Government on path to dissolve First Nation treaty rights, says Madahbee

Government on path to dissolve First Nation treaty rights, says Madahbee

OTTAWA—In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation voices concern on behalf of all First Nations that the government is passing bills, legislation and funding cuts in an attempt to dissolve First Nation treaty rights.

Patrick Madahbee, Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation, has laid out his concerns on behalf of all Anishinabek people in his letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In the preface to Chief Madahbee’s letter to the prime minister, he states in a release on the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) website, “Anishinabek Nation citizens: Please share this letter with your First Nation contacts. Legislative attacks and budget cuts are now a reality, and unless we come together and have our voices heard collectively, we may see First Nation treaty and inherent rights diminished until we are nothing more than a special interest group at best.”

In his letter to the prime minister, Mr. Madahbee wrote, “over the past couple of years it has become increasingly apparent to the Anishinabek First Nations that the federal government is on a path to dissolving First Nation treaty and inherent rights through infringing legislation. We have received copies of several letters from First Nation organizations like the Assembly of First Nations, the Chiefs of Ontario and other political organizations across the country, opposing federal legislation that impacts First Nations. At the Anishinabek Nation we have sent numerous letters and presented our reasons for objection to the various federal standing committees on legislation that the Government of Canada seems determined to ram through parliament.”

“During the Harmonized Sales Tax legislation process, First Nations in Ontario unified to oppose the federal and provincial objective to combine taxation policies and eliminate the provincial retail sales tax exemptions for First Nation citizens,” wrote Mr. Madahbee. “The very next year the federal Ministry of Revenue began taking First Nations, working class citizens to court on income tax policies, despite their treaty right not to be taxed within their own territories. Nearly every legislation or policy impacting First Nations which the federal government has introduced over the past couple of years will either eliminate First Nation treaty rights or minimize the Crown’s treaty and fiduciary responsibilities to First Nations in Canada. I cannot make myself any clearer: all lands and resources in Canada belong to First Nations people and no amount of legislation will take that fact away,” continued the Grand Council Chief.

Grand Council Chief Madahbee explained some of the bills that the First Nations opposed include Bill S-2 (Matrimonial Real Property), Bill S-6 (First Nations Election Act), Bill C-10 (Crimes Bill), Bill S-8 (Safe Drinking Water), Bill C-27 (Financial Transparency Act), Bill C-45 (Jobs and Growth Act, specifically sections amending the Indian Act and Fisheries), and Bill C-428 (a Private Members Bill, specifically to amend the Indian Act).

“I wish to put it on record again that the Anishinabek First Nations oppose, reject and dismiss each and every bill that encroaches on First Nations treaty and inherent rights,” continued Grand Council Chief Madahbee. “Making sweeping changes that will impact First Nations (through legislation) without inclusion of First Nations in the development of these bills is contrary to a Nation-to-Nation relationship. The resolve of our citizens will be known across the country and we will bring national attention to the colonial approach Canada continues to push for in relation to First Nation territories and First Nations citizens rights.”

“First Nations have a unique legal and historical relationship with Canada as established through treaties and alliances during times of war and peace,” wrote the Grand Council Chief. “We have remained a loyal ally over many decades, only to watch our children get siphoned into residential schools and our land exploited for the betterment of Canada and to the detriment of First Nations. As the Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation I have limited authority as mandated by our leadership. However, I am in a position to remind Canada that First Nations will not sit quietly while funding to education is frozen, funding to health is cut, and land claims are held hostage to surrender clauses while mining companies are fast-tracked to exploit our lands in order to keep Canada listed as one of the wealthiest countries in the world.”

“First Nations socio-economic indicators continue to represent human rights issues comparable to those of many oppressed populations throughout the world,” continued Chief Madahbee. “I cannot, nor would I ever attempt to, control or stop First Nation citizens if they ever decide to have their voices heard in a free and democratic society.”

“The reputation of Canada is darkened by First Nation realities in Canada,” wrote Chief Madahbee. “Let us work together to make Canada a better country by engaging in meaningful dialogue that does not include a hidden agenda to assimilate and municipalize First Nations through oppressive legislation and policies.”

 Tom Sasvari

Comments

22 COMMENTS

  1. its about time the First Nations people stand up for what our rights are. Harper is a trifiling, kniving, and disrespectful man who does not deserve the “power” he has. Always trying to make a quick buck off of anything. Canadians already pay enough. Why should we work and give you our money into you’re “taxes”. It’s rubbish, The First Nations People all over Canada deserve to be heard, and their rights should not be touched, they are not negotiable.

