12 July 2006
July 11, 2006
Indigenous People to Speak Against the Assembly of First Nations
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and band councils are unrepresentative and illegitimate.
We recognize that the falsehood of the Indian Act, the illegitimacy of band councils and the corruption of the AFN are root causes of the decline of our nations and suffering in our communities.
On the occasion of the AFN's annual general assembly, as the "National Chief" will be elected by band council chiefs, we will gather to speak out against the Indian Act system and the collaboration of AFN and band council chiefs with the government of Canada's goal of destroying our nations and the land.
We call on all Indigenous people to join us in recognizing the true nature of the Indian Act and the Department of Indian Affairs, and to take action by withdrawing their consent and support for the band council system and working together to rebuild our nations using the sacred wisdom of our ancestors in order to restore democratic, effective and honest forms of government for the people.
Wednesday, July 12th, Noon
Vancouver Convention Centre, BC Caucus Room No. 1
999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC
"The AFN's path of least resistance is corrupted by greed. Sacrificing the struggle for our land and rights for an agenda of economic development is an unacceptable concession to white power. It is a surrender of our nationhood." - Taiaiake Alfred
"In order for Indigenous people to feel that their leadership is responsible for their collective voice, a new movement must founded based on the unity of purpose and freedom of our people." - David Dennis
Contacts: Ha'wilth'ap (David Dennis) Taiaiake (Gerald Alfred)
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Archived: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:05 pm
09 July 2006
MNN. July 4, 2006. Who do they think they're kidding? This is a rip-off of Indigenous people! Nothing less is acceptable to us Rotino'shon:ni / Iroquois than full acceptance into the UN as a nation equal to all the others. Otherwise, it's just a lot of "hot air" to stop us from getting in.
We are still under forced "colonial rule".
Who do we complain to when the UN violates us? We know we are being set up to be undermined even more. The UN is controlled by the multinational corporations. It looks like they're setting up a "World Indigenous Affairs" to control us, our lands and our resources. Conspicuously missing from this declaration is any acknowledgement of the fact that many of the United Nations members are still occupying territory stolen from Indigenous People through the oppressive colonial processes, which are still going on [and not being stopped by the UN]. Otherwise, they'd get off our land and go home. Why on earth does the UN need to say that Indigenous people have a right to be "citizens" of the states that's oppressing them and ripping them off? That's because the UN refuses to admit that they have recognized a whole lot of colonial states that have taken over Indigenous people's countries.
We still don't have any say, except maybe in an advisory capacity, with no way to enforce any violations. We can say "shame, shame on you" which doesn't bother the the thick-skinned insensitive parasites called colonizers. We have to accept submission to a colonial state in order to be heard. Control over us will be so far away that we can't even see it. They hope no one else will either. They won't respect our title to Turtle Island. It's just another layer of bureaucracy for us to plow through so we can have the edifying experience of being snubbed once more. [they'll have their feet on a clean empty desk and tell us, "That's not my department. You'll have to go across the globe to talk to so and so"].
The bottom line is we have to be compliant or we'll be ignored. What we're getting here is a watered down version of all our rights that are supposed to be in all the other UN conventions that are already being ignored. We have news for you, we are people too! Are the Rotino'shon:ni / Iroquois in fact being set back? We should declare that we do not go along with this counterfeit they call a "Declaration of Indigneous Human Rights". We want Canada and the U.S. to live up to the original relationship with us which is nation-to-nation. We don't want to become citizens of their states. It's a puff of smoke and a hall of mirrors, reflecting the same old colonial game.
Let's explain some of what the "Plain language" version of the Draft Declaration put out by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Commission really says.
It deals with self-determination, culture and language, education, health, housing, employment, land and resources, environment and development, intellectual and cultural property, indigenous law and treaties and agreements with governments.
We're seeing that there will be no nation-to-nation relationship which is the only way that the issues can be resolved. This is the only way there's a chance they can understand our ways of thinking.
The "plain language" version is intended to help indigenous communities, organisations and the general public understand the Draft Declaration.
It is actually insulting to our intelligence. It seems to assume that none of us are smart enough to understand this baffle gab. For indigenous people who are rooted to the soil, it's astounding to think that we have any more rights just because they say we have a right to a "country". This suggests we can be displaced.
The preamble lists some of the reasons, which led the United Nations to develop a declaration on indigenous peoples' rights. They want recognition of their rights as distinct peoples, including the right to self-determination, and the right to control development of their societies.
Do we need them to give us this "human right"? No! It's as human as the will to live. Self-determination is part of nature. It's the reason why the thistle seed grows into a thistle. It's the reason why a chicken egg hatches a chicken and not a lizard. Do they expect with this declaration that a lamb will grow into a jackass?
Rejection of the view that some peoples are better than others as racist and wrong.
We never thought or accepted that anyone was better than us. Oppression is a state of mine and it was enforced at gunpoint, with swords, cutlasses, ropes, chains, instruments of torture, laws, theft and economic monopolies.
Colonisation - indigenous peoples have been deprived of their human rights and freedoms and this has led to their colonisation and the taking of their land.
We still have title to our land but we're occupied. Colonization is a hoax enforced at gun point. We don't need fancy words. They just need to stop stepping on our feet and get off our land.
