Friday, November 24, 2006

Growing up in Canada: One Canadian's acquired knowledge and experiences about ‘Indians’

I am a researcher by profession … an educational researcher. I am from a historically conservative rural/small town Ontario family, mainly refugees from the potato famine in Ireland, subsistence farmers, and horse people … people who understand and respect the land … people who picked stones out of the rocky land for generations without complaint, grateful for the living and the opportunity and the freedom it gave them.

I didn’t have to do any research to know the truth about Canada’s treatment of the Indigenous people who gave us shelter in this harsh land. It is part of the oral tradition in my family. My grandfather taught me respect for the knowledge and talents of Indigenous people … especially where it had to do with horses. My grandmother taught me compassion for “those poor poor people”.

My mother carried on that compassion … and she taught me why.

My mother had no tolerance for drunkeness or laziness. She would cross the street to avoid someone looking for a handout … unless it was an Indigenous person, in which case she would cross the street to give them some of her very hard-earned money and a few kind words. For some reason, she considered them more worthy. “They haven’t been treated very well.” she said. When I was older I asked “Who didn’t treat them well … us? “The government.”, she whispered (though we were alone in our own kitchen), and she told me not to say that to anyone.

Stricken by the poverty I saw at a reserve where we went for a baseball game, I asked my Mother “Why do they stay here.” She said “It’s beautiful here … (and it was)… and then she added “If they leave, the government will take their land. Shhh … don’t say that out loud.” “That’s not right!” I said. “Shhh.”, she said.

A few years before he died … about eight years ago … my stepfather talked about the war … WWII … which he spent inside a tank always wondering when a grenade would be thrown in … because they couldn’t see out and couldn’t keep it closed long as it was unbearably hot. They depended heavily on their scouts and snipers to clear the way for them. Those scouts and snipers were usually Indigenous men. He spoke of his great respect for their knowledge, talents and their incredible courage. “They were each worth two of us … we depended on them … and we were all the same there … and yet when they came back from the war they were treated … like dirt … they didn’t get the same pension as us and they couldn’t even go to the legion for a beer with us.” My stepfather was a quiet, peaceful, accepting man and the whirlwind that was us and our familes and our passionate ways often swirled around him, laughing or yelling, and he was always the calm in the storm. This was the first time (in 28 years) that I had ever heard him speak passionately … angrily … more than that …
He was white with fury.

I know why he told me … My passion for social justice was sometimes at the middle of the family whirlwind … but he wanted me to carry on that passion … so here I am.

Canada and that “SHHH” word

I admit it … I am shocked and very disappointed that there are not more Canadians actively supporting Six Nations' right to fair and honourable treatment without violence. Many Canadians know the same truths as I do. I guess it has to do with that “Shhh” word. Canadians are not supposed to talk about the way our government has abused, discarded, defrauded, murdered and oppressed Indigenous people. It is still not ‘polite’ to say that our Canadian government is guilty of centuries of criminal acts against indigenous people. It is certainly not polite to say that those criminal acts continue today.

My country is founded on a lie … the lie that this land was uninhabited … was “discovered” by Europeans. It wasn’t. It was stolen by devious means … pretending to be allies, making peace treaties but never intending to honour them, betraying the allies who helped us survive in this harsh land … who saved us from being part of the U.S. … stealing their land and resources and the money from their government accounts that was intended to fund their future, providing conditions of life for them that led to their deaths in large numbers, tacitly endorsing abuse and murder … trying to force them to assimilate and become Canadians, never affording their communities the support that other Canadian communities receive, even today … enlisting help from corporations that poison the land and the water … thus poisoning their food as their land and resources are stolen mass murder carried out over generations … carried out still … right now …
March 27, 2003: Clearcut Defiance

Wednesday, November 22, 2006: First Nation wants mine project stopped

Or try here:

Canada’s (“SHHH”) ‘Indian’ residential schools

Canada mandated, funded and supervised the ‘Indian’ residential schools. Canada has acknowledged physical and sexual abuse in the residential schools. Sexual abuse was rampant and untrestrained in the residential schools, before the days of birth control. What happened to the babies?

There is a CBC movie called “Butterbox Babies” that describes what happened to these "mixed race" babies from one area in eastern Canada. They were murdered and buried in butterboxes.
There is an eye witness account of a residential school in the west that had rows of baby skeletons hidden in its foundation, uncovered when the school was torn down in 1972.