  2. You can not demand to self govern yourself on another governments dollar. If you want to handle your own…your on your own. How can you demand “equality” when there is nothing equal about having special priviledges in every aspect of life? Enough is enough! As a hard working Metis woman I say its about time for equal treatment for all Canadians!

    • itsnot our fault we were here first and you were her second some of us are hardworking people to not all of us get the so called handouts they are not handouts this was part of the agreement that was made between our ancestors and the people who came here to rape our land of our rescources and everything else this land of ours had to offer and where did you descend from if it wasnt for aboriginal people you would be non existant we as the gracious and generous people we are made an agreement years ago to share this land with the white people who came here and slowly but surely they got what the wanted they herded our people on to reserves, they stole our children put them in to aslyums you might as well call them where they were raped beaten yelled at and have unspeakable acts done to them, they took all the lumber.minerals and all the other resources this land of ours had to offer now that they are rich and the aboriginal peoples are poor they have us on our knees they want to give their final blow and finish what they started i as an aboriginal person will definately fight with all i have because my granchildren deserve to live on this land with just as much wealth as the whites have LITTLE DOES THE GOVERNMENT KNOW WE ARE NOT AS WEAK AS THEY THINK WE ARE I HAVE FAITH IN OUR LEADERS WITH THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SAY IF YOU WANT TO BACK OUT FROM WHAT WAS WRITTEN IN OUR TREATIES THEN GET OF OUR LAN that

      • 136 years have passed since those treaties were signed, it is time to revisit the conditions. Every aboriginal has the opportunity to be as wealthy if not wealthier than any white person in this country. It is land of equal opportunities. Get off your butt and get what you want….we didnt get it handed to us either. Do you honestly believe your life would be better if all the white people and everything they have contributed to this land just left?

    • We are still equal!! Metis and aboriginals, if you are truly metis just remeber you are part aboriginal. I would think you would understand one of your parents our grand parents where full aboriginal people. And I’m sure they would say the same about keep our rights. Cuz that’s our treaty right that where righfully givin to us. Just to take it away after promising after some many years is wrong, so bleive me this, is harper take our treaty rights believe me this. There will be a up rising, where our people come together to fight for our rights!!!!

    • You are just a jealous bitter metis… My husband and I are wealthy. We also have four wonderful daughters we pay our own health care though work. You obviously forget that you are half native that your ancestors suffered for you too. Equal treatment don’t you understand that really doesn’t exist if you want something you need to do it make it there is no equal. The treaties were signed it was an legal document, if you have a problem you can move to a different country no matter where you go you will always be a half bred and people will treat you like it weather you like it or not your in on this to….. Show some respect for you heritage. This goes for anyone else with this attitude.

      • I do not forget that I am half aboriginal..I take great pride in that fact. I also take great pride in my husband and son who are full blooded cree from Peguis.

        It is because I have pride that I say it is time for equality…we are all Canadian people now. There is such a thing as forgiveness and moving on for the greater good of mankind. do you not appreciate the lifestyle in which you have become accustomed? Do you think you would have that lifestyle without the innovations of the men and women of different nationalitys. Are you so judgemental that you would prefer to haver this vast country to yourselves.

        A jealous bitter metis! HAH!!!!! You are a greedy, ungrateful treaty suck!

