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As part of that oppression important information regarding Algonquin history and governance have been suppressed and have not been made readily available to the Algonquin people. We are living in a state of vulnerability. Until that situation is remedied we will continue to be exploited and manipulated, internally and externally. Part of the condition of such oppression is the lack of credible information. While many try to educate or inform the interference can be overwhelming. Cool heads must prevail. While it is not my place to speak for Lynden Sarazin I do think it is important to clarify a number of issues. It should be noted that both Lynden and I have received tremendous opposition from a certain fractions of the Algonquin people because of our insistent stand that the Algonquin people have a constitutionally protected right to the protection of our traditional governance, according to historical fact, and the development of accountable governance inclusive of our traditional values. This would be the opportunity of the Algonquin people if the issues were to go before the courts. However such an opportunity has been side railed by competing agendas and the current process before us. The current negotiations table and the structure of the various communities and processes are not founded on a comprehensive understanding of our traditional governance or history. After centuries of external oppression the Algonquin people are attempting to organize themselves from a place of vulnerability rather than actual legitimacy. Such a situation is designed for the advantage of the federal and provincial governments. No other Aboriginal group has had to endure the various forms of systemic oppression that the Algonquin people have had to contend with. Why? Because the Algonquin people and their entire history pose a serious threat to the very foundations of the country currently known as Canada and the creation of a process that gives the appearance of a quick fix greatly simplifies and lessens Canada's actual responsibility to all Algonquin people.....and of course all great acts of oppression require carefully constructed elements of internalized oppression to pick up and take the process to completion...which is exactly what we are witnessing today. Sadly, it becomes increasingly difficult to recognize what is factual and legitimate versus constructed and exploitive. Let's review some important historical facts. The Algonquin people are a sovereign people. We are a nation that operated from a sophisticated form of governance based on specific territories and social / political roles. There is absolutely no accurate representation of this reality amongst the current structures and we could severely jeopardize our authentic future if we continue on this course of destruction. The Algonquin people were not a race-based society. We have been racially and ethnically diverse for four hundred years. The imposition of the Indian Act was one of the most oppressive acts committed on the Algonquin people. It has contributed to divisions and confusion that are weakening our understanding of who we
really are. We maintained an organized political structure that was also attached to the much larger Anishnabe culture of which we are a part of. That entire culture share traits of political governance and historical and family relationships that are being lost in this process. Our rights are not based on racial issues. Our rights are based on legal principles and historical fact. Our rights derive from the unique laws concerning Aboriginal people, meaning the people that were here prior to European occupation. Because a people were already here they are recognized to have held specific legal rights. Those Aboriginal rights are inherent...passed on to all descendents who wish to exercise them. Those rights are then defined according to what were the accepted practices of those Aboriginal people, in agreement to accepted basic human rights. The federal government accepted certain obligations regarding the protection and recognition of those rights. They are to be constitutionally protected. The Algonquin people and their inherent rights severely threaten the current geo-political structure of two Canadian provinces not to mention two separate legal systems. Having to actually deal with the issues would be a terrible nightmare for all governments....not to mention a risk to the unstable situation regarding Quebec. From this perspective the Algonquin people hold a tremendous amount of power. But as an oppressed people they have had little awareness of this power. The Algonquin people, inclusive of all Aboriginal descents living within the territory would again weld a tremendous amount of power in numbers alone.....Thousands of people exercising political Aboriginal clout would be of more significance than what the governments would voluntarily want to deal with. Because of the extended history and the original practices of mixed marriages to consummate treaties and alliances by both the Algonquins and the French a very significant part of the populations of both Ontario and Quebec could claim their inherent Aboriginal rights greatly changing the course of Canadian history. But this power is recognized by other groups with their own agendas. These groups are often more than willing to exploit the distrust of the governments in their attempts to avoid actual reconciliation and can lure many of those most committed to legitimacy away very easily by oversimplifying the situation and offering radical reform. This can become another form of oppression as these movements often again lure people away from constitutionally protected rights and can often result in further polarization, infighting, and loss of confidence in any leadership or processes. This works to the advantage of the government as well. Keep the people uninformed and lure them away from the facts quick before someone actually catches on....get them to a table fighting amongst each other for a few moose tags, get some papers signed fast, and get out...claiming that they sold off their past and full inherent rights for a few crumbs. Algonquin Land Claim For Dummies 101......I think someone is working on the book right now as we speak. Keep them distracted as well with a number of other outside influences and hidden agendas and they will become really confused. Whatever you do don't let them become
