The numbers are in.

Well “Idle No More” has been at it for a few months now. We have seen flash-mobs in malls, Chiefs holding fake hunger strikes, blockades, marches and an endless stream of demands from activists who place themselves at the head of this movement.

If the goal was simply to get Canadians to pay attention to native issues, then “Idle No More” has been a grand success. Native events and issues had dominated Canada’s headlines for months and Prime Minister Harper even held a special personal meeting with Chiefs though many suddenly and petulantly refused to attend.

In looking at the trends on my blog stats I am heartened in seeing what is coming in. Since putting up my posting listing links to all of Canada’s treaties, I have been seeing a constant stream of traffic with a steady increase from people who have been searching for treaties online. I am getting people here searching for the Indian Act and getting as specific as searching for individual native extremist activists like Pam Palmater. I have been writing on native issues for years here, but it has only been this last couple months when I have seen so much traffic specifically searching out items related to native issues.

“Idle No More” got the attention and interest of Canadians and now Canadians are informing themselves. What I think many behind the whole “Idle No More” thing didn’t count on though was how things have changed in the information age. People are no longer taking the words of activists and protestors at face value. Within minutes people can search out and verify claims on the internet. That is why Theresa Spence so quickly lost all credibility as it was so easily exposed that she was a large part of the problem. If Spence is not actually corrupt, she is clearly terribly inept and unfit as a band leader.

Many with “Idle No More” have cried “abide by the treaties” and that call used to be effective. Now though, people are easily able to read the treaties and discovering that the obligations are not nearly as entrenched as people in the Indian Industry would have us believe. Reform is possible as most of the problem with native issues actually lies with the Indian Act rather than the rather simple treaties (which are not being violated).

Bear at his blog: “A Bear’s Rant” covered the unintended consequences Idle No More fostered excellently in his posting today. You scooped me a little on the theme Bear so I will go into the poll numbers. 😉

Now that Canadians have informed themselves on the issue, we are seeing what they are concluding. Ipsos Reid did a large survey on native issues across Canada and the conclusions were clear.

When it came to statements such as: “No additional taxpayer money should go to any Reserve until external auditors can be put in place to ensure financial accountability” a whopping 81% of Canadians agreed.

“Canada’s Aboriginal peoples receive too much support from Canadian taxpayers”  62% of Canadians agreed there.

With the rather loaded question: “Most of the problems of native peoples are brought on by themselves” 60% of Canadians agreed. What is striking there is that this is an increase of 25% over when that question was asked of Canadians in 1989.

Things become very interesting though when the regional breakdowns are taken into account. In regions where people have a great deal more exposure and experience with native reserves, the demand for accountability is much stronger.

While Canada wide 81% of Canadians want no increase of expenditures going to natives without external auditors; that figure turns to 92% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

While 60% of Canadians at large feel that many of the problems experienced by natives are brought upon themselves, those numbers increase to 76%  in Saskatchewan/Manitoba and 68% in Alberta.

When it comes to feeling that money is managed well on reserves, 8% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba felt that was the case with 16% in Alberta.

Numbers in areas with little exposure to reserves were similar but not nearly as sharply to one side as they were in the prairies. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver residents are more inclined to think that things are being managed just fine on reserves but it has to be remembered that by far most of the residents of those cities have never been on a reserve in their entire lives. On the prairies, reserves are plentiful and experiences with them are common.

As people study the issue (or even better, get to see the situation first hand), people conclude that it is time to work towards ending this mess. Most people live within a couple hours drive of one reserve or another. I would strongly suggest a day trip some time to see first hand just how awful it is. I don’t need to specify a reserve as the majority of them are in rough shape under this terrible system. The only difference is degree.

One thing that everybody can agree on is that the status-quo is not cutting it. Where the activists with “Idle No More” and Canadians at large differ though is with the pursuit of accountability. Canadians are seeing past the yelling and rhetoric of protestors and are seeing that it is not for lack of government resources being dedicated to them that reserves are a socioeconomic mess. Canadians want to see a solution but we will not settle for more blind and pointless expenditures. We are listening and learning and concluding that the entire reserve system is sick and Harper and the treaties have nothing to do with it.

While the “Idle No More” thing has supposedly been about native issues, it really has been overrun with a fervent anti Stephen Harper theme. Despite months of this, Harper’s support has actually started growing in the last couple months. Idle No More is actually increasing support for Harper’s Conservative Party.

