Chief Terence Nelson of Roseau River First Nation letter is followed by the Ottawa Sun newspaper story about the National Day of Protest ...
Grand Chief Chris Henderson
Southern Chiefs Organization
225-530 Century Street
March 31st 2007
Dear Grand Chief
Re: Emergency Treaty 1-11 Gathering, April 10th
As Chairman I thank you for attending the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council Chiefs meeting yesterday. DOTC will convene an emergency Treaty 1-11 gathering in Winnipeg on April 10th 2007. We thank SCO for agreeing to help coordinate that meeting.
The National Day of Protest set for June 29th 2007 was passed by resolution of the Chiefs at the December 2006 Assembly of First Nations Ottawa summit. AFN represents over 600 First Nations in Canada. The response from the Conservative government of Canada to this planned national day of protest is to threaten the First Nations.
Our national Assembly of First Nations and our provincial organization, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and regional political organizations are funded by the government and vulnerable to cuts.
The reality however is that the federal and provincial governments receive far more benefits, literally hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars from the resource sales from the traditional territories of Treaties 1-11. Immigrant Canadians get hundreds of billions of dollars each year from the sale of resources taken from our lands.
At this gathering, we as First Nations will respond to the Federal Government threats.
We ask that each Treaty First Nation bring its written list of grievances and treaty violations to put into a document to be presented to Canada.
We will invite the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway companies to listen to the Treaty First Nations. We will present the railway companies with those treaty violations. The railway companies have already each written to the Conservative government asking for Canada to resolve the issues with First Nations so that business is not interrupted by protest. The reason we would present these lists of treaty violations to the railway companies is to legally warn them that their right to benefit and use of our traditional treaty territory is in jeopardy.
Canadian National Railway tried to get injunctive relief from the courts last year and testified that they stand to lose at least 27 million dollars a day in revenue from a 24 hour railway blockade. That estimate from CN is only for a Manitoba blockade and is only the losses to CN, it does not include the losses to CP or the companies that both rail companies transport goods and services for.
A national day of protest that includes shutting down railway lines across Canada even for one day is an economic disaster of huge consequences for all Canadians. Last year although we did not do the one-day railway blockade as planned, the courts did however refuse to grant CN the injunctive relief it was seeking. Minister of Indian Affairs Jim Prentice asked for more time, we gave him that time.
If the Treaty terms and conditions have not been fulfilled, we as Treaty First Nations are the only indigenous people capable legally to deny the right of immigrants to our lands, the right to use and benefit from our treaty traditional territory. That obligation, the lawful obligation (as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada) for the treaties rests entirely with the Crown as represented by the federal government of Canada. In my response letter to CN’s letter to Prentice which I attach for you, I stated to CN.
While I thank you for your letter, I of course don’t agree with CN’s position that they are “an innocent third party” because we see clearly the billions and billions of dollars of resource wealth that CN transports every year from lands that the indigenous people have never relinquished or only gave conditional access to.
In order to legally block railway lines, Treaty First Nations must first declare the Treaties to be in jeopardy as a direct result of the failure of the Crown in fulfilling the lawful obligations that the immigrant government has to the treaty terms and conditions. We must have those written violations from each Treaty 1-11 First Nations in a document on April 10th 2007.
My personal goal is to have the Treaty 1-11 First Nations jointly demand that CN and CP voluntarily cease operations for 24 hours on June 29 or face the threat of month long roving blockades across our treaty territories.
Canadian Industry, such as CN, CP, Enbridge and most of the oil companies have all sent letters or voiced concerns to the federal government of Canada to take seriously the legal responsibility to sit down with the First Nations and resolve these matters. So far, all the Conservatives have done is threaten the First Nations.
On April 10th, I will bring to the attention of the Treaty 1-11 First Nations other options including some very serious legal help from south of the border. We all know that the courts in Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada have clearly decided in numerous cases the explicit responsibility, the duty of the Crown to negotiate, to consult and come to agreement with the indigenous people on developments within the traditional territories of the original owners of the land.
The effect of development within the Tar Sands, the environmental devastation is cause for indigenous people to sue the Crown for those losses. This legal action can occur not only in Canada but the indigenous people can follow the sales of their property into the states.
Oil companies and lumber companies operating in Canada need to take serious attention to this.
Please send this letter to the technical working group of Treaty 1-11 at the scheduled meeting in Saskatoon next week. The techs must prepare the documents needed for each Treaty First Nation that attends the emergency summit on April 10th.
I attach for you, the letter I sent to CN. I will draft a Roseau River’s list of treaty violations. This will be Roseau River’s version, it will only be a draft, one that other First Nations may use or disregard when they make their own list of treaty violations.
It is sad, that the current government of Canada has set a course for confrontation with the indigenous people. I had hoped that the Minister of Indian Affairs Jim Prentice had heard the frustration we voiced at the July 4th 2006 meeting in Calgary.
The Globe and Mail just reported that Radical natives are included on the same list as the Tamil Tigers and Hezbollah in a new counterinsurgency manual being prepared for the Canadian army. The manual is in the final stages of preparation, but The Globe and Mail has obtained an early version of the document.