Are we to believe that this practice skipped from one coast to the other without occurring elsewhere in the country? Not according to my mother: “It wasn’t just there.”, she said with great intensity, "We all knew."
It was common (“SHHH”) knowledge back then. It was, I believe, the primary reason for her compassion.

"WHY would Canada do all that?", you may ask.
the land that we call Canada still legally belongs to the Indigenous people, but Canada does not want to acknowledge that because Canada has been profiting from their land and resources ... so it has traditionally tried to oppress them, keep them in poverty, keep them in jail, keep them down, keep them quiet ... while we steal their land ... "SHHH"!

Where to now Canada?

The media’s current negative campaign against the traditional Haudenosaunee people of Six Nations is just another part of a long Canadian tradition of trying to force traditional people assimilate … become ‘Canadian’ like the rest of us ... and mainly, to GIVE UP THE LAND TO CANADA. However, the traditional people will not give up their traditional ways, and they will not give up their title to their land. Now that the land is becoming polluted, they are stepping up to fulfill their responsibilities to care for the land for the ‘coming faces’, because Canada is not doing that: Canada is draining the land of its ability to support life.

Canada’s hidden war of aggression against Indigenous people is now hobbled by instant mass communication, international law, UN oversight, and thus a need for at least some superficial public displays of concern ... like the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
Canada is now confined to even more devious means, tacitly supporting manipulation of and by the media, planting people on discussion boards, harassing and intimidating Canadians who speak out against injustice, stalling, demeaning, and still using violent aggression against Indigenous people as we saw on April 20, 2006 in Caledonia.

There is a lot of Canadian oral history of the 19th and 20th centuries that more recent Canadian arrivals don’t know … because it was hidden, spoken of in whispers … and it still is. It is time to speak up. It is time for Canadians to tell the government: We KNOW what you have been doing and we do not approve!! It is important that Canadians know … when you are complicit with the government in hiding the genocide against Indigenous people, you are guilty of a crime under the UN protocol of 1948. Our government expects us to act like criminals … hide the truth … “for Queen and country”??
I think not!

Oh Canada … my Canada … will you find a new and honourable way to live in peace with our closest neighbours and allies? … or will you find new and devious means to steal their land and resources and silence the traditional people? Will Canada seek peace … or lead us into generations of strife trying to protect the proceeds of its crimes?

Will Canada ever be a country I am proud to leave to my grandchildren … or will it continue to be a deceitful and vicious fraud? Will Canada continue to ‘SHHH’ the people who know the truth? Will Canada ever ‘grow up’ and behave decently?

There is a resurgence of strength and conviction among traditional Indigenous people today. The residential schools took a huge toll on the elders, and many died too young. Consequently, their population is young, half of them are children or youth. They are educated, they are healthy … and their eyes are open. They see the hypocrisy of Canada clearly. They see the subtle and blatant racism and genocide that is Canada’s policy. They know the oral history … and they don’t say “Oh, poor us, oh poor me.”


And they are. They are reclaiming their land and their sovereignty.
And I support them 100%. Our goals are exactly the same:
They want
Canada to act respectfully and honourably.
I want Canada behave respectably and honourably!!

... and if you think "we can't afford it" ??
... that's just another lie our government wants us to believe.

What IS the value of common decency!?!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Caledonia: Judge Marshall should recuse himself

Six Nations people again have to face Judge David Marshall ...

Sept.26, 2006: All parties blast judge over rulings on Caledonia

"lawyers for the province, the Ontario Provincial Police and the aboriginals said the judge was completely off base when he ordered parties in the dispute to report back to him as if he were their supervisor".

"... Mr. Justice John Laskin and Madam Justice Kathryn Feldman -- who shook their heads in apparent surprise as Judge Marshall's approach to the contempt proceedings was described. "
"Let's assume -- as I believe to be the case -- that the contempt proceedings were deeply flawed . . ." Judge Laskin said late in the day, prefacing a question. "

In my opinion, Judge Marshall has imposed himself in the reclamation process through his manipulation of his court and abuse of his power. The Attorney General is appealing Judge Marshall's order against the Six Nations people. The findings of the Court of Appeal have not yet been released. However, it appears clear that Judge Marshall's actions in relation to Six Nations were considered highly questionable by Ontario's Appeal Court. The issue of his ownership of disputed land was not raised.