Respect - Recognition of the urgent need to respect the rights of indigenous peoples, particularly their rights to their land and resources.
No guarantee here. By the way, did they remember to mention they've taken everything and they don't think the resources are ours? If they really wanted to respect our resources, they'd give us our places at the table with all the other nations and conglomerations of lost souls.
Indigenous Organisations - indigenous peoples are getting together to end discrimination and oppression.
Now here is a real contradiction. If all people are equal, how could it make on jot of difference what the chosen few who get to speak at the UN dictate? The UN cannot end oppression and discrimination from above. It is their very concept of hierarchy that creates oppression. If they want to end their violations of human rights, they have to start behaving respectfully, give up all they've stolen from us and stop dictating to us. Invite us to help them to overcome their illnesses and delusions. It's like a drug addiction. There's no point in writing fine declarations of intent. You either kick the drug or you don't. The first step to overcoming addictions is to acknowledge that you have a problem. We don't see any acknowledgement here.
Environment - respect for indigenous peoples' knowledge can contribute to fair and lasting development and better management of the environment.
"Fair and lasting developing"! What do they mean by this? Last time we looked, their concept of development meant destroying the environment as we know it. If they're serious about respecting Indigenous people, they should set up a plan to restore the environment to the state it was in when they vandalized and stole it. Hey! Has anyone noticed the glaring omission in this document? There is not one word of remorse or apology for colonialism and there isn't even an announcement that it's over.
Article 1: Human Rights - Indigenous peoples have the right to all the human rights and freedoms recognized in international law.
Who's going to enforce this and how? Here's another conspicuous absence. The colonial states that belong to the UN have proved themselves to be notoriously negligent in the past when it comes to restraining its citizens from violating our rights. Their response has generally been to legalize the violations that were committed. In fact, they are still claiming sovereignty over us on the basis of theft and murder by their citizens.
Article 2: Equality - Indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples. They must be free from discrimination.
Statements like this actually serve to validate and reinforce the old way of looking at things. Instead of acting on the ideals they profess and inviting us to the table as equals, they just announce that we should be treated as equals and leave us shut out in the cold. What's the big deal? Are they afraid that if they sit beside us to eat an apple, that somehow they wont be fed?
Article 3: Self-determination - Indigenous peoples have the right of self-determination.
This is a gross attempt to usurp the power of nature. All people are born as they were conceived. All have a right to be, whether or not anyone cares to pronounce on the matter. No one can give anyone else the right to self-determination. It is an innate instinct that asserts itself even before birth and continues when we take our first breath. The pine seed produces a pine tree. A human produces a human. Do they think that any palaver at the UN is going to change that?
This means they can choose their political status and the way they want to develop.
Here's a piece of two-face hypocrisy. We Mohawks have chosen our status as nations equal to others. Our confederacy applied for membership in the League of Nations in 1923 and also for membership in the United Nations. But we haven't even been allowed to present our case. How does this qualify as "free choice of our political status"? As a matter of fact, we are being attacked over this very issue at Six Nations right now.
Article 4: Distinct Characteristics - Indigenous peoples have the right to keep and develop their distinct characteristics and systems of law. How can we do this when the colonists have illegally forced their system of subjugation over us and our land?"
We want our original jurisdiction over our land, ourselves, our resources and so on which we never gave up according to international law.
They also have the right, if they want, to take part in the life of the rest of the country.
Yeah. It's always been that way. We've heard of this before. It's called "assimilation" or "civilization" depending on which generation is saying it. What about our right to be left alone with our possessions? This has not been respected. To become Canadians! Is this held out as a privilege, to become a sell-out colonist? We constantly rejected this and they still don't get it. Canadians don't want to be Americans!
Article 5: Citizenship - Every indigenous person has the right to be a citizen of a country.
Just a minute! That's what we're fighting against. We are citizens of our own nations. Yet we are still being forced to become citizens of foreign colonial societies. A "Citizen" is a "freeman of a city". Why would we want to live in cities when we are rooted in the land of our ancestors?
There is much disagreement over what self-determination means. Indigenous peoples base their claims to self-determination on the fact that they were the first peoples in their territories.
What's wrong with that? Self-determination means the right of indigenous peoples to choose their political status and to make decision about their own development. Determined by who? No, we base self-determination on our essential belongingness to nature. We have the same right to self-determination as an oak tree to a newt. And we don't intend to start laying dinasaur eggs
Some governments reject the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination or try to limit its scope. They are fearful of independence movements and the possibility of national disintegration.
Why should colonists continue their oppressions and theft of everything of ours in their sight? Well, the one thing they forget is that if a nation is a nation, they remain a nation, no matter what! A pine forest will not become a flock of geese. (Though at this point this declaration seems about to produce a bucket of vomit).
Indigenous representatives at the UN consider this view to be racist and discriminatory. The UN Charter and the main human rights instruments state self-determination as a right of all peoples.
Aw, shut up!
Article 6: existence - Indigenous peoples have the right to live in freedom, peace and security.
Even if we're in one of your colonial jails for defending these very freedoms as so many of us are? Can we reclaim our stolen possessions? Is that possible? Or is that another jail term for us?
