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FIRST NATIONS STRATEGIC BULLETIN Oct-Dec 2013

FIRST NATIONS STRATEGIC BULLETIN Oct-Dec 2013

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Published by Russell Diabo
A newsletter primarily about First Nations political and legal issues.
A newsletter primarily about First Nations political and legal issues.

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Published by: Russell Diabo on Jan 06, 2014
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01/07/2014

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FIRST NATIONS STRATEGIC POLICY COUNSEL Special points of interest:
Unfinished Busi-ness—Constitutional Conferences on Abo-riginal & Treaty Rights
 AFN Collaborating with Harper Impacts on First Nations Abo-riginal & Treaty Rights
 AFN agreed to SOC Section 35 Principles
Summary of Legisla-tion affecting First Nations
By Arthur Manuel, Indigenous Network on Econ-omies and Trade (INET) Everyone knows the status quo systematically  violates the human rights of the vast majority of Indigenous Peoples. We need to change that! But how do we create this change? In the first ever report of its kind on 14 January, 2010, the United Nations reported:
“The world’s 370 million indigenous peoples suffer from disproportionately, often exponen-tially, higher rates of poverty, health problems, crime and human rights abuses, stressing that self-determination and land rights are vital for their survival.” 
 It is important to understand the magnitude of the problem means that Indigenous Peoples need to create the kind of political tension that eradicated segregation in the United States and apartheid in South Africa. The primary force behind the status quo is colonialism. Colonialism was an arbitrary system that European countries used to (try to) justify their domination of the world. Dispossession, dependency, economic exploitation and oppression are the key pow-ers used by colonial countries to dominate Indigenous Peoples. Each of these forces are deeply integrated into the constitutional and legal system of countries like Cana-da under Aboriginal law. Aboriginal law has its roots in colonialism. It segregates us from the settlers but it also limits our capacity to be fully free as Indigenous Peoples. The Defenders of the Land and Idle No More are part of the Indigenous movements that are calling upon Indigenous Peoples to challenge the status quo. They are in practical terms raising the issues of dispossession, dependency and economic ex-ploitation. The real problem with doing this is that you will be confronted by the sys-temic means/powers of the status quo wanting to maintain control over Indigenous Peoples. I know this from the Sun Peaks dispute and more recent disputes like at Elsipogtog. The legitimate process of maintaining control is based on the colonial doctrines claiming that Europeans dispossessed us from our traditional territories. That is the underpinning behind Crown Land and the Injunctions that industry and the govern-ments use in the courts to get enforcement orders to use the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Sûreté du Quebec and even the army to crush our efforts to be free. Injunctions are normally won by the industry or govern-ments and not by Indigenous Peoples. The Injunctions do not address the substantive legal issues behind Indigenous rights but merely follow the status quo concept that our lands were legally and justifiably stolen from us. This kind of colonial dispossession has been condemned by the Unit-ed Nations because it undermines World peace because of the yearning of the dis-
Indigenous Self-Determination, Not Termination
 
Inside this issue:
FIRST NATIONS STRATEGIC BULLETIN
O
CTOBER
-D
ECEMBER
 2013  V
OLUME
 11,
ISSUES
 10-12
IP’s Self-Determination
1
 AFN Collaboration
5
 AFN CC-SOC to Harper
14
SOC Section 35 Principles
15
Summary of Legislation
18
Contact Us
20
 Arthur Manuel speaking to the North  American Indigenous Peoples Caucus,  June 7, 2013, in Alta, Norway. (Photo by R. Diabo)
 
