Members of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak team, lead by Darlene Rae, worked with Manitoba's First Nations SchoolNet team to host a two hour video conference with First Nation youth from across Ontario and Manitoba.
The video conference was held yesterday afternoon, February 20. The gathering was web streamed and archived and is available for viewing online at http://webcast.knet.ca/events (on Page 4 under FNS Ont_Man Youth Conference). Please Note: viewers do require the codec for displaying these videos that will pop-up when you click on the video.
Youth presenters spoke about their work in their First Nations in supporting the introduction and development of local ICT networks and applications. Some of the presentations included:
The Canadian government is responding to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) concerning their treatment of First Nation land claims and other discrimination issues affecting Aboriginal people across the country. Several First Nation groups are also involved in these hearings.
First Nations Leadership Council press release ...
Canada Violating International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
First Nations Leadership Council Joins Other Indigenous Peoples in Accusing Canada of Violating the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination - February 20, 2007
Coast Salish Traditional Territory/Vancouver, BC – The First Nations Leadership Council has sent a submission in response to Canada’s report to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Canada’s report will be heard by CERD in Geneva, Switzerland on February 20-21, 2007.
Indigenous Peoples' submissions will be considered along with the Canadian Government's report when CERD begins its review of Canada on Tuesday February 20th, 2007.
The First Nations Leadership Council submission takes exception with Canada’s assertions that it is a champion of human rights in Canada and elsewhere in the world.
“Indigenous peoples in Canada know the true story. Canada has a long history of denial of Aboriginal Title and Rights in this country”, said Grand Chief Edward John, a member of the First Nations Summit Political Executive and the First Nations Leadership Council.
“We have clearly illustrated in our submission to CERD that Canada has a longstanding policy of denying the existence of Aboriginal Title and Rights which has continually forced Aboriginal people in this country to resort to judicial processes to have the recognition and implementation of their rights legally affirmed”, added Chief John.
“Despite the fact that Section 35 of Canada's Constitution Act (1982) recognizes and affirms aboriginal and treaty rights, Canada as a matter of policy, systematically and continuously denies and rejects the very existence of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous rights to lands, territories and resources as well as Indigenous rights and authorities to self government,” stated Shawn Atleo, Regional Chief for the BC Assembly of First Nations and a member of the First Nations Leadership Council.
“We are utterly astounded at Canada's shameless hypocrisy as its officials appear before CERD. We fail to see how they can present Canada as a true defender of human rights whether here or elsewhere in the world given the federal government’s recent and shameful denial of Indigenous rights. It is truly disgraceful that Canada was one of only two countries on the UN Human Rights Council to vote against the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in June 2006”, stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and a member of the First Nations Leadership Council.
The Joint Unity Protocol Initiative of Chief Negotiators from BC First Nations also made its own submission to CERD. Robert Morales, the Chair of the Chief Negotiators forum stated “Canada has not significantly changed its approach on extinguishment and refusal to recognize aboriginal rights and title. Canada refuses to negotiate treaties based on recognition of aboriginal rights and title. Instead it brings a long list of fixed bottom line positions to the table. We ask how that can be considered negotiating”.
The reports submitted by these organizations as well as the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC), and the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations (CT6FN) address a range of policies and practices violating Indigenous Peoples' human rights both in and outside of Canada.
The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nations. The Council works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.
Background information on the submissions from the First Nations Leadership Council and the Joint Initiative of Chief Negotiators from BC First Nations is attached.
For more information:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC, (250) 490-5314
Colin Braker, First Nations Summit, (604) 926-9903
Heather Gillies, BC Assembly of First Nations, (604) 922-7733
British Columbia First Nations Leadership Council’s Issues List
Summary Points from February 14, 2007 Letter to CERD
Submission to CERD by
First Nations in the British Columbia Treaty Process
Joint Unity Protocol Chief Negotiators Initiative
Re: Canada’s Approach to Treaty Negotiations with First Nations in B.C.
1. Canada has not significantly changed its approach on extinguishment and refusal to recognize aboriginal rights and title.
a) Canada refuses to negotiate Treaties based on recognition of aboriginal rights and title. Instead it brings a long list of fixed bottom line positions to the Table. If First Nations want a Treaty, they have to agree. Canada refuses to allow First Nations to hold Treaty lands as aboriginal title lands. The lands must be held as private fee simple lands under provincial government jurisdiction. There is no room to negotiate.
b) The recent report from the federal Auditor General states that Treaty negotiations are one of the “most controlled and inflexible processes in the federal government” and that federal Treaty negotiators act “as if the main risk faced by the federal government in treaty negotiations is that of deviating from existing mandates, rather than that of not signing treaties”.
2. Canada refuses to commit in Treaties to improve vast gap between the high level of employment, education, health, and social conditions enjoyed by non-aboriginal Canadians and the crushing poverty, unemployment and poor health and living conditions suffered by aboriginal Canadians.
a) In fact, Canada potentially makes the situation worse by forcing First Nations to hand over 50% of revenues they generate post Treaty (including property tax revenues from former Reserve lands) to the federal government and by imposing discriminatory double taxation of First Nation corporations that pass on a portion of their profits to the First Nation government.
Ogemawahj Tribal Council press release ...
Decline of the Status Indian Motivates Ogemawahj Tribal Council to Host National First Nation Citizenship and Status Conference
Rama, ON, Feb. 21 - Enfranchisement and the intermarriage of Indian women with non-Indian men allowed Status Indians to acquire full Canadian citizenship by relinquishing their ties to the community, giving up the culture and traditions and giving up any rights they had as Indians. Indian women who married non-Indian men also lost their “Status” as Indians and the rights that accompanied that status.
The plan to assimilate Indians into society, however, has not worked, and the “temporary” nature of the Indian Act has led to many problems with the governance and lives of Indian people. It has also led to many constitutional challenges within Canada’s court system. This era of change and the need for a solution to the declining number of status Indians within their member First Nations have motivated the member communities of the Ogemawahj Tribal Council to coordinate and host a national information exchange on the topic.
The Ogemawahj Tribal Council invites you to participate in their First Nation Citizenship and Status Conference: “E-DBENDAAGZIJIG: Those Who Belong” on April 16th and 17th, 2007. This two day conference will examine the issues and cause for concern over First Nation citizenship, and in particular, the declining number of status Indians across the country. Why is it important, how will it affect you, and what are the options for the future? Join us to listen to the professionals and those who have already been seriously affected by this issue.
The event will take place at the Toronto Downtown Marriott Eaton Centre in the heart of Ontario’s Capital. Registration is limited to the first 400 paid participants. For additional information or to register for this event, please go to the website:
or contact the following:
Media Contact: Marc Manatch
Ogemawahj Tribal Council
P.O. Box 46,
7410 Benson Side Road
Mnjikaning First Nation, Ontario
Phone: (705) 329-2511
Fax: (705) 329-2509