
It will be simple human nature to demonize the man in the chair and
I imagine the next few press releases from the Metis National Council
and the Manitoba Metis Federation will be pretty damn interesting. The
standard expected buildup has already begun (in regards to the throne
Yesterday, the historic Manitoba Métis Federation v.
Canada trial started in Winnipeg. The case is about Canada not
fulfilling its Treaty and constitutional promises to the Métis people
in Manitoba in 1870. President Chartier concluded, “We are in court 136
years later in order to hold Canada to its promises and the honour of
the Crown. Unfortunately, our history with government has more often
than not, been corrupted by broken promises and sharp dealing. I
sincerely hope that the Kelowna Accord does not become a part of that
shameful legacy.” #
The Flanagan quotations should be making an appearance fairly soon
in the clipped format not unlike MMF President Chartrand’s treatment of
an email from Swan River MP Inky Marks. Any perceived losses will be blamed on the Conservative government with tales of Thomas Flanagan backroom manipulation (they never note he once worked for the liberals) and any wins will be all their own.
It’s usually about here, in these by-rote, cue-card diatribes from
Indianville, that my blood pressure increases and I began to breathe
heavily, not out of anger from the words so much as that now I have to
waste time and energy pointing out the obvious absurdity of that
comment, which makes me appear to be nothing more than a negative,
Finally, culturally sensitive approaches to aboriginal
criminal justice have been increasingly emphasised for decades, but
there is no evidence that they have reduced aboriginal involvement in
And they never will simply because cultures change and evolve and
add new things. Anyone who tells you that native culture is sacrosanct
is full of it. For an interesting example take a look at the Pauingassi
First Nation in Manitoba who are trying to integrate parts of east indian culture into theirs. Nothing exists forever. Nothing.
Sadly enough we are witnessing the final death throes of an ancient
culture. Some will continue to exist in various forms others will not.
Just like Canada might not be in the form we know today a couple
hundred years from now. Everything lives and dies.
We hear a lot of negativity about assimilation but it is simple
bullshit. The truth, is that aboriginal communities who assimilate in
some form or another are the ones that are experiencing success. Higher
education, getting jobs, building businesses….
Those bastard white people came into the country, took the land,
killed, screwed some indian women, made people like me — time to get
over it. It’s time to focus on survival.
Do you want to live or don’t you? Do you really believe the lysol culture will create something permanent?
I want to live and to provide for my son and his son’s and so on. You can’t fight evolution and change. Darwinian…
Some would damn me for saying such things, but hey - I still wear
moccasins, I still burn a little sweetgrass, cook some bannock on the
weekends, fiddle music from the Red River makes the hair stand up on
the back of my neck.