actually informed. Do not set up research offices throughout the territory where people can access information for them selves. Don't provide resources so that comprehensive research can be done before you begin any processes and don't ensure that there are objective policies and anti-corruption mechanisms in place designed by outside experts to protect the legitimacy of any process or the people's confidence in the system. Keep it messy so that they will flounder around looking for alternatives........Keep them uniformed and confused..........And remember real oppression requires some of the people to help in doing the work themselves........Just throw around some money without real accountability mechanisms and watch them go!!!!! Pity the poor individuals that actually attempt to bring some integrity to the process!!!!!! They'll chew them up pretty good, at a lot less expense than a court case. These processes of oppression are not some dry administrative order. These processes are extremely emotional and manipulative. They hurt. Families are affected. Careers are affected. Personal resources are affected. Children's futures are affected. Egos are stroked. Lies are told. Lack of education and poverty are taken advantage of. This is dirty. And it is preventable. Currently competing for control or recognition are two movements, both equally destructive to the Algonquin identity and inherent rights. One is the domination of processes by the Indian Act band that derives its legitimacy not from history or tradition but from the globally criticized Indian Act, an archaic racially discriminatory administrative policy that does not reflect inherent traditional rights or responsibilities. Continued adherence to the Indian Act, or any form of federally funded facsimile governance structures greatly compromises the integrity of Algonquin governance and future stability. A commitment to accepting sub-standard governance structures and processes is probably the strongest threat to actual Aboriginal sovereignty. We should not be tolerating second class policy. We need strong leaders who can demonstrate such capacity. Just as the Indian Act will have effectively eliminated status Indians in approximately four generations poor governance will have eliminated Aboriginal identification just as effectively. Both are sophisticated forms of oppression. In a reaction to the inherent flaws of continuing this oppression of Algonquin tradition through the Indian Act is another movement that challenges both the Indian Act and the Canadian Constitution. This is the movement that most opposed to the current structure are adhering to. This is part of a pan-Indian movement stating that no Canadian law has jurisdiction over Aboriginal people...that no Canadian law applies to natives and proposes the establishment of a new governance order. Lynden Sarazin and myself, as leader of the Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation, have been ostracized from many of the current processes because of our firm commitment to traditional Algonquin governance, historical fact and responsible governance, as are constitutionally protected!!!!! We are not interested in creating anything that cannot be historically proven as legitimate. We are not interested in participating in anything that does not have strong accountability mechanisms in place. We are not interested in any movement that does not answer basic questions regarding financial sources or allows for
serious breaches of integrity. We recognize that the reputation of the Algonquin people and the security of our future lies in a truthful reconciliation of the facts. Everyone should be concerned about this as whatever processes might be developed now, if not based on fact, will be overthrown and ridiculed in the future, at everyone's expense. There is a tremendous amount of research being done regarding Algonquin history that if integrated into the current processes would contribute to the security, certainty and prosperity we all are hoping for. There is no need to be manipulated into any form of agreement or governance before all of the facts are in. Lynden and I have no interest in destroying the Canadian Constitution. We want our protected rights upheld according to the Canadian Constitution!!!!! The current process before us is continually becoming more complex and convoluted.........luring the Algonquin people farther and farther away from fact and accountability. I have no intention of being lured away from our historical truth as we will all be held accountable in the future. Those people of genuine courage and integrity will want the same.......If it cannot be accomplished at this table then we will accomplish the recognition of our legitimate rights and responsibilities through litigation. Recent case law has been favourable for legitimate native cases, based on fact, as protected by the Canadian Constitution. The Algonquin people have been oppressed long enough. It has been to the advantage of everyone else that our history has been denied us. We should not be doing anything from a point of ignorance. There are many individuals that have been devoting much time and energy to the pursuit of knowledge in order to serve the Algonquin people. Do not allow ourselves to be internally oppressed against these dedicated Algonquins for the sake of a few power seekers. The facts support equal representation of all Algonquin people regardless of "blood quantum." The facts support full political autonomy and nation recognition of all qualifying Algonquin communities. The facts support extensive rights to diverse economic activity and revenue far beyond fishing, hunting and gathering. The facts support a governance system that includes participation of the Quebec Algonquins in some capacity during the process. The facts support a strong Algonquin Confederacy with traditional central governance that maintains historical continuance of our traditional values. The facts support a sophisticated Algonquin nation that contributed to the development of the country of Canada, including the existing legal systems. The facts support the mechanisms necessary to allow the Algonquin people to become a totally self-sufficient nation, forever independent of outside revenues and influences. The facts support an Algonquin people that knew the importance of working in cooperation with other people. What kind of future you do want? Fact or fantasy? Fact or fiction?
We are currently negotiating a fiction that will temporarily negate away our broad constitutional inherent rights, creating an Algonquin fantasy that suits the agendas of outside parties. Let's get real. Paula LaPierre Principal Sachem Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation By Honouring Our Past We Determine Our Future---------Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation Visit our community information website at http://www.esnips.com/web/kichesipirini
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