Canada’s Emerging Indigenous Right’s Framework

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Changes are afoot among First Nations

A few weeks ago, Romeo Saganash, the NDP member of Parliament for Abitibi-Baie James-Nunavik-Eeyou dropped an f-bomb in the House of Commons. He was clearly frustrated with the Liberals’ determination to proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline despite First Nations opposition.

“Why doesn’t the prime minister just say the truth and tell Indigenous peoples that he doesn’t give a f**k about their rights?” he asked the stunned members of the House of Commons.

Of course, he was called out by the Speaker and told to apologize, which he did in French. Saganash is trilingual and fluent in Cree, English and French. The prime minister wasn’t in the house at the time, but you can be sure he heard all about it.

However, social media lit up with First Nations people supporting his use of bad language and championing his cause. He has become one more hero in Indian Country.

This little incident is an example of the change that is occurring in Indian Country. The old guard in the Assembly of First Nations and the regional organizations like the FSIN have been eclipsed by independent leaders that appeal more to the young, politically motivated members of the Indigenous community.

Dr. Pam Palmater is an associate professor at Ryerson University who travels the country speaking out on issues of First Nations rights and governance. She is also a regular panellist on the CBC. I once saw her destroy a member of the Taxpayers Federation. She gave no quarter and attacked the very existence of his organization.

Senator Murray Sinclair and Wilton Littlechild are two keen legal minds who led the discussions and action related to reconciliation. They continue as moral leaders and appear regularly on panels and at speaking engagements across the country.

Cindy Blackstock persisted in the legal fight to have the government recognize the serious underfunding in child welfare and by extension all First Nations social and educational programs. She was the public face of an eight-year battle with the government. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada even conducted surveillance on her, barring her from meetings and spying on her Facebook page.

There was a time when we had very few spokespeople. In the postwar period when our leaders began to organize in earnest, many First Nations didn’t have chiefs. The Indian Agent ran the whole show. It therefore became a political act to elect a chief and council that could speak on behalf of the people.

The emphasis was on the chiefs and they spoke out demanding better living conditions and the recognition of our treaty rights. The federal Indian Affairs department regarded the provincial organizations as a dangerous fifth column. To counter political government, the department dumped government programs on the First Nations. The first program to be transferred was welfare, which was the worst for the government to administer.

The chief and council became administrators for the government and cemented the neocolonial system.

Over the years the chiefs and their organizations have become compromised and are now the administrators for their people. They are stuck with a system that underfunded and over-regulated.

At one time leaders such as Harold Cardinal, George Manuel, David Ahenakew and Noel Starblanket commanded respect and had the ear of their people and government.

Perry Bellegarde, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, is now seen as too close to the federal government and Justin Trudeau in particular. His stand on the Trans Mountain pipelines is vague in comparison to the militant opposition from Pam Palmater and Mohawk activist Russell Diabo.

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Treaty Nations Reject Canada's Proposed Indigenous Rights Recognition and Implementation Framework

At an Alberta Assembly of Treaty Chiefs meeting many Treaty Nations have stated their opposition to Canada's proposed Indigenous Rights and Recognition Framework Legislation. We are Treaty Tribes, Nations and Peoples of Treaty No. 6 (1876 and adhesions thereto), Treaty No. 8 and Tsuu T'ina, Treaty No. 7.  Several Treaty Chiefs have sent letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ensure that the positions of Treaty Nations is on record regarding rejection of Canada's Proposed Indigenous Rights Recognition and Implementation Framework.  The letters are in response to Minister Carolyn Bennett's public message, "No stopping the framework, says Minister Bennett, but she's listening (October 29, 2018)."  "The First Nations have made it known publicly and in writing that Canada's aggressive agenda to expedite plans to create legislation designed to deny our rights to lands and resources have been done all without our Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).  This does not bring Honour to the Crown," Chief Craig Makinaw.

"Our sacred treaty matters were not addressed – instead the Minister in July of 2018 sent out a form letter that completely mischaracterized the process and did not include one word on the treaty issues raised in our letter. Onion Lake was not the only Nation to send a letter against the process.  Canada has chosen to ignore those letters resorting to fabrications," stated Okimaw Henry Lewis.