They must be free from genocide and other acts of violence.
How will this stop Canada from attacking us for justly reclaiming our land, from listening to our phone conversation and interfering with our emails just for telling it like it is?
Governments shall prevent the taking of their land and resources.
Like Canada helping DeBeers Diamonds and other resource development companies to steal from and destroy Northern communities like Kashechewan. The Crees are being removed from their land and being brutalized for not going along with DeBeers and Canada's theft from their traditional territory. They have been removed from their communities by coercion.
Writing about this piece of trash called the Draft Declaration of Indigenous Rights is getting boring. Everyone gets the general idea that the United Nations wants to maintain colonialism, does not want to stop the genocide by respecting our constitutional jurisdiction over our land, does not want to respect our title and rights over all our land and resources, will not stop states from forcing their laws and taxation of our labor and goods on us and our land. Our people will continue to be killed, jailed and vilified for standing up for our inherent powers to our sovereignty, lands and resources.
In other words, they will not recognize our nations as equal to any other in the world and will not make the colonists deal with us on a nation-to-nation basis. Yes, they will let us do our songs, chants, dances and wear our "customs" for their entertainment. Our cultural property, Turtle Island, will continue to be occupied and environmentally devastated by the colonizers.
This is a whitewash to help the corporate takeover of the world. It's a distraction and a red herring. What they're really doing is depriving more and more people and putting us into subordinate positions. It's stopping people from noticing what's really going on. They've created a delusion so no one will notice that we are one of the last little problems that need to be "cleaned up" and put in our place.
The bottom line is that real legality is not coercive. It means that everybody has to be on the same page. This is a document meant to work under the coercive laws of the colonizers. If there was a real intention to decolonize and to treat us as equal human beings, it would not take this form. We would be told about the "big" meetings that are happening and would be invited to sit at the table as equal nations of the world.
MNN Mohawk Nation News
kahentinetha AT mohawknationnews.com
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Archived: Sun Jul 9, 2006 5:58 pm
30 June 2006
Transmitted by CNW Group on : June 29, 2006 16:08
Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Moves Forward
Despite Canadian Government Interference
OTTAWA, June 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Indigenous peoples and human rights organizations in Canada are welcoming the historic decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to back the adoption of the draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
However, these organizations also expressed their deep frustration and disappointment with the Canadian government's efforts to stall this much-needed and long overdue human rights instrument. Canada called the vote as a pre-emptive move against the Declaration's passage, but in the end Canada was one of only two countries to vote against the Declaration.
Instead, the Council voted to bring the proposed Declaration forward for possible adoption by the UN General Assembly later this year. The vote was 30 in favour and 2 against (with 12 abstentions and 3 absent).
"Canada's opposition to the Declaration has soured the first meeting of the Human Rights Council," says Beverly Jacobs, President of the Native Women's Association of Canada. "The Council was created in the hope that states would set aside domestic considerations and work impartially to advance the human rights of all. It's a bitter disappointment that Canada would mar the very first session by openly pursuing a dubious domestic agenda."
The Canadian government was an active participant in the Working Group that drafted the current text and, in recent years, had a played a critical role in building state support for the principles of the draft Declaration. The current government has tried to explain its sudden opposition by claiming that some provisions of the Declaration are incompatible with Canadian law. It has not provided any substantiation of this claim. Canada had failed also in an earlier attempt to bring forward a counter-resolution to have the decision on the Declaration delayed so it could be re-opened for further negotiation. All of these moves damage Canada's international reputation as a leader in Indigenous and human rights.
Indigenous peoples' organizations that have participated in the Working Group point out that not only is the Declaration a non-binding, aspirational statement that would not override any domestic laws, it also contains specific assurances, introduced by Canada, that its provisions must be interpreted in a fair and balanced manner that respects basic principles of human rights, democratic society and good government.
"We are outraged that Canada would demonstrate such bad faith in opposing a text that it helped write," says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada "It is even more astounding that Canada would then try to persuade other states that another round of negotiations is needed. It was fortunate - though embarrassing for all Canadians - that Canada quickly found itself isolated on a Council that was prepared to move forward with a principled defence of Indigenous peoples' human rights."
Strong international support for the Declaration is an important step forward in countering the widespread racism and discrimination that threatens the survival and well-being of Indigenous peoples worldwide. The draft Declaration clearly affirms that Indigenous peoples must not be arbitrarily denied the right of self-determination, which is recognized in international law as a universal right of all peoples. The Declaration also affirms diverse rights regarding lands, territories and resources that are essential to the cultural identities of Indigenous peoples and the fulfillment of their basic human rights.
"This is an historic day for Indigenous peoples around the globe," said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine. "We are grateful that the Council has recognized the importance and urgency of moving ahead with human rights protections for Indigenous peoples. It is very unfortunate that in trying to stand in the way of the Declaration, Canada has done so much harm to its credibility and influence on a Council that it worked so hard to create."
The Declaration has been under development for more than two decades. The current proposal, which emerged from an 11-year-long Working Group process, has been endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People and by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. It has also been supported by a wide range of states worldwide, including states such as Norway and Denmark which, like Canada, have a history of negotiation and treaty-making with Indigenous peoples.
