On Native Land

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Our Home On Native Land

This year marks 150 years since Confederation. There will be events and festivities all across the country throughout 2017. But a sombre note will underlay the celebrations. Our country rests on a shaky foundation: the forceful colonization of First Nations land and First Nations people.

What does real reconciliation mean to you? How can we build a fair and equal relationship between Indigenous peoples and settlers as promised in the early Peace and Friendship treaties? How can we make real the UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples which Canada is a signatory to?

There have been so many promises made – and so many promises broken. This is your opportunity to be part of the solution.

 

  • commented 2017-04-10 19:42:32 -0400
    Aboriginal Title by virtue of its constitutional presence and its application to almost every current political, social, economic and geographic issue in Canada remains the most significant and most under utilized progressive evolutionary tool in Canadian history. Aboriginal title provides all peoples, Indigenous Peoples and otherwise a safe, rational, judicially consistent inclusive tool to address significant systemic problems in Canada. Throughout history the types of issues that are linked to Aboriginal Title and Rights have been the cause of much blood spilt. This need not ever be the case here. But it requires visionary leadership to say the things that are factually known to be true, to inspire others by articulating the steps required to get us all to that better place for all our children. There is no other tool so readily available to a Canada that understands the need for vigilance, maintenance and active engagement that is required to keep a democratic capitalist society relevant and healthy.

    Where is that leadership?


    Haida Gwaii in the Pacific ocean has the most significant and progressive models of new decision-making structures known to Canada. They are inclusive of all peoples regardless of ethnicities. The consensus driven models are both governance and management focused. They are also much linked to decisions over how humans act in the land and waters. By the insistence of Haida government Canadian governments as Canadian citizens are included.


    National Geographic has even lauded the land and water management processes as the best in all of North America.


    It should be more than a curiosity for Canadian citizens to wonder why the federal overnment has not learned from these Haida models and apparently refuses to apply it to other contentious areas across the nation.
  • commented 2017-04-02 17:49:20 -0400
    Easy ~ start considering the indigenous people of these lands to be equal. It really is that simple. It’s time to return the stolen lands. Not all of them of course, but definitely a vast amount of the traditional lands. They do not, after all, belong to the “Queen” – they are NOT “Queens lands”. Here are a few examples of ways to treat us equally::

    1) Kirby Whiteduck, the new chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, was deeply opposed by many in his tribe; he only won a new term by 49 votes in a field of over 1,800 votes. Than he had the nerve to say "I feel that this is a good indicator that the membership wants to continue with the land claim negotiations,” said Whiteduck. (http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/2017/03/30/chief-kirby-whiteduck-re-elected-for-sixth-term) Only 49 more people than the 900 who voted against him feel that way, the rest absolutely hate the Agreement in Principle he signed with Ottawa. There are far too many non-ndns in the Algonquin land claim and it has to be stopped and completely straightened out, if you ever want it to even look like the federal government considers First Nations equal. . Recognizing how many of his tribe are opposed to the AIP should be reason enough to stop it. They are NOT a corporation and should not be treated as one: ALL the people count.

    2) The federal government is wasting our tax dollars and the lives of First Nations children by fighting the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal over their ruling on the First Nations child welfare debacle and they have been fighting it since 2007! That has to stop if you are to consider FNs equal.

    3) Start treating FNs fairly ~ by fair I mean care for them as you would care for anyone in Otawa or Toronto, with equal funding, as well as making yourselves accountable for the distance involved in reaching those in the far north. Food North would be an excellent place to start, but housing, water issues, education, medical treatment, policing, etc etc etc is sorely wanting for all of them, and the waste left behind by companies you’ve allowed to take the resources of the people (ie: Grassy Narrows mercury issues.) IF the indigenous are under the “care” of the federal government you cannot allow provinces to tred on them.

    This is a small sampling of the issues they face, but Reconciliation means nothing without putting your feet and your money where your mouth is, and without further punishing them for having the gall to have been created here!
  • commented 2017-03-30 11:21:48 -0400
    Declare all first nations land sovereign territory. Fund and train a first nations police force to give them a RCMP equivalent. This addresses the epidemic of missing and murdered first nations women. Having a dedicated all first nations staffed police force insures that the missing/murdered women’s cases will get the proper attention and resources they deserve. Increase first nations representation in both provincial and federal supreme courts. Create a lower courts system of all first nation judges.