    • MissMetis: First if you are going to pick a name like that you need to identify who you are. I doubt your Metis. Second, if your going to preach you need to do your homework and get your facts straight not preach man in the street folklore.
      The AFN conducted research into what First Nations received from the governments to sustain themselves on reserved lands, and the bottom line was that First Nations received their reserved land monies in the amounts of .001% of Canada’s overall annual Natural Resource Revenue; however, they are suppose to be receiv…
      ing 1% of overall annual Natural Resource Revenues. This is a result of the deal
      made during the Constitution talks, “that the Indian Reserves of Canada would receive 1% of all revenues that come from Canada’s Natural Resources;” however, that has never happened so First Nations have billions owed to them by Canada. AFN has that research that they did, probably 10 to 15 years ago. It also explained that tax dollars are not used for First Nations communities (reserved lands), unless by special agreements between the First Nation governments and the Provincial governments. Metis and Inuit, however, receive almost all their monies from various tax payments and transfers (like all other Canadians living on non-reserved lands). That is the crucial difference. Metis and Inuit lands are not reserved. Metis and Inuit also pay taxes within their own lands as is the case for anyone living on non-reserved lands anywhere in Canada including First Nations peoples. Every MP and MPP knows that First Nations do not receive nor have use of tax dollars for reserved lands, how many will stand up and say that though??
      Someone needs to explain very slowly and clearly to non-Aboriginal people that their taxes do not support First Nations. The truth is very few Canadians pay more into the system than they get out of it. They’re taxes are not enough to even sustain their own standard of living let alone someone else’s. Canada’s massive wealth is because of natural resources and no other reason. And as everyone knows, not one stone came over on the ships from Europe. There isn’t a village or town in Canada, not even a single detached household that is self-sustaining without natural resource wealth. It cost over $100,000 just to install a crosswalk light and that doesn’t even include maintenance. $100,000 just for 5 or 6 blocks of pavement. Public Transit/highways roads and maintenance costs millions and billions. We haven’t even discussed healthcare and education. Most all Canadians would have to live in high rise apartments for us to even have a chance at sustainability without natural resource wealth. The wealth comes from the Natural Resources and that obviously has not equally been spent in First Nations communities…yet it’s existence did not arrive on the ships with the Europeans…it was already here…the estimated resource wealth in reserved lands alone is billions and billions of dollars and that doesn’t included shared lands/treaty lands. Politicians need to act like adults and educate Canadians about this myth and tell their supporters that they’re taxes alone do not even sustain them. They are not supporting First Nations people and never have.

  3. This is the sickest thing I have ever heard of. Native people, Indians, or Aboriginal. honestly pick one!!!! Our grandfathers have signed treaties. With this treaties came many sufferings. Our grandmothers mothers, daughters even our men raped and beaten. Our culture stripped shammed and band believed to be devil worship. Kids ripped from there homes by people they couldn’t even understand had there skin scrubbed with brushes for being so dark!!! This continues, our people still don’t understand you and have lost our selves. We aren t really catholic, and I don’t speak Cree. So still my culture is gone my language stripped. The damage it has caused to all our people. This dysfunction, people continuing to rape and abuse each other stuck in the perversion because it happened to them. Now here come the self medicating, drugs alcohol families broken from abuse. How many have taken their own lives. Now these treaties have been fading our health care plans have slowly stopped covering some medications. Gas and tobacco costs have gone up even on reserves. Many have to take out student loans, our schooling isn’t really covered how many think it is. The treaties states as long as the grass grows and the rivers flows! They would always be sacred! Way then is it possible to even be talking tax cuts and to the treaties hasn’t there all ready been enough tragedy. I am so tired of this argument, don’t sign contacts if you cant honor them. Leave it to the government to renege on there end. Steven Harper if you are so concerned about saving money, stop allowing immigrants to fill up our country. Since we have become multi-cultural, our crime rate has gone up we are over populated. Canada needs to start worrying about Canada no more immigrants when I call somewhere I want to be able to understand who I am speaking to, I feel like I am in Pakistani. This is a shameful situation and should’ve never been a discussion or an option. Steven Herper isn’t even truly Canadian he should go back to Quebec and separate. Do you have no honor!

  4. You all want equality… yet for some reason not paying taxes and putting your children through school, or taking advantage of our health care system is equal. All that money is funded by our tax dollars… not First Nations. So, if you do not want to pay taxes then I do not see why First Nations should be allowed to use any tax-funded services in Canada.

    Two choices: pay taxes and use the services funded by them

    or don’t pay taxes and then don’t use any of the tax-funded services

    That seems equal to me.

  5. It is high time you stop pointing fingers of blame for the problems within our people. The alcohol, rape, substance abuse, dysfunction within the aboriginal community is not to be blamed on the wrong doings of the whiteman years ago…it is to be blamed on mis management of public dollars. Instead of that 6 digit salary your precious cheif recieves it could be put towards the people. If you want change in the right direction start pushing your own people in that direction.

  6. If treaty rights get taken away from our people some won’t be able to afford there childerns education, and some will be left without home’s because they won’t have any where to live because they took our lands away.

    if our treaty rights do get taken away most of our people will fight back against the government.

    • Your land is still there, there is no sanction that says aboriginals must stay on reserve. Our people are just as smart and able as any other race, why is it that some wont be able to have a home or send their children to college? Work for it just like every other Canadian. My parents could not afford to put me through school and I can not afford to either, but I still have a very respectable job and now own my own home. Work with the cards you are dealt and stop passing blame!