Source: Native News North
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29 June 2006
Published: Thursday, June 29, 2006
GENEVA -- The new UN Human Rights Council on Thursday overrode Canadian and Russian objections and passed a declaration to protect the rights of native peoples around the world, including an assertion that they have a possible right to restitution for land and resources taken from them.
By 30-2 vote, the body approved the declaration that said indigenous people should be free from discrimination and that they have a right "to consider themselves different and to be respected as such." A dozen countries abstained and three were absent.
A coalition of indigenous people who had been campaigning heavily in favour of passage had complained that Canada, a former supporter of the declaration, had switched sides after the Conservative party ousted the Liberals earlier this year.
They said Canada thus joined the United States, Australia and New Zealand -- all countries with significant native populations -- in opposing the declaration. The U.S., Australia and New Zealand, however, have no vote because they are not members of the 47-nation council, which began its first session last week.
The council replaced the widely discredited 53-country UN Human Rights Commission.
© Associated Press 2006
Archived: Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:57 pm
28 June 2006
Request for full and ongoing Canadian government support
June 27, 2006
Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Dear Right Honourable Prime Minister:
Re: Draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:
Request for full and ongoing Canadian government support
We are writing to respectfully express our deep concern that your government has not yet indicated its clear support for the draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Many other countries are strengthening their commitment to Indigenous peoples' human rights and the latest text proposed by the Chair of the Working Group. However, the Government of Canada's previous prominent role and earlier support seems to be diminishing.
For over 20 years, international law experts, States and Indigenous peoples from all parts of the world have invested a great deal of time and effort at the United Nations to discuss the urgent and essential human rights standards included in the Declaration. At this historic juncture, Canada should reinforce its longstanding human rights commitments.
The Declaration explicitly provides in a fair and balanced manner that the "human rights . of all shall be respected". All of its provisions "shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith". These are the core principles and values of Canadian and international human rights law.
1. Significant positive momentum
During the past year, there has been significant positive momentum in favour of Indigenous peoples' human rights. In the 2005 World Summit Outcome, the General Assembly and the Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their "commitment to continue making progress in the advancement of the human rights of the world's indigenous peoples . and to present for adoption a final draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples as soon as possible." In the Programme of Action for the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, the General Assembly and its Member States agreed that "adoption [of the Declaration] early in the Decade should be a priority for the Second Decade".
Further, on May 26, 2006, the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues highlighted that the U.N. Declaration is an "an instrument of great value to advance the rights and aspirations of the world's indigenous peoples." The Forum recommended by consensus "the adoption without any amendments of the draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples . by the General Assembly during its sixty-first session, in 2006."
Clearly, there is widespread and growing global support for the latest text of the U.N. Declaration to be adopted this year by the General Assembly.
With respect to Indigenous peoples' human rights, Canada has played in recent years a leadership role at the United Nations and other international fora. Therefore, we are concerned that your government may arrest this highly effective initiative and now assume a regressive approach.
2. Questionable government actions
In our considered view, the following actions are not in keeping with the "spirit of partnership and mutual respect" that is a principal objective of the Declaration. Rather, these actions appear to establish a disturbing pattern that serves to impede cooperation, social justice and the enjoyment of our most basic human rights:
1. Despite severe socio-economic disparities affecting Indigenous peoples, your government has decided not to honour the Kelowna Accord that was agreed to by all First Ministers and national Indigenous leaders in November 2005. This unilateral action undermines the federal principle in Canada. It is also inconsistent with Canada's commitments under the U.N. Millennium Declaration, Inter-American Democratic Charter and other international instruments to respect human rights and combat poverty. On May 17, 2006, the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expressed its concern that "poverty rates [in Canada] remain very high among disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups such as Aboriginal peoples".
2. In regard to climate change, your government has sought to scuttle the Kyoto Accord and prevent the global adoption of "stringent targets" to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. As indicated in the December 2004 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people: "The effects of global warming and environmental pollution are particularly pertinent to the life chances of Aboriginal people in Canada's North, a human rights issue that requires urgent attention".
3. In seeking election to the Human Rights Council, Canada's "Commitments and Pledges" (April 10, 2006) provide that "Canada commits to actively pursue the implementation of human rights domestically, including with respect to racism, indigenous people." By omitting any commitment to the human rights of Indigenous "peoples", Canada fell far short of its existing international obligations, as well as the rule of law enshrined in Canada's Constitution.
4. Canada's "Commitments and Pledges" do not contain any support for the adoption by the General Assembly of the latest text of the Declaration. This omission has potentially far-reaching adverse consequences, especially since many States are often influenced by Canada's human rights positions. In contrast, States such as Finland, France, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil have actively pledged their support for adoption of the Declaration.
5. On May 17, 2006, Canada made a Statement at the Permanent Forum, opting not to indicate any positive support for the adoption by the General Assembly of the latest text of the Declaration. Yet this topic was a key human rights matter that was extensively discussed during the Forum. In addition to the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, countries such as the Philippines, Norway and Ecuador reiterated their unequivocal support for adoption of the Declaration.