possessed and dependent peoples to be free. Indigenous Peoples have to take an in-depth look at the dependency programs and ser- vices that are funded by Canada and administered at our Band Offices. We need to take a look at these dependency programs because they make us elect leaders who play into this colonial strategy that dispossesses us of our traditional territories. You need to be able to connect the dots between dispossession, dependency, economic exploitation and oppres-sion. You need to understand how these negative concepts are connected to our strategy for the future. Decolonization, self-determination, freedom and economic independence are the key in-gredients of our struggle as Indigenous Peoples. The Harper government is attempting to tie the knot tighter between his colonial objectives and the direction of our establishment organizations, by cutting funding and prohibiting them from doing political work. Harper  wants our Assembly of First Nations, Provincial Territorial Organizations, Tribal Councils and Chief & Councils to become nothing more than Indian branch offices to the dependen-cy mechanism of the Aboriginal Affairs Ministry (formerly the Department of Indian Af-fairs). It is important to see the connection between dispossession and dependency. My father, George Manuel, used to say he would not get a house under the CMHC program because he does not feel he should pay for his house because the white governments got his land. He used to say: How am I supposed to pay for my house when I do not have the power to make money off my land? This is the primary problem behind accepting responsibility for programs and services like health care and education without having our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights recognized and affirmed by Canada and the provinces. Programs and services need to be directly linked to recognition and affirmation of our Ab-original and Treaty Rights and control over our lands and resources otherwise we will be subject to the charity and dependency of the government of Canada and the provinces. The take over of responsibility for programs and services is key problem the establish-ment Indigenous organizations are involved in right now. The grassroots need to under-stand that our children and future generations will be inhibited by the agreements we are signing today. Russell Diabo continually examines these agreements and aptly calls them Termination Agreements. The Termination Policy is basically the final step to colonization of Indigenous Peoples. The Termination Policy eradicates Indigenous Peoples and makes dispossession complete by constitutionally and legally eliminating Indigenous Peoples. The Termination Policy  was expressed by Canada in the White Paper on Indian Policy of 1969 and through existing government strategies to terminate our rights. The Termination Policy is like segregation in US and apartheid in South Africa. It must be defeated if we are to achieve freedom as Indigenous Peoples. We need to take examples from men like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. Nelson Mandela was a great man because he gave up his personal freedom to fight against apartheid. He could have gotten out of prison much earlier than the 27 years he spent in  jail if he had been willing to concede that apartheid was okay. He chose not to and it took 27 years before the white South African governments had to admit that apartheid was  wrong. Reconciliation did not happen until after apartheid was off the table. Mr. Mandela stood on principle. Our leaders must also stand on principle because our issues are also based on the human and indigenous rights of our grassroots peoples. We should stop negotiating with governments that do not recognize our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. We should stop negotiating with the governments to take over programs and services unless our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are recognized and affirmed, so we can build an independent economic base for our people. We should stop negotiating un-
‘Self-Determination’ continued from page 1
Page 2
FIRST NATIONS STRATEGIC BULLETIN
“Decolonizationself-determination, freedom and economic independence are the key ingredients of our struggle as Indigenous Peoples”
Mi’kmaq Woman facing off  with RCMP at Elsipogtog. RCMP deployed at Elsi-pogtog during Fracking protests.
 
der any policy that does not recognize and affirm our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights first. We should take example from Nelson Mandela that we will not negotiate with the govern-ments if “Termination” is still on the table, like Nelson Mandela refused to negotiate if “Apartheid” was still on the table. I know a lot of establishment leaders do not like walking away from the negotiating table unless there is some kind of alternative. It is clear from previous experience that if you cannot get justice here in Canada you need to get justice at the international level. When Canada sought self-determination from Britain by patriating the Canadian Constitution in 1982, Indigenous Peoples through the Constitution Express 1980 and the British lobby in 1981, ensured that our rights and the requirement for Aboriginal constitutional confer-ences were added to the Canadian Constitution. This meant that self-determination was not just to benefit settlers exclusively but also in-cluded the right of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination based on our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The failure of the Aboriginal Constitutional Conferences of the 1980’s makes the Indigenous Peoples right to self-determination an important outstanding human rights matter. Canada and the provinces cannot rely on their proposition that we can resolve this before the Supreme Court of Canada, because the Supreme Court of Canada is set up on the colonial foundation that established it as a Court. Furthermore, the Supreme Court of Canada is a domestic court and cannot adjudicate over the international right of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination. The right of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination emanates from the colonial relationship we had with Britain and inside Canada. It is important to understand that the United Nations has condemned colonialism in all its manifestations. Our problem as Indigenous Peoples is that Canada is trying to convince the United Nations that we are not entitled to self-determination because  we are domestic and dependent Canadian people without the “s”. The “s” in peoples is important because to have standing at international law you have to be a people and therefore as Indigenous nations we are peoples with standing at interna-tional law, not just a group of people or a minority in Canada. We need to dispute Canada’s colonial and arbitrary position by bringing the facts to hu-man rights bodies responsible for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding self-determination. Article 1 in both these International human rights treaties, also known as the decolonization treaties, states: “1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” It is important to understand that Canada and other countries like the United States, New Zealand and Australia have all been very skillful in keeping us – Indigenous Peoples – from asserting our right to self-determination under Article 1. They fought us at the international level for decades, especially opposing our right to self-determination. The provision was the most disputed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), but it is now part of international law and included in Article 3, setting out: Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, so-cial and cultural development.” So there can no longer be a debate internationally that we as Indigenous Peoples have the right to self-determination, after UNDRIP was adopted in 2007 and now even endorsed by the only four countries who initially voted against it: Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Once the World forms a consensus on an important principle like this it becomes
‘Self-Determination’ continued from page 2
Page 3
“We should take example from Nelson Mandela that  we will not negotiate with the governments if “Termination” is still on the table, like Nelson Mandela refused to negotiate if “Apartheid”  was still on the table”
 VOLUME 11, ISSUES 10-12

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