The draft outlines tactics, including ambush, deception and killing, which the military could use both at home and abroad against military opponents.
If Americans don’t take this situation seriously, they face heavy losses in Canada. American companies, especially those who are financed in publicly traded stocks from the stock market will be hit very hard even greater than what happened in Mexico in 1994.
We need to ensure that the treaty First Nations realize that the April 10th meeting is an emergency meeting, one we must be prepared for.
Mii-gwetch! You can contact me on my cell at 204-782-4827.
Chief Terrance Nelson
Chairman for DOTC Council of Chiefs
ROSEAU RIVER ANISHINABE FIRST NATION GOVERNMENT
P.O. Box 30, GINEW, Manitoba R0A 2R0
Phone (204) 427-2312 Fax: (204) 427-2584
Natives plan rail blockade - First Nations groups call for day of action
By JORGE BARRERA, NATIONAL BUREAU - Mon, April 2, 2007
Parliament Hill -- Unbowed by federal government threats to cut funding, First Nations across the country continue to make plans for a one-day shutdown of the railway system that could spread into weeks.
Relations with the government have soured significantly since Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget completely ignored demands to make First Nations poverty a priority.
Things weren't helped on the weekend after it was revealed that the Canadian military labelled the Mohawk Warrior Society and radical Native groups as "insurgents" in a draft anti-guerrilla field manual obtained by Sun Media.
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice's aggressive stance on First Nations demands has also pushed relations to a level of acrimony last seen under the Liberals, when former Indian Affairs minister Bob Nault was pushing unpopular reform legislation.
"The Conservatives have united First Nations across the country," said Terrance Nelson, chairman of the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council Chiefs, which represents nine Manitoba First Nations. "They have pissed off one hell of a lot of chiefs."
Anticipating the actions of the Conservative government, the Assembly of First Nations overwhelmingly passed a resolution in December calling for a day of action on June 29.
Prentice reacted by sending open letters last week to the Globe and Mail and the Winnipeg Free Press threatening to cut federal funding to First Nations groups if the actions went ahead.
The minister's actions were interpreted, in the words of AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine, as a "direct threat" and stoked an already roaring fire.
During a planned April 10 Winnipeg emergency meeting of treaty-holding First Nations, which cover western Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and parts of British Columbia, attendees are to compile of a list of treaty violations that will then be presented to Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway.
"My personal goal is to have the Treaty 1-11 First Nations jointly demand that CN and CP voluntarily cease operations for 24 hours on June 29 or face the threat of a month-long roving blockade across our treaty territories."
TAKE NATIVES SERIOUSLY
Nelson said the Conservatives need to take First Nations seriously.
"We want a share of our resources and we want to sit down and clearly talk about our treaties that said we would share in the resources of our own wealth," said Nelson, in an interview with Sun Media.
"If the federal government wants a fight with First Nations it is a very stupid thing to do and we will prove it."
Ottawa promises to help pay for occupation cost
March 30, 2007 - (CP)
TORONTO —Ottawa is ponying up $26.4 million to help the Ontario government cover the cost of a year-long aboriginal occupation in the southwestern Ontario town of Caledonia, and giving federal negotiators leave to settle additional land claims in the region.
Indian Affairs minister Jim Prentice said yesterday the federal government recognizes the province is shouldering high costs for policing and buying the half-finished housing development that sits on the disputed tract of land.
“Because of what happened in Caledonia, the government of Ontario had to incur additional expenses,” Prentice told a news conference in Ottawa.
“The payment of $26.4 million includes $15.8 million towards the acquisition . . . of the Douglas Creek Estates property and $10.6 million to offset Ontario’s extraordinary policing costs.”
Ontario calculates the cost of the dispute at more than $46 million, with almost half that sum going to round-the-clock staffing by provincial police.
After loudly calling for a federal contribution to offset the rising cost of the occupation, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the government is happy to hear Ottawa acknowledge the province’s financial burden.
“It’s an important symbol that the federal government does understand it has a valuable role to play,” McGuinty said during a stop in London, Ont.
“The other thing that’s really important here to note . . . is that the prime minister is granting an expanded mandate to his negotiators and hopefully that will lead to an accelerated process so that we can resolve this in a peaceful manner,” he added.
David Ramsay, Ontario’s minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said the expanded mandate for federal negotiator Barbara McDougall—currently at the table with the province and Six Nations representatives—now has the authority to attack up to 26 outstanding Six Nations land claims in the region.
Rather than slow the pace of negotiations, Ramsay said it actually might help resolve the dispute more quickly since it addresses the real reason the occupation began in the first place over a year ago.
Six Nations protesters aren’t counting on that yet. The federal announcement came as a complete surprise to most.
“There appears to be a lot of money changing hands but nothing has changed hands with Six Nations,” Cayuga subchief Leroy Hill said in a statement.
Janie Jamieson, who speaks for the occupiers, said the announcement seemed more designed to placate taxpayers than Six Nations.
Six Nations protesters moved into the 40-hectare development last February, saying it was taken from them by the Crown 200 years ago.