6. During the past two months, substantive discussions and meetings with federal officials on matters relating to the Declaration have significantly diminished. These experienced officials are no longer in a position to engage in meaningful discourse or cooperation. This situation stands in sharp contrast to the mutually respectful method of collaboration that has been established with the Canadian delegation for the past two years. Through such dialogue, "harmonious and cooperative relations" that are emphasized in the Declaration were significantly enhanced. Any concerns that arose were carefully discussed and resolved together in a timely and exemplary manner.
7. In late February and early March 2006, Indigenous Chiefs and leaders wrote to you and your Ministers urging that Canada maintain its leadership role in this critical period relating to the Declaration. Meetings with your Ministers were also requested. No substantive response was ever received. Our democratic participation and input were in effect terminated.
We are aware that United States, Australia and New Zealand are aggressively lobbying Canada and other countries to oppose the adoption of the Declaration. Each of these States has been the subject of "early warning and urgent action" procedures by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in respect to their appalling treatment of Indigenous peoples. Each of these countries has played an obstructionist role in the standard-setting process, offering extreme, discriminatory, unsubstantiated and erroneous positions that have noticeably isolated them from many other States and Indigenous peoples. Rather than promote respect for Indigenous peoples' human rights, these three States are exacerbating our insecurity worldwide.
Hopefully, Canada will instead align itself with countries who are taking a respectful and principled stand on the human rights of Indigenous peoples. To do otherwise would cause extreme prejudice to over 370 million Indigenous people globally. The rampant human rights violations faced by Indigenous peoples would unjustly continue with virtual impunity.
3. Need for a bi-partisan, principled approach
Clearly, the promotion and respect for our human rights should remain a bi-partisan matter in Canada. In relation to our rights, Canada must uphold the honour of the Crown. In addition, all members of the Human Rights Council, including Canada, have an explicit duty to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights". It is a central responsibility and mandate of the Council to "promot[e] universal respect for the protection of all human rights . for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner".
We have heard that your government may qualify its support for the Declaration, by adding a list of understandings or concerns. Such an approach would be inappropriate and undermine the aspirational objectives of the Declaration. It would send contradictory messages to the international community. For Canada - an elected member of the Human Rights Council - to distance itself in this way from the Declaration would be to devalue its essential worth. Especially in its inaugural session, the Human Rights Council must uphold the highest human rights standards. It is only in this way that reform of the United Nations system can truly succeed and promote the dignity and rights of all peoples.
For all of the above reasons, we urge that your government actively encourage the adoption without amendment or qualification of the Chair's proposed text of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Chief Stewart Phillip
Chief Robert Shintah
Chief Mike Retasket
The UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
Archived: Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:45 pm
20 June 2006
Last Updated Tue, 20 Jun 2006 11:28:01 EDT
Canada is threatening to scuttle a United Nations declaration that would enshrine the rights of aboriginal people worldwide.
The United Nation's Human Rights Council in Geneva is expected to hold a vote on the treaty before the end of the month, but the Conservative government is one of several that feels the language is too all-encompassing.
Other nations opposing the declaration also have significant aboriginal populations - for example, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
"It contains provisions that are inconsistent with the Canadian Charter," said Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Jim Prentice said of the deal. "It contains provisions that are inconsistent with the Constitution Act of 1982. It's quite inconsistent with land-claims policies under which Canada negotiates claims."
Prentice said the document would hinder land-claims talks with some aboriginal bands on handing over rights to exploit resources. He said Canada would vote against the document if it remained unchanged.
The Assembly of First Nations and Amnesty International were quick to criticize the government for delaying a document they said has already taken 20 years to craft.
"We feel that there's been sufficient discussion, and let's get on with the declaration and let's have the international community acknowledge the rights of the indigenous peoples," said Agnes Toulouse, Ontario Regional Chief.
The declaration is not legally binding, but rather, would be a symbolic gesture that shows countries support the sovereign rights of aboriginal people.
In a joint statement last month, the United States, Australia and New Zealand rejected the assertion that aboriginal people have the right to "self-determination," saying it was inconsistent with international law.
Archived: Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:29 pm
Jun. 19, 2006
MONTREAL -- Canada has teamed with the United States and Australia to stop the United Nations from passing a declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, says Amnesty International.
The human rights group, along with opposition parties, accused the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday of stalling the declaration along with these other nations.
It's been twenty years that the international community has been working on a declaration on aboriginal rights," said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.
"It's difficult to imagine an important issue of human rights that the governments of the world have taken more time to resolve," Neve said Monday. "The problem of the human rights of indigenous peoples is urgent," said Angus Toulouse, president of the Assembly of First Nations.
"It's not necessary for the rights of these people to come in second place in order to please the United States, New Zealand and Australia." Last month, representatives of those three countries sent out a joint statement calling the declaration "profoundly imperfect."
The UN declaration would guarantee "auto-determination" for indigenous peoples, giving them the right to reclaim traditional territory and refuse military activity upon traditional lands.
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice said the declaration contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, when it comes to aboriginal land claims, as well federal laws on national defence.
"The text is clearly in need of work," Prentice said.
But "we support the adoption of a declaration on the rights of aboriginal peoples and we're working on that."
The UN's new council on human rights will consider the declaration at a meeting that began Monday and will last through to June 30.
