Implementing indigenous human rights: Negotiating a more democratic future

By: JAY TABER • JUN 28, 2013 – From: http://intercontinentalcry.org/implementing-indigenous-human-rights-negotiating-a-more-democratic-future/

 

There are several aspects of the UN human rights agenda that contribute to the invisibility of indigenous rights enshrined in the 2007 UN Declaration. First and foremost of the obstacles to implementing the rights of indigenous peoples has been the refusal of the UN to recognize indigenous nations as political entities worthy of participation in UN decision-making. If the governing authorities of indigenous nations remain excluded from UN diplomatic processes, indigenous peoples will remain marginalized from discussions on world issues. As noted at IC recently, this exclusionary obstacle at the UN has been challenged by 72 American Indian tribes, its removal deemed essential to resolving grievances and eliminating violence against indigenous nations.

As I observed in Making it Happen, democratizing the international community cannot be limited to the international institutions created by modern states. As indigenous nations assert their human rights of self-determination and self-governance, new institutions are required. Something my colleague Rudolph C. Ryser addresses in his 2012 book, Indigenous Nations and Modern States.

As I wrote in Obstacles to Peace, the UN was formed by (and functions to serve the interests of) modern states, not indigenous nations. Looking at Israel — a state created by the UN — and its ongoing human rights abuses toward the indigenous peoples of Palestine, we can see how the UN has actually been an obstacle to peaceful political development. By acceding to American demands for crippling economic sanctions against Palestine, the UN has undermined their ability to manage their own affairs, in turn creating the desperation and humanitarian crisis to which cynical NGOs often cater. In another example, the UN — at U.S. urging — approved the Indonesian annexation of West Papua over the protest of Papuan indigenous peoples, leading to the current human rights abuses there. As Dr. Ryser remarked, by reinforcing the illusion that the UN can or will relieve the pain from the violence of colonialism, “The UN Human Rights Council stands as one of the significant obstacles to dynamic political development in the Fourth World.”

Given the U.S. influence as a permanent UN Security Council member, and as one of four UN member states to oppose the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is fanciful to think the UN will ever be able to deliver on full human rights implementation for indigenous nations. That can only happen in a neutral setting, where the diplomatic missions of indigenous nations and modern states come together on an equal footing to resolve grievances and to negotiate a more democratic, inclusive future.

As I noted in Public Relations Puppets, since the UN General Assembly declaration in 2007, the UN bureaucracy — in order to provide cover for the REDD Ponzi scheme of carbon-market trading by transnational corporations and investment banks — has actively excluded indigenous nations delegates from participating in climate change talks. In Poznan, Copenhagen and Cancun, the UN repeatedly found new ways to silence indigenous peoples. As I wrote, dispelling the notion of the UN as an honest broker is critical to understanding the need for new institutions that aren’t controlled by states and markets. As Dr. Ryser stated, “The UN promises to permanently lock these nations into a cage of political subjugation.”

Advertisements

History: Rewrite / Reset – Yotinonhsonni Onhwe Timeline of Truth – Tkanatáhere – Grand River

First Indigenous Australian students at Oxford look to rewrite history

Pioneering students are examining the colonial past amid the tradition and ritual of the famous British university

By: 

Aboriginal Australian students at Oxford
Aboriginal Australian students (left to right) Rebecca Richards, Christian Thompson and Paul Gray at Oxford. Photograph: Sean Smith/Guardian

Battling a postcolonial present, rewriting a brutal past, and derided by a conservative minority, Oxford university’s seven-strong group of Aboriginal students are reshaping history.

Aside from the pressures of academic rigour and the symbolism of being “firsts”, the group are having to navigate Oxford’s otherworldly centuries-old traditions – the Latin prayers, the dinner gowns, the crystal wine decanters – as they etch their own mark on the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Rebecca Richards, 26, an Adnyamathanha and Barngarla woman from the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, the first on her father’s side of the family to graduate from high school, is Australia’s first Aboriginal Rhodes scholar. She has a measured way with words. “Being the first of our mob to come to Oxford is not so much a class thing, it’s about a way of looking at the history of Australia.” She thinks before she continues. “From a young age our history didn’t quite mesh with the way that we were taught in school. Most Aboriginal people will have some kind of critical edge, but it’s only through opportunities like this that we get to voice them.”