  7. I agree with miss meti. I struggled thru life without the help of my first nation band. My single mother raised 4 kids on her own. We never lived on reserve and we were poor. Once i graduated i didnt have no education tuition help from the band. I had to go to a canadian government agency for help. I finished my schooling and now live a comfortable life with a six figure income. I lived in a small community with a population of maybe 5000. If you knew my childhood then you would not have expected myself to acheive what i have in my life. I dont consider myself to be just a first nation but as a canadian. I say be rid of treaty rights, and maybe people wont be so dependable. If i can do it anyone can. Thats just my thoughts.

  8. The AFN conducted research into what First Nations received from the governments to sustain themselves on reserved lands, and the bottom line was that First Nations received their reserved land monies in the amounts of .001% of Canada’s overall annual Natural Resource Revenue; however, they are suppose to be receiv…
    ing 1% of overall annual Natural Resource Revenues. This is a result of the deal
    made during the Constitution talks, “that the Indian Reserves of Canada would receive 1% of all revenues that come from Canada’s Natural Resources;” however, that has never happened so First Nations have billions owed to them by Canada. AFN has that research that they did, probably 10 to 15 years ago. It also explained that tax dollars are not used for First Nations communities (reserved lands), unless by special agreements between the First Nation governments and the Provincial governments. Metis and Inuit, however, receive almost all their monies from various tax payments and transfers (like all other Canadians living on non-reserved lands). That is the crucial difference. Metis and Inuit lands are not reserved. Metis and Inuit also pay taxes within their own lands as is the case for anyone living on non-reserved lands anywhere in Canada including First Nations peoples. Every MP and MPP knows that First Nations do not receive nor have use of tax dollars for reserved lands, how many will stand up and say that though??
    Someone needs to explain very slowly and clearly to non-Aboriginal people that their taxes do not support First Nations. The truth is very few Canadians pay more into the system than they get out of it. They’re taxes are not enough to even sustain their own standard of living let alone someone else’s. Canada’s massive wealth is because of natural resources and no other reason. And as everyone knows, not one stone came over on the ships from Europe. There isn’t a village or town in Canada, not even a single detached household that is self-sustaining without natural resource wealth. It cost over $100,000 just to install a crosswalk light and that doesn’t even include maintenance. $100,000 just for 5 or 6 blocks of pavement. Public Transit/highways roads and maintenance costs millions and billions. We haven’t even discussed healthcare and education. Most all Canadians would have to live in high rise apartments for us to even have a chance at sustainability without natural resource wealth. The wealth comes from the Natural Resources and that obviously has not equally been spent in First Nations communities…yet it’s existence did not arrive on the ships with the Europeans…it was already here…the estimated resource wealth in reserved lands alone is billions and billions of dollars and that doesn’t included shared lands/treaty lands. Politicians need to act like adults and educate Canadians about this myth and tell their supporters that they’re taxes alone do not even sustain them. They are not supporting First Nations people and never have.

  9. it amazes me to see so many uneducated people debating a political basis they don’t understand…in “white Canada” it is believed that every treaty member is getting a cheque every month from “white Canadian tax dollars.” This really is not the case, i am a treaty native…never once in my life have i received a a government cheque for being native. Nor have i been offered a “government paid education”, i dont live on a reserve, so i pay taxes on everything i buy. Yet i still endure an extremely racist Canadian culture, whether many of you will admit it or not, you hold some undertone of hatred toward native people and look down upon us. From the stereotype of a “drunken or drug abusing indians, to the aforementioned dont want to work stereo types. There are more “white canadians” living off of the social assistance program in Canada then Natives. I do not agree with “something for nothing” but the Canadian Government has a responsibility to undo the injustices of the past. Todays generations of Natives are still struggling and fighting with the damage done from residential schools, openly accepted racist practices (that are strongly felt even in this forum) and resources that are being stripped away, to be sold to the highest bidder. If the people posting on here truelly think the Harper gov’t wants to reduce the financial aid to ease the tax load of the average Canadian, again..that is only ignorance and lack of education speaking. The Harper gov’t is more interested in the land and resources that they can auction off to foreign bidders. When they natives land rights are stripped, it will be felt by “white Canada” aswell. All of your family and friends that are employed by the oil & gas industry, construction companies, and basically any industry dealing with natural resources will be outsourced to foreign workers. For every person in agreeance with the Harper gov’t should educate themselves and look and the long term big picture.

Leave a Reply