First Nations and Amnesty International hope the council adopts the declaration. If they do, the text could be put to the general assembly of the United Nations at their next meeting in September.
If Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand succeed in convincing the council not to adopt the law this time around, First Nations groups said they fear it will never happen.
At the beginning of the month, a House of Commons committee adopted a Bloc Quebecois motion demanding Ottawa support the declaration.
On Monday, Liberal MP Anita Neville chided the Conservatives for abandoning the leadership shown by the Liberals, who she said supported the motion.
Prentice responded by saying that "no Canadian government ever supported" the declaration.
Archived: Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:31 pm
16 June 2006
May 14, 2006
First the facts: Canada is a settler state located in the northern portion of Turtle Island, formed out of two European colonies established here in the seventeenth century, one by Great Britain and one by France. These colonies were established on the basis of the Doctrine Of Discovery, itself an outgrowth of the European decision to de-construct the original Peoples of Turtle Island as both individual human beings, and as collections of human beings living together in rule of law type societies, and to re-construct these erased people and Peoples as a monolithic dependent population known henceforth as "Indians," "Natives," and "Aborigines," in need of civilizing.
Modern Canadians will say: "What do the actions of my ancestors in the seventeenth century have to do with me today?"
If modern indigenous people and Peoples weren't living trapped inside nations based on the Doctrine of Discovery, a legal doctrine now routinely overturned wherever it comes to trial in the international arena, living tortured lives as "Indians", "Natives", and "Aborigines", while modern Canadians, and modern euro-ancestry citizens of every other nation on Turtle Island and in other places around the globe, for instance Australia and New Zealand, enjoy the highest standard of living in the world, along, of course, with Western Europe, itself, on wealth produced specifically from the riches of the lands that they occupy by force of arms, not law, then one could logically say: "Why, nothing at all."
This brings us to the Haldimand Tract in southern Ontario, running from the Grand River's mouth on the northern shore of Lake Erie in a twelve mile wide swath up the Grand River to its headwater basin. In current mainstream discourse, the Six Nations land dispute is framed in the context of "Indian land claims." Reports mention up to 29 separate claims being made by Six Nations against the Crown's assertion of title. The Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Ontario are establishing a panel to settle these "Indian land claims."
The reality obscured by three unrelenting centuries of the European obsession with the manufacture of "Indians" is that, at least in law, it is the federal and provincial governments of Canada who are trying to make a claim to land, a claim based on the Doctrine of Discovery. The same objection raised at the Henco development site by Six Nations people can be legally raised, by various indigenous Peoples, throughout the entire territory currently called Canada. Instead of a panel whose every chair is occupied by a federal or provincial representative, either pale-faced or brown, seeking resolution to "Indian land claims", there should be a panel of non-European, non-Canadian adjudicators seeking resolution to "Canadian land claims".
For instance, a panel made up of well-respected international figures like Rigoberta Menchu from Guatemala, Arundahti Roy from India, Linda Smith from New Zealand, and so on across Africa and Asia, would be able to listen to Canada's claims with an open mind and a willing heart. It's not a question of whether the indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island want to share the land with settler populations from around the globe. If that were the case, then there would be no settler nations present on Turtle Island, just as there are no settler nations present in China. The seventeenth century European decision to manufacture "Indians" was based on the European observations of the sixteenth century, specifically that the people and Peoples of Turtle Island, while fierce in protection of their way of life, were committed to rule of law societies rather than rule of force societies, widely held sharing as a core value, and particularly eschewed murder as a dispute resolution mechanism.
At Six Nations we see the outline of this older form of society still intact in spite of three century's worth of investment by first European, now Canadian interests into the complete elimination of this distinct society. Twice, European colonial forces attempted a total eradication of Six Nations Peoples, at one point reducing the Six Nations Confederacy population to 1% of its former count. To the Western world's surprise, a delegation from Kanawake arrived at the doorsteps of the newly formed League of Nations, in 1924, asking for admittance to the organization modeled on the Six Nations Confederacy. Canada's response was to send an armed force of RCMP to Kanawake to arrest the Longhouse leaders, impose an Indian Act-recognized Chief and Council system, and amend the Indian act to make it illegal for Indian Bands to hire Canadian lawyers to defend their interest in Canadian or other courts.
Astonishingly, in 2006, the Six Nations Confederacy still exists. The people have their language, their constitution, in English called the Great Law of Peace, their original peaceful co-existence agreement with Europeans, the Two Row Wampum Belt agreement, an understanding of their territorial boundaries, and of their way of life based in a Clan Mother system that recognizes women as the title-holders of the land, protecting it for the "faces to come" who are the true owners. The Six Nations Confederacy call themselves the Eastern Door People. They are strategically located on the entrance to the northern portion of Turtle Island. Passing through their territory one can travel to the geographical center of Turtle Island by water. Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Boston, and New York are all located on Six Nations Confederacy lands.
The Six Nations Confederacy was part way through a unification process using the Great Law of Peace, which by the way, is not only the basis of first the League of Nations and now the United Nations, but also of modern democracy. The colonial experience is just a hiccup in this unification process. It's possible that, in spite of several hundred years of genocide, the Six Nations may wish to extend an invitation to Canada to join in unity under the Great Law of Peace. Canada could become a nation in law, could even possibly become a nation of peace. Modern Canadians could possibly enter into a new relationship with the original human inhabitants of the northern portion of Turtle Island, a relationship that the original Peoples have been patiently waiting for, for hundreds of years.