We stand among the jumble of anthropological artefacts in Oxford’s Pitt Rivers ethnographic museum, where Richards undertakes part of her research. A North American totem pole soars to the rafters, a boomerang sits framed inside a polished glass cabinet – and she poses patiently for photographs.

Rebecca Richards
Rebecca Richards is Australia’s first Aboriginal Rhodes scholar. Photograph: Sean Smith/Guardian

For Richards, the hundred-year-old scholarship, broadly accepted as the world’s most prestigious award for young academics, presented a dilemma: how to weigh the association with its eponym, Cecil Rhodes, – who proclaimed the British as “the first race in the world” and who imbibed the sort of imperial racism that was used to justify brutality against Aboriginal people in 19th-century Australia – against the academic opportunity on offer. Richards decided to speak to Rhodes scholars from South Africa and Zimbabwe, where Rhodes had presided as prime minister of the Cape Colony.

“They said: ‘Yes it’s horrible what he did, but we have to work with what we have today.’ I don’t think I’m proud of the scholarship because of who Rhodes is, I’m just proud of the people that I’m with.”

She recounts in vivid detail the arduous interview process: cocktails with the governor-general at Australia House, dinner in wood-panelled rooms, and then a day of interviews. The pomp associated with the Rhodes prepared many of Australia’s most noted politicians for life in Canberra. Bob Hawke, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull are all past recipients.

An anthropologist by training, Richards is immersed in rigorous postgraduate research – using the watercolour paintings of British artist John Skinner Prout from the mid-19th century, to re-interpret depictions of Aboriginal people in Tasmania. The research is preparation for an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia in 2015.

“They had very difficult lives,” she says, understated again. “So the opportunity to show the artworks in Australia will mean getting to know these people as individuals and not just as stereotypical symbols of Aboriginals, for Tasmanian Aboriginal people to really assert their identity.” Previously, those in the collection, created after the black war in Tasmania, were interpreted by historians as ethnographic portraiture and placed in two categories, those who were freedom fighters and those who were passive. “In fact,” says Richards, “they were both, and they were more than that too.”

And so it is that Oxford’s first Aboriginal Rhodes scholar is engaged in a critical revision of some of Australia’s oldest colonial artworks.

Since 2010 the university has seen a relative influx of Aboriginal students, a welcome contrast to recent press reports that labelled the university as “institutionally biased” after statistics revealed that white undergraduate applicants were up to twice as likely to get a place on the most competitive courses. All of Oxford’s Aboriginal students are in some way involved in a project of redefinition, designed to help communities back home.

At Trinity College I visit 34-year-old Christian Thompson, who along with Paul Gray, 28, is studying under the Charlie Perkins scholarship (named after the first indigenous person to graduate from university in Australia, just 48 years ago), and were the first Aboriginal students to go to Oxford in its nine centuries of existence.

We sit in the dining hall. On any other day the art on the walls would seep into the background. But, for the first time in the hall’s near 400-year history, ageing oil portraits of past college grandees are gone, replaced with Thompson’s own portrait photography. It’s a broad collection of his work that deals with identity, race and history. The rehanging may have been a moment in Oxford’s parochial history, but Thompson, who is nearing the end of his art theory PhD, remains aware of the sad truth.

Christian Thompson with some of his art work at Oxford
Christian Thompson with some of his art work at Oxford. Photograph: Sean Smith/Guardian

“I think it’s quite a sobering fact that we live in a generation where there can still be ‘firsts’,” says Thompson, a Bidjara man. “It’s difficult. There’s a lot vested in Paul and me. We’re symbolic. And there is a palpable expectation to perform at the highest academic level.”

The pressure was no doubt exacerbated when, around the time of Thompson and Gray’s first semester, the rightwing Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt wrote: “I’m not sure these are the Aboriginal faces you’d expect to be in most need of special race-based help,” directly referencing Thompson’s mixed heritage.

But whether he chooses to acknowledge it or not, Thompson is flying. Like Richards, he spends much of his time at the Pitt Rivers Museum and is working on a set of ethnographic photographic portraits dating from the late 19th century. In a research room inside the museum, Christian flicks through the archive, a foundational set of ethnographic photographs collected by the British anthropologist Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer. He reveals monochrome prints, a mixture of bizarre, playful set-ups, and more sinister headshots of Aboriginal convicts, bedraggled, squinting into the camera, awaiting execution.