There was an expedited engagement period for the Framework process, and the results contained in the roll-up documents were selective in nature, supporting only Canada's pre-determined positions and goals and were dispensed only at federally pre-selected and managed meetings, and not released to our Nations.

Chief Kurt Burnstick has stated:  "As Treaty Peoples, Canada always must bring the honour of the Crown into dealings with our Nations. The present process is full of sharp dealings that bring no honour to either the Crown or the state of Canada."

"The Framework is in direct conflict with our Treaty, inherent rights and title.   The process does not recognize nor respect our jurisdiction," stated Chief Tony Alexis.

"It is clear for our First Nations that continuing with this process will result in a major set-back for the renewal of the relationship between Canada and Treaty First Nations," stated Chief Billy Morin....


Since 'Canada's Emerging Indigenous Rights' Framework' is largely based on 'fraud, treason and genocide', it's probably best to post this here. A book that will help to put things right amidst so much that is wrong.

Bruce Clark: Ongoing Genocide Caused By Judicial Suppression of the 'Existing' Aboriginal Rights

See also 'About The Pipeline'....


this could go in the legal marijuana thread too. put it here though because it was a given FN would get involved. i hope it incorporates back into our7 culture now.


Kanahus Manuel on Canada's administrative units of colonial control

"When we say 'chief and council' we mean 'colonization'."

Canada needs to hear this.

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Just over 500 Indigenous people from communities all across Ontario came together to hear the youth, speakers, Chiefs, and many others to say in one voice to Stop The Framework.


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..a good overview of the framework and the current state of affairs.

Our people are demanding fundamental change says Russ Diabo

Unless there is significant change in the lives of First Nations people, Russ Diabo says there will be more push back from the people.

“Our people are increasingly demanding fundamental change, not incremental change,” Diabo said on Tuesday’s edition of Face to Face with Host Dennis Ward. “And they’re continuing to act on it at a local level.”


What Can Humanity Learn From the Great Law of Peace (and vid)

"Stuart Myiow, Wolf Clan representative of the Mohawk Traditional Council, says Western 'democracies' wrongly prioritize individual rights over the rights of the collective."


I know NorthReport opened a thread on this in "Canadian Politics", but I'd rather hail this first small step in this forum.

B.C. tables historic Indigenous rights bill in move to implement UN declaration

The devil is in the details. I'll believe it when I see it. But at least one province has had the nerve to do this.

Sean in Ottawa

Unionist wrote:

I know NorthReport opened a thread on this in "Canadian Politics", but I'd rather hail this first small step in this forum.

B.C. tables historic Indigenous rights bill in move to implement UN declaration

The devil is in the details. I'll believe it when I see it. But at least one province has had the nerve to do this.

This is meaningful. I hope more provinces will follow even if they cannot lead.


"Is there a section in the UNDRIP on the difference between Compradore Natives elites and Bad Indians (aka rights holding land defenders)?

Devils in details indeed...


Unionist wrote:

I know NorthReport opened a thread on this in "Canadian Politics", but I'd rather hail this first small step in this forum.

B.C. tables historic Indigenous rights bill in move to implement UN declaration

The devil is in the details. I'll believe it when I see it. But at least one province has had the nerve to do this.

I am very fearful of this move. At best it will muddy the waters and at worst set precedents for other provinces to speak out of both sides of their mouths also. If the government does not cancel Site C where indigenous litigants are trying to protect what little treaty land is left for them. Then there is the armed invasion of Unist'ot'en territory to build the gas pipeline that will transport fracked gas. White man speak with forked tongue.


kropotkin1951 wrote:

I am very fearful of this move. At best it will muddy the waters and at worst set precedents for other provinces to speak out of both sides of their mouths also. If the government does not cancel Site C where indigenous litigants are trying to protect what little treaty land is left for them. Then there is the armed invasion of Unist'ot'en territory to build the gas pipeline that will transport fracked gas. White man speak with forked tongue.