Six Nations have made a claim for the Haldimand Tract and that claim has been accepted for negotiations, in progress. Judge Marshall 'owns' land in the Haldimand Tract ... a great deal of land, including his own home on the bank of the Grand. Judge Marshall was made aware of Six Nations claim to the Haldimand Tract at the time of the original injunction, and it was suggested he should recuse himself. He became very upset, red-faced, angry and in fact left the courtroom for a few minutes to compose himself. When he returned, he indicated that he would not recuse himself, and he continued the injunction proceedings. He later tried to personally control its implementation, by demanding reports in court (four times) about why his orders have not been carried out.

It should be said that some people of Caledonia and Haldimand County support the Judge's actions. That is not surprising, since they also live on Six Nations land. Their support cannot be taken as indication that Judge Marshall is right, because their interests are the same as his.

There is absolutely no question in my mind that Judge Marshall is concerned that Six Nations claim could jeopardize his land holdings. Now he has also been raked over the coals publicly through the Ontario Court of Appeals, where the Attorney General is appealing his rulings.

This Wednesday, Six Nations and other people charged with offences during the reclamation will appear in Cayuga Court ...
people charged with offences relating to a claim for the very land the courthouse stands on ...with what chance of justice?

Judge Marshall should recuse himself. Lawyers should demand a change of jurisdiction. Even without the judge's displays of obvious bias, it does not seem right that people charged with offences relating to a claim for the very land the courthouse stands on would receive justice in that jurisdiction. You don't have to support all of the actions of individuals to support people's right to a fair hearing and a fair trial ... outside of Haldimand County and outside of the influence of Judge David Marshall.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Statement: Six Nations firm,
it did not surrender lands

Chief Allen MacNaughton
News Release
NOVEMBER 3, 2006

SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND RIVER TERRITORY- Six Nations is standing firm in its position that its lands, six miles on either side of the Grand River, including the disputed Douglas Creek lands, and Plank Road lands were not surrendered by the Six Nations Confederacy Council Hodiyenehsoh.

The federal government, in negotiations Friday, maintained its position that Six Nations surrendered its lands, despite the lack of any legal surrender documents or proof that Six Nations intended to surrender any land .

The federal government is instead relying on questionable minutes made by an Indian Agent of the day. The federal government has also failed to explain,what happened to Six Nations lands and its trust funds.

Six Nations Confederacy Council Hodiyenehsoh (Chiefs) maintain its position that the lands have not been surrendered and will continue to work towards a peaceful resolution of the Reclamation of the Douglas Creek lands at Caledonia.

Allen MacNaughton/ Mohawk Chief
For further information or to set up interviews please contact:
Lynda Powless/ Confederacy negotiating team media advisor/ (519) 445-0898


The Plank Road Claim

Like highway 6, the Plank Road claim crosses the Haldimand tract (12mi), half a mile deep on either side of the old road. Caledonia itself sits on this claim, as does the reclamation site Kanonhstaton, formerly Douglas Creek Estates. Settling the claim to the site means settling the Plank Road claim.

The negotiators are right in the middle of that now: The federal government has said it stands by the 1841/1844 surrenders, though these apparently lack some basic requirements (Order-in-council, survey, ratification by the people of the confederacy). Six Nations says they agreed only to lease the lands, and they have not received proper payment. Next meeting November 14.

This map, apparently a government map from 1900, shows the Plank Road claim as a white strip across the Haldimand Tract, indicating that it was unceded as of that date.

Samuel Jarvis, the former government agent who engineered the surrenders of 1841 and 1844, was removed from his position for fraud shortly after. Thus, the federal government's position is not crystal clear.

The government of Ontario, it appears, has given a guarantee of property titles to current owners, indicating that if Six Nations claim to the Plank Road is successful, Ontario will make every attempt to compensate Six Nations for all privately held properties, so that no property owner is inconvenienced.

The federal government is now saying that they may not have a role to play in the land claim at all, which may leave Ontario clear to transfer the title to Six Nations, if that is the result of the presentation of evidence. There are complications in terms of what type of title this would be.

The process in claims involving potentially unceded territory that may be (illegallly) in private hands is a bit disconcerting: If the government cannot produce evidence of a valid surrender for sale accompanied by appropriate payment, the government simply concludes that that is the case and closes its file. This leaves the 'successful' Indigenous group to its own devices in reclaiming the land.

