Reading the current issue of First Nations Strategic Bulletin (unfortunately not available online), I was reminded of the book The Science of Coercion. In the articles and commentary by leading indigenous activists, scholars and political figures in Canada, FNSB examines issues surrounding the upcoming Crown-First Nations Gathering on January 24 in Ottawa.
Perhaps of greater importance, the bulletin lends context to the forthcoming exchange between Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. As demonstrated by the articles about corporate corruption and greed, as well as federal and provincial betrayal of Canada’s treaties and international law, it is clear the Government of Canada views this gathering as little more than a stepping stone on the way to extinction of indigenous societies.
As one of the four countries to oppose the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Canada has remained a settler state, intent on extinguishing indigenous peoples’ human rights by assimilating First Nations into the capitalist Canadian system. As a partner of Canadian corporations involved globally in mining on indigenous peoples’ territories, Canada has a lot invested in maintaining dominance over indigenous peoples in Canada and abroad.
Undermining indigenous sovereignty through the use of bribery and extortion is but one method of the Canadian government in achieving that goal. As illustrated in FNSB, the use of military and police harassment and psychological warfare is also an essential component of exercising Crown power over First Nations.
AFN Chief Atleo has stated that the time has come to reset the relationship between the Crown and First Nations. Knowing in advance that the Government of Canada plans to use this opportunity to disseminate propaganda conducive to further coercing First Nations into submitting to Crown and corporate domination, friends and allies of First Nations need to be prepared and engaged in presenting a more accurate account of what is taking place on indigenous lands.