Lastly, the facts: The Six Nations Confederacy cannot be eradicated by any means. The offer to join them under the Great Law of Peace will probably remain on the table. Canadians can accept the offer now, or continue with their attempted eradication for another unknown amount of time. As a modern Canadian, what would you like to choose?
Archived: Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:34 am
01 May 2006
Message from the Onkwehonweh to the United Nations:
I come to you today with a message. A message of Peace from the Onkwehonweh, Original People Of The Land. This is not a new message, it is Ancient, as are the Onkwehonweh. It is the Message and Law of the Universe, Earth included. We call this Message and Law, Kaianereh'kowa, State Of Peace. All People must live under this law or pay the price, and that price is War, although the Onkwehonweh choose Peace. At times Peace has existed upon the Earth, today unfortunately, Peace is rare. Peace exists in the Hearts and Minds of what would seem few, but we know, to be the overwhelming, People of the Earth.
The message of peace, though, has been drowned out, by corporations and their leaders of the World. Today, all across the Earth, Nations are engaging in War, under another message, Greed For Power. When people representing the Kings and Queens of European corporations, came to this land, we offered peace, believing them to be Nations. Had we known, they were not real or their real intent, things may have been different, but they lied. Better yet, they consistently lied, to every Aboriginal Nation they encountered. These Kings and Queens, under instructions and de facto Authority from their Popes and Holy Roman Catholic Church, said "Holy See", committed Atrocities and Genocide to every Aboriginal People, at every corner of the Earth. Our heartaches are felt worldwide.
It is with a heavy heart that this message is being brought to your attention. For many years we have hoped to have had the opportunity to address the concerns of our people at your forum, to gain your support, understanding and respect; for the Oldest and Supreme Law of the Universe, the Kaianereh'ko:wa, State Of Peace. Our People of the Original Nations are the keepers and protectors of the Law. Unfortunately, it is as it always is all over the world; only when there is a crisis, do we take the time to listen, to care and understand. The Onkwehonweh, are indeed, in a serious and volatile situation brought on by the irresponsible and genocidal practices of the corporation you call Canada.
On April 20, 2006, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), a paramilitary weapon of Canada, attempted to force the Onkwehonweh from our Land, by Force of Arms. The OPP, underestimated our resolve, to peacefully maintain hold of our Land.
The attack by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in what they say, was in accordance with a provincial court injunction, which, resulted in 16 people being taken hostage, two of them requiring hospital treatment. Women were beaten, an elder man thrown to the ground, for just walking toward them trying to peacefully talk to them. Some of our people were pepper-sprayed and even shot with taser guns, all the while peacefully asserting our Authority and upholding our Law.
This parcel of land that has been the focal point where our people have gathered, are Land to which the Women, as titleholders to the land, according to our Kaianereh'ko:wa, have been protecting. The men, in accordance with the Kaianereh'ko:wa, are supporting and protecting the Women. This same Land has been tied up in Canada's land claim process for over 20 years, brought on by the elective band council, an arm of the federal government. This legislated system, was created by the Indian Act of 1876 and was forced upon us at gunpoint in 1924 by the RCMP and repeated again in 1959. It is not a lawful government, nor is it a system which the traditional people can support or have a voice in. This is the same Land which Henco Industries has been allowed to clear, build roads and begin the construction of several homes regardless of the continued and historical position of the Onkwehonweh.
After the Treaty of Granada, 1492, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, knowingly brought their Crusade to this Land. Britain soon took the charge on the Pope's crusade. Under British Monarch's charter to East India Company, the corporations of England, France, Scotland, Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal, invaded the World. They established other corporations like United States and Canada, imitating Nations. The United States and Canada have now taken a lead role in the Church's Crusade.
Our People, represent and uphold the oldest Law of the Universe, the Kaianereh'ko:wa, the Supreme Law of the Land. It is the basis by which the constitution acts of the corporations of the Crown; being the United States and Canada, were built from. Our laws were written in stone, never to be abrogated, and according to the late Pope John Paul II when referring to Canada's laws -- "it's not the law, it's only paper". The basic principals outlined in the Kaianereh'ko:wa are that of Peace, Power & Righteousness based on Ganohkwashra -- Love all around us. We continue to uphold those principles to this day, despite Crown actions to undermine and usurp our authority over our Law.
Today, many Onkwehonweh are corralled on parcels of land the United States and Canada called Reservations; the rest of the world calls them Concentration Camps. The Onkwehonweh, Original People Of The Land, being Aboriginal People of the Earth are the true Original Nations. We are all from one Creation, under the one Supreme Law of the Universe, Kaianereh'ko:wa. Title to the Land rests in our women for the generations yet to come.
We also maintain that the relationship with Crown is based on the principles outlined in the Two Row Wampum. We would travel together, each in our own vessel, on distinct and separate paths; never to interfere with the Laws of each other. Again, we abide by those principles outlined in the Two Row Wampum. Canada has clearly portrayed the message that "might is right". When a situation of ownership is challenged, their laws allow them to continue to reap the benefits of our Land, destroy our environment, and clearly ignore the truth of the Onkwehonweh, the real people, who hold title to the Land. When challenged to provide the proof, they resort to guns and army tanks. Canada has violated the Two Row Wampum Treaty.