I have no illusion that this ends the struggle for Indigenous rights. But a really simple question: Would you prefer that Canada and the provinces give lip service to UNDRIP, or that they ignore it? The federal legislation stalled in the Senate and died on the order paper. Should it be re-tabled, or forgotten? Serious questions.

The reality is as you describe it. But Indigenous activists have fought for this legal recognition, and we should not patronize them about the hypocrisy involved. It's a victory which needs to be built upon.

Meanwhile, here's what's happening on the ground - this is Arthur Manuel's daughter:

Kanahus Manuel arrested, injured during pipeline protest say Tiny House Warriors



Unionist it is not for me to say whether indigenous people and leaders will consider this a good piece of legislation. Its like the treaty process, I agree with Arthur Manuel's view that it is a land theft process pure and simple. But many First Nations leaders have accepted the process and that is for them to chose not me.


kropotkin1951 wrote:

Unionist it is not for me to say whether indigenous people and leaders will consider this a good piece of legislation. Its like the treaty process, I agree with Arthur Manuel's view that it is a land theft process pure and simple. 

I'm not sure whether you're referring to UNDRIP or the treaties. I'm talking about UNDRIP, which is what the legislation is about.


Jennifer Wickham, a member of the Wet'suwet'en nation, addressed the shortcomings of the Delgamuukw ruling and the entire court process: “Even when we follow their Western law, it doesn’t do us any good.” Such sentiments express why the Wet'suwet'en, and other Indigenous nations, are turning to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), as well as land defence strategies.

The late Secwepemc leader, Arthur Manuel, observed that Canada’s longstanding opposition to UNDRIP was because the declaration enshrined self-determination. According to Manuel, self-determination would give Indigenous people economic control of their lands, which he said Canadian governments could not abide.



The problem is that this is in fact a monstrous subversion of UNDRIP as well as Indigenous sovereignty and the work of  Art Manuel to realize it.   What is being recognized and  'enshrined' here is not 'the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples', but of Canada and BC's  Indigenous comprador class, organizations and proxy administrators' roles to continue to act as brokers in an ongoing sellout and surrender.

Furthermore, 'The Province of British Columbia',  is not a 'nation' any more than the 'First Nations' political organizations it negotiates this with, but an illegally constituted entity which, as a settled and binding matter of Constitutional law, has no lawful jurisdiction to do anything, let alone define Indigenous rights  'beyond the treaty frontier',  which constitutes most of  BC. Some of us still remember that UBCIC used to correctly hold that sovereign nations only deal 'nation to nation' and 'to talk to the Province is Indigenous treason.' Things changed the same time the funding streams started. 

This is a outrageous fresh step in Canadian neocolonialism and usurpation-as-genocide. A bargain between Canada, BC, their crown agents and assigns to further recognize and affirm themselves the exclusive brokers in a scam and a sellout of the true  title-holders, the grassroots Indigenous peoples of still sovereign nations. No wonder Ed John and the other 'Grand Chiefs' and politicians are smiling...

Bill 41-2019

"Indigenous governing body' means an entity that is authorized to act on behalf of Indigenous Peoples that hold rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of Constitution Act, 1982. This is also the definition in federal laws. What is this? 4th level Govts created by Modern Treaty?"


Why I Don't Support UNDRIP

"UNDRIP has been a red-herring for our people while the feds push genocidal policies..."


BC [Trick or Treaty] Advocate Elected Chair of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

"Chief Ed John has spent the last 20 years in the BC Treaty process which produces extinguishment Agreements..."


"Natives: When the right-wing party supports a law affecting your rights, and white politicians are literally weeping with joy over it, it's probably not something good for your people."

'Follow the money...'

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Unravelling B.C.’s landmark legislation on Indigenous rights


A new era of mutual consent

A major question about B.C.’s incorporation of UNDRIP centres around the question of “free, prior and informed consent” and whether or not it amounts to granting Indigenous peoples the power to veto projects that affect traditional territories. 

“Nowhere in the act, nowhere in the declaration, do the words ‘veto’ ever come up. For the first part, it’s fear-mongering,” Alexander said.

Article 32 of UNDRIP grants Indigenous peoples “the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.” 

It also says governments “shall consult and cooperate in good faith” with Indigenous peoples through their own representative institutions, in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of “any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.”

But Alexander said it isn’t an accurate framing of the issue to say UNDRIP will essentially grant nations the power to override government and industry. 

“Veto is about overriding jurisdiction and overruling governments, whereas consent is about agreement and coming together and working through problems and finding solutions,” he said. 

“In some ways consent and veto are polar opposites to each other.” 

Major projects — including the Site C dam, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and extensive fracking operations in northeastern B.C. — have been widely criticised for being approved by government without the “free, prior and informed consent” of affected Indigenous communities and nations.

“One of the greatest uncertainties for project development in B.C. is not knowing if a project has the consent of affected First Nations. Laws that are co-developed … will deliver economic, legal certainty and predictability in this province.”

Teegee said the province has come a long way in respecting Indigenous self-determination and decision-making in recent years, pointing to very recent but ultimately rejected plan to turn a sacred lake in Tsilhqot’in territory into a tailings pond for a mine. 

First Nation communities regularly find themselves in the position of waging legal battles against projects after they are approved, when major impacts to land and traditional practices can no longer be prevented.

From the legislature floor, Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, spoke directly to the claim the new legislation will in effect give Indigenous peoples ‘veto powers.’

“To bring this to a hard point, some people will oppose this law because of their fears of what an era of mutual consent means. There is fear in the idea of sharing power and jurisdiction. I want to say strongly and clearly here this declaration law is not about providing any government with veto rights.”

“Consent is about agreement. It is a process to achieving and maintaining agreement … about respecting our laws as equals and as partners,” Teegee said.

“Consent is the future and most simply put, it’s about coming together as governments, as people seeking to find common ground. Although consultation law has empowered many First Nations in B.C., it has done little to create legal certainty.”

Too often the Crown does not engage in good faith consultation and negotiations and First Nations are turning to the courts to resolve these issues, Teegee said.


Forest management a natural place to start

Jack Woodward, an Aboriginal rights lawyer who served as legal counsel on the landmark Tsilhqot’in title case, said while Aboriginal rights and treaty rights are governed by the constitution, the province can look for ways to support reconciliation within its own jurisdiction. 

He pointed to the way old-growth forests are being managed by BC Timber Sales, saying it is a matter of policy, not legislation. 

Old-growth forests are a valuable heritage resource for First Nations because they contain the last archaeological record of pre-contact through culturally modified trees, Woodward said. 

“That’s what UNDRIP speaks to and what’s referred to in the proposed legislation but the actual process on the ground is what is going to matter and they’re going to have to give way to make significant change.”

Alexander said the process of prioritizing where to start on UNDRIP implementation will begin now, but he agrees forestry is a logical place for improvement.

“It does make sense that forestry might be a very tangible and smart place to start,” he said. “The Jenga game has sorta collapsed a bit on forestry and it needs to be re-built.”

“Areas where we’ve seen the greatest successes are where First Nations and industry and environmental groups and government push in a single direction together. That’s going to require dialogue.” 

Woodward also pointed to a directive at the federal level, introduced under Judy Wilson-Raybould as Justice Minister, that instructed federal lawyers to pursue reconciliation in their engagement with Indigenous litigation. 

“That is very progressive and forward-looking,” Woodward said. “And there’s nothing like it at the provincial level so when First Nations find it necessary to go to court they are met with a very hostile response that makes it very time consuming and very expensive.”

“It’s the province’s fault for not managing that interaction in a respectful and conciliatory manner.”

First Nations going to court over Site C dam’s violation of treaty rights

But clashes are also taking place on treaty land in B.C. 

In the province’s northwest, Blueberry River First Nations has launched legal action claiming that the cumulative impacts of resource development on its traditional territory, including fracking, oil and gas development and construction of the Site C dam, mean its members can no longer engage in traditional practices guaranteed to them in Treaty 8. 

