Few things make it more clear that the usual union backed “occupy” layabouts have jumped on to the “Idle No More” native protests than hearing the vague and disparate grievances and demands being made. Problems whether real or imagined are being highlighted while no solutions are being proposed. Entitled and unrealistic demands for meetings with the Prime Minister are tossed out while uncoordinated efforts are being made to hinder vehicular traffic.
Like “occupy”, this movement is fast proving to be pointless and self-serving. The best martyr the cause can find is Chief Theresa Spence who has a rather questionable history of band management and is on a “hunger strike” which includes eating soup and other unspecified “medicines” while she refused to meet with the Minister of Indian affairs and is raising money for through her boyfriend’s account!
Really, how costly would a real hunger strike be? One would think she would be saving money.
Now a vapid call we often hear from supporters of this messed up movement is that: “We must abide by treaties!”, or “treaty rights are being violated!”
I contend that those making the aforementioned statements likely have never actually read Canadian treaties or at least really do not know what they are asking for.
The image at the beginning of this post displays all the Canadian regions under numbered treaties.
Canada’s treaties are very accessible and are actually some pretty straightforward documents. I will link to them all below and invite anybody to read them. They are all pretty similar in the obligations from both government and the natives who signed them.
Those treaties demand that schools be built on reserves and that $15 per family of 5 or the equivalent in items such as twine and blankets be provided. Even with inflation taken into account, this has been provided way above and beyond treaty obligations.
Treaty three provides $5 annually per head on the reserve and has some provisions for oxen. The evolution of the treaties is evident.
Treaty 8 has a much improved breakdown of compensation obligations as compared to earlier ones.
Other non-numbered treaties can be found here. They are much the same in obligations and spirit.
Noteworthy among the treaties is that they all provided clauses for possible expropriation of lands for future development if need be and extinguishment of future claims. That means that if anybody is breaking treaty obligations it is many native bands who are fighting ongoing land claims!
Here is a typical clause verbatim from Treaty 7:
“And Her Majesty the Queen hereby agrees with her said Indians, that they shall have right to pursue their vocations of hunting throughout the Tract surrendered as heretofore described, subject to such regulations as may, from time to time, be made by the Government of the country, acting under the authority of Her Majesty and saving and excepting such Tracts as may be required or taken up from time to time for settlement, mining, trading or other purposes by Her Government of Canada; or by any of Her Majesty’s subjects duly authorized therefor by the said Government.”
Basically the above treaty clause means that government bills such as C-45 are perfectly valid as agreed to by treaty.
Do we really want to go literal with these treaties? Do we want government to simply build the odd school, provide blankets and whetstones and expropriate at will due to clauses in the treaties?
Our entire reserve system is irreparably broken and it is an abhorrent system of racial apartheid being supported by the naive and the self-serving within the indian industry. We need some serious changes and some serious discussions if we ever want to see an end to these corrupted enclaves of misery that we keep people on. The Indian Act itself is vile and should be destroyed as a document. Race based policy is only adding further damage to what older race based policies created.
Discuss the items in the above paragraph if you really want to address some issues with natives in Canada. The second you start yelping about treaty rights being violated, I have to assume that you either do not know what you are talking about or you are purposely being deceptive. Either way, that discussion will not lead to any meaningful progress on what is a complicated and terrible issue in Canada.
Treaties and government adherence to them is not the problem in Canada.