    In short the current justice system doesn’t work for first nations and is beyond reform. The only solution is to create and new system, one that works for and by the indigenous community.
  • commented 2017-03-14 22:45:24 -0400
    I think we will need to listen to First Nations people about the solutions they want to see. I have trouble seeing a clear path foward. Clearly, we need to reduce poverty – but how to do so, when so many reserves are in remote areas where building and maintaining infrastructure is a constant challenge, where opportunities for jobs and economic development are scarce, and (in the North) where basic necessities are so expensive as to be unaffordable? Clean drinking water is a basic human right and no one in Canada should lack for it, but how can we maintain water treatment plants for isolated communities of a couple hundred people?


    There will need to be some serious thought about economic development and diversification in the north. What options are there for production of food (especially fruits and vegetables) in the territories so that it doesn’t need to be flown in at incredibly high prices? What are other northern countries like the Scandanavian nations and Iceland doing?


    As a starting point, we need to make tertiary education free for all First Nations and Inuit people. (I know that you have proposed to do this for everyone – I think heavily income-graduated bursaries would be more effective – but it’s particularly crucial for indigenous people, who have much lower tertiary education rates than other Canadians.) In its treaties, the Government of Canada committed to providing education, and in the present day a trades, college, or university education is virtually necessary (though not sufficient) for obtaining a decent, stable job. We also need programs at universities to support First Nation students who are feeling isolated. We also need to make sure that elementary and secondary schools on reserves are funded equally to equivalent schools in the rest of Canada – the current government has made progress on this front,, but there is further to go.


    I also agree with Jeremy that we seriously need to deal with racism in our police forces.
  • commented 2017-03-14 22:36:44 -0400
    The government, whether conservative or liberal, has been at odds with the First Nations community to no end. In order to maintain a solid relationship and allow ourselves to live as a unified country, the federal government needs to step up to the plate and actually treat the First Nations population equal to the rest of us, instead of drastically lower as they have and continue to do. They must provide funding for education and infrastructure for first nations schools. They also have to ensure that law enforcement is responsible and accountable for their treatment of First Nations people, in order to end racist mistreatment. I also hope that one day we can say that all children in our country have access to adequate shelter, food, and water, instead of the embarrassing state of affairs that is the quality of life for first nations children. Before right wingers demand that first nations people to be proud Canadians, our government needs to truly end discrimination against them, and uphold their agreements to equal and appropriate treatment.
  • commented 2017-03-12 22:02:14 -0400
    We are also the 99% that are not aboriginal. Try to keep a reasonable balance.
  • commented 2017-03-04 12:13:03 -0500
    Real reconciliation means listening to Tribal Councils and First Nations activists about the solutions they want to see. To me (an ignorant citified white dude) it means a massive boost in funding to schools and First Nations communities, and retraining of our police forces to curb the unacceptable hostility and racism between law enforcement and first nations communities in places like Manitoba.
  • commented 2017-03-02 07:54:30 -0500
    Gosh, where do you start? We can’t rest until every child in Canada has access to the necessities of life (shelter, food, clothing, etc.) and a chance to follow their dreams. The biggest crime colonialism has ever committed IMHO, is taking away the dreams, and the chance to be the best they can be.
  • commented 2017-02-27 21:49:29 -0500
    I’m hoping this short video about reconciliation that came across my Facebook feed shows up. If not, and you are interesting you can probably copy and paste the URL into your browser. https://www.facebook.com/TheatreForLiving/videos/vb.170119864185/10155678580934186/?type=2&theater
  • commented 2017-02-23 11:07:24 -0500
    The Liberal’s lost all my respect and any faith in their calls for a renewal of respecting values of the First Nations, when they gave their support of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and renewed same for the Keystone XL. I currently live in an area of Canada (South Bruce, Ontario) designates as a prime site for the disposal of nuclear waste. (Adaptive Phased Management) Both the industry and government had said that such a project will not proceed without first consultation with the Saugeen First Nations, a poor municipality , who may just get bought out by an industry with deep pockets. As an example, my municipality alone, has been given $400,000 by the Nuclear Waste Management (NWMO) just for being co-operative in “learning process” of APM.

    I feel this is an unethical process that should be reviewed by Parliament.

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