“I’ve deliberately decided not to carry them on my person. It’s really morbid to carry images of deceased ancestors,” says Thompson. “They were collected originally as ethnographic objects of a culture that was meant to die out. The irony is that these collections that are now held all over the world are making us part of a global research movement.”

Christian Thompson: Forgiveness of Land 2012
Forgiveness of Land by Christian Thompson from the collection We Bury Our Own

The university is repatriating copies of the archives to the Aboriginal communities[WARNING: contains photograph] they came from, but Thompson’s role is more abstract. Drawing direct inspiration from images in the collection, he created a new volume of photographic work that turned into a show, We Bury Our Own. It has already toured the world. In the collection, Thompson poses in similarly sepia-tinged photographs, staring straight to camera, his eyes often concealed. “I was looking at the idea of spiritual repatriation,” he says. “To make these collections part of the contemporary. They’re not just ethnographic tokens of an imperial culture, they’re very much connected to a lived reality. They’re part of our lives.”

Work like this would not be possible but for the proximity to source material that Oxford offers. Another of Oxford’s Aboriginal students, 51-year-old Greg Lehman from north-east Tasmania, a Roberta Sykes scholar completing a master of studies in art history, is using this newfound access to some of Britain’s most famous collections to reinterpret a pivotal piece of Australian art.

The Conciliation, painted in 1840 by British artist Benjamin Duterrau, is regarded as Australia’s first painting of history. Depicting the moment of treaty between a group of Tasmanian Aboriginal people and the district “protector of Aborigines”, Lehman argues that the painting has been interpreted in a “very literal” manner – seen as the first steps towards recognition of Tasmanian Aboriginal people – when there are more brutal subtleties to be uncovered. By referencing William Hogarth’s illustrations for Paradise Lost and Raphael’s cartoons of the gospels – both of which influenced Dutterau – Lehman claims that the positioning and poise of the Aboriginal people in The Conciliation show acknowledgements of violence and a sense of foreboding.

At Oxford, the pioneering students meet nearly every week. As Thompson, Gray and Richards sit together on the lush lawns of Trinity college, it’s clear they’ve formed a close bond. Christian pokes fun at Rebecca’s college, Magdalen, notorious for its archaic traditions. “Bec is the first person of colour there for a long time,” he chuckles.

“It’s quite hard to fit in, I guess,” she replies. “Just getting used to things like fish knives, those wine decanters. But you do get used to it, to all the funny dinners and the funny sayings. It’s actually a very nice, very sweet tradition.”

There is no doubt about who heads the group. Kerrie Doyle, sits in her living room at Wolfson college, a blow-up Kangaroo propped against the wall. “Wherever you put a blackfella, they’ll go and look for the other blackfella,” she says. “It’s just how we roll.”

Doyle (or Auntie Kerrie as she’s known), is 55 and studying for an MSc in mental health with a focus on adoption and depression. She didn’t speak English until she was eight. Born on a mission in Alice Springs, she fled with her family to New South Wales. Doyle was the first Aboriginal nurse in her state, the first in her university to graduate as a psychologist, and is now an assistant professor at the University of Canberra. She is forthright in criticising Australia’s record on access to higher education.

“I had to really fight to come here,” she says. “First of all my university said, ‘Why do you want to go? You’re just an Abo, you’re not going to do any good.’ Then they said, ‘You won’t get in’ … My university has never supported me to go and research an Aboriginal [area]. Because it’s just an Aboriginal thing.”

Doyle’s experience underlines a sobering reality. Indigenous students make up just 1.09% of Australia’s university population (representation in postgraduate courses and in academic staffing is even lower); Indigenous people constitute 2.5% of the national population. Workplace discrimination is common: a report recently published by the National Tertiary Education Union concluded that 71% of Indigenous people employed by Australia’s universities have experienced racial discrimination at work.

Twenty-six year-old Krystal Lockwood, a Gumbangerrii and Dhungutti woman from Queensland and another Perkins scholar, is also studying for an MSc in mental health, and is preparing methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of Queensland’s new youth boot camps – recent statistics showed (pdf) that Aboriginal children were 34 times more likely to have gone through correctional services than non-Aboriginals in the state. Lockwood looks up in awe as Doyle speaks.

“Everything that Auntie Kerrie says is true,” she says. “She’s my hero.”

