In my June 26 editorial Extinguishing Sovereignty, I discussed how the extortion practiced by the Government of Canada toward its indigenous First Nations — as a means to terminate their continued existence as culturally distinct peoples — was in violation of all international law related to racial discrimination and human rights. While not a surprise, given Canada’s notorious track record in the international arena, the persistence of Canada’s government in this modern era ethnic cleansing project is nonetheless disturbing.
As Russell Diabo observes in his essay from First Nations Strategic Bulletin, Canada’s termination plan for First Nations has hit a snag, and due to its perpetual habit of reneging on both modern and older treaties, First Nations leaders may eventually determine there is no longer anything to gain and everything to lose from negotiating with Canada over its aboriginal and inherent treaty rights. If anything is to be learned from the bad faith process of negotiating with someone who only wants to destroy your people, it is that there is really only one legitimate response, and that is to resist.
As Diabo notes, to contemplate Canada’s take it or leave it approach, by compromising their constitutional and international rights, indigenous lands and resources will be auctioned off in fire sales to China and other bidders looking for bargain basement deals, that over time will leave their peoples impoverished in body, mind and spirit. Given what’s at stake, he says, it’s time for First Nations to stand up and say no.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here