The Walpole band and the Mississaugas Nations are both currently in that situation. Toronto Islands is unceded Mississaugas territory. They have recently begun protesting expansion of the Island Airport, but otherwise indicate that they don't intend to unduly disturb residents.

It could be that Jim Prentice's statement last week will be the last word: if the federal government cannot defend its right to have sold the property then there simply may be no further federal involvement at that point. It would, then, be up to Ontario to negotiate the disposition and compensation for lands in the Haldimand Tract.

It seems a resolution for the reclamatuion site may be near ... but one hardly dares hope!

Of course ... it goes without saying, I guess, that if the Plank Road claim is already deemed valid for the current negotiations, then the Haldimand Tract claim, of which it is but a part, is also valid for negotiation on a parcel by parcel basis.
That will take some time.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Seeing the writing on the wall in Caledonia

“Federal representative Ron Doering told the crowd that the federal government's position is that we (Canada) own the land according to an 1844 surrender document but also conceded that "we might be wrong." He said government has put the onus on the natives to prove that.”

Mr. Doering says "we might be wrong", and no high level bureaucrat would say that if he was confident in the government's position. The room in Caledonia guffawed loudly at this, unwilling to accept the possibility that the Six Nations Plank Road claim, including the reclamation site, may be valid.

It is disturbing that so many of the political hopefuls in Caledonia are not ready and willing to address this reality. They pander to the fears and anxieties of a few and the prejudices of others by promising things that are simply unrealistic: 'Six Nations people should leave the land before negotiations continue.'

This is not going to happen. Six Nations will not leave. Negotiations for the Plank Road Claim are nearing the end. It is a foolish time to try to disrupt negotiations ... unless, of course, that is the goal of these politicos ... to disrupt the negotiations and prolong the process ... perhaps drag it out interminably. I am not sure why they would want to do that.

Trying to disrupt negotiations cannot have positive consequences for Caledonia.

The responsible thing for leaders or potential leaders to do would be to help prepare the town for a new reality ... the reality that the Plank Road claim may well be valid, that the provincial government will, thus, make a financial settlement with Six Nations for all settled properties, and that the reclamation site will remain in Six Nations possession.

Responsible leaders would consider all possible outcomes and work to bring people together regardless, instead of working to reinforce the prejudices and hysteria so blatant in Caledonia, and so unacceptable in Canadian society.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Two Row Wampum

The Two Row Wampum Belt says:
"This symbolizes the agreement under which the Iroquois/Haudenosaunee
welcomed the white peoples to their lands.
'We will NOT be like father and son, but like brothers.
These TWO ROWS will symbolize vessels,
travelling down the same river together.
One will be for the Original People, their laws, their customs,
and the other for the European people and their laws and customs.
We will each travel the river together,
but each in our own boat.
And neither of us will try to steer the other's vessel."

The agreement has been kept by the Iroquois/Haudenosaunee to this date.

Haudenosaunee Six Nations References


Canada and the Law

In this video, lawyer Kate Kempton speaks at a community forum:
Beyond Conflict and Blame.

Ms. Kempton explains the principles of law governing Canada's relationship with Indigenous Nations within Canada's borders.

She describes the treaties Canada has with Indigenous Nations as our permission ... Canada's permission ... to settle certain areas.

We cannot 'throw out the treaties' as some would suggest, because they define our country. What we can do is renegotiate treaties.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I tried to stop myself but I just can't help it ...
This Ontario taxpayer wants the federal government to reimburse Ontario for the unnecessary trip to Ottawa !!

OK, so PrenticeHarper decided not to show ...
But to not call and let Ramsay know ...? !!

How much did the Ontario taxpayers
pay for that unnecessary trip?
The Minister, the Deputy Minister and the Assistant Deputy Minister and a staff member ... four salaries, four return flights, meals ... hotel? limo?
I think Ottawa should pay those expenses !
It is disgusting behaviour in any business.
On the public dollar, it is scandalous not to cancel properly !!

I think it's time to go to Ottawa ... soon.
Otherwise, Harper will spend taxpayer money stalling and dancing.
That has happened before.
(Note sarcasm.)
This is different.
It is time to settle
the Plank Road Claim,
to end the dispute
in Caledonia.

How do we end the dispute?

Ontario stepped up to the plate when Ottawa wouldn’t.
Ottawa still won’t.
Ontario may be stuck with the costs to date.
However, that is not an issue for the people of Six Nations or
Caledonia since either way, the taxpayers pay!