Doyle smiles, taking the praise in her stride. Despite the hardship she’s endured, there’s a solace in the future. Oxford has already funded research trips that Doyle says would be unthinkable in Australia due to the university’s superior funding and investment in a broader portfolio of academic research. “I think the next generation, especially when the Krystals and the Christians go back, will be a lot different,” she says. “When we say we’ve been to Oxford, we will not go back the same.”

Back at Trinity, and a clock chimes two somewhere in the distance. Christian, Paul and Rebecca, glance at each other and politely remind me they have lectures to attend. They stroll out beneath the college’s bricked gateway, along immaculately kept gravel paths, and file off, each on a different path across the city.

From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/05/indigenous-australian-oxford-students-university/print

Learn more about the Yotinonhsonni onhwe
Timeline of Truth – Wampum
Tkanatáhere Grand River

Onkwehon:we truths vs frauds, AFN vs Onion Lake Unity & diplomacy discussed

GAYANEREKOWA

“The Great Good”
Terms of its component elements:

Health & Reason

Soundness of Body
& Sanity of Mind

Equal – Justice & Peace

From: CVN Newscast by Producer / Host: Geoffrey West

In this next story, I’d like to ask you to use your imagination for a moment while I describe a scenario to you.

Imagine if I approached you who had $500,000 piece of property, with a home and where your family lived. I force you to sign a contract where all your property is ceded and surrendered to me. Since I have no money to pay you the $500,000 which is the value of your property, I make all kinds of promises to you. I move people into your home and collect rent from them, but don’t pay anything to you and your family. In fact, I move you, the original owners of the house into one small room of your house and make you live there. You complain that I am not paying you anything for their property and that the agreement that was signed is not being honoured. The complaints are sent to a court that I set up but the court must only consider laws that I legislate and I also appoint the judges that will decide the case. Would that not be considered a fraud. Would you feel that the agreements I made with you to be fraudulent? Would you be willing to give up all that you have, and not share in the benefits of your property? Yet, people still think that they can get justice from the courts set up by the Government of Canada.

If you have not yet made the connection, this is basically the story of all indigenous tribes across Canada, and indeed in North America and in many parts of the world.

This is an adaptation of a story that was sent to me by Jason Bowman, special assistant working with the Kanienkehaka and Mohawk Workers of Kanata. It is originally a story told by Chief Fox in commenting on observations from a recent court date on land claims case as the Attorneys General of both Canada and Manitoba tried to defend their right to grant titles to immigrants because the historical treaties had ceded and surrendered all lands to the Queen.

Here is a prime example of where and how admiralty law fails the sovereign human being. In being forced to unknowingly consent to a corporate fiction entity, many first nations have unknowingly surrendered rights that basically Divine-given.

For the purposes of helping listeners to begin learning about separating the difference between sovereign entities and corporate entities, I will share a bit of information with you shortly.

An article on the westcoastnativenews.com website on 01JUL has reported that two of Canada’s First Nations located in the province of Manitoba have served eviction notices to mining companies they ay are operating illegally on their land.

July 1 2013 EVICTION NOTICE delivered by Onkwehon:we

July 1 2013 EVICTION NOTICE delivered by Onkwehon:we

According to the article, the bands claim they are protecting their land and resources and demanding respect for treaty rights, and that promises of job training and environmental protection be honoured.

An article posted in the Winnipeg Free Press reported that Canadian courts issued an injunction on those two groups, and the mining companies would be allowed to continue destroying the land.

These are the kinds of issues that stack up against the original tenants of Turtle Island, the land mass known as North America have to deal with.

Events will be continuing in Canada through July, and may very well be the month that determines who stands on the side of the cabal-controlled entities or who stands with the original holders of the land. The CBC.ca news website reported on 28JUN that “Tensions between the Assembly of First Nations or AFN, and some chiefs who are feeling excluded could boil over next month at a meeting where a new breakaway organization could be born.

The National Treaty Gathering at Onion Lake, Sask., is taking place July 14 to 18, at the same time the AFN is having its annual meeting in Whitehorse. People will have to choose which meeting they want to attend.

The AFN although claimed by the Canadian government to have been elected democratically, is a commercially-created entity under admiralty law, and has been claimed by numerous First Nations leaders to not represent the interests of the people but rather has sold them out to the corporate and admiralty law interests of the government of Canada.

