INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN
NO. 4 DECEMBER, 1983
INDIAN SELF GOVERNMENT IN CANADA
In some of our "debates" with MP's and Indian Affairs back in 1966 or so, our stated goal was self- determination under our own sovereignty and national independence. This was a disappointment to our great white fathers in Ottawa who were expecting us to work towards taking our "place" in the mainstream of Canada's white society. In brief, we are supposed to work towards our own extinction which is the end result of assimilation. To the government of Canada, Indian sovereignty and national independence was out of the question. The only way out of wardship for Indians was to enfranchise, become a naturalized Canadian, vote in white man's government elections and be completely taxed people as the citizens of Canada, contrary to treaty agreements.
White Canada is a member of the United Nations, it does not subscribe to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, i.e., it does not see Indians as having the same human rights as the white people of Canada. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights provides in Article 15 (1) "Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality." As any Indian can plainly see, Canada denies the Indians the right to their own nationality. It only gives Indians the right to join the Canadian nation. According to Canada, human rights are only for white people.
Canada suddenly decided it also wants sovereignty and national independence. Why should only traditional Indians (Long House) of Caughnawaga demand this exalted state when Canada itself is using a constitution called the British North American (B.N.A.) Act made for Canada by Britain? To have sovereignty and national independence, a nation must make its own constitution. It must have galled the Canadian government that the national constitution was devised by a North American Indian named Deganawida and that this said Constitution was still being used in the Iroquois Confederacy, also called the Long House, while Canada itself did not have its own constitution but must use the B.N.A. Act made by England.
Whereupon, the Parliament of Canada got to work on a constitution of its own. Indian stuck with the Indian Act and the band council system with their resolutions subject to the whims of the Indian Affairs Department which can approve or disapprove a band council resolution depending on its consistency or inconsistency with the Canadian Parliament's policy of assimilation, demanded that Indian rights be "entrenched" in the projected Canada Constitution. The band council chiefs even went to England to see the Great White Mother who referred them to Canada's Department of Indian Affairs "which has the exclusive competence to handle Indian Affairs." No help there for the Canadian red man.
In March of 1982, Canada brought home its own brand of national constitution, to come alive in 1985. That day in Ottawa, on March 1982, after much pomp and ceremony, the new Canada Constitution was signed by the premiers of the provinces, with the solitary exception of Premier Rene Levesque of Quebec, who also wanted sovereignty and national independence for Quebec. He wanted independence from both Canada and England. Queen Elizabeth of England was in attendance. All the gents in her entourage were resplendent in gold braids and medals. Her Highness had nothing in her attire that bespoke the Queen. Our black and white TV set showed a dark colored coat buttoned up to the neck. A dark nondescript hat completed the apparel of the Queen of England. It could have been anyone from St Isidore down the road, south of Caughnawaga. The great White Mother gave a speech in which she expressed her delight that the Indians would get full rights in the new Constitution.
It seems natural for white people to encourage other people to be like themselves. They seem convinced they're the best people in existence. They can do no wrong. Even when they're stealing land, countries and even continents. If some nation from any of the other races does the same, why that's terrible! They're barbarians, savages and maybe cannibals. The white caucasian got a mandate from the Divinity to dominate all nature and living things. Who said so? Why! the white man, of course. And he can tell no lies! Calls it "manifest destiny". The white man can seize countries in the name of God and it's alright. It's as if God was doing it. So, it cannot be wrong. When an Indian sees a white man doing wrong, he is not to interfere. All white man's authority is of God and therefore a sacrament. It's a sacrilege to interfere.To have "full rights" means that Indians shall have to join the white race and share the white man's staggering burden of taxation and other horrendous oppression such as being exposed to nuclear fallouts from atomic power installations. The Indian gets out of one form of oppression and joins another. Out of the frying pan into the fire. Sometime in the last couple of years, the Canadian government started to move to give self government to Indians. Ten years or so ago, the idea of self government for Indians was unthinkable. Suddenly, it dawns upon the Canadian government that Indians becoming enfranchised and naturalized Canadians means getting self government. White communities such as the aforesaid St. Isidore, Chateauguay, Lachine and all others have self governments under Canadian sovereignty - of course. Why not give Indians the same kind of self government? Just add some words like "unique, aboriginal and entrenched" to make it look different.
So, accordingly, a special committee was devised by the House of Commons to make a study on Indian self government. Hundreds of Indian leaders were interviewed. Some were politically aware and some were politically naive. The committee went to various widely flung Indian areas. Even went to Washington, D.C. and New Mexico in the search of ways to self govern the Indians in Canada. The committee expressed such terms as "the amount of self government must be negotiated" which meant that Indians would be given a limited amount of self government. What self respecting nation would accept a limited amount of self government from another nation?
Canada is a huge land, all stolen from Indians. The receivers of this stolen goods, the people and Parliament of Canada, could easily restore some of the wide open spaces, unused by them, back to the true owners, the Indians, where the Indians can self govern themselves according to their way. Indians lived a million years without being told what to do by immigrants from another land who came to steal their land. For the purpose of the survival of the red race, Indians need self government under their own sovereignty and national independence. It can be done. Ganienkeh showed the way. The Canadian government is not interested in the survival of the Indians as a race and nations. They're mainly interested in retaining what they seized forcibly and immorally from the Indians, their lands, freedom and their very souls. In the stated scheme to give self government to Indians, the Canadian government means to keep all the land taken from the Indians. They mean to hang on to the minds and physical persons of the Indians. They mean to make sure the Indians do not regain their freedom. Indian nations are captive nations and their captors mean to keep them that way. Though given self government, they'll be kept under the sovereignty of the Canadian government. No nation ever got sovereignty from another nation. Every nation that ever achieved sovereignty and self government got it by themselves. They asserted it. They fought for it. They won it. It never was a gift. Ganienkeh is a Warrior Society project. Real self government under the Indians' own sovereignty and national independence is a Warrior Society project.
As an aftermath of the second world war, 74 nations regained their self rule and their lands. These were also native nations who had lost their lands the same way the American native nations had lost theirs, by seizure, crooked treaties, lies and deceit. They had to seize their own lands to get them back. They had to be hard, tough and resourceful. Merely talking to the captor governments didn't do it. That's not the way the world is. As an example, the world fought two terrible world was to regain peace. They tried peaceful ways first. Tried to pacify the tyrants and ended up having to fight them tooth and nail. Indians can also free themselves and their land by doing as those 74 other native nations did and who are now members of the United Nations. Conditions were terrible while they did it but they prevailed and now they have real self government. The Indians shall have to be just as hard and tough as the rest of the world to regain their lost sovereignty, national independence and to achieve real self government. They are now at the talking stage trying to purify the captor governments who think only in terms of dollar signs and who enjoy being the big boss. When the peaceful Indians fail at the conference table, they'll find it necessary to turn the matter over to the Warrior Society who will do it the way the world understands. Both the government and the Indians have a choice. Real self government with certain lands restored peacefully or unpeacefully. That is the choice.
INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN