Discarding Indian Act card was act of ‘emancipation,’ Manitoba chief tells treaty gathering
ONION LAKE, SASK., AND OTTAWA — The Canadian Press
One of Canada’s most outspoken aboriginal critics says he threw away his Indian Act card as an act of emancipation and is encouraging others to reject the “racist policies” of the past in their own way.
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said he threw the card in the garbage at a National Treaty Gathering of rival chiefs in Onion Lake, Sask. The Assembly of First Nations is holding its annual meeting this week in Whitehorse, Yukon, highlighting the growing schism within the country’s aboriginal leadership. Continue reading →
Canada. Dept. of Indian Affairs and Northern Development/Library and Archives Canada/C-068920The signing of a Treaty in Windigo, Ont., on July 18, 1930.
Killing aboriginals with our kindness
Relations between First Nations and the Crown have been a thorny issue ever since Europeans first began colonizing this land. The Canadian, British and provincial governments certainly made a lot of mistakes when dealing with the aboriginal peoples — including taking large swaths of land from indigenous peoples and perpetrating human-rights abuses in residential schools. The one redeeming quality of the British policy toward natives, it is widely claimed, was that it chose to deal with them as nations, rather than conquered people.
But the treaties that came out of these negotiations were short-sighted measures designed to appease geographically diverse tribes of hunter-gatherers by promising payments and land, in exchange for non-interference in the Crown’s colonization plans. Later, the Indian Act would formalize the relationship whereby aboriginals receive housing, education and medical care, all while being exempt from many taxes and relegated to living on isolated, Soviet-style collective enclaves, with Big Brother in Ottawa paternalistically watching their every move.
As the Post’s Jonathan Kay has observed, under the terms of the James Bay treaties, “the natives would continue hunting and fishing for sustenance and trade, and receive annual payments from the government … And here we get to the massive problem that has taken shape in communities such as Attawapiskat, which were not originally intended to become static settlements that survive entirely as government-funded welfare states (with the pathologies that attend all government-funded welfare states, including unemployment, anomie and substance abuse).” Continue reading →
Thirty-six years ago, Donald Capri was driving across the Redwood Bridge in Winnipeg when he spotted a body floating in the Red River. Police later identified the victim as Prof. John Zubek, a distinguished psychologist at the University of Manitoba. Cause of death was determined to be suicide by drowning. Zubek was 49.
Zubek’s mysterious life and death has a direct and largely unexplored relationship with the CIA’s methodology of interrogation. Zubek devoted his life’s work to researching sensory deprivation. In a special isolation chamber at the University of Manitoba, he conducted experiments on more than 500 people over 15 years, depriving them of all sensations for up to two weeks. The research was begun at a time when the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program was spending millions to understand how manipulating human behaviour could assist interrogations.
Zubek, who was funded by the Canadian defence department and the US government, was considered a world leader in sensory deprivation research, elaborating the covert work begun by colleague Donald Hebb at McGill University — work he assisted, according to documents in Zubek’s personal papers.
Despite his death in 1974, Zubek’s legacy endures in the methods used at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other detention centres. The notorious photo of a hooded prisoner in Abu Ghraib, standing on a box with arms extended, shows the importance of sensory deprivation in the CIA’s methods. So does the declassified Foreign Affairs document that reveals how Omar Khadr was placed on the “frequent flyer” program at Guantanamo, constantly moved from cell to cell and denied uninterrupted sleep. “He will soon be placed in isolation for up to three weeks and then he will be interviewed again,” says the once-secret 2004 memo. In his influential book A Question of Torture, Alfred McCoy argues that the “no-touch torture” technique of sensory deprivation is critical to the US interrogation paradigm. Continue reading →
Financial misconduct by the Blood Tribe’s chief and council is being alleged by a group of fellow band members.
Former councillor Joshua Curly Rider, former chief Harley Frank, and other band members Eugene Fox and Melvin Knife, said they have an auditor’s management report and a trail of paperwork and informant sources, as well past social media posts, proving general financial mismanagement and a lack of transparency is occurring on the reserve.
They say improper spending, including sponsoring American competitors at a Las Vegas rodeo, and missing finances from a public account that was to be given to non-landowners, is all taking place.
Curly Rider, Frank and Fox, who all ran in the Blood Tribe’s 2012 election, say about $5 million is unaccounted since the start of the 2013 fiscal year – money which was supposed to be given to the tribe’s 88 per cent non-landowners.
In an approval by Blood Tribe council in April 2013, which is information available on the tribe’s website, the crop production rental rates increased to $75 an acre, up from $45 an acre. Continue reading →
What Tsilhqot’in and Grassy Narrows Mean for Treaty First Nations
Jan 14, 2015
Commentators and governments continue to downplay the significance of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Tsilhqot’in decision for Treaty First Nations. Below I summarize both Tsilhqot’in and the Supreme Court’s Grassy Narrows decision from the perspective of treaty rights. I then explain how together the two decisions lay the foundation for a new age of respect and recognition for Treaty First Nations.
In Tsilhqot’in the Court addressed two main issues. First, can Indigenous peoples advance Aboriginal title claims on a territorial basis or is Aboriginal title confined to dots on a map? Second, if Aboriginal title exists, can provincial legislation apply to Aboriginal title lands?
On the first issue the Court put to rest the dots-on-a-map theory of Aboriginal title. Regular use of definite tracts of land on a territorial basis for hunting, fishing and otherwise exploiting resources is sufficient to establish Aboriginal title.
On the second issue, the Court held that as a general rule, provincial laws of general application apply to Aboriginal title lands subject to the Crown’s obligation to justify an infringement of Aboriginal title, its fiduciary obligations and s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.
When Aboriginal title is established, the Crown must do more than fulfil its duty to consult. The Crown must either obtain the consent of Indigenous peoples to use Aboriginal title lands or meet the legal requirements for justifying an infringement. Continue reading →
Native groups use Macdonald’s birthday to raise issue of his legacy of residential schools
“If people really knew the history of Sir John A. Macdonald, I’m not sure if they would celebrate his legacy,” Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation said. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
Aboriginal people in Canada say the 200th anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth is anything but a cause for celebration.
“If people really knew the history of Sir John A. Macdonald, I’m not sure if they would celebrate his legacy,” Alvin Fiddler, Deputy Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, told QMI Agency. Nishnawbe Aski Nation represents 49 First Nation communities in Ontario.
First Nations and Metis people continue to live with the consequences of Macdonald’s policies — both as minister of Indian Affairs and as prime minister — to this day, Fiddler said. Continue reading →
Published Monday, January 12, 2015 10:59AM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 12, 2015 8:50PM EST
Canada is obligated under international human rights laws to prevent violence against indigenous women by taking measures to address poverty and other socio-economic factors, according to a new report. Continue reading →
Library and Archives CanadaJohn A. Macdonald was aboriginal affairs minister for 10 years — from 1878 to 1888 — and is often blamed for laying the institutional groundwork for today’s First Nations’ troubles.
In 1887, the first of Vancouver’s many anti-Chinese riots had just broken out when Sir John A. Macdonald stood up in the House of Commons to propose further measures to keep out the Chinese.
The Chinese took white jobs, he said. The Chinese would breed a “mongrel” race in British Columbia and threaten the “Aryan” character of the Dominion. Altogether, the prospect of having white working classes living alongside Chinese could lead only to “evil.”
But in an odd aside, Macdonald admitted that he was supporting the policy largely because he was running a country full of racists. Continue reading →