Having both events on the same weekend has the advantage of clearly affirming who is supporting the government-sponsored group and who is supported the true voice of the First Nations communities.

One chief, Delbert Wapass who plans to attend the Onion Lake event feels it will be something great and was quoted as saying that “if the AFN is not stepping up and defending our rights, we have to.”

The terms AFN and First Nations are technically terms that apply to treaty or admiralty law. The term First Nations has been commonly accepted and is used.

The Kanienkehaka Mohawk Workers of Kanata have a different word for First Nations, as they do not see themselves as a corporate entity known as a First Nation. They use the word Onkwehon:we … On-Kwe-on-weigh. This translates as ‘the original people who live naturally.” CVN will be attempting to introduce this term more and more into the newscast, to help bridge the understanding that we are all one, not with corporate entities, but as brothers and sisters of Divine Creator Source and of Gaia, our planet.

Bowman informed CVN that a source to which he is connected has informed him that the AFN may be on its final legs. As events continue to play out over the coming month, this will become more clear. Mr. Bowman has indicated some positive news may be forthcoming in terms of establishing diplomatic relations with at least a few countries, and this could give further weight to the sovereignty claim of the Kanienkehaka Mohawks, but which may also lay a foundation to assist other First Nations across the country in reclaiming their rights that were stripped from them under commercial/admiralty law treaties that have not been honoured.

More news will be forthcoming from our Onkwehon:we brothers and sisters.

SEE ALSO: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/inlight_radio/2012/08/31/cosmic-vision-news

August 31, 2012 Historic Blue Moon “Checkmate” CVN News Archive RE: Global RE-SET, Grand River Mohawks, Onkwehon:we Rising and IdleNoMore in the making.  This is where we see things starting to shape up for the new dawn now upon us.

National Treaty Gathering – Anishinabe Treaty Dakota Awareness Ride


National Treaty Gathering posters

AnishinabeTreaty Dakota Awareness Ride

Press Statement
The Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO) led by Grand Chief Murray Clearsky will embark on a mission on horseback to educate our non-indigenous Treaty partners on the importance and positive impacts of having Canada work with the original peoples of this land on a comprehensive Treaty Implementation strategy. This journey is being conducted to demonstrate to all of the historic, cultural significance of the entering into nation to nation agreements between the Indigenous peoples of this land and the new arrivals now known as Canadians. This overland trek will begin simultaneously with riders from the Dakota Nations, the Waywayseecappo and Keeseekowenin Anishinabe Nations on July 4, 2013. The riders will leave their communities and travel up Manitoba Provincial Trunk Highway 45 to Highway 16 (Yellowhead Route) to Lloydminster, Saskatchewan and then north to the Onion Lake Cree Nation. The ride will culminate at Onion Lake in time for them to participate in a four day Treaty Nations gathering starting on July 14, 2013.

The riders will visit towns, cities and settlements along the scheduled route and hand out information leaflets. The Grand Chief and his co-participants will converse with people highlighting both the short and long term positive impacts of Treaty implementation in all areas, especially in the social, health, economic and judicial sectors which continues to cost the Canadian public huge amounts of money. The stabilization of Indigenous communities through solid, social and economic growth will result in a reduction of costs in all sectors. Treaty Implementation will result in all people in this country thriving together as a global success story.

Media contact; Gerald McIvor, 1-204-391-6001, gerald.mcivor@scoinc.mb.ca

 

New RCMP Anti-Terrorism Force Protects Big Oil Tar Sands, Pipelines

Alberta’s Anti-Terrorism Force Protects Tar Sands, Pipelines.

In their paper, entitled “Making Up ‘Terror Identities’”, the authors describe the production of categories under which the government identifies potential security threats. Analyzing 25 classified reports from Canadian policing and intelligence agencies, gained through Access to Information requests, they uncovered the emergence of a new class of domestic threat in the country: Multi Issue Extremism (MIE).

Moving to counteract MIE, the Canadian government has expanded their early terrorist concerns with “financial security and Al-Queda-inspired terror groups” to include “activist groups, indigenous groups, environmentalistsand others who are publicly critical of government policy.”

Monaghan and Walby suggest that the government’s increasing concern with MIE is responsible for transforming what constitutes a ‘perceived threat’ in the country, leading to “slippages and inconsistencies of threat categories.”