In it's continuing policy of Genocide, the corporation of Canada has attempted to usurp our title. The Onkwehonweh, in and around so-called Six Nations Reserve, have now, under Kaianereh'ko:wa, State of Peace, exercised our Title and Right to the Land.
The Onkwehonweh require your assistance, with respect to our Law, our Treaties, including the Two Row Wampum, and in effect, the Authority with respect to our Land, Our Law and Our People. We are the true Sovereign, and we are asking our Friends and Allies to intervene in this situation. We need support on an international level, to have someone who has no interest in the outcome, to act as mediator, to oversee the negotiations and discussions that are taking place between delegates of the Onkwehonweh and delegates of the Crown.
According to Kaianereh'ko:wa, Authority rests in the Women. When needed the Rotisken'rake'the, Men Who Carry The Peace, are called to enforce the Peace. What ever Original Nation we are from our sons and daughters, attempting to establish the Peace, are dying at the hands of the crusaders, sanctioned by the Holy Roman Catholic Church. The church preaches peace, but their warlike actions speak louder.
By whose Authority do we establish Peace? The Women of the Earth, hold that Authority of Peace. Peace for this Planet, many call Earth, can only have its foundation by the Authority, the Women of the Earth.
Tags: 1492, 2006, aboriginal, america, assimilation, british, british canada, canada, cayuga, colonisation, colony, constitution, corporation, crown, england, ethnocide, europe, forum, genocide, grand river, great law, guswentha, haudenosaunee, illegal, indigenous, international law, invaders, invasion, iroquois, issues, kaiwanereh'ko:wa, land, land title, law, law of the land, mohawk, nation, north america, occupation, occupiers, oneida, onkwehonweh, onondaga, ontario, original nation, original peoples, permanent, reserve, reservation, rotinonshonni, seneca, six nations, treaty, tree, tuscarora, two-row, un, united nations, wampum
Archived: 8 Aug 2010
29 April 2006
Clan mothers sending message to UNProtesters conducting themselves well, visiting human rights lawyer says
By Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator CALEDONIA (Apr 28, 2006)
Native activists are taking their case to the United Nations as international human rights groups are paying closer attention to the eight-week occupation of Douglas Creek Estates.
Bryant Greenbaum, who works as a human rights lawyer in South Africa, visited the protest site yesterday to learn about native land issues and see how they compare with tribal issues in his own country.
After spending about half an hour behind the Argyle Street barricade, he told The Spectator that he was impressed by the way the natives were conducting their protest.
"I see a peaceful political activism that can make positive changes," he said.
While touring the site, he said he heard stories similar to those related to him by Zulu and Xhosa tribal leaders in South Africa, where land reform and reclamation is also a big issue. Tribes that lost indigenous territories during the apartheid years are seeking compensation or return of ancestral lands.
"The images I've taken, the stories I've heard and the dialogue I've engaged in today will be taken back with me to South Africa and will be totally empowering for (the tribal people trying to get their land back)," he said.
As he was visiting the site, Six Nations clan mothers were drafting a statement about the 60-day land protest for the United Nations. Although they seldom speak in public, the clan mothers are considered protectors of the land in the Six Nations Confederacy and wield influence behind the scenes.
Former Six Nations resident Doreen Silversmith, 49, who once lived as a homeless person in Toronto, will deliver the clan mothers' message to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Geneva next week.
When Canada last appeared before the committee in 1998, the group slammed Canada for the "gross disparity between aboriginal people and the majority of Canadians." It also expressed concern about poverty rates among aboriginal women like Silversmith, who rose from a street person to an outspoken native activist.
Silversmith was still waiting for written instructions from the clan mothers last night as she prepared to board the plane for Geneva today. In view of statements made in the last two months, however, it would be fair to assume the clan mothers will relate the Caledonia dispute to other native land disputes across Canada.
When they took over the site two months ago, the protesters erected a large banner proclaiming "Six Nations Land." They claimed it was part of the original Haldimand Grant to the Six Nations people and hadn't been surrendered to non-natives. Governments say natives approved its sale in 1841.
Don and John Henning, owners of Henco Industries, say they have a clear title to the 17-hectare tract and met municipal requirements before they started building houses on the site last fall.
Apart from delivering the clan mothers' missive, Silversmith will tell her own story. After growing up on the Six Nations reserve, she ended up in Toronto where she slept on the street and in shelters. She experienced violence, racism and sexism and once woke up from a drunken brawl covered in blood. She ended up in a mental health hospital, written off as "a drunken, crazy Indian." Through the help of a nurse, she joined an alcohol treatment program and hasn't touched alcohol since 1980.
At the United Nations, she will also speak about the plight of aboriginal women across the country and the high murder rates among her peers in Vancouver and Edmonton.
Craig Foye, staff lawyer for McQuesten Legal and Community Services, said it is important for the UN committee to hear people like Silversmith.
plegall AT thespec.com
Archived: Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:17 am