First of all I must tell you that I am not a member of the indigenous peoples of North America and I cannot claim to speak for them. Through the
years I have come to know and respect individuals from the Miqmaw, Huron, Montagnais, Cree and Ojibway groups. In all cases, the ones I met were
proud people and in no way ashamed of who they were and are. As I got to know them, they taught me that they were not a “group”, but were, and
still consider themselves sovereign nations of people. The British Crown entered into formal agreements with them and those treaties acknowledged
them as sovereign nations.
Then came a dark period in our history when policies of the same British Crown became genocidal. Eliminate them or force them to assimilate. The
various peoples were relegated to small strips of land during this time and placed in reservations often on arid infertile land or swamp land,
despite signed treaties acknowledging their soveriegnty over their own lands. The residential schools were horrific examples of the cruelty practiced
against them in this most despicable example of systematic eradication. The government created and passed a most heinous and racist piece of
legislation known as the Indian Act.
And the ironic part is that while they were being systematically stripped of their lands in direct defiance of these signed agreements, my very own
European ancestors arrived in Minnesota and were encouraged to move to some of these lands in Saskatchewan and farm them. The land was free they were
told, and so my ancestors were known as homesteaders and honoured for doing this.
Now in my photo album my mother placed a couple of photos of my father taken long ago in uniform standing in a field. Before he passed away I asked
him where the photos were taken. He told me that it was on native land that the government had needed to borrow in the 1940s in order to move its
arms and uranium during WW2. “Did the government just take it?” I asked him. He told me that there was a signed agreement that stipulated the
borrowed land was to be returned to the natives right after the war. He was adamant about that. I sadly learned that the land was the very same that
saw the disgraceful police shooting of Dudley George not that long ago when they protested to get the land back.
I don't know all the grievances they have had in trying to get the crown to honour its commitments. However, over the years most thinking and
informed people know that the natives have been royally scr$$ed by the crown and the government and every effort made to demoralize and depersonalize
Through all this time, the country has expanded its development without consulting the native populations, as evidenced by the recent government plan
to build a pipeline across their lands, sometimes within a hundred feet of their homes. It is the duty of the governmment to consult with the people,
yet they have been ignored as the plans were laid out.
Six years ago I passed an area where some astute native people had been protesting about the reopening of a mine near Sharbot Lake that they claimed
could well pollute the Ottawa River with the mine tailings. Some even undertook a canoe trip to illustrate the connectivity of the flow and the water
table. They were charged with trespassing (even though they carried their placards outside the mine's fenced property) and a couple of of young
mothers knowing that their children would be removed from them if they were found guilty of the charge, could not continue. They were given only two
options, plead guilty and desist, or go to jail and have their children taken away. I thought about the brave moms who felt they had to do all they
could to protect their drinking water (and mine). So I drove up the highway about a quarter mile and saw the property in question, pulling over to
the side of the road to see if I could see where the tailings were but all I saw was a mine shack. I was immediately approached by uniformed police
and told it was against the law to even drive on this road. (A public highway for God's sake!) I was threatened with arrest and to my everlasting
shame I let myself be intimidated.
So now there is an Idle No More grass movement from the younger generation who want this to stop. People are watching and many non natives are
joining the protest activities. And in all this, despite their invitation to the British Crown to meet with them, the Crown is busy with jubilee
celebrations and baby bumps and royal visits as though the native people did not exist.
What do you think is the responsibility of the Crown with respect to honouring its signed agreements? If your thinking is that much of this took
place a while ago, then so did the saint Lawrence Seaway agreement between the USA and Canada. If Quebec separates, why then should the USA claim
international agreement to the use of the waterway and control of it?
Please adhere to the ATS T&Cs. Prejudicual or racist posts are not welcome. This is about the responsibility of the British crown.
edit on 5-1-2013 by aboutface because: (no reason given)