For this reason, the government has created its own cause to cast the terrorism net wider than in previous times.

As Monaghan and Walby describe the process, once a group is identified as a ‘domestic security concern’ the government establishes special task forces or “intelligence clusters” (like INSET) that engage in the construction of “terror identities.”

By circulating information between agencies like the RCMP, CSIS, other government agencies and the mass media, these ‘clusters’ construct the perception of a threat, lending it a certain ‘facticity.’ Once the ‘terror identity’ gains currency it is short work for these agencies to justify “domestic spying campaigns that target grassroots social movements under the statutory responsibilities of Canadian law.”

How much more clearly could the attack on Canada’s environmental and First Nation groups be framed?

Surveillance of Tar Sands Opposition?

The creation of Alberta’s counterterrorism unit is an anticipated step in this spy-and-suppress process, as Monaghan describes it.

“It is very much in line with the trend of committing more and more national security and counter-terrorism resources without a corresponding basis in any kind of particular threats,” he told the Globe and Mail.

Even RCMP Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud agrees that there is no particular threat to respond to, although, given the oil and gas boom in Alberta, “one would be led to believe that there is an increased threat to the infrastructure.”

Statement of Ka-nyen-geh-ha-kah of Grand River Mohawk Workers RE: Enbridge Line 9 and Peace Talks

June 18 2013 Statement of Ka-nyen-geh-ha-kah of Grand River Mohawk Workers

Statement of Ka-nyen-geh-ha-kah of Grand River Mohawk Workers
(From The Teka News)

 

From The Teka News

 

June 17 Mohawk Workers’ Delegation to Ottawa

June 17 Mohawk Workers' Delegation to Ottawa - House of Commons

June 17 Mohawk Workers’ Delegation to Ottawa – House of Commons

The Mohawk Workers, sanctioned by Ohrerekó:wa, Principle Chief for Ka-nyen-geh-ha-ka Wolf Clan (Mohawks) of Grand River met with Dr. Carolyn Bennett (MP, Aboriginal Affairs Critic / Chair of the Liberal Woman’s Caucus) in Ottawa on June 17, 2013. Dr. Bennett’s staff also took part in the meeting. Bill Squire, spokesperson for Onkwehon:we Turtle, Wolf & Bear clans presented Dr. Bennett with a beautiful gift hand-made by one of our women, which Dr. Bennett appreciated a great deal. It was a flower braided with sweet grass, and decorated with purple and white beads. During the meeting, Dr. Bennett expressed genuine concern for the situation, and revealed her passion for these issues. She has asked the Mohawk Workers to continue to dialogue with her, and reminded us that Justin Trudeau wishes to engage on these issues personally as well. We agreed to continue to communicate and work together on solutions which can bring people together while at the same time educating on the critical issues. She was thankful also for the material provided to her, and vowed to review it thoroughly.

Ellis Hill, Bill Squire and Frank Smith - Mohawk Workers' Delegation to Ottawa Centre Block - Parliament Building

Ellis Hill, Bill Squire and Frank Smith – Mohawk Workers’ Delegation to Ottawa
Centre Block – Parliament Building

After the meeting with Dr. Bennett at Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings, we were able view some debate in the House of Commons on the subject of Bills S-6 (First Nations Elections Act), Bill S-8 (Safe Drinking Water for First Nations) and Bill C-428 (Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act).

NOTE: Harper’s new policy measures include unilateral federal legislation the Harper government is imposing over Onkwehon:we which include:

Bill C-27: First Nations Financial Transparency Act
Bill C-45: Jobs and Growth Act, 2012 [Omnibus Bill includes Indian Act amendments regarding voting on-reserve lands surrenders/designations]
Bill S-2: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Bill S-6: First Nations Elections Act
Bill S-8: Safe Drinking Water for First Nations
Bill C-428: Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act [Private Conservative MP’s Bill, but supported by Harper government]

Senate Public Bills:
Bill S-207: An Act to amend the Interpretation Act (non derogation of aboriginal and treaty rights)
Bill S-212: First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill

The Harper government’s Bills listed above are designed to undermine the collective rights of Onkwehon:we by focusing on individual rights. This is the “modern legislative framework” the Conservatives promised in 2006.