What is needed at this time is for the federal government to step in to the negotiations and determine the title for the DCE property, which means settling the claim for the
Plank Road claim. Once ownership of the property is determined, there should be no need for the increased police presence in Caledonia.

In fact, I would suggest that they have already outlied their usefulness. As a taxpayer, I would like to see all of the extra police presence removed from Caledonia. It simply isn’t necessary! It is extremely expensive, and it just increase the optics for Caledonia of living in a ‘police state’. There have been no incursions into the DCE lately, no gatherings of Caledonia residents to harass Six Nations, etc. I see absolutely no reason for this massive police presence and the cost to taxpayers.

In any case, since it is clear that resolving the land claim dispute is within grasp, and is a federal responsibility, any stalling on the part of the federal government from this point on should certainly mean that they assume the entire cost from now on.

Harper should do the job he was elected to do:
Land claims are a federal responsibility.

Settlement of this land claim is LONG overdue. 26 years is long enough for Six Nations and Caledonia residents to wait for a decision on these lands!
Today, Jim Prentice called it Canada’s oldest land claim”.

Jane Stewart, lead for the Provincial negotiating team, said ‘The claim for the Douglas Creek land … the Plank Road claim … is on the table.’ (or similar)
Did that mean the federal government accepted it as a claim?
Was the federal government supposed to present its evidence on October 20th?
Did they?

Will Six Nations present their evidence this FRIDAY, Nov 3, at a public meeting?

“Federal representative Ron Doering told the crowd that the federal government's position is that we (Canada) own the land according to an 1844 surrender document but also conceded that "we might be wrong." He said government has put the onus on the natives to prove that.”

This suggests that the government simply stands by its documents, and now Six Nations’ presents its evidence.

One interpretation is that the government did not produce the documents as they do not qualify as evidence according to the legal criteria of 1841-44, as required for this process.

OK. I guess that’s all fact. Public meeting … Friday … where … when … who knows

… and why isn’t this meeting posted on the government website?

Because if we are this close, this certainly seems to be the quickest way to end the dispute ... for this land.

Jane Stewart previously said that "Ontario stands behind its property deeds ... there will be settlements ... for your properties." Six Nations has said it is not interested in disrupting people's homes and properties.

So ... Ontario's property owners can relax ... and for heaven's sake ... !

... stand behind the federal negotiations because that is where the solution is!

Maybe it is time to go to Ottawa !??!


Ramsay and his staff travelled all the way to Ottawa yesterday, Hallowe’en, for a scheduled meeting with Jim Prentice. No doubt some among Ramsay’s staff would have preferred to be spending Hallowe’en with their children. However, Prentice didn’t have the courtesy to tell them before their trip that the meeting was cancelled. He simply was a no show at the appointed time and place, after they had travelled for hours to meet with him.

I think his behaviour is beyond tacky. I also think it wasn’t his decision. In the current atmosphere in Ottawa, no cabinet minister would make such a newsworthy move independently. Seems like Harper had a hissy fit against Dalton, and I’ll bet he ordered Prentice not to show.

The cost of Caledonia is an issue to be sorted out between the provincial and federal governments. The TITLE for the disputed lands, however, demands that the feds be involved. The government has had its opportunity to produce documents showing legal ownership, but has produced nothing, apparently finding that neither of the surrenders satisfies the criteria for a valid surrender (land description, mapping, Order-in-Council, etc.). This week, Six Nations provides its evidence of title to the Plank Road lands.

Thereafter, the government will have to be prepared to acknowledge title.
Therin lies the problem: Stephen Harper believes only in forced assimilation for Indigenous people. Recognizing aboriginal rights and titles is anathema to him. Acknowledging collective title to additional lands is his worst nighmare as it is against every ideology he stands for! He will have a thousand hissy fits and chew his right arm off before he ever turns over land to Six Nations!

However, his government is holding on by a thread these days, so he is in no position to refuse … IF THE OTHER THREE PARTIES SUPPORT SIX NATIONS claim.

It is time for some serious lobbying of Liberal, NDP and Bloc politicians for support of Six Nations Plank Road land claim. If Harper acts, the uncertainty that has plagued Caledonia since the reclamation began will be over.

The costs to taxpayers will continue to mount
until the federal government stops stalling.
Perhaps it is time to go to Ottawa.