Canadians are no fools. They are seeing through the buzzwords and rhetoric. They are tired of the baseless screaming and rage from activists and they want to see solutions. People are no longer allowing themselves to be cowed whenever some prick calls them a racist for their having dared question the goals of the activists.

I am excited by these trends. Maybe finally we are moving into the age when we will end this antiquated system of racial segregation, scrap the Indian Act and join the modern world.

Barrage of information.

Well it has been an interesting week since I posted here and began asking on social media “which treaties are being violated?”

You see, there is a myth being perpetuated in Canada that somehow native treaties are being breached or are soon to be breached by some new legislation. While some native activists and indignant hipsters have almost been chanting and screaming that treaty rights are being violated; not a single one to date has been able to point to a direct violation.

I have tried to make things as easy as I can. I posted links to all the treaties (very straightforward documents) and invited people to read them and point out where violations are happening.

Since asking those questions, I have been called a moron, uneducated, stupid, uncaring, evil, heartless, despicable, and of course I have been called a racist many times. Somehow I have also been accused of being a Christian fanatic and somehow a homophobe out of all of this too.

I am not sure how simply asking a question makes me any of the above things. What I think is that I have hit the issue on the head. People have not read the treaties and upon being asked they respond by attacking rather than admitting that the breach in treaty rights that they have been claiming simply does not exist.

People have also tried to sidetrack. I have been dragged down discussions on the Charter, the Constitution, the United Nations, the Indian Act and even somehow the Magna Carta. I was sent links to open letters and blogs claiming treaty violation without specifics. Still, nobody could point to a simple ongoing treaty violation.

The closest I saw to a contemporary treaty breach was a link sent to me to this site where it appears that there has been some land allocations of the past that were miscalculated making a breach in some treaties. As can be seen though, it is being addressed efficiently. No mad breaches in rights or need for hunger strikes.

What is great with today’s information age is the ease with which one can dispel myths and untruths. Only 15 years ago it was damn near impossible to simply counter a person’s false claim that treaty rights are being violated. I wouldn’t have even known where to begin to find a treaty in it’s original and full text. Now with a few minutes on google the documents can be found in full and the facts exposed.

The downside of the fast exchange of information is that myths and untruths can be spread more quickly than ever too.

Normally I would not pay much attention to the vapid, profanity laden ramblings of a young shallow urban dwelling lady like Natasha Hynes that are in the video below.

One really does not have to listen long to see that this young lady has nothing much to add to political discussion aside from simplistic repetition of statements on treaties and a blistering number of swears. What is disturbing though is that in a short time apparently nearly 70,000 people watched that video.


It can’t be assumed that all of those watchers checked Natasha’s broken facts and sadly a myth spreads even further.

To counter Natasha’s ill-informed rambling, we have the blog: A Bear’s Rant.

Bear has been hosting a series of guest postings by Peggy Tupper that I can’t suggest strongly enough as essential reading on the “Idle no more” trend. Policies, reactions and treaties are addressed excellently and the misconceptions of the moment are laid bare excellently.

The web is full of information but it is still nobody’s responsibility aside from our own to ensure that we seek facts and see through misinformation.

Social media provides us with a means to make a point using humor and simplifying things too. I made the video below to show how ridiculous Theresa Spence’s public tantrum is and to again point out that treaty rights are not being breached.

It is a simple cartoon but it makes a couple points and is free of expletives.

My challenge stands; show me the treaty violation.

No sidetracking, no namecalling. Just some facts thanks. I will make it even easier with a template:

Treaty (insert treaty name or number here) is being being breached by (insert action or legislation here) due to obligations in (insert treaty clause here).

I don’t deny for a second that there are some very serious and important issues with natives and Canada’s native policies. If we really want to address these issues though, we must stick with facts.


Let’s have a peek at those treaties.

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.

Treaties 1 & 2

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 3

Treaty three provides $5 annually per head on the reserve and has some provisions for oxen. The evolution of the treaties is evident.

Treaty 4

Treaty 5

Treaty 6

Treaty 7

Treaty 8

Treaty 8 has a much improved breakdown of compensation obligations as compared to earlier ones.

Treaty 9

Treaty 10

Treaty 11

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.