The 2006 Conservative Platform promised to replace the Indian Act (and related legislation) with a modern legislative framework which provides for the devolution of full legal and democratic responsibility to aboriginal Canadians for their own affairs within the Constitution, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Create municipal-styled structures where Onkwehonwe are taxed).

Of course “modern” in Conservative terms means assimilation of Onkwehon:we by termination of their collective rights and off-loading federal responsibilities onto the Indigenous Peoples themselves and the provinces.

In addition, the regime seems intent on what is being called “First Nations’ Private Ownership Act (FNPOA)”. This private property concept for Indian Reserves — which had been peddled by the likes of disgraced Tom Flanagan and tax proponent and former Kamloops Chief Manny Jules — is also a core plank of the Harper government’s 2006 electoral platform.

The 2006 Conservative Aboriginal Platform promised that if elected a Harper government would support the development of individual property ownership on reserves, to encourage lending for private housing and businesses. The long-term goals set out in the Harper government’s policy and legislative initiatives listed above are not new; they are at least as old as the Indian Act and were articulated in the federal 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy, which set out a plan to terminate Indian rights at the time.

Indeed, from listening to the House of Commons today, 2 things were clear:
1) Harper’s regime is intent on pursuing widening assimilation policies incrementally and based on Municipal models in order to unlock and commercialize resources as a method of funding reservation models;
2) While there are some MPs who are clearly aware of this agenda, and are standing against it – this opposition is academic in nature – by that I mean that in the end, the assimilation will continue despite the debate in the House. While these issues were being debated, only a handful of MPs bothered to even attend the debate. (The entire House was virtually deserted – save for a 1/2 dozen or so – a few of whom took the time to express their opposition to what is being done).

swiss_embassy

Embassy for Switzerland in Ottawa

Next, our delegation also met with The Ambassador for Switzerland, Ulrich Lehner and his staff. Switzerland is a multi-cultural and multilingual (French/German/Italian) nation shaped by the will of its people. It has been a federal State since 1848. Switzerland has a federal structure with three different political levels: the Confederation, the cantons and the communes.

Switzerland is a federal republic with a system of direct democracy in which the people are “sovereign”. All Swiss citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote. They get to exercise this right regularly, as they are called on three to four times a year to take part in popular votes on a variety of political issues.

Switzerland enjoys close political and economic ties with a large number of countries around the world and is a member of various international organisations. In 2002, Switzerland became the 190th member of the United Nations following a nationwide vote on the issue. Prior to this, Switzerland had played an active role in various UN bodies.

The goals of Swiss foreign policy are:

Peaceful co-existence of people of all nations
Promotion of and respect for human rights
Environmental sustainability
Representing the interests of Swiss businesses abroad
Combating need and poverty in the world

The Ambassador seemed to take a keen interest in the Mohawks’ situation as it was set out. He had already been made aware of Canada’s human rights issues, particularly in respect of Indigenous Peoples – and pointed out that this past comprehensive review of the State of Canada in Geneva did not go well for Canada in his mind. He applauded and supported our efforts with James Anaya the UN Special Rapporteur who met with the delegation in New York on May 20th which he had not known about. In fact, he supported this avenue stating that it was precisely the right way to go in these circumstances. Also, he was informed of new cooperative opportunities which may be of interest to the people of Switzerland, and we agreed to continue to dialogue on all matters. I can describe the meeting as warm and friendly – and I was very pleased to see that we were welcomed by the Swiss Ambassador and the Embassy staff in such a way. The Ambassador also appreciated the material which was provided to him, took considerable interest, and agreed to review same as well as seeking instructions from his superiors in order to determine the level of involvement or assistance which may be offered. We were very thankful for the opportunity to meet with the Ambassador and look forward to remaining in contact.

The delegation will be available to discuss the trip and related developments in greater detail at the next meeting of Mohawk Workers set for Wednesday June 19th, at 7:30 pm at Kanata.

Spiritual Fire – All Nations Welcome – Friday June 21

Onikońhra n’otsire

(Spiritual Fire)

Tkanatáhere – Kanata

Sunrise – Friday June 21st

11:00 a.m. Potluck Lunch

All Nations Welcome

Onikońhra n’otsire (Spiritual Fire) Tkanatáhere Kanata All Nations Welcome

Onikońhra n’otsire (Spiritual Fire)
Tkanatáhere Kanata
All Nations Welcome

Kanata – 440 Mohawk Street, Brantford
(315) 755-5036