West Moberly First Nations is also waiting for a court date for what it calls a “mega-trial” to determine if treaty rights have been unjustifiably infringed by the Site C dam and two other large hydro dams on the Peace River.

A judge recently ruled the nation’s treaty rights case must be heard by 2023, prior to the flooding of 128 kilometres of the Peace River and its tributaries, which would destroy traditional hunting and fishing grounds, Indigenous burial sites and areas of special cultural and spiritual significance. 

Article 37 of UNDRIP affirms the right of Indigenous peoples to have their treaties recognized and enforced by government — so, at least theoretically, with new legislation in place projects wouldn’t move ahead without addressing these concerns.  

“The Crown and the Crown corporation would have had it be a requirement to receive consent from Day 1. That would have been a completely different framework,” Alexander said....


'New Legislation Will Align Treaty Negotiations With International Standards for Indigenous Rights Recognition'



"UNDRIP implementation with the framework of domestic and constitutional law is unworkable. Article 3 the right of self-determination as the vehicle of Indigenous decolonization cannot be truncated by the colonizer definition of the right."


'BC Indigenous Rights Bill Should Not Be A Problem For Miners': Industry Group

"Resource industry groups are happy with BC's Indigenous rights bill because they are informed and understand that minimal change to the status quo is the goal. Native people need to understand that Reconciliation Inc. and UNDRIP are designed to benefit THEM, not us."



Resharing this because these powerful words from Janice Makokis still ring true:

"Colonialism 2018: Indigenous political organizations that were set up and created in the 70's and 80's to be the incubators of political advocacy for Indigenous peoples against government agendas have now turned into a branch of the government (figuratively) implementing their agendas.

There is a group of Indigenous elite that are facilitating these Government agendas and working with Canada to have them realized, passed and implemented. Honest question. How do we hold these organizations and the people who work in them accountable when they are a direct threat to the realization of indigenous self-determination, sovereignty and treaty implementation?"


"It is important for Natives to understand that UNDRIP validates and legalizes states' military and paramilitary responses to Indigenous land-based activism, resistance to resource development and nation-based political assertions. For example, Canada's assault on Mohawks in the summer of 1990 (The Oka Crisis), BC's attack on Indigenous resistors at Gustafsen Lake in 1995, etc, are perfectly legal within the parameters of UNRIP - Article 46(1) & Article 30 (1) are the enabling provisions."


UNDRIP 'An Aspirational Document': Legal Counsel to Jody Wilson Raybould

"This is 1st version of UNDRIP adopted by UN Sub-Commission in 1994. Text was approved by many IP reps over a decade of work. Compare wording to final UNGA version which was amended to include Article 46, was not approved by IPs, and rewritten by Canada."


"Canada has been questioned by the UN Human Rights Committee about how they implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 1 on the right to self-determination in regard to Indigenous Peoples, and in their response...

"Canada indicated that *it was their position that Indigenous Peoples exercise their right to self-determination as Canadians and as part of Canadian society, not recognizing that Indigenous peoples have their own standing at international law."


Which is why 'auto-termination' is so strongly encouraged and supported by collaborationists and liberal settlers:


"Not surprised the IBA [Indigenous Bar Association] invited Pipeline Perry to their conference at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, as Perry says these lawyers 'play a big role' in Canada's Termination Policy and legislation."


"I Congratulate All Nisga'a People on the 20th Anniversary of the Historic Nisga'a Final Agreement, the First Modern Treaty in BC' - Perry Bellegarde: AFN

"When AFN congratulates a First Nation on giving up their rights and title."


UBCIC: Why the Nisga'a Final Agreement Must Not Be The Blueprint (1998)

"...Treaties and their certainty provisions are really about 'TAKING OUT' (extinguishing) the Indian Nations...."

'Extinguishment with consent' is still the only kind of 'Final Agreements' Canada does with FNs, no matter what fond pollyanna nonsense is pushed by collaborationists, media, the Canadian legal establishment or  deluded, wishful thinking liberals. Despite all the lipstick on this pig,  neocolonialism rules supreme and Indigenous